Archive for the ‘lessons learned’ Category

but loving him was red.   Leave a comment

RedIsLove1Let’s play a little game.  I’ll say a word and you say the first word that comes to your mind.

Ready…

RED.

Now some of you may say words such as “apple”, “wine”, or “shoes”.

Others may say “roses”, “hearts” or “lipsticks”.

Me, and Taylor Swift, we would say “Love”. 

Love is Red.  Red is Love. 

Love comes in many shades of red.  Red is the light and dark shades of love.

Love is butterflies in the stomach and going weak in the knees.

Love is kissing in the rain and dancing under streetlights to the sounds of the city.

Love is looking into his eyes and forgetting that anyone else is in the room.

Love is lying in bed all day and cuddling under the covers.

Love is drinking in dark empty bars on a Tuesday night, just the two of you and the bartender.

Love is telling your mom that you “met someone”

Love is uneasiness when he hasn’t texted you back, and excitement and relief when he calls.

Love is break-ups and broken hearts.

Love is asking your brother or best guy friend for advice.

Love is pints of ice cream, bottles of wine, and your best friend.

Love is loss, and missing, and trying to forget.

Love is remembering the good and feeling the pain that time never seems to take away.

Love is jealousy, confusion, and frustration.

Love is happiness and sadness, sometimes even at the same time.

Love is smiling and laughing again.

Love is running into him when you least expect it.

Love is thinking you moved on, only to stumble back down.

Love is feeling lost, but knowing that you will find yourself eventually.

Love is beginnings, middles, and ends.

Love is yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Love is patience.  Love is impatience.

Love is learning to love another through the good times and the bad.

Love is “I do”, “I will”, and “I promise you”.  Love is sometimes “I don’t know how I’m feeling”.

Love is never black or white.  Love is shades of gray.

Love is red, but sometimes it can be blue.

Love is taking chances and making mistakes.

Love is doubts, fears, regrets, and uncertainties.

Love is “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you”.  Love is “I forgive myself”.

Love is learning to love again.

Love is trusting another. Love is trusting yourself.

Love is the best thing that will ever happen, though sometimes it may feel like the worst.

Love is always worth the risk.

Love is fearless.

Love is never giving up.

 

Red- Taylor Swift

all of these lines across my face, tell you the story of who i am.   3 comments

When you’re twenty-nine years old and only beginning your first relationship, people tend to ask, “Why?” to defend that there is nothing wrong with you.  But they might as well save their breath, because there actually is something wrong with you.  I mean how is it that you can be mere months away from a milestone decade with only one notch on your girlfriend chart?  Come on!  That’s not normal! 

This twenty-nine year old with “something wrong” is obviously me. 

Two weeks ago I finally dropped my walls and faced up to the “something wrong” that has held me back for nearly half of my life.  It hasn’t been easy, in fact it’s been quite scary, but so far it has been worth it.  So much weight has dropped off my shoulders; however, while I’ve felt some sense of relief, life has been far from easy.  In fact, it’s been pretty difficult. 

As I sit here tonight, with a few tears in my eyes, I can only wish that I would have faced up to my struggle sooner.  When I think about it, I believe that my struggles began when I was in eighth grade, which would have been fifteen years ago.  Fifteen years of depression is just too long, and what makes it worse is thinking about much I’ve held myself back from.  

Without a doubt, love is the biggest sacrifice that my depression has forced me to make.  In a way, I guess you can say that it’s also my biggest regret for not conquering these demons of mine way back when.  I’ve already let it hold me back from potentially being with who I believe was the love of my life (which unfortunately I still regret more than anything in my life), but now I’m a bit fearful that it’s always going to hold me back.  I could say more about that, but today really isn’t the night to do so.  Sorry.

While I intended to include more in this post, unfortunately I’m not feeling like much of a blogger tonight.  After a great day of babysitting, tonight has proven to be a little bit rough.  But if I can leave you with one last thing, it’s this: Please don’t let anything, hold you back from love or happiness, as I have.  In talking to one of my best friends today, she said, “Kris,  I just want you to be happy.  You deserve to be so happy.” 

