The Cost of Moving So Much

Friendship is like a delicate, but favorite recipe. It requires time and effort, loving care, and to be present to make it turn out right. But it’s worth every effort, because it’s the sweetest, tastiest cake you’ve ever made (all my favorite recipes are cake). But without those things, it is difficult to make it come out right. And sacrificing that favorite recipe is one of the biggest costs to moving and following your heart and dreams.

I make no qualms that I am career and ambition driven. I have moved *gulp* 4 times in the past 6 years, all for career, none for heart. Each time it gets increasingly harder to make friends and maintain friendships. Things get lost on translation, I am confronted with more demons, other people in the past tribes get closer, you become a pleasant visitor to the party, but not a regular. You have a lot of friends, but no bridesmaids invitations nor a secret holder, because no matter how hard you try, moving and shaking has a cost each time. And each time the cost deepens.

You try really hard to hold on. You love them and they love you, but never knowing when you’ll return, and in some places, never returning, it changes. And what’s hard is that no one can quite grasp what that means unless they have been there too. So it may even seem to them, nothing has changed, but you feel it.

Today, I scurried quickly out of a banquet dinner for a bunch of first year students in a summer program, practically in tears. Because in five short weeks, you could feel the community they had built, and I felt like an intruder with no home. I haven’t had a full blown tribe or community in years – like I belonged. I am craving that. And that craving is oddly burdening existing friendships because I simply feel tolerated at times, but not included. And it’s rightfully so! Some of it is because of my own tendency to withdraw and become quite cold when I’m feeling misunderstood or outcasted. This is probably from being unmercifully bullied as a child and so spending a while searching for belonging as a young adult. I learned to shut off and shut down. Never let them see the real you (I totally identify with the queen in Frozen). Other parts of not being included is that you simply cannot be included. You dont exist in that time and space.

Many women can live without that tribe. I am not one of those women. I have learned this painfully the past year. While I struggle sometimes to understand why someone may want to spend a ton of time with me, I’m grateful for having women and men who have cherished me as part of their group. Who have welcomed me. I don’t need a large group (actually prefer it to be smaller), but I need it. And I need it close to me. I need to feel included.

Lately, I feel more of a burden than anything to my friends. I also think having a group allows for shared connection among one another where you don’t feel you need to hide or go silent. It also gives you multiple reality checks that I think is helpful. I am optimistic that it can be developed again. I’ve developed it a couple times in my life, and hopefully, in my older age now, I haven’t become so far gone as to not be able to create it again. I’m rusty, sure. But I hope I can find that community, rather than feeling like a stranger in my life.

Moving and change is wonderful. But everything comes at a cost. I’m hoping to buy back some of this one.

A year of reflection…

If you or someone you know is dealing with depression, and needs help, please don’t hesitate to use this number. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

This time last year I kind of made a decision to change my life. I felt that I was suffering from possible mild depression (self diagnosed) for at least 3 months, maybe longer. I had been about 8 months out of a serious relationship and about 3 months out of a situationship I thought I wanted to be in at first but then realized I didn’t want to be. And during that time I tried to do things to keep my mind busy. Visited friends in Wisc. and Seattle, WA. Took a trip to Ft. Lauderdale. Took a random road trip with my bestie to help her get her car situation handled before her move to NYC. I felt like I was handling it OK.

And I was, kind of…but it was all just a distraction.

Heartbreak Hotel…

The break-up was one thing. I mean, people go through break-ups every day, but after you’ve lived with someone, even for only two years and they are no longer a part of your life that way, it hits you. Especially when it feels like no one else wants to be with you. Which that couldn’t be farther from the truth, but that’s just how it felt. I just felt lonely most of the time, and not wanted. I mean, the depression did start a little bit before the break up but I wasn’t really aware of it, and it got worse afterwards. I got through it, but that was only one stage of the whole process.

