Grad school and beyond [This is Thirty series]

Previous post: The year between

It was May 2009, and I finally got a new job after suffering a cut in pay and hours at my previous job. After months of applying to animal hospitals and none of them calling me after the interview, I decided to go back into IT. The pay was decent and the hours were solid. I got this job through something one of my friends on facebook posted. He had become the IT Help Desk manager at a law firm and they were hiring. This friend was the same guy I worked with at Hewitt that I mentioned before (my supervisor during the 2nd summer I was there).

I also had a new relationship that was only a few weeks old, and I was anxiously waiting for Alabama and California to contact me in regards to vet school: I was on both their wait lists. I was entering this summer with a big question in front of me: what next? I took a summer course, some human biology class to try and up my science GPA, and I started the application process for vet school again, in case I didn’t get in this round. My relationship was great for the first two months. Then something happened, and my boyfriend became more and more distant from me. We had talked more as friends online than when dating. And when I brought this up to him, he said that’s how relationships were supposed to be! He literally said friendships are more open than dating relationships. I was in shock and tried to tell him otherwise. I told him it should be the opposite, that you should be closer with your significant other than your friends.

Not only this, but over time he also acted like he didn’t care about me. He would constantly be late to every date with excuses like he had to do laundry. There was this one day that was very important to me and he blew me off to help his friend, which would have been fine if he told me that was what he was going to do. Instead, I had to call him to ask where he was and he was waiting at home for his friend to call him over for assistance moving stuff or something. I ended up breaking up with him at the end of July since it felt like I was trying to talk to a wall whenever I tried to get deep with my boyfriend, and I realized I needed depth to my life, my relationships.

It was around this time that I also decided to go to grad school (unless a miracle happened and I somehow last minute got into vet school). I didn’t do the typical apply to grad school standard procedure. Instead, I kind of fell into it. My friend was in grad school at the time, and I reached out to her advisor who agreed to take me on. The classes met at the Shedd Aquarium, and I also fell into an opportunity to move into the city for really cheap rent through a family friend. I signed up for classes and moved in the middle of August. Out of pure boredom, I signed up on free dating website OKCupid and within days found a guy who I was interested in. Scratch that, two guys, but one ended up living way too far away from me for it to work so I ended up just keeping him as a friend. I started grad school and I started dating this guy after I met him right around the end of August. Our relationship lasted two or three weeks since he was also in grad school but had no job (I was still working full time while attending classes). This resulted in me having to pay for everything, or nearly everything. And he wasn’t willing to even drive to see me due to gas money, he would take the Metra train instead. This was fine until one night he decided to stay the night and take the train in the morning, but then at 2AM freaked out and said he HAD to get home, and I HAD to drive him. I told him I was too tired to drive him, and he told me to drink coffee and drive him anyways!

Needless to say, I was beyond pissed. After taking approximately 24 hours to calm down, I dug deep and gave him another chance. Unfortunately, for him, he blew it. I dumped him after he made yet another mistake where he forced me to drive when I didn’t want to. It was around this time that I found myself getting closer and closer to my friend who I worked with (technically my boss at this time). He was married though, and I found myself beating myself up over having feelings for a married man. I even encouraged him to work on his marriage and seek counseling/therapy. He felt the marriage couldn’t be saved and that he shouldn’t have ever married his wife in the first place. He confided in me how he proposed thinking it would solve their relationship issues: she cheated/was planning on cheating on him and he had caught her. From basically September to the end of the year, his marriage unravelled and I could be to blame for it. He moved in to my place in 2010 and we started dating as he went through the divorce.

Our start was very rocky, everyone hated us from the start. I had to dig deeper than I ever have to really ask myself if this is what I wanted. And it was. We have been through a lot, even more than our hard beginning. I have unfortunately fallen into a period of deep grief over the past several months over my mom and my dad moving on in his life so quickly. I have been seeking therapy and have been seeking God for help. It has taken time, and I’m still working on it, but I have been healing. Sometimes it feels like the sadness stretches on and on and isn’t getting better.

I don’t know how to explain what I’ve been through over the last year watching my mom slowly die, and seeing my dad change and start a new family within 9 months of my mom passing away. I don’t wish this on anyone on the planet. I miss my mom. She was my best friend, we would talk anywhere from 3 to 10 times a day. She knew everything about me, sometimes too much probably. Seeing her in pain and suffering over the last few years of her life hurt me so much. Watching her wither away and die last year? It still haunts me. I still have nightmares.

