Faith, Life Talk, Real Talk

I Don’t Believe in the One That Got Away

Two of my exes recently got engaged. I mean, it’s to be expected, I’m at that age where friends and Facebook acquaintances are getting engaged and having babies and buying houses and all that stuff, so my Facebook news feed is a constant minefield of people who look like they have their lives more together than me, making me feel inadequate about where I am in life. It tends to happen that way after college, or so I’m told.

Both of these exes are great guys, nice men and I hope that they have every happiness in the world with their fianceés, since they deserve it. I never regretted being in a relationship with either of them, and I am glad to know that they have found true happiness.

One of these men, until recently, was the one that got away.

He was my first love, my first serious relationship, and the first man that I considered losing my virginity to (don’t worry Mom, I held onto it for a little bit longer after him). He was a lot of firsts for me, my best friend for many years, even after we broke up, and someone who I always felt truly understood me.

Never again did I think that I was going to meet a man like him, and, honestly, I never really have. But throughout the last few years, that we were just friends, the bloom fell off the rose, and I began to see things more clearly, specifically, why he wasn’t meant for me:

  1. We have different political opinions
  2. I have to sometimes explain what words mean
  3. We have different ideas of what’s a fun way to pass the time
  4. He smokes or vapes or dips or does something with smoke or tobacco and that’s a deal breaker for me
  5. He doesn’t always think before he speaks, which results in some really hurtful things coming out of his mouth
  6. He didn’t stand up for me as much as he should have
  7. We couldn’t have the important conversations
  8. We rushed our feelings and slowed our building a relationship

All the bad things, the disenchantments and the falling outs, eventually grew to outweigh the good, and now, I am happy for him and his fiancée, and I wish them a lifetime of happiness together. I hope that their relationship grows and changes the way that they wish it will, and they stay in love for the rest of their lives. I’m moving on.

I no longer believe in the one that got away.

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Yes, I believe in romantic comedies, and one of my favorite rom-coms will always be Sweet Home Alabama and Reese Witherspoon’s beautiful line “The truth is I gave my heart away a long time ago, my whole heart, and I never really got it back,” and I always thought how romantic that concept was. I wanted to be the girl that gave her heart away to “the one” and then he got away but then they reunited and she finally got to feel whole again. But the truth is, I don’t need that anymore.

Sure, it would be nice to find the one that I can settle down with and keep around and maybe not hate to wake up to in the morning, someone who fills my heart with little butterflies whenever I see him or makes me smile and laugh, but the truth is, he’s in the future not the past. All the ones that have come and gone have gone for a reason, and that reason isn’t because I needed to make myself a better me to be worthy of them. I am perfect just the way that I am, and I am deserving of someone who can see me for who I am, rather than who they want me to be.

I have my whole heart now, and it’s mine all mine. My whole heart is filled by me, my thoughts, my feelings, my passions, and it’s open to experiencing life with someone else, but it’s not empty. There is only one magic person that can decide to make it full, and that’s me. I can find things to fill my heart, make it swell with pride and passion, but I can’t look to someone else to do it for me. Giving my heart away to someone else only tells my that I don’t care about it enough to treat it nicely, but I’m just going to willy nilly let someone else take over the job. Caring about and respecting my heart means caring for it myself, loving it myself, and making sure that it gets the fulfillment it needs. That’s how I get a full/whole heart.

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These words are true. They will always be true and they are never untrue. God has a plan for who He wants in your life, in my life, the people that He wants around to shape who you become. His reasons might not always be apparent at first, but He is making room for someone better to come along. You won’t know who it is until they get there, but if you trust His timing and His planning you will be just fine.

That’s why I no longer believe in the one that got away. God wants to make room in my life for the person that He has picked out for me, and that person isn’t one of the boys who have walked out before. That person is someone new, someone whose story I don’t know yet, who can add to the remaining chapters of mine and make them worthwhile. God is telling me that I need to be patient, and that He’s working it out for me. It’s not always going to happen right when I want it to happen, because, as Lauren Graham says, “then it wouldn’t be called life, it would be called vending machine.”

“But life doesn_t often spell things out for you or give you what you want exactly when you want it, otherwise it wouldn_t be called life, it would be called vending machine.” -L

God’s got it all under control. If someone walks out, let them go. You have much greater things waiting for you on the other side, and you have more room in your heart for them now.

