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~.

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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.

2017 Year In Review

​​​11:26pm.

​It’s dead in here can I pleeeeease get cut?

I grab my bag and run to the bathroom. Black heels and a red dress. A quick attempt at smoky eye. I snag my bar key from the top of the sink and stuff it in my coat pocket.

Bye everyone! Happy New Year!

I run out of the door and into the grey Toyota Camry. 11:41 pm.

So, I know there’s like, speed laws or whatever, but I need to make it by midnight. Step on it! I laugh, but I’m also, like, so serious.

I watch the digital clock intently like a slow motion Times Square ball drop in the Uber. My palms are sweating. “Ringing in the New Year” seems like such a frivolous thing, except this year I have someone waiting for me. –

I arrive with 8 minutes to spare. Greeted with a kiss.

I’m so happy you made it. You look amazing, Beth.

The bright, LED display counts the seconds down.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

Happy New Year, beautiful.

***

The weather is cold. I find myself slipping into a seasonal depression of sorts. I’m 23. I’m supposed to have my life figured out. I’m supposed to be sitting in an office, starting a 401k at a job with coworkers who go to happy hours and throw lavish holiday parties.

It’s 9am.

My eyes struggle to open after a long night of bartending the night before. I reach for my phone beneath my pillow.

Right swipe.

While your skills are impressive, we regret to inform you that we have chosen to pursue other candidates.

I pull the crumpled paper from my nightstand and cross off another job prospect. I pull the blanket back over my eyes.

I press my hands against my eyes. Don’t cry.

***

We both wake up with a crippling hangover. Beth’s birthday festivities won. We lost.

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I crawl into Kat’s bed. Our eyes are smothered with dark eye makeup. We are not well.

The Diner? Kat suggests.

Yes.

We practically crawl up Kalorama Road to 18th Street. The hill is too much today.

It’s noon.

Coffee and lots of water, pretty please. We cry for help. The bartender observes our creature-like appearance and can’t help but laugh.

Our food comes out. We stare at it and poke at it with our forks. The food is almost as unappetizing as the Bloody Marys served to the man next to us.

We attempt to piece together the day. We have questions. Lots of questions.

We grab a napkin and ask the bartender for a pen. Let’s map out what happened.

The napkin is full of scribbles and mixed drinks. This leads to more questions.

Why were we drinking pre-batched Old Fashioneds out of a punch bowl at 10:30pm at Johnny Pistolas?

Kat runs to the bathroom. 10 minutes later, I follow. Nope, we are definitely not well.

 

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***

I knew what my Mom was going to say as soon as I felt my phone vibrate.
I didn’t want to hear her say it. I even debated not answering and holding it off for a few more hours. I wanted to hug her one last time. Tell her how much I loved her.

I love you too, Mom.

I picked up the photograph sitting on my night stand. Nona in her fifties sitting at The Capitol building. Dark brown hair and a pink dress paired with black ballet flats.img_8202
I hold the photograph in my hands. The way her face wrinkled when she laughed. Her soft hands and silver hair cut on Tuesdays by the women of Supercuts.

This time is goodbye. Eyes fill. A tear drops on my naked chest.

I love you, Nona. I place the photo back on my nightstand. 

My mom paints her backdoor yellow in her memory. I buy a sunflower and place it on my window sill. Her favorite color is a reflection of the person she was. Vibrant and beautiful.

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***

I’ve been waiting over 2 months.

I thought applying early action meant early-we’ll-accept-or-deny-you. Tell me already, would ya?

I re-read my personal statement. Perhaps my best work. Emotional. Provocative. A difficult subject to write and read about but a conversation worth talking about. My writing style.

After all, I don’t have 2 years of PR experience as they recommend. I needed to stick out.

I latch onto this decision as if its my last chance to prove to myself that I have a handle on my life.

I need this.

Request for a phone interview. This is a good sign.

We’d like to talk to you about your personal statement. A concerning tone. The conversation starts.