All I can do is cling to the things that help me: God, Jesus, my therapist, writing, listening to peaceful music, kung fu, running, lifting weights, etc. These things have helped me tremendously. All I ask is that people be patient as I pick up the pieces. I’m getting there, but not quite there yet. I love you all. Thank you for reading my story.

(The end)

Gwen/Jen [This is Thirty series]

::Tangent::
Previous post: The year between

I don’t fully remember when exactly I became obsessed with Gwen Stefani and when I started seeing her as one of my biggest role models in life, but I do know one thing. My obsession has only increased over the last year ever since I lost my mom. Last fall, her eye shadow palette came out through Urban Decay and that marked my newfound obsession with high end make up and skincare products. I’ve seen Gwen in concert five times, but this past August when I saw her with my friend Katie it was one of the most spiritual experiences I’ve ever had. Through the loss of my mom and Gwen not only surviving her crazy year of 2015 but now thriving after it, I feel closer to God than ever before. I feel like Gwen fuels me to be a better me every day.

I see her take everything thrown at her, and become better from it. Her soul-crushing divorce last year after her husband of 13 years cheated on her with the nanny. Her current struggle with not being able to have her kids every day (joint custody with the ex). Her constant struggle with the tabloids and how there’s always rumors involving her. The way she handles her fame and fortune. The fact that she attends church with her family every Sunday that she can. The fact that whatever she sets her mind to, she does. And she doesn’t just do it half-heartedly, she gives it her all and great things come from it. Her music is the foundation to her greatness: both the ability to write and the ability to sing. She also excels in fashion, style, make up, eye wear, clothing, shoes, accessories, acting, vocal coaching, perfume, and now a kid’s cartoon! Literally, there is nothing she can’t do. She also works out almost daily, eats well, and has an amazing body for a 46 year old (almost 47 on October 3rd).

Everyday I follow Gwen and the example she gives to me and her millions of fans. I know I’m not as talented as Gwen is in the areas she has excelled at, but I do know that in the areas I put my effort in that I have the capacity to be as excellent as she is. I always put my best effort forward on everything that I enjoy and have an interest in. I strive to be like Gwen. I strive to put my whole heart into every project and task that I wish to do in life. She provides daily inspiration and motivation for me and my life. I hope to be half as amazing as she is.

Lately there was this great article written about her (read it HERE). It’s about how she has bounced back after her crazy year.

“Everything was so unexpected last year — everything from my life changing, my personal life changing and being able to write a record,” Stefani said. The struggle before arriving at a new phase in life felt as if “I was kind of like Rocky at the top of the steps,” she said.

You go, girl! She is truly like Rocky at the top of the steps. And so am I.

Next post: Grad school and beyond

The year between [This is Thirty series]

Previous post: Senior year

So this is the awkward transitioning stage. I took a year “off” between undergrad and grad school, but was still taking a class or two at a time to try to increased my GPA and had to take certain classes to get into certain vet schools. So this post will cover May 2008 to May 2009.

So I started my summer after graduating by moving back home, going to the doctor and dentist, and landing two jobs. I ended up quitting the first job and took the second job since I liked the animal hospital better, or so I thought I did. My summer was so busy since I was working about 50-60 hours a week at the animal hospital and working on my vet school applications. It flew by with me not even thinking about much other than the job, writing about 28 essays for vet schools (I applied to 13 of them) and trying to once in awhile hang out with friends. In the late summer/early Fall, I started going to a 20-somethings ministry gathering every week. I did this in order to make new friends, which with my magnetic personality I found myself making a few friends pretty quickly.

It was the 2nd or 3rd time I was there and I met a guy that I was instantly attracted to. He was tall, dark, handsome, and had a thick Bulgarian accent. I kept it cool, but made sure to exchange phone numbers with this guy. Two days later, I called him and asked him to hang out with me. Over the next few weeks, we would hang out once or twice a week. You could call them dates, he would usually pay for whatever it was we were doing. At one point, he briefly met my parents, but this made him extremely uncomfortable and after that he wouldn’t come to pick me up at my parent’s house. This was one of the first red flags, but I chose to continue to pursue him despite this and despite my mom warning me it wouldn’t work out. I ended up finding out he was about 10 years older than me as well, which at first bothered me but the more I got to know him the more I realized we had a lot in common despite the age difference. Against every fiber in my being, I dug deep to find all of the patience I could muster, and continued to go on dates without pressuring this guy to be more than just a friend.