During that phase, there were times where I felt like being alone a lot. And yeah, sometimes you need your alone time, but I got to a point where I felt better off alone, like I didn’t need anybody. Fortunately, that didn’t last too long, because I have amazing friends who I tend to miss on occasion now. lol

Friends

About this time a year ago, my ex-roomie (now best friend) moved in, and this is where I felt a lot of my anxiety and depression started to go away. I had the whole house to myself for almost a year after it being occupied by someone else for two. Just having her there helped a lot. I mean, I still liked being in my own space within the house, but I didn’t feel lonely anymore, even though we were in separate rooms a lot of the time. She helped fill the void of emptiness in the house. It was a great start to getting control back to my life. And even though we never really talked about my depression much, it’s almost as if she knew. She just had a great way of communicating and just being there for me. I mean, she’s a wonderful understanding and knowledgeable person and I’m glad I opened my home to her.

And we all know about my BFF LeAnna. I’ve opened up to her about how I felt a lot and she is always there to help talk me through things (even though I don’t listen sometimes, lol). I know I’m hard to get along with sometimes, but I’m glad she doesn’t give up on me. 🙂

Work work work work work work

Another source of my mild depression and anxiety came from work. I wasn’t feeling successful at my current position at the time and I’d unsuccessfully applied for at least 3 other positions over the last 4 years before landing my new job. I felt like no one wanted me. I got to the point where I didn’t know where life would take me next because I wanted to move up in my professional career, but without any connections or experience other than what I had, I felt as if I was stuck, and that kept me down for a long time. I love my company (gawd knows I do), but it was hard to deal with being turned down so much. I almost let myself not apply for this position, due to just not feeling like I was what they wanted. I almost let it get the best of me in that situation and almost talked myself out of it, but I’m glad I didn’t. A promise I made to myself, that I would work towards bettering myself continued to live on.

Dating, is the worst

I know I’ve said this many times before, but yes, a lot of my uncertainty and depression came from dating. Not necessarily because nobody wanted to date me, but because I felt like nobody I wanted, wanted to date me. This prompted the “I think I’m over white men” post back in March. This, along with how easy it is to ghost people, the fact that most people just want sex and then they are through with you, the fact that you think that nobody likes you; It brings a lot of bad energy to your soul. And after going through that song and dance (myself even, being the lead in it, sometimes) just does a toll on you.

BUT…

It started in October of last year; that was the last time I seriously dated anyone. After dealing with someone for months, and feeling like there was something there, only to be told that there wasn’t, I refused to let it affect me anymore, and I slowed down actively dating. I mostly turned to hooking up (responsibly!) as it was less of an emotional connection and I can easily forgot about bob from tuesday rather than talk to Scott for months and then all of a sudden, nothing. So yeah, I still have Tinder, Hinge, Grindr, Scruff, whatever you call it, but I decided to just not put my feelings out there anymore. So all in all, I turned into some sort of a fuckboy, but it helped ground me a little bit. May not be the healthiest way overall to do this, but it works for me for now. And while I have met people throughout this time, it was more so a casual thing that could have turned into something, but never did, and I’m OK with that. Not saying that it’s right, but that’s what I needed to do at the time for me.

So what prompted this blog post?

July 30th 2018 was the beginning of not letting all of this crap above control my life. On this date last year I made a decision to work towards bettering myself. I dealt with a lot of depressive situations and anxiety prior to early last year and it just got worse over time. I knew I was going through something, but being the hardheaded person I am, I didn’t seek out help. Well not in a general sense, anyway, but my friends were there to help with it, even if they didn’t know I was going through something.

When I woke up and saw this post, it was almost like a weight was lifted off of my chest. Well, the weight was already gone, but it made me realize how heavy it was this time last year. Little by little, I was freeing myself. This, this was everything I was wishing to work towards. I owned the fact that I wasn’t OK and I dealt with a lot. I put it out there for the world to see, and that’s when I decided to work towards a healthier me. No, it wasn’t an easy process and I still deal with many moments to this day, but I refuse to let that hold me down. I have to remember that I can’t let it win and with this new job offer, I feel like it’s a sign. Confirmation that everything I worked towards changing and bettering about myself was finally coming to fruition. I’m still no where I want to be, but I’m better.

