Reasons to Thank My (and Probably Your) Boyfriend

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Sometimes it’s hard to always be thankful for what your significant other does for you. When it’s consistent for so long, you tend to take it for granted. But recently I’ve been rethinking a lot of what has been going on in my relationship, and I realized how much my boyfriend does for me every single day. No, there was no fight or break up (he can’t get rid of me that easily). However, there was a time where I felt that I was not living up to the title of the “best girlfriend ever” that he had bestowed upon me. That’s when I noticed that he does so much for me and I need to recognize it more often.

1. He makes time for me.

He has a crazy schedule- school, basketball practice/game, homework/studying, work on the weekends. I’ve definitely seen it take its toll on him. However, he always finds a way to make time to see me. Sometimes he’ll  do something as simple as surprising me at my house briefly after practice, but it’ll stay on my mind for days. He tells me his favorite days are the ones where he gets to see me.

2. He brings me food.

There’s been a lot of times where I haven’t been feeling well or I’ve been too tired to go out, and Zach will bring me food and come watch Netflix with me. Sometimes when he goes to McDonalds with the intentions of getting himself food, he ends up impulsively buying me something too and bringing it to me. Hell, he’s even brought me food to work before. He really knows the way to my heart.

3. He spends time with my family.

I think any girlfriend can agree that seeing their boyfriend talk deeply with their parents/siblings can melt their heart. Zach and my sister had a rocky start, but they eventually got pretty close and now they talk almost every time he comes over- either about boys, school drama, college, or sports. My mom and Zach always talk about high school basketball since he’s on the team and she’s at every game. I love watching them talk. It never feels forced, and they always have a good laugh. Their conversations put a smile on my face, and faith in my heart.

4. He lets me pay for things sometimes.

Ok, some people are going to call him names or belittle him for this, I’m sure. But I look at it like this: He has a job, I have a job, we’re in a healthy relationship, and (as much as I hate to be this person) it’s 2018. Girls can pay if they want. Guys can pay if they want. Sometimes it takes some bickering back and forth, or even a race to grab the bill, but I still get my opportunity to show my love for Zachary by throwing down a little money. Of course money isn’t what love is about, but I believe that if you’re willing to pay for someone else, it’s kind and shows the other person that you care.

5. He’s my best friend.

Yes, this is sappy. But it’s 100% true. He’s my go-to when I have to share my thoughts. He stays up late by his phone so I can tell him stories about work or school. He lets me gossip, and even chimes in sometimes just so I don’t feel ridiculous. But the best thing by far is that he lets me feel so comfortable with who I am. I can’t even begin to count how many “friends” I’ve had that have been judgmental towards me and my strange behaviors. Zach has embraced every single mood, characteristic, and vibe that I have portrayed.

6. He’s a good cook.

One perk of having a man who likes to eat is that he knows how to cook. When we stayed in Cleveland for his birthday, he made chicken parm that Gordon Ramsey would have (maybe) not hated. If I hadn’t been so tired when we had dinner- it was midnight when we finally got to sit down and eat- I would’ve eaten every last bit. Plus, he’s Italian so that definitely works in his favor!

7. He looks at me when I’m “not looking” and gives me forehead kisses.

There’s times when we’re together, lying down in bed, where I’ll start to doze off on his chest. Sometimes I like to peek at him, and see if he’s about to fall asleep too. But I always catch him looking at me. It’s not a “ew, get this thing off of me” look. It’s definitely a “wow, I’m so lucky” look. And it gets me every time. Sometimes I’ll ask him why he’s looking at me that way, to which I get a “huh? Oh, I don’t know” response. Other times I shut my eyes tight before he notices that I even saw him. Then, almost like a routine, he smirks (adorably, I might add) and gently kisses my forehead. That’s the best way to fall asleep, trust me.

It’s so easy to take all of these things for granted when you’re exposed to them all the time. However, I can’t let myself look past these random acts of love anymore. I recognize them for what they’re worth- everything. Zach has shown me that I have his heart, and that is something I do not take lightly. He is my best friend, partner in crime, and Friday night dinner date. But above all, he is the love that I never expected to find.

