I have a chewed piece of gum on my desk.

The past few months I’ve received a lot of emails, Insta DMs and in-person Qs about my blog. I’ve sorta ~blogged about it~ before, but that was, like, almost a year ago. So, here’s a refresher.

Some of the Qs I’ve been asked are as follows:

  • Why and when did you start it?
  • How can I start a blog? I have so many things I want to write about but I’m nervous to publish them.
  • Where does your inspiration come from?
  • Are you worried about employers reading your blog?
  • LOL remember that time we briefly dated — you should blog about it. 
  • How did you get your following? What are some SEO techniques?

And here’s my favorite one that I get all of the time.

  • Do your parents read your blog? 

I’m going to attempt to answer these questions, but I’m sorta against a typical Q&A format because tbh, it’s not ~on brand~ with the rest of my stuff. So, per usssuual, I’m going to write about this how I write my all of my blog posts: a personal essay about yours truly.

If you’re here for SEO tips, this isn’t the place for you. Sry.

Hold tight, you’re about to see EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEAK BEHIND THE SCENES OF THIS PREMIUM BLOG ABOUT IT CONTENT!!!

Let’s start off with what my desk usually looks like.

IMG_8312.JPG.jpeg You’ll see the WordPress screen, a cup of coffee (well, 3rd cup of coffee), water, a chewed piece of gum, a pen, and a To-Do list. This is what my “desk” usually looks like (minus the chewed gum — I have manners).

I’m at my dad’s house, but the setting where I choose to write always changes. Coffee shops, my couch, the bathroom at a bar five vodka sodas deep. It depends.

What you can’t see (or hear, I guess), is the SSOTWTIHLTORFTPFD (Spotify song of the week that I have listened to on repeat for the past five days). Can anyone relate? It’s Sinking by Jeremy Zucker, in case you were wondering.

I have gotten in the habit of taking my make up off religiously every single night (only took me 24 years), except I haven’t quite mastered the art of getting ALL of my eye liner off. Here’s me in real time — my typical ~blogging look~.

IMG_8325
NO FILTER Y’ALL

Pro tip: The most successful bloggers are always guzzling coffee. This blog isn’t sponsored by Keurig, but tbh, it should be.

So now that you’ve gotten a quick peak into what my life looks like when I blog. Now to the how and why.

I don’t have any real “pro tips” for you about blogging. Truly, I don’t. There are thousands of blog posts out there that tell you about the keys to creating a a high-traffic blog and for those blogs, that’s they’re goal. More traffic.

When I write, I don’t really write for traffic. Yeah, my topics are relatable and when WordPress sends a “You’re stats are booming!” notification, I’m low-key stoked, but you’ll also notice the titles of my blog are never something like, “10 Things Why Everybody Should Drink At Least 4 Cups of Coffee A Day. I’ve Done It And You Should Too.” Lol, #trustory, but you know what I mean.

Basically, I don’t write click-bait.

There is nothing wrong with click-bait. I’m not currently sitting on a blogger high horse scoffing at other bloggers who produce this type of content. I mean, clearly.  There’s currently a chewed piece of gum in my peripheral, who am I to judge?

I’m just saying, that’s not my writing, or I guess “blog” style. So like I said, if you clicked this article looking for tips on SEO or how to go viral, this isn’t the place for you.

Words are a beautiful thing and through this blog, I’m able to experiment with them in a way that is both therapeutic to me and my readers. As much as I write for you, I write for me. It keeps me sane.

I write in an emotional, provocative, stream of consciousness kind of way — as you have probably picked up on. I don’t want to get all sappy and say I ~speak from the heart~ because sometimes I don’t. I let my fingers do the talking — and sometimes it comes out shit. Hence why I have over 450 drafts.

I don’t go into blogs planning what I’m going to write. I don’t believe that inspiration can be pre-determined. For me, it just happens. I experience severe writer’s block like the rest of us and then find myself staring at cappuccino suddenly immersed in an infinite amount of topics and the words flow from my brain to my fingers effortlessly.

The most successful (and profitable) blogs usually have editorial calendars and scheduled posts. They are consistent, reliable and write in a way is “shareable.” I mean, that’s the key to going viral, right?

Not always.

I didn’t build my audience from developing an editorial calendar or sticking to a certain schedule. I built it by sticking to my style — sticking to the style that I know best. My personal “brand” if you will. People come here knowing what to expect – and usually they like it. 

In a way, this website is less of a blog and more of collection of short stories. It wasn’t always that way, though.

Let’s dive into the beginning.

I started this blog when I was a mere single 20-something. Titled Another Chapter in the Book, I didn’t really know what I was doing, and the stuff I wrote about is honestly laughable. Check this out. My very first blog post EVER is titled “Trying to Never Figure Out Life” published April 5, 2013. Holy wow.

I tweet way too much, use Facebook for strictly photo sharing and creeping, and Instagram pointless shit while crossing my fingers that the “likes” will get in the double digits. My iPhone battery sucks, and I also hate myself for complaining about first world problems on a daily basis. I like to take chances, make spontaneous decisions, and am always reaching for something more.

