To My Boyfriend As He Graduates

 

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Zachary,

Today’s the day! All that hard work and dedication that you’ve applied throughout the years is finally paying off today as you graduate high school! I know that you’re extremely excited, and I am too. This moment is a huge one. Today as you move your tassel from the right to the left, your life will be changing immensely. Walking across the stage will be one of your last moments as a high school student. Then it’s time for the real world. I know you have already “adulted” more than many of your fellow graduates, but there’s much more to come. And I know you’re ready for it.

It’s fairly strange to me when I think about what is actually going to happen only hours from now. You’re leaving the high school as I did the year prior. We will lose our immediate connection to the place that introduced us to each other last year. I know it won’t actually change anything for us, but deep down, it feels like an important mark. We met in that building. We grew to love each other in that building. And now, as the last attending of the duo, you are receiving your diploma and becoming an alumni of that very building. It’s bittersweet, but I’m so ready for us both to head north for our next big adventure- college!

In the past year and five-ish months that we’ve known each other, I’ve watched you excel in so many ways. You’ve gotten straight A’s while working at a steady job, and gotten accepted into the college you wanted. Every smile and excited scream you let out (you know exactly what I’m talking about) got me more stoked to see all the things that you could accomplish in the future. And now with all the things you have gotten done so far, I believe that the sky is the limit for you!

I am very proud of you for working so hard in school (in-between your naps in Mr. Perry’s class). You’re leaving behind a great legacy for yourself. And although high school is already designed to be hard enough on students, you had your fair share of difficult moments this year as well. The way that you managed yourself throughout those times of trouble really tell a lot about your character. You are brilliant, dedicated, and very mature. At this rate, nothing will get in your way.

You’ve not only made it through high school alive, but also done it so outstandingly. You are really inspirational to me and many others. I hope that when you toss your cap today, you truly feel all the hard work that you put forth these past years, and feel proud of yourself for all that you’ve done.

I love you so very much, and I am excited to see what all the future holds for you and  your bright mind.

Congrats, grad.

 

 

 

 

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One Last Dance

 

This past weekend, I “went back to high school” and attended one last prom with my boyfriend. It was an amazing night, and definitely one that I’ll remember.

Now, before I hear all the negativity about how “people who graduated high school should stay out of high school”, let me just clarify something- my boyfriend is a senior, and he asked me to go. At first, I almost refused to go because I wanted to stay clear of high school events (other than sporting events because I had to cheer my man on). But after a lot of thinking, I realized that it was his last prom and he asked me to come because I’m his girlfriend and he wanted the night to be special. So, I decided that one more prom wouldn’t hurt anyone.

Something different about this year was that I didn’t mind how I looked. Previous years, I was so stressed about my dress, heels, makeup, and hair that I made prom almost unenjoyable. This year, I didn’t think it mattered. I just put whatever makeup on that I felt the most comfortable in, wore some old heels of my sisters, and was on my way. As long as I was comfortable and able to have fun, I was ready to go.

My boyfriend picked me up and dang was he looking good. Last year we rode together along with another mutual friend, and when we looked back at it this year, it was so crazy thinking about how much things had changed. This year, I was riding shotgun with his hand in mine- a much different experience than last year. Before, I was in the backseat and the only thing in my hand was my phone that was also the designated “aux phone.”

We took some pictures with his classmates, as well as other returning students from my graduating class- my cousin being one of them. Everyone looked amazing! They were also so friendly towards me, which I did not expect. I never had any negative feelings towards returning grads coming to prom while I was in high school, but I didn’t know how others felt about it. Seeing people happy to see me calmed a lot of my pre-prom jitters.

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Once we arrived at the venue, I almost forgot how nervous I was before. I don’t want to say that I felt like I was back in high school because I was self aware and didn’t do anything to jeopardize my comfort and warm welcome. However, I did not feel too out of place, and I wasn’t as self conscious as I had expected myself to be. Honestly, I think that knowing I wouldn’t see a lot of those people again made me feel more comfortable and ultimately gave me the courage to go out and dance with my friends.

The music wasn’t too terrible at points, and the great company on the dance floor helped make the bad songs a little less excruciating. We danced for hours and only took a few short breaks to take a quick sip before heading back out to dance like idiots again. Overall, prom wasn’t so bad.

After the dance was nearly over, Zach and I went with a couple friends from our table to the Wendy’s drive thru. I had been craving it all night and I was fairly vocal about it. We wanted to hang out together, but at 11 at night, not much is open and easily accessible for girls in gowns. So after thinking long and hard about the next move, we decided to part ways and go home to sleep.

Zach and I went back to my house so I could get out of the unbearably itchy dress I had forced myself into earlier. That’s when he gave me a surprise gift that meant the world to me. He handed me a book. On the inside it said “Why I Love You,” and contained pages full of pictures and (you guessed it) reasons he loved me. He had told me before I saw it that it was not perfect, but he was dead wrong. I had never received anything so beautiful before. Just thinking about it makes my heart melt all over again.

We finished the night with a nap and the remainder of the Wendy’s that we had brought home. Zach eventually went back to his house at around 2:30 a.m., and thus concluded our night.

Playing dress up can be fun for sure, but getting to do it along side the man you love makes it even more special. I’m grateful that Zach brought me back for one last dance. He made my last prom even better than the one I originally thought would be my last.

 

 

 

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.

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.