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rebranding.

230b9d7129f78325d6d55258222d806bNew year, new me! Going to use this opportunity to plug my website that I have been slowly updating due to new job opportunities arising. Also drew myself up a new signature for blog posts, which is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. So maybe that will be something that can get me back into the writing spirit with this new year.

I just can’t fathom how fast January has come and gone. After next week, it’ll be February and I can hardly contain my excitement. I celebrate my 23rd birthday, spend Valentine’s Day with swanky people after being invited through work to my first gala, move to a new place, and finally get the ball rolling with wedding planning. I really hope that I can get to writing about all of these exciting changes, because they are just too good to keep to myself.

Here’s to many more posts… eventually.

With love,

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2014.

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We are no longer stupid teenagers doing stupid things without consequence. We are rooted together, and we would have never been able to discover just how deeply we are connected without breaking down completely and learning to rebuild instead of just throwing away the pieces. I am in no way making an excuse for the mistakes he made, because no one should have to suffer through this; through the constant fear that you may never be able to trust the love of your life again. But we have come out stronger. We are here now, living this fruitful life away from the toxicity of people who don’t believe in change; in second chances (and maybe even third chances); in making the choice to trust even though your heart is cracked and fragile. We have our choices. We have each other.

Read: The Paradox of Choice (part three)

Every once in a while, I’ll go back on this blog and read my favorite post I ever wrote, The Paradox of Choice. It’s a reflection of everything that went wrong this year – a detailed record of everything that made this the worst year of my life – as it was still happening. Part of me reads it because I love how I wrote it all. But most of me reads it to reflect on how I feel now compared to all of the conflicting emotions I had while I spent several weeks writing that post.

Now that the new year is around the corner, it’s time to face these feelings head-on. Less than an hour after ringing in the new year with my man and my mother on January 1st, 2014, I found a secret on B’s computer that destroyed me. He had been talking to another woman.

I will never forget how broken I was on our 12-hour drive back home to Florida the next morning. The pain of the confusion that followed for the next few months are etched in my bones. And the one-year anniversary of all of this will be here tonight.

Sometimes when I am alone, I will just sit in silence and reflect on how astonished I am that we have survived this trying year. I wanted to give up over and over again, but I didn’t. I wanted to see the worst in B with every opportunity I got to catch him making a mistake, but it was never enough to make me leave. I imagined my exit strategies; calling off the wedding, packing up our little apartment which I’ve grown to love, splitting custody of the animals, and going our separate ways after seven long years together. But that vision never overwhelmed my desire to stay and the little glimmer of hope that I held onto so tightly.

We tried, and tried, and tried. Slowly, we picked up the pieces. He gave up all forms of online communication for months as I obsessively checked his phone every time he got a text (which was no longer very often after I had scared all of his friends away with my justified paranoia.)  But we found our footing. We helped one another stand and move forward. We survived. Eventually, we found ourselves smiling again, even if just for a moment. We could laugh with one another. We could just stare deeply at one another and just drink each other in. We learned to appreciate every moment like we were just experiencing our relationship for the first time. Things were on the fast track to becoming better than before January 1st.

In July, the worst happened. Our pet rabbit died and she took my recovering heart with her. I was broken again, because I didn’t know how to handle the death of my first pet. This time, B was the only one there to carry my pain with me. He was the only one that understood what that rabbit meant to me, because she was his pet too. She was our little girl. Her presence made us happy, but her absence made us strong. Once again, we found the will to help each other continue onward.

A week later, my best friends abandoned me and dropped out of our wedding when they learned of B’s infidelity and could not respect my decision to stay. I fell apart for the third time this year. This time, B’s outstretched hand could not pull me up alone because I resented him and his mistakes for even creating this conflict in the first place. They were winning. We were slipping out of each other’s grasps at the hands of other people that had no idea what we had gone through for the last seven months. As much as I implored their support, I felt defeated and alone. That’s when this blog came to life. I was forced to face all of these thoughts every day as I posted daily.

Writing made me realize that I loved this man unconditionally, now even more than before he cheated. So fuck the rest.

I fell in love all over again. The change in him was more and more evident with every passing day. The way he looked at me, spoke to me, touched me, and the way he carried himself. He gave up life-long habits that he knew bothered me throughout the course of our entire relationship, just to prove that change was possible. He picked up more hours at work and even more hours at school to prove to the people that accused him of holding me back that he was trying to lay the stepping stones for our future. He dropped the life he knew and forced himself to live inside a life for us. This experience matured us. It forced the both of us to grow up and no longer treat this like a disposable, teenage relationship. I wanted so desperately to share these wonderful revelations with the people that couldn’t believe it was possible. However, the usual lectures got thrown around a lot. “Cheaters will always be cheaters,” or, “He’ll act like he’s changed and then just do it again, just like an abusive relationship.”