 

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To Zachary

My dearest Zachary,

With this special day just about over when I’m writing this, I’ve been thinking a lot about how much you mean to me. We’ve known each other for about a year, and the whole time you’ve been leaving your mark on me. Whenever I slip and say one of your signature phrases, I know that a piece of you is always with me.

You’ve been such an important part of my life for the past year- even when I really couldn’t stand you. You were the one I could always count on to cheer me up at school when I was having a bad day. I always knew that you’d either say something funny or just do something so stupid that it would make me laugh uncontrollably. Once we became good friends, I realized that you were so much more than just a person to laugh at/with. You were someone with aspirations that so few would ever imagine. You’re deeper than what I thought. You were in tough with your emotions in a way that I had never seen any other guy be. You cared for people so much more than I ever could. It amazed me. To this day, I am amazed by all that you are.

Our past few months together have been noting short of unbelievable. You’ve slow danced with me in my room until I’ve fallen over laughing and sang with me at the top of our lungs during car rides. Whenever we’re together, it feels like the happy parts of any Hallmark movie. Sometimes the smiles we have on our faces start to hurt, but we still can’t make them go away. But I really never want them to. Our smiles mean something so special to me. Especially when we’re laughing together. We laugh about the dumbest things until we’re red in the face (which isn’t hard since we both are a couple of tomatoes).

But with every high comes a low. We’ve been there for each other through questions of faith, personal heartache, and so much more. Although it seemed easy at times, we never gave up on each other. Some things we went through were so much more than people our age should ever have to go through, but not once did we leave each other’s side. And I think that speaks volumes about our relationship.

Now, since it’s your birthday (or at least it was before I posted this), I want to thank you for a few things- 18 things to be exact.

  1. Thank you for transferring to my school for my very last semester of high school.
  2. Thank you for giving me advice (even the times that it was about boys).
  3. Thank you for driving me to my senior prom AND letting me have the aux cord the whole time.
  4. Thank you for finally following me back on twitter in SEPTEMBER. SEPTEMBER. No, I promise I’m not mad that it took you nine months to follow me back.
  5. Thank you for having such a cool family that always makes me feel welcomed and at home.
  6. Thank you for rushing to my house in the middle of the night when I’m upset.
  7. Thank you for always motivating me and pushing me past the boundaries I set for myself.
  8. Thank you for having four letters in your name so all my friends could have a shirt.
  9. Thank you for telling me I’m right when I’m clearly wrong, but way too passionate to admit it.
  10. Thank you for listening to me when I share gossip or stories about work.
  11. Thank you for forehead kisses that put a smile on my face.
  12. Thank you for not laughing at me when I cry during The Grinch (or basically any movie. But especially The Grinch).
  13. Thank you for always telling me you’re proud of me.
  14. Thank you for singing Falling in Reverse with me way too loud.
  15. Thank you for not caring when my legs aren’t super smooth (you still crack jokes, but at least you’re not being serious).
  16. Thank you for calling me beautiful when I’m in sweats with no makeup and my hair tied back.
  17. Thank you for making time for me even though you have a crazy schedule that barely coordinates with mine.
  18. Thank you for being my best friend and boyfriend all wrapped up into one.

I want you to know that I am always on your side. I will root for you even when nobody else does. When you feel like you’re alone, remember you’ve got me now, and you’ll have me always. You’re the best thing to ever happen to me Zachary.

Happy (late) birthday.

I love you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paying Homage to 2017

2017 is coming to a close, and judging by the millions of Odyssey articles I’m seeing on my Facebook newsfeed, a lot of us can agree that we took some brutal hits this year. My 2017 was full of bumpy roads- trials and tribulations. But with only a few more days left, I’ve looked back and been utterly thankful for the year that changed me more than I expected it to. I realized that the Meg that is walking out of 2017 is not the same Meg that walked into it. And it’s one of the most beautiful, fearful, and magical things ever. So 2017, this is for you.

