Letting Go vs. Forgetting

I would like to be able to say that I don’t have room in my life for hatred, for bad feelings towards people. I am working toward that reality, but currently, I’m not in that place. I have forgiven, but I haven’t forgotten.

However every person that has touched my life, touched it for a reason. Who knows where I would be today if certain things hadn’t happened, if I hadn’t met certain people. For that, I thank even the bullies and  the family members that chose not to be a part of my life. I thank the friends who abandoned me in my times of need. I thank them all, because I am in love with the person I am now, and who knows if I would be her had I not been forced to grow strong with these forces pushing against me.

Even then, I still harbor resentment. I know it’s unhealthy, as an alcoholic knows the drink is bad but keeps drinking anyway. I know to truly move on, I have to at least let it go. Maybe not forget it completely, but let it all be in the past. I am not there yet, but I am here –

There is not a single person who has touched my life, that if they came to me asking for help, I would turn them away. Life is too short to watch others struggle and simply stand by with the compass in your pocket.

I understand that there are exceptions to this rule; there are people who have done things that should never be forgiven, and perhaps don’t deserve the help that you have to offer. Maybe they can accept the help from someone else, but it’s not your place.

To summarize a long story and make it rather short – I am learning to let go of the past. It’s healthy. Learn from it, remember the lesson, but let the pain go. This journey is too short to continue blaming others for our pain. Help people when you can. Offer a hand when you can. We’re all going to arrive at the same destination, we’re just taking different paths. We’re all human.

Act like it.

21 Lessons Learned in 21 Years

(in no particular order)

1.) Forgive people. Life is too short to hold onto the past, no matter how hard it hurts to let go of situations that hurt you. Just forgive. You’re only hurting yourself by holding on.

2.) Soft blankets straight out of the dryer and a cup of hot chocolate make any cold winter day magical.

3.) Having a ton of friends is great, but don’t forget about the one person that’s stuck by you through it all. They were there when it started and they will be there when it ends. Don’t let that get lost. Best friends are hard to find.

4.) Communicate with people. No matter who it is, a boyfriend, a parent, a sibling, a friend, a boss, a stranger – people are just people and you aren’t going to get what you want by staying silent. Your opinion won’t be heard that way either.

5.) Be spontaneous. It’s good to have rules and to live within them, but every once and a while it’s okay to draw outside of the lines. As far as we know, you only get this one life.

6.) Work hard. You aren’t going to get what you want by sitting on your bum all day.

7.) It’s okay to ask for help. If you know you are doing everything in your power but you still need assistance, there is no shame in that.

8.) The world can be a terrible place, but most people are good. This has been true everywhere I have gone from Hawaii, to New Orleans, to Vermont – from cities to the country. Most people are good.

9.) It’s okay to not have it all figured out right now, no matter where right now is for you. There is no deadline for anything. Find what makes you happy, find it, and chase it.

10.) Crying is good. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being incredibly sad for hours or days or weeks, and then that sudden feeling of calm that you get after you have a nice sob. It’s okay to cry. Life can be tough.

11.) Tip your waitress. I don’t care how horrible the service was, just do it.

12.) No matter how alone you feel, you are never alone. Someone out there somewhere cares about you, even if you can’t see it.

13.) A bubble bath, a drink, and a nice book can fix any long day.

14.) If you want something, go for it. The worst that’s going to happen is failure, and a good amount of failure never hurt anyone. Get back up and try again.

15.) Always be positive.

16.) It’s okay to miss people. It’s normal, healthy even.

17.) Exercise. It’s good for you and it’ll make you feel good.

18.) No matter what society says, you are beautiful the way you are. Don’t listen to what other people say. If you are happy with you, that is all that matters.

19.) Relationships are hard. They aren’t all butterflies and rainbows, they are hard. But they are worth it. When you find the right one, you’ll know, and it will be worth it.

20.) Don’t take your family for granted. When you have no one and nothing, they are the only people you can count on.

21.) Do what makes you happy. Nothing else matters.

– Share and Comment friends –

Lessons with Harry Potter

Harry Potter has saved me numerous times. My big sister read the series to me when I was little, and I have read it myself at least five times since. The messages to gather from the story are ever changing, the characters I relate to ever revolving, and no matter my age, I am convinced Harry Potter will continue to stay a part of me.

The first time I heard the story, Ron was hands down my favorite character. As a struggling preteen who didn’t seem to fit in anywhere, I related to his bright red hair and protruding ears; his awkwardness made me feel not quite as alone. He also had an amazing best friend that he would do anything for, which I connected to as well.

While Ron is still a favorite of mine, as I progressed through middle school, Hermione scooted into the number one spot with her brightness and bushy hair. Her loyalty to her classes and friends no matter what others thought of her helped me accept that maybe I wasn’t born to fit in, and that was perfectly okay.

Luna and Neville, also misfits seemingly cursed to always be on the outside, helped me realize that the outside is the place to be. This is where you make the best friends and learn the best lessons.

Of course, the main character and hero of the story, Harry Potter, deserves a shout out. While he wouldn’t of won without the help of his friends, Harry had an unwavering strength that is unquestionable. Without parents his whole life, believing no one loved him for the first eleven years of it, he never let the world harden him.

