Costume Review

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve tried to write this. So let me just say, I think it’s fitting for me to do it today.

After the parties and costumes, everyone goes back to their normal lives and the spooky spirit is past.

Today feels a lot like the day I lost you. That time, I was more tricked than treated though. Tricked because after all the elaborate costumes I’ve seen in this world, yours fooled me most.

My best friend.

You played it so well I didn’t even realize you were in character. So, as you can imagine, I was not prepared for the reveal.

For your impeccable ability to never break character, I applaud you. Very convincing and unpleasantly realistic.

In the category of creativity, I find myself a little underwhelmed. My ex was a bold accessory to your costume but lacked any real vision.

The most important area, to which I owe you immense credit, is the intensity of your aura. You had me believing in your act (playing along even).

Bonus points for getting me to open up to you, believe in you, and love you (your character).

As I always do, I keep thinking there is a greater purpose and better is just ahead. In my head, I know this is true.

In the soft spot of my heart, I’m reminded how painfully human I can feel in the meantime.

Heartbreak over a lover can have you completely twisted. But heartbreak from a best friend will leave you feeling the tiniest you’ve ever felt.

It catches you while you’re washing your hands. Just completely uncalled for, it feels like shock at first but I’ve come to know it as forced acceptance.

Losing a connection like we had is an absolute tragedy. It’s something I will always struggle to fully understand. But, at the same time, I’m thankful to be freed from it.

In a weird way, I wish that it wasn’t time to take off the costumes. I wish we could just pretend that so much hadn’t happened and spend one more minute together.

So many amazing memories have connected us. Now we have headed down separate paths and that’s a hard thing to accept.

Growing up hurts. Growing apart hurts more.

 

Connecting the Dots

I’m back from a brief mental sabbatical and I bring new insights.

Over the past month, my life has taken some interesting turns. Throughout these changes, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my past and I recalled an important moment that I never appreciated until now.

Just about two years ago, I was going through quite a rough patch. To top it off, I was pretty broke but I severely needed to buy a car. I ceaselessly searched for something in my price range while still having a few unmovable requirements. By unmovable requirements, I mean that it had to be a Fiat. (If you know me, you know this was nonnegotiable.)

I eventually found a perfect option in Houston, so I took off and got a ride to go seal the deal. Now mind you, I gave the dealership a call the day before to let them know I was a serious buyer and I would be there the next day with a down payment.

The next morning comes and I’m about halfway there. Something started itching in my mind and I felt the urge to call the dealership once again to let them know I was almost there. To my absolute disbelief the lady tells me, “Oh goodness I’m so sorry we literally just sold it.” I really can’t make this up.

Here I am, halfway to Houston, with no other prospects and I have one day to find a new car that fell into my measly price range. Talk about Mission Impossible.

Needless to say, I was panicking. So many things had been going wrong in my life and I was so fed up. I really just wanted that damn car.

After a few hours of driving around to some lots, I lowered my standards. I got online and found, dare I say it…a Mini Cooper. I know what you’re probably thinking. Madelyn in a British car?! Yes, I know. Bloody dreadful.

But, I was out of options so I had to give it a chance. I don’t think I can stress enough that I had to find a vehicle that day or I would be riding the Beaumont metro to work.

So, I get to the dealership and tell the salesman that I’ve come to see the Mini Cooper (while trying to hide the disgust of course). He leads me to a section that has the trade-ins. All fantastic vehicles, but my heart was not in it.

As we approach my disdainful second choice, my attention is caught just past it. My eyes could barely believe it. An adorable, perfect Fiat sat two doors down.

He tells me that it just became available today and hasn’t even been uploaded online. I’m telling you I was close to tears. Here before me sat a newer, cheaper, more beautiful Fiat than the one for which I had made this trip. This was nothing short of a match made in Heaven.

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To this day young Fiavanni hasn’t failed me. He has been one of the most consistent parts of my adult life. Even more than transportation, he represents my foundation. From that point forward, I started becoming the person I know myself to be today.