I came into 2017 with the intensions of making the year one of my best yet. Ah, “young and naïve” some might say. But don’t we all have that goal when the new year hits?

However, I was not as lucky as I had hoped I’d be. A few months into the new year, I lost a boy that I thought was my world. Looking back at it, I was relishing toxicity. I thank God now for removing me from the position I was in. Although it taught me a lot about myself, I know that I was not meant to remain stagnant in false hope.

Shortly after, I experienced the most stressful event of 2017.

Graduation.

Actually, let’s back up just a little.

Finals.

I was a senior in high school, and these finals determined whether or not I would graduate. A lot of my fellow classmates weren’t even slightly worried because they had accumulated a grade that would assure their graduation. I, however, did not. Since I spent most of my senior year obsessing over a boy who, as we addressed earlier, was not made for me in the slightest, I did not devote the proper amount of time to my grades. This was especially true about my Advanced Math class.

At the end of the semester, I realized that if I didn’t do extremely well on my final, I would not pass the class and thus not graduate. I studied for weeks and suffered from long sleepless nights. I started doubting myself in every aspect of my life, making myself feel worthless and uneducated. However, I came to class and somehow- BY THE GRACE OF GOD- passed my final with flying colors.

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Ok, so graduation. Just thinking about it gives me anxiety to this day.

Growing up, I looked at graduation as the beginning of my adult life. So naturally I was extremely excited for graduation day. The day was already special, but to top it off, my father gave me my diploma. I was overjoyed and proud of everything I had accomplished to have obtained my diploma.

But then, as I was walking out of the high school I spent four chaotic years in, I got a somber feeling. Everything that I grew up around was over. I spent so long sitting next to the same familiar faces and rotating through familiar daily routines. Now it was coming to an end, and the “beginning of my adult life” was officially commencing. Panic took over my thoughts.

“What if I can’t get a steady job?”

“Where am I even going to college?”

“What’s my major?”

“Will I end up living with my parents forever?”

But I eventually got myself on the right path, and I decided that I want to major in Education. Children are so pure and amazing and working with them makes me feel like I am positively impacting someone, which is all I ever want to do.

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Summer 2017 is what I like to refer to as the transitioning season. I made a lot of new friends who mean the absolute world to me, and I also lost friends. However, I regret nothing. I was able to mature, grow, and become someone completely new. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The friends that I will take on 2018 with are the best that I could ever ask for. They’ve become my brothers and sisters and I love them whole heartedly.

I was also hired onto a team of amazing people in September. Boys and Girls Club hired me as a part time Youth Development Professional, which is one of the best things I have going on right now. I work in a middle school alongside three AMAZING coworkers who have more or less turned into family. They have been my rock, and always support me. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given through Boys and Girls Club. I get experience with the age group I want to teach, and I’ve gotten to work in so many different schools. The children I work with give me so much inspiration and even directly motivate me to do great things.

I chose to attend community college for the first two years because it would be completely paid for. It was the smartest option for me financially, and it also allowed me to keep in touch with friends and family easily. Fall semester was full of headaches. Well, technically only one class was, but it was such a huge headache that it carried over to my other classes. But I loved every bit of my first semester. It was challenging at times, but it kept me excited to learn new things. After four years of high school where most things felt like review and repetition, college introduced me to hardcore learning. I read my textbooks all the time, took notes any chance I got, and studied my ass off (except for in the headache class. Fuck that class).

By being home, I was able to support my younger sister in marching band in the fall. Even when I was a cheerleader, I was able to sit in the stands at halftime to watch her perform. But it felt different this year. It was awesome getting to watch games in the stands instead of cheering on the sidelines. It was a whole other world to me, which was sometimes upsetting. I missed cheering with my girls. But I still came to every game I could to cheer on my Alma Mater, as well as my best friend. Yeah, so let me introduce some of you to him.

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This is Zach, my boyfriend.

He moved to my school in January as a junior, and I absolutely hated him. He seemed to push buttons that I didn’t even know I had. But I eventually grew to love him. He was super funny, even though most of the time I laughed at him rather than with him. We became best friends within a few months, along with some of our Speech classmates. We later deemed ourselves the “Speech Squad.”