I mean, still sorta true except Twitter is dying and if I ever post a picture that doesn’t get into the double digits I’m straight up deleting my Insta out of pure embarrassment. Kidding but not really. 

Then there was this point titled, “Sunshine, you ROCK.” Ugh, Beth.

Shout out to Mother Nature for rocking my socks this week. ‘Tis the season for sundresses, Sperry’s, and sunglasses. I mean, this doesn’t compare to last year, when it was 75 degrees in the middle of March, but hey, take what you can get.

Am I real?????? Can’t be. Also like, #tbt to when I would wear Sperry’s.

Anyways, like I said before, in the early stages, this blog was purely snippets of my every day thoughts. A kewl and new way to write that wasn’t in the depths of a journal page. It didn’t take much effort and I never really put much thought into what I wrote.

Oh, how times have changed. 

So, how did I get here? Couldn’t tell ya. It wasn’t a revelation I had one morning where I was like haaaayyy I’m gunna tell y’all about all of my personal shit. It was like I developed a strange yet invigorating & intoxicating relationship with this thing and then got more comfortable with the types of things I shared.

This “thing” being my blog.

Behind my marble-skinned MacBook and black plastic keyboard I find peace. It gives me a high I can’t really explain. Things that don’t make sense suddenly can turn into a story that I didn’t even know was there.

For all of you that have asked, how do I start?

Watch a 2 minutes WordPress tutorial on YouTube and then write your first blog post. That’s it. 

Not everything you write has to be novel-worthy. It doesn’t have to change the world. It just has to be you. Like any art form, writing takes practice. What you learn through practicing is two-fold. In one instance, you learn more about how to formulate a more compelling sentence, but in the other, you learn how be more comfortable with your mistakes.

It’s like sitting in front of an easel with nothing but a blank canvas, a paintbrush and a plethora of the finest paint and you’re like LOL, I can hardly draw a stick figure thooo???? You don’t wanna fuck up the canvas so you approach it with caution, afraid of messing up the entire thing with one stroke. The more blank canvasses you fuck up, the more comfortable you get with fucking up and then you realize that your new fuck ups aren’t as bad as your old fuck ups. Make sense?

Then suddenly, you wake up and your art is plastered all over the internet! It’s crazy!

All I’m saying is just write. Write for yourself. Develop your own style. The rest will come. Don’t be too concerned with your audience at first, because again you’re writing for yourself, remember?

I know for a fact that there are some people (hopefully not toooo many) who read what I post and roll their eyes and prob screenshot it and send it to their group chat and laugh.

Or, maybe not at all because I’m not that important lolz. 

You guys also ask a lot about my “subjects.” If you don’t know what this means, basically my “subjects” is my ~long list of ex-lovers who hopefully don’t call me insane~.

I actually had one person ask me, “Do you date people so you can blog about them?”

LOL. No. Good Q though.

Like I said, I don’t go into things being like OOMMGGG THIS IS GUNNA BE A GR8 STORY. It just so happens that relationships make really good blog posts. So, then I write about it and you read them. Simple as that. Honestly, I hope one day that I find myself in a relationship that is too boring to write about because it’s so perfect.

But also not really because that’s no fun either. 

I don’t usually ask people if I can write about them because then they ask questions and I don’t want them to ask questions because then it makes me nervous to write about and then story gets all censored and un-fun and I accidentally talk in a bunch of run-on sentences. Know what I mean? I never share revealing details about them, but besides a couple of guys, people actually like being the subject of my blog. Dead serious!

My last ex was angry about the blog post about him. Like, extremely angry. Pretty sure he consulted a lawyer about it too. I mean, there was not really a case there because the truth is always your biggest defense when it comes to writing but trust me, I’ve done my legal research. You should too.

Like I’ve said in the past, I don’t write with the intent to defame or publicly shame anybody — nobody should. I write stories. My stories. My truth. Are there other characters involved? Of course. That’s life, man.

At first I was so timid, so afraid of what people would think. Like, omg what if people think I’m a total psycho?! 

I eventually just stopped caring. I learned to stop apologizing for what I wrote and learned that if my stories are something that turn certain people away, those people were never meant to be in my life in the first place.

Pro tip: If you want to write about dating/exes, gr8. It’s fun. But don’t make it about the other person. Don’t write for them, write for you. Speak on behalf of your feelings and your experiences. The other parties are just characters in your story. You don’t want to create a “bash your ex blog.” Nobody wins and it usually isn’t as compelling of a read as you want it to be. 

I find inspiration in every day occurrences of my life; dude-induced or not. It doesn’t take a monumental experience for my brain to extrapolate a story. I can literally stare at a blank wall and turn it into a string of sentences on a page. Some call it talent, I call it overthinking — something I’m quite good at.

Does my family read my blog? Yes. Believe it or not, my blog posts are actually on my dad’s fridge. My mom’s always the first to compliment them and this Christmas, my cousin’s wife bought me a unicorn mug because of my last blog post. Check the featured image.

So, yeah, they read it — and they support it!