Snape, Sirius, and Dumbledore also make the list of my all time favorite Harry Potter characters. Each have their own redeeming qualities, strength and intelligence prevalent in each, and the undying will to keep Harry Potter safe at all costs. Each with their own agenda, there is no question that all three deserve applause, as each ultimately gave their life for Harry Potter.

There are so many other characters that deserve recognition, but too many to name in only one blog post. Others for another day would include Dobby, Ginny, Lupin, Mad Eye Moody, Hagrid, and many, many more. J.K Rowling carefully carved out each character, giving each a life and a personality unmatched to any other series I have read.

Which character was your favorite the first time you read the novels? Did that opinion change the next time you read it? What did you learn from each character?

I would love to hear what you have to say, please feel free to share!

For the love of an Introvert

I am an introvert. The dictionary definition describes us as “a person predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things”, as opposed to the dictionary definition of an extrovert being – “a person predominantly concerned with external things or objective considerations”. These are the psychological definitions, while simplified labels are shy versus outgoing. While no one can be boxed completely into either category, we all lean more heavily into one state of being. For me, I have always enjoyed the quiet of being alone with my thoughts, rather than abundant conversations and other activities that require me to socialize.

There is always an exception to this rule. Of course, I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends, and if you were to see me around my family, best friend or boyfriend, you would have no idea that I am normally very quiet and closed off.

While the dictionary would label me as “shy”, this isn’t a term I connect with. I choose to keep to myself not because I am nervous or timid, but simply because that is what feels right to me. Sure, I have a history with social anxiety, but this keeps me from leaving my house – not from speaking when I actually do. I have no problem expressing my opinion if I am angry or irritated, or overjoyed even. I just don’t feel the need to always speak on the mundane and simple topics that normally fill everyday conversation.

For the longest time, I was ashamed to be labeled as an introvert. I thought there must be something wrong with me, some wiring in my brain that kept me from wanting to talk. I would beat myself up over it, and admire the people that could strike up a conversation about the tiniest of things, making friends as easy as counting to three.

I embrace the label now. I am proudly an introvert – if you feel the need to label me this way – because of the qualities that come with it. I am a good listener, an abundant feeler, and when I do choose to speak, I know I am saying the right thing. My opinions and thoughts are well thought out, I care deeply about everything and everyone, and I enjoy my own company. I don’t fear being alone with my thoughts anymore, because I am one of my own best friends.

Which label do you fall under? I personally find that most of us fall somewhere in between, and that is perfectly okay.

 

Wait, you met your Boyfriend when??

My boyfriend and I met in High School. Almost every time I say this, I am met with negativity and doubts. Common opinions that I have never asked for consist of “You aren’t going to last”, and “There’s no way you can know you’re in love that young”. I’m not here to fight those comments. They are opinions, and frankly, I don’t have time for them.

However, I do want to talk about my relationship. When I sat down to write today, my intention was to touch on having hard days, but instead, the only thing I could think about was how Blaine and I met. Now, I’m not sure if that’s because I’m sitting in our apartment together, surrounded by a combination of our things, or if I just miss him, having not seen him in over two weeks. But whatever the reason, I decided to take this opportunity to reflect.

Blaine and I met in a High School physics class. Being a socially awkward teen who also had a distinct dislike for most people my own age and their drama, I often chose to sit as far away from my classmates as possible. In physics, this meant the table closest to the teacher. For several classes, this worked well. I was able to do my work in peace, only having to hear the distant babbling about whatever trivial matter my classmates were angry about that day.

That was until Blaine sat down next to me. I don’t remember exactly why he moved seats. If by choice, or by partnered assignment, but whatever the reason, my initial response was annoyance. How dare this guy dare intrude on my perfect order? I come to class, I answer a few questions, avoid all contact with other teenagers, and I go home. Over the next couple of days though, my attitude quickly shifted. I began to look forward to the forty five minutes in which Blaine and I would pretend to be talking physics, instead quietly getting to know each other.

Soon, we were meeting outside of school. We would go to the movies where I would say I didn’t want any popcorn and then proceed to eat all of his. This resulted in the tradition of one large popcorn and one large drink to share. We would go for walks and just talk about everything from big world problems to trivial matters.

I could write a whole post on when I knew I loved him. I could devote pages to the tiny moments in which I am reminded of the many reasons he is my one and only. However, those are stories for another day.

To this day, we joke that we owe our whole relationship to a piece of gum. It became ritual that at the beginning of every class period, I would ask him for a piece of gum. He always seemed to have a pack patiently waiting in his bag, an endless supply. Whether I have gum or the universe to thank for putting us together, I thank both.

However many years ago, as a teenager struggling to figure out who I was as a person, I never would have imagined that as a 21 year old, I would be living four hours from home with the love of my life. I never would have thought that I would meet that man at my least favorite place – school. I never would have thought that we would be celebrating three years together, and looking at many more amazing years and memories to come.

