Tag Archives: Love

Something A Little Different

So, this is the first year I’m not celebrating Single Awareness Day, but instead, celebrating Valentine’s Day in all it’s couply, mushy, over-priced messiness.

That is…such a new feeling, for me.

And I couldn’t be more excited.

And something that, if you’ve been following this blog since I started it, back in 2012, you’ll know I’ve wanted for a very long time (it’s almost embarrassing, to go back and look at some of the posts I wrote, but hey, they were valid at the time, so I’m not ashamed of them or how I felt; I’m a hopeless romantic, after all). Not just to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I’ve done that before, alone, in all my singleness glory. Like when I took myself to see Pride and Prejudice and Zombies one year alone in the theatres and ordered nachos, a large Sprite and Buncha Crunches and went ham. Or how I bought and played For Honor while eating an entire pizza alone in my apartment.

When I was single, I slayed Valentine’s Day.

No, what I’ve always wanted was that relationship, to find that person who liked me for me, who wanted to be with me and didn’t care who in the world knew about it. To have that connection with someone, who knows how to make me laugh, who recognizes the signs when I’m not doing okay, who knows my quirks, weirdness and nerdiness, and not only appreciates them, but loves me more for them. To have someone else to count on, to support me, challenge me, uplift me, believe in me. To have someone to come home to, someone to go on adventures with, someone to make my heart flutter, my face flush, my knees weak.

I finally found that person.

And friends, he is wonderful.

hou hsiao-hsien love GIF by Film Society of Lincoln CenterHe puts up with me. He gets to deal with my heightened anxiety, paired with overthinking and worrying all of the time. He supports me through my depression bouts and has adjusted to the fact that my go-to response to any emotion is usually to cry about it. He’s learned not to run away in terror when I send him a novel as a text message. He’s learned beside me and stayed patient with me as I experienced so many firsts that come with my first relationship ever (hey, it only took 24 years *fistpump*), which is even more complex when I’m still battling self-doubt and the occasional round in the ring against self-hatred, so I know I gotta test his patience sometimes. There are a lot of things I’m still working on, but he’s right there beside me, every step of the way.

Just like I’m right there beside him, helping him through his own battles, challenges and struggles.

But then, while we both have our own demons, we also complement one another in so many ways, it’s uncanny. Laughter is contagious around this man. I love talking with him and learning from him. He is such a wealth of knowledge in the sciences and technology, areas where I couldn’t be more ignorant. Yet he doesn’t mansplain or talk down to me. And then I teach him about every writing/related related topic and then some. It’s refreshing to find someone who’s nerdiness both complements and expands upon mine. I love how many new things, like Cowboy Bebop, Battlestar Galactica, Borderlands and Fallout, I have discovered and gotten into, thanks to him. I love how many more adventures I go on, because he’s so extroverted and I’m much more introverted, yet he includes me in things and helps me step out of my shell. I appreciate his support of my writing and my dreams so much. His relentless faith in me is…absolutely wonderful.

He also puts up with my obsession over Lord of the Rings, my tattoo addiction, how I squeal so loud every time I see a puppy/dog (that it almost causes him to wreck when he’s driving), my travel wanderlust, my desire to hold his hand all of the time, my weird work schedule, my passion for my personal health/fitness, my Commander Shepard level dance moves, my love for dragons and animated films and KU basketball. He respects the close relationship I have with my family and he’s accepted that we’re going to own a dozen dogs one day.

Him. Us. This.

This is what I’ve been waiting over two decades for.

And it was worth every second.

So, to celebrate my first ever Valentine’s Day? We’re getting all dolled up (he even bought an entire new outfit, including a tie, that he looks absolutely dashing in, while I’m wearing a dress and heel combo ((which, hello, that never happens, but I’m so excited to get all dressed up alongside him)) and going out to our favorite date night restaurant. Then, we might do a little shopping or we might just walk around the outlet and enjoy the rare sixty degree weather. But, most likely, we’ll roll each other back to the car (because, you know, we’ll be so full) and then get ice cream (because we like to punish ourselves, apparently) before heading back home so I can steal his sweatpants and play video games until we pass out.

And you know what?

I think I can get used to this new way of celebrating Valentine’s Day.


PS: Sorry for the overly gushy post, friends. But you’ve stuck with me in my overly depressive, all-I-want-is-to-fall-in-love posts over the years, so now that I’ve finally done so, I thought you might like to see that post, too. ❤


This Post is Definitely All Over The Place

I’ve written about my brain before.

Sometimes, my brain really sucks.

You know, like how it always goes to the worst case scenario whenever a situation pops up. Or how I overthink every little thing, to the point of exhaustion. Or how the combination of these things makes life just a little more complicated than it needs to be and even though this happens over and over and over again, I still repeat the same cycle.

Let’s go on some ramblings, shall we?

This year, I met a really wonderful guy. I fell for said wonderful guy and I’m very elated to be his girl. I’m hoping it stays that way for a long time, if I’m being honest. It’s the first relationship I’ve ever been in and, needless to say, that comes with a lot of firsts. Yet it’s also the first time I’ve really experienced a lot of the…more complicated aspects of being in a relationship, I guess? I’m not exactly sure how to describe it, but I’ve certainly learned a lot about myself.

I realized I have jealousy issues, so that’s fun. Fear of abandonment, thanks to all the guys who liked me, but choose a different girl instead. Super rad. Still got those bouts of confidence droughts that have followed me since middle school, which is every guy’s turn on, right? Sometimes, I struggle to open up to him about how I’m feeling, just because I care about this man so damn much that I don’t want to lose him over being a crying emotional mess, which, in turn, makes whatever I’m struggling with, build up and up and up until I break, and I end up being a crying mess, anyway (which, btw, if a guy is willing to leave you because you’re human and you feel things, maybe he isn’t the right guy for you? Luckily, my human is the exact opposite and is one of the most empathetic, patient souls I know).

Oh, and I really struggle at balancing things.

You see, this morning, I got a really surprising offer: to go on vacation with his family. Next week. To Disney World (I know, right? I’ve never been to Disney World *cue excited screaming*). Last minute, sure, but super exciting. Honestly, a trip of a lifetime.