For a while I tried to hide it from future employers, but at this point I consider it an accomplishment. Yeah, maybe the stuff I write about isn’t super profesh but, it’s me.

And I like me.

My posts don’t follow the rules of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. In fact, I’m quite sure that if either one of them awoke from the dead and read one blog post, they would re-pass away due to grammar deficiencies. Pretty sure “lolz” and “fuckboy” aren’t in the Webster Dictionary.

They’re not meant to be grammatically perfect nor attract the most traffic. I used to care more about that stuff but then I realized if I wrote in that way, I’d lose the edge that have been developing since the early days of blogging nearly six years ago.

Pro tip: Develop your edge.

What’s an edge? Honestly, I don’t really know. My professor told me that my writing had an “edge” so I’m holding onto that compliment in the hopes that it some day makes more sense to me.

Not everybody is going to love what you write. Not everybody is going to love the character you create out of them. Some people turn into a whole chapter while some only make it out with a line or two. The beauty of personal writing is that you have complete control over what gets put on the page.

If you want to start a blog, then start a blog. Who’s stopping you?

Don’t write for others, write for yourself. You’d be surprised how many stories you can create out of a seemingly monotonous life. When you master that, your life actually starts to feel much more interesting.

I am a storyteller.

I am a storyteller. 

“What’s up with a pretty girl like you being single?” he asked in a drunken slur.

“Umm, idk! You know men these days!” I replied four vodka sodas deep, “just not ready for a boyfriend I suppose.”

After a brief make out sesh at the bar before I realized I wasn’t in college and sloppy make outs aren’t really my thing anymore, I called myself an Uber.

“How was your night?” Taj with a 4.87 Uber driver rating asked me.

“Meh, it was ok,” *deletes drunk text to ex boyfriend*

“You’re going home awfully early! The night’s just starting for some people.”

I hit the side button on my iPhone. The screen lights up to read 12:15am. He’s not wrong.

I fumble with my keys before getting to my apartment. With 6% battery, I receive a FaceTime call from an ex (well, sort of ex). My finger hits the red button. I have season 5 of 90210 to finish, I don’t want to FaceTime.

I strip down to just a bra and underwear and hop into bed. I’m too lazy to turn the heat on, so I pull another blanket over my naked body.

“Hey, I miss you. What are you up to?” My phone lights up. Oh, hey, random bar guest that I briefly dated. Haven’t heard from you in a few months. I plug my phone into the charger and shut my laptop.

I stare at the ceiling. I don’t know if it’s the Tito’s keeping me awake or if it’s something else. I switch a Podcast on, Sleepy Time. It’s supposed to help you fall asleep.

Eyes blink. The ceiling lies ahead.

I pull out my brown leather journal and open to a bank page. “This is Why I’m Single” I scribble at the top of the page.

I continue to write. Bullet note-ing the shit out of why I’m single. Pathetic? Maybe. I’ve already started the list in my head, so writing it out isn’t much different. Here was the start of my list:

  • I’m busy.
  • I’m tired.
  • I’m not pretty enough. Stfu.
  • I’m overly ambitious for most alpha males.
  • I don’t have time.
  • I don’t feel like dating.

The list continued, basically listing every reason under the sun that you could think of. For about 20 minutes, I beat around the bush with excuses until the vodka sodas caught up with me and I started to nod off.

The next morning I opened my journal to that page. Rolling my eyes at my pathetic-ness I opened my phone and realized that I had also drunkenly deleted dating apps.

I nearly ripped the page from my journal and tossed it in the trash at second-hand embarrassment from my sober to drunk self. The list started back at me, why don’t you just admit the real reason?

For months I have been pushing away men who have shown interest, dropping the ball on Bumble dates, not feeling sexually attracted to people that used to spark my interest.

I’m just not, well, interested.

No, you’re just not ready.

It’s a sign of weakness to admit when you’re just simply not ready to do something. Whether it’s moving to a new city, moving careers, or moving on from a previous relationship. Society always expects you to be ready to take the leap.

Do I have guys lining up to be my boyfriend? No, lolz. Absolutely not. Not my point, though. My point is that, yeah, I do feel sorta weird having another guy in my bed. I do have trouble connecting with other men so I avoid first dates and “grabbing coffee” like the plague. Is shutting any opportunity a sad attempt at dealing with my past? Maybe. I’m not sure. All I know is that I’m just not ready. And I should be OK with that.

I lost myself for a while, trying to get over everything and attempt to piece together everything that had happened. And frankly, I’m still working on it. Slowly, but surely.

The next statement is about to come straight from the single white girl anthem song but the fact of the matter is, I’m working on myself. Working on things that I have control of. My blog, my book, my health, my sanity, my future. Things that have remained a healthy constant the past several years of my life.

A couple of months ago, I had a news outlet reach out to me asking me to publish my story. They wanted to interview me about it and feature it in a series of articles they had been working on.

I wasn’t ready. I politely declined. 

Was I scared? No. Nervous? Not really. I don’t have any other explanation for it other than the fact that I just simply was not ready. I wasn’t ready to rehash it. I wasn’t ready to talk about it again. I wasn’t ready to admit to myself and to others that I’m still damaged from it.