Everybody’s story is different. I consider myself one of the lucky ones. One of the ones where depression doesn’t completely control their life. My experience is nowhere near what others may be going through and won’t mirror someone else’s experience. I am fortunate to have a wonderful support system of family, great friends, and a stable job to help keep me grounded. I realize not everyone is fortunate to have this foundation or even fortunate enough to only need this type of foundation to lift them out of depression. It’s real out there. Everyone goes through this in different ways and I just hope that they are getting the support needed to overcome. Please don’t be like me; reach out to someone.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline
1-800-273-8255

The Number

***

The number those asterisks represent that had me almost in tears. The number of failure for me this morning. The number I avoid purposely (I’ve thrown out all scales in my home). The number that brought to this page, to my pen. The number that made me feel defeated. The number that isn’t that much different than it was 3 months ago, but enough different that it feels like a knife shearing through my heart. The number that represents my relationship with gravity. The largest relationship I’ve ever had with gravity. The number that I’m not even sure I can share with you all.

Today is a bad body love day. Today may even be a bad self-love day.

I consider myself a body positive advocate. I no longer post pictures about my workouts, runs, weight loss, before and after pics, or dieting plans. I think this is damaging. It makes women, young, old, accomplished, and everything in between, doubt who they are, think themselves less, and wonder why not me. It is also is quite boring to me. I’m tired of talking about diets, exercises, thighs, fat blasters and all in between. If that is your thing, go ahead! I don’t care what you do. Just don’t do it with me please. I also suffer from a history of disordered eating patterns, distorted body image, and likely undiagnosed body dysmorphia and an exercise addiction in the past (and I can diagnose myself because I’m a licensed counselor J). So, participating in those conversations are triggers for me and bring about serious self-doubt and pain. Like you have no ideas how many hours I can spend dedicated to speaking about that. According to my past therapists and researchers on ACES (adverse childhood experiences survey), it is also all likely a symptom of PTSD. Isn’t that bitch? Haunted by things that are not my fault and yet I still try to find it ways to make it my fault – enter all of the distorted images of self. Well, fuck. Either way, because of my experiences and experiences of my clients, I’ve realized that for some people, these images and talk are highly damaging, or at the very least demoralizing. It’s made me feel like a personal failure many times (me: why can he/she/they lose so much weight, and I can’t? brain: Must be a person defect.) So, I usually don’t any more.

Today is different. I took this picture below of me because I was disgusted and disgusted I was disgusted and needed evidence for this blog. I needed everyone to see an unflattering picture of me. I needed you to see some of the blooper reels. And then I needed to post it because I needed proof that I’m still human and loveable and all those things. And that fat people work out too, to be perfectly honest.

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And after that picture here is a running reel of things going on in my head as I worked out:

  • Your belly, do you see and feel how full it is? That’s probably why he disappeared after making out with you; he was probably disgusted.
  • Your doctor is going to poke at you on Monday and you’re going to feel awful.
  • Speaking of which, no need to bring in the concerns of your digestive system or any other ailments – it’s all your fault anyway.
  • You look awful in that t-shirt. Remember when it was loose?
  • When you go home, everyone will notice your weight and realize what a failure you are.
  • Two months ago, things were fitting looser. You’ve failed.
  • You are not pretty
  • You will never find love.
  • Some people are larger when they are younger, they are allowed to occupy bodies and look amazing in whatever size; You are not allowed that, because this isn’t your body type.
  • Why can everyone else lose weight so much easily? Did you see all those summer bodies online last night? HA, not you.
  • Why are you reading this book on radical self-love? Do you really think you are allowed that?
  • Your walks around the park aren’t enough twice a week. You know better. You know you need multiple days of intense exercise for 2 hours to lose weight. We have been here before.
  • The wine. It’s the wine. Also, the birthday fun. Nope.
  • You’re not worthy.
  • You’re not sexy.
  • You will be alone forever.
  • You should be embarrassed.
  • You are not enough.