Yet what’s the first thing I do?


Can I even get off work? Do I have enough vacation time? How am I going to afford it? Will I piss off my family, being gone the entire week before Christmas? What about changing my eye doctor appointment or my phone call date with my friend?

the incredibles slapping GIF

Which then began the spiral of anxiety and overthinking that related to that balancing struggle I mentioned above. You see, ever since I started seeing him, he quickly became a really important aspect of my life. I want him to stay that way. My life began to become more busy, with dates and hanging out with his friends, things like that. So, some things, that I used to do when I was single, have sorta stopped happening. Like having an abundant amount of free time, not leaving my apartment for three days in a row, playing my PS4 way too much…

Seeing my family.

This has been bothering me for a while. Between working nights five days a week, having two different DnD groups that take up two large chunks of my weekend and then a man who actually wants to spend time with me, for a change, and suddenly, my family has been put on the back burner. Which really isn’t okay with me. If you know me, you know how important my family is to me, so the fact that I’m going a month–if not longer–between seeing them when I live less than an hour away, is really not working.

Then, you add in the changes that I’m experiencing for the first time, mainly the “being-in-a-relationship-during-the-holidays” shenanigans. Balancing two Thanksgivings and two Christmases has been something I’ve never had to do and it’s been a challenge for me personally (though this is a challenge I’ve always wanted to experience and I couldn’t have found a better man to experience it with). I want to spend time with my man during the holidays, obviously. I want him to be able to see his family and I want to get to know them better. But, my family is everything to me, so I want to spend time with them, too. Yet there’s still only so much time in the day, especially during the holidays.

Cue stress and anxiety.

Especially when I don’t tell anyone involved about any of these feelings.

Which results in bawling your eyes out in stress, fearing that you’re going to piss off your family to go on a vacation you really want to go on with your boyfriend, while also trying to figure out logistics of said vacation mere days before it happens while being a Type A planner, and oh, you’ve been on your period for over a week now.

You might be getting a mental picture of where I was at, this morning.

There are a few important things I’m missing, here.

One: I must stop worrying about what everyone else thinks.

Though I have gotten better about this, I do really need to take this advice to heart and follow it like it’s my religion. Because at the end of the day, this is my one shot at living the best life I can and the happiest life I can. If I want to take a day off work to do something else, I can (without worrying that my boss is suddenly going to think I’m lazy). If I want to spend the day with my man, I should do that (without feeling guilty it’s been a few weeks since I’ve hung out with my family). If I want to go and have dinner with my folks, I should do that (without stressing that my man is going to get irritated that I love my family so much).

I’ve gotten a lot better at being true to myself: being that nerdy, LOTR-obsessed, quiet, introspective, passionate, straight-edge, hopeless romantic I’ve always been, but sometimes too scared to stay true to. Now, I’ve got to also give myself permission to do what I want, as well, without considering every other party before I make a decision (because half the time, my anxiety is giving them untrue opinions/reactions to those choices to being with, which just makes everything unnecessarily complicated).

Two: Perhaps throw a little trust around, eh?

I have this ingrained fear of pissing people off. My friends, family, boyfriend, all of them are included in this fear, no one is exempt. I can’t really describe where this fear comes from, but it taints a lot of my thoughts and fuels a lot of my anxiety and my decisions. Yet it’s also wrong, because none of those people have ever given me a reason to doubt them or my relationships with them–not to mention the strength of those relationships, which I’m very lucky to have strong ones in each regard. I need to start trusting in that strength and the people that I care about; trust that their care for me is genuine and it’s not going to dissipate the moment things get rocky.

Three: The people I love can’t know what I’m thinking/feeling/needing if I don’t tell them. 

Self-explanatory, but apparently something I really struggle with. Gotta love the introverted shyness coming out in me, forcing me to resort to writing letters or long texts or hiding notes or passive aggressive blog posts to communicate how I’m feeling about something; causing me to wait until whatever’s concerning me has reached the boiling over point and I become the crying mess I was this morning. A mess who was answered by an understanding family, excited that I’m going on an awesome trip, instead of being angry or feeling jipped, like I feared; and a boyfriend who doesn’t understand why I’m not hanging out with my family more, because he knows how important they are to me–and isn’t going to go anywhere, if I do.


It’s safe to say, friends, that I’ve still got a lot of learning to do: in life, in love and in learning how to balance the two.



If It Means a Lot to You

I’m not really sure where this post is going to go. I just know that my heart hurts right now and I need to get something out before I go crazy.

I recently lost someone. Someone who means a damn lot to me. Worse, I chose to give them up, just as equally as they chose to let me go.  I’m talking about a case where A Day to Remember’s If It Means A Lot To You lyrics sort of speak to your soul and make you both want to bawl your eyes out and slam your fist into a wall, but instead, you just listen to the song on repeat and wonder how your life has come to emulate it so utterly.

My heart hurts. I miss them. A helluva lot. I miss having conversations with them and nerding out, getting headshots left and right (whaddup, co-oping Borderlands), staying up way too late watching YouTube and having Star Trek marathons. I miss having someone I talked to a daily basis. I miss looking forward to going over to their place and having that feeling of…well, home, frankly, when I was with them. I miss the way their nose would crinkle when they were trying to make me blush or the way their lips felt against mine. I miss being challenged by them, having my views expanded and my comfort zone stretched. I miss them being the sci-fi to my fantasy, the Darth Vader to my Sauron.

You know, ironically, writing that out isn’t helping me miss them less, like I was hoping this post might.

*tries again*

It was…amazing. And I was happy. He was everything that I wanted: someone who listened to me, supported me, challenged me, connected with me. Yet he wasn’t what I needed–no, that’s not right. I know he could have been what I needed and hell, still has the capabilities of doing so. But he’s not ready to be what I need. For what we had was amazing, but it wasn’t serious. It wasn’t exclusive. It wasn’t a relationship.

And I need that.