We all deserve to be happy.  Unfortunately, those of us who struggle with this depression don’t believe that we do, which is why we don’t seek treatment right away.  But I’m here to tell you that we do, indeed, deserve to be happy.  We really do.  And from what I’ve been told, you can find that happiness when you drop down your walls and let yourself be helped.

The Story- Brandi Carlile

if i can love again… and jennifer aniston can love again… so can you…   Leave a comment

Every now and then, I’m reminded of a post I wrote about a year and a half ago.  It’s a post that many have thanked me for writing because it comforted them to know that someone else had experienced the same loss, pain, and heartbreak as they have.  The post is called, Regrets and mistakes, they’re memories made. who would have known how bitterswee​t this would taste.(http://livelovelearnbreathe.com/2011/03/30/regrets-and-mistakes-theyre-memories-made-who-would-have-known-how-bittersweet-this-would-taste/), and I can tell you know that it’s nothing more than a memory from the past.

 

But I’m not here to write about the past… nor the pain one endures from a broken heart.  Instead I am here to provide evidence that one can overcome heartbreak and learn to love again.  Just like Jennifer Aniston, I, myself, am proof that love can find the wounded.

 

Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers to how one finds love again- nor does (my friend) Jen.  But, I’ll speak for both of us and say that the only way to find love again is to take chances and never give up hope.

 

I’ve been with Cubby for 4 months, and while our relationship has its ups-and-downs, I will admit that he has made me believe again.  Yes, the guy I met on a random Sunday Funday has stolen my heart and helped me see that love is possible (again).

So if I can do it… despite all of the bad luck, heartbreak, and frustration… SO CAN YOU!!!

 

 

 

love & anxiety: two things that i know a little and a lot about, respectively.   4 comments

The following post was written for the blog, Peace & Penguins,and tackles the topic of Love & Anxiety- which are two things that I know little and a lot about, respectively.

When Alisha asked me to write a guest blog post on Love & Anxiety for Peace & Penguins, I thought that it would be an easy hour therapy session of rehashing my life stories of insecurity, doubts, and regrets.  But unfortunately, for the past week, I’ve struggled to get anything down on paper.  So here I am, over a week after telling her that she’d have my piece in no time, trying to figure out exactly what I can say about love & anxiety…which are ultimately the two words that have haunted me during my 28-year old life. 

While I’ve questioned how to begin this post, I feel that it is important to start off with the following statement: I’m twenty-eight years old and I’ve never been in a serious relationship.  However, and it’s an incredibly big HOWEVER, I’m actually (finally) on the verge of entering one…but more on that later. 

Today I came across the following lines in the novel, 50 Shades of Grey, which really struck a chord with me.  Here are the lines, and I’ll explain later:

Katherine often teases me that I’m missing the need-a-boyfriend gene, but the truth is I just haven’t met anyone who… well, whom I’m attracted to, even though part of me longs for the fabled trembling knees, heart-in-my-mouth, butterflies-in-my-belly moments.

Sometimes I wonder if there’s something wrong with me.  Perhaps, I’ve spent too long in the company of my literary romantic heroes, and consequently my ideals and expectations are far too high.  But in reality, nobody’s ever made me feel like that.

Anastasia Steele (50 Shades of Grey)

For the majority of my young adult life, I have relied on excuses and sarcasm to answer the question, “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?”  And when stating my boyfriend-free background and getting stuck responding to the inevitable question, “What do you mean you’ve never been in a relationship?  How is that possible?”, I find the anxiety tingles kicking in as I do my best to change the subject.  But here and now, I’ll put those insecurities aside and tell you that Anxiety is the answer to both of those questions.