So that’s who I was to the world. That girl. The one that keeps going back.

But it was sad, because I knew exactly where everyone else was coming from. I was on their side. I never believed that those kinds of actions in a relationship could be changed or forgiven. Then it happened to me and suddenly things were no longer so black and white.

This whole year has molded me into a new person that sees the world differently. I rediscovered love and, more importantly, I found myself. I let the universe take the reins of my life because I wanted to believe that everything was happening for a reason. We dealt with heartbreak to be built into the mature love that we will carry into marriage and for the rest of our lives together. We experienced loss to come together as a stronger family. We were abandoned to find the people that were truly there for us when we needed them the most. And in many cases, it didn’t come easily. It required more patience and restraint than I thought possible. But slowly, people began to trickle back into my life again with the determination to be better, and I couldn’t be more thankful for them. My heart is full and I am whole again.

However, a new year doesn’t mean a completely clean slate. There are still loose ends that have yet to be tied from this year. I still foster feelings of anger, frustration, and sadness from what has happened and what I have lost. I still feel betrayed, ignored, and thrown to the side by people that I thought were going to be there for me no matter what. But I have done all I can do to fix this – it is now out of my hands. I just want people to understand what took me a whole year to learn: you cannot run away from your problems. They will not magically disappear with the forgiveness of some higher power and the support of others around you. You cannot erase your past and pretend that that allows you to have a clean conscience going forward into the new year. Deal with the people you’ve hurt, because nothing hurts more than not having closure.

Regardless of what’s left, 2015 is going to be an absolutely amazing year. As the clock strikes twelve tonight, I won’t be worrying about the past. I won’t be reminded of when it struck twelve to ring in 2014 and my whole world shattered beneath me. I will be surrounded by my love and the wonderful people that have come into my life this year that make me a better person each and every day. They have taught me that there is more to life than waiting for the wrong people to come around. They have taught me to live the life in front of me as fruitfully as possible. To give, to love, to empathize, and to understand. To go into this wonderful new year excitedly as we move into a new place, get married, and truly begin life as one.

Goodbye 2014. Thank you for all you’ve taught me.

With love,

sig

i’m still here.

Running away from your problems does not constitute a fresh start. Deleting someone from social media does not delete them from your life. Forgiveness from God does not immediately give you forgiveness from the people you’ve hurt. Sometimes you have to own up to being human and the consequences of your actions. Yes, this may all seem very vindictively specific, but it’s also a reminder to myself because I am no better. You have to work for forgiveness and for the people you care about.

Deleting me will not erase me.

regaining control.

553a8acb88cbbecddde745182b7107bbI know it’s been a miserably long time since I’ve posted anything, but I guess I accredit that to life going very well this last month. I originally started this blog to empty myself of all this negative energy that I kept pent up over the summer and use this as an outlet when I gave up social media. However, my new job has forced me to stay on Facebook/Instagram every day, so there was no more running away from my problems. And I think that was for the best, because things have finally started to work themselves out. I am finally regaining control of my life.

It’s all very exciting, and I can hardly wait to share everything that’s been going on on here. So, as difficult as I know it’s going to be, I’m determined to get back to posting once a day again. Too much stuff has happened to keep to myself and I’ve really missed writing.

I usually try to start the beginning of every month with a list of goals, but I need some time to figure out all of the things I want to accomplish before 2015 comes knocking. So I’ll get back to you on that.

With love,

sig

“When you love someone, you open yourself up to suffering. That’s the sad truth. Maybe they’ll break your heart, maybe you’ll break their heart and never be able to look at yourself in the same way. Those are the risks. You see two people and you think they belong together, but nothing happens. The thought of losing so much control over personal happiness is unbearable. That’s the burden. Like wings, they have weight, we feel that weight on our backs, but they are a burden that lifts us. Burdens that allow us to fly.”

anniversary weekend in photos.

On Halloween night, my fiance and I celebrated our seventh year together. Seven years ago, I was just a desperately lonely 15-year old teenager that grasped for the first boy that gave me attention. I wasn’t attracted to him, nor was I even remotely interested in him before this point. But I said yes that night when he asked me to be his online girlfriend. And in February 2013, I said yes again – this time to be his wife. And no matter how much we hurt one another, how much we destroy each other, pick up the pieces, and rebuild ourselves again, I continue to say yes over and over again.