Stay fearless, friends (3)

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Affirmations, Faith, General, Life Talk, Real Talk

You’re Right Where You’re Meant to Be

My most recent therapy session was the first one in a while where I felt that I had only positive things to say and it was going really well. I was in a good place, and feeling pretty solid about where I’m at in life; I was at one of those ups in depression where you feel really awesome about the world and where your life is, and all parts of my life were falling into place. Finally, the subject of my love life came up, since there’s a new guy in the picture and I wanted to get her opinion of him before I stressed too much about whether he was going to be worth my time or not (by the way, he is).

Anyway, I was sitting and talking to her about how I was finally casting off the social media goggles that I am always wearing, the ones where I look at the people that I graduated from high school or college with who are in different, seemingly more advanced, places in their lives and think that I’m somehow behind because I’m not engaged yet or in a long term relationship or running a company at almost 24 years old. I was talking about all the people in my life who constantly remind me that I’m “only 23 years old,” and shouldn’t be in such a rush, and that I was finally coming to terms with that and accepting it as a truth in my life. And that’s when she said something that I’d heard before, but at this time in my life really struck me: “You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.”

Those words have stuck with me this time, all the way to today when I am (finally) writing this post. They are so simple, yet so powerful, and cannot be any more true than they are right now. Here are some of my reasons that it’s true:

  1. I’m working only one job and finding my niche in the industry
  2. I’ve been writing more and developing my craft, while also looking to build a portfolio and look for freelancing positions
  3. Despite my young age, I have been able to hold down a job for almost 2 years, the first years out of college
  4. At just 23 years old, I am (almost, with a couple married roommates) living out on my own
  5. God has my plan in place, and He’s constantly sending me signs that I am on the path that He wants me to be on in this life

Despite all the feelings that I don’t belong, that I don’t know what I’m doing in this world, because of my age, my degree, and sometimes I even feel like my depression throws up walls that I can’t climb, I am exactly where I’m meant to be. The only timeline that I need to be following is my own, the only standards I need to live up to are the ones that I set for myself and the only expectations that I need to satisfy are mine, designed by me alone. No one else can dictate what I should live up to, and no one else should. The only person who can make my life rules is me, and I am in charge of how I feel. If I don’t like it, I can change it.

Every person, place and thing that I have encountered on this journey has led me to this moment, to typing these words, to my finger hitting each key as I sit in front of my MacBook Pro on a Monday night. I am exactly where I am meant to be, writing these words for you all to read. The people that I have come across that have hurt me, broken me, pushed me down, those are the people that I have the most to thank. They are the ones that showed me where I was going wasn’t where I was meant to be, and sent me off in another direction. God puts those reminders in your life and in your heart, as His way of talking to you and telling you that He has a plan for you that’s bigger than what you’re going through, and right where you are, is where He wants you to be.

Remember this: If it feels right in your heart, it’s what you’re meant to be doing. If it makes you feel strong and powerful, right and belonging, then you’re right where you’re supposed to be. If you can wake up in the morning and breathe deeply because you are ready for the day ahead, then you’re doing okay in the world. Society might have set some timelines for how people are supposed to act and when things are supposed to be done, but it really doesn’t matter. Your heart is the timeline, your soul is the clock and your path is your path. The people who are there along the way are all meant to be there, for some reason or another, and the challenges that you face will make you a stronger person. Every time you veer off the path you think you’re heading down, you’ll stumble into a place where you’re truly meant to be, and before you panic, take some time to enjoy the ride.

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The only person who can decide your life and your timeline is you. Even if you feel like you’re moving slower or faster than other people in your life, if it feels right and comfortable for you, then it’s exactly right, no matter what society says. To paraphrase William Ernest Henley “[you are] the master of [your] fate, [you are] the captain of [your] soul.” It’s all right for you, and it’s all right in the grand scheme of things.

Daily mantra: I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.

Stay fearless, friends (3)

Faith, Life Talk, Real Talk

I Wore My Illness: A Note on Mental Health

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I was honored to participate in The Heart Project, a project intended to end the stigma surrounding mental health. I decided to wear my illness and show it to the world, because I wanted to show what I am fighting each day, and come out from behind my mask of fineness and share my struggles, being honest with all of you beautiful people out there.

Depression: I was diagnosed with depression when I was in high school. It was my senior year, and I was struggling in so many different ways. Moods were constantly changing and I was more down than up, friends were worried about me, and scheduling meetings with school counselors to try and figure out what was wrong with me. I couldn’t pull myself out of the deep hole of sadness and uncontrollable moods that were constantly swirling around me. There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and I could barely stay in school some days. It was hell, and I had no relief.

