appearances.

Beware of pretty packages

all wrapped up in a bow;

the calm and steady surface

holds a hidden beast below.

Flawless smiles will conceal

the very deepest pains-

but when the facade is ripped away,

the ugly truth remains.

Don’t let designer fool you.

Those appearances? Don’t buy.

Or you’ll get all wrapped up

in that perfect little lie.

the blame game

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One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.”  Sophocles

Don’t blame love.

Love didn’t make you cry, loss did. Being ripped apart from something that meant a lot to you without your consent. Realizing that the things you wanted for the future will not come to pass, even the things you didn’t realize you wanted. The acceptance of living without. That’s what made you cry.

Love didn’t cut you to the bone, cruelty did. Harsh words from someone you held in high regard. The act of dropping you and moving on as if you meant nothing to them. The casual manner in which they continue, pretending that they didn’t just rip through your life like a hurricane. That’s what hurt you to the core.

Love didn’t make you second-guess yourself, the belief that you’re not good enough did. The crazy thought that because you weren’t appreciated in one instance you won’t be in any other. The notion that you can’t possibly measure up to expectation. That’s what stole your confidence.

Love didn’t make you gain weight, or lose weight, or cut your hair or binge-drink, uncertainty did. The feeling that your whole world was rocked because something you thought was so sure turned out to be anything but. The idea that the foundation you stood on is capable of crumbling. That’s what put you in a spiral.

Love didn’t let you down. Love didn’t punch you in the stomach. Love didn’t hurt you, or betray you.

Love made you laugh. It made you feel invincible and safe. It made you feel at home. It lifted you up.

Love is all of the best parts of your life. It’s family and friends and the reassurance that someone else out there knows what you’re going through. It’s inside jokes and glasses of wine and funny voicemails and stupid text messages.

If you never loved anything, you might never truly feel the pain of loss. But don’t blame love for your heartbreak- whether it came by way of breakup, death, rejection or fate. Love didn’t hurt you on purpose. Someone or something may have, but it wasn’t love.

When you give up on love you give up on life. You give up the possibility of everything that is worth having, feeling and doing.

So- love without regret or shame. Realize that when your world is turned upside-down, it’s never love’s fault. When you’re happy, recognize all of the love in your life.

Know that whatever else happens, love is what makes it all worth it.

how to lose them

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“I felt wise and cynical as all hell.” -Sylvia Plath

This is how you lose them:

The same way you fall in love: not all at once, but piece by piece.

You don’t lose him the day you break up, but in the days and weeks before. You don’t lose her with what you’ve done, but with what you haven’t.

You lose her when you make a casual remark that cuts her down and you don’t notice in the slightest. You lose him when you start to assume he’ll always be there. When you stop telling her about the little things in your day that make you happy, angry, sad.

You lose him when you start to send those ‘good morning’ texts less and less. You lose her when you stop calling her by that nickname you came up with two years ago.

Suddenly, you’re taking her for granted. You’re showing him slowly but surely, through cancelled plans and unanswered messages, that he’s no longer the priority.

One day you’re listening to the radio and a heartbreak song hits a little too close to home. You finally understand the lyric that never really made sense before. You’re losing her.

One day you’re with him and you realize that he’s no longer excited to be talking to and spending time with you. Another piece falls away.

You’ve lost her when things start to seem forced, when she becomes an obligation. You’ve lost him when you realize you’re sleeping in the same bed but further apart than ever.

You lose her when you fail to tell her what you want, what you need. Where you want to be. You lose him when you stop asking.

You lose them when you don’t try any more, because every relationship, every friendship requires some effort, some maintenance. You lose them when you don’t care enough to make them feel wanted.

Yes, you lose them the exact same way you fell in love with them- you do it day by day, week by week, until you wake up and suddenly wonder when it all started and how you got here.

This is how you keep them:

You say “I love you” every day, and mean it.

skeletons. 

so you want my secret-
the one nobody knows,
the one that let me live
and love and grow-
even after the hell I t.r.a.v.e.l.e.d. through?
I must protect the [little]
left of my heart
but here’s a hint:

whatever
else you do,
if there are skeletons in your closet,
make them dance for you. 

remember: we’re all just stories, in the end 

  

“Sometimes,” he sighed, “I think the things I remember are more real than the things I see.”  -Arthur Golden

Memories are a tricky thing. They can lift our spirits or knock us flat on our ass. They can be the way we hold loved ones close or the medium through which our demons haunt us. 

Some even say that the continuing culmination of our experiences and memories are the very essence of who we are. We live in the memories of others and they live in ours. 

We all want to be remembered, to make an impact. That’s why people dream of fame, of success, of making a difference. That’s the worry over the perfect first impression and the reason for hours of practice before the grand finale. 

The day comes for all of us where we look at our lives and ask the question: How will you be remembered? What kind of gifts, footprints, and scars have you left in the lives and memories of others? Do you lift them up and make them better for having known you? Do you tear them down in the quest to fulfill your own selfish wants, your own narcissistic desires? 

When other people think of you, what comes to mind first: your love, your loyalty? Your lies? Will you be famous or infamous to the people that matter most? 

Everyone will remember us a little differently, but someone who is true to them self and consistent in their convictions will be remembered by most in the same way, whether that be good or bad. And that memory will live on and continue to affect others for years to come. A quick glance or a careless word spoken out of anger or fear- or love- these are the ways in which we persist. Isn’t it crazy, and terrifying, and wonderfully amazing the power that we have over each other? 

