414 Days

I told myself a long time ago that I would never publicly share my feelings, or my life, from the past year. And then over a year later, I found myself writing this.

 

414 days.

I have been told that there are moments in which your world turns upside down, moments when you realize nothing will ever be the same and time is divided into 2 parts - before this, and after this. When everything you thought you knew is obliterated.

And in my case, when a simple, everyday life instead becomes terrifying, confusing, and publicized.

414 days ago, that exact moment happened to me. And my mind went blank. The person I had trusted the most, the person I looked up to in every way, the person I thought I knew, was not that person. I can honestly say that I do not remember the majority of the three months of my life after finding out that everything I thought I knew was a lie. I spent that time questioning everything, wondering how and why, in between the numerous door bells and incessant phone calls.

I was numb. Absolutely, completely numb.

I have always been someone that holds things in, which I have come to realize may not be the healthiest. So naturally I bottled up, I smiled, and I moved right along. I pretended to not hear the rumors, the side comments, the jabs that people would make to my face, but mostly behind my back. You see, when things like this happen, very few people understand what it does to the people who were left to pick up the pieces.

It is said that during the worst times of your life, you will get to see the true colors of the people who say they care for you. And boy, is that statement true. It has been - interesting - to see the amount of people who have so easily lost touch with my mom and I. The family friends who used to have us over for barbecues or get togethers, are now the people who will sporadically ask how we are only when they see us by convenience. Some of our family that vanished into thin air, without ever offering to be there when we needed them the most. The people who I cared so deeply for, who turned around and chose to use words of hate rather than words of comfort. Those losses sting, but they are now merely reminders of the family and friends we do have; the ones that have always been there.

I can post photos on social media of my nights out with friends, or update my blog with style tips. But what I don't post for everyone to see are the days trying to remember the last time my life was simple. Or the last time our "family" spoke to us. Or the last time I didn't feel unbearably overwhelmed. Because as much as people would like to think, you don't bounce right back. I lost my home, my parent, friends, family, trust, and in the midst of it all...I lost myself.

I have learned more in the last 414 days than I have in the last 21 years combined. I have learned that life is definitely not fair, and can kick your ass. But I believe in the person I want to become. I believe that a series of terrible, life changing events in someone's life does not define them. And I believe that just because I do not have everything together does not mean I am broken.

And I understand that there are situations that are far worse than mine. I understand that there are losses and tragedies and circumstances that far exceed the one I have experienced.
But I wanted to share my story.

I wanted to remind even just one person, that what someone else does does not define you.
That not everyone who says they will be there for you will actually stick around.
That not everything can be fixed and put back together.
That sometimes, it always rains the hardest on the people who deserve the sun.

But,
The ones that do stay are the ones you hold on tight to.
And you are allowed to wake up and change for the better, for yourself.
Very little is needed to make a happy life.

I wanted to give even just one person reading this a sense of hope.

 
 

Because 414 days later, I know how strong I am. And I am proud of that.

XO.

 
To my best friend, who is the strongest, most amazing person I know.
 
 

"Once upon a time you were a little girl with big dreams that you promised you'd make real one day. Don't disappoint yourself."

What I Wish I Knew When I Graduated High School

It is crazy to think that I graduated from high school three years ago. And my oh my, how much has changed...

 

Don't take the small things for granted.

You're going to want that family dinner again. You're going to wish you could walk the dogs every morning. You're going to miss seeing your best friends every day. Remember all of the little details and simple moments. You'll miss them.

 

Don't hold grudges.

The energy you spent hating that girl in high school was a waste of time, and holding that grudge throughout college is also a waste of time. Let it go. It's not worth it. Move on, and make amends.

 

You don't have to go to college.

This is a big one. When I graduated, I not only thought I had to go to college but I also thought I had to go away for college. After my freshman year in Albany, I quickly realized that living there was not for me. I headed back home for my sophomore year and then attended school online for my junior year, only to finally accept that I am not meant for college. I spent the last three years telling myself that going to college and receiving a Bachelor's degree was essential and had to be done. I was never interested in any of the curriculum I was learning. I knew what I was interested in, but I also knew none of what I wanted to do would be taught to me in college. So, you don't HAVE to go to college. You don't HAVE to get a degree. Do what you love.

 

Stay in touch with your best friends.

It might be hard to text every day, or call on the weekends. But try to stay in touch with the closest ones that you had to leave. Make plans to visit each other, Facetime once in a while, and stay up to date with your new lives.

 

But don't be upset or shocked when you lose touch with a lot of people.

The sad truth is that you probably won't speak to a large amount of the people you spoke to every day. You'll lose touch with some, drift away from others, and eventually you'll go weeks without seeing or hearing from them. It doesn't mean either of you don't care, but sometimes life just gets in the way.

 

Enjoy your time.

Don't rush your time after high school. You don't have to jump into a job or decide your career the second you walk out the doors. Take your time, breathe, and enjoy your time.

 

It's okay if a lot changes after high school.

It might not seem like it, but you'll be okay.

 

This is only the beginning.

There is so so so much more of your life left. You will laugh. You will get your heart broken. You will find new friends. You will lose yourself. You will have amazing nights. You will endure great loss. You will find great love. You will experience it all.

 

XO.

21 Lessons in 21 Years

21 years may not seem long to most, but that does not mean in any way that I have not learned a million and one lessons. Luckily, I narrowed it down to 21.

 
 

You will be wrong, and it's important you admit it.

Swallow your pride and own up to it. You're not always going to be right.

 

You don't have to know what you want to do right out of high school.
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You can change your mind 500 times if that helps you find your passion. Just because someone else knows what they want to do doesn't mean yo have to. Take your time, you'll find your niche.

 

Not all of your high school friends will last throughout college.
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The friends that are meant to stay in your life will, but know that not everyone will. You'll keep some friends for years, but you'll lose touch with some too.

 

It's okay to be cautious, but don't shut everyone out.

You don't have to let everyone in immediately, but it can also get lonely if you don't trust anyone.

 

Breathe.

Slow down. You don't have to do everything at once.

 

Trust your gut.

If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. If you have a gut feeling, listen to it.

 

Sometimes you just need to binge watch Netflix and eat chocolate.

Mental health days are so needed. Your mind and your body need that rest, so when you feel yourself getting overwhelmed take a day off to do nothing. Naps and long showers are also essential!

 

Appreciate your parents.

They're getting older, too.

 

Loss will teach you what is important.

It hurts, but it will be a wake up call.

 

Independence is key.

Make your own plans, make your own goals, be your own person.

 

Your hair will always grow back.

Cut it, dye it, change it. It's just hair.

 

Forgiving someone does not make you a weak person.

People make mistakes. They mess up. Forgive them.

 

But cutting someone out of your life does not make you a mean person.

Be careful how many times you let people back in. Not everyone who is in your life is meant to stay there.

 

Take a lot of photographs.

You'll want to look back at them when things change.

 

Keep a journal.

Write down everything. It'll be amazing to look back on where you were and how far you have come.

 

True colors will come out.

They always do...

 

Pick your battles.

You don't always have to have the last word. Choose wisely. Is it really something you want to argue about? Will it matter tomorrow?

 

Make sure the people you have in your life know how you feel about them.

Tell them they are important to you. Express your gratitude and love for them. If you want those words and feelings said to you, you better be willing to express them as well.

 

You can find happiness when you least expect it.

You don't always have to search for it, sometimes it just happens.

 

You'll be okay.

You have to keep going. You will always get through it, whether it is a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad year. It may be difficult and change you, but you will come out of it stronger.

 

You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else.

Don't be so hard on yourself. It won't work if you don't love yourself first.