After graduation, we drifted apart for a bit. I still supported him as a friend, but we just didn’t communicate as much as we used to. But as football season approached and I remembered he was playing Varsity, I decided to cheer him on alongside some of my best friends. We jokingly made Z-A-C-H shirts that we would occasionally wear to games to be those people. He seemed to enjoy it so we kept it up.

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Towards the end of the season, Zach and I had completely reconnected and somehow admitted that we were attracted to each other. It was something I had kept a secret for months. But after admitting it, we both felt like we had stepped in the right direction. Although this decision came with some pretty brutal consequences amongst our friend group, we began dating. Now we are two months in, and I couldn’t be happier. He is definitely my favorite part of 2017, and the number one reason I refuse to spit on the year and all it did for me. I am absolutely in love with him.

Now, to conclude this homage, I would like to address those who despised their year. Whether you had the best or worst year yet, it changed you. It shaped who you are now. And that is something that we all must take into account.

2017, thank you for all you did for me this year.

2018, you’ve got some competition.

6,889 – An Internal Exposé

6, 889.

18 years, 10 months, 11 days.

That is how long I have faced this world- the cheerful, the gloomy, the downright cruel.

At least 12 of those years, I have been unhappy. That means that from the age of 6, I have been displeased, whether that be with myself or the world around me. Yes, that is a very young age to feel the way I felt, but I was able to disassociate myself with childhood thoughts at a young age. I began thinking like an adult early in life. Granted I wasn’t thinking about taking out mortgages or paying a phone bill, but I was questioning things with such an intellect that none of my peers could comprehend yet. I was by no means a brainiac baby, but I was definitely different.

The Early Years

I can remember being in kindergarten and looking at myself in a mirror. My hair was tangled and my lips chapped. Those who knew me then would expect nothing less. I ran my fingers through my curly hair and smiled at myself. “Looking good,” I would think. Little did I know that that was the last time I would be so confident in myself.

Not long after, I was bullied on the playground for having chapped lips. “Your lips look funny. That’s so weird,” I remember a classmate putting me down as we lined up to go down the spiral slide. That was the moment that I began the long cycle of self hatred and manipulation. Years went by where I would endlessly compare myself to my peers. I wanted to dress, act, and look like them. Maybe then I wouldn’t be weird, right?

 

Junior High

Another vivid memory I have is seventh grade math class. The teacher had left the room, and my class began to run around and cause havoc just as any seventh grade class would. Students were getting out of their seats, writing inappropriate things on the smartboard, and throwing things across the room. One classmate of mine walked up to my friend and I. At first, he just made jokes about how we were the only students who weren’t getting out of our seats and being obnoxious. Then, after realizing that we weren’t offended, he began to pick on our appearances to get a rise out of us. What he said to me has stuck in my mind for the past 5 or so years.

“Hey, ginger! Have you ever made a gingerbread house? I mean, it makes sense because you’re a pasty ginger.”

Yeah, I know. It’s a lame little kid joke. But I had been bullied for years about my natural strawberry blonde hair and light skin tone. It had been so bad that I was actually driven to dye my hair more “natural” shades. This ultimately damaged my hair, and I am still working to get it back to a healthier condition. But I couldn’t find any other way to escape the name calling and ridicule that I would face every day. What hurt me the most was not that I was a ginger, but that the word “ginger” was meant in a derogatory manner and it would continue to be for years. To this day, I encounter people who use the same word in an effort to offend me and I can still feel young Meg’s heart breaking deep down.

