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. 

The power to both love and destroy

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There will be one person, or multiple people, in life who hold your heart. They are capable of holding it for months, years, and possibly forever. Life seems simple when you find your person, because you no longer have to battle through everything alone. The person who holds your heart holds a piece of you that is seemingly irreplaceable if you ever lost them. You hold on to them blindly, unaware that you are probably better off without them.

Your bond was seemingly unbreakable at one time, but when the bond breaks, you’re left with a sense of emptiness, a sense of confusion and vulnerability. They break you, but yet you find yourself continually going back to them. The tears that were once innocent become sharp pains down the side of your face, and you wonder why you’ve injected yourself with another dose of their toxic drug.

It’s often the people we least expect who destroy us the most.

We always forgive them, and it’s not always because we are still in love with them. It’s because we are weak for them. Because, how can you be in love with someone who is simultaneously destroying you?

Like small shards of glass scraping against your skin. It’s uncomfortable but seemingly painless until you’re left with an open wound. Every new sore stings with the burden of their empty promises, but it is the only way to avoid the infection of loneliness. The sore lies open and raw, but you continually let him scrape. You’ve somehow seemed to lost your ability to feel somewhere along the way.

Destroying you with one blow would be too easy. You’d probably never give them a second thought if you knew that’s what they were capable of. Instead, we give our hearts away to those who either hold it gently, or to those who take a small pieces away at a time.

They don’t shatter it into a million pieces instantaneously, like a fist to a mirror, rather, it’s like an artist chipping away at his ice sculpture with his ice pick. Tap, tap, tap. Carefully. Slowly. Painfully.

It’s like an application to your dream job that never gets a response. It’s a red light at 3am that won’t seem to turn green.  It’s everything in life that you believe is meant to happen, but never does. It’s everything in life that provides enough hope for you to keep holding on a bit longer, even if it’s slowly killing you inside.

So what do we do? We send a follow up email to the employer, we run the red light. We desperately take that leap of faith to avoid disappointment. We take action because it’s better than waiting for something that will never be.

We avoid disappointments because we don’t want to think life is meant to disappoint. We succumb to your let downs and tell ourselves, “He doesn’t mean to hurt me. We’re meant to be.” Are we attempting to convince others, or are we trying to convince ourselves?

You’ve become numb to the countless disappointments. You’ve become numb to allowing yourself to fall time and time again only for him to shamelessly remove his hands at the very last moment. You forgive and forgive, usually allowing yourself to develop some sort of friendship with this person because it seems better than losing them completely.

You “love” them. And because you love them, you justify. You justify the lost apologies, the empty promises. You spend more time justifying their behavior then actually loving them. So, is it love? What is it?

You’re afraid to completely release your grasp because you’re afraid you’ll lose a piece of yourself with them. Letting go is scary because at one point you felt like they completed you. At one point they loved you, and you loved them too.

They have the power to both love and destroy. However, we only believe the first one to be true because the latter is too difficult to deal with.

What’s even worse is that most of the time they have no idea they’re destroying you. They have no idea that they take are scraping you with small shards of glass to the point of an open wound. They think they love you too. They think that the “timing isn’t right,” but maybe one day it will be. So they hold on just as tightly, creating friction on the rope that you are both tugging.

And perhaps, you are destroying them too.

You’re both afraid to let go of your grasp because then what? You’re left with a blank slate. A blank slate of emptiness, of uncertainty. How do you fill the daily space that they once consumed? Who is supposed to understand you the way that they did? Letting them go tosses you out into the world of rejections and missed connections.

It forces you to start over.

Eventually, you take the first step of rebuilding. You realize that with each stride, with each scruff of your shoe against the sidewalk, that you’re in command of your own mind, your own soul. You become a woman walking into your own plans, your own dreams. The world is in your hands, and you become at peace with the blank slate, because the blank slate is what saved you; it’s what saved you from complete destruction.