Now, to most, this might seem like a dramatic tale of a girl and her obsession with her car. But, from where I’m sitting now it’s so much more.

This experience showed me that sometimes I think I know exactly what I want, exactly what I need or deserve, but truthfully there was something so much better waiting for me. After seeing this, I started recognizing other parts of my life that I could apply this to.

There has been countless points where I wonder why something isn’t working, or I’m upset that something didn’t go how I thought it should. Then later down the road, something greater occurs and I feel silly for even questioning my destiny.

Here recently, I’ve been able to fully accept the unexpectedness of life with open arms. Once I opened my mind, my opportunities soared.

All this recent newness is what I have craved for so long. Now I see that I was always swimming against the current. I was so obsessed with taking control of my life that I forgot to allow life to lead me sometimes.

Steve Jobs (who I greatly admire) once said something, nothing too prophetic but something that resonates with me. He said, “…you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”

I feel blessed to be able to experience this enlightenment at a young age. Because even though I know my 20s will be full of struggle, I am content knowing that it will all be for my greater good.

Dear Stevie Nicks

In 1975, “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac was released. Even 43 years later this song is still touching people. More specifically, this song has touched me.

I recently went through a break up. This is nothing new or surprising for 20 somethings like me. I am no special example or fearless relationship leader.

I’m human.

The thing is, I love to love and be loved. Though this is a wonderful concept, it doesn’t protect you from the ravages of time. As we all know, seasons come and go. It is only rational to accept that sometimes people do too.

I can say all this with finality but I have only recently accepted it.

For years, my life was built around a man that I thought was my whole world. Not unlike most people in love. But, I was wrong.

I wasn’t wrong for dating him. Nor was I wrong for the sacrifices I made to be with him. I was wrong for letting one person define me. I was wrong for watering myself down and allowing my feelings to convince me that it was okay. I was wrong for not practicing what I preach.

The truth is, I was most wrong for doing all this and failing to realize that he no longer even knew who I was. And what a shame that is because I’m pretty awesome.

Or at least, I know that I should be awesome. I should be doing amazing things. But, I was so scared of changing. I was terrified that if I messed things up then I would’ve missed out on my life.

I thought it would be too hard to find Madelyn. Once again, I was wrong.

What was actually terrifying was allowing a relationship to carry on when neither of us were truly happy. We were pleasantly comfortable. We were friends. We thought that was good enough.

Then, one day, I came to the realization that it wasn’t enough for me. I think he wasn’t too far behind, arriving to the same conclusion.

It can be really hard to break things off when nothing detrimental happens. Believe me there were times I wished it could be that easy.

Except life isn’t meant to be easy. It’s meant to be worth it. I was supposed to experience this and gain the courage to choose myself.

After we actually broke up, I got in my car and just drove around. At first, I sat in complete silence just thinking about everything. Eventually my thoughts were too loud and I turned on the radio.

*Cue “Landslide”*

I started singing the words and for the first time ever, I wasn’t just singing along. I meant it. I had always thought that it was such a sad song. I thought she was abandoned and brokenhearted.

This time though, it had a new meaning. I really heard her.

“I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
‘Til the landslide brought it down” 

I knew I had really tried. I climbed the mountain and when I got to the top, I realized there was somewhere else I was supposed to be. It was right until it wasn’t.

My new realization was that this choice had finally made me feel like a woman.

I know I’m not perfect, and I definitely know I wasn’t a perfect girlfriend to him. But in my heart, I know I gave it my all. I let the hourglass empty.

It wasn’t me, and it wasn’t even him. It just wasn’t meant to be us.

Stevie said time makes you bolder, even children get older. Well….I’m getting older too.

Separationship

Self-love and self-discovery are two extremely important themes for me.

I passionately encourage every person I know to be unapologetically themselves. In addition, I find it equally important to keep an open mind about your growth and pay attention to the ways you change.

I feel like after experiencing the normal bouts of heartache and disappointment, I bucked up and realized something undoubtedly vital.

I was searching for my life in other people, but I wasn’t so ready to find it within myself.

This was obviously something that wasn’t an overnight fix. Honestly, having that proverbial bomb dropped on you can feel too intimidating to even decipher.

But alas, here I am to share my inner thoughts.

So often I see people invest their time into unreliable relationships. That could be sketchy girl/boyfriends, inconsistent family members, and sometimes questionable friends. The thing is: other people are important in our lives and they play their part but we must realize our part as well. If you aren’t comfortable by yourself, as an individual, you shouldn’t expect your relationships to be anywhere near comfortable.

It’s easy to hide behind someone when you’re in doubt. It’s simple to allow their plans to guide your own. Even more so, it’s convenient to rely on someone to be your distraction. Inversely, it is also too common to spread our ideas of how others should be leading their lives while we ourselves are unsure.

But, let me tell you a few things that are more fulfilling than all of that.

Feeling confident because you’re rocking your own style. Loving your plans because you made them. Focusing on what you want for your future, and figuring out how to make it happen. Ultimately, this is all because you are in control of your life.

Now, I don’t claim to have all the answers and I personally have a lot more figuring out to do. But, I can tell you this: since focusing on the inner-workings of me, my happiness with myself, and those around me, has grown exponentially.

You have to take the time to fully absorb the things that make you unique. Spending alone time doesn’t have to be lonely. Here’s a big shocker…you can pretty much do anything (that you usually do with others) by yourself.

For example, I really enjoy sitting by myself at the park. I usually bring a tapestry and throw it on the grass. As I sit there for a little while, I start to recalibrate. I look around at the activities going on around and remember how many different lives are being lived completely unassociated with mine. This brief moment at a park may be the only time our paths ever cross. And there is something so exciting about that.

Because on this particular day, I could’ve made the biggest mistake of my life or maybe I had the absolute best day ever. Either way, to everyone else at that park, I am just as I was any other day: a girl sitting in a park. Only I am aware of the difference.

My life is completely separate of theirs, just as much as they are separate of mine. I understand that in any given situation, my life and my choices are for me to determine.

I’ve gained balance with who I am and who I become each day. I can appreciate the people in my life much more now that I understand what I have to give them in return. I enjoy my time with those important to me, but in the space between I find joy being with myself.

I call this: a separationship. (Because it’s absolutely wrong to not label your relationship with yourself.)

Your soul is begging for attention and exploration. All you have to do is slow down and start listening.

Growing Pains

From my closest friends, I’ve gained so much insight into the world. Sometimes I even feel selfish that I get to learn through my own experiences and of those around me.

From this constant social experiment, I have learned a few important truths. One particular thing I can say, without a doubt: most of us have been cheated on.

I understand that it can be painful and exhausting dealing with that sort of thing. I just think that dragging it around like luggage is way more exhausting.

I say this abrasively because most (not all but most) of the time, cheating is not a quick end. It always seems like that first red flag is too easily forgotten. The first doubt is dismissed.

Then slowly but surely, you ignore blatant clues: change in behavior, lack of communication, and even sometimes total silence. All so you can grasp at a relationship that is obviously ending.

I remember the first time a guy cheated on me. When I initially found out, I was silent. Until three seconds later when I was completely outraged.

My friend was with me and being the stubborn and supportive person she was, she made me go to his house and confront him. I’ve always been pretty straightforward, but I was terrified to face him after what happened. The whole car ride I didn’t know what was more intense: my anger or my embarrassment.

So we get to his house and she doesn’t even pull in, but that’s mainly due to the other woman‘s car being in the driveway. No, I’m really not joking. At this point, I am absolutely speechless.

Long story short: I stood there for seven minutes and he never came to the door. Just imagine standing at the door of someone you cared about, knowing they are inside with the person they’ve cheated with. It was the strangest, most confusing seven minutes I have ever experienced. But, I needed it.

When I realized he wouldn’t answer, I figured it was either because he was in an uncompromising position or he was a coward. I slammed his glass door hard enough to properly symbolize my emotions and I walked away.

I’ve always been one for the dramatics.

Even though I completely cut him out of my life, I forgave him in those first seven minutes. Partly because he was only human but mainly because I was oddly thankful for what happened. I realized that through his actions I was shown so many things about myself and the world.

I probably sound like a huge optimist but I think a more accurate explanation is that I try to make sense of situations and learn from them when I can. The knowledge I gathered from dealing with a cheater (and through the emotional aftermath), was a more-than-fair trade for my ex.

I’ve never really talked about it with people, but it is one situation in which I’m truly proud of myself. I didn’t allow the actions of one man define me or break me. I elegantly bowed out.

Getting “cheated on” gives the impression that we are at the cheating’s mercy, powerless to it. I beg to disagree. We may have no control over the cheating aspect, but when we find out, we have every ounce of control over the situation. The cheater has already played their hand, but now it’s your turn.

How you carry out your next move says it all. I realized I would rather be a hero to myself. I would be the type of person that I had wished he would be: graceful.

Though I struggled with what happened, I released myself. I know I was not the woman for him and I never try to be something I’m not. I allowed myself to be hurt, but I kept the bigger picture in mind. Being cheated on showed me that I hadn’t invested nearly enough into myself yet.

The thing is, we know that we are only human. Humans are beautifully flawed and impeccably imperfect. We make mistakes. No one wants to admit that they could get cheated on and you don’t go around expecting it. But, it does happen and we will always get through it.

Emotional and mental growth can be just as painful as physical growth.

The most important things are to find your new groove and maintain a healthy separation from the other person. More on that next week.

Pressure Cooked

Recently I had my first, but more importantly my last, experience with a pressure cooker.

Now, I’ve always heard of people making cooking analogies but I’ve finally experienced one in real life. Hear me out.

If you don’t know, a pressure cooker is a sealed pot that builds up steam which makes the temperature inside ridiculously hot. So basically, it’s either a quick meal or a delicious bomb.

In my case, it was an extremely well-seasoned soup explosion. I’m not kidding when I say my kitchen was redecorated with vegetables. And I was burnt to a crisp.

Immediately after my unfortunate event, I completely swore off all pressure cookers ever. I was absolutely done with them. Whether it was bad luck or stupidity, I could never risk it again.

A couple weeks passed and I started thinking about the entire incident in a different light. (If you know me at all, you know I try to take something positive from every situation.) I was so quick to write off pressure cookers as dangerous but I myself have been like that pressure cooker.

I know what you’re thinking, “Did she just compare herself to cookware?” And the answer is yes, yes I did. I think it’s so important to gain wisdom where you can, even in the strangest places.

In my life, I’ve left questions unanswered and misunderstandings unsolved. I’ve even boiled my personality to be softer, more palpable. By doing this, I allowed these things to have unnecessary pressure on me and power over me.

At first it’s fine…right? I was just trying to maintain a certain level of strength as everyone else does. I think nothing of it. But then, it escalates.

Next thing you know, my questions turn into false doubts. My misunderstandings become baseless indifferences. Then I’m looking in the mirror and the reflection doesn’t seem so familiar.

*Boom*

Like the soup covering my kitchen, the words of my multi-faceted issues are covering the eardrums of my poor best friend. God bless her. (At least she didn’t get third degree burns in the process.)

Too often I see myself and people around me holding in their thoughts, feelings, and even themselves. Why are we not more honest? Why is it so difficult to be ourselves?

The only explanation I can think of: because we have collectively decided that this was the easiest course of action. It’s too easy to avoid confrontation and remain neutral. It’s too easy to lose ourselves in an attempt to blend in with others.

How sad.

We are all unique, passionate individuals that should never compromise our mental integrity.

If you have something to say, say it. Don’t be a jerk. But, be you. If you want to be seen as who you really are, start showing your true colors. Expose your mind to the world and allow yourself to be vulnerable.

So many times I’ve had friends and even boyfriends who never truly knew me. This created a false representation of who I am and I may never be able to change that. No matter my reasoning, I held back and that can only be blamed on me.

I’m not perfect and I finally stopped trying to act like I could be. I try to be perfectly myself, perfectly satisfied with who I am. Perfectly directed towards growth and individuality.

The longer I know those close to me, the more I admire who they are inside. Having the privilege of getting to know someone, for who they truly are, is so insane. It’s such a change of pace from boring chit chat and polite conversation.

Useful advice:

Never buy a pressure cooker; never be a pressure cooker.

 

 

Honey, Be

After I turned twenty, I started realizing things. This meant being more open with myself and forcing my friends to do the same (for my research of course).

Side note: Thank you everyone who participated in my study, you've all been so unknowingly helpful.

I guess I9a000ac049b9f4cdd3facb1f2d40bcde got freaked out by being two decades old and not being where I thought I would. So I kicked my mind into maximum overdrive and I have been consuming information like I’m in a hot dog competition.

I wanted to know exactly why 20-somethings aren’t living the life we crave to live. And the conclusion I have come to: we haven’t really tried.

After listening to so many people around me, I finally get it. We sit here and think, and overthink, and then overthink our overthinking. While we were wasting so much time imagining what we could or should be, we have failed to just be.

That is the problem I’m presenting; we aren’t being present. Not enough of us are human be-ings.

I feel absolutely regretful looking back on all the moments I haven’t taken full advantage of, too busy plotting my future. *laughs ironically* Here I am, in the future. Send Help. Nothing is like I thought it would be.

And that’s exactly my point.

I thought so much about what this time of my life would be like and what I would be doing. Yet, most of those things never happened. Seems like that entire time I must have been confused, right? What I thought I wanted was really just what I thought would make me feel alive. Yet here I am, feeling very much alive. Except, I haven’t really been living. It’s more like I’ve been quietly existing.

But that’s changing.

I’m sick of not really trying. I’m making more time for the people I care about. I’m finding new things and places that I enjoy. Above all, I’m understanding myself more and more each day.

This is the peace that I hope everyone will reach. Because I’m looking at my calendar and for the first time, I have real plans. Not just the ones I dreamed up, but real, actual plans. Journeys that will potentially change my life.

Maybe I’m not living in a beautiful city or making an excessive amount of money, but that’s finally okay with me. Because more than ever before, I’m happy.

I know everything is as it should be, or it will eventually be. For now, I just have to be.

 

 

 

 

Anti-Blogger (or Intro)

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I believe myself to be a writer.

As a kid, I constantly had my nose in a book. Growing up with Lizzy Bennet as my best friend, I felt particularly compelled to recognize my purpose and explore my intelligence. Oh and how can I forget Jane Eyre? These women inspired me from such a young age and still have a lasting affect on me. This was all through the power of written language.

Yet, while reading fueled my mind with inspiration and new perspectives, it could never keep me satisfied. I have come to realize that while my classical idols are responsible for the spark, my newer role models have set my soul aflame. With so many people (real or fictitious) inspiring me every day of my life, it is absolutely impossible to not want to write.

The act of writing itself is what interests me. I solemnly believe that writing is full of diversity and passion if one tries. And I think I’m supposed be to be trying a little more…

I’m supposed to write to remember. And sometimes write to forget. I am obligated to tell stories, my own and other’s, as they are. My goal is to make the world a smaller place. I love feeling connected with others and, through my writings, I would love if any of you feel connected to me.

So here it goes.

I won’t be writing on any particular topic or theme. I will just be reporting and attempting to entertain you. Think of this more as an online column versus your run-of-the-mill blog. And feel completely welcome to submit feedback, suggestions, or even your own interesting stories for me to write on (anonymously of course) through the link here.

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