Archive for the ‘live your life’ Category
A few weeks ago, my dad asked me, “Do you still have your blog?” I answered with a strong “yes”, but then found myself explaining (aka making excuses) that while I have a blog, it’s not necessarily something that I would classify it as an active blog. And for those of you who have read my blog before, you will certainly agree with me.
Thirteen months ago, my life changed when I met my boyfriend, who I have referred to as Cubby, in my favorite country bar on good ole fashioned Sunday Funday here in Chicago. Thirteen months ago was also about halfway through my two-year graduate school program and near the time that my internship applications were due. In addition, it was also around the time that I made the decision to renew my one-bedroom apartment lease for another year, and rationing that it would be the last time since a year later I was planning to apply for positions across the country following my graduation.
But that was then, and this is now. Now I am sitting here surrounded by boxes anxiously waiting for the next three sleeps to pass so I can move into my new apartment with “my keeper” of a boyfriend. Now I am also in possession of a Master’s Degree and the completion of a competitive internship.
Thirteen months ago, I made the decision to go outside my comfort zone and allowed the boy from the bar to take me out on a date. About twelve months ago, I allowed myself to call that boy my boyfriend. And about seven months ago, I allowed myself to my vulnerable with that boy by letting him move into my bachelorette pad of an apartment… and into my life in every way.
The past thirteen months since Cubby came into my life have been a beautiful blur of love and happiness, as well as the stress and challenges that school and relationships bring. But more than anything, these past thirteen months have helped me find the confidence within myself that I had been searching to rediscover for many years now.
What I’ve learned more than anything is how much one can grow when you allow yourself to take a step outside your comfort zone. As far as my story goes, by allowing myself to fall in love with Cubby and allowing him to love me, I’ve learned to love myself.
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 bittersweet 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!!!
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.
As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
It’s interesting how a new guy can make you realize the doubts and insecurities you have. It may take a few days, call it the new crush honeymoon period if you will, but then all of a sudden your mind starts playing those darn tricks on you again. Why hasn’t he texted me? When will I see him again? Does he really like me? Boys. They are put on this earth to drive our already-crazy minds even crazier.
No, but seriously, what’s up with me? I was many hours (and drinks) into Sunday Funday and had no expectations going into the date he proposed. But now, after having a fantastic first date, here I am struggling with all those troubling thoughts that have scarred me over the past several dateless years. GRrrr…come on girl, get yourself together!!
After mentioning my successful date to a dear friend of mine, she responded, “Breathe and trust. Silence those fears.” To be honest, when this message came through I was feeling ridiculously confident and still high from the amazing kissing that concluded our date. (Yes, I kissed him on the first date. Actually, I kissed him before our first date, but that’s a whole different story.) But I found myself thankful for her encouraging words when those fears started surfacing the very next day.
Breathe and trust. Silence those fears. That’s what’s keeping my anxious mind (and heart) from falling victim to the worries. Between you and me, I’ve let my fears hold me back for a very long time- much longer than I’ve ever admitted to on this blog- but I really feel like it’s time to trust myself again- and maybe learn to let myself trust someone else too.
I woke up on Friday morning and just laughed at myself. Actually, I’ve been laughing at myself since then. I can’t believe I did that! Honestly, kids, I really can’t. Here I was, getting ready to leave the bar with my girlies and I pulled another ridiculous, living in the moment move with a boy who I thought was cute when he asked us if he could have our table when we left. Lol. Wow, I can’t believe I did that. I can’t believe I invited myself to stay at the bar (table) with him his friends. Lol. Oy vey! You can’t take me anywhere these days…unless you want a good laugh.
To be honest, besides the alcohol, I’m not really sure what’s come over me. Maybe a lot has to do with me not caring anymore about taking chances and making a fool out of myself. Or perhaps I just don’t care, generally speaking, so I’m not going to hold myself back from having a good time- and meeting a few guys in the mean time. Whatever it is, I’m having fun and enjoying the laughs that come the next morning when I shake my head and say out loud, literally, “Kristen, what are you doing?!!” All that matters is that I have a huge grin on my face that next morning and not an ounce of regret- usually, at least.
