Posted on December 26, 2018
A year ago today, I posted Paying Homage to 2017, where I took time to look back at everything that happened to me in 2017 that influenced me deeply. I said that I had an eventful year, and I was looking forward to 2018. However, I couldn’t have possibly been prepared for all that this year had in store for me. Let’s go ahead and look back at all that has happened in the past 12 months. Be warned- a lot more happened this year than last year.
I celebrated the new year with my boyfriend, Zach. We started off at my God Mother’s house, then after a trip to McDonald’s minutes before the ball dropped, we made it to my house. I wanted this new year to be rung in perfectly, so I ran to the tv as fast as I could and got ready for the count down. We made it just in time to eat a few chicken nuggets before we shared our first New Year’s kiss.
After working at Boys and Girls Club for about 5 months, I decided to resign. I’ll keep it professional and not go into too many details, but to sum it up, the employees were not kind to me and I felt that my voice was no longer being heard. It was extremely hard for me to do, as I loved the students I got to know. The smiles on their faces made all the hard work and sleepless nights worth it. However, I knew that I would continue to be treated poorly and for my mental health, it was time to go. I’m still very unhappy with how I was treated and how nobody really seemed to care when I told them, but it’s in the past and I just hope that things have gotten better there.
The day before my last day of work, I came home to my sick hamster, Arodite. She had been looking sickly for a while, and I wasn’t sure what was wrong. She barely ate and didn’t drink much water. The only way I could keep her hydrated was by letting her chew on a wet washcloth. It was devastating. This day had been extremely hard for her. She wasn’t moving around much, staying close to her tower of bedding she created. That night, I was in the living room with my mother when we started to hear breathy cries from the room Arodite was in. I was too nervous to check on her, so I asked my mom to see if she was alright. She said, “oh, she’s crying.” Then, just as I got up to comfort her and give her some water, my mom corrected herself.
“No, don’t come in here. I think she’s dying.”
I know I should’ve ran in there immediately and held her in my arms, but I was so heartbroken that I couldn’t face her. I ran outside and refused to come back into the house until she passed. My father, who once worked at the county’s Metroparks, put my sweet Arodite down in the most humane way he was taught. I could hear her crying and gasping for air as I cried outside.
I’m so grateful for my boyfriend for coming over late that night to be with me while I cried. I was so upset that my fuzzy little baby had passed and there was nothing I could have done to save her. It was just her time to go.
As some of you know, my boyfriend was a grade below me in high school, so he had his senior prom this year. I dreaded going because I wanted nothing to do with high school events such as this, but I was obligated. It was a nice time back with friends that I hadn’t seen in a while. Zach was the absolute sweetest to me that night. We danced for hours, then left a little early to get Wendy’s. After we finished our food, we headed to my house to relax. That’s when Zach gave me a book he made of reasons he loves me. Reading it made me cry like a baby. I was so sappy and lovey all night. All I wanted was to be cuddled up with my man. I don’t think anything has changed.
A couple months later, Zach graduated high school. This was a special moment for him and I couldn’t go without sharing. I was so extremely proud of him, and as he walked across the stage to receive his diploma (from my dad, the V.P. of the School Board), my friends and I screamed and cheered. I ended up crying a few times too.
Being alongside him while he was working to get his diploma made it that much more special to me. I watched him get frustrated when he didn’t understand something, excited when he did, and relieved when he was on track. I knew he was ready for greater things and seeing him get that green light to do so was powerful.
After a long, painful few weeks of bickering and disagreements, Zach and I broke up. I was devastated. But it had to be done. Of course I was hysterical for months. I begged him to come back, but thankfully he said no. I say “thankfully” because we weren’t ready for each other yet. We needed some time to grow ourselves. Although there were many nights that I sobbed into my pillow and screamed until I lost my voice, I am grateful for our break up.
But here’s the thing- while we were broken up, we were still seeing each other. We wanted to maintain a friendship, since that’s where we started. He would come over and we would talk, or we’d go to the park or the lake to get away from everything. It was nice spending time with each other because he was such a huge part of my life for so long. It was comforting. So that is why we say that although we did not have the title of boyfriend and girlfriend, we were still “together.”
I felt the need to explain this to everyone because people were confused when we split, and even now when we say we’ve been together for over a year. Although we were not boyfriend and girlfriend for a couple months, we were still talking and loving each other just as if we were. We like to say we never left each other’s side, so that’s why we say we’ve been together the whole time. We basically were. What’s a title worth anyway?