Blaine and I in ways are polar opposites. He loves playing video games and building model tanks, while I love reading and writing. He is obsessed with history, while English is more my forte. He’s slightly more outgoing than I am, but we both love sitting at home watching a movie and eating pizza. Whatever it is that makes two people compatible, we have it, even if on the outside, we don’t appear to be a perfect fit.

I’m not sure exactly what the object of this post is, other than just to say that true love doesn’t know age. Love doesn’t know society’s rules of what is right and wrong. Love doesn’t know gender, race, or backgrounds. It doesn’t matter if you meet them in High School, or when you’re forty five, when you meet “the one”, you’ll know.

I don’t know how to end this ramble of a post, so I’ll just end it by saying this. Love who you love. Don’t let other people dictate if that is right or wrong – your heart knows.

And maybe take a minute to reflect on your love story. I would love to hear all about it in the comments! This world could always use a bit more love.

You Are Not Alone

“What reason do you have to be depressed?” “You’re so young, you don’t even know what real problems are, believe me, you’re not depressed.” “You’re just over reacting.”

These statements only begin the list of doubts I heard from not only strangers, but even family and friends when it first became apparent that I was struggling. Struggling being the watered down term I began to use when depressed caused people to tip toe around me as if I were made of glass.

While it didn’t take much to admit to myself that I was depressed, telling others was another story. I knew that people wouldn’t believe me. And even worse, people would.

To this day, several years later, my history with depression isn’t a story that I tell very frequently. There is such a stigma around the word, especially for young people. People immediately want to know every reason you have to explain why you are depressed. They think that just because you are under the age of twenty five, your life requires their expertise to determine the legitimacy of your mental illness.

Dozens of therapy sessions and many long nights crying later, I can proudly say that I survived my battle with depression. But that was just one fight. The truth is, for most, depression is a long war that has to be fought many times before it’s truly won. But the difference is, I’m not scared this time.

I swore to myself after I was quote on quote determined “cured”, that I wouldn’t speak of my depression publicly again. The truth is, I’m not even certain why I am doing it now, but what I do know, is that there are way too many young kids hiding in their rooms, suffering, afraid to tell anyone because they are afraid they won’t be heard.

I remember all to well being sixteen with my head between my knees in the corner of my room, sobbing into a pillow in hopes that no one would hear me. Just as awful, I remember the days that I couldn’t cry at all and my body felt numb.

I know I am just one person in billions. But we all are. If nothing else, I hope this post makes you think. I know it’s different from my previous poems and stories, some even uplifting and inspirational. But the truth is, if I hadn’t been able to make it through my very real depression, a depression many people didn’t want to recognize existed in me, then I wouldn’t have been here to write these posts.

You’re not alone. Your depression is real. You can beat it. Thankfully for me, I had very loving parents and an amazing best friend that pulled me through to the other side, while I kicked and screamed right along side them. But many people aren’t as lucky. All it takes is for one person to say “This is real. This is not in your head. This is scary, but you are going to be okay.”

Be that person.

Please leave me a comment, let’s start a discussion. And please, feel free to share. The world needs you.

Sisters, Biological and Other

Anybody who knows me, knows I’m the middle child of three girls. It’s not exactly something I keep a secret, being the middle child irritated me for the longest time. Growing up, it seemed no matter what happened, I was always in the middle. My older sister got things first, my younger sister got things last, and I just…well I just existed. This isn’t a new realization. Middle children have been screaming their battle cries for decades. There is a reason we are commonly known as the most outspoken, the loudest. We have fought our whole lives for a spot in our own families, it isn’t hard for us to fight for a spot in the world as well.

As I grew up, however, it became less important to me where I ranked in the birth order of my siblings, and more important that I even had them. My sisters, biological and other, have been my best friends since the minute I was born. Well, in my younger sisters case, since the minute she was born. Our house has always been full of estrogen, arguments fueled by hormones, and way too much clothes. The smell of perfume has always been suffocating, and nothing is just yours unless you write your name on it. Even then, ownership is risky.

Having sisters means always having a friend. And whether this is a cliche or not, it’s an undeniable truth. I can’t preach about the amazing life of having a brother, as many do. When I was younger, having a big brother was something I dreamed about endlessly, picturing a protective figure, someone who always had my back while also making my life a living hell with his teasing and harmless jokes. Instead though, I found this in cousins, in uncles, and in my father. Every gap I thought existed was filled in one way or another, my sisters and I forming a small group of soldiers that were a force to be reckoned with.

Since the youngest sister was born, our band has been known as the Three Elles. A title given to us fondly for the ending of all of our names. It was always a given however, that when you saw those three blonde heads in the crowd, there was always a certain brunette to be found somewhere close by. Another sister, not biological, but to me just as important. Us four, we are the ocean, and no matter where we wander, how far apart we may float, when one of us needs the other, our waves will come crashing down in unison.

Families, siblings, they are essential, and each bond is unique, something that can’t be explained in mere paragraphs. For me, these bonds would take novels to even brush the surface of the love I feel for each person in my tiny army. My wonderful parents would need trilogies all to themselves, a story for another day. However, as this tiny circle starts to grow, adding brother in laws, significant others, nephews and nieces, there isn’t a single thing in this world I am more thankful for than my tiny little army. Sisters, biological or other.