I hang up the phone and replay everything back in my head. It sounded like they wanted me to apologize and scramble to take my words back. Perhaps rewrite another statement. I didn’t know exactly what they wanted.

Maybe I should have apologized, but I didn’t.

I don’t write to offend, I write to bring light to issues that may not be comfortable to talk about, but that should be talked about. I can’t change the narrative on my own, but I can contribute. And that’s what I do. You asked me how ethics play into my everyday life, and that’s how.

Kindly,
Beth

I hit send.

It’s a Tuesday at 8am.

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into Georgetown University’s Public Relations and Corporate Communications program.

I’m singing “Every Other Time” by LFO at Nellie’s karaoke with Staci in celebration.

And you told everyone that I was gay…okay.

Our mics go quiet. Staci and I look at each other. Oops.

***

He is the topic of conversation between my journal and I as of late. An emotional roller coaster of stories and mixed feelings. Pages written with shaky hands, crooked letters and tear stains followed by pages of sappiness and hand-drawn emojis.

You should publish your story, Beth. Staci encourages.

I compile my journal entries, attempting to piece together what we were. The story doesn’t make sense. It’s fragmented.

He, the man I fell for. I, the one that tried to stay away but couldn’t. The end.

No, it’s more than that.

My hands hover over the black plastic keys of my laptop.

The blue “Publish” button sits in the right hand corner of my WordPress screen. I guide my mouse pad.I am paralyzed in this moment.

Click.

I don’t know what is going to happen next. The uncertainty is nerve-wracking, yet I feel free. 

I feel free.

Thank you for writing this. I can relate. Hugs from Nigeria.

Thank you for sharing your story, Beth. I don’t know you, but you have given me a newfound voice. Thank you. X

***

Can I have a Tanqueray and tonic please? He blows cigarette smoke from his mouth, dressed in a plain gray t-shirt and jeans. He seems to know the staff.

That’s Adriel, he works here too. He just got back from traveling for a month.

I head out the front door to head home after my first training shift.

We’re going to Exiles next door, do you want to come? Oh, it’s him again. He seems friendly.

Sure.

It’s 10pm on a Tuesday. I have work to do tomorrow, but I find myself in the back patio of a bar with a vodka soda in hand and a round of Jameson shots on their way.

I peak around at the rest of the staff that has joined us. I observe the varying personalities. Everybody is so different, holy shit. But it works.

Like a puzzle with a picture that is discombobulated, yet the pieces still fit together in an oddly perfect fashion.

Conversation is loud, whiskey shots continue. I laugh harder than I have in months.

A picnic table filled with my soon-to-be family. My dysfunctionally perfect Local 16 fam.

Editor’s note: Not gunna lie, being totally 110% honest, dead assssss serious u guyz are the best. 😉

 

***

We’re in Newport, Rhode Island. The matching “Aloha Beaches” tank tops are folded in my duffle bag.

I try to forget about the texts exchanged the day before. I work hard. I’m smart. I know these things. This will be a relaxing weekend.

Your value is not always noticed, nor acknowledged by others. I realize this in a string of tears on the front steps of the cottage as night falls. My sister rubs my back.

I’m sorry, I know this weekend is supposed to be about you, I apologize.

It’s okay. Just know your worth, she tells me, know it and own it.

I stand up for myself. After all, who else will?

I learn a dream job is hardly a dream when you lose sight of what your worth. I learn my worth. 

I leave WeWork with my head held high. Onward and upward.

***

I have an idea. A really good idea.

Google, how do you start a small business? What’s an LLC? Can I afford that?

I design my logo. I don’t really know what I’m doing. My entrepreneurial spirit kicks in. It’s me, my laptop and an iced coffee. It’s August. It’s hot outside. The condensation drips from the plastic cup onto my fingers.

I need to send a proposal to a potential client. Welp, this template looks good I guess. Not sure what all of this legal jargon means but whatevs.

I start to receive inquiries from word-of-mouth and email. Is this happening? Am I actually doing this? Am I in over my head?

I’m not sure.