Unfortunately I’ve been plagued by anxiety for a while now, and it’s held me back from many things over the years.  But above all, it’s prevented me from experiencing the love that I always dreamed of; from finding the love I always deserved.  For years I’ve thought that there was something wrong with me.  I thought I wasn’t good enough to be loved.  I thought I wasn’t pretty enough to attract the attention of a man.  I thought I would always be alone, because frankly being single is all I’ve really ever known. 

Sure, there were those “boyfriends” during my early teen years that typically lasted a few weeks, and then a few guys in my twenties that stayed around for a couple uncommitted hook-ups.  However, for the most part, I’ve been that girl who finds herself attending weddings without a plus-one and heading home after last call alone in a cab while the other girls leave on the arm of their significant others. 

Now, every once in a while, maybe on the night of a full moon or during a road trip back to Ohio, I’d find myself flirting with a seemingly eligible bachelor and hoping that something more than a one-night stand would come out of it.  But unfortunately, my anxiety almost got the best of me as daylight hit and my internal enemy asserted, “Are you crazy?  He’s doesn’t really like you.  He’s going to leave just like all of the other ones.” 

But something changed this past year; something that I really can’t quite explain myself.  In essence, I’ve lived this year under the motto: I don’t care anymore.  See, instead of letting anxiety hold me back, I’ve fought off the doubts and insecurities and strived to live fearlessly.  (Note: A little liquid courage usually helped too.)  I took some chances…including using a few daring moves and brave one-liners every once in a while.  And with each one of those incidences, I noticed my anxiety towards potential love decreasing. 

So that leads me to “The Now”.  As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I am on the verge of a relationship.  Actually…  I’m in one.  Yes, the girl who thought she’d always be single is in a relationship.  (With a wonderful guy, might I add.)  I’m pretty much living in disbelief, as are my friends and family who have heard my “No, I don’t have a boyfriend.” and “I’ll always be a single” lines, but it really is the truth.  Even though it hasn’t yet been discussed, I am practically someone’s girlfriend… which means that I kinda-sorta have a boyfriend. Me?  Really?  Wow.

To be honest, I’m still processing all of this.  I’m trying to convince myself that this is really, while also trying to understand why it’s taken me so long to let myself be in a relationship.  Why did I let my anxiety hinder my happiness?  Why did I let my insecurities get in the way of being someone’s girlfriend?  Why did I let my fears prohibit some amazing guy from being mine?  While I can ask these questions again and again, I’ll never fully be able to uncover the answers.  But I will remember the anxiety I’ve lived with that held me back from being happy all of those years. 

Unfortunately my anxiety is something that I continue to live with.  It’s something that I think I’ll always live with.  But when it comes to love, I’m learning more and more how important it is for me to combat all of my fears and doubts.  For starters, I don’t want to miss out on a chance with a good guy like the one I have right now.  I’ve held myself back many times before and simply, I don’t want to live with regrets anymore.  Sure it’s scary to let yourself be vulnerable and open your heart up, but the risk is worth it.  And honestly, I’m at the point in my life where I’d rather know that I took a chance than regret not taking one. 

Let me stress that I’m no expert when it comes to love, and in some ways I’m still not convinced that I’ll ever fully understand it.  But between you and me, I’m much more open to learning more about it.  And that being said, I think I’ll have to start with exploring the whole relationship thing, and maybe officially being someone’s girlfriend. 

Sure, it’s not easy and frankly I’m a bit scared, but I’m going to take these chances…starting with this great guy who has seen past my anxieties and boyfriendless past and see what life has in store for me.  And hopefully, one day, I’ll be writing a post about love without a mention of anxiety.  But for the meantime, I’m just going to take it day-by-day and see what this whole relationship thing is all about. 