Since the breakup left me with many open days throughout the summer, I got to spend a lot more time with my friends and family. I got to go to my sister’s travel softball tournaments that were hours away, which was a great way to relax. Well, until my sister’s team lost, which was quite often. But getting away from the small town I felt trapped in was wonderful. I felt myself growing just from a weekend of being away. When we got back, my dad offered to take some pictures of me to boost my confidence and keep my mind off things. And that’s when this photo was taken. I really love all the photos he took of me because I feel so strong when I look at them. I see myself not letting things hurt me.
My friends also deserve a huge “thank you” for all they did for me over the summer. They were always there for me no matter what. Whether I was canceling plans because I couldn’t gather myself enough to leave my room or shaking and crying in public, they understood. We got to make great memories together and I couldn’t be happier.
I spent my last day as a teen this year. My 20th birthday was hot, exhausting, but so much fun. My best friends took me to the zoo and to dinner. I complained the whole time because it was scorching hot and my feet hurt, but the memories created that day were special enough to last forever. At this point, Zach and I decided to get back together, as we found it impossible to live without the other in our life. So I invited him to come with us to celebrate. Having all of my favorite people together was magical. It was a great way to spend my last few days at home before going away for college.
On August 17th, I moved into my first apartment. I had never lived on my own before, so I was terrified. I know so many people who were nothing but excited when it came to moving out and that made me feel awful for the way I was looking at it. I thought I was babied too much and I was going to hate it, but after some getting used to, it was the best decision I had ever made. I love living by myself. I have so much more motivation to do things because nobody else can be held responsible for the end result- just me. Oh, I also went blonde that same day after battling with my dark hair for months. It came out sort of yellow, as to be expected, and it took months of toner and purple shampoo before I was able to get it to a subtle blonde. It isn’t the cutest yet, but it’s getting there.
August 27th was my first day of school at Cleveland State University. I was extremely nervous because I had only one semester of community college under my belt and I had no idea what to expect. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get lost as soon as I got off the bus that morning. It was overwhelming, but after the first traumatizing day, I knew exactly where everything was. I was really surprised when I knew where I was going on day 2.
Now, with a semester at CSU under wraps, I feel amazing. I’ve made so many great friends in the short time I’ve been going here. I found myself exploring things outside of my comfort zone and realizing my potential while being in college. It’s crazy. Tom Hanks once said that he was “exposed to this world that [he] didn’t know was possible” and that’s exactly how I feel.
Although this past year has been full of ups and downs, it has been the most influential. I got to see what I could and couldn’t handle which ultimately taught me life lessons. In the midst of it all, my love for my best friend grew and grew. Our relationship grew, too. After this rollercoaster ride of a year, I am very happy to say that Zach and I are as amazing as ever. We got through all obstacles life has throw our way with our heads held high. Our love for each other motivates me everyday, and something tells me it just might motivate me forever on.
2018, you were good to me sometimes…other times, not so much. But while I was going through my low points, I recognized all of my good points. I became grateful for all I had and all I would have. So thank you for giving me that ability.
2019, you’re going to be my bitch. I’m not holding myself back anymore, and 2018 taught me how to do that. I will learn from my mistakes, build off them, and prove how strong I really am.
Last year, I said that 2018 had a lot to live up to, but in all honesty, all coming years have a lot to live up to because I’ll only be going up from here.
Posted on February 20, 2018
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.
Posted on March 25, 2017
I came to Wellington when I was three years old. For a three year old, anything can become a jungle or a princess’s castle with the right imagination; and that is what Wellington was to me. I grew up in a small village filled with people who encouraged my creativity, and for that, I must thank you all.
I experienced a lot of “firsts” in Wellington. My first friend, love, heartbreak, and funnel cake (my favorite first). However, I did not respect the community that raised me as much as I should have. I spent years saying “I can’t wait to get out of here” and moping around self-loathingly. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how important of a role my hometown played in raising me. I come from a family of four completely diverse people, and this has shaped me in many ways, but the community we live in has impacted me even more. I learned how to welcome people with different lifestyles into my heart and life. This helped open doors for me that I would not have reached without the help of all the kind hearted individuals I met in Wellington.