High School

Once high school rolled around, I felt slightly more confident. I entered my freshman year with my chin held high. Then it happened. I “loved” a boy for the first time. He was a senior wrestler, soccer player, singer, and he just so happened to be in my computer class. After months of getting to know each other, we began dating. The maturity difference between us was a huge roadblock, however. Not only that, but he did not respect our relationship like I did. So after months of being off and on, we finally cut ties for good. It hurt me immensely because he was the first boy I “loved.” I use quotes because after years of growing up, I realize that I did not love him. I loved only the idea of him. But since I thought I loved him, his absence in my life made me turn into a maniac. I wanted love. I wanted someone to give my attention to like I had once given to him. Something about loving someone gave me such a high. I craved love from someone that would not leave me like he did. So I spent my sophomore year looking for someone who would love me unconditionally. To many, my manhunt looked like I was “putting out.” That was far from the truth, but I couldn’t defend myself, as the evidence was too convincing. Hell, although I never did anything more than make out with a boy at that age, I was beginning to believe the rumors too.

Let’s go back to what I said earlier about me thinking differently than others my age. At this time in my life, I wanted to find the person I would spend forever with. I wanted to love someone and I wanted them to love me the same way. So while others were concentrated on “getting some,” I was focused on finding the one. That is why I was said to be “hopping from boy to boy.” I was eager to find the one who would love me unreservedly, but not many people recognized that.

So sophomore year came and went, filling my life with enemies and untrue rumors. Then, as I was beginning my junior year, I met someone who would forever change my life. We connected almost immediately and we began dating in October of 2015. He took care of me and always assured me that he would never do what any of the previous boys in my life had. I gave him my heart and my trust. I fell in love with him. I would tell all my friends about how perfect he was and how he made me want to change for the better. But then the worst thing imaginable happened. I developed anxiety and depression.

I believe half the reason for this was a medical condition I have called hypothyroidism. Side effects include depression, anxiety, and mood swings. So that’s great for relationships, right? Yeah, exactly.

But times became harder. I would cry hysterically and want to shut out the world. My poor boyfriend would have to watch me suffer. And the worst part of it all was that I didn’t know how he could help me. Sometimes I would need him to hold me and comfort me, while other times I couldn’t even stand him touching or looking at me. He learned, though. He spent months trying to figure out what I needed to feel better. Finally, we learned what it was. I just needed love. However, time went on and my mood swings and uncontrollable panic attacks took their toll on him. He finally left (I say “finally” because I think he should have left for his own good months earlier) after ten months of being with me.

Just as you could imagine, I did not take it well. I would cry myself to sleep for weeks, and had terrifying nightmares about him abandoning me. I would wake up in the middle of the night to dried tears on my cheeks. The thought of him broke my heart for months. Hearing his name would result in a painful heavy feeling in my stomach. Speaking his name burnt my lungs. Seeing pictures of him would make my eyes swell. It was like losing a part of me. And the worst part was knowing that he was better off without me even though I was not better off without him.

It was finally time for my last year of high school, and I couldn’t be more excited to leave. I planned to go through the motions until I had a diploma in my hand. That’s when I became friends with someone else. For the sake of this story, let’s call him Manbun. Those of you who know who I’m talking about are probably laughing hysterically about this choice of characterization.

But back to the story.

We had been classmates for as long as I can remember, but we were never really friends. We sat next to each other in freshman physical science and everyone told me we should date, but he was a jock, and I was still a gap-toothed loser. So I never tried anything with him. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a huge crush on him, though.

But senior year, we were given another chance, by fate or by God. We were both put into a creative writing class for our first semester. He was a super loud and outgoing type, and I was the opposite. Some would even go as far as to say he was the “bad boy” of our grade. He smoked, did drugs, and didn’t have the cleanest record at our school. But after a few weeks of getting to know each other, we connected. Our teacher partnered us up for a project and I, redeveloping a faint crush on him, flirted it up. He surprisingly reciprocated. Thus began the cycle of off-again, on-again, Meg and Manbun.

I fell in love with Manbun, I will admit, more than I loved the past boyfriend I had. We spent so much time together and he made me laugh so much more than anyone ever could. He was what I imagined my metaphorical “Prince Charming” to be like. He taught me how to love myself. I no longer hated myself or my appearance. I could finally look at myself in the mirror and smile. He worried about me and took care of me. On top of that, he would randomly play with my hair and rub my back for me. He wasn’t such a bad boy after all. Although he was great to me, some of our different morals got in the way of us maintaining a steady relationship. We ended in a terrible way, and to this day we rarely speak.