Another awkward aspect added to this situation was my friendship with the ex that I dated for 2.5 years, which was on and off throughout this time. I had invited all my friends to go ice skating, including the ex and this new friend, along with all our mutual friends. About 20 people showed up, but most of the time I basically hung out with my new friend. The ex could tell I liked this guy, and he ended up making fun of him behind his back (something about his accent). After the event, the ex ended up messaging me confessing that he still had feelings for me but that he didn’t mean any harm and hoped the new relationship worked out for me. This just made me mad. I had made a huge mistake inviting my ex to hang out with me and my friends.

The dreaded day came when my friend asked me to hang out with him after the weekly ministry meeting, and I knew it wasn’t going to be what I wanted to hear. We went to Dunkin Donuts and got some coffee, and he told me he didn’t want to date me. He told me there was another girl at his church who was also interested in dating him, but that at this time in his life he had to focus on other priorities other than a girlfriend/romantic relationship. I sat there thinking if not now then when? He was 33 years old and not ready to settle down? Or was it just me? Either way, we parted as friends. After that, we didn’t hang out very often, but for Christmas he found me at my cousin’s house where we exchanged gifts and he met my cousins, who instantly loved him as much as I did. My heart was broken. I didn’t get dumped, I got denied before I could even be given a chance. The only thing he thought was wrong with me was that I didn’t have enough female Christian friends, and I wasn’t part of a bible study. I found myself in a similar situation like I was during my Freshman year, just this time I wasn’t “Christian enough.” Like there’s a scale and me going to church and ministry group wasn’t enough. This was one of the times I felt like I wasn’t good enough.

After all of this, I decided to go out on new year’s with two of my high school friends and a friend of my ex’s. Three of the four of us got pretty drunk, and the 4th drove us all home. Somehow, through this drunken event, I got to know my ex’s friend better than I ever had before. Over the next few weeks, we started talking and hanging out often. At first, we would only hang out with other people, including my ex. But over time, we realized we liked each other more than just friends, and we started hanging out alone. I went against my own rules and kissed this boy before being official (up until this point I had only kissed qualified boyfriends). We were both aware of how upset my ex (his good friend) would be if he knew we were dating. And I struggled to see past this. I didn’t want to ruin their friendship (bros before hoes). Eventually, we came to a crossroad, and decided that we liked each other too much to continue hiding so we ended up going public. This unsurprisingly put a very awkward wedge between my new boyfriend and his friend, my ex. This was the first time I had ever dated an ex’s friend, and let me tell you I regretted it. With a normal dating relationship, the announcement of being together should be exciting. For us, it was mostly secretive until we gained some sort of approval from our friends. So weird.

At this time, I had two vet school interviews that were out of state. For the first one, I missed my 2nd flight on the way back home and had to stay a night in Arizona. Because of this, my mom insisted that someone go with me for the 2nd interview. The boyfriend volunteered and I let him come with me. We also traveled together to go skiing/snowmobiling and to visit my friends at U of I. We spent Valentine’s day together and exchanged gifts. Despite being in many previous relationships, this was one of the first valentine’s day I had that I actually enjoyed by being with a boyfriend in person. Over time, we would mostly just talk over google chat and despite me asking him to call me more often, he wouldn’t call me. I grew bored due to my job decreasing my hours and taking some boring necessary classes at the local community college. I felt trapped and stagnant waiting for a vet school to accept me, since I was put on to two wait lists for the two schools I interviewed at.

I also met someone else. Right before travelling to Florida for my “spring break” trip, I decided to meet my friend who I had known online for the past year or so. I met him with the intention of seeing if he’d be a good fit with a single girlfriend of mine. What I didn’t expect was falling for this guy. While on vacation in Florida, many things happened: my dad got laid off his job, I dumped my boyfriend via google talk since I didn’t want our only phone conversation in the past month to be the break up call, and I ended up texting the guy I just met often. When I got back, I started to spend more time with him. We went on several dates, and after he met my extended family on Easter we became official. I hid the facebook relationship status from the ex and my other ex and their friends since it was pretty quick. I went into the summer looking forward to my new relationship, being hopeful to get into vet school in either California or Alabama, and starting a new job.