As I write today, not entirely sure what came over me on Thursday other than Liquid Courage, I’m reminded about the other times in my life when I seemed to be livin’ carefree and confident. The summer before my first year at OU, which continued until I fell hopelessly for Casey, was one of those moments when I remember being immune to worries. To tell you the truth, it’s a time that I always hoped to get back to these past 9-10 years because of the confidence that illuminated from me. Confidence: The best accessory a girl can own. It’s so true, ladies. I swear, if I really could have only one wish for life then it would be to never lose my confidence (again). Trust me on this. Not only do you feel A*MAY*ZING, but you will not believe the attention you will attract. It’s like a Love Potion.
Tonight, for the first time in at least a year, I got off my Brown Line stop and headed down Diversey to the apartment at roughly a decent hour for a weekday night. (Around 6 pm, I believe.) Actually, after getting off the train and heading home- with a detour through Trader Joe’s first- I wondered,Wait, did I make this whole spring break thing up and should really be in class right now? Yes, unfortunately that’s the truth. It sounds like this spring break arrived at the perfect time.
Anyways, as the evening sky darkened, I found myself experiencing some sort of the deja vu. Soon I found myself recalling all of those previous walks home from the train stop that accompanied my relocation to Chicago more than three years ago. As some know, back in the beginning no one- including me- thought that I would make it through the year without moving back to Columbus. However, here I am nearly 3.5 years later, and all I can think about is how much has changed.
For goodness sake, this past year has been an array of changes in itself. From leaving the job that brought here to beginning a full-time grad school program for Child Life, my daily life has kept me on my toes and clinging to any chance of a social life that I could grasp. To tell you the truth, my social life hasn’t been too adventurous lately; however, overall this past year has allotted a fair share of OMG moments. And the wrap-up of this past year couldn’t go without mentioning the boys that somehow found their way into my life. Yeah, some of those situations should more appropriately be classified as WTF moments. However, even thought I had some luck in the guy department this past year, I can stress that there is neither a ring on my finger nor a bun in the oven. Heck, there isn’t even an “It’s complicated” status for this girl anymore.
But then again, while this year has been somewhat adventurous, it also hasn’t been easy. Along with all the changes, I found myself struggling at different points of the year. (Oh well, enough about that.)
As I lay in my bed, ready to fall asleep at the time that I typically arrive home from class, I find myself reflecting back on my time in Chicago and all of the obstacles that I’ve fought to overcome. Wow. It’s really been a wild ride these past 3.5 years, hasn’t it? And to tell you the truth, when I think about every single challenge that I faced, I also remember the friends- either in or outside of Chicago- that helped me adapt to this new life.
While I’m not entirely sure if I’ve reached the point where I truly see Chicago as “home”, I will say that tonight’s walk home allowed me to see just how much of a life I have made for myself here. I guess it’s best to end this post by saying, “I’m glad I came to Chicago in the first place.”
Song of the Moment: Glad You Came by The Wanted
I’m not going to sugarcoat it like everyone else seems to do. I’m not going to tell you that you should celebrate the life that lays ahead of you. The freedom that is granted to you, and the infinite opportunities at your fingertips. Nope, I won’t go there because I know, firsthand, how difficult it is to be twenty-eight and single. I know how lonely it can be to wake up without a boyfriend’s “Good morning, beautiful” text or your Starbucks drink in a to-go cup delivered with love by your doting husband or the cheery calls of an adorable toddler from the room across the hall.
I know that it’s scary to not know what life has in store for you. And even though many will stress how exciting the unknown is, I know it’s more terrifying than anything. I know that you spend more time worrying what you don’t have than fantasizing about what you do. For example, you focus more on why you don’t have a boyfriend, fiance, or husband rather than being excited that you still have the chance to meet the Love of your Life around any corner, or dark bar. Or grocery store trip, because for some reason I’ve been told that it’s the best place to meet someone. (Yeah, I’m not really sold on that, especially since most people at my grocery stores are elderly or obviously in relationships and/or with children.)
I know that when you’re single, at any point in your twenties, you tend to ask, “What is wrong with me? Why am I still single? Why am I always single?” Well, to be honest, I have absolutely no idea why you are single. Consider this one of the great mysteries of the world. But what I do know is that you deserve to be loved and deserve to love someone amazing.
And one day, I promise you, this will come true. One day you will look back on the time when you were twenty-eight and single and wonder why you ever worried in the first place. I really do believe this, so I hope you will to. You are too beautiful, too special to be anything less than ridiculously happy. Maybe twenty-eight isn’t the year you find the love you deserve, but who’s to say twenty-nine won’t be?
Just remember you are worthy of all the beauty, love, and happiness in this world.