It makes me feel selfish, that rationale. That because we weren’t exclusive, because we weren’t in a committed relationship, I had to let a good thing go.  A good person go. That choice made me reevaluate my wants and needs and desires and hell, even get pissed at myself for being so traditional; for wanting that old-fashioned relationship.

I mean, what does that even really mean?

Because frankly, to me, I already had many aspects of what I imagine a relationship to be like, without the title. But it’s not the title I wanted. It was the promise that comes with commitment. It was being chosen by that other person. It was them saying, “You know what? I like you enough that I’d rather be with you than any other person. I want to try and create a future with you. And I want the world to know how much I care about you. How much I adore you. How proud I am to be with you.”

And after would come all the fun milestones and experiences I’ve never had, being eternally and utterly single. Going on dates. Changing your FB status to in a relationship and everyone gushing and asking you questions and begging to meet him. The meeting each other friends and integrating friend groups. The awkward meeting-the-family-for-the-first time dinner. The holiday parties with extended families. That first roadtrip together. The plethora of pictures, surprising each other with good luck notes in the morning, making dinner, the lazy weekends and the fun nights out.

And that’s just the start, I imagine. It gets even more exciting–and more serious–the longer you choose one another. Getting a pet. The moving-in-together convo. Watching each other’s personalities and desires evolve and change. Growing together. Life changes, like careers and finding a forever home. Marriage talk. Kid possibilities (or maybe not, who knows).

And then there are the little things throughout it all that are just as important as the big things. The being there for each other through every up and down. The taking care of one another when your sick or both skipping a day at work just because it’s been a busy week and you missed each other. The surprise notes, the kind gestures, the fancy dates just because. The little fights, the arguments, the compromises, the tough choices.

I want it all. I want every aspect of a relationship. Because I’m sorta definitely a hopeless romantic. I believe that love conquers everything (hell, the saying is tattooed on me). I’ve believed in love for so long and never had the chance to experience it, that I now have a very big, eager heart that I don’t want anymore. I want to trust it to someone else. And I want to take care of theirs instead and show them just how much a person can be loved. That’s what I need.

Unfortunately, my needs didn’t align with his wants. And so I made a really hard choice and I gave him up. And it hurts. It hurts knowing that if I had made a different choice, if I had swallowed those desires and instead stayed content with what I had, I’d still have those conversations, that connection, that feeling of home in another person. But that would be unfair to both of us. And no matter how much I miss him (it’s almost embarrassing, how much I miss him), we both deserve to have our needs and our wants met.

So it’s going to be hard, for a while. Not only getting used to being alone again, but getting used to not having such an important presence in my life. My only solution is to pour myself into a lot of things (distract myself, honestly). Working out, most definitely (main benefit of having a broken heart is that I usually run a shit-ton afterwards, so at least I’m looking more and more like a BAMF in the process of healing). And writing. I’ll definitely be focusing on writing a lot and transitioning into pursuing that as a career, not a hobby.

As far as love goes, I have no idea what will happen next. Whether the man I let go will one day want to pursue a relationship with me (and maybe I’m still be available and one day, we’ll laugh about what we went through to get there). Maybe I find someone new or date ten different people before I find the person stuck with me. Or maybe I become the most badass dog lady you’ve ever damn known… whose to say and whose to know? For now, I know one thing, one person, who I’ve neglected loving for too long and who, honestly, deserves my love the most.


So that’s what I’m going to do. Work on myself, work on loving myself, until I’m a person that I both love and understand.


The Surprising Insights Amidst Heartbreak

It’s been awhile since my heart broke.

I’ll let you in on a secret: I didn’t miss the feeling.

I didn’t miss the pain in the back of my eyes from the pressure of crying too much and too frequently, resulting in swelling and redness that I usually just tell my coworkers are allergies and they pretend to believe me as a kindness. I didn’t miss the actual pain in my chest or how my mind constantly runs down various paths of What Ifs and Whys as I struggle to understand how I ended up with a beating heart pieced together by strings that loosen with every choked sob. I didn’t miss the sudden teeter-tottering that follows for days afterwards, where I never know how long that happiness I’m fighting to create will last before a surprise reminder of what could have been–what I miss, what I want but can’t have–suddenly snaps and I go into another sad spiral.

Yeah, I didn’t miss any of this. Yet you don’t really get to choose when or how often you experience this type of pain. You do, however, as John Green penned, have a say on who hurts you. And I like my choice.

Image result for john green quote i like my choices

A classic case of bad timing and one person falling more than the other, this current heartbreak is truly just unlucky. It’s going to take a little bit of time to get over and get used to not having a crush again; not having that hope that maybe this time, just this time, things might work out and I’ll finally find that relationship I’ve always dreamed of.

Unfortunately, at this moment, this time isn’t it, either.

But this heartbreak gave me a lot of insight that I’ve never experienced before. And of course, I have to write it down, if only to find another form of releasing all of these emotions aside from crying into my pillow, running until my legs give out or sending walls of texts to my best friend.

So, here’s what I’ve learned:

        1. I am way too judgmental of a person.

That might seem a little bit harsh, but I promise it’s not your typical self-loathing or self-deprecation that sometimes happens after your heart is broken. Though I have never been in a relationship, what I just experienced was the closest thing to it for me personally (and I’m being purposefully vague to protect the other person’s privacy). And before I experienced it, I definitely had some judgments on people who also entered into nontraditional types of relationships. Judgments that were undeserved, because I certainly didn’t understand what they were experiencing or going through; the reasons why people made these choices and why my judging them is completely wrong–it’s none of my business anyway. It forced me to self-reflect and realize that I need to be more open-minded and less prone to automatically, subconsciously pass judgment on a person or situation that is foreign to me; not just with relationships, but in every aspect of life. Obviously, I won’t change overnight, but I like to think that, thanks to this pseudo-relationship and the least-judgmental man I’ve ever met, I can work harder to be more open-minded and understanding of those situations and values that differ from my own.