Next post: Grad school and beyond
Tangent: Gwen/Jen

Senior year [This is Thirty series]

Previous post: Junior year

This summer I worked at Hewitt once again, this time working in the 2nd location since it was much busier than the other location they had me working at the beginning of the previous summer. I participated in a bible study with my mom, continued studying tae kwon do (this time with Joyce), and started my applications to vet school for the first time. I posted in a special blog daily to share what I was learning at the bible study (see the blog HERE). And I met my future husband without even realizing it. May 21st I started the job and met the guy who prepared my desk and cubicle name card. We got along just fine as friends, and seeing how he was married and I was in a serious relationship (two years!) that was all we were. Glorified acquaintances after I left for school in August.

Through the summer, despite being able to see my boyfriend often, I found myself getting more and more irritable with him. We did have some good times: a wedding, some concerts, some fun double (and triple) dates, etc. I even started envisioning my own wedding and looked forward to getting married one day, just not particularly to my boyfriend. I found myself drifting away from him. And a large reason for this was due to me finding out that he would check my emails many times a day, more often than I would check them. He also once told me that he wanted me to share everything that I talked about with guy friends of mine. Every conversation with a guy ever, he basically wanted me to summarize or send the conversation (if it was electronic). More than once, he would go on my laptop and would just read all of my chat logs with people. This brewed a terrible mistrust between us. I trusted him completely, and would never check his emails or messages or anything of that sort. I felt the world around me crumbling down, and went into my senior year fall semester knowing that I had to end this relationship that was falling apart.

I tried to keep myself busy with school: I had classes, my job, and a research project that took up a lot of my time. I lied to myself, and tried my best to see past what was blatantly obvious to not only me but even those who were close to me. Joyce would ask me often if I had broken things off with the boy yet. I dragged my feet, and eventually in October decided to take another “break” for some time. I remember my boyfriend being upset and asking me if we would be back together for Christmas, or Easter, or graduation… etc. Also, we kept falling into this cycle of setting up physical boundaries and then breaking them. I was struggling with what I wanted physically and what I believed spiritually. At this time in my life, I wasn’t able to commit myself fully enough to this relationship to move past this barrier I was enduring.

In November, I broke up with the boyfriend. He was in shock, and tried the bargaining phase first by threatening that his mom and grandma would have to return the gifts they got me for Christmas. Then he backpedaled and said it was a mutual break up. He ended with “let’s be friends after awhile- after we give ourselves time to heal.” I didn’t know what that would look like, but at first I was relieved to be free. Free from the pressures and being dragged down this rabbit hole. Also, free to change my email password. Right after the break up, I went to NYC with Joyce for fall break and to celebrate Thanksgiving away from reality. It helped me get my mind off things, but as the semester came to an end I found myself extremely alone without the guy I had spent the last almost two and a half years with. I went into winter break working at Hewitt and was asked out by two of my co-workers, both of which I turned down since the wound was still fresh, and they were two idiots anyways. 😛

The ex wanted to be friends again before I was ready, then when I was ready I was basically thrown back into his life. We started talking since this stupid guy I had just started talking to over the internet contacted my ex and said a bunch of stupid stuff. We reunited under good terms, but I found it strange that my ex was very concerned that I would date someone too soon. He asked me to wait until (?) when he was ready for me to move on. I didn’t have much time to think about this request since a week after we started talking again, his mom suddenly passed away. I was literally thrown back into his life, at his mom’s wake and funeral, and there with him after all of it. I even drove him back to school afterwards, and we got stuck in a snow storm so stayed the night at a hotel about 45 minutes away from school. This was the night I realized how much I missed him, and being around him. Despite everything, he was basically my best friend that I had drifted away from. My best friend who didn’t trust me while I loved and trusted him completely. My feelings came to the surface and I could no longer be around him since I felt like I had to get over him but couldn’t with him near me. I selfishly pushed him away during one of the worst times in his life. My only regret, even to this day.

But moved on I did. I graduated from college with a smile on my face, and I went into the summer trying to get my first “official” adult job as I reapplied to vet school again (I didn’t get in during my first try).

Next post: The year between

Music, God, and everything inbetween [This is Thirty series]

::Tangent::
Previous post: Junior year

Music is an escape. Music is a form of expression. What I listened to affected me in multiple ways. I would listen to Nine Inch Nails and Tool when I wanted to release my anger. I would listen to Vanessa Carlton and Alicia Keys when I wanted to feel romantic. I would listen to Linkin Park and Incubus when I wanted to express my weirdness.

I have always been drawn to emotional music that helps express how I feel in that particular moment. I would often post lyrics on whatever blog or medium where I was trying to express myself.