Damaged.

This blog was born out of the pure fact that writing helps me understand things my brain can’t quite figure out. For months I have been beating down this idea of feeling “damaged” from my past. Forcing myself to pretend that I’m over everything, that every moment of sadness isn’t valid. I fill my time with 70 hour work weeks, random guys, and night’s out with friends, barely giving myself anytime to breathe. To write. To understand my feelings and validate them on my own terms.

I joke with my friends often and tell them I’m going on a “30 Day Dude Cleanse.” It never lasts long, as I’ve found myself using guys as a distraction from the fact that I, Beth Cormack, might be a slight emotionally damaged. Who, me? Damaged? Nahhh.

I don’t know the answer to it all. I know “time heals all” blah blah blah, and that’s something I’ve been trying to do. Just giving it time. Staying busy. Letting the days pass by and knowing that each day, a piece of my past is less relevant than the day before. Assuring myself that there are bigger and better things out there for myself. These things I know and I understand.

But, is it better to pretend the past never happened or to acknowledge it and embrace the feelings that come along with it? Or is there even a right answer to that question?

I don’t know.

Relationships have always been difficult for me. Sure, I “date” people, but usually don’t let it continue beyond just that.

We all have experiences in our life that have influenced the way that we are today. While some people are more comfortable with sharing these things, I am not.  Sounds funny coming from the girl who practically broadcasts her life on a blog, however, there are anecdotes about my life that I keep to myself — ones that I’m not sure will ever even make it into this blog. Anecdotes that help people understand why I am the way I am.

There are a select few people who know these stories. I have been molding this circle of people who know these things my entire life. It’s been working. I have a perfectly constructed “circle of trust,” if you will.

Well, had.

When I was thinking to myself, why did this relationship leave such a strong ripple effect? The answer was hard to come by at first. In retrospect, it was never a healthy relationship. While there were many glimmers of happiness, they were only temporary, glimmers that were to be whisked away by the wind at any moment.

I lost myself.

I started recalling memories of long nights lying next to each other in bed, pillow talking until the sky turned orange. Drives down the highway with my hanging out of the window and his hand relaxing on my leg.

I realized something.

I let him in. I let him in the close circle that is so hard to break through. My circle, once so tight knit and carefully constructed is now a strangely reconfigured shape I can’t ever mold back into what it once was. My circle is damaged.

Damaged.

I’ve been working on refocusing my mind to things I do care about. People who make me better rather than drag me down. I haven’t been putting too much pressure on myself to go on first dates I don’t feel like going on. I haven’t been blaming myself for feeling “damaged” at times, because, yeah, life is debilitating and damaging at times.

My perfect, carefully constructed circle is not what it once was. By choice, I let somebody else in on the stories of my past; stories that I usually use as a part of my shield of self-protection and I can’t take it back. He knows my stories, and I wish he didn’t. He knows me. And at times, I wonder if I ever knew him.

That’s the scariest part.

I am a storyteller.

These are stories I do not tell. 

VLOG: Should you blog? Yes. Should I vlog? Idk, but here I am.

I never imagined myself to be a vlogger. It’s like the super kewl and trendy thing to do nowadays, but man, being able to talk through a QWERTY keyboard is much easier than talking to Photo Booth alone in my apartment with Stella. For me, at least.

So, when I asked myself if I should hop on the vlog bandwagon, I remembered the feeling I had 4 years ago when starting this whole blog shindig…which led me to the first vlog topic.

In my very first vlog, I answer the question I get all of the time, “should I start a blog?” Excuse my poor grammar at times…like I said, QWERTY keyboard > Photo Booth chat.

Enjoy my awkwardness, excessive hand motions, and countless “um”s and “like”s. xo

This is why I blog

 

When I started blogging as a sophomore in college, it was merely a fun side hobby. I wrote short posts, never diving into anything too personal. I didn’t want to make my journal public–not because I didn’t believe in my writing, but because vulnerability is scary as hell.

Putting myself out there only to get ridiculed or have people ask, “Why would she ever make that public?” was always a scary thought for me. Continue reading This is why I blog

“Love”

I never get into anything too emotional or personal on my blogs. Sure, I rant about “how to be happy” and things that I have learned about life from my past experiences, but I never get into too much detail about what these “past experiences” are.

I laid in bed all day yesterday due to Saturday night filled of “Beth’s Last Night To Go Out In Amherst” activities…if you catch my drift. So, naturally, I’ve been hanging out chugging water bottles and watching corgi videos on YouTube. When those got old, I switched my attention to another blog, Sparkles and Secrets. I truly admire the author of this blog. Her writing is beautiful and entertaining and as a fellow blogger, I really enjoy reading her stuff. Anyone who has the courage to out their emotionally wrenching (and sometimes humiliating) stories to the world always give me the inspiration to do the same, although I never have, until now. So, thank you Mackenzie Newcomb, your blog gave me the strength to do this.