XOXO

K

let me tell you a thing or two about the phenomenon known as “friends with benefits”…   Leave a comment

No matter what anyone says, I’ll tell you that friends with benefits can work.  I know this because I’ve been in two friends with benefits situations and they’ve helped me understand why they can work, as well as why they can’t.  But I’ll focus on why they can, which coincidentally draws upon why they can’t.  But again, they can work… if you follow a few simple steps:

1. Do not allow yourself to develop any feelings for the guy/girl.

2. Do not allow the guy/girl to develop any feelings for you. 

3. Make sure you really are friends with the guy/girl and not just (something) with benefits.

Yes, those are the rules I’ve learned from my two experiences with friends with benefits.  From the first situation, I learned Rule #1 and Rule #2, and apparently from the second, I learned Rule #3.  To be honest, Rule #3 may be the more important rule to learn because sometimes those first two can be overlooked if the timing is right and Rule #1 + Rule #2= The beginning of a real relationship.

But generally speaking, I really do believe that friends with benefits can work.  But then again, maybe I’m just naive and unrealistic.  Perhaps I want to believe they can work because, well, they are really the only form of a “relationship” that I’ve been fortunate to experience.  Who really knows my issues?  Who knows why I think that a friends with benefits is the way to go?  Whatever the reason, wherever my afraid of intimacy and commitment roots derived from, I still stand by my belief that friends with benefits can work.

But does it?  Does friends with benefits ever prove to be as successful as one hopes?  Do both parties, or at least one, never develop feelings for the other?  Wouldn’t it be fabulous if you could simply enjoy the companionship and “benefits” from someone who just wants to have fun and not be alone too?  Though despite seeming like a good deal, there’s always a twist…and unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned.

and now we meet on a street, and i am blind. i cannot find the heart i gave you. sometimes what we think we really want we don’t. sometimes what we think we love we don’t.   2 comments

As I sit in the bedroom of my childhood and adolescent days, I am nearly haunted by the ghosts of crushes past.  Gosh, how many boys did I go to bed thinking about in this room?  Well, if we could middle school then it may get a little tricky.  So scratch that, and let’s only focus on those guys that really caused my head to spin and heart to pitter-patter since my hormonal adolescent days began. 

To be honest, I can only remember a handful of real crushes during those days, and some of those leave me questioning if what I was feeling was real or merely part of exploring the world of boys.

But to be fair, I can say that there were probably two or three boys that captured my young heart and filled my dreams- both during the days and nights.  However, as I begin to reminisce, more than anything I realize how my feelings for those boys have vanished.

And then there was the love of my life that consumed my heart during those beloved college days.  He was the guy that I thought I’d never get over- whether or not we ended up together.  For years I truly believed that I would be haunted by feelings for him and therefore, I’d never be able to love another.  But here I am now, having to remind myself of him and the fated love I believed we shared.

And over these last few months, I found myself struggling to let go of the feelings I developed for Cleveland.  Once again I thought I was doomed to suffer through lost memories of him.  I thought my heart was going to broken (again) into millions of pieces without a glimpse of hope to patch it back together. 

But here I sit, remembering all the guys that came before Cleveland and how the pain I endured for them, once upon a time.  I recall those restless nights where I wondered if s0-and-so liked me to, and those days at school when I hoped my crush would ask me to Homecoming.  Though tonight, what I remember the most is how I got over every single one of them, even if I deemed it impossible.  All of those guys, from the one I shared my first kiss to the guy I first fell in love, I can honestly say that I’ve gotten over each one of them. 

And now, I think I can almost say that I’ve gotten over Cleveland too.  Okay, I’ll admit, there have been some moments of daydreams here and there; however, what’s surprised me is how little I’ve been thinking of him.  I’m sure it helps that he won’t talk to me, or return any of the few texts I’ve sent in the last couple of weeks.  Though, whatever the case may be, I’m left sitting here wondering what I ever felt for him in the first place.  Was he another crush?  A guy who showed a broken-down girl some attention?  Or was it more?  Or perhaps, was it ever anything at all? 

Even though he’s made it quite clear that we won’t be seeing each other anytime soon, I cannot help but be curious what it would be like if I saw him again.  Would the feelings of desire come back?  Or would I smile at him with an empty heart?  Would I remember those good times that we shared?  Or would I look at him and only feel the pain that he caused me as he slowly indicated that he couldn’t do this anymore? 