        2. The world of relationships is not so black and white.

I had a very black and white understanding of relationships. Or perhaps expectation is the right word. You meet a guy (guy in my case, as I’m straight; please substitute according to your sexual preference). You flirt. You get to know one another, slowly. Eventually, he’ll ask you out. You’ll go on a couple dates. You’ll eventually kiss. You’ll enter into a relationship. You’ll grow together. After a couple years, you’ll get married and the rest is a happily ever after. Black and white. Straight-forward. Simple.

(Hint: life is not like that. At all.)

The world is a lot more gray than that (^^) fairy tale; one I’d foolishly believed was the only real option for romance. Instead, there are so many different types of relationships and ways of falling into–or working towards–being with someone. And no one way is better than the others (as the judgmental part of me believed). Instead, what matters is that the people involved in the relationship are open, honest with one another and comfortable. Everything else can be worked out.

(Another hint: having all this gray is a good thing.)

        3. I rely way too much on other’s approval. 

When I first starting veering towards what was, to me, a very weird type of relationship I’d never thought I’d be in, I was terrified to tell my friends or my family, because I was certain they would frown upon it (in retrospect, it was partly because I usually frowned upon these types of relationships because I didn’t understand them and it “wasn’t how it was supposed to be done” ((see fairy tale))) and then they would advise me to stop, because that was not how you were “supposed” to fall in love (and though I didn’t actually fall in love here, I was definitely working my way towards that). And I didn’t want to stop. I was first surprised by the openness everyone responded with, which was the first slap in the face that I need to fall off my high horse and stop being so judgmental. But then I was punched in the face when I realized that I rely way too much on these opinions of others–even those closest to me–instead of doing what makes me happy–not what I think I am supposed to do or what will make my parents or friends happy. I need to start making choices for me, because of me.

(Notice how those first three tie together really well? Yeah, I have a lot of work to do.)

        4. I still don’t love myself enough. 

I never wanted to believe the saying that you can’t love someone until you love yourself, but I’m starting to see the value of it. Not because you can’t love that person. I think it is totally possible to love someone else and not yourself. But if you don’t love yourself, you come to rely on their love as your main source of self-worth. You start searching for affirmations from them until they grow tired of reminding you of the truths you should already know, but refuse to believe. Sometimes, they could grow angry. And before you know it, you’ve pushed someone good away because they spent the entire time trying to convince you to love yourself and that their feelings were true instead of simply loving you and being loved by you.

Although this isn’t the culprit behind my latest heartbreak, there were definitely signs that I need to continue to work on loving myself and creating affirmations within myself, instead of searching for them from someone else. That’s just not a healthy lifestyle and strains all types of relationships, not just romantic ones.

        5. I’m not needy, but I do have needs. 

Though I want to work on being more open minded, I do know that I need a stable, exclusive relationship to be happy. I don’t like sharing someone. I don’t like being someone’s secret, someone’s fling, someone’s fun. None of these things are bad, if that is the type of relationship you are comfortable being in. But I realized that I need more than that. I want to be able to brag about my boyfriend to my friends. I want to be introduced to his family. I want to enter into a relationship hoping that we can creature a future together. I want serious. And that’s okay to want and fight for and even give up someone you really care about because you need more. That’s okay.

        6. Love is not a checklist. 

My track record with guys is pretty nonexistent. Before this past year, I didn’t really try. And I was really, truly convinced that I would never find love; that I was meant to be alone. After trying, I’ve struck out twice, but I do believe now that love might be out there for me; that I deserve it; and I’ve realized that I can’t search for it by creating a checklist of desires or expectations and turning away everyone who doesn’t meet all of them with flying colors.

I joined an online dating website for a few months, where you could tailor your matches down to desired physical and lifestyle traits. And I know for a fact that the man I just lost would never have matched with me, based on how limited/specific my “match criteria” was. Yet he’s the man whose made me the happiest I’ve ever been (in regards to romance). My standards don’t need to be lowered, but this idea in my head that the one meant for me needs to be X, Y and Z definitely needs to go out the window. Love cannot–and should not–be contained to checking off boxes on a list. It’s about connection and growth and risk and communication and work and choosing that person every single day.

So…yeah. Right now, my heart hurts. I lost a really good guy thanks to bad timing and unrequited feelings. Frankly, it sucks. But no “relationship” has taught me more than he did in the briefest of times. By stepping out of my comfort zone and taking a chance on him, in a weird relationship and situation I never thought I’d be in, sure, I came out with my heart broken. But I also came out as a better person, with a clever vision of what I want in love and who I want to be as a person. That alone is why every tear right now is worth it and not a single regret is felt. Doesn’t mean that I’ll won’t probably be bonding with a pint of ice cream later tonight and my pillow won’t be drenched in tears for a while as I cry myself to sleep, but for this heartbreak and the experience that caused it, I am nothing but thankful–and hopeful, as every hopeless romantic is, for what my future love life holds…even if it takes me a while to get there.


The Soft Craving

I can already tell you that this title is a lie. Or, at least, it is a lie currently. When I saved a draft of this post, with only a title and a note of what I wanted to write about, back in August (yes, I know, that was a long time ago), the title was very apt. It described perfectly what I was feeling, capturing the desire and longing I felt with the term “craving” yet also reflecting the contentedness I felt through the clarification of “soft” instead of “intense”.

Currently, I think “intense” might fit the bill a bit more.

It’s my craving to be in love.

I’ve always had it, ever since the 7th grade when I had my first real crush that I told all my girlfriends about. And it’s never been fulfilled. Crush after crush passes by without so much of a batted eyelash in my direction. Or perhaps they steal a glance, but someone else always catches their eye, instead. But that craving has evolved to be so much more than not wanting to be alone on Valentine’s Day or wanting a date to the dance, like I wanted in high school. It’s so much more than just wanting to not be alone. I’ve been alone. I am alone. And I can thrive and be happy like that. I just don’t want to.

I want my forever person.