So many moons that we have seen
Stumbling back next to me
I’ve seen right through and underneath
And you make me better

Sing to me the song of the stars
Of Your galaxy dancing and laughing
and laughing again
When it feels like my dreams are so far
Sing to me of the plans that You have for me over again

Sometimes I get so weird
I even freak myself out
I laugh my self to sleep
It’s my lullaby
Is it enough?
Is it enough?
Is it enough to breath?
Somebody rip my heart out
And leave me here to bleed
Is it enough to die?
Somebody save my life
I’d rather be anything but ordinary please

If I could fall
Into the sky
Do you think time
Would pass me by
‘Cause you know I’d walk
A thousand miles
If I could
Just see you
Tonight
It’s always times like these
When I think of you
And I wonder
If you ever
Think of me

 

 
In addition to music, my faith in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit has also played a large influence on my life. I haven’t always been super religious, and actually don’t always go to church. I grew up Catholic and when I went away to college I decided to leave all that behind me. I did a lot of growing and soul searching in college (who doesn’t?). My sophomore year I joined Campus Crusade for Christ and a bible study. As time went on, I grew closer to Jesus and further from the people around me who weren’t on the same page as me. At the same time, I kept strong relationships with people no matter their beliefs. I was always very close to Joyce who was and still is agnostic. This doesn’t bother me at all, as I have always maintained a very open mind and heart to those around me. The exception I made was for those people who claimed to be good people and yet acted opposite from their supposed claims and beliefs. Those were the people I learned to push away over time.
I truly believe that my life has worked out the way it has because I took a step back from the (real) world around me and focused more on my spiritual journey. If I didn’t do this, I likely wouldn’t have completely destroyed my relationship with the guy I dated for most of my college life. But that is for the next post.

Next post: Senior year

Junior year [This is Thirty series]

Previous post: Sophomore year

This summer I worked desktop services at Hewitt Associates. It wasn’t my first choice given it was IT work, but the pay was the best I could imagine getting as a poor college student in the year of 2006. $11/hour and a full time schedule of 40 hours a week. I got the job because my dad had worked at Hewitt for the past 12 years prior to this and they had a great college hire program where they hired college students for the summer. Over the summer, I saw a vast improvement in both my brother and boyfriend. I purchased a Great America season’s pass and would go with the boyfriend and friends at least once a week after work on a weekday in order to avoid the crowded times. We also traveled to Michigan with my family for my cousin’s wedding in early July and attended a few concerts. I also did a few things on my own, now that I had a boyfriend it seemed like I felt like I had to prove that I was more than just a girl with a boy. I kept myself busy enough for the summer so that I thought I’d be happy.

I found myself struggling with my emotions often. I also found myself with a lot of free time since my job was too easy for me and they ended up switching me to a different department since there wasn’t enough to keep me busy. My doctor re-prescribed the pill for me, even though I had stopped taking the pill I had no choice but to be on it to control my cycle. I wasn’t having sex, so the pill was purely to regulate me and I hated the side effects it came with. I ended up emotionally crashing, and not just once. My boyfriend received the grunt of this, and I had trusted him to pick up the pieces. He didn’t fully understand what I was going through, and over time I realized that it was the lack of girl friends that bummed me out. I was feeling stuck with my boyfriend and his guy friends. Also, my brother and his irrational behavior was getting to me since I was around to witness what he was doing firsthand.

We celebrated our one year anniversary and I made my boyfriend a CD and some written letters that really showed how I felt for him. His initial response to hearing the songs was laughter and that crushed me. Being close over the summer helped our relationship, but there was still that same strain between us as there was over the previous spring semester. I tried my best to see past the strain and see all the good things that made me love my boyfriend in the first place. I told myself that I was young (I turned 20 this summer) and that I deserved to be happy. And if my boyfriend didn’t make me happy, I knew he wouldn’t be around much longer since he wasn’t my one and only.

I went back to school fearing things would go back the way they were, the strain between us rising again. I tried to focus on our relationship and he decided to apply to my school and got accepted for the Spring semester of our Junior year. While we were apart during the Fall semester, we once again made it work with visits every few weeks. We started reading the bible together and growing in our faith together. At school, I started a new job at the nutrition lab and I continued practicing Tae kwon do. I also continued Cru, bible study, church and playing my violin at church which I had done the year before. Thankfully, my brother seemed greatly improved and I was able to relax a lot more the first half of the semester. I also found myself growing in my faith and feeling a lot more stable and stronger emotionally.