As, I listen to India Arie as the soundtrack to this blog post, and reflect on the words and thoughts I had today, I feel even more ashamed but then it moves to sadness. Timely, she is is currently singing “Just let it go. Set yourself free. Healing is in your hands.” If I reflect on the past few months, this has been the first time in maybe 3-4 months that these voices have been this strong. I suppose that’s progress, although they have transformed into other lies about my incompetence (my work, friendship abilities, partnership abilities, and my intelligence). Even so it demonstrates that I have the capability to heal, I just need to create the capacity.

Speaking of capacity, I haven’t had much of that lately. I have been traveling a lot for work for a few months now, spending the majority of most weeks out of town. In fact, I am writing this from a hotel room in Lansing, MI. I can’t say that it has been fun. It’s been difficult to find food that makes me feel nourished and is nutritious. Workouts are hard to come by. I’m exhausted and not sleeping well. And I’m so very bloated all the time or gastritis is flaring up all over the place. I have had little time for reflection, painting my nails, a social life, or just play. I don’t feel like myself. I’m moody, my patience is low, and I miss my “me time.” On top of this, I’m making some major life changes right now and managing feelings of inadequacy and incompetence isn’t easy. But it’s familiar. It’s my limbic system’s way of dealing with threatening or stressful situations. I’ve started drinking more ginger tea (stomach issues) and my favorite is the Yogi teas. The Yogi teas come with inspirational messages on them, and every single one has been about compassion. Reflecting now, I think that this is the universe’s way of telling me that the person who needs my compassion most right now, is myself.

“I am not the voices in my head. I am not the pieces of the brokenness inside. I am light.” –India Arie, I Am Light

I’m Tired of Myself Not Showing Up and Out for Myself

A few days ago I posted a pic of me in a pink jumpsuit and everyone was kind enough to give me compliments about it out the wazoo. I almost didn’t post it, because I thought I looked ugly and fat. Last week, I posted a post about how my spiritual journey is not what most people expect and my beliefs don’t align with majority of the people I know. I almost didn’t post it because I was fearful of rejection. I am making some major life changes and am doubtful at every turn and tell little people about it because I’m afraid I look stupid or flakey. I set boundaries that are healthy for me and then feel immensely guilty because people don’t agree. I don’t want children because it isn’t for me, but feel constant pressure to explain why, and so I never talk about it, missing out on opportunities to inspire others because I’m worried about others opinions or being seen as less desirable as a romantic partner.

I could go on and on with examples like these. But what I really want, is to never have another example like this in my life. I am beyond done with not showing up and showing out for my own damn life and living it on my terms. My whole job as a therapist is centered around telling others to show up for themselves, why the hell do I not do this for me? I am tired of being bound by shit that has no positive or fulfilling purpose in my life.

My body image has held me back for years. I don’t pursue the men I want, I sometimes don’t wear the clothes I want, I avoid pictures, and I have spent too many days crying over fat rolls, doing only certain exercises to decrease fat, apologizing when I eat a donut, ans comparing myself to beautiful women. Today, I declare myself beautiful, with fat rolls, and worthy. Fuck your beauty standards I’ve internalized. I can be active and overweight and healthy and eat donuts.

I’m tired of playing small in every aspect. I will assert my truth, I will not stop talking about Black things, I will not stop talking about equity, I will not stop when you are uncomfortable, call me an angry Black woman, tell me to be sweeter. I will not stop sharing my ideas. It’s not me to be quiet or small. It’s not my soul. It kills me when I do it. I will not commit soul genocide anymore.

I’m tired of settling. I will go for jobs in my career that invigorate me, challenge me, and call me to step into the leadership position that I am called to be. I won’t be anyone’s entry level anything anymore. I will walk in my strengths humbly, but not self deprecatingly.