Hi, I’m Beth. Founder and social media storyteller at Socially Attractive by Beth.

beth

***

Staci, can I wear my Birkenstocks? 

Yeah! Who cares? She replies.

I practically live in these glorified Jesus sandals, but how can you not?

Ugh. I debate with myself. I feel like most people are going to show up in business clothes after a long day at work and there I’ll be with my Birks and Herschel backpack.

Do I want to give off the earthy-crunchy vibe? Is there a dress code for this thing? Whatever. Birkenstock’s it is.

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I swipe my card and enter the building. Find your name tag and grab a notebook on that table right over there.

Damn, a leather notebook on day one. I guess I’m getting my money’s worth.

So, I was right. Most people are dressed in business-like attire, but I don’t totally stick out. It’s all good.

Tell us about yourself! We’re going to go around and have people give their name, hometown, and a fun fact!

Icebreakers. I roll my eyes.

I tell everyone that I despise pickles.

“Hey, I’m Evan. I’m from Connecticut and my fun fact is that I was born in Colombia.” A man chimes from the other end of the auditorium.

Turns out four other people in our program are also from Colombia.

Oh my gosh, they all came up to me afterwards and started speaking in Spanish and I have no idea why the f I said that as my fun fact because I don’t speak a lick of Spanish.

We stand next to each other in the circle of awkwardness of strangers and laugh. He makes fun of my Birkenstock’s. I don’t know him, but I have a good feeling about this one.

Meet Evan, the star of my Snapchat stories. The eyes behind all of my top Instagram photos. My fake boyfriend and favorite coffee date.

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***

I’m holding a grudge.

He reaches out, but I ignore his phone calls and e-mails. I don’t remember the last time I we spoke beyond a text that was hardly five syllables.

Ignoring takes effort.

How’s he doing? I ask my sister. I pretend I don’t care that much.

He asks about you a lot, Beth. She encourages me to let go of the past. I tell her I can’t.

The past hurts.

I remember waking up in bed alone with puffy red eyes and a broken heart. I don’t tell her that all I wanted was a hug from Dad. I don’t tell her that I want to fix things because I don’t know how to.

I hold a grudge because I think it’s easier than confrontation. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m not sure.

He continues to reach out, I respond from time to time, slowly opening the door of a relationship that has been in the dark for over a year. His surgery went well. He now has 83% hearing in his left ear. A 60% increase. I tell him I’m happy for him. A smile wipes across my face and a tear falls from my eye.

The past starts to slip from my tight grasp. Light seeps through the door crack.

I remember mornings that he’d make his homemade egg McMuffins on a lightly toasted bagel. Stops at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way home from basketball games.

Extra large extra cream extra sugar for me. Hot chocolate for this basketball star. He pats me on the head. I look up at him and smile.

I choose the good memories.

***

I don’t know if I’ll have someone waiting for me on New Year’s Eve this year. I’m not sure if 2018 will be the Year of Beth or the Year of WTF is Wrong With You????!!??!

Let’s hope the latter won’t be the case, but I don’t know. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that life is a journey of fuck ups, triumphs and unexpected twists and turns. Accept these fuck ups and triumphs for what they are and move forward. Eyes on the prize. 

What’s the prize? I haven’t a clue. But it’s there. My eyes are on it, I’ll tell ya.

2017 was a year full of struggle followed by amazing opportunities. I’ve met the most beautiful (and well, ugliest too I guess) people along the way — a tribe of people that will be with me for the rest of my life. 

I can’t tell you what 2018 holds. I know resolutions are super cliché or whatever, but aren’t they sorta, like, required? Maybe? No?

I’m going to attempt to focus on the present. Focus on the things I can control and change and deal with my emotions however they come. I’m going to work on new relationships, and foster the ones I already have. Let people in even when I don’t think I can. I don’t know the best place to start achieving these things, but I’ll just take it day by day.

I guess homemade egg McMuffins and a hot chocolate from Dunkin’ Donuts on Christmas is a good place to start.