Over time my brother got worse and my job/boss caused me additional stress. And icing on the cake, my boyfriend also started feeling anxious and stressed out as well. Once again, I felt all alone in my stress and sadness and had no one to turn to. It was in the midst of all of this that my boyfriend and I took a break, and he demanded that I read a book prior to us talking again. Some book about how to deal with anxiety. This book just made me feel anxious, but I did take away one thing from it: that I couldn’t deal with it alone. So I turned to my boyfriend’s friends and family for help. The book helped me to understand what my boyfriend was going through and actually led to me deciding to not break up with him at this time.

Over winter break, I volunteered at the local animal hospital and helped my mom out at her after-school care program. When I went back to school, my boyfriend came with me. All of a sudden, we were no longer a long distance relationship. He lived a few blocks away from me. We started working out together and he even did the foal watch class with me. At the end of January my boyfriend’s grandpa died, then my grandpa died a few weeks later. I was home for my grandpa’s wake on Valentine’s day. I remember I rearranged my schedule to be there for my boyfriend’s grandpa’s funeral but my boyfriend couldn’t do the same for me. I never felt more alone than on that Valentine’s day surrounded by family and friends at my grandpa’s wake. I was upset knowing that we once again missed another Valentine’s day, but told myself it was just a hallmark holiday anyways.

Over spring break I traveled to California with the boyfriend. I had wanted to do the Florida Cru trip again but for some reason thought it wasn’t happening until it was too late. We went to Disneyland (my first time there), San Diego zoo and wildlife park, six flags, and the beach. It was a great trip. I had to fork over additional money to get a room with two beds since I didn’t trust myself and the boy enough to spend a week in the same bed. The end of the semester I felt myself growing closer to the Lord and growing in my faith more than focusing on my boyfriend. It was weird, now that we were physically close, it felt like we were drifting apart emotionally. I went into the summer with a promise to myself that I would focus on growing spiritually and emotionally, with or without the boy. I wrote this in my livejournal at the end of the semester: Let the Lord open my heart and let me understand where I am to go and who I am to be.

Next post: Senior year
Tangent: Music, God, and everything inbetween

Sophomore year [This is Thirty series]

Previous post: Freshman year

Picking up from where I left off, I started the summer after my Freshman year feverishly applying to as many jobs as I could once I got home to my parent’s house. After a few weeks, I ended up being offered two jobs: a cashier at Jewel for $6.55/hour and a dog walker/care attendant at a pet motel for $8.50/hour. I took the higher paying job since it was closer to my goal of getting into veterinary care than Jewel was. I also took a summer Calculus course since I received a D in the class during my Freshman year. Once I had the job and class lined up, I decided to start taking steps to try and fulfill this bet I had placed with my friend Polina that we could get boyfriends for the summer, or “summer flings.” I was also tasked with the goal of getting over my internet crush mentioned previously.

I turned to the internet for help in my endeavors to find a local boy to date. Since I was a poor college student, I used a website called OKCupid. It was free and full of mostly creepers minus a few slightly normal people. Some people were on there only looking for sex, so I had to weave through quite a few guys before I settled on three of them to meet. I met three guys over two weekends in mid to late June of 2005. The first guy was nice and lived about 10 minutes away from me. The second guy was a dud, he showed up several hours late and had way too many weird quirks for me to consider continuing to see him. I found myself instantly falling for the third guy, especially on our second date. Over the next week, I broke things off with the first guy and a wave of patience overtook me as I continued to go on dates with the third guy but didn’t feel like I should rush anything.

On July 17th he asked me to be his girlfriend, and I gladly accepted. I liked him a lot but didn’t really see us lasting much longer past the summer. In August, I went to Ireland for the last two weeks of the summer. I missed my boyfriend greatly, and was surprised that he emailed me while I was away saying he missed me as well. Once school started up, our relationship became long distance. We somehow made it work, between me going home to visit and him visiting me at my school we saw each other at least once every 2-3 weeks. We also regularly talked via email, text, and phone calls. We even exchanged a few long-winded, heartfelt letters. Despite all this, in the back of my mind I had doubts we would work out due to the distance. I felt like it was harder on him than me, so I chose to give it a try as long as he didn’t get too lonely. When I went home for Thanksgiving, he told me that he loved me. At first I was struck speechless, but then I found the words to say that I loved him too.

