Reclaiming #selfcare: a happiness project

I’ve been holding off on writing this post for several reasons.

I’ve written drafts, none of which felt right. I wasn’t in the right mindset, and I’m not totally sure I am right now. Tonight, I find myself at a cider bar sipping on ice water. The lighting is dim, Ariana Grande’s Sweetener album is on repeat through my rose gold headphones. Tonight, her music inspires me – basic, you say? It’s fine. This scenario doesn’t seem optimal for a blog post, but I’m not sure there’s ever a ~perfect~ time or place.

I’m here alone — it’s just me and the blinking cursor and bright screen that stares me in the face.

My inner monologue loves creating stories about the strangers that surround me. I’ve been told it’s “writer’s brain,” but I also think it’s a result of having constant thoughts spinning. The vibe in here is quiet — it’s chill. I wonder what people are thinking about me. The lone gal aggressively typing at her laptop in an out-of-season floral jumpsuit.

Who am I to these people?

***

My days of late have been jam packed with anxious thoughts. Will my business make it? Why doesn’t this guy want me? Am I eating the right food? Will I ever be a size zero? When will my debt go away? Am I taking on too much? Can I be better at life?

Can I be better at life?

My head repeats this question. It seems like a simple, yes” but how do I get there? How do I develop a better life with a shit ton of anxiety, limited funds and a busy ass schedule?

It seems like I’m faced with the impossible.

That’s how I justify it. A better life is just…impossible.

I usually rationalize this thinking in my head when I’m having shitty thoughts about my body while scarfing down a cookie. I will never be able to make this negative image about myself go away, not yet anyways. 

I tell myself that I’ll be better tomorrow. Tomorrow WILL be the day I make serious moves to being better at life.

The problem is, I’ve never really thought through it. I go through the motions, wash my face and apply expensive toner. I try to meditate every day but then get stressed about making it so routine and get mad at myself when I don’t make the time. I try to give up alcohol, light candles and apply essential oils and think, is any of this fucking working?

I try to define what self-care means to me and find my responses cliché and simply falling into the mold of what it should look like rather than implementing my own creative practices. The health & wellness world has turned into commodified industry that I simply cant’ keep up with.

Tap water is no longer good enough, spend the extra $2 for water with charcoal in it. Vital proteins are ~life~. Flexible dieting is #cool and you can still easily have six pack and eat cake – it’s easy! 

I’m not knocking these practices, I’m just saying it’s exhausting and overwhelming to keep up with. We’re promised all of these amazing results with an easy fix so we drink Kombucha for a day and expect to wake up looking like Blake Lively.

I’m rambling. I know. Rambling on WordPress is one version of self-care that never lets me down. I hope you’re still reading.

***

A few months ago I read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. Tbh, I usually toss books like this to the side because oftentimes self help books are too preachy for me and don’t speak to me like they do all the five-star reviewers on Amazon.

OMG!!!! THIS BOOK SERIOUSLY CHANGED THE WAY I SEE EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE!!! I AM FOREVER CHANGED!!! Really, Karen? I’m calling bullshit.

I’m not an avid book critic, but I will say Rubin’s book was fucking brilliant. A quick synopsis: a woman (Rubin) who has a perfectly fine life and is generally a happy human wants to make her life better — an no, she doesn’t turn in to a ~yogi~. Her journey isn’t an overnight fix, she makes small, manageable steps to make her life better. She sets a theme every month for a year and follows those guidelines while noting her progress. She has pitfalls and fuckups, but don’t we all?

But you have a great life! How can you make it better? 

*Newsflash* you can alwayyzzz make your life better. I want to take on my own happiness project — and UGH yeah I know that sounds cliché, but bear with me. I want to say with 110% that I’ll stick with all this shit, but the way my current brain works, I usually let it fall the wayside. The 34954357 times a charm, right?

There are aspects of my life that I want to tackle head on. Like, in my ultra nirvana, these are things that wouldn’t exist:

  1. Hating my body
  2. Questioning my self-worth when men screw me over/reject me
  3. Using food to solve my emotional turmoil
  4. Picking at my skin
  5. Having to put in extra EXTRA effort to be clean and organized
  6. Food as the enemy

I’m definitely leaving some out, but this is all I can think of at the moment.

In the beginning of the book, Rubin lays out twelve “commandments,” they aren’t specific rules like “stop dating fuckboys” but more so overarching principles in which she tries to live her life. You can view hers here, but here are mine. They might not make any sense to you, but they make sense to me and it’s all about me at the moment so get over it!! (jk)

  1. Think the way you want to live.
  2. Be kind.
  3. Know your worth.
  4. Eyes on the prize.
  5. You’ll figure it out.
  6. You don’t need him. Or him. So put down the damn phone.
  7. Listen to their story and don’t be afraid to tell yours.
  8. Breathe.
  9. Dig deeper.
  10. Get your shit done.
  11. Own who you are.
  12. Find your tribe.

****

Ok, so next is the tough part. Implementing these commandments into my every day life. In the book, she has a “theme” or focus, if you will, associated with every month. With each focus she has a set foundation of rules. I’m not much of a rule follower, so this will be pretty difficult for me.

How do I hold myself accountable? You guys, duh.

This sounds like a super basic thing to do — a journey to find happiness. But it’s more than that. It’s about claiming what happiness means to you, tossing the cliché self-care shit to the side and honing in on what YOU actually want to do.

Like, for example, I can’t get into yoga. I just can’t. Sure, maybe it’s all in the practice, but it stresses me out to become a ~yogi~ so guess what? I’m not gunna do it!!!!! I just won’t!!! Take THAT!

This blog series is going be uber honest — I already know I’ll have my pitfalls and shitty days. I’ll have more fuck-ups than I’ll probably be able to count, but it’s fine! All is good.

I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to share this happiness journey – a weekly blog post with updates, a daily Insta post maybe? Idk – I’ll figure it out.

***

So what’s up for this month?

Mindfulness.

I was going to start off with “health” but tbh I still need time to figure out exactly how I would tackle that one. Health is too broad of a term for me to personally define at the moment.

Have you ever started eating an ice cream cone, taken a lick or two, then noticed all you had was a sticky napkin in your hand? Or been going somewhere and arrived at your destination only to realize you haven’t noticed anything or anyone you met along the way?

I’m really really bad at focusing on the present. My mind is constantly going a million miles a minute and I know for a fact this impacts my anxiety levels, productivity & overall well-being.

You do too much, Beth. I hear this all the damn time. Between my business, bartending gig, running a women’s networking group, grad school & trying to stay sane, it’s a lot.

The problem isn’t the workload, it’s compartmentalizing the workload.

Breathe. Focus. Breathe. Onto the next.

Instead I’m like:

lethwif’pierh’oprj’wiorhaoire’oprk. Breathe, eat. ‘ih[oi’er’oierba;erione roiajr’ paorae.

Yeah, a whole bunch of shit going on in my head I can’t even put into words.

This goes for eating too. I’ve always been a fast eater. I hardly enjoy food unless I’m at a Michelin Star restaurant where the waiters create a mindful experience for you — explaining the tastes, senses etc. I’d love to do this all the time but I can’t afford a $250 meal every night lolz. 

So, ~being mindful~ how the fuck do I do that? I read a bunch of articles on this, most of them saying relatively the same thing. They offer advice and books to read up on. Like I said, the point of this personal happiness project is to create my own version of self-care. Sure, I’ll take advice from the “experts” or whatever…but I’m STILL NOT DOING YOGA EVERY DAY FOR 30 DAYS!

So mindfulness essentially is “being in the moment.” There’s meditation podcast I love that explains mindfulness as sitting in the middle of a road during rush hour. There are cars passing on each side that you’re very much aware of, but you’re choosing not to move. You don’t eliminate the distractions, but instead embrace them and integrate them into your practice. You can’t stop your brain from thinking, but you can learn how to channel it better.

Our reactions to the stressful events of our lives can become so habituated that they occur essentially out of our awareness, until, because of physical or emotional or psychological dysfunction, we cannot ignore them any longer.

SO – I gotta come up with rules for mindfulness this month. Practices that I’m almost 100% positive will be annoying to partake in, but generally, rules are annoying to me so I’ guess I have to swallow my pride for this project. Wish me luck!

After several articles and a bit of deep thought, here’s what I’ve come up with.

  1. Meditation 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes before you go to sleep. Yeah, IDGAF if you get home at 330am after a 12 hour shift. Do it.
  2. Go for a 30 minutes walk with Kevin every morning – no phone. No music. Just you and the sweet sounds of loud car horns and police sirens.
  3. Ten deep breaths before a snack, meal, etc. Think before you eat. Think while you eat. Slow, long bites. After your done, note how you feel.
  4.  While at work, perform a “body scan” once every two hours.
  5. Practice mindful writing once a day. 15 minutes of uninterrupted journaling.

***

My goal is here to be ~in the moment~ more. Focus on the task at hand without the distractions of everything else going on in my life. I don’t have any immediate plan to slow down my life & goals, nor do I really want to. That’s not the point.