 

***
Catch ya on the flip side, 2017.

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Oh. Maybe I should try and be less basic this year and chill on the Snapchat. What do you guys think? I’m just gunna leave these here and you can be the judge.

 

 

 

Mediocrity.

I didn’t mean to get super personal, but I couldn’t help it.

“What’s your biggest fear in life?”

I hadn’t prepped for this one. I had four pages of a Google Doc typed out, with every possible question I could attempt to predict.

Tell me about yourself.
Why should we choose you?
What’s the biggest challenge you have faced and how did you deal with it?
What skills have you learned that have helped you develop both personally and professionally?
Why do you want to work for us?
What would you say your weaknesses are?

The list continued. I had thorough responses typed and saved as I watched the cursor blink and continue to ask each question I had already answered.

“What is your biggest fear in life?”

I paused, I’m sorry, that question sort of took me off guard.

She laughed. I laughed (nervously). “It’s a loaded question,” she acknowledged, “take your time.”

I was quiet for several seconds. Breaking the silence with an “um” followed by further silence.

Mediocrity. I replied.

She paused. “Can you repeat that? Did you say mediocrity? What do you mean by that?”

Have you ever felt like you’re not living up to the expectations you set for yourself? Like, you know you’re capable of great things, but do you ever wonder if you’ll get to that point? I know where I can be someday, but what if I never get there? 

I swallowed hard and continued…

I fear being mediocre. Being less than what I know I am. 

As a young twenty something with an uncertain future ahead, I fear mediocrity all of the time. I fear always being two steps behind of where I want to be. Always reaching, but never grabbing. Striving, but not thriving.

I have done some great things in my young life, as have you. But, I can’t help but wonder what else is out there for me. I can’t help but wonder if I’m taking the wrong steps, dating  the wrong people, living in the wrong place.

Or worse, being the wrong person.

I can’t help fearing if I’ll ever make it to where I want to be. Career-wise, dating-wise, life-wise.

Success is often measured by the number on your paycheck, but to me, I find myself worrying less about that and more about non-financial fulfillments. I worry about the people I surround myself with, the late night thoughts that flood my brain, the guys I unexpectedly develop feelings for. I worry about never being completely satisfied. But, are we meant to be completely at peace with everything at once? Are we meant to experience ultimate nirvana? Is it possible to be living in your own form of utopia? 

“Life is perpetually creative because it contains in itself that surplus which ever overflows the boundaries of the immediate time and space, restlessly pursuing its adventure of expression in the varied forms of self–realisation.”

Life is creative. It’s unexpected. Daunting, confusing, and beautiful all at once.

Am I just existing?

High school preps you for college (sort of). College preps you for the real world (not really). But once you’re in the real word, what’s next? It’s like suddenly you’re in an abyss of “Am I doing this right?”s with no one to fall back on but yourself.

As I sit on the patio of my favorite coffee shop, my mind is moving in a thousand different directions. To my left lies my phone pinging with work emails. To my right is the overpriced coffee I definitely didn’t need. There are job engine tabs open on my Google Chrome browser, packed full with opportunities that don’t seem to mesh well with me.

I know I’m not supposed to be picky. I know that not all dream opportunities are at the end of a straight and narrow path. Is it normal to wonder if I’ll ever get there?

I draw inspiration from random happenings. My stories are always crafted after the fact; after some deliberation, caffeine, and an inspiring Spotify playlist. Is this what life is supposed to be like? I may not know the significance of a random job or a confusing guy in the moment, but I can only hope it’s part of the windy path that will get me to where I need to be.

Rather, where I want to be.

Tomorrow is my 24th birthday. There is no Taylor Swift nor Blink 182 track to caption my Instagram picture with. *Sigh*. There’s also no guide titled, “Where you should be in life be when you turn 24.” Damnit.

Some friends are in long term relationships, others are still experiencing the stress that is dating different people, like myself. Some have 401ks and pensions, others stuff their closets with cash tips after a long night of bartending. Some are up late studying for grad school exams, others are up late hooking up with a random guy.

Some are content, others want more.