At school, I started working at the meat science lab part time between my classes and I found myself trying to make friends but somehow got unlucky and found two creepers. The first was this guy I met while ushering at Krannert Center for performing arts. He hung out with my friends and me a few times, but one day was texting me about how he liked me and wanted to kiss me. I quickly ended that friendship. In December, I was invited out to a local bar on campus with a bunch of friends and co-workers. One guy in particular who was new to me was talking to me and being friendly. After some time, he told me he had had a rough week and needed a hug. I ended up giving him a hug. Since it was late when we left the bar, he drove me back to my dorm hall. When we got there, he got out of the car and tried to hug me… then tried to kiss me goodbye. Once I realized what he was trying to do, I pulled away and walked away very quickly into my dorm hall, not looking back.

This scared me to the point where I couldn’t tell anyone what happened. I completely cut any communication with the guy. After a few days, things died down and I felt a lot better. Unfortunately, since this guy got upset after I stopped talking to him, he found my boyfriend via facebook and ended up sending him messages. He made up a story that he kissed and made out with me, and that we liked each other. Needless to say, my boyfriend instantly reached out to me and asked me about what happened. I ended up freaking out all over again, but after thinking logically and talking to my mom, I told my boyfriend everything that happened. He believed me over this random guy, even though this guy doctored up a “chat” between us that never happened. He was upset I hadn’t told him right away, but understood that I got scared and was being stupid. I calmed down a lot once I knew my boyfriend believed me and thought things would get better from then on.

I also told myself I would never put myself in a similar situation ever again. I would never give out hugs to people I barely know, and I would be much more conscious of the vibes I was giving out and receiving from other people, especially guys. My boyfriend and I had a great winter break full of good quality time, but once I went back to school everything changed. On our 6 month anniversary, I received an email from my boyfriend on how he was confused since it felt like I wouldn’t open up to him and was feeling distant from him, even when I was right next to him. This started my Spring 2006 semester from hell. Between my boyfriend who suffered from anxiety and my brother who started having his own issues, I lost a ton of sleep and was constantly stressed out. I would go back and forth in my mind, I would want to dump my boyfriend one week, but then after we hung out I would love him even more and not want to end things. Somewhere between all of this, I decided that my boyfriend wasn’t my one and only, and since I felt this way I also chose to not have sex with him.

I spent my spring break with the Christian group I was a part of, in Panama City Beach. This was a great time and it helped me realize something that I wasn’t 100% sure of until this point. It was this week that I chose to wait until marriage for sex and everything related/close to sex. This also was the start to a new phase in my relationship with my boyfriend as well. At first, he felt jealous that I was learning everything that I was about God and Jesus, etc. But I reassured him we were both beginning our relationship with God and that it would be a slow and steady progress. We went into the summer looking forward to spending a lot more time together rather than apart as we usually did during the school year. I hoped to help my boyfriend feel less anxious and more calm overall. Being around him and my brother seemed to have a positive effect on them that I hoped would continue in the summer.

Next post: Junior year

Sunday Morning [This is Thirty series]

Previous post: Freshman year

::Tangent::

Sunday Morning is hands down one of my favorite No Doubt songs. It’s off their Tragic Kingdom album, and it helped me through many break ups. This song applies to where I am in my story: it helped me move on from many guys that I liked and/or loved and then chose to move on from.

My favorite verse:

I know who I am, but who are you?
You’re not looking like you used to
You’re on the other side of the mirror
So nothing’s looking quite as clear
Thank you for turning on the lights
Thank you, now you’re the parasite
I didn’t think you had it in you
And now you’re looking like I used to!
Watch the music video HERE. 🙂
A blog post that’s 12 years old, but shows a bit how I felt about Gwen even back then: Click HERE
Next post: Sophomore year

Freshman year [This is Thirty series]

Previous post: High School

I left off the story at the end of my Senior Prom. After Prom, I graduated from high school and had a graduation party. At this party, most of my friends and family celebrated with me. Right around this time, one of my guy friends flirted with me and confessed that he had a crush on me (not the same guy I went to Prom with, his friend who introduced us). I was about to leave for a two week trip to Europe with my high school orchestra group and my family, so I didn’t act on the news and instead chose to put it on pause until I returned. By the time I returned, he had already moved on. Over the summer before college, I grew anxious over the thought of moving out of my childhood home, away from my parents. I also got to know the guy I had taken to prom better, over AIM since he lived in Wisconsin and was about 2 hours away from me.