I will not settle with men. I deserve what I want. My body will not be used for pleasure unless I say so, and I will not settle for a man that does nothing less than challenges me to be better, loves and cares for me, can hold his own, and also is what I want. No more nice guys with potential, and certainly no more fuck boys here to waste my time. No more half committed, empty words, me chasing you, you being too cool. Stand beside me, be ready to commit, or get to walking. Also, this isn’t only your descision; I actively get to choose. I’d certainly rather be alone than to deal with any BS.

Listen. I’m ready to show up and show out for myself. I am tired of playing it safely and diminishing my light. I am soft and fierce and courageous and change maker and I no longer have a choice but to live up to this. And I’m excited AF.

So please know, I am showing up for myself in a big way and I hope you join me. But if it makes you uncomfortable, IDGAF.

The Initial Descent of A Depressive Episode (Caution: Rough Landing Ahead)

The plane ride was an okay one, but a relatively long one. There had been a few disturbances, of course. The rough air from the bouts of anxiety caused by storms and clouds, the crying child and cursing man, representing the worse parts of my ego trip, troubles with my carry-on almost not fitting in the overhead bins, held for only the right amount of trauma and PTSD, and starved from lack of nutritious meals,  like friends missed and connections lost on this long flight. But there were also hours of smooth sailing, similar to a Mercedes Benz S-Class, expensive to maintain, fueled by mindfulness practices, victories, and self growth. Smiles and nods of affirmation and shared experiences, friendly exchanges shared by strangers on the plane, destined to share this ride with you unbeknownst to you both; strangers who became friends, even for this one trip. And some who will take other trips with you, both purposefully and accidentally in the future.

There was hope. A destination is always hopeful and exciting, even when you’re unsure where this trip may take you.

The initial descent of a depressive episode came without warning. I thought I had more time on this plane, to endure the flight, before this happened. I always knew the plane would eventually have to land. And on those hours of rough air that made me sick to my stomach as I tried to reason with why I even fly, unable to throw up in a barf bag, from fear of looking inexperienced and pitiful, I guessed that the descent may come, but brushed it off. And yet, the initial descent into my unknown destination, came with a familiar pit of stomach feeling as the plane begins to descend into a dark cloud, followed by the turbulence of anxiety, rocking the foundation of this plane.

I quickly remind myself that planes are made for flying, made for turbulence, disruption, worry, sadness, crying, isolation… People like me, I mean planes, strong, steel reinforced, impenetrable, weatherproof (from the wetness of the tears from the storms of course) can handle this landing, this turbulence.

We are only at the initial descent. So we all know that means 30 minutes, 30 more hours, 30 more days – who knows long this descent will take?

I want to trade the strange acquaintances I made, with the familiarity of people on the ground, at my home, that I love and hate. Fear has a way of making us crave the familiar – dysfunction and all. The flight attendants announce that we are closer now, but this descent gets bumpier and bumpier, and I become more afraid and afraid. I fear I’m going to die in this descent. I just close my eyes and wait, pray, beg, for the moment we touch the land, when I’m grounded again.

I think we are closer yet again. I’m not sure though. The storm has made my descent into a foggy hell of depression and sadness, and I can’t make out the destination anymore through my raindrops of tears stained window. I’m even more afraid of the landing now, because well, anxiety mixed with depression is a tornado. And tornadoes make landing dangerous. I am positive that the air masks should have dropped by now and allowed me to breathe more easily. But they never come to my rescue. And I can’t remember how to access the life saving float under my seat as we fly over the wide river heading into the airport, that I’m sure I will drown in – we seem so close to the sorrowful water. I wonder if it’s as cold as I feel? Or as hot as my cheeks flushing?

Who said planes could weather storms anyway? I remember now. My old classmate who was a pilot and lost his life – to himself. I wonder if he once had a rough landing, and it frightened him so much that he wasn’t sure he’d survive his own landing on the other side of the storm?