We saved up our spare change for a month to afford to spend one short night in the heart of my favorite city, Winter Park. We splurged on a room with a balcony overlooking the rose garden in Central Park and the building where we are going to be married one year from now. Every hour or so we would hear the trains roll by, something many of the guests absolutely hated. But I reveled in the sound as it lulled me to sleep.

We woke up this morning to the piercing autumn wind arriving with the start of November. Despite not having proper clothing, we fought against the cold and spent all afternoon on the town; waking up early go to the Farmer’s Market, walking farther than we’ve ever walked down the brick-paved streets, following Google Maps to explore every alleyway bookstore and paper company that was slightly off the main streets.

I am a bit out of practice with my photography, so I told myself I would shoot as much as I could during this time. However, when we weren’t in our hotel room, I found myself more enamored with life in front of me than usual. Everything was so perfect. B would smile at me and everything else would just fade away. I don’t remember the last time I was genuinely this happy, and those are experiences that we will only share with each other in real time. But here are the few that I did take upon our arrival on Friday and waking up this morning.

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With love,

sig

one lovely blog award!

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Biggest thank you to the lovely Alanna at White Girls Be Like for the nomination. I am always so touched by these and extremely happy to do them! After all, I’ve been slacking on real posts.

The Rules:

1. You must thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.

2. You must list the rules.

3. You must add 7 facts about yourself.

4. You must nominate 15 other bloggers and comment on one of their posts to let them know they have been nominated.

5. You must display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.

7 Facts About Me:

1. I celebrate 7 years with my first and only boyfriend (we met at 15) this Halloween. This will be our last anniversary before we finally tie the knot on October 22, 2015.

2. I spent $160,000 on a photography degree only to realize that I don’t really want to be a photographer. I will spend the rest of my life paying (literally) for that simple revelation.

3. I am incredibly sensitive of what others think of me. I don’t want anyone in the world to dislike me, and that’s usually why they end up disliking me.

4. My fiance got me addicted to scrapbooking after he started one for us last Valentine’s Day and I have been adding to it ever since. My life revolves around buying colorful cardstock and stickers now.

5. I was just starting to do really well without social media – it was a very healthy change that I needed in my life. However, my new job requires it on a daily basis and it’s honestly killing me. I adore it, but it’s incredibly difficult for me to adjust.

6. I have never believed in fate or that everything happens for a reason in my entire life – until now. I didn’t find faith, or religion, or spirituality.. I just found myself. And that’s the best thing to ever happen to me.

7. I am so incredibly jealous seeing where everyone I graduated with is going in their life. And so quickly! I wish so desperately that my life would fall into place like that, but maybe it already has.

I’m copping out and just nominating anyone and everyone that wants to do this! Because honestly, I think you all are the best.

With love,

sig

one year countdown.

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The countdown has officially begun: 365 more days until I marry the man of my dreams on October 22, 2015. We have been engaged for nearly two years and the time has just flown by, as I know it will continue to do until the big day comes. Luckily, we’ve started planning and already have many of the big stresses out of the way! I have been procrastinating on doing blog updates on all of these new things we’ve been taking care of, mainly because all of the details coming together makes me so happy that I almost want to leave it a surprise for a while.

It’s been a very long road emotionally as well, though. As exciting as reaching this point has been, it’s also made me a little sad. It’s the sad realization of how many people have left me along the way. Today has made it wildly clear that this is officially the end of a very long chapter in my life, without people that I thought were going to be there forever. I think I’ve just been holding onto the hope that something would work out by now. But I have been ignored and avoided for far too long and I just want this to stop affecting me so much. I want to be irrevocably happy that I get to celebrate the countdown to the best day of my life, surrounded by people that are just excited as we are to be on this journey. But I hate the thought that there are people out there who are not happy – people who do not want to see us get married due to our past choices. It kills me, especially when they’re the ones I wanted to celebrate this time with the most. And I know I have repeated that over and over and over again, but that doesn’t make it any less true. I am deeply hurt by the people I considered by best friends that will not even acknowledge how genuinely happy I am to be here in this position with a man that I have forgiven because we are both better than our past mistakes. There was nothing from anyone today. No acknowledgement of this milestone whatsoever. Is that selfish to ask for? The tiniest hint that maybe we could be alright again and that I could have my friends back?

Apparently so. Hint taken; it’s officially time to create piece of mind within new friendships.

Regardless of how hurt I have been, I will stand on my own two legs again. We will move forward and be happy. We will get married and love every step of the way until then. Our happiness within one another is what continues to drive us against all odds. I never imagined I would have to be in this position of such loneliness and lack of support, but we will continue onward.

With love,

sig