I don’t like being alone. And I’m not ashamed to say that because I think at least 85% of the girl population would say the same. I am always “talking” to a guy or am in a relationship. That’s just how I am. Do I need men to make me happy? Absolutely not. I am a firm believer in the fact that you have to love yourself before loving anyone else. However, it’s rather flattering to know that someone is attracted enough to you to want to talk you all the time. You’d be lying if you said you didn’t think the same.

What I am about to write is about a past relationship I had, many of my friends know about it and some even experienced the events that took place first hand. I’ll warn you, this is going to be a long one. It’s my story and I think censoring any of my feelings would make me feel worse. I want to get it all out there. I am not writing this in spite, or to “get back” at him, any taste for revenge has been long gone because doing that would only bring back the nightmare that I have tried for so long to get away from. I’m doing this for myself and for the well being of any male or female who can relate to a story like mine and maybe have the courage to escape the situation all together and avoid any emotional scarring. I have changed names and small details for privacy reasons. I’ve tried to tell this story as un-biased as possible, and the purpose of this is NOT a “Bash Your Ex” blog whatsoever. Please try to understand that this is tough part of my life to dive back into but I think it’s important to tell some stories to the world, because in a sense it is kind of relieving. And I know, there are two sides to every story, so this is my side: (the right one..in my eyes)

Meet Joe:

It was the first week of my freshman year at college (I know, I should’ve just started with something even MORE cliche like “one time at band camp..”), and just like any freshman, I was vulnerable and ignorant to the college life all together. Going out to all of these huge parties, being exposed to so many people outside the relatively small, white-dominant town of Braintree was so new and exciting to me. I called more people my “best friends” in my first week of college than I have in my whole life. I’d overexaggerate my drunkenness at times to impress people and made it sure that EVERYONE who follows me on my social media pages knew that I was in COLLEGE and I was having the time of my life. So, basically, I was a stupid and embarrassing freshman.

Some girls and I went to a different dorm to pre-game with some guys that my friend knew. We walked in and thanks to some liquid courage in my system, I made small talk with this one guy. He complimented my dress, and we talked about things that anyone would talk about upon meeting someone for the first time: where we were from (should’ve known the fact that he was from a rival town was an automatic red flag), what we majored in, things like that. He was a year older so I felt pretty cool. And he was cool to talk to, not awkward or shy, seemed really nice and decent guy. He told me my dress was pretty and then from there we acted like a couple for the rest of the night. We danced, held hands, and then I went back to his room that night. Since my friend had known him before hand, I felt pretty comfortable doing so. We didn’t sleep together, but we talked and joked around all night. It was fun. Everything was OK.

I went back to my room the next day and told all my friends about him. I told them how great he was, such a sweetheart, always complimenting me and making me laugh. Granted, this was a drunk interpretation of him, so I’m sure it was heightened, but like I said before, having a guy around to talk to and getting told your pretty is quite satisfying.

I started seeing this kid every day, constantly talking, I guess you could say that I was a little obsessed. But looking back, I think I was just more obsessed with his company rather than him. It was probably 1 week in when he told me he loved me. This kind of took me as surprise, it did seem very early and I hadn’t really gotten to know him that well yet. I sat there in shock unsure of how to react, so I kind of awkwardly laughed. He sat there on his bed and had the most depressed look on his face. So, I said it back, and the smile instantly came back on his face.

The more we hung out, the more I began to realize something was off. I’m not sure if it was the almost-perfect SAT score he told me got, or the ring he “got” me for our one month which was a stolen form his mom’s jewelry box, where I knew this kid had some type of lying problem. But you lie, I lie, we all lie. It’s human nature to spit out something stupid in the moment or just lie to avoid a conflict all together. Seeing as though I lied when I told him I loved him, I let these slide.

I was truly infatuated with him. Talking to him 24/7, eating every meal with him, going to the gym, basically being with him ALL THE TIME. My friends had called me a “house cat” because I would be gone for days at a time. I’m not sure why I would spend so much time with him, because I actually really like spending time by myself, better yet I NEED time to spend by myself. It all felt like too much. But, he made me laugh and liked the sound of my voice, which was nice.

We would always get in small arguments over him lying about something so stupid. I thought I had finally got him to end with the stupid lies, until he told me “Went out of his way all day to get me these gift cards.”-this was 2 weeks into us talking-and I don’t know how I knew, but I knew somethings was fishy about it. Who buys a college girl a Build A Bear gift card? My inner-psycho girl tendencies kicked in and on the way back to my dorm I called the phone numbers that provide the balance on the back of the cards. As I had mentioned before, these gift cards were not new. It wasn’t the money that mattered to me, it was the lying. That was the first screaming fight I had ever gotten in. I screamed so loud that the RA had to come in and tell me to quiet down. What was I turning into? I never scream at people. Well, whatever I was turning into I didn’t like it.

I never wanted to get into an argument like that again. It seriously took everything out of me. He wrote me a love letter through text, and then suddenly everything he did was totally OK. I was suddenly so happy again.