However, I think we all ask ourselves, “What is my forever?” We wonder what jobs we’ll keep, what people are worth investing in, and whether or not that plane ticket is worth splurging on. Most of us have no ties grounding us to one set plan or place, so I suppose my fear of mediocrity is normal and somewhat validated.

Life is a strange mix of people, places, and unexpected outcomes. I’ve never been one to plan, but I find comfort in knowing what’s next. But, yet, I’ve found that the best things always come without warning. I’ve found that the right people and opportunities come at the right times, even if it feels wrong in the moment.

We have the power to shape a beautiful life in the same way we have the power to shape a mediocre one. Not every career decision will be monumental, not every relationship will sweep you off your feet. I guess we have to experience the mediocre to experience the groundbreaking.

Ten years from now, I hope I’m working a job I love, coming home to a guy (or dog, most likely) I love even more. I hope to wonder why I ever worried. Why I ever doubted my abilities. Why I asked myself if I’ll ever make it.

I suppose fearing mediocrity is better than accepting mediocrity as a constant. Right?

So, for now, I guess I can be content with my half broken dresser and sub-par chicken piccata. I can be content with a mediocre situationship, content with feeling under qualified for every job posting I seemed to be interested in. Not every area of my life can be  awesome at all times, but I guess that’s what makes me crave more awesomeness.

I’m not sure if this is where I’m supposed to be at age 24, but do we ever really know? Not sure. I guess we all experience life at a different pace. Interning while some are career-ing (poetic license???). Hooking up while some are proposing. Feeling uncertain while some are at ease.

I don’t know where I’m supposed to be or who I’m supposed to be with.  I don’t know if my answer to the interviewees question helped me land a job or kicked me off the list entirely. I know less about life than I’d like, but then again, I’m only 24.

It’s unnerving, but if you feel the same way I do, thank GOD because that means I’m not the only one. Phew!

Hold onto the confidence you have in your abilities, because in my experience, it’s the confidence that has led me to the awesome life I’ve lived thus far. Even if sometimes it doesn’t feel so awesome.

Crave awesomeness over mediocrity. Crave awesome people, awesome places. You’ll encounter countless mediocre things in the process, but we need the mediocre things to experience the awesome things. You know, the groundbreaking, “this shit is LIT” kinds of things. Strive for the awesome life, but accept that it’s not going to come out of every decision, relationship, or job you encounter. It’s the mediocre that builds the foundation for something killer.

We’ll get there. Eventually.

In the meantime, you can find me attempting to fix my half broken dresser and perfecting my chicken piccata dish while laughing hysterically over this video with my roommate. The little things, you know.

“I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of uncertainty about different things, but I am not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here. I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell.” – Richard Feynman

 

I went on a date with a 30-something and the world didn’t explode.

The last time I went on a date with an age gap, I was a sophomore in college. Blissfully unaware of decent vodkas, 401ks, and the tackiness of my fake Long Champ. He was 27, I was 20. At the time this age gap seemed astronomical. Like, 7 years?! Omg he was legally able to drink when I just got my period for the first time!!!! (This was my dead ass thought process). The date was OK, but my anxiety about the age difference trumped any attraction I felt towards him.

Fast forward 3.5 years later. I’ve upgraded to Tito’s, still don’t totally understand how a 401k works, and finally invested in a nice-ass Rebecca Minkoff tote. Up until last week, my Tinder age preferences were set between 23-28. Anyone over 28 was “too old.”

I bet they have a sweet 401k plan. I can’t commit to someone like that yet. 

“You need to start dating older men,” he told me. Looking back at this conversation with my bar guest, this was probably an attempt to flirt, but we were so deep into this conversation about immature men that I disregarded the fact that he might have been referring to himself.

So I did it. I made the move. The big kahuna move from left to right on my Tinder age preference scale. 24-31.

31. Omg. 31?!?!!?! My palms started to sweat.

I then quickly shut the app as I realized I was sweating over Tinder. Get it together. 

The next day I was casually swiping. You know, just your every day, is she swiping or Pokemon Go-ing? millennial past time.