Originally, when I had made a draft of this post and then never gotten around writing it, it was the weekend I first moved into my apartment. I was putting up groceries for the first time, excited but also exhausted from moving and also working on top of moving. And I distinctly remember putting some food up in the cabinet and imagining, out of the middle of nowhere, a guy–my guy–suddenly leaning against the door frame and asking me how my day was, before he started putting items up in the fridge, after kissing me on the forehead. It was such a vivid snapshot that filled my head so randomly, so out of nowhere. Vivid in every aspect but his face. I couldn’t picture it. And my heart hurt, just slightly, ever so softly, for that fantasy to be reality; to have that presence in my life, that comfort, that connection, that love.

And that craving has only grown these past few months.

I’m at the age now where I’m alone a lot more than I am with people. Gone are the days where I had consistent friend groups or activities I was involved in because of school. Now, everyone has graduated and started that next stage of their lives: moving into apartments and houses, starting jobs that take out the same amount of money in taxes that you made in a semester during school…getting engaged and married and starting families. I love knowing so many people who are taking that next step, who are entering those next stages of their relationships. I love being there for them to celebrate and stress and awe over such a monumental time in their life. I absolutely adore seeing love win, manifested through a real, true and flourishing relationship.

But I also want to have that.

Hell, I want to have the starting point of a relationship; the nervous butterflies as you start talking, the chills down your spine when you flirt, the calling-your-best-friend-to-freak-out-about-what-to-wear-before-your-first date moment. And then I want it to continue: one date turns into two or three, your friends start to ask after him by name, your parents ask when they can meet him, you wonder if he’s going to kiss you next time, your hand instinctively reaches for his the next time you see one another. He asks you to be his girlfriend. You tell your family and friends and they freak out because it’s the first time it’s happened to you and they want to know all the details. You meet one another’s friends and family. You get used waking up to a text from him and look forward to telling him random stories and thoughts throughout the day, while eager to listen to his jokes or complaints or what he is thinking. You begin to learn more things about one another. Slowly, he becomes a major aspect of your life and, at the same time, you become the same in his. You post pictures together. He convinces you to watch a scary movie only to have the excuse to hold you tighter. Date nights turn into weekends spent together. You take him to your family Christmas party and he invites you to go on a roadtrip to celebrate your anniversary.

The connection. The attention. To be wanted. To be cherished. To be challenged. To be held. To be important. To be loved. To be chosen, day in and day out, even though there are others who are better out there, because that doesn’t matter, because he wants me.

I want that.

More often than not, I don’t spend my time dreaming about what I could have, in a relationship. I spend my time questioning why I haven’t found that relationship yet and why I never have (and dreading, with every core of my being, that I am one of those people who never will).

Is it my looks? Am I too curvy? Too plain? Is it my personality? Am I too nerdy? Too quirky? Too odd? Too insecure? Too honest? Too blunt? Too awkward? Too shy? Too opinionated? Do I open up too much? Do I want to be in love too much that the universe refuses it to happen? Is the fact that I struggle with brevity in all forms make talking to me exhausting? Is the fact that I consider physical aspects a bonus of a relationship and not a foundation too much a turn off? Is the fact that I have no interest in playing games–no interest in making you chase me, no interest in worrying about how long it’s been since I’ve texted you, etc.–make me too boring/not worth it? Are my standards too high? Do I desire too much? Am I too much?

Am I not enough?

I have a fantastic life. I have a roof over my head, a job that almost supports me, passions that I pursue, a family that I’m close with and hold dear, friends that keep me sane, independence that I cherish and an imagination that I thank God for every day. Yet this craving, when I’m at my loneliest and the questions above hit me like thunderclaps during a storm of self-doubt, questioning why I’m alone, why I have to wait, why I haven’t found him, does he exist; when this craving, which is constant, but at it’s strongest, it overrules everything else, because that hole, that missing link, in my life, is so evident, is so obvious, is so felt

And I have no idea what to bloody do about it; if I can do anything about it, because suck it up, accept a life featuring just me and a horde of dogs, and move on.

My heart has wanted to be in love for so long, I don’t know if I could even imagine what it would feel like to actually be in love. I have wanted to choose someone for so long; to make him feel wanted and cherished. To be a presence and a light in his life. To challenge him and help him grow. To be there when he struggles and be that person he calls when he is excited. I know I’m not the greatest thing to look at and my body isn’t exactly a bombshell. I know I’m quirky and nerdy and shy and introvertedly extroverted and I don’t necessary think any of those aspects are bad. I know there are women out there who are prettier, smarter, cooler, richer, better.

But I also know this: to the man who manages to steal my heart and trust me with his? To the man who chooses me every day, despite all of those other options and temptations? To the man who makes me believe I am worthy to not only be loved, but to have his love, just as much as he is worthy to have mine? To the man who shows me what it’s like to be in love and not alone? I promise you, you will never feel or be more loved. I will love you entirely, completely, totally, utterly. Despite my shortcomings, you will never doubt how much you mean to me and “how much I ardently admire and and love you.”

So, if you could be so kind, please come into my life sooner rather than later? Because I’m started to really believe you don’t exist and, even if you did, I don’t deserve you, anyway.


Discovering My Own Toxicity

I write about self-worth a lot. I think about it a lot. It is such a difficult thing to deal with. It’s something so easy to be hypocritical about. I constantly tell others why they deserve the world, why they are amazing human beings, why they should love themselves and what it is about themselves that they should love. And I always mean it. Yet when I look at myself, it’s never the same. There is always something lacking. There is always something that I could improve. There is always something that could be different.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized that this self-depreciation has influenced almost every aspect of my life, but particularly, in what I believed I deserve.

My first truck was a 1984 Chevy Shortbed. I loved that truck and it was perfect because it was cheap. With the help of my parents, I saved up for it and was able to purchase it outright for $1,500. But it was cheap because it sucked. It didn’t start half the time. It didn’t have A/C or heat. It couldn’t go on the highways because you couldn’t go faster than 65 MPH without it breaking down. When people would comment about it, I would label that it had character. Doesn’t start? Teaches me humility and to be thankful when it does. No A/C or heat? That’s what windows are for. No highway travel? I get anxiety driving anyway. She lasted me two years before we sold her for scraps, as she was beyond the point of repair. That was my senior year in high school.