I could get into the all of the arguments we got into but that would take up way too much of mine and your time. They basically started and ended the same way. He lied, we screamed at each other, I’d break up with him then storm away in tears, hating every inch of myself, then he’d construct some type of story to make me feel sorry for him, putting the fault on me, then we’d get back together and act like nothing had ever happened. His enraging eyes would turn into a bright smile, and everything was OK.

Why was I so weak? Perhaps it was the emotional state I was in upon coming into college, dealing with struggles at home. Or, maybe it was the relationship that was making me weak.

When you think about what an “abusive relationship” is, you usually think about bruised arms and a helpless woman crying in the corner. It’s hardly ever connoted to an emotional scarring relationship, which is usually just as bad. But, I’d never allow myself to get into an abusive relationship!!! I’m way stronger than that. Or was I?

It took some time for me to actually admit to myself that I was in a abusive relationship. The first week, it was all smiles. I was in a fantasy world with myself, allowing someone to tear the wall down in front of my heart just because he could make me laugh, which, for those of you who know me, is not that hard to do.

He was obsessed with the gym, which I can’t criticize him for, because first of all, it surely contributed to my 20 pound weight loss as and I am now a gym fanatic myself. I started seeing changes in my body and I was proud of myself. But, it was never good enough for him. I felt judged whenever I would eat something unhealthy in front of him, and I was only allowed “1 treat” a week (am I dog?). When I’d ask him if I looked good (weight loss wise), he’d say yes, but then always end it with something like, but I think you could look better if you did more. I’d spend over 2 hours with him at the gym every day (and yes 7/7 days because if I had to skip one day because of homework I’d get the “you ate a cookie last night” lecture) doing mindless cardio activities because I was just waiting for him to be done lifting weights (who knew lifting took 2.5 hours). I wasn’t paying attention to school, my friends, or anything besides him, for that matter. Everything was OK, though.

The fights continued, and just intensified as the months passed by. I felt myself emotionally breaking down, hating myself. I’d fall asleep every single night wondering, “How can I break up with him without him flipping out?” “How can I escape this relationship that is turning me into a person that I hate?”

Wearing skirts out when Joe wasn’t there was slutty and was a form of cheating.

Yoga pants were frowned upon because other guys would be looking at me.

If I was blonde I would be way prettier. Dark hair didn’t look good.

It was OK that he asked another girl to send him nude pictures, because he was only going to show them to his roommate.

I’d gain all my weight back if I had a bowl of ice cream.

Even though I needed money, getting a job on campus would take up too much of my time, and I didn’t need one.

I wore too much make up.

Joe expecting me to cook him something and then leaving his dirty dishes for me to clean and cater to his every need was perfectly acceptable.

My mom didn’t care about me or love me.

Neither did my dad or sister.

I skipped classes, meals, and fun-friend things, for him. If I chose to do something over hanging out with him, I feared what he would say to me, or if he would be upset. His reaction was always unpredictable and I just didn’t want to deal with it. So I figured if I  just did what he wanted me to do, it would avoid an altercation.

My friends had seen me at my worst. I’d always complain and tell them about the fights we got in, but then the next day I’d show them the cards he made me, or the loving texts and desperately tried to convince them that he was changing, but I was really trying to convince myself. I was trying to convince myself that this guy was a good one, even though I knew he wasn’t even close.

If I didn’t feel like staying over, because I had class in the morning, I’d get a response like, “Ok, but I brought you a smoothie to your room earlier and do a lot for you, and I just don’t think you really appreciate me or care about me and it really hurts me.” I would then pack my bag and head on over, no matter how late it was.

I really don’t know how to describe it. He made me feel like the most amazing girl in the entire world, but made me so miserable at the same time. I had never felt so loved by a guy in my entire life. He told me he wanted to be with my for the rest of his life, and kind of convinced me that I did too. It was never “love.” It was an obsession. And I guess I was kind of guilty of being “obsessed” too.

I broke up with him in February, we broke up pretty much every week, but this time I convinced myself I was serious. About 3 days later I received an email from the President of Joe’s company that he worked for. It said something along the lines of: “Hello Beth, This is ______ from _____ and Joe has been telling me that you needed a summer job. He talks so highly of you that I’d like to offer you a position for the summer, 35 hours a week, $20 an hour plus tips. Let me know what your thoughts are. I emailed all the paperwork to Joe so you two will need to meet to discuss the logistics.” I gasped at my computer screen. It was too good to be true, but I somehow believed it. I mean the email WAS from the guy so how could it be fake? I guess you can bet what happened next: I met up with Joe, did some paperwork, and we got back together.  The next day I even had a phone interview with the President and it seemed legit, so I was pretty excited to start. This story I’ll finish at the end.

The biggest blowout we had was on my birthday. It was on a Thursday and New England weather decided to PMS and snow in the middle of March. So, myself and a few of my friends stayed in and did birthday-like activities. Joe came over to join and things were going great, and eventually we went back to my room. I had never really opened up to him about my personal life or anything that I was dealing with. I spilled the news that my mom was dating a girl and I was really struggling with it (Surprise to everyone who didn’t know that!–and no, that was not the reason my parent’s got divorced, so shush- and my mom still rocks). Normally, when someone tells you something like that, you reply with something sympathetic or at least a nice gesture. His reply “Well, um, doesn’t gay run in the family? So, like, are you  lesbian too?” and then laughed. That was the first time I’ve ever smacked a guy across the face. I told him to get out of my room and never speak to me again. Joe did the thing he’d always do when he’d get upset. He’d clench his fists and start shaking, and make this weird face, and then break down in tears.