Sometimes I wish we had that extra moment to see what would happen.  But then again, maybe it’s better off that we don’t.

Song of the Moment: Glass by Ingrid Michaelson

my friends from high school married their high school boyfriends; moved into houses in the same zip code where their parents live. but i, i could never follow.   Leave a comment

If I took a shot every time one of my teachers said, “When you enter the real world next year…” during my senior year of high school, I would have been drunk more times than I was in college.  (Okay, probably not entirely true but you get the point.)  We all now know that for the majority of us, ‘the real world’ did not start until after college, grad school and/or when we finally moved out of our parents’ houses and changed our permanent address.  For me, that new permanent address and real world experience was far from Pittsburgh, PA; however, I cannot say the say for most of my high school classmates.  In fact, I think it’s fair to say that at least half of them remain in the same state, if not the same city. 

Now I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with that, but will say that I’m not planning on joining the Pittsburgh Residency Club again anytime soon.  To tell you the truth, I knew that ever since high school when I would spend my days and nights dreaming of a life outside of here.  I imagined living in New York City and working for a popular magazine, or traveling the country as a sports reporter.  Other daydreams took me to Florida, California, Hawaii, and any other sunny spot that was far, far away from snowy winters.  In essence, I didn’t know where exactly the future would take me but knew it would take me anywhere but here. 

Because of this notion, I find myself struggling with trips back home since I know I don’t belong here.

Last night I spent some time with one of my only (remaining) true friends from high school, Matt (MT).  As custom after our hangout sessions, I find myself in a juxtapose of thoughts and emotions.  My Past vs. My Present/ Future.  What’s Made Me vs. Who I Am Today.  Most days, as I flicker through Facebook, I struggle to remember those people from my past; and, more importantly, I struggle to remember who I was back then.  Or better put, I struggle to figure out if I really am that same girl who once called Pittsburgh ‘home’.

So much has changed these last 10 years.  For goodness sake, I’ve changed a lot- or better put, I’ve grown a lot.  For starters, I’ve ventured out of the Hampton Bubble and been practically living on my own since then.  The friends I had in middle school and high school haven’t been friends since then, and if anything, most of them are nothing more than a Facebook ‘friend’ and someone my mom asks about from time to time.  Those former classmates of mine don’t know me anymore, nor do I know them.  According to Facebook, most of them are living in Pittsburgh with either a significant other, fiance, spouse and/or child(ren). 

And to them, I’m probably just a name from the past that is now living in Chicago and involved in a lot of charity work.  Maybe they wonder, or assume, that I have a boyfriend (which I don’t)- although my empty relationship status and lack of photos with guys probably assures them I’m still single.  (After all, I’ve always been single. Guess I haven’t changed that much.)  And they probably think I’m happy too- as I’ve always appeared to be to those from Hampton.  (Happy and very nice is how I’ve always been seen.)  To be honest, I don’t remember a time during my teenage years that I was fully happy… which has a lot to do with why I always imagined myself getting out of Hampton in the first place.  I just knew there was some other place for me.

But to be fair, there are moments when I wish that I could be one of those people who found happiness in Pittsburgh.  Not only would I be closer to my family, but it would be nice to sustain friendships with those who I’ve known since my childhood days.  (Thank goodness for Stef and Matt.)  But while I could wish and hope sometimes, the truth is I know whole-heartedly that this place isn’t the one for me. 

For now that place is Chicago.  Chicago is fulfilling those big city dreams of mine, and the people in my life are certainly the friends I’ve been longing to have for some time now.  To me, that’s what makes me most content with my life.  Sure, I may not be in a relationship, expecting a child, and/or own my place, I know that I’ve living out my dreams.  This is something I need to remind myself instead of worrying about what Facebook friends of mine have that I don’t.  They may be living out their dreams, just as I’m living out mine.