At some point, we begin the final descent, and I am deep in the clouds and I am not sure whether or not we will make it, and I become numb to it all and tune it all out. I fall back asleep, hoping to not have to move for awhile. I prepare myself for the crash that is inevitable. I don’t talk to anyone and it seems the baby’s cries have completely disappeared, but when I look around his mouth is still open, so clearly, I’ve gone numb, dumb, and deaf to everything. I hope someone remembers my mask after they assist themselves.

The plane jerks. Except, it’s not a jerk. It’s the wheels. We are close to my destination.The sound of wheels is like the sweet, sunrise of a new day. It is the sound of survival and arrival. “You made it,” I whisper silently to myself.

I prepare myself for the abrupt and fast skidding of the wheels across the runway of destination and growth, and brace myself as we brake to take a break, from flying. And I see that the rain has stopped at the destination, the baby is cooing, and the cursing man, eager to make his next connection, has taken to talking excitedly about how he has to get off the plane first.

Arriving to the gate, I wait my turn as those who were fated with me for this ride, take turns in an orderly, yet rushed, fashion to exit the plane. I let the rushed man go by. I can’t help but wonder if that descent was just as awful and crazy for them or if they think I was the crazy one on the trip or was I simply a figure, that set the stage for them in that trip. I will never know, because at that moment I take my carry-on which contains the luggage of my life that I carry with me, exit the plane, and look towards my final destination.

Until the next plane.

 

Signs of my Emotionally Abusive Relationship

I keep telling myself that my last post about my last relationship will be my last post on the topic. But here we are. I think my worry is that someone will read it and think “oh she’s not over him yet. She’s undateable.” Then I realized I’ve apparently been undateable for one reason or another my entire life so no point in worrying about that now.

Sometimes when I’m by myself I find myself replaying some very key moments in the relationship in my mind. I continue to ask myself “how did you let all that happen.”

Confession, I have always wondered how women wind up in abusive relationships. Did they not see the signs? Why did they not walk away in the beginning before it got bad? I understand that there comes a time when it is no longer safe to leave. I guess I’ve just kind of wondered how it got that bad.

I think I understand now.

Disclaimer to anyone who reads this and may know my ex. He never once was physically abusive. And maybe it’s still how the whole process works, but I’m not certain he ever would have become physically abusive.

But that’s all I will give him as far as the abusive piece goes. The farther I get from it, the more I realize how emotionally abusive that relationship was. And how easily I got caught up in it. And how difficult it was to leave.

I don’t know why, but I feel like I need to give some full confession of everything I dealt with for nine months. I haven’t told anyone everything. Not even my closest friends. The purpose isn’t to gain sympathy. I think my main goal is to just put it out there. So it no longer feels like a secret I’m holding onto.

So here goes. A comprehensive list of things that took place in my last relationship that I consider emotionally abusive:

1. At my mom’s 60th birthday party he got mad at me because one of my best male friends was apparently looking at him for too long. He took this as a sign that we had slept together or that my friend was secretly in love with me. I had recently gone to Raleigh and met my friend for lunch. He thought we slept together then.

2. He got mad when I told him my “number.” Said I was lying because at first I said I didn’t know exactly. He said when I saw his face expression to that answer and took the time to count that I just said 10 because it seemed like a safe number but that I was lying. (Anyone reading this who feels some sort of judgement by this number…screw you).

3. Got mad at me when I didn’t text him while at my God Daughters 1st Birthday Party. Said that no one year old’s party should last that long. When I told him I helped set up and clean up because it was at my church he said I should have told him before hand because now it seemed like I was covering something up. By this time I was terrified a picture would be posted of me and the male friend from the first example and he would think I was cheating. That friend is my God Daughter’s God Father.

4. Purposefully got me drunk on our birthday celebration in order to see me throw up because I told him I did not want that to happen. I had previously told him that that had never happened before and I didn’t want it to happen on my birthday. I threw up. Asked for a bottle of water and some gum. He asked how I knew I needed water and gum if I had never thrown up from drinking before. Said I was hiding some wild partying days where I was also probably a hoe.