After we broke up, I could not look at myself the way I used to. I began pointing out every flaw I had. I would sit in front of a mirror for what seemed like forever, just to remind myself how hideous I am. I’d say to myself, “he didn’t love you because you’re ugly.” I couldn’t find any confidence within myself. I barely wanted to live.

Now

Months have gone by since Manbun and I broke up, and I am slowly beginning to feel better about myself. A year has gone by since I lost the first boy I truly loved, and I no longer yearn for his return. Years have gone by since I was called a ginger, and I stopped dying my hair to hide from the truth. 18 years, 10 months, and 11 days have gone by since I began this wild journey, and not one single second of it is in vain.

My life is my story, and that is why I write. I share my story with others who may or may not know what I was or am going through. I encourage everyone to open up and find beauty within their struggles and triumphs.

 

 

Journey: The Road to Health and Self-Love

Intro

After forcing myself to become someone socially acceptable, I lost sight of who I truly was. I spent years collapsing when faced with peer pressure and it ultimately destroyed my confidence. After realizing what I had been doing to myself, I found the strength to correct myself and promote a healthier lifestyle. This has been a long journey, and I’m ready to share my story with those who may be looking for motivation to help themselves.

Key in the Ignition

I can’t lie to you, starting this process took more than one look in the mirror. It took about 1,460. And once I took that final look and decided to make a change, it wasn’t set in stone. I spent days at a time arguing with myself over whether or not it was truly worth it in the long run. I doubted my strength and courage to take on such a demanding challenge. But once I noticed how much negativity I directed towards myself, I realized that something really needed to be done in order to rescue myself from the downward spiral I was heading towards.

On the Side of the Road

A few weeks after going through an emotional end to a relationship, I was distraught and depressed beyond comprehension. I didn’t care about my schoolwork or relations with others. I shut down completely and never left my bedroom. Eating became a challenge, as I imagined that whatever went down would come right back up moments later. I ate about one meal a day and rarely cleared my plate when I did decide to eat.

Not only did I suffer from a potential eating disorder, but I also lacked efficient amounts of sleep. I stayed up late crying to John Legend songs and reading Atticus’ poetry on Instagram. I watched as weeks went by and my physical appearance seemed to deteriorate. Looking back at it now, I am truly blessed to have recovered from all I had been going through.

Now, I am in no way blaming my ex for what I went through. This was all my own doing- my own heart and my own decisions. I completely empathize for him now, since I understand where I had gone wrong before. I just felt that I needed to clarify since a lot of people would take it as a jab in his direction. But I am actually thankful for the pain brought on by the tragic end to our relationship because it helped me realize what I had been doing wrong and it motivated me to finally change.

Are We There Yet?

Being new to recovery, I was unaware of how long of a process it would be. I’d spend a few days being nothing but positive and caring, but come home feeling nothing but drained and stuck in one place. I didn’t see any progress nor did I give myself the time to. I wanted to be better, and I wanted it right away.

Eventually, however, I came to grips with the reality of the process. It wasn’t going to be ok in a day or two, maybe not even a year or two. It was just going to run its course and whatever happened, happened. And fortunately, being accepting of the truth of the matter helped the process move faster than it originally had been.

You Have Reached Your Destination

Ok, so “reaching my destination” may be a slight exaggeration since I have so much further to go, but I have definitely seen remarkable advancements in the right direction. I’ve learned to love myself and others for the littlest things. I’ve promoted self-love and independence. I have no longer relied on others for my happiness and it has made me realize how precious life is. Oh, God that’s cliché, but let me explain.

Life is like driving down a long and winding road. You’re in control of where you take yourself. When faced with an obstacle in that road, you can either keep driving through it in hopes that one day the pot holes and rain storms will become routine, or you can turn right onto a freshly paved road with beautiful blossoming flowers and welcoming brick houses. But before you can decide which route to take, you have to recognize where you are and where you want to end up.