The diagnosis was the first hint of relief for me, the first sign that I had a light at the end of the tunnel of unknowing. The thing that I was fighting had a name, had a face, and had a community of people that fought to combat it every day. I had a support system, and a place to turn when I needed an ear, none of which would have been possible without that first trip to a therapist and a psychiatrist and trying to find a name for the beast.

Now, I have been on Lexapro for 7 years, been in therapy on and off, and am constantly working on my coping skills. By talking about my mental health, and the struggle I face every day, I am normalizing it, giving it a name and showing depression that it can’t beat me. Some days are better than others, as it is with all struggles, but I know that I can face each day confident that I am going to beat it because I have beat every day before it. The monster in the closet has a name: Depression, and I have a plan to defeat it.

Self-Harm: It was my number 1 coping skill for a long time, my way to escape from the world, and to give something physical to the pain that I felt inside. Too long I felt the pressure building up inside me, and taking a knife to my wrist was the only way that I could let it out. Hurting myself was how I expressed my pain; being mean to my body was how I felt better about the life I was living and the choices I made.

You don’t have to have a knife or a razor to self-harm. Even when I wasn’t cutting, I was calling myself stupid and worthless, wondering why I even deserved to live. Putting my body down, putting my choices down, and putting my life down every day, when I feel like I didn’t belong somewhere or my work hasn’t been up to snuff lately. Hurting myself took many shapes and forms, no matter if I had a sharp object in my hand or not.

March 13, 2015. The last day that I cut myself, put a knife to my wrist and opened it up. Not the last day I told myself something hateful (that was more like the night before last), but the healing journey is not a straight one. It has lumps and bumps like any other road. Every day I don’t cut myself is a victory for me.

PTSD: Was the diagnosis I got after leaving an abusive relationship. I was constantly having flashbacks of the torment I experienced, and once even thought I saw his car on the road, even though I now live 2 states away from him. He still haunts my nightmares occasionally, usually kidnapping me or looking for me no matter where I am. But I have moved on from him and his insanity, his putdowns and his insecurities. Sure, I am not perfect, but the flashbacks and nightmares have calmed down now, and I have learned new ways to combat them when they do arise. Of all the demons I’m fighting, his is the one I am best able to keep at bay.

Support: Here’s to all the people that are out there, struggling just like me. The people who feel they have no one else to turn to, who feel encased by the darkness, desperately looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s to the people who have monsters in the closet and inside of them, and who are seeking a way to fight them. Here’s to the people who get through just one more day, take life one day at a time, who hold the blade to their wrist and wish that they had the courage to open it up and let the blood flow freely, but make the decision to try to make it through just one more hour. Here’s to the people who hit a bump on the healing journey, who got off at a detour, or are just taking a pause while they recollect and try to see what happens next.

The semicolon that I have tattooed on my wrist demonstrates a reminder that a pause is not the end, only an invitation to keep going in a new direction. Just because there is a bump in the road, doesn’t mean the journey is over. There is no shame in taking a breather when you need to figure out what step to take next. The road is rocky, the journey is long, but it’s flanked with love and support along the way.

I’m here for you… You are not alone… I love you… You are strong… You are a warr;or, darling. Things will get better, just take it one day at a time. ♥

Stay fearless, friends (3)

 

P.S. I have joined a group of bloggers looking to put together a mental health awareness collaborative project. Have something you want to see? Have ideas? Fill out this survey and tell us! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HQ826JK

Faith, General, Life Talk

#GodsPlan: The Story of a Social Worker

Standing in front of a classroom full of teenagers, all ready to judge and whine whenever I ask them to do something more than listen to me, can be terrifying any day of the week.  But, this is what I signed up for when I started as an employee for the Prevention department of my local rape crisis center.  And in 4 years, I have never looked back.

I never wanted to be a crisis worker.  I didn’t have visions as a little girl of growing up to be sitting next to a hospital bed at 4am, dressed in whatever presentable sweatpants I could find and the comfiest sweatshirt that didn’t double as a sleeping shirt, next to a crying woman because she was being subjected to an invasive gynecological exam, only this side of more intrusive than the rape she just experienced.  There were no big dreams at high school graduation of talking people into revealing details of their most recent sexual encounter, their deepest fears, their innermost demons, just to get them to a place of a cool calm in order to get through the rest of the day.  Never did I think that I could spend hours of my life desperately fighting back my own fears and insecurities to check on a stranger and help them stay alive just one more night.  And yet, here I am.  All because I answered the phone.