He wouldn’t leave. He was scaring the shit out of me and I was stuck in this tiny dorm room with him and he wouldn’t leave. He punched my wall, then threw my phone against it. I tried to get him off my lofted bed, but that would have ended bad for both of us. He eventually left, with the peace of mind that I said “We’d talk about it tomorrow,” although, I was never planning on it. About an hour later, I was still crying. I then felt a bang on my door. I looked through the peep hole, but a finger was blocking it. I knew it was him. I didn’t answer at first, I was absolutely petrified. I had a broken phone, and had no one to contact. I sat in my room trembling, as he continued to bang on the door. He then said “I left my backpack in your room, please babe, I’ll leave right after I promise, I’d never hurt you.” So, naturally, I totally believed this and let him in. What I didn’t know is that I was letting in my worst nightmare. I gave him his backpack and instructed him to leave. He kept asking if we were together, and I said I didn’t know. He got worked up again and punched a wall, then threw his phone against it. I tried to leave, he wouldn’t let me. He held my wrists down to my bed. I was hyperventilating, begging him to let go of me. I said I’d do anything if he’d just let me go. He wouldn’t. Not until I got back together with him. Through my tears, I somehow managed to say “OK.” His hands released from the grasp and a bright smile appeared on his face. Everything was OK again. While I slept, he packed everything for me for spring break, and cleaned my entire room. He posted sticky notes around the room with little compliments on them. It was quite nice to wake up to.  Everything was OK.

That week I had set up an interview to meet with someone at Joe’s company to talk to about the job I had been offered. Me and the President, we’ll call him Adam, had been exchanging emails back and forth since the first one, so I was looking forward to this. Joe came with me, but as soon as I got in the car he mentioned how Adam’s mom passed away and how he couldn’t make it, but Adam said that he wanted Joe to show me around the place. Although I had woken up early, missed out on a party the night before with my friends, and gotten dressed up for it, everything was OK.

Things were surprisingly going pretty well with Joe. I mean, I wouldn’t say I was happy, but we weren’t arguing, something that I avoided more than anything. I got back to school after break and set up another interview with Adam. It was on a Saturday so I spent $40 on a Peter Pan bus to head back to Boston for this interview. Joe came with me as well. I went into the interview thinking that he was just going to tell me my schedule and when I would start. I was mistaken. It wasn’t Adam who I talked to, it was some other guy so had NO idea who I was and he had no idea that I had been in contact with Adam. Strange. The interview ended as any normal one does, “We’ll call you if we’d like to hire you.”

The phone call never came, but I had the job, right? It was a week before my summer break began and I put it upon myself to call them. I did and the man I spoke to at the interview said “We’re sorry, we’ve chosen other candidates for this position, but we’ll keep your application on file. And by the way, I’m not sure who you talked to but I spoke to Adam and he said he never spoke to a Beth. Must have been a miscommunication.” My heart sank. Not only was I unemployed for the summer, but I had fallen for one of Joe’s masterfully crafted bullshit lies. I had always questioned it, but it seemed serious. I kept trying find reasons to think this was one big lie, but I couldn’t. I later found out he was using a prank email website to act like he was the boss emailing me, but it was Joe the entire time. One of his sick, twisted, tactics to get me in a room alone, and tell me that I was nothing without him, and I could never do better so I had to stay with him.

I broke down crying in the library. Was I crying because I didn’t have a job? No. I was crying because I was ashamed of myself. I was ashamed that I had let myself get so deep into a relationship that I was so unhappy with. I was crying because even though both my head and my heart were telling me no, I kept it going. I was crying because I let this stupid douche bag make me feel worthless and question who I wanted to become.

I was in one of the private study rooms, and Joe was on his way to bring me lunch like he did every Tuesday/Thursday. He saw my tears and immediately knew. He knew he was caught red handed. He did the “Joe thing” again. Shaking, quivering lips, pacing, clenched fists when I told him what had happened. I told him I was done and to never speak to me again, and this time I knew I meant it. But then, he wouldn’t let me leave. He blocked the doorway to exit the study room and had an enraged look in his eye that brought me back to my birthday night. I dreaded that look. I broke down crying, but tried to keep it quiet because we were in a public setting. I escaped and went to the girls bathroom to wash my face. He followed me to the bathroom, and although he didn’t come into the bathroom, I could still feel his presence, which terrified me. I called my mom and told her what happened and that I was scared. I waited in the bathroom for 15 minutes and then just figured he had left. I was wrong. He waited outside of the bathroom. He then followed me all the way back to the dorms, and I was still on the phone with my mom, narrating every detail to her. My mom was just as scared as I was. She told me to go into the safest building, and since it was a Saturday, nothing was open. The walk from the library to my dorm was under 10 minutes, but it felt like a lifetime. He took a different path, but then appeared. He was harassing me, kept asking to talk to my mom, basically talking nonsense. A few threats were thrown at me, but I did make it back to my dorm area safe. It was then when he came up behind me and grabbed my arm and ripped my phone out of my hand, hanging up on my mom. He still had that enraged look in his eye, I knew I needed to get away. Somebody from above was looking down on me that day, because as he was threatening to kill me, and himself, I saw two of my friends. He told me “Don’t you dare go to your friends.” Obviously I didn’t listen to him, and ran to them, snagging my phone out of his hands on the way. Joe continued to harass me and follow me until I went into my dorm and immediately to the Resident Directors office, shutting the door behind me.