It’s a match!

My first definitely-has-a-401k-plan- match (I’m not sure why I keep associating adulthood so in depth with 401ks but it just sounds right). We chatted and I knew it was a Tinder-match-made-in-heaven when he agreed with my argument about vanilla being the best flavor of ice cream.

I quote, “When God made ice cream, he made vanilla.”

Aight, cool, I feel you 401k-er.

We had a very brief conversation before he asked me out. Omg aggressive, I thought. Then I was like, oh wait, maybe this is how dating apps should be-not exhausting conversations before you meet IRL. 

I agreed. He initially suggested drinks, then added dinner onto the deal. YES!!!!

Won’t give you the play by play of the evening (although I know y’all are DYING to hear it), but let’s just say the last leg of the date consisted of getting hammered playing Guess Who? at a board game bar. It was like the dream first date I never knew I wanted.

We talked about politics, jobs, and other “adult like” things. But the age gap didn’t matter. We were just two single people who enjoyed each other’s company.

I don’t know why 30-somethings frighten me. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a career set in place, or maybe it’s because I don’t match my socks (probs will never do that tbh). Not totally sure where the anxiety about dating them stemmed from.

Maybe the next 30-something I go out with will make me feel extremely 23. Not sure, but I’m down to find out.
Dating is weird and exhausting on so many levels, but you’re only making the process worse if you stick with what you know.

Like, I know the twenty-somethings I’ve “dated” here are kind of the worst. So, sticking to what I “know” hasn’t been working out. Perhaps it’s time to start adopting ~dat 401k way of life.~

I actually don’t know if he has a 401k plan. I never asked. Is that an appropriate first date question? But, I do promise I’ll stop overkilling metaphors in my blog posts.

Maybe.

I’ve already labeled you as a disappointment.

Since I have moved to a new city, my blog has taken a bit of a backseat; a fault that I can only place on myself.

I wondered why my hands were incapable of writing something up; inspiration isn’t hard to find as a writer. I tried to blame it on my lack of time, which is partially true, but it didn’t really seem to feel right. My brain wondered off to thinking “oh, there haven’t been any stories worth writing about recently.” But then I quickly shut that thought down because there have been plenty, trust me.

My recent posts have been lacking the emotion that I have been avoiding for reasons I was afraid to publish. I’ve been in a weird state of forgetting why I started this blog in the first place. It used to encompass fearlessness; personal stories published to provide a greater purpose, to provide meaning.

Somewhere along the way, I lost that, and trying to regain it has been rather difficult.

I have pushed feelings aside to focus on myself, to thrive in a new city alone, to be who I want to be without having to invest myself in someone else.

I have come to find the casual dating scene to be quite exhausting when I have limited time on my hands. A man who wants to meet for drinks downtown isn’t a very far walk, but on my only night off, I don’t really want to make the time.

They leave their numbers on my receipt at work, with a short and sweet note that reads something like, “You were great! Would love to go out sometime.” It makes me smile, but I stuff it away with the rest of my checks and continue on with my shift.

Swiping right and reading “It’s a match!” boosts my confidence for a moment, then it stagnates once again. The countless “hey what’s up?” messages all become meshed into one, and I couldn’t be bothered.

I enjoy talking to them at the bar as I’m enjoying my after-shift vodka soda cran, and we exchange good conversation for a brief ten-or-so minutes. I provide a false promise to grab drinks and text them. Although my interest has been heightened in the words we have exchanged, I can’t get myself to have it go any further than that ten minute window.

The truth is, I have already labeled you as a disappointment.

To some I may sound like a bitter single 20-something, maybe to some I’m lazy. Some say you have to go out and search for what you want, others say wait for the unexpected.

However, I’ve done both. They haven’t worked. My love life isn’t “boring” by any means but it has been a constant disappointment and I’ve teetered between the ideas of placing the blame on the men I’ve encountered and shitty timing. But when do the excuses run out?

I try not to blame it on myself because let’s face it, you never want to put the blame on yourself.