I don’t expect to be a super zen monk by the end of these 30 days. Again, my end goal here is to just be better at life. I don’t know how exactly the above rules will change me and my life, but I guess there’s no harm in trying.

The following weeks I’ll be keeping you posted on how things are going – expect a handful of blogs and of course a bunch of Instagrams. Since I’m a thirst monster, follow me on Insta for the day-to-day scoop.

Funnn stuff to come! Thanks for reading.

X,

Beth

I’m in a hoe phase.

I’m in a hoe phase. Send.

I’m in the second Uber-of-Shame in a 7 day period.

LOL YAAAAS BETH! My friend responds.

I’m not sure if this is something to be celebrated, but it’s fine.

Woooo, go me! Go sexual liberation! I decide to celebrate too.

I swallow the throw up that conjures in my throat and step out of the Uber dressed in the same outfit as the night before.

Black Vans. Light jeans. Off the shoulder black tee.

I smell like tequila and cognac. I don’t even like cognac?????

Thank you, sir. 

Have a good day, hon, he replies.

LOL, he deff knows.

****

I wrote about casual sex in a previous post. About how I’m not sure if I’m totally ~cool~ with being seen as strictly a fuck buddy. I’ve never used men for just sex, so maybe that’s why I feel weird about it? Idk.

Ok, I stand corrected — I’ve never used men for sex…up until a month ago — the start of my “hoe phase.” Sry.

Dating is truly exhausting and maybe it’s a reaction to that. Skipping the whole “let’s go on a date” shit right to, well, yeah.

Don’t have a hoe phase to replace the intimacy you’re truly searching for, a wise friend tells me.

He’s right. I shouldn’t do that. Damnit, Beth.

Ah, modern love advice at it’s finest.

****

Intimacy. It’s a complex word.

There’s a few men I think about frequently — ones that provided me with the physical and emotional intimacy I crave. But alas, it hasn’t and probably will never go anywhere.

I start to think it’s me. A self-destructive habit that I often find myself trapped in. A rabbit hole that I dig and can’t seem to climb myself out of. I’m too fat. Too emotional. Too ugly. Too something. That’s why they never put the effort in. That’s why I’m not “girlfriend material.”

To be fair, neither do I. I, too, don’t really put the effort in. Why? I want to be ~cool~ and ~chill~ and ~*not clingy*~. Emotions can remain undefined unless I’m 100 p sure the other person feels the same way…which is, well, always a mystery.

Anxiety. Yeah, it sucks.

The day after my last Uber-of-Shame, I decide to go on a date. Yeah, like an actual date. To be honest, I wasn’t totally attracted to this man and I had a predisposition that this date would be pretty shitty and a giant waste of my time.

Beth, you gotta think positive! Nah, I have a sixth sense for this stuff.

****

I’m hungover. I show up to WeWork looking like a hot mess. It’s humid as fuck out. My frizz is tied in a tight bun with fly-aways GALORE. I throw on some mascara because, well, I decide 5% effort is better than zero. I put on a black shirt and attempt to lint roll the dog hair off it paired with jeans a pair of sandals. ~killing it~

I pack my bag for the day and drop Kevin off at doggy daycare. I have a long day ahead. Work then class with a couple of tequila shots in my stomach still lingering.

4:00pm hits and it’s almost time to leave for class.

Still on for tonight? My phone lights up.

Well, fuck. I have a date tonight…and I have zero time to go home and fix myself. Lol. Welp, ugly face and ugly backpack it is. What’s that saying? If they can’t handle you at your worst, then they certainly don’t deserve you at your best. Sure, let’s go with that.

I really actually don’t want to go on this date. Not in the slightest. I’m tired, hungover, a three-hour class awaits and did I mention I’m hungover?

I decide to give the dude a chance because, well, I owe it to myself… I think. This guy was very much into me via text and maybe it would be nice to go out with a guy who wasn’t in it for one thing.

Yeeep, I’m showin’ up looking like I’ve seen better days. Class ends and I call my Uber.

Fast forward through the date, I’m not into it at all. Like, really. I want to leave but he’s so damn polite and won’t stop ordering Narragansetts as I’m nursing my first Blood Orange Ale. I stick it out an hour and half. He’s really into it and I’m bored as fuck. He’s nice! Really really nice!!!! But that’s, like, it.

I’ve decided “nice” isn’t enough for me anymore.

I wait for his final sip and interject before he can order another one. It’s getting late! I should go! He looks disappointed.

We leave the bar and head up to M Street. Well, this was fun! I’m lying. I’ll text you when I’m home! I’m lying again.

I lean in for a hug and suddenly his tongue is down my throat.

Fuck my life, speaks my internal monologue.

He texts me three times that night. I want to respond the next day because I feel bad, but I don’t.

At least I don’t have my read receipts on.

****

A week later I go on a great date. Like, truly fantastic. I’m a sucker for first dates at bars with games because I typically always beat the guy which is satisfying in itself, but it also gives us something to focus on outside of small talk.

We grab beers and watch football. He’s not a fan of my Brady jersey, but also doesn’t let that be the topic of the entire date (TAKE NOTES MEN!!!). I beat him at giant Connect Four and foosball. Yaaas, Beth. 

The conversation only becomes stale once or twice over the course of our 5-hour date. We bar hob and grab tacos, suddenly resorting to liquor instead of beer. Oops.

It’s last call, guys, can I get you anything else?

We laugh. We should probably go. 

Now…this is a goodbye kiss I don’t mind.

I haven’t answered his text since last Monday. Good on ya, Beth.

****

It’s weird to think of my life with a steady boyfriend. I laugh as I type that because it sounds semi-pathetic but it’s the damn truth!

Being single is fun, and a hoe-phase every once in a while isn’t so bad. Going on dates can be fun or a total doozy, but the ebbs and flows of being relationship-less is entertaining in itself.

Maybe my hoe-phase is me low-key searching for intimacy in all the wrong places. It’s not that I hate first dates, I guess I’m looking for less of a first date-y feel and more of a well, not first date-y feel. I don’t really know what that looks like, but I’ll know when I find it.

I hope to come to a point where I’m so confident that I can confront people with my real feelings and not care if its ~cool~ or ~chill~. Can we make feelings cool again?

****

Well, folks. That’s my love life as of late. I’d say it’s rather average for the single twenty-something. Not greaaaaat, but there’s also no narcissistic men involved, so that’s good too. *thumbs up emoji*

Until next time.

X, Beth

I’m anxious.

I write this in a state of anxiety. Not quite a full-blown anxiety attack, but more of a well, low-key anxiety attack.

****

I’m a senior in high school. I’m ready to graduate and jet off to college. I’m over the rumors, the whispers in the hallway, the looks. I’m over the way I morphed myself into someone I didn’t recognize. As angry as I am at the way people looked at me my first day back to school, I know I did it to myself.

I never considered a myself a victim. I wanted to be — that was easier to come to terms with — the simple fact that I fell victim to a series of shitty occurrences in my life which were entirely to blame for the scars on my arms, slipping honor-student grades & a school that now labeled me as someone different.

I just want to leave.

I walk into the lobby my first day back. I clench my books close to my chest. Voices in the hallway are louder than usual. The stares linger. Tears start to stream down my face. I rush to the bathroom.

Wasn’t she tied down to a chair and put in a psych ward? Like in the movies?
I heard her mom’s a lesbian, that’s why she went crazy.
Is she going to have to stay back a grade?

I hear all of the rumors — even if no one thinks I do. I want to hate these people. They don’t understand. But I guess that’s why I never did hate them — they didn’t understand.

Maybe I’m not the talk of the senior class, but it sure feels like it.

My insides are crumbling.

***

I am holding the bottle of pills in my hand and locked the bathroom door of my house. My hand is shaking. There’s no practice drill for killing yourself.

My sister screams in the hallway as I drop the bottle in fear and watch the blue pills scatter on the floor.

***

The first time I was put into a mental hospital was the winter of my senior year of high school. I was depressed, suicidal & well, fucking miserable. To be honest, it’s like black hole for me at this point. I remember the events that led me to that state, but of course, we all have our shit. I just didn’t deal with mine particularly well.

I fought with my mom and counselor and begged them to let me stay at home. I knew I needed help, I knew there was something off that needed more attention but what would that look like? I felt the scratches on my inner arms and legs as the tears flooded down my face. By law, I had to go.

***

He visited me as much as he could. He’d drive on weekends, school nights. When I look back, he was probably the most supportive boyfriend I’ve ever had. I told I loved him, and I meant it. I just don’t think I was ready to love anyone…how could I? Never mind loving, I didn’t even like myself.

I have a post about him sitting in my drafts. I can’t publish it. Not yet.

With him, I was selfish. He loved me, took me in & was such an integral piece of my past who was unfortunately intertwined with perhaps the darkest part of my life thus far. I don’t know if I’ve ever properly thanked him. “Thank you,” doesn’t seem like enough. It’s not enough.

I didn’t deserve him.

I think about him a lot.

***

There were windows. An arts & crafts table. A bookshelf. No restraints. No one screaming. No padded walls. It was peaceful — in a fucked up, depressing kind of way — but it was an escape. One that I needed.

Go to all of the meetings and follow the schedule, that’s how you get of here. 

So I did. I’m not sure how much healing I did, but it wasn’t enough.

A couple of months later, I find myself in the same spot. I don’t remember which time I was more miserable, all I remember was the nurse telling me to stop crying, that I was triggering to other patients.

I whimpered and went to sleep.

My OT hands me a piece of paper.

Write what you want to let go of.

I drop the magic paper in the water and watch it disintegrate along with the words written in black pen.

I grab another piece. And another.

***

My mom cried behind her sunglasses. My Jersey Shore poster hung surrounded by photos of friends and family. I was only a 2.5 hour drive away, but it felt longer. At least, I wanted it to feel that way. I’m convinced that this is a fresh start. A solution to all of my problems. I’m no longer depressed. I’m fine.

I swear.

Two days in and I’m wearing a salmon sun dress. It’s a Thursday.

He told me I was pretty. And smart.

That was all I really needed. In a moment’s time I’m swept away.

He convinces me that I’m in love. I don’t need anyone else but him. Rather, I could never find anyone else better than him.

I’m too fat for him. We spend 1.5 hours in the gym 6 hours a week. I eat once a day and only eat foods approved by him. One “treat” a week. No yoga pants in front of other men. Am $8 box of black hair dye to hide my $120 highlights that didn’t look good. Well, I thought they looked ok.

I’m still sick. I come to terms with this moments after I slap him across the face after he insulted my mother. I forgive and take him back.

I love you too. 

I’m not good enough.

Eventually, I am free. Free from him, but not from my sickness.

***

Girls are mean.

My sister was bullied in elementary school. I was too young to remember all of the details, I just remember that I never wanted to be bullied. I saw my sister’s tears and heard my mom and dad demand action.

Years later, I’m a senior in college living in a house with six other girls. Over the summer, I had felt distant from most of them, questioning my decision to sign the lease to live with them in a few short months. I didn’t really know what to expect. I’m anxious. I find relief in the fact that I had my best friend. My person, as we’d call each other.

After 20 years of avoiding what my sister went through, suddenly, I feel her pain.

There’s a bully in my house. I, the victim.

I cure my anxiety with continual weight loss. I track calories in a notebook that sits on my bed. For some reason, this adds fuel to the fire of young-adult bullying that I had been dealing with for several weeks at this point.

Did you see the notebook on her bed? She’s like a fat anorexic.

I hear whispers from down the hall. Name-calling, gossip & words that punched me right in the gut. This was my breaking point. I spend nights sleeping at my friend’s house and the front seat of my car, feeling unwelcome in my own home.

Cunt. Bitch. Fat anorexic.

I don’t expect my best friend to fight my battles. Well, I guess I sort of do. I try to justify it. Well, I wouldn’t wish her wrath upon anyone else. So maybe that’s why she doesn’t say anything to her.

In a moments time, I feel my relationship crumbling with one of the most important people in my life. I cry myself to sleep, counting down the days to the inevitable break up with my best friend. I wonder if she hears me from the other end of the room.

I lose her. My person.

This is just a little tiff, you guys will be fine.

I know we won’t be.

***

He told me he loved me. That I was beautiful and smart and everything you want to hear.

The toxicity tainted every word, yet I held onto them to give myself some sort of validity.

I didn’t want to tell you this, but he said your body wasn’t his type.

Did you say that? I ask him.

No, she’s trying to get into your head.

He picks her. My white shirt is stained with my black mascara.

***

I knew he was interested the moment he announced he’s “back on the market” loud enough for me to hear.

He sits next to me and puts the brown bottle of lager up to his lips. My drunk eyes are fixated on his tattoo sleeve. I want to ask about them, but I’m not sure if it’s too soon.

He tells me about his trip to Burning Man. I tell him about my time in South Africa. Our conversations are interesting and engaging. It’s refreshing.

Hours pass and it’s suddenly 4am. My watered down whiskey sits on his coffee table as we leave the couch and head up to his bedroom.

My alarm sounds. It’s 9am.

I slip out of bed and my hand reaches for his naked shoulder to say goodbye. I hesitate, pull my sweater over my head and quietly close the door behind me.

Are you going to see him again? 

I don’t know, I never got his number. I tell my friend.

I’d like to see him again, but I then ask myself. What’s the point?

I’ve taught myself to expect disappointment.

***

I hit my three year anniversary of living in a new city.

I have so many amazing things to be proud of. I’m not where I want to be, but are we ever?

I make a list of things that make me happy. The list is extensive. I’m proud of myself and the the life I’ve created. It’s not hard for me to be thankful for these people and things in my life.

Most of the time, I am fine. I am fine until I think about the toxic relationships I’ve engaged in. The people I’ve let define me and the decisions I’ve made that challenge my moral compass.

***

I grow angry at myself.

I look down and stare at the fat rolls that hang over my jeans. i envision myself as a much happier skinnier human. Oftentimes I replace happier for skinnier. By accident.

While it hasn’t always been the forefront of my anxiety, it’s remained a constant the past 10+ years of my life.

I wish I could bring you into my brain. I recount my “happiness” list, mentally written in black Sharpie. I’m calm for a moment.

It’s like graffiti. Red paint wipes across the black marker making it difficult to read.

The red paint is all I see.

Am I making sense? I’m not sure.

My brain grows tired of continually trying to scrub it away, so I give up and let it be.

I accept who I don’t want to be and spiral into a fucked up mix of anxiety, anger & sadness.

I then find myself here. Starting from the beginning and trying to figure out a way to push through.

I take a deep breath.

***

Over the years, I have learned how to curb my anxiety far better than when I was 17. At times I wish I could go back and figure out how I moved past the challenges I once thought would never go away.

I find myself pondering if the stories listed above are a result or reason for my anxiety. Maybe both. I don’t know.

Part of me is almost positive my challenge with body image will go away, too. I have hope, but it really sucks. Then the other part of me firmly believes that it will never go away.

I’m not writing this post for sympathy or from the view point as someone who is a “victim.” Mental health is harder to combat than most things in life. Maintaining work, life, love, money, etc., all while maintaining a healthy brain is fucking hard. We all have a different story to tell, my experience is no better/worse than the other guy. It’s just my story.

I have accepted the fact that I can say thousands of positive affirmations in the mirror, read every self-help book on the shelf & meditate fifty times a day and STILL have my bad days. It’s just the way it is.

The way I manage these bad days has vastly improved over the years, but in no way shape or form am I “cured.”

How do I know? What used to be crying myself to sleep every night has now been replaced with other toxic habits: aka falling for narcissists.

One toxic behavior has replaced the other and at times I hate myself for it. What’s different this time around? I know I deserve better.

Like, you’d be so lucky to date me!!! Jk…but not really. But yet, I still find myself seeking for validation in men which leaves me vulnerable to falling for the wrong ones. This, in turn, certainly does not help with the whole body image/self-love thing I’m tryna work on.

Life comes and goes as it does. You can still love your life while being anxious all the damn time. You can be confident in your abilities, career decisions & overall self-worth and still feel like the world is out to get you. It’s a stressful dynamic at times, but it can happen.

I’ve been trying reaaalllyy hard to pinpoint my triggers and figure out what leads me to think the way I think which in turn may help me ameliorate my internal struggles. You may have to track back years and years to figure out where it all began, but as I always say, words are cool and super therapeutic.

I would tell you to love yourself and know your worth but I also understand that’s hard as fuck. But I will say this…

Write about it. Talk about it. Acknowledge it. Oh, and dealing with mental health issues in high school fucking BLOWS.

#endthestigma

***

This goes without saying, but I, obviously, am in no way shape or form a licensed professional. If you are in crisis, or feeling suicidal, you should get in contact with a crisis line such as the Samaritans, your doctor, therapist or a hospital immediately.  You may also try searching our database for contact details in your Local Area or, use a search engine to find emergency phone numbers.

How to lose a guy in 7 days

It was the shortest relationship I’ve ever had.

Laughable, almost.

***

I don’t like to put a timeline on my life. I don’t like to say you should arguing with your S/O over how many pillows you should have on your bed at age 27. Or you should be making x amount of money at the age of 30.

I don’t believe life should or can be lived that way.

Life comes and goes as it does. People enter and exit whether we want them to or not.

***

Men should be so lucky to date me. I tell my friend in full confidence over $10 vodka sodas at Union Market. I mean it, I really do.

And not in a “I’m too good for everyone which is why I’m single” sort of way. In a way that I’m aware of the qualities I posses and I know someday I’ll find someone who complements in a way that I see fit.

Sometimes I get impatient is all.

I wasn’t as self-aware a year ago. As I have talked about many times, I had been exiting a toxic thing, my career was in shit, I was lost living life in an endless fog and every one else was to blame for my problems.

From there, I started to take more control over my life and the decisions I made. I was more proactive instead of reactive. Thought with more logic and stopped putting my mental health in the hands of someone else. Life got exponentially better.

***

The story was so eerily similar and triggering I can’t explain why I stuck around.

Well, maybe that’s why I did. The story — the characters, the setting. It was practically the same.

Two men. Same occupation, covered with tattoos and realities they couldn’t face. Subconsciously, I wanted to fix the problems they had. And in retrospect, maybe I wanted them to fix mine too.

He was creative. Passionate. Edgy.

Two drinks in and his hand touched my thigh. I told him I didn’t like PDA. As we walked to the next bar, he pulled me to the side. I know you don’t like PDA, but this outside of the bar, so does it count? He put his hands around my neck as he kissed me. We’re awesome, he whispers in my ear.

The emotions were intense from the beginning — on both ends. He was vocal about how he felt, forward if you will.

I go away for a few days, our texts were frequent. He informs me of a “primary partner” in his life. I inquire further. He labels it as “progressive.” I’m skeptical and a bit taken aback but I don’t really know him all that well, who am I to judge?

We are so awesome together, Beth.

The red flags become brighter, but I’m already wrapped in. Besides the chemistry in the bedroom, there’s something more here too. I wasn’t sure I was looking for something serious, but he was insistent that this was where it was going.

It feels weird to bring this up on the second time we hangout, but I can really see this going somewhere Beth, I like you so much.

We’re outside. It’s 1:30am. The night is still warm, the ground wet from the rain fall. I tell him I feel the same way. Because I did. I did feel the same way. I rest my head on his shoulder. It feels right.

I ignore the hours and hours in between text messages. With our work schedules, it was inevitable. I didn’t need to text him all the time anyways. I ignore the times he “forgets” about our plans and the false promises to spend time together outside the confines of our apartment bedrooms. I ignore the verbal warnings from not one, but two women about his past behavior.

He passes them off as “crazy.” I nod.

I call him out for being a narcissist. I’m kidding, but like not really actually at all. I can practically sniff a narcissist from a mile away at this point.

I’ll spare you the countless bickering and back and forths we’d get into over him being sketchy. Gimme a break dude, I’m fucking working. Do you even work? How do you have this time to text? I ignore this blatant disrespect for my job and ignore. However, when I don’t answer him…y’all know how this game goes.

I confide him with details about my previous relationship to explain why communication is important to me. He seems to be completely understanding and supportive.

We progress. Or at least I pretend that we are. Our feelings for each other are intense. One moment we’re having this incredibly engaging conversation, the next moment we’re having mind-blowing sex and the next moment we want to rip each other’s heads off.

Have you forgotten about the primary partner yet? Ah yes, by this point he has completely ended things with her. For me…apparently. Similar to my previous relationship, she has mental problems too. However, she’s “supportive” of us. She wants him to be happy.

Here’s where things get good. Strap up ladies and gents.

We had just finished yet another night of arguing. He comes over before work, I’m crying. He knows he has me. A string of lies and false promises spill from his lips. We kiss goodbye.

I finish a spin class. I haven’t heard from him in a few hours, I’m assuming he’s busy. I go to the store and pick him up a coffee to surprise him at work. The establishment is empty. I walk to to the back where he works and I pause.

I’m horrible in awkward and tense situations. We all say nothing. I poke him. I know who she is and she knows who I am. My head sweats, I break the silence with a hello and a swift exit.

He races me to the front door, what’s up babe? no hug or kiss? I explain to him I’m upset but I’m not about to talk it in the middle of the sidewalk. He looks at me confused. Nothing is going on babe, you know we’re still friends, she came here to help me with work stuff.

I put my head down and walk away. I cry for a second time before the night falls.

I find a random alleyway and sit down and continue my cry sesh. I’m caught up in this shit againFuck. I think about the hell of the year I had and the progress I’ve made this far. My hands sit on my head. My mascara stains my white shirt. I think about the breakdowns I’d have in the corner of my room. Single stream tears erupt into never ending currents. Strong and forceful. You ok over there? A random passerby inquires. Yea, thanks. 

I lie.

I forgive him, because that’s just what I do with guys like this. I forgive. I forgive them without ever forgiving myself.

I can’t quite remember the timeline correctly, but within the next couple of days I am his girlfriend. I thought that may be the solution to all of our problems. Well, I knew it wasn’t but he asked me, and I said yes.

The term “girlfriend” holds some sort of validation to me, still. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t been someone’s “girlfriend” in years. Or perhaps when he said it, it held more weight because he had been convincing me since basically day one that I was the only one he wanted.

Or maybe I was just convincing myself.

I know what you’re thinking. Beth, he’s a fuckboy, why are you falling for this shit?

I said it earlier, I like to fix people. I think I can fix people. Ok, I know I can’t fix it all, but I get some sort of high from being the positive part of someone’s life. It’s selfish, really. It’s like I think I’m less fucked up then them, so being around them makes me feel better.

Yeah, I know it’s fucked up.

I tell my mom and sister about him, then my friends.

I could’ve predicted the next series of events if I really dug deep…I just didn’t know it would be so soon.

7-8 vodka sodas deep, I am drunk. I want my boyfriend to meet up with me, he’s being non-responsive and sketchy. I knew in my gut something was going on. In a sad, drunken slur I give him an ultimatum.

What is going on? Why are you always so sketchy? If you don’t meet up with me I’m never going to see you again!!!!

His ex picks up his phone. She knows about me and sounds sweet (I know this is weird). I’m silent. He’ll never give you what you need, Beth. I learned this very early with him. You’re not special. 

Him and I meet outside in a public place. My make up is fucked up from the tears and my hair is a hot mess from the humidity. I want to change my shoes because I have been in heels for 6 hours. We sit down and start to talk.

Suddenly, his ex turns the corner. She sits down on the ground in between us as I stay silent. This situation is sobering me up REAL quick as I’m waiting for a camera to come out from the bushes with a producer screaming YOU’VE BEEN PUNKED!

They start to engage in a rather loud argument about their fucked up shit they have going on. I chime in. Apparently he had just asked her to be his girlfriend moments ago but is now denying it. He also claims we have been dating for a day (wrong, it had been approximately a week…to get technical). I call him out. I quickly find out he cheated on me. Twice. He’s confused. As am I.

The cigarette smoke blows from her mouth.

I told her I wanted to be with you, Beth. She acknowledges this. We’re on the same page for a very, very brief moment.

There were so many words happening at once. She claims to be on my side and stands up, for me. I don’t really know her and not totally understanding her intentions, but I also decide I’m too drunk for this shit. I stay silent. He asks her to let us talk, she stays.

I should have just gone home, but I wanted to talk to him, only him. I’m still attached. He gets up in anger, claims he’s going to pick up some other chick and leaves. I watch him go and sit in a whimpering, pathetic cry.

I call out for him (Jesus, this is more of a reality show than I thought), and she’s still there. I politely ask her to leave. She goes. I meet him down the road a bit of the ways. The drama continues. We talk about us briefly, but he realizes that she took all of his shit in her car with her to Maryland or somewhere…like, everything he needs for work the next day. I laugh internally and then let out a snort. I can’t help it.

He’s freaking out, I’m a drunk, well now a pretty sober, mess and so much shit just happened that I’m unsure what to do next. I should go home, I really should. But I also know that I need comfort. And I know for SURE my drunk ass does not have the will power to just go home in this state. For Christ’s sake, I had just exited a reality show stint.

We lie in bed and he tells me he is falling in love with me..I hesitate. He takes a swig of  whisky and brushes the ash from his cigarette off the sheets onto the floor. It’s 4am. I tell him I’m no longer his girlfriend. We have sex. It’s meaningless. He sleeps past his alarm the next morning. Somehow, this is my fault.

I wish this was the end, I really do.

I leave his spot the next morning.

Your ex just walked into my spot. We’re about to take a shot together. 

I freeze in the middle of the street. My phone lit up. Ok, ok, cameramen, where the HELL are you?

What? I respond.

He knows about our past. I expect him to be cordial and not fight my battles, but I am at a loss for words.

I expect him to act the way that any good person would, but then again I am understanding that he’s well, kind of a shitty person. Ok, I knew this all along…but we already went over this. I call him.

Why are you freaking out? Want me to fucking kick him in the balls? Like what the fuck Beth?  I’ll call you back. 

I’m at home. Writing this makes me realize how many times this man brought me to tears…fuck, man. The next text brings me to a full blown anxiety attack.

It’s a picture of him and my ex that he sent. To my phone. Followed by a *heart faced emoji*

Note: we’re talking about the same dude who told me he was falling in love with me like 12 hours before.

I slam my laptop I sit in the corner of my couch infested with dog hair that I had failed to vacuum this morning while covering my face. Hyperventilating. I grab my journal and start to write. It’s not working. I rip the journal page out and throw it on to my coffee table. My dog sits and watches this unfold and puts his head on my lap.

I find comfort in my friends.

He then sends me a string of texts attacking my character as laid out my ex boyfriend (a source worse than Wikipedia). I want to disengage. I want to block his number and not participate. I feel the need to protect my reputation to people who never actually mattered in the first place.

I’m protecting my reputation to two men who still, to this day, have yet to admit their faults in the situation. I’m protecting my reputation to two men to have such a false and narrow view of the world that they probably never will.

I’m protecting my reputation to essentially, two narcissists , two people who will never apologize, because to the world, they are superior. <–click for a link to a great article and perspective on narcissism.

Are you still hanging in there? We’re almost there.

Mmmmmmmk here’s where I get REAL pathetic. Yeah, I still talked to him after all this. He knew all the right things to say. I was still upset and had a glimmer of hope that I could open his eyes that I could be good for him…oh, Beth. You’re so cute.

About a week later he brings up the reality-show pilot — Love Trifecta, I’m calling it. I’m at fault for the whole thing apparently. Jokes on me! Apparently there WERE people filming, I am now “the drunk chick screaming at *** in front of the ***.” I’m scolded for ruining his “brand.” I know this is not true. I snort out in laughter, because although I was drunk, this was simply another deflection tactic. Everything’s my fault, remember?

A) He’s not that important and this ain’t Hollywood. B) I wasn’t causing the scene. C) No mention of the whole cheating thing though!! Did they catch that on video!?!!?

Ok, ok, I’m not going to be petty, this was just one of the many things that has now turned into an “eye-roll” incident for me. Note: this was only brought up after the fact I suggest we talk about the fact that he cheated on me.

I call him out for being an ass. He says all the right things. I’m brought back in.

We feel so strong together. 

What I’ve wanted has never changed. I want you. Just you. 

Passing your building right now. Miss you!!! 😦 

Ya know, generic shit that I continue to call him out for in a string of frustrating texts.

So, shit ended.

You guys are still here? Damn.

***

Per usual, I never know how people are going to react to these kinds of posts. If you’re an avid reader, you know not this is and will never be a “bash your ex” blog and I hate that I still give this disclaimer after all this time, it just feels necessary.

Writing helps me work through things, and you guys seem to like it. Life in the dating world as single-something is entertaining, and unfortunately, I think there are more people than you think who have been through similar shit.

As for me, I’m ok. Pretty great actually. It’s amazing what cutting toxic people out can do for ya! Although I’m not proud that I diverted back to old “habits,” if you will, I was able to catch on and detach myself much quicker than before. If there’s a silver lining to any of this, is that this relationship ONLY lasted for about a month (well, officially a week), as opposed to on and off for a year.

While things still lingered on a bit through text after it “ended” I was still doing my own thing. I knew how to exist without him. Ok, yeah, the entirety of “us” was about 90 days — but an intense 90 days!

That right there is important. Whether or not you have a significant other, ya gotta be your own person — have your own dreams, alone time, opinions, etc. etc. Yeah, its cliché, but you know how a cliché becomes a cliché?

I acknowledge that there are still things I need to fix about myself. I write all the time about self love and confidence, but here I am identifying all the red flags from the second date and still going for it. I know it’s problematic and it scares me too. It’s not a habit I want to fall into simply because I don’t like the type of person I become when I’m with toxic people. I don’t want to be the person who lets men get in the way of my own shit,  but I recognize that I can be that person.

With this guy, I knew he wasn’t The One. He had “I have a lot problems I don’t want to deal with so I’m going make self-destructive decisions instead” written all over him. It mad me ask myself, “What things about myself do I not want to deal with? Is my ‘self destructive behavior’ men like this?” Possibly.

 

***

He was saying all this shit to have sex with youYou’re dumb.

Mmmmm. Maybe. But I did take him home on night one, and I think he knew he didn’t really have to try that hard. I even offered casual sex! To which he was “saddened and offended by.” Anyways, I could spend forever searching for these answers that I’m not even sure exist.

It was only 6 weeks, you crazy.

Maybe. But my story remains the same. I was crazy for him because he was crazy for me too..or so I thought. I’ll never know what was genuine and what was total bullshit. He claims it was all “real” but I think reality is still a fragmented construct he has created in his own head.

I find myself asking “Why?” a lot. I know the problem starts with me. I know that I need to identify exactly what in my life triggers me to fall weak to this manipulative behavior. While the sex was great and we had glimmers of happy moments together, that was sort of it. I don’t like drinking whiskey out of the bottle at 4am. I don’t like talking about all of his big career moments without one mention of mine. I don’t like waiting around, wondering when his text will come…if it ever does. Simply put, I don’t like the person he is.

I was more sad about the fact that I had fallen victim to yet another person like this rather than losing him. There are plenty of “hims” out there. I know this. In the same way that I wasn’t special to him, he wasn’t all that special to me.

I haven’t lost faith. If anything, it gives me more stories to tell you guys.

So, I’m just moving along. Swiping left and right (mostly left), having safe (and consensual!!!) sex with cute dudes, finally sorta kinda developing abs? Idk, life hasn’t been so bad to me.

Like I said, you’d be so lucky to date me. 

Just ask my mom!

I decide it’s ok to give a shit.

Do you get a weird source of inspiration from public transport? Like, I always feel like I’m at my peak of inspo wen I’m on a train, plane or bus. I’m not sure if this is a normal thing, but I always get my best thoughts out at the expense of a $3.65 metro ride…or $178 round trip flight.

I say this slightly intoxicated on my flight back to Boston. By slightly I mean 3 whiskey shots, 1 Sam Adams Summer and 2 vodka sodas deep. Sorry, mom.

I’ve had an interesting love life the past few months. Active, yet unactive. It’s strangely familiar. Guys have sorta sucked, but that’s nothing new. Again, it’s familiar.

I expressed my sentiments to my best friend, sober, “Why don’t guys wanna date me?” I felt desperate asking this question, yet I find myself genuinely curious. It sounds like plea from sad, single girl who is searching for love in all the wrong, yet seemingly right places. Yet, I don’t really give a shit. I’m just curious.

I see couples all of the time. Holding hands down 14th street or intensely making out at my bar, I replay my girlfriend qualifications.

-smart

-friendly

-attractive

-kind

-gets along with moms

-gets along with friends

-cool

-chill

-fun

etc.

I engage in an internal debate about casual sex. While I once was so confident in the fact that I, Beth Cormack, am SO ok with casually sleeping with men, recently I have began to question that notion. I feel like from a societal standpoint, my reaction towards casual sex should be, “This man’s penis entered me. We were safe and consensual. Welp, onto the next one! It’s cool!”

Am I allowed to feel there is something more to sex than just sex? Can I believe that I am able and willing to engage in “casual sex” yet still expect to feel some sort of way about it? Is there an in between on the sliding scale of a giving a fuck?

Names have been changed

***

Are you going to talk to me after we have sex? Drunk words slur from my dry mouth. He’s laying on top of me in my twin size bed. My phone lights up. “Want me to sleep at Kate’s and leave you two alone in there?” My roommate was good at casual sex. I told myself I didn’t like one night stands.

Because I didn’t.

Of course I’m going to talk to you. I just can’t really do girlfriends right now. Those words weren’t enough. In the moment, I pretended like they were. The next morning he was gone. I picked the red condom wrapper up from the floor and felt my eyes fill. I was ok with this. I can be cool. Days went by. A blank response to my “Hey how’s your week going text?” Crickets.

I saw him at the library the next week on campus. I smiled and looked his way. He burrowed his face in his book.

***

Hand jobs and blow jobs were fine. I let him touch my breasts and basically do everything but “go all of the way.” For a while anyway. When you have sex with a man right away, he’s going to view you as a slut and will therefore never date you.

I didn’t want to be a “slut.” Well, I didn’t want other men to label me as such.

It took a few weeks of drunken sleepovers before I let him enter me. I felt safe and comfortable. I didn’t feel like a slut. Nor did he make me feel like one.

We didn’t have “casual” sex for too long before I started to question where this was going. Late nights turned to longer mornings. Drunk sex turned into sober sex. Less casual sober sex.

I love you, he muttered. I love you too. Maybe casual sex wasn’t so bad. Maybe men would still acknowledge me and want to date me after all.

***

I was excited to start swiping left and right in my new city. I sat on my bed in night one and scouted out my prospects. Different from Boston. More attractive, yet more douchey, it seemed like.

Hey, how are you? David messaged. Jack Rose was our first date spot. I, in a black mini dress paired with gold sandals and a long necklace. He, a suit with a pink tie. A consultant at Deloitte. Attentive via text before and after our date. Did I hit the jackpot within my first few weeks in DC?

I felt an instant disconnect after the first night we spent together. A not-serious relationship hanging on by threads. We sleep together a few more times. Texts less frequent. Sorry super busy at work. Can’t hang this weekend. Eventually leading to nothingness.

A few months went by. I hardly remember his existence. My phone lights up. It’s David. “Hey, I hear you work at Hawthorne. Any chance my friends and I can cut the line?”

Crickets.

A year goes by. I’m his bartender. Can I have a Tanqueray and tonic? Oh, wait, your name’s Beth right? I pour him Bowman’s. Your Tanqueray is going to be $11.00. 

I wanted to say, yeah, it’s Beth. Your penis was inside me, remember? Same.

***

Harry. How do I explain Harry?  He’s a guy that I had been on and off hooking up with for the past 2 years. Very very on and off. I consider him more than a late-night text even though 95% of our texts took place after 2am. Definitely didn’t “date” although when we were together, I considered what that would look like.There was a connection we acknowledged, sober and drunk.