5. At my companies Christmas party, we fought. He was mad because I was talking to the other therapist and didn’t talk to only him all night. He was also mad I asked what time he needed to leave and that I asked more than once. When I told him I was worried the same thing was happening as what happened at my moms party, he said that was a sign that I was sleeping with someone at the party.

6. When dropping me off at work after we ate lunch together one day, an old co-worker drove by. I waved. He waved back. He got mad. Said I should not have waived and that the guy should not have been looking into the car that hard. He said that this was a sign that we had slept together at one point and I was lying about it. He asked what position he held at my job and I said he was a tech. Said that that was definite proof we had slept together or at least talked because at our company Christmas party I didn’t talk to any of the techs.

7. Pretended he had gotten into a fight at a club because someone said they knew me from college and made it seem like I was a hoe back in the day. He did this to see what my response was and to see if I confessed to being a hoe.

8. Forgot that I invited him to my best friends 30th birthday party. When I didn’t remind him but then said I would come see him afterwards he said this was proof I didn’t want him to come. Broke up with me for still deciding to go out. Called me a thot. Got mad when I posted a picture of me that night with the caption “thot adventures for the besties birthday.” Called me several terrible names throughout the night. Said I was choosing my friends over him if I didn’t leave and drive down to see him immediately. Threatened to share intimate details of our relationship to members of my church to prove I was a thot. The next day when things had calmed down and he encouraged me to go out saying he wouldn’t get back with me if I didn’t go, when I text upon returning home he acted as if he had slept with his ex and she was at his house. This was a “joke.” Said he trusted that I hadn’t been a hoe for the 24 hours we broke up.

9. Repeatedly said he couldn’t trust me after that night. If I didn’t call every day while at work for my lunch break he assumed it was because I was sleeping with someone at my job instead of calling him.

10. Got mad at me because I didn’t come down to visit him one weekend when he hurt his back. I was going down there any weekend that I wasn’t on call. I chose one weekend to not go down and not be on call to get things done. He injured his back and chose to go out and was in pain. Told me he had never felt so alone and should never feel that alone while in a relationship.

10. Got mad at me because I went to one of my best friend’s baby shower. He called, knowing I was there, and I didn’t see it. He said that I was choosing my friends over him. I made it a point to go to the baby shower because it was important to me and obviously he wasn’t important to me because I didn’t come to see him. I was on call that weekend and did an assessment right before the party. He said I made it a point to do the assessment quickly in order to go but never did the same in order to see him.

11. Told me I didn’t actually like him because he was not my “normal type” so I was probably secretly cheating on him with a skinny light skinned guy.

12. Got mad when I did not tell him what I liked about a movie I went to see with a friend. When previously he got annoyed when I wanted to talk about a movie a saw that he wasn’t interested in.

13. Constantly told me we had nothing in common because I didn’t like to party.

14. Got mad when I would wake up early and read while he was asleep.

15. Purposefully left hickies on my neck that he wanted people at my job to see…especially the people he thought I was sleeping with.

16. Tried to figure out which guy on the UNCC basketball team I had dated. Got mad when he wasn’t skinny and light skinned. Then told me why I was mad that he was looking and would not acknowledge my actual reason for being annoyed with him. Honestly I don’t even remember what my reason for being annoyed was but we argued about it and this triggered us not talking for a day and then ultimately breaking up.

There are more things. Smaller versions of some of these things. These are the biggest. These are the ones that randomly pop up in my head. These are the ones that make me feel stupid and ashamed and cause me to continue to beat myself up for getting into that situation and staying for any period of time.

But that’s the thing I guess. When you’re in it it’s harder to see. It’s harder to realize it’s happening. All you really know is it sucks, your miserable, there’s no one to talk to about it and sometimes the good times give you hope.