There are many people who exist in my memories, both living and dead. There are those I remember fondly and those I would rather not remember at all. Each of them has affected who I am and, in turn, the way I will be remembered by others. 

And so the question remains, how do you want to be remembered? Far more importantly, how will you live each day, from now until the day you die, in order to become the memory you think you deserve to be?

Just remember: the answer to that question is one of the few things that matters. 

forgive (don’t forget)

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“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
–Mark Twain

 
How do you forgive someone who has hurt you so badly that the mere sight of them actually causes you physical pain?

People hurt each other every day, but for some reason every time we get hurt it stings just as much as that first time. Sometimes it stings worse than the first time. Sometimes the word “sting” comes nowhere close to doing the feeling justice. So when it comes time to forgive the people who hurt you and move forward with your life, where do you even begin?

In my experience the first step is always forgiving yourself for letting them hurt you. I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Maybe that’s true, but I don’t know if that same idea applies to love and friendship. Sometimes your feelings don’t listen to your better judgment and you let people in without realizing it. Before you know it, your heart is in pieces and you’re pretty sure you didn’t consent to that. Forgive yourself anyway.

Remember all of the people who are still by your side, the ones that never wavered. Those are the people who deserve your time and energy, and that’s where you should direct your attention now. Those who hurt you don’t deserve your tears or your thoughts, your regrets and your sleepless nights. Be sad if you have to, and then surround yourself with the people who deserve your attention.

Go back to your life, to the things that make you really happy. Find joy in the little moments that make up your day. Take every excuse to smile, every excuse to laugh. Say yes more often than you say no. Get up and get out. Soon enough, those happy moments will turn into happy days, and happy weeks and happy months. Give yourself permission to be happy.

 Finally, realize that holding on to pain and anger will hurt you much more than they hurt anyone else. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference. Hating the people that hurt you takes just as much time and energy as loving them. Letting go of as much as possible, of a new little piece of pain every day, is the only way to heal. It’s the only way to forgive the people that have hurt you, and the only way to deprive them from ruling your life from afar. Let go, and keep the past from controlling your future.

 Every time we get hurt, the process of healing is the same. And so is the final conclusion, the lesson we learn time and time again: life is too short to spend it with the people who treat you badly.

So forgive. Don’t forget, because then you won’t have learned anything, and your pain will have been in vain. But as difficult as it is, as much as it hurts- forgive the people who have wronged you, especially the ones who don’t deserve it. Because they’re the people that need it the most.

careful.

Be careful with your words, my dear
Be careful with your sighs
Be careful with confessions,
With your omissions and your lies

Be conscious of your promises
Your encouragements and   s m i l e s,
Be wary of the kindness
That is hurting all the while

Take caution with your lips, my dear
Your truths are full of dust
From the disuse of a month, a year-
And I’m all out of t.r.u.s.t.

Your foolish words are empty, dear
You know this to be true
And if you do not take more care
They’ll all catch on to you

525,600 minutes later

IMG_1328“525,600 minutes. How do you measure a year?”

The end of 2013 is quickly approaching, and just like any other year (however arbitrary that measure of time is) you start to think about how much is different, and how much is the same. Thinking about what’s happened in the past 12 months is enough to make anyone’s head spin. 

2013 was the year I cruelly and selfishly broke someone else to heal myself, and ran from the guilt. It was the year I hugged some of my best friends goodbye on the morning of their graduation and then cried like a baby as soon as they left their apartment.

It was the year I found happiness in London and spent the 4th of July playing foozeball in a pub with the owners after-hours while Rebecca poured her own beer and Victoria flirted with the bartender. It was the year I turned 21, fell unexpectedly but not reluctantly in love, and discovered a passion for pastels.

It was an entire year without Chris and Mr. G, but a whole year with William and Chase.

So, okay, Rent: how do you measure a year? Is there an equation to determine how much you lost, how much you gained? Is there a way to tell how much you’ve changed? Because I know I am not the same person I was last December- and I don’t regret it in the slightest.

Self assessment: since last year, I’m happier but more scared about the future. I get less stressed about the little things but more stressed about what it all means. I’m better at giving myself credit but just as bad at opening bottles of wine.

Benjamin Franklin, that wise, bald man, said something along the lines of ‘when you’re finished changing, you’re finished.’ I couldn’t agree more, Benny. I guess it doesn’t really matter how much I’ve changed- that I’ve changed is enough. And I’m nowhere near ‘finished.’

Maybe I’ll remember 2013 as the year I was ecstatic that I got to be a bridesmaid at Taylor’s wedding, despite the pit in all of our stomachs that one Donato was conspicuously and painfully absent.

Maybe I’ll remember that The Ionian won Organization of the Year and we celebrated with custom-made shot glasses, a scrapbook, and a gin bucket at Meg’s.

Maybe I’ll think of moving into our senior year apartment the day after my 21st, hungover as only a new 21-year-old can be, my parents pointing at me and saying, “do you see what happens when you drink too much?” to my little sister.

I can’t tell you what will come to mind first when I look back on 2013 a few years from now. But I will remember that these 525,600 minutes have changed me- for, I think, the better. I hope I can say the same next December.

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