The week I left for school was the same week I left behind family drama by getting out of that environment. The night before I left for school, my mom had gotten so mad at my dad she left the home for several hours and didn’t show up back home until midnight. To say I was a wreck is an understatement. I started school with the thought that I was starting a new life. I stopped going to church (no one to make me go) and I found myself not eating much unless I was around people I knew. Over time, I ended up eating on average only a meal a day, maybe two if I was lucky. I soon decided to start dating that Wisconsin guy, even though I was even further away from him. We made it work: I visited him over labor day, he visited me one October weekend. We really liked each other, I gave him his first kiss ever (crazy). Then he exposed his true self to me. He told me some stuff about his past, which didn’t bother me. He told me he wanted me to know Jesus and be Christian and grow in the Lord with him. All of this scared me. I didn’t fully understand it and it came off as really strong from him. It took a toll on an already taxing relationship (due to the distance). I took a few weeks to think about what I wanted, but ended up dumping the guy right around Thanksgiving.

Shortly after this, I clung onto my other friends to move on as smoothly as possible. I mentioned this before, but this was when I called up my internet friend often and found talking to him helped me move on, but also found myself falling for this friend of mine as well. It was a very one-sided feeling that he couldn’t quite match with me due to the distance. Knowing this, I fell into a very emotional time in my life. Near the end of February, I posted some blog posts that were very dark and painful. One of my friends ended up calling the police on me since she didn’t have my phone number to call me to make sure I was ok. She was worried I was suicidal, which I wasn’t but I was glad for the wake up call. I spent the night in the ER and afterwards, somehow, felt a lot better.

I started making all the needed moves to try my best and move on from my fake imaginary relationship in my head with my internet friend. It took him emailing me “back to the bloody drawing board” to finally get it to sink into my thick skull and settle into my mushy brain. At this point, I definitely had a very poor outlook on my dating life, and the thought of marriage never crossed my mind in a positive way. In April, I met a guy through a mutual friend of ours and almost instantly had a crush on him. The first night we met, the three of us played card games. This was one of the first times I realized I had a thing for the nerdy boys. I pursued this one, ended up asking him out to dinner, lunch, and made him watch a movie or two with me. Unfortunately, it was already near the end of the school year when this was happening. He was from Texas and was going back to Texas for the summer. I was going to ask him if he liked me, but ended up losing my guts and never asking. Instead, I went into the summer apprehensive to leave school (I finally enjoyed it) and secretly hoping he would still like me in the fall.

Next post: Sophomore Year

 

Two worlds [This is Thirty Series]

::Tangent:: Previous post: Highschool

Growing up, I wasn’t your typical teenager. My dad was and still is a huge IT nerd. He always gave me the latest and greatest in the world of technology. I remember I was in 8th grade when he gave me my first laptop computer. My world changed once my friend told me over the phone about this chat room/website that she would go on to chat with other teens. It was called Cyberteens. This place was literally a brand new world to me. I could create any (and multiple) screen names, I could be whoever I felt like being. Any gender, any age, any location (the three main questions typically summed up in A/S/L?).

Because of this and the frequent use of AIM, MSN, and Yahoo messenger, I “met” many people over the internet. Throughout high school, I would go through online “relationships” where someone would ask me out via messenger, and I would agree. I had more relationships than screen-names. I wouldn’t even know where to begin to try and remember them all. But there was one person that stuck out to me.

I found myself growing closer and closer to this person, slowly opening up my world to him. He wasn’t anything spectacular, he was just a good friend who was always there to listen/talk to me. Over time, I found myself falling for him whenever I was single, aka not in a real life (other world) relationship, or other online relationship. We even tried the whole online relationship thing, but it wasn’t enough for us. And if anything, it made me feel more awkward around him. Weird how that works.

Over time, as we grew up and were in college, during my freshman year (which I haven’t gotten to yet so kind of getting ahead of myself here) I found myself single after breaking up with someone in my very real life. I somehow found myself back in the same pattern with my friend from the internet. Just this time, I found myself calling him often and hearing his voice made what was still not real seem more real to me. After awhile and some really hard and sad times on me, he ended up basically laying out reality for me. He helped me realize that what I was imagining was just that: imagination. Reality was that we were 800+ miles apart with no realistic chance of meeting any time soon.

And even if we met, it wouldn’t change anything. Long distance relationships don’t work. I took the advice, and actually grew from it. I did utilize the internet after that, but that was to find a local guy rather than a distant one. I ended up using internet dating websites several times to meet several potential dates, but I never met anyone else via chat rooms after high school. I’ve fallen out of contact with many of those people minus a few. And I did eventually meet that guy I thought I loved. He actually currently lives in the same city as me. And we’re both happily married now, to the right people. Funny how that works.

Next post: Freshman year