Oh–and that “phone interview” I had, was his friend.

There was legal things involved, he got charged with various violations of the Code of Conduct, but I won’t get into that.

If you made it all the way to this point, congrats, that was a long one. But again, this post is not to slander Joe. I’ve mentioned this before, but writing is my escape. I write to be happy, I  write to cope, and I write to move on.  And writing about this is always something I wanted to do, but I never had the courage. His presence still scares me. We see each other on campus occasionally, and I get this weird uneasy feeling, although we have not been in contact in about 2 years.

I know he has a new girlfriend now, they started dating less than a month after we broke up. And I truly hope he treats her with the respect that she deserves. Joe did do a lot for me, he’d do a lot of things to make me happy, but there was always a hidden agenda.

After reading this, you probably see me as weak. Many of my closest friends don’t even understand why I stayed with someone like him. But you don’t get it until it happens to you. It’s a trap with no escape. Getting told every single day that “I could never do better,” “I wasn’t good enough,” and, “No one will ever love me as much as Joe did” sticks with you. It gets injected into your mind in some twisted and fucked up way. One moment they’re making you so happy and the next moment they have you thinking that you are the worst human being on this planet. It’s an abusive relationship. They give you false hopes for a better tomorrow, a false hope that they’ll change because “they love you that much.”

This extends beyond Joe. This extends to anyone who has ever let someone make them feel like they’re not good enough. I’ll tell you one thing, you ARE good enough. If you are happy with yourself, then that’s all that matters, don’t let some jackass tell you otherwise. NEVER ever ever ever settle for less than you deserve, in any aspect of your life, because you’ll end up feeling like a helpless piece of shit like I did.

I’d actually like to thank Joe. Thank him for making me realize what I most certainly don’t deserve. I’m not the skinniest girl on earth, I have plenty of flaws that I’d like to fix, but I’m happy. I’m happy with the choices I make and the people I choose to associate myself with. The fact that I let someone tell me otherwise makes me sick. Never do that. Never let a guy change the person you are, because you rock just the way are.

I met one of the most amazing guys in the world, and we’ve been happy together for over 7 months. And I appreciate him more because I know the bottom of the barrel feels like. I don’t have to fake a smile, fake an “I love you,” or fake anything for that matter with him. He’s awesome. I’m genuinely happy and I love it. So, YES Joe,  I did do better than you (although that’s not too difficult), and I did find someone who does things to put a smile on my face just because he enjoys to, not to burden me with it later down the road. He likes me with brown or blonde hair, doesn’t think its gross when I sweat at the gym like you did, and thinks I’m the hottest girl around. I love him for many reasons, but I mainly love him because he makes me a better version of myself, something you, Joe, never did.

So moral of the story: When a guy tells you he loves you after a week of meeting you, don’t walk or run, SPRINT THE FUCK OUT OF THERE. Kidding, kind of. But in all seriousness, please take what I said and try to apply it to your life. If you are talking to a guy that makes you feel like shit, say sayonara to that asshole, because, sweetheart, you can do better. You’ll find the guy that makes you feel like a princess, I promise. Don’t rush into anything because you feel forced to. Be honest with yourself and your heart.

What I learned: Love is amazing, so love the people who love who you are. Always put your friends first because friends are awesome and cool. Rushing into a relationship is one of the worst things you can do, so take your time, if the guy matters, he’ll wait for you. Any guy that expects you to pick up after him is a loser. Don’t say “I love you” unless you mean it, use those words wisely because when you say it to someone that you actually do love, it’ll feel that much better. And for those wondering, smacking a guy across the face is just as satisfying as it sounds.

Joe- When you glare at me at the gym: yes I still workout (Wow! Shocker! Because you had me thinking I NEEDED you to have the motivation to do so!)  yes, I still occasionally wear those Nike sneakers you got me (Sorry not sorry?)  and no, I don’t give a flying fuck if you stare at me.

And no, Joe, “gay” does not run in the family. You’re an idiot.

Disclaimer-If you find yourself in a relationship like this, tell someone. Don’t let it go ignored. The best thing I could’ve ever done was talked to someone, and got law enforcement involved. My university was EXTREMELY helpful and understanding, and it most certainly gave me a peace of mind. Silence is a virtue, but it can be your worst enemy too.

I do highly recommend you check out Mackenzie’s blog. It’s awesome. Here’s the link: http://sparklesandsecrets.com/