I have vowed to myself that I will never again be so afraid of losing a person that I lose myself. I have vowed to myself to never let a man have me questioning who I am as a person. I have vowed to myself to watch out for red flags but also yellow flags too. I have vowed to myself to run as fast as possible if a guy ever takes issue with my friends. I have vowed to myself to love me, unconditionally, and not allow anyone within a mile who doesn’t do the same.

To anyone who may read this and see some similarities in their relationship. I encourage you to step back and really decide if this is what you think you deserve. If it is, know that you deserve better. If it isn’t, choose yourself and move on. Above all else though, I urge you to please stay safe.

Knit With Love

I’ve gone back and forth in my head and heart about two things since “the breakup.” What to do with this damned scarf and what to title this blog post.

Options for the scarf:

Burn it

Unravel it in a fit of rage

Cut it into shreds

Hide it somewhere and pretend it never existed

Throw it in the trash

Send it with the most epic passive petty note ever written.

Finish it and donate it.

Don’t finish it and donate it.

Options for the title of this post:

What it’s actually titled or

Knit with (unrequited)Love

So first things first, I am well aware that knitting is about the most grandma hobby an almost 30 year old woman can have. Go ahead and get your jokes out of the way now. I’ve probably heard them all. I’m okay with it. While you’re laughing you should know that I thoroughly enjoy it. It’s therapeutic. And there’s just something about creating something out of nothing that gives me great satisfaction. It’s the same feeling I get whenever I grow a vegetable garden. “Look I made a thing!”

Long story short. Before I came to my senses and ended a terrible relationship that was sucking the life out of me, I was working on a scarf for the male counterpart in said relationship. I began this scarf despite his jokes about my knitting. I worked on the scarf despite him saying multiple times he would never wear it. I secretly wanted to finish the scarf in hopes of it being a way for him to see how much I cared and prayed that maybe, finally, he would believe it. I had a lot of hopes and dreams put into this scarf. Poor scarf!

About halfway through the making of the scarf the relationship ended. And then the question immediately presented itself. What to do with the scarf? I hid it in the compartment in my couch where I keep all my current knitting supplies. (Side note: if you’re reading this and wondering what to get me for my upcoming 30th birthday, some sort of knitting supply storage container or bag would be a lovely idea). I began and finished other projects. More than once I looked into the compartment and seriously considered unraveling the scarf. More than once I tried to throw it away. I tried to pretend the blasted scarf did not exist.

But, alas, the scarf is still here. But I have a plan. Thanks to an old friend who does great work every fall/winter collecting coats for the homeless people of Charlotte, this scarf will soon have a new home. I decided to just bind it off and send it away as is. Half finished, random hearts, spots that were planned for more patterns, and full of hopes, dreams and unrequited love.

But then…I still had the decision of what to name this post. I assumed there would always be a post about the scarf as soon as the decision to make a blog began. Knit with (unrequited)Love was always my go to title. Just seemed to fit. But then, as time has gone by, as my heart as healed, and as I have decided every thing happens for a reason and there is something to be learned from every seemingly terrible situation, I decided on the title we have. Knit With Love.

No matter what, this scarf was knit with love. Whether returned or not. I invested time, energy and a piece of myself into this scarf as I like to believe I do in all relationships, friendships and other areas of my life. Whether those things are returned or not I can not control. I can only decide to love. To love fully. To love completely. To love despite the times that it hasn’t been returned. I have decided not to let those moments of unrequited love ruin my outlook on life. I have decided not to become bitter. I have decided to learn from it and not let it ruin me. I have decided that if for the rest of my life I put out love and it is unrequited that at the end of it all I will not be mad that I loved without boundary and without fear. Okay there’s a little fear but that’s only normal.

So tomorrow the scarf will be handed off to my friend. Not completed but bound off with love. Filled with the hope that whoever receives it will, if even for a moment, feel loved.

The plan is to continue to knit things. Scarves. Fingerless gloves. Ear warmers. Etc. to donate next year, and for years to come or to give to people I like or love. Because even if it’s the lamest of all hobbies…there’s nothing wrong with knitting with love.

Oh, and Incase you didn’t know: