I don’t want my love story to start with tequila and Tinder

I was going to title this post “This Is What Happened When I Met A Tinder IRL” discussing about the time I unintentionally met a Tinder boy in real life a few days ago. The encounter was awkward, as expected, but the awkwardness seemed unwarranted for.

He sat at a table at the bar with a few of my friends. We had a brief conversation via Tinder only a few hours before, discussing our plans for the night. We both told each other our plans to go to the bar although I had no intention of actually meeting up with him.

“This is Brendan,” my friend said. He reached out his hand to shake mine. I looked up from the floor and my eyes met with his. Well, this is awkward, I immediately thought to myself. We both recognized each other and it was fairly obvious by the smirks we were desperately trying to hide, but neither one of us said a word about it. “It’s nice to meet you,” I said. I took my friends arm and headed to the bathroom, immediately blurting out, “OMG we just talked on Tinder 2 hours ago.” She laughed asked if I was going to mention it to him and I replied, “No way.”

Why do we Tinder? It’s fun, mindless, and an instant confidence boost, right? Sure. But, is that really why? Generation Y has given up on the idea of meeting the love of our lives in a coffee shop or randomly on the street. We have given up on the hopes of a fairytale romance, often blaming it on the fact that chivalry seems to be an antiquated piece of the past. It’s an idea that we often fantasize about, but it’s become taboo to approach a stranger at a coffee shop and call her beautiful. It’s become labeled as “creepy” to ask a girl on a date before texting her for weeks prior. The code of our dating culture insists we follow set of rules and guidelines before taking a leap of faith. It’s a set of rules that we often complain about, but invest ourselves in anyways.

We won’t meet our future husbands in a coffee shop, or from a random encounter on the street. We won’t meet them by spilling the contents of their briefcase everywhere or on the beach while we are nose deep in a trashy Bella Andre romance novel. They won’t save us from oncoming traffic or start a conversation with you in a laundromat when your sexy g-string awkwardly lands in their basket.

Our fairytale starts at a bar three tequila shots deep. It starts when you have the liquid courage to flirt with him, eventually landing back at his place, desperately texting your friends in the morning for a ride home to avoid the Walk of Shame. It continues with texts back and forth, a fair share of nights up wondering how he really feels about you. It either ends with two happy hearts or one heart desperately chasing another for something that will never be.

Since chivalry has been replaced with misconstrued text messages and the fear of rejection, and we have given up on the romantic-comedy fairytale that we all fantasize about. Where does that leave us? It leaves us with an app that you can swipe right or left. An app that doesn’t require much effort but gives you the attention that you crave and desire.

Do we Tinder because we’re bored? Or do we Tinder because we are desperately searching for attention that the guy we slept with last weekend doesn’t provide? Tinder tells you that you’re pretty, it tells you that you’re worth it, even if your ex-boyfriend doesn’t think so. Tinder provides us with a glimmer of hope to meet the guy of our dreams, although the hope is often masked with our inability to accept that this may be the start of our fairytale.

“I won’t tell anyone we met on Tinder,” reads the bios of so many. However, we wear the “met drunkenly at a bar,” label with pride. We wear the “it took over 6 months of sleepovers and awkward sober encounters to actually make it official,” label with ease. But, we simply won’t tell anyone met on Tinder. That’s not supposed to be a part of our fairytale.

I’m not sure why I refused to acknowledge Brendan and I’s Tinder encounter. Perhaps I was waiting for him to make the first move. Or perhaps it was because I don’t want my fairytale to start with, “We met on Tinder.” I want my fairytale to start in a coffee shop, with a cute guy offering to buy my overly-priced cappuccino. I want my fairytale to be cute and quirky enough to be featured in the next rom-com. I want to come around a corner too quickly and accidentally bump into a 6 foot 1 dude who happens to catch my eye at the right moment. I want my fairytale to be everything my hopeless romantic-mind has cracked it up to be.

It leads me back to my original question, why do we Tinder? Why do we spend countless hours swiping back and forth only to experience awkward encounters and unanswered “do you want to grab a drink sometime” questions? Why don’t we want this app to be included in our love stories when we are giving it every reason to? It’s a reality we are desperately avoiding, but maybe it’s time to embrace it.

I want to start my love story in a coffee shop, or on the cobblestone streets of Venice. I want him to rescue me from on-coming traffic when I’m too busy picking an Instagram filter. I don’t want my love story to start with tequila and Tinder, but maybe it’s time to accepting the fact that it probably will.

Welcome to Generation Y, ladies and gents.

#KAYLASARMY: Kayla Itsine’s BBG!

I’ve decided to work on my Fitness section to not only motivate myself but motivate my readers too! If you’ve read my piece, “The Monster in the Mirror” it’s about my issue with body image. It’s something I have always struggled with for as long as I can remember. Some days, one look in the mirror can ruin my entire day. Healthy living and staying active is so important to me but I’ve realized I need consistency in my workouts AND nutrition plan. Cheat meals need to stop becoming cheat days. I’m all for drunken pizza nights, but letting it happen every time I drink makes me feel like absolute crap come Monday morning.

I’m sure most of you have heard of the Instagram fitness sensation Kayla Itsines. She has recently come out with a workout e-book called the Bikini Body Guide which is a combination of resistance workouts, low intensity, as well as high intensity interval workouts. The transformation pictures are incredible. I just started it yesterday but I can already tell that I’ll enjoy it. It incorporates strength training as well as cardio which I love! They may only be 30 minute circuits, but don’t be fooled, these workouts are tough. If you’re new to working out, I don’t recommend jumping right into it. Start out with a couple weeks of light cardio and then give it a go!

Follow me as I start my Kayla Itsine’s journey. Keep in mind, I’m a regular college girl just like most of you! I won’t attempt to give up alcohol or the occasional drunk pizza night, my groceries are bought on a budget, and I’m not a super fitness expert! The macro/micro nutrient idea is all new to me but I’m going to try it out. I’ll try to post progress pictures every 2 weeks (as the guide recommends). If you have any questions for me, don’t be afraid to comment below. However, if it’s negative, don’t expect me to post it. Tryna keep the positive vibez here ppl~~*

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Failed Smoky Eyes and Plates of Pasta

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We are told that we don’t know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.

It was first semester of my sophomore year. My feet had grown accustomed to beer-soaked frat party floors, my heart had made it through getting (royally) screwed over by a guy, and I was growing to understand what I really wanted for myself in college. I was ready to start a new chapter that was Sophomore Year.

Henry* was undoubtedly charming. He was a few inches taller than I was, with long eyelashes and a face full of scruff. He was as humble and kind as they come, quirky and awkward at times, but in all the right ways. Henry was the kind of guy who’s presence made you happy for unexplainable reasons. He was friends with the guys that lived across the hall from me, so he was a common visitor in my dorm. He’d make it a point to stop in my room, plop on my bed and ask about my day, something that I thoroughly enjoyed. We had a fun, flirty, and carefree friendship.

He eventually developed a crush on me, and alcohol made sure that wasn’t a secret. He’d talk to my friends about me when I was only a couple of feet away, and I pretended like I didn’t hear. Every time he walked out of his friend’s room he’d glance into my room to see if I noticed him. He called me beautiful and amazing, and I certainly didn’t hate it.

For a while, I played dumb to the idea that he saw me more than just a friend. I willfully went along for the ride because it was fun. I felt wanted and desired. A guy had a crush on me, and it was awfully flattering. But it wasn’t a “I want to fuck you” kind of crush. It was a “I get excited every time you walk into the room” kind of crush. It was innocent and it was genuine. He liked me for me. I was fairly positive I viewed our relationship as strictly friendly, but for some reason I enjoyed the idea taking the time to decide if I was sure.

It was a Friday night and we were all pouring cheap vodka into douchey-looking SHOT GLASSES. Henry didn’t go out all that much, but he certainly pre-gamed like he was going to. He stumbled into my room and through his slurred words and drunken footsteps he managed to ask me on a date. I blushed and was pleasantly surprised, but didn’t expect much since it was simply an intoxicated encounter. I told him to ask me sober, and I was certainly wished he was going to.

I received a text the very next day, “Still up for Pasta e Basta next week?” I stared at my phone intently and couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face. I blurted it out to my friends, failing to mask the excitement from my voice.

“Henry asked me out on a date!!!!”
“Are you really that shocked, Beth? He’s in love with you,” they replied.
I blushed, again.

It was a Wednesday night and I sat in front of the mirror carefully running the iron through my hair, perfecting every curl. I slowly applied the mascara wand to my lashes and attempted a smoky eye a few times, failing miserably. I ran to the bathroom and scrubbed the make up off of my face while my packet of NEUTROGENA make up remover pads were dwindling. I’m not sure how much of my NAKED pallet I wasted that night, but it was an embarrassing amount. I sat in the bathroom staring at my naked face and wondered why I was trying so hard. Henry had seen me post-sweaty gym sesh as well as a Sunday morning completely hungover with make up from the night before streaked down my face. He had even seen me in tears abandoned in a duct tape Bud Light dress on Halloween. He had seen it all, but it didn’t matter to him. Why was I letting it matter to me so much?

I just liked him as a friend…right? Suddenly I wasn’t so sure.

With half of my hair tied back, I let the rest of the loose curls rest below my shoulders. I took the wand to my lashes again, this time only doing single STROKE for each eye and applied just enough sparkly bronzer for it to be noticeable in the right lighting. I decided on a black and white polka-dot blouse paired with dark jeans and tall tan leather boots. This was my “I didn’t try too hard,” look–even though that was the biggest lie.

Henry didn’t have a car on campus, and this particular Wednesday just happened to be the day that mine decided to get a flat tire. It also was the day that the weather just happened to brew up a snowstorm (good thing I spent an hour on my hair.) Taking the bus into town didn’t seem right on a first date, so my friend let me take her car. The tires spun against the slippery pavement a few times before actually moving forward as the thick snow CONTINUED to fall.

We eventually made it to the restaurant in one piece, but my hair certainly didn’t (damn you naturally frizzy hair.) The place was relatively small with twinkling white lights illuminating the WINDOWS making it feel warm and homey. We talked about life and future plans over a few laughs and plate of pasta and I was enjoying every second.

We ended the night with a friendly hug, although I was fairly certain he was hoping for a kiss. The date was a success, but it further confirmed my strictly platonic INTEREST in Henry. However, it also confirmed how amazing of a guy he was.

Was I leading Henry on? No. I had never been asked out on a traditional date before, and I wasn’t about to pass up an opportunity that doesn’t come often in college. Henry admired me, but it wasn’t the same type of admiration that I was used to. It was innocent and it was raw. I can’t accurately describe the way that Henry looked at me, but it was far more intriguing and attractive than the way most college-aged guys do. Henry took a leap of faith and had no hidden intentions. He wasn’t expecting to get laid, he wasn’t expecting much of anything. It was simple: he enjoyed my company, and I certainly enjoyed his.

Henry and I have lost contact over the years, but when I look back on my years here at UMass, that night always seems to be so vivid in my memory. It’s INTERESTING how such a seemingly insignificant event can impact you in ways that are more complex than you ever expected.

We are told that we don’t know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. We are also told that we don’t know the significance of a person until they become a piece of your past.

This story is much more than failed smoky eyes and plates of pasta. It’s about taking a leap of faith. Maybe my feelings didn’t change much towards Henry, but it made me appreciate him so much more. It made me realize that there are guys out there that will enjoy my company without wanting something more. It made me realize that you should give every person a fair shot because hopefully you’ll look back some day and be happy you did. More importantly, it made me realize that college is so much more than beer-soaked frat party floors and shitty ex-boyfriends. It’s about the little things, such as sad attempts at a smoky eye and a simple plate of pasta.

I hope you read this, Henry. It may come as a shock to you that I dedicated an entire blog post to that night, but I hope it brings a smile to your face because it certainly brings one to mine. I hope you find a girl that appreciates your kindness and sees you for the genuine person that you are. Thank you for taking me out that night and setting the bar high for every guy to follow. Thank you for the countless laughs and a friendship that I will always cherish, but most of all thank you for being you.

Xoxo, Beth

Don’t Call Me Crazy And I Won’t Call You An Asshole.

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“She’s crazy,” says the indecisive ex-boyfriend who was sexting her the night before.

“Dude, she started acting all possessive and texted me non-stop,” remarks the ~*4 EvA*~ lifelong bro who refuses to commit yet introduced her to his family.

“She’s all of a sudden needy. I mean, like, we’re not dating or anything,” mumbled the dude who “doesn’t know what he wants” while he kisses her on the forehead and holds her hand.

Welcome to the 21st century. Where all girls are crazy and all guys are assholes. The way the world works as of late: boys tell each other that girls are insane, while we are simply blaming it on the fact that you suck.

As women, we spend our lives avoiding the label that is “crazy.” We overthink every letter of your text message, attempting to decode what you meant by a simple, “Hey.”  We have mastered the art of pretending to not care while possibly caring too much.  We blame our overthinking tendencies to mask our insecurities about the whatever relationship we have invested ourselves in with you. The question is, are we really overthinking the dinner dates you take us on, or are you just leading us on to believe in a relationship that will never be?

Don’t call me crazy because I question what we are after months of talking. Don’t call me crazy because I’m upset that you made out with that girl in front of me at the bar when we slept together the night before. I’m not going to apologize for getting attached if I have developed feelings, and I’m not going to apologize for wanting more than what you’re giving. I’m not crazy. I’m not crazy for reading into the pillow talks and exclusive dates that you take me on. I’m not crazy for thinking that you see me more as just another girl because you ask me about my future plans. I may be naive, but I’m not crazy. And I’m certainly not going to waste my time on someone who labels me as such, so, please, just have the balls to tell me how you really feel.

You hate labels? Ok. Well sorry, sometimes, I need one. I need one because it gives me a peace of mind. It makes me feel like the words you spoke to me the other night were genuine and not an attempt to get laid. A label doesn’t mean I need your name plastered on my Facebook wall. I’m not going to constantly Instagram pictures of you and label you as my #MCM every week. You don’t want to call me your “girlfriend,” or your “babe?” Fine. Pet names make me cringe anyways. However, I’m not stick around to be at your convenience when you can’t even find it in yourself to tell me how you feel. I don’t care what our “label” is, just give me something tangible.

There comes a time when we need to reevaluate how we define “overthinking.” I’m tired of blaming my anxieties about you on the simple fact that girls are known to over-evaluate a situation when you have given us every sign to over-evaluate it. The last time I checked, a girl you just want to fuck isn’t worth the good morning texts during the week. If you’re looking for a friend with benefits, that’s cool. Tell us. You don’t want us to get attached? Be honest. Don’t string us along. If you want a strictly platonic relationship yet you wine and dine us, we are going to think that you see us more than someone you want to sleep with. That doesn’t make us clingy, that doesn’t mean that we are reading too much into it. It’s simply the message you are sending us. We aren’t crazy.

Are you shocked that we want something more? Maybe you haven’t noticed the countless Elite Daily articles about what women want. Or maybe you are an award winning actor for pretending that you actually gave a shit. The reactions that you elicit when we confess what we want or are expecting are as if we’re not worthy of something more, ever. We aren’t worthy of developing feelings for you even after months and months of investing our time in you.

I titled this post, “Don’t Call Me Crazy, And I Won’t Call You An Asshole.” So, who’s the asshole? The entire male species? No. I’m not even bitter to the men who only wanted one thing out of me. I understand the science behind the sexual desires of the human species and I certainly understand the science behind getting laid. I’m not bitter to the men who have made me feel used or who have led me on only to let me down. I’m bitter to the men who have expected me to justify my feelings of attachment when they are the ones who led me to become attached. I’m bitter towards the men who have called any girl “crazy” for expecting something more when they treated me like that was the case.

How to avoid being an asshole: don’t sweep me off of my feet only to let me crash when I fall. Be honest with me. If you sense attachment on my end, don’t string me along for the ride if you’re not feeling the same. Don’t call me crazy and I won’t call you an asshole.

8 Promises To Make Yourself Going Into the New Year

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Time. We define our lives by it, allowing it to consume our entire being, yet it’s something that is entirely humanly constructed. It’s not real. You can’t hold it or even accurately describe it to someone without fumbling over your own words. Yet, timing is everything. Time allows us to move on, it allows us to make meaning of things we can’t quite understand. It’s why we celebrate the New Year. The New Year is a symbol for a fresh start, a time when we can allow ourselves to reflect on the years prior, a time to flip the page and start over. Even when you know that starting over is impossible, you allow yourself to believe it is. It gives you a peace of mind, it gives you a chance to redefine yourself.

How would you define your time here in 2014? You may have found yourself, or maybe you lost sight of who you were. Maybe you thought you had life at your fingertips, only to find out that that’s impossible. I hope you fostered friendships, rekindled flames, and maybe even found the love of your life. I hope you realized that life is beautiful, even if it can’t be controlled. I hope that you found true happiness, but I would be naive to think that everyone did.

There are hundreds of things that I would love to promise myself going into the New Year, things that I think we should all promise ourselves. Things that I think if we follow, we’ll be able to prosper and hopefully continue or start down a road of progress and fulfillment.

1. Let them go.
Let him go. Let her go. Let anyone go who no longer serves you and no longer holds a fulfilling piece of your life. Moving on from past boyfriends, girlfriends, and even former best friends, is one of the hardest things you can do. By holding on, you’re simply holding yourself back. You’re holding onto your past, something that you shouldn’t define yourself by. Don’t text him anymore. He isn’t coming back. And even if he does, you’ll soon realize that you were never meant to be in the first place. Don’t allow anyone to come into the 2015 year with you who will only constantly remind you of the disappointments of the past. Focus on yourself and your happiness. Don’t need anyone who doesn’t need you. Letting go doesn’t mean you’re erasing your past, it means that you’ve realized that the future holds so much more.

2. Travel.
If I could, I would pack my bags tomorrow and buy the next one way ticket to anywhere. 2014 was a year that changed me. It changed me because I explored the unknown and allowed myself to stretch beyond my comfort zone. It changed me because I traveled. It’s incredible what you can learn about yourself when you aren’t surrounded by the familiar. Life is easy when you have a set routine in place. Having a routine is safe, it provides a feeling of content. Promise yourself to break that routine in 2015. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to travel. You can drive 3 hours out of your way and explore something you’ve never seen before. Allow yourself to be open to what else the world has to offer you and you’d be amazed at the people and places you will find along the way.

3. Recognize weakness isn’t always a bad thing.
In life, we are always told to be strong. We are told that with strength comes happiness, with strength comes a life that will never disappoint because you will be trained to handle anything that comes your way. However, with strength also comes weakness. Realize that sometimes it’s okay to not be okay. Allow yourself to admit defeat.

4. Allow yourself to be vulnerable.
Too often we hold ourselves back from taking a leap of faith because we’re afraid of what will happen if we fail. We’re afraid of leaving ourselves to be vulnerable to certain people and opportunities because the fear of rejection is always on our minds. Setting your expectations high for something allows more room for disappointment, but some things in life don’t always have to be disappointing. Don’t define opportunities by what they could be, define them by what you make of them.

5. Realize you are more than your physical appearance. 
Stop letting a double tap make you feel beautiful. Stop basing your self perception on the amount of “likes,” “retweets.” and “swipe rights,” you get. Defining yourself based on things so superficial will do nothing for you but lead you down road of self-destruction. Beauty has no fixed meaning, so don’t let society tell you otherwise.

6. Don’t allow yourself to stay in a relationship you aren’t happy with.
Too often we settle for people because it’s convenient and easy. It’s easy to be content with the familiar. The thought of cutting someone out and beginning the painful process of moving on makes us cringe. Don’t justify their actions, don’t  convince yourself that things will get better, and certainly don’t settle for anyone who makes you question your self-worth. You can do better and you will do better, just give it time.

7. Realize you aren’t crazy for wanting something more than he is giving.
Life is all about avoiding the label that is, “crazy.” We allow ourselves to believe we are “over thinking,” certain situations as an excuse to justify someone’s actions even if it actually makes us feel like shit. If having sex with him makes you feel used, then don’t let him make you feel used. Just because you want more than fuck buddy doesn’t make you crazy. Society defines “chill girls,” as women who don’t rush attachment and who “go with the flow.” Well, guess what? You don’t have to fall into the label of the “chill girl,” if you don’t want to. Do what makes you happy and don’t do things that make you feel like shit. If he isn’t giving you what you need, then go find someone who will. Don’t let society tell you how you’re supposed to feel. Stop settling for something mediocre when you could have something so much more.

8. Be the one worth chasing after, not the one who chases.
Strive to be the best version of yourself. Be the person who leaves a lasting impact, the person who people fight to keep around. Be the one worth chasing after. That being said, don’t fight to keep people in your life who wouldn’t do the same in return. There are people who take more than they give. They expect you to make them feel important, yet they don’t do the same for you. They won’t chase you, so don’t chase them. Instead, chase yourself. Chase your dreams. Chase after the person you strive to be. Allow yourself to thrive with the best of them. Allow yourself to thrive with the people who encourage you to flourish, not the people who continually drain you. Give to people who give back. In turn, you’ll make people realize what a stupid mistake they made by letting you go so easily. Be awesome. Make yourself worth fighting for.

Happy New Year people. Cheers to 2015, and cheers to you. Go out and make a difference somewhere.

“Love”

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

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

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

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

Meet Joe:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wore too much make up.

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

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

Neither did my dad or sister.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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