A connection defined on our first “real” date after 2 years of nothing but late-night texts. Coffee followed by laying in bed fully clothed, reading the depths of each other’s personal essays. Silent yet intense. “I don’t meet many women like you.” “I keep you at an arms-length because I don’t want to hurt you.” Divorced with two kids, I guess I kept him at arms length, too. “Casual” sex that I’d label as something a little more than casual. Emotions were felt on both ends. At least I think so.

Things came to an unexplainable halt the week after he drunk called me spilling his feelings. I don’t know what could be. I’d be lying if I still don’t think about it.

I wonder if he does too.

***

I was intrigued by Luke within the first few moments of catching his glance. The bar was crowded, full of intoxicated fools on Sunday evening. The music was loud, the shots were cheap. Who’s that? I asked my friend. That’s Luke, she introduced me. We hit it off instantaneously, chatting at the bar for quite some time. Tall and handsome, we continued to show interest in the coming weeks. I noticed hints of jealousy on his end when he saw me with other men. Interest from both ends intensifies.

I call him out for being a minor fuckboy. In a joking way. I recommend him to a friend for a job. Thank you so much, this is really going to help me out. I’m happy to do it.

Sleeping together was inevitable, although the sex was less than decent. The flame was short lived. He has a way with words to get women into bed with him, perhaps that’s all he wanted from me. I can’t be sure. I still run into Luke on occasion — we pretend like the other doesn’t exist.

He doesn’t even pet my dog. I can’t explain this. Have you seen my dog?

My half-joking preconceptions of his fuckboy tendencies were accurate. Maybe he expected me to get attached — to give him attention or fit into the “clingy” mold.

It’s a strange juxtaposition. I care but I don’t really care.

My interest in him was short-lived even though I continued to sleep with him. I never cared to date him. Our feelings were clearly defined the last time we slept with each other. Afterwards, we laid in bed and talked about how much we missed our White Buffalos. Yet, I still sort of give a shit.

white buffalo: a term for “the one that got away” or “first love” 

It was the initial spark that drew me in and the sudden disregard that keeps me engaged to some extent. This draws up a debate in my head. We had sex…a few times. Yet to him, I am no longer worth a hello. I am nothing. Is this worth mulling over? I don’t know.

***

I met up with John for coffee about 6 months ago. We both swiped right! He was in the midst of a 30-day alcohol detox, so he suggested Colada Shop. Coffee? Obviously I’m down. I had just re-downloaded Tinder and I was lucky to match with this attractive, down-to-earth, successful & super sweet guy.

The date was wonderful, so much so we made out a red light in his car. I felt like I was in high school again. Months went by and with our busy schedules it was hard to make something out of it although we occasionally kept in touch via text and Snapchat.

Our second date took place at the Kygo concert with his friends — an evening that I never wanted to end. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen with this guy, although I wasn’t really thinking about it. It was a fun, spontaneous date. What happens would happen.

A week goes by and neither of us reach out.

In a sweet and genuine (and very long) text about a week later he informed me has been hooking up with another girl and apologizes for not reaching out sooner.

Is now the right time to tell him that I hooked up with someone else the night before the concert? I didn’t feel the need to share my sex life with him. Is that wrong?

I showed the text to my guy friends. They read it as “he totally wants to see you again but he’s just informing you of the situation.” I don’t really know how to read it, but it was a sure sign that I have grown numb to disappointment in the dating world as my initial reaction to his text was, “wait, lol, is it bad that I don’t care?” It wasn’t an I don’t care that actually meant I do care but I’m trying to pretend like I don’t care because I’m ~chill~. It was truly and I don’t care.

Wait, so am I ok with casual sex? Again, this confuses me.

***

I decide it is ok to give a shit when a man’s penis enters you.

I decide it is ok to expect some sort of respect from the other party.

I decide you can still engage in casual sex while also giving a shit.

I decide to expect respect. I decide that this is OK to expect.

I decide I give a shit when there is a lack of respect.

I don’t think I’ll ever be the woman to not feel some sort of pit in my stomach when I don’t hear from someone after spending the night together. Even if the sex is shitty.

I believe sex is a natural, liberating experience that should be enjoyed in a safe and consensual setting. I used to fear the word “slut.” Years later, I realize the ignorance behind labeling others as such.

I look back on my sexual encounters and the men involved. The debate over casual sex continues. I don’t quite know how to define “casual sex” but I also believe there’s no, single universal definition to it.

Most of the time, the pit in my stomach feels unwarranted for. I don’t expect nor want a relationship from most of these men, but I still expect something from them after the fact.

I fear falling into the “clingy, psycho girl” mold. A mold constructed by (mostly) men — I decide to be ~cool~ and not care.

Maybe I shouldn’t expect anything. Maybe that’s where my disappointment lies.

Maybe respect is too much to ask.

When you go balls deep

I’m moving to California, ma!

I was so certain of my future before it even began.

Senior year of college I spent hours at my laptop researching jobs out on the west coast. I dreamt of grazing the warm sand with my hands and touching the Pacific coast with my bare feet. Lips pursed against the large straw of my happy hour margarita surrounded by new friends and exciting beginnings. My skin, bleached with the indoor months of winter, would soon be glowing with an olive aura twelve months of the year.

I’d work in a boutique PR firm, wearing bright colors and statement necklaces paired with metallic sandals. Namaste-esque lunch breaks with a fresh acaï bowl waiting for me at my desk topped with blueberries and freshly shaved coconut.

I dreamt of paradise. I dreamt of a seamless transition from college to the unknown depths of the real world…preferably surrounded by palm trees and toned men. One that I knew would come with its inevitable difficulties but uncharted territory that I craved nonetheless.

I soon realized this “paradise” didn’t necessarily have to mean to sunsets on the beach and rollerblading along the boardwalk. This dream to move out west made a swift change spring of 2015 as graduation quickly approached.

What was paradise? To me, paradise meant adventure. A blank canvas soon to be spattered with colors of the future that was soon to come.

I craved a masterpiece. But, like, not the perfect-looking masterpiece. I want the kind that doesn’t make sense but also makes so much sense at the same time. Like, the ones that make you think. The ones that make you step back, tilt your head and think “hmm…”

Ones that weren’t created as a result of a single experience but ones that have been through some shit. Some really really good shit but also some really really bad shit. And maybe some average shit too.

When I decided to move to DC, I knew the opportunities down here were endless. The President lives here. Finding a job would be easy. And it was.

DC would be my new idea of paradise, I decided.

My life is hard to keep up with. I know this. You know this. My parents know this. I’m always scrounging for the next opportunity, bopping around from thing to thing, keeping myself and other people on their toes.

I think about my dream back in college. Moving to California, working for a boutique PR firm in bright colors and statement necklaces and just think…holy shit. How did I get here?

I think about my first job in DC. Running events and marketing for one of the most popular bars on U St — portraying that I had it all but in reality craving something more. Then applying to grad school in the midst of bartending full time feeling miserable and confused for not knowing what I wanted. Landing my “dream” job only to realize that, still, there was something more out there for me. Deciding that maybe I should have a steady 9-5 while diving into the unknown of launching a business. Feeling uncertain with a fuck ton of new responsibilities I didn’t know how to handle.

How did that last paragraph read? Confusing, right? It was.

It is.

What am I supposed to do? I plead to my career management professor. To her, I admitted defeat.

I was working full time, bartending 25+ hours a week, going to class 2x a week while attempting to run a business and freelancing. Oh, and I also need to eat and sleep. And go to the gym. And sometimes have a social life. And maybe some time for myself too.

I was torn between the “safe” option and well, the risky one.

I knew the ~office life~ wasn’t for me. Am I only saying this because I’m an ignorant millennial who claims she’s “above” sitting in a chair 40 hours a week? Am I another cliché?  

I didn’t want to be a cliché. I’m not cliché.

I expressed these concerns to my professor. Weighing the pros and cons. 38% of my brain telling me to just suck it up and deal with a job you’re not thrilled with in your early twenties and just do your time. The other 62% said something totally different.

I envisioned the “masterpiece” I wanted to create for myself. The messy paint strokes that evokes a spectrum of emotions and and a healthy mixture of the good shit and bad shit that comes with life.

I think you answered your own question, she acknowledged. I don’t say this often, and I usually tell students to go with the “safer” option, but I think that you can do something with this.

At this point, my company was about 2 months old. I had a couple of clients, but it was definitely more of a side hustle — one that wouldn’t survive much longer with the schedule I was attempting to upkeep.

So I had a choice. A big one.

Do I go balls deep in this shit? 

I had the connections, talent and the means to make something out if it. I just had to do it.

I took the holiday to think about it. I stayed at my Dad’s and spent a lot of time on my own. Scribbling ideas in Nora (the name of my journal, after the OG badass Nora Ephron), writing what exactly this would mean for my future. Accepting the difficulties that were sure to come, but trying to figure out if it would be worth it.

I scanned LinkedIn for some potential job opportunities but nothing that made me as excited as the ideas I outlined in Nora. Nothing even remotely close.

I sat in my Dad’s living room on Christmas Eve and started developing a rough business plan from a random template I found online. Something that people usually do before launching a business, but like, I’m still learning, ok?!

I then started to sketch out a brand sheet. Asking myself, what do I want this to look like? What are my selling points? What is Socially Attractive by Beth‘s brand? What voice am I going to use? What’s the story I’m going to tell?

I started at a blank page for quite sometime. Attempting to create something that was a separate entity rather than a extension of myself.

I thought of why I started the business in the first place. How my clientele started to build. Where I noticed the demand and how I capitalized on it. Thinking but trying not to overthink.

I then started interviewing myself the same way that I interview my clients during a brand session.

How’d you get started? 

Well, I landed my first client while pouring a Jack and Coke while wearing a guacamole-stained shirt, ripped jeans and a nose ring. 

That was it. That was my story. That was literally the day that I decided to make a reality out something that I had been thinking of for so long.

So that would be the brand. Why work with me?

Work with me and you get professional services with a kickass personality behind it. I might have a guacamole stain on my shirt but I also have my shit together. 

I started writing out adjectives on this brand sheet.

Creative, passionate, edgy, high-energy…

My hand started to cramp as I started to feel the right and left sides of my brain co-mingle in a beautiful, imperfectly perfect harmony.

So, yeah, I decided to go balls deep.

Fast foward about a month later and shits still all over the place. But like, in the best way.

I don’t mind the mess that surrounds me because it’s something that I created.

The hustle is stressful, but its equally as comforting to finally feel like I’m doing what I’ve known I’ve always dreamt of doing.

People see the good side of my life — aka what I put on social media. Through my blog, I try and be real with you guys and outline both the beautifully amazing and terribly horrible parts of my life.

As my business grows, I’m running into things that I don’t have the slightest clue of how to deal with. I thank Google, friends and even some exes who have helped me figure shit out, but it’s not easy.

One thing I noticed right away was that I had to be OK with working for free. Keeping the end goal in mind, but knowing that it’s going to take thousands of hours to get to the point I want to be at. I’m not even close. While I might not have office job, I’m still attending grad school and bartending ~30 hours a week to make ends meet.

I’ve run into some pitfalls and dead ends that I don’t know how to deal with quite yet. I have zero business experience and I’ve spent tons of time attempting to understand the jargon that comes with it.

I’ve learned that I’m not “above” any type of project that comes my way. A small non-profit with a tiny budget wants social media consulting? Ok. I’ll do it. And I’ll discount the price.

Why? I’m new at this. With every client leads to new opportunities and learning experiences. My niche is food, but I’ve also learned to not limit myself. To take on things that might scare me, but nonetheless things that I know I can create into something totally badass.

An example? I just landed a new client. He is restaurant owner that is developing an app on the side that he wants help marketing. I won’t go into TOO much detail. But basically, I have zero experience in app development and have no idea what any of that language even means. While the app is connected to the DC food industry, it’s still something that I initially viewed as a project that was much bigger than me.

We met and I was petrified. I did the research and came prepared, but still felt like I wasn’t going to impress him. He’s a hardcore business man. Running restaurants while developing apps and other ventures on the side.

I’m just a 24 year old with a 6 month old business. 

I then went back to my brand sheet. He reached out to me for a reason. 

I was myself and openly admitted that I had no experience in the software development field.

I reached out to you after reading your blog and look at your website. You’re a go-getter. I want to work with a hustler like myself. 

I left that meeting with not one, but two more clients.

I’m not saying this shit to brag or put myself on a high horse. I’m telling you this because I think our generation is brilliant as fuck with skills that have never been seen before. With that, I also think that a lot of millennials see the good stuff and crave it but don’t want to go through the mud to get there.

On the outside, I’m a 24 year old entrepreneur who goes to Georgetown while running a small business. Oh, you fancy huh? 

Step into my apartment and you’ll see half of the avocado that I forgot to put back in the fridge and a bunch of random shit stacked on my work desk wondering how the F I’m going to pay 40k in grad school loans in a couple of years. Open my inbox and you’ll see hundreds of pitch emails sent to businesses with a ~2% response rate. You’ll see Nora sitting there, scribbled with goals and ideas but also filled with pages soaked in tear stains and uncertain thoughts.

This post isn’t saying “hey, quit your job and dive right into the career of your dreams!” Who the fuck knows what that even looks like at this point in your life? If you do, congrats! Teach me your ways.

I guess I’m trying to put my story out there in the hopes that it might inspire people  to do more things that they care about.

It doesn’t have to be a total career switch or some monumental “ah-ha!” moment, but all I’m trying to say is that things are possible – but the journey isn’t some bunny hill. It’s a double black diamond on a snowboard for the first time (speaking from real life experience).

If you want to see things happen, make hustling a habit and accept that life is not one perfectly ripe avocado. Sometimes, it can be the half that you leave out on the counter than quickly turns brown and gross. And that’s ok! Just try another damn avocado!

Do you ever read my shit and think like, wtf is she talking about? Because same. 

I used to be so scared of sharing my blog on my LinkedIn and including it on my resume. Did I want people to see this side of me?

After going back and forth with it for some quite time, I decided it was time to stop being ashamed of who I was and start embracing every part of me that makes, well, me.

People want work with me because they see a real person behind it all. Do I show up to meetings in a green sports bra and undone hair? Of course not. But I also won’t put my Instagram on private out of fear that they will see that side of me.

What’s the point?

Own your personal brand and don’t apologize for it either.

People have asked me, “How do I get started?” I am by no means a model citizen when it comes to this, because I still don’t really know what I’m doing BUT you have to accept that it’s just a part of the process.

However, there won’t even be a process if you don’t take the leap. It doesn’t even have to be leap. Maybe you just wanna take a step. Or a hop. Or maybe just a peak over the edge.

Just know that you have the option. It’s there. You just have to act on it.

DC was never my idea of “paradise.” Fast forward 2.5 years later, and I’m not sure I’ll ever leave. This city has given me endless opportunities and a chance to grow something that I never even thought about creating.

I just had to take the leap.

‘It’s complicated.’

About a month ago I wrote a blog about how I wasn’t ready to date.

A simple claim that I had recently come to grips with at the time. I received a lot of feedback from people who shared their stories with me. It was a roughly a 70/30 split between people who have experienced similar situations versus people who were encouraging me to put myself out there.

Someone will come around when you least expect it. 

I semi-believe this but also believe that things sort of align with the place you are in your life. The right person might come along, but maybe you’re at a point where you’re setting for the wrong guys. Idk. It’s a process.

Dating in 2018. Have you tried it? It’s weird.

One moment I’m aggressively swiping through apps cramping my thumb from the abundance of leftward motions and the next moment I say fuck it and just hope Prince Charming will be sitting at my bar.

You’ve gotta kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. 

If that’s the case, there’s an serious overpopulation problem. Like China except Toad Land. Kidding, sort of. I’m not bitter. I swear.

But yeah, it’s just so weird and complicated. Half of the time I blame myself and the other times I blame the toad pool. I don’t know who are the “right” people to date for me versus the totally wrong people. Or if there even is a right or wrong way of doing things. Ya feel me?

With each ending relationship, I learn something new about what I want and certainly what I don’t want — but will this just be an ongoing learning experience rather than actually finding the right right guy? On paper, I know who I want. Or, rather, who I should want. I’ve had a few instances with guys where I’ve mentally gone through the checklist and they are seemingly the perfect person for me.

Then I lose interest. Or they do. Whichever comes first.

And most of the time, I don’t know why. But I’m also at a point where I don’t really care. Like, I feel like I’ve sort of expected things to be doomed from the beginning which sounds so depressing, negative and pathetic but in my head it’s really not. It’s just simple statistics. And I don’t mind it.

I used to care a lot more about what men thought of me. I would meet a guy that I was remotely interested in and suddenly I’d start planning my future with him. You’re lying if you didn’t go through a similar phase. It was like every guy I made out had to be my boyfriend at some point or else I’d feel a pit of rejection in my stomach that wouldn’t go away until the next potential suitor came along.

Hey Beth, what are you doing tonight? GUYS OMFG HE TEXTED ME. PAUSE EVERYTHING YOU’RE DOING AND TELL ME WHAT TO REPLY. HOW LONG SHOULD I WAIT TO TEXT BACK? LIKE 8 MINUTES YOU THINK?

*48 seconds later*

Hey! Not much, just hanging with friends. And you? 

It was as if waiting 8 minutes would make me seem less psycho and eager. I don’t know. It was college. Times were different, I guess.

Now, tbh I don’t really give a shit. I’ve sort of gotten over letting guys judge my “crazy-ness level — whatever that means these days.  If I’m interested in someone, I talk to them. If they fail to put the effort in on their end, I lose interest pretty quickly. I don’t overthink a double text and I certainly don’t wait 27 minutes to text back if they took 21.

I take 18. 

In a sense, I’ve made dating less complicated, but I also don’t think about it as much. Well, like, guys are quite often ~on the brain~, but so are the thousand of over things going in my life — things that are usually more important.

I’m busy and I need coffee, always. My ideal relationship would be with someone who is equally as busy but makes time to bring me coffee and call me pretty. But I’m also OK with doing those things on my own.

So, um, I guess I’m actively dating again. But it wasn’t because one day I was like Ya know what, Beth?! Pull your Tinder bootstraps up and get back on the dating train!!!

Tinder bootstraps? What?

It more just sorta happened? I stopped putting pressure on myself to move on and decided to just rise above what happened and be better. He’s not the reason why I wasn’t ready to date. It was me. I guess I started being open to new possibilities.

I’ve chosen to spend my time with people who are simply worth my time. If it turns into something more, great. But if not, that’s cool too.

***

Recently, a guy asked what I was looking for. Relationship-wise, of course.

At first I was sorta taken aback. Like, wooaaaah how dare you ask a super valid question before we go on our first date? I showed my friend, how am I supposed to answer this?

Um, idk Beth, maybe you just be honest? There’s a thought! 

I told him I didn’t know. It sounded like a cop out answer, but I don’t really think I’m in a place where I want or should put a pretense on someone or something that may turn out to be just another toad in the toad pool. I’m not saying all toads are bad people, I’m justing saying that most toads won’t be the right toad for me.

How many times can I use this metaphor without exhausting it? The limit does not exist.

It would be a lie to tell him that I’m actively searching for a committed relationship but it would also be a lie to tell him I wasn’t. I just like, don’t know, ya know?

My last relationship made me second guess everything. I always felt like I was being too needy. Too emotional. Too psycho. Too everything. It was exhausting. I really hate that I keep talking about the same dude, but like, whatever man. Feeling all that shit sucked and I continue to learn more about how it impacted me. And I guess I can thank him for giving me some solid content to chat about with you guys.

Point is, I don’t want to second guess anything when it comes to relationships, platonic or romantic. Wishful thinking, I know. I just want things to, like, be. You know, just some dude who likes a gal enough to bring her coffee and call her pretty without being a shithead.

Sorry, that last part was aggressive. Just keepin’ it 💯!

Speaking of aggressive, I called a dude a jackass recently. Like, last night. We had been sorta on and off for quite some time and it wasn’t a complicated thing…until it was. Sure, I was a few vodka sodas deep and maybe I should’ve just let things go naturally. But also, it’s how I felt. Simply put.

I tried coming up with a nicer noun, but I guess that was the first thing that came to mind. Nobody’s perfect, and I’m sure there has been points in my life where I’ve acted like a jackass, but at this point in my life, I’m just kinda over the what is this? banter. Long story. Possibly might get into it at another time.

As humans, we naturally complicate things. We take a scenario and twist it into some convoluted mess that can’t really be explained to anybody not involved in the mess itself. Usually this doesn’t end so well, but we continue to do it anyways.

I’m about to sound soooo basic and soooo pathetically single and sorta aggressive. Ready for it? I simply just don’t have time for stupid shit. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally.

That’s not to say I won’t continue to deal with stupid shit, but hopefully it’s stupid shit that I can’t control. Ya feel me? I’m also not quite sure how I define “stupid shit” but I think we all know what constitutes as “stupid shit.”

 

Per usual, I don’t really know where this blog post was supposed to go. I guess it’s just refreshing to say that I’m at a point where I’m equally as comfortable dating as I am not. It’s refreshing to say that I can confidently call someone a jackass and not later label myself “crazy” for it. If it’s deserved, of course.

I used to think that if you were engulfed in the dating scene, it had to be a main focal point in your life. Like, you had to actively make it a part of your day to find the right toad.

I’ve been on 4-5 dates this past month with different guys. Sure, they took up the small amount of free time I had, but they were dates that I wanted to go on. Some were better than others, but there was no pressure to make it something more. No pretense that it had to be something more. Just two people who showed a genuine interest in each other and wanted to act on it.

The best part? All Most of them didn’t turn out to be a convoluted, complicated mess! It’s great!

I’m not naïve and I won’t say relationships aren’t ever complicated, because they are. That’s just howwww the cookie crumbles. But, I suppose there’s a spectrum of complications and I’m just out here tryna fall on the right side of it while also trying to to avoid the spectrum entirely.

I have really cool stuff going on in my life — stuff that I am so damn proud of. It’s crazy to think how much I was holding myself back when I was with someone who took up literally all of who I was. I knew there something more out there for me, but I was so consumed in this “relationship” that I never acted on it. I don’t want to be at that point in my life again.

I don’t know the type of person I need to be with. I don’t where he is either, but he’s out there somewhere.

I can wait. Hopefully he can to.

While you’re waiting, FYI I usually drink hot coffee with almond milk. It’s an easy order to remember. You’re welcome. 

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.

Rainbow unicorn toast.

Nose to the sky, we fly through the crisp December air splitting the clouds into millions of pieces.

This setting is familiar.

My legs sit on the plastic leather seat. Iced coffee to my right. The sky is painted with city lights that glimmer along the black horizon. A man made Milky Way.

Where are you off to?

I take the large headphones off my head and rest them around my neck.

Boston.
Well, duh, But I mean after we land. Boston, Boston, or like Worcester Boston? He inquires.
Haha, well, right outside. I’m on the red line. Does that count?
I guess so.

He asks me where my accent is.

I tell him I left it at Logan airport in September. I’m going to pick it up at Terminal A when we land.

He’s amused.

I snap a picture of the sunrise.

Have you ever seen one of those before?
What?
A sunrise.

He’s sarcastic, but so am I. I understand the language.

No, I haven’t. I’m hoping to share this phenomenon with my Instagram followers. Maybe make it on National Geographic or something.

He smirks.

It’s a smooth trip so far.

I tell him about the time I was shot 6 feet in the air on my way back from Ann Arbor due to severe turbulence.

6 feet, huh? And you lived to tell the tale?
I’m here, aren’t I?

He rolls up the sleeves of his black and red checkered flannel and scratches his 5 o’clock shadow.

The clouds remind me of unicorn toast. The rainbow clouds, like butter, are lightly spread across the soft blue sky.

I tell him about this comparison.

He tells me that the unicorn trend is dumb.

I nod in agreement. He doesn’t need to know that I follow a unicorn toast account on Instagram.

The ice in my coffee is melting. I tell him to stop distracting me so I don’t waste my $3.42 that I spent on this beverage.

Iced coffee in the winter, huh? You’re a true Massachusetts gal I guess.

We talk about our confusion with Wawa. Why do people love gas station food so much? It puzzles us. I tell him that I went to the new Dupont location and was overwhelmed and grabbed a Greek salad from across the street instead.

It’s refreshing to chat New England things with a fellow New Englander. I tell him this.

You flatter me.

I roll my eyes.

Haha, you’re right though. DC chat can be sort of exhausting sometimes, right? Like, I’m just trying to enjoy my beer why you gotta bring up tax reform?

I laugh. I can empathize.

We start to descend. 20 minutes until we land, the pilot tells us.

The clouds begin to break. I can see the ocean beneath us. I don’t fear flying, but my stomach turns ever so slightly when we are above water.

I close my eyes.

You can’t nap now. We’re about to land and you need to keep me distracted because I get nervous when I fly over water.

I smile and look at him. For a moment, I forget my fear of crashing into the deep depths of the Atlantic Ocean.

Me too.

The ice in my coffee is melted. I take a sip anyways.

Ugh, this tastes like pond water now, I complain.
Sorry, I think I have $3 in my wallet, but you’re gunna have to come up with the 42 cents.

How about you just buy me a coffee in DC?

It was like word vomit.

Did I just ask this guy out? What the actual fuck Beth. Here we are, two strangers casually chatting on a plane, nervous AF flying over the Atlantic Ocean and you just made it weird. Gr8. Awesome. Well done.

Suddenly, crashing into the deep depths of the Atlantic Ocean doesn’t sound half bad.

Coffees are more expensive in DC, he responds, that doesn’t seem fair.

I turn red and my stomach is still twisting — and it’s not because of the water. I snort out a laugh as a nervous reaction. I don’t use “snort” for literary effect. I use it to describe the actual sound that came out of my mouth.

How about this, he suggests, I’ll buy you a $5 cappuccino from some trendy coffee shop, but then you gotta pick up the $1.58 and get me a scone or something.

A scone? I scoff at him. How about a bagel? My stomach starts to feel normal again.

Fine. Just make sure they don’t overdo it on the cream cheese.

The wheels hit the runway and the plane shakes. I hold onto what’s left of my pond water. Coffee, I mean. At this point they are one in the same.

Which one is your bag?
The purple one. 
He points, this one? No way. Is this vintage L.L. Bean?
You bet it is.
Unreal.

We exit the airplane and he hands me back my phone. 603. A New Hampshire zip code.

My names Ben*, by the way, I don’t think I ever told you. Pencil me in for after the holidays. I hope Santa brings you a new duffle bag. You’re overdue. Merry Christmas, Beth.

Merry Christmas, Ben.

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.