I didn’t get my next car until senior year in college.  It was a 2001 Buick Regal. I thought it was a gem, first buying it from a used car lot. I was able to negotiate, after putting $1,000 down, to get my payment down to $116.08 a month (that eight cents is important), and “only” owed $5,000 on it. It was a reliable car and a definite step up from my first truck, and had a payment that didn’t break the bank. I named her Smaug. Soon, I learned about her more interesting characteristics: the A/C and heat worked, but was temperamental. The right window in the back didn’t roll down. The left door in the back didn’t lock. The right door in the back didn’t open from the inside. The CD player wouldn’t play burned CDs and if you hit a bump in the road, the radio would go out. Again, people would point out her flaws. Again, I would say, “She just has character.” She lasted me until this past summer, almost two years. But after three trips to the shop and her breaks giving out, I was forced to buy a third car.

She’s the first car I bought from a dealership. She’s a 2015 Chevy Sonic. Her A/C and heat works beautifully. Automatic windows. All the doors open, close and lock. She can go on the highway and I don’t have to worry about the threat of her breaking down. She drives smooth. The radio…oh gosh, the radio (talk about that bass). Her name is Dovahkiin. She costs $285 a month. It’s a gut-punch financially, for sure, but for the peace of mind, she’s worth it.

When I first moved away from home and went to college, I moved into the cheapest dorm I could find. It also had character. It was filled with asbestos, often had leaks, broken A/C units or other various problems required for maintenance repair. But it was cheap and it was home. I lived there for four years. My first apartment, I had to sign a lease for remotely. I was moving 12 hours away from home and there was no chance to go and look. I got a studio apartment that was 300 square feet for $500 a month. When I arrived, they had forgotten to put in my bed (it was furnished). It had no A/C and the heat, I learned later, didn’t work (thankfully, the hot water did). There was no stove but a hot plate. I wasn’t allowed to hang up pictures or burn candles. But it was home and I could afford it.

“It has character,” I would say. Or other times, “I’m used to it.”

My parents gave me my first phone when I was 16. It was a red flip phone. I loved it. I can’t remember when I upgraded to a Nokia, but I kept it for five years. At its end stages, the back had fallen off, the frame had snapped and it was held together by two different colors of tape. But it was cheap and it worked (until I dropped it one-too-many-times volunteering and was forced to finally get a smartphone).

Do you notice a trend, here?

I always blamed it on money. I had to go the cheapest route because I never had enough money to do otherwise. And that is a very real truth. Though frugal, I haven’t always had jobs that make the most money and so I went with the cheapest thing. It just made sense to me. The trend was financial necessity, not because I didn’t think I deserved to have nice things; not because I didn’t believe, unconsciously, that I wasn’t worth having nice things.


Okay, let’s take the financial element out. I started watching Outlander last night. Obviously, I have fallen head over heels for a certain Scottish outlaw (I mean, c’mon, how can you not?). Of course, after watching a few episodes, I started planning my trip to Scotland to find myself my own highlander, because the American men just weren’t cutting it for me anymore (sad part is, I’m only half joking). But then I started thinking, on my commute to work today, “Don’t be foolish, Nicole. Even if you could get there, what are the chances you could find a highlander interested in you? Even if there was a real man like Jamie, he’s too attractive for you. You’d just be crushing your own foolish, aiming-too-high heart.”

Before my thoughts started going down darker avenues, I finally realized what I was unconsciously doing to myself. Because I believe myself to be worth so little consciously, I have unconsciously let that influence a lot of elements in my life; namely, the type of things I own and the type of people I could date. Until this summer, I’ve only searched for and owned shitty cars, shittier places to live or held onto electronics until their last breaths (my first laptop I kept for five years, before it ran so slowly it stopped functioning). I always blamed that for financial reasons and those definitely were–and still are–a factor. But it wasn’t the name one.

I didn’t think that I deserved to have nicer things.

I’ve been single all my life. I turn 24 this November (I am getting old). Though I am the biggest advocate for love and in every vein a hopeless romantic, I have never found it. There are times I’ve tried. Other times, I haven’t. The times I haven’t have been for one of two reasons: one, the guy I’m interested in is a cherished friend and I don’t want to lose his friendship by asking for something more (though that was more during high school that that happened). Two (and more lately), I don’t even go after someone because they are “out of my league.” They are “too attractive” for me. And I don’t just mean physically, though that is definitely the easiest to judge when it comes to a stranger. But even great guys who aren’t bombshells physically but still amazing human beings, I don’t go after. I’m intimidated by both attractive men and great men. Not just because I’m scared of being turned down. Not just because I’m insecure and I’m so tired of rejection (especially when all I want is to love someone with my entire being and to be cherished in the same manner).

Who am I to be worth an amazing man and his love? Compared to so many other women, why would he pick me? Why would I deserve such a love that I crave?

Damn if our own emotions can’t be so toxic, sometimes.

As I write this, I’m using a laptop my Mom got me last year as an early graduation gift. It’s a very nice, reliable laptop. I drove Dovahkiin to work today and, after escaping from a dark thought path, I jammed out to some music while I turned the A/C down. My Mom let me have her old IPhone recently, so I just got a “new” phone, albeit used, but it is definitely the nicest phone I have owned. I just signed a lease to a gorgeous apartment that comes with a washer and dryer, in the freakin’ apartment. All of these things, on top of bills and student loans and just generally living, is going to make money tight. But not impossible. It is totally doable, in my current situation. They are all really nice things. And they are mine. I have them.


The fact that I am flabbergasted by that fact shows how harmful my own view of myself and my worth has been. I have been toxic towards myself for years and not even realizing it, masking it as the natural life of a pauper or struggling artist. And I don’t even know why I judge myself so harshly. It is simply because I’m not skinny? Does it go deeper than that? Yes, I have flaws. That’s obvious. I’m stubborn. I could work on being a better friend. I have baggage and self-esteem issues and anxiety and depression. I overthink.

Yet does any of that justify the idea that I don’t “deserve” nice things? Does any of that rationalize why I don’t believe I’m worthy of a good man’s love (or even a bad one’s love, some days)?

No. Absolutely freakin’ not.

I’ve been working on self-love for quite some time. Some days, I’m successful, other days, not so much. Discovering another toxic layer and learning how to remedy it is just one step forward in learning how to better love myself. Because at the end of the day, I’m worth it. I deserve it. No qualifiers necessary.


Measuring Worth, Recreating Mindsets and Dealing with Desire

Y’all ready for a personal post?


I’m sure I’ve shared snippets of this in previous blog posts, so feel free to peruse and search to your hearts content if you want to know more (also, apologies for beating a dead horse) but recently, I’ve been struggling with body image and how that translates regarding self-love, worth, desirability, etc. I say recently because it has been heavy in the forefront of my mind, but that does not mean this is a recent battle I’ve just started fighting. I’ve been fighting it since I was kid. When I was in middle school and started noticing other girls were wearing jeans and dresses and skirts, their faces enhanced with make-up, I started to compare myself, a tomboy unintentionally-raised who didn’t wear jeans until the end of high school–same with wearing my hair down–and still doesn’t wear make-up to this day, at all. Around 7th and 8th grade is when I started to notice the choices I was making that made me different, regarding my appearance. It wasn’t long after that I started to notice my large, soccer-sculpted thighs or the first shadows of the muffin top; started noticing the lonely nights and the lack the dates; the pressures and bodily expectations of young girls and women (and young boys and men, let’s be honest) in society.

Very quickly, I realized that I didn’t fit into those expectations. And so began a dark spiral down into the depths of depression and self-loathing, simply because I wasn’t thin or skinny or, in the terms that society has labeled, pretty. I don’t know when I started to measure my own self-worth in terms of my jeans size or how accurately I fit into the mold required to be a beautiful woman, but it reached a point where I didn’t think myself worthy of anything because I was curvy, I was fat, I didn’t prescribe to make-up, didn’t wear heels.

And that was 50 pounds ago.

This battle with depression has had its ups and downs. Since dropping out of grad school and moving back home, entering into the job-world post-college, I’ve mentally tried to switch my beliefs that a person’s worth is not associated with their body image or body size. Because that is what I have always ascribed to, myself. Never with anyone else–I may notice a person’s size or lack-there-of, but I’ve never thought of a person’s worth based on that observation. Only my own. Very hypocritical and harsh, I know. So I’m trying to mentally switch my brain to a much healthier–and much truer–mindset: a person is so much more than their body and should not be defined by their curves, their edges, their narrowness, their chubbiness, their style.

And I’m finding that transition in mindset to be very difficult, because of how aware I am of everything around me.


Obviously, the standards upon which beauty is measured by our society is, in the most blunt sense, very fucked up. For both men and women, the standards and expectations are not only unhealthy and unrealistic, but they are also inescapable. The billboards, the commercials, the magazines, the social media debates, portrayals in art, literature and film, the fad-diets, the pressure, the undertones, the overtones; inescapable. Everywhere. It is impossible to ignore and impossible not to be aware of where you fit in this spectrum, particularly in the summer time. Bathing suits and shorts: the horrors that have plagued a lot of my summers, as I purposefully avoid invitations to pools and only buy capris, temperature be damned.

Despite pretending not to be bothered by my touching thighs, back fat or muffin top, these things are always on my mind. When I walk past my mirror in the bathroom, I purposefully try to not look. When I put on clothes, I come up with outfits that do the best job of covering up skin, even in the summer months where they don’t make sense. Walking past someone on the street, I wonder how they perceive me and that carefully-constructed outfit. How do they judge me? Where do they find me wanting? Because I am obviously wanting. And then, of course, there are the evenings, where I am alone and the sun goes down, and all I can think about is the fact that I am alone, and wonder if I didn’t eat that extra helping of mashed potatoes or would have walked for another ten minutes, if my body would have changed enough for a man to find me desirable.

Even on the days where I love the way I look or it isn’t on the forefront of my mind, the reminders–everywhere and ever-constant–don’t stay ignored for long. From the whispers of society to the natural urge to compare myself to the people surrounding me (and always find myself wanting), it is truly difficult to switch my mind to not worrying about my body and how it is perceived; the only aspect of myself I hate. Because how do you ignore all the reminders? How do you ignore the constant complaints of those around you, claiming they are “so fat” and “need to lose weight” and “wish they were skinny,” when in your eye, they already are? How do you not jump to the conclusion, listening to them, that if they think they are fat and grotesque and they are smaller and prettier than you, what must they think of you? How do you get yourself to accept and love your body as is when you are constantly bombarded with other people not loving theirs; when you are constantly bombarded with standards you should be meeting, with reminders of why you aren’t?


Of course, I take it one step-further. Not only do I devalue myself because of my size, but I also have a very intense desire to be loved. Not loved by family and friends. I have this aplenty and am grateful for it every day. Loved by a man. Desired by him, cherished by him, chosen by him. This desire is spawned from multiple things: my natural belief that love, in all forms, is the most powerful force in the world. My age is definitely a factor: being 23, a prime age amongst my friends to be moving forward in their relationships, with marriages and proposals. My relationship history, being that I’ve never had that relationship, that first kiss, that first date, those nerves meeting/introducing the parents and friends, the double dates. And, just like the body image standard, seeing people in love all over, in films, reading books, on the street, amongst my friends.

These are the two things I think about constantly, that empower my depression: my body size and my eternally-single state. And how the two must correlate. And thus, spawns the slowly growing fear that eternal is the perfect descriptor to attach to my single status; the growing fear that no matter how my body looks, no one will love me the way I desperately crave to be loved. I’m meant to be alone forever.


There are so many things wrong with my mindset, I’m not even sure where to begin. And this post is already long enough as it is. But, ever onward…

One: Your Worth Isn’t Defined By Your Body Size

I know this. I know this. Yet it is a hard mindset to switch into believing constantly, when I have believed the opposite for too long. And it is so hard to find a positive present concerning body image, regardless of the size of the people I surround myself with. Everyone is so focused on finding fault. Then, of course, I always think of my non-existent romantic life. Sure, I haven’t been romantically involved in anyone, but that does not mean my body size is the direct cause of that. Perhaps it was a missed moment. Perhaps I simply haven’t met him yet. Perhaps I’m unwilling to date anyone who isn’t willing to love as completely as I plan to love them. Perhaps my standards are too high (newsflash: they aren’t). But even if I never find him, my worth isn’t devalued because of my singleness. My worth isn’t devalued because of my curves or my rolls. I have friends who support me and friends who love me. Family, too. Coworkers, sure. Random people I have connected with on the internet, you bet. Some of those people know my size. Others, don’t. Yet I really, really love myself. I love the woman I have become and the steps I need to take to continue working on who I want to be.

So why do I let my body size get in the way of loving myself completely, especially when if I take how others perceive me out of the equation, I actually don’t mind my body. Would I like it to be bit slimmer and a bit tighter? Yep. But if I don’t think about how others respond–or how I believe they are responding, rather–or how I am “supposed to” look, I’m actually quite content with my body. I can go on walks with my dog. I can play a pick-up game of soccer and feel like I’m going to die afterwards, but still have fun. I like my eyes and my collarbones and the way my biceps flex sometimes. I like my tattoos and my hair when I put effort into it (and the new messy up-do I’ve adopted). I could be perfectly content with my body if I could just stop worrying about how others perceive me or stop convincing myself that everyone who sees me believes me to be ugly or unattractive.

Two: Everything is Subjective 

Nothing is truer than that statement right there and nothing do I need to remember more. I recently realized that truth in regards to writing and it helped me deal so much with the rejection process. How did it take me so long to realize this in regards to everything else in life, especially body image and size and the perception related to that? My bathroom mirror never changes. Yet on the days when I accidentally see myself in the mirror, some of those days, I actually think, “Damn, girl,” and pause to admire my curves or the way my stomach is shaped or the length of the legs. My mirror hasn’t changed. My body either. It’s just my perception in that current moment. Or I’ve gotten into the lazy habit of putting my hair up into a bun-type situation where my curls fall down the side of my head, looking like a mix between a waterfall and Medusa unleashed. And half of the time, I love the way it looks. Some outfits, I absolutely adore.

But as soon as I think about what others might think, my response immediately switches from praise and approval to reprimand and calculation, nit-picking everywhere fault can be found.

Of course, some people are going to think I’m unattractive. But not everyone. It’s just like how I think the most attractive men on the planet are Kit Harington, Sam Claffin and Olan Rogers. Half of my friends don’t understand my celebrity crushes and pit up their own contenders. That is just difference of opinion and difference in taste. That disagreement doesn’t mean that one person is right and the other is wrong. Likewise, just because I believe someone might perceive me as ugly doesn’t mean that they will and, if they do, that doesn’t mean they are right. It is their opinion, their subjective opinion.

Another example is how you can be a size 16 in one store but a size 12 in another; an XL at Target but an XXXL at a designer store. For so long, I refused to wear XL clothing because I hated being associated with that size. I wanted to be smaller, so I wore smaller clothing. Which, in turn, looked worse on me and didn’t fit right, as opposed to XL sizes, which fit properly, looked better and actually made me feel confident. Instead, I was being ruled by letters and numbers prescribed by society as a labeling system. That’s all they bloody are. Letters and numbers to help you know which clothes will fit better. Not a value-measuring-system.

A friend also brought up a great point: Aphrodite, the goddess of love and passion and beauty, reflected the ideals of her time period of what a beautiful woman looked like. And it is not at all what we ascribe to now. Her pictures and statues from that time period are complete with rolls, with curves, with fat.

Before, a beautiful woman was a woman with weight–because that meant she could afford to eat–and who was pale–because that meant she didn’t have to work outside to earn her living. Today, we have transitioned to starving ourselves, harming ourselves and transfiguring ourselves to reach an impossible standard. Go back a couple 100 years and I would have had the beauty of the goddess. Today, I don’t even met the bare minimum.

How’s that for subjectivity?

Three: It’s Okay to Crave Romantic Love

I have been struggling with accepting this for a long time, now. Like I said, I crave a relationship. I crave to find a man to love me and accept me. I crave to find a man I love and accept. Yes, I obviously crave the physical benefits being in a committed relationship includes. Who doesn’t want someone’s hand to hold when they are walking along the road or someone to kiss when they say goodbye or someone to snuggle with before they go to sleep? But I want the emotional connection just as much, if not more. I want that person who I can confide in, who I can depend on, who I can count on, who can challenge me and appreciate me in ways that no one human has been able to; the way only a boyfriend or husband can.

Yet I’ve always felt guilty praying for this man to appear in my life. I’ve always felt guilty for wanting a relationship so badly. People always tell you to appreciate your singleness. You need to be independent and not depend on anyone else, especially a romantic partner. You need to love yourself first–only then can you love someone wholly. And maybe there is some merit in those ideas. But I believe that I can be an independent human and still have someone else to depend on. I can be a broken soul who struggles to love herself and yet still love him all the more for it, totally and utterly. And I believe, though I struggle with it, that it is okay to desire romantic love, a romantic connection with every core of your being.

Lord of the Rings:

This post is by far the longest I’ve written. I applaud you for reading this far. It is filled with ramblings, with musing, with struggles and personal outpourings of doubts and fear. It is very vulnerable and uncomfortable and heavy. I don’t have any neat way to wrap it up or any conclusion as to what needs to happen next; as to where I go from here. I think this will be struggle I deal with no matter what body size I have, how many people I’ve loved or what societal trends arise. But writing about it helps. Talking about it helps. Who knows, perhaps it might help you if you struggle with the same things or make you wonder who in your life does. Perhaps this post opens up a dialogue, opens eyes or serves a reminder of things people already know, a reflection of what you’ve already experienced. I dunno. If you need to talk about issues related to this, I’m here. I’m ready and I’m listening.

Life is hard, friends. But life is so, so good. Love each other and by God, accept and respect one another. Make one another feel comfortable in our own skin. Listen and be heard. And while we’re at it, how about we start destroying the body standards we are supposed to subscribe to, huh?