Wellington is such a close knit community. Everyone knows each other here, which is both a blessing and a curse. You rarely hear, “hey, who is that kid over there?” but are more likely to hear, “oh that kid? I know his parents, cousins, grandparents, great grandparents, neighbors, and dentist.” That’s one of the coolest parts of this village. Nobody has to wear “Hello. My name is…” tags around here. Then again, if you screw up, your name could be a headline title in tomorrow’s paper. Since we are so small, our graduating class peeks at around 105. Thank the Lord though, because I don’t know what I would do if we had to spend an entire day sweating through our caps and gowns in the high school gymnasium. But we have been together through everything, whether it be good or bad. I’ve watched our community come together in times of mourning and celebration. The beauty of it all is astounding.
If you’re from Wellington, you know I can’t go without acknowledging the biggest event we hold in our small community- the Lorain County Fair. Every summer we break out our piggy banks and take a circular stroll in the big carnival. Concerts, tractor pulls, demolition derbies, and animal shows are what make our summers, well, summer. For those of us who live close enough, we never even have to purchase a ticket to the nightly events. We can hear the Beach Boys and revving of engines from our homes. But for students in the area, we all know that once the fair is over, we have only a few days until school rears its ugly head.
Although we’ve had our differences, I would like to thank my hometown for raising me. I have no shred of doubt in my mind that you did a good job. Thank you for providing great peers that I would eventually call my bestfriends. Thank you for building a community that would inspire me everywhere I turned. Finally, thank you for being Wellingtonians that I will always have a special bond with. I will never forget the town that I grew up in.
Posted on July 10, 2016
Anxiety is a bitch. It not only hurts me, but everyone around me. A lot of the time, it can scare others enough to make them leave. For those who stay, it’s an emotional rollercoaster. The struggles involved are draining on both ends. That’s why I’m writing this. This is for anyone who has been impacted by my anxiety.
I guess I should start off by apologizing. Sometimes it can get exhausting and I recognize that. It takes plenty of patience and practice to deal with me. Anxiety affects me in many different ways, some of which I have yet to master. I know it can get excruciating at times, and I am deeply apologetic for the amount of effort I require from others. There are times when I am fully aware of how ridiculous my anxiety can be, and how annoying it may seem to others. Trust me, I know I’m being a pain in the ass, but it’s not something I can handle. Irrational fears can swallow us alive. We need reassurance almost all the time, and I know for a lot of people that can take its toll. It’s a scary thing for those of us with anxiety. We often worry that asking for the affection that we need may start to feel repetitive to others and maybe eventually ruin the relationship. So for every chaotic moment that we have shared where you have questioned your sanity as well as mine, I am deeply sorry.
Although I’m sorry for the trouble I’ve caused and the seemingly unnecessary chaos, I am also thankful for your constant support. The reassurance from everybody helps more than you could imagine. I’d especially like to thank everyone who has taken time to research anxiety disorders and how to respond to them. I know that it can be scary at times, but having stable relationships with people is extremely helpful. I feel a sense of trust between us and it helps prevent attacks. I owe you all so much for watching out for me.
My boyfriend deserves recognition for his hard work in taking care of me. In our nine short months together, he has learned how to effectively calm down my breathing and get my attacks few and far between. He has become my second home, and even the sound of his voice can calm me down in my darkest moments. One night that I will never forget is when I had a panic attack in my living room. For those who don’t know me too well, I rarely go in my living room. There’s no real reason behind it, but I just feel more comfortable in my bedroom. Once my boyfriend realized that I was breathing heavily, he took action right away. He held me tight and told me, “everything will be ok. Do you want to go to your room? Let’s get you out of here.” I felt my body trembling as he helped me out of my seat. He helped me to my room, where he continued to assure me that things would pass. He rocked me back and forth and reminded me that I had beaten these types of attacks before and that I could do it again. He told me to remember my breathing, and then held me silently until I calmed down. If he hadn’t helped me get to a safer environment, I wouldn’t have moved and things wouldn’t have gotten better.
As I said at the very beginning, anxiety is a bitch. It’s something that I’ve been learning to understand and cope with, however, because without it, I may not have met many of the people that I have. As strange as it sounds, I am thankful for my anxiety and for the doors that it has opened for me. That was such a strange sentence to type. Optimism and anxiety in the same sentence? It’s kind of weird, but if you think about it, it makes sense. It’s taught me plenty about myself and others, and that has helped me grow. So for anyone who has been directly affected by my anxiety, I apologize, thank, and applaud you. You are the greatest friends I could ask for. Thank you for constantly believing in me and for encouraging me to better myself despite my disorder.