Standing on the stage at my high school graduation, I was bright-eyed and looking to the future, planning to go to college to be an English major, following in the footsteps of my heroes like Rory Gilmore and Ryden Malby (and yes, I know they are both Alexis Bledel characters), in order to be a publisher like Ryden and my 9th grade English teacher once dreamed of being and discovering the next great American novel.  I would have one of those college romances that my parents had and grow up happy and secure with all my dreams coming true and never having to be afraid where my next paycheck was coming from.  I was going to turn into the real-life version of Alexis Bledel and be glamorous and suddenly my blue eyes would be brighter and more electric and boys would trail after me and I would love it all.  Simple right?

God decided that there was another path for my life to take, even though it took a while for me to realize it.  College was a period of change for me, and I changed my study goals from women’s studies to criminal justice, trying to find the right spot for me.  Eventually I landed in the human service studies field, only because I wanted to be a police officer, and that was the closest field of study that I could major in and still get the skills I needed.  I was in the throes of learning how to help people and about all the different facets of the community, all in the pursuit of catching the bad guys and solving crimes for the victims, when God intervened.  He sent me a phone call, one that had a victim on the other end, and I learned what I was truly capable of.  I learned how much of an impact one person can have just by being a voice on the other end of the phone, a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand in the lowest time of someone’s life.  And I was hooked.

I learned a new part of myself, the helper, the healer, the steady rock that could be next to someone hurting so deeply.  And learned my own strength, and the support that I can offer another human being.  I have never known that part of myself.  Now, I’m addicted.

4 straight years I have been in social work, and I am constantly finding new challenges.  Now, I have moved on to helping people, as well as teaching Prevention education, with a crisis line volunteer position on the side.  Words cannot describe how amazing it is to spend so much time with someone, helping them through the darkest times of their life, only to make it a little bit brighter at the end.  The world is a dark and lonely place, where people struggle every day, and I relish my job of being a shoulder to some of the hardest times and having a front row seat to the true strength of humankind.

Stay fearless, friends (3)

Faith, Feminism, General

Who I Am… And Welcome

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Welcome all to Fearlessly Flawed Feminist.  I am so excited to begin this process with everyone here, and I hope to meet more people as I continue through my journey.  Today, I want to take the time to introduce myself and talk a little about who I am, what I believe, and why I decided to start this blog.

I started this blog because I have a voice.  I have something to say, and I want to say it.  I believe that everyone out there in the world has something to say, and I want to be the one to listen to them.  We all have a story, we all have a voice, and we all deserve someone who will hear us, even if we have to shout.  And, in 2017, I have decided that I need to use my voice more.  I need to speak up when I have something to say and I need to not be afraid of the consequences if I believe in what I’m saying.

I am:

  • Fearless: Okay, so maybe this one is a stretch.  But I am working on being more fearless in raising my voice and speaking from my heart, not my mouth.  However, I believe in honesty, and not being afraid of telling the truth, so I’m fearless there as well
  • Flawed: The only person who is perfect is God, our Heavenly Father.  Me? I’m more of a trip over flat surfaces type.  I’m the person that you can count upon to give you a nice eye-roll worthy moment or that awkward giggle in passing, and probably will miss one or five subtle hints that you try to throw my way.  And lots not forget, I’m a Christian, but man, can I curse like a sailor.  But I’m okay with that.  Hell, I think it makes me more relatable.
  • Feminist: Came to this one rather late in life, and it’s one of the things that I believe in most passionately, and one of the things that I most want to work on through this blog.  (Recently, I have stumbled upon some good feminist Christian blogs and websites, so I cam curious to explore that concept as well.)  But call me crazy, I believe that men and women are people first, and should be treated equally.  Anyone who gets less than 5 years in prison for rape got off with a slap on the wrist, and any man who thinks that I can’t lift boxes as well as a man is kidding himself and I will just go lift these 12 boxes you have sitting over here, thank you very much.
  • Faithful: Lastly, but certainly not least, I am a daughter of God.  While there have been some pretty major detours in my faith journey, some that many other people have shared, and some that might make me unique.  Either way, I hope to grow in my faith and learning through this blog and this process, and open some dialogues with some of my readers.

I am so excited to begin this process with you all!

Stay fearless, friends (3)