It’s like staring at a mirror and watching it crack before your eyes. Unequivocally painful and indisputably harsh. The failures in my love life aren’t unnatural, I’m sure you have shared in some of these sentiments with me. They say “you have to kiss a lot of frogs before finding your Prince Charming,” or whatever.

Well, what if I don’t want to kiss anymore frogs?

In a world full of people, how offset is this ratio and how come everyone else seems to be figuring it out besides me? The dating culture encourages kissing frogs with the hopes of them someday turning them into something less grotesque, usually after several months and drunk texts. I know the system, but perhaps I’m doing it all wrong.

Or, maybe I’m the frog.

I don’t know. It’s an odd reality to face: knowing that you’re good enough, but trying to find why you weren’t good enough for them. It’s somber, it’s disappointing, it’s inexplicably exhausting. It’s tough staying optimistic when you’re track record steers you in the other direction.

I have waited for the text after sleeping together, deciding on whether you’re just too busy. A day passes, and my brain has been wired to lose interest after day 2. I refuse to lower my standards just to see if your interested. If you don’t care enough, then I won’t.

I have been the girl to continually go back to her ex, although every time I knew I was the one who would be made a fool. Fool me once, fool me twice, fool me ten times, what the f*ck am I thinking?

I fell for a guy abroad, I promised myself we would always stay in touch. I held onto the idea that we would cross paths again and be happy in the same place. We exchanged letters, filled with romantic words scratched on paper that are tucked away in my nightstand. Every so often I carefully unfold the delicate college-ruled paper and read them, as a reminder of the love that never was. As a reminder of something that could have been, but wasn’t.

I allowed a guy to stay with me for the weekend. A guy I wasn’t all too sure about, but decided to take a chance anyways. I didn’t want to be his girlfriend, but the entire weekend I was thinking, “Can you at least pretend?” The weekend ended on a sour note and I, again, was not good enough.

I bounce back from disappointments quite quickly, simply because I’ve been wired to do so. When I say, “I’m over it,” I really am. But how many times can you truly force yourself to be over something before it catches up to you? As humans, are we really supposed to continually not give a sh*t?

Am I really supposed to not care?

I’ve waited, I’ve been the chaser rather than the one who is chased. I’ve set myself up, knowing I’d only be let down. I wanted to be the girl who changed you, even though I knew the entire time you never wanted to change for me. I’ve pretended to walk away, with the hopes that you’d follow me.

I’m not surprised when people leave, I’m more surprised when they stay.

Being single is fun and exciting. It ~liberates the mind and frees the soul~…right? There are days where I couldn’t imagine myself with someone seriously, but other days, I wonder why no one has given any effort to take me seriously.

I have liked guys, have thoroughly enjoyed first dates, some of whom wish to pursue me further. But, like I said, I have already categorized you as a disappointment. I have already told myself that I won’t be good enough for you, so I focus on being good enough for myself.

I don’t really want to put myself out there. I don’t have the time, I don’t have the desire I once did. You can tell me how much you enjoyed our conversation, but I’ll always be thinking “Well, this won’t last for long.” So, I force myself to end it before it goes anywhere.

“That’s your problem, you’re doing it to yourself.” Maybe I am, but at this point, what other option do I have? I’m not saying I hate being single, I’m not saying I hate the entire male race. I don’t really know what I’m saying.

I guess this post was written to attempt to explain the mind of a young woman who is continually asked, “How’s your love life?” A question I usually answer with something superficial and empty rather than being honest and replying with, “disappointing and exhausting.”

It’s taboo to admit defeat in the dating scene. With the rise of dating apps and seemingly endless options, it’s like we no longer have an excuse. Finding someone is supposed to be easy. You have a pool of men in your hands at all times, so what the hell is your problem? Why haven’t you found anyone yet?

I’m tired of being disappointed. I’m tired of trying proving myself to someone else when the world is constantly challenging me to believe that I’m good enough for myself.

I’m tired of believing in something when i know there’s the chance that there is nothing to believe in.