day by day

Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
– Carl Jung

Day by day, I’m feeling better. I still have highs and lows, but with each passing day, I feel myself return more and more to normalcy. It probably helps that a few close friends are back in town, and that my time in Tampa is dwindling. I’m excited for the independence and social life going back to university entails, and can’t wait to see my lovely friends, who I realize I’ve missed dearly. xoxo to you all 🙂

Today, I started thinking about Italy. Or more specifically, visiting Italy. This winter. I’ve always wanted to, and it’d be nice to avoid the brutal heat of a Mediterranean summer, but it only just occurred to me that I could actually fulfill my dream of seeing Rome, Pompeii, Cinque Terre, and more by the end of the year. Or early next year, at the very latest.
e x c i t e m e n t.

Also today, I went to the art museum downtown with one of my best friends and his girlfriend, who I got to meet in person for the first time. We brought my little sister along because I’m home alone with her the next two days, and Abby and I had a lot of laughs looking at art we didn’t understand and taking goofy pictures.

On another note, I’ve learned a good deal in the last week. One of the things I’ve realized is that even if someone is super fun and wonderful in person, if it’s constantly a hassle to get in touch with them and make plans to hang out, the friendship might not warrant the trouble. I have this guy friend who I love spending time with but who just plain sucks at communicating through text and committing to a plan, and after a year I’ve finally reached my wit’s end with it. It’s not that I’m unfriending him, and I’m sad because I truly enjoy his company, but I’m not planning to reach out anymore. It’s just frustrating and tiresome, and usually goes nowhere. That’s the thing with relationships: they involve two people. My parents taught me to go after what I want, but you can’t always live by that rule when it comes to wanting something from another person. You can’t make someone want you, or like you, or hang out with you or even talk to you. And you shouldn’t have to. If they aren’t interested in putting an equal amount of effort into the relationship, whatever kind it may be, then don’t force it. Try not to take it personally, and let it go. There are seven billion people on this planet—there’s no sense wasting time and energy on someone who won’t give you either.

“Sometimes you just give the wrong people the right pieces of your heart.” 

Another thing I’ve realized is that distance provides perspective. I’m unsure whether I made this clear in sad songs, because I didn’t have much distance from the situation at that point, but it wasn’t love. Maybe it was the beginning of something we like to call “travel love,” or maybe it was the potential for something more, or perhaps I just got a small taste of something I wanted but couldn’t have. Either way, it still hurts, and was the first “heartache” of sorts I’ve ever felt. So it’s been a bit difficult to deal with, and will likely haunt me for awhile, but it showed me something important. A few things, actually. One, I have the capacity to feel that way about someone. Two, now I know that the ability to want and have and lose someone can cause immense pain, both in my mind and chest. And three, it showed me that there are people for me out there. For nearly a year now, I’d thought there was one, and I was so scared of letting him slip away. I fought for him because of that, maybe more than I should have. (Maybe that’s why I’m not fighting for this one—that, and I can take a hint. If feelings aren’t mutual or timing isn’t right, there’s nothing to fight for. Which all goes back to that “it takes two” philosophy I mentioned earlier.) But this second person and experience I had abroad showed me there was someone else. And given that things have seemingly ended there too, at least for now, I have faith there are more out there. More of those good, good guys who are tender and have pure hearts and make me melt a little inside. If neither of the ones I’ve known so far were it, then there have to be others.

“Stop chasing the waves. Let the sea come to you.”

In the meantime, I’m nineteen. I in no way, shape, or form want to settle down (and by that, I mean commit to a person or place that will keep me from doing what I want with my twenties). There’s way too much fun to be had: places to see, people to meet, parties to go to, and things to try. Sure, it would be nice having someone to share some of that with, but I’m scared that committing to someone would mean tying myself down. I like to feel free. Besides, it seems like I’m away too much to have a relationship at home, and home too much to have one abroad. I’ve been told by many people that I’m naturally flirty, and compliments spew easily from my mouth when I mean them; I’m an open, honest person with little filter, which is both a curse and a blessing. Because of this, people sometimes think I want or am looking for something when I’m really not. And half the time, I’m totally clueless about it all. I have lots of guy friends, and I love them to death, but I’m not interested in many guys. I’m picky. I have to feel something and I usually don’t, even if they’re textbook attractive or have a great personality. Something just needs to click for me and oftentimes it doesn’t, hence why I have lots of male friends but haven’t had many boyfriends. When I do like a guy, it’s overwhelming because I’m not used to having the emotions that come with interest, or at least interest beyond the physical. So I end up convincing myself I’m crazy, which really doesn’t help things at all. Because then I actually drive myself crazy. Note to self: CALM DOWN. Your feelings are valid. Your lack of feelings is valid. You aren’t insane. You aren’t doing anything wrong or weird. You simply think you are because you are a teenage girl with hormones and a tendency to overthink and worry. 🙂

I have to remind myself sometimes that there’s no rush, and that if it doesn’t work out it wasn’t the right person. That things falling apart isn’t necessarily my fault, and that rejection shouldn’t always be taken personally and internalized. It helps to look at myself and the guys I go for—often it’s not the nice, model-esque, tall-dark-and-handsome, but rather his funny and witty best friend, who may not be as cute but who makes me laugh and has pretty eyes. And other times, it’s the guy who’s both. So if a guy isn’t interested in me, it doesn’t mean I’m not pretty or funny or whatever—the lack of interest isn’t a reflection of me and my worth. It simply means I didn’t click for him, just like many great guys don’t click for me. I’m learning that it’s okay to have feelings (or more often for me, to not have them—I think that’s why I was taken aback after Poland), and to not overthink my actions or another person’s. Sometimes I get too inside my own head and overanalyze things that I either shouldn’t or can’t. Like I said, when it comes to a person, my strategy for everything else in life becomes absolutely useless, and maybe that’s why I’ve always felt so lost when it comes to pursuing guys (hence, why I usually don’t) and why I’ve sometimes stayed in friendships long past their expiration date. I’ve found in the last seven months that it’s best (and easiest) to just be my confident, relatively carefree, and sassy self, and things usually end up falling into place, one way or another.

“The flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes.”

In 2017, I’ve really grown comfortable in my own skin, have let go of a lot of society’s expectations of me, and, all in all, have learned to love myself. I’ve become a much happier, more free spirited, and less harried individual. I am so proud of the person I’ve become, because I fought to become her. By no means am I perfect, and I will certainly continue to grow, but it’s nice after this rough past week to be able to sit here today and type this:
I
am
okay.

Or I will be, in any case.

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sad songs

“We met at the wrong time. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway. Maybe one day years from now, we’ll meet in a coffee shop in a far away city somewhere and we could give it another shot.”

I’m sat alone in Letna park, in a patch of shade overlooking the Old Town of Prague. The three Australian girls I met in my hostel room last night have just left me, and for the first time in over a week, I have a chance to think. To reflect, to write. And in a way, to grieve.

Last night, I saw a man in a suit hand over the lead of a black lab puppy to a haggard-looking woman who was clearly on drugs. He paid her 100 CZK in cash and she yanked the dog harshly, holding the leash tight and dragging it upwards by the neck, making it yelp. Watching it all sort of broke my heart, and I wanted to cry. 

Some people might say I’m a pessimist, and a lot of the time I’d agree with them. But deep down, when it comes to it, I’m a dreamer. A hopeless wanderer, with itchy feet and an open mind prone to fantasies. I love adventures, and the idea of romance, and I want it all, together. I used to want it abstractly and from a distance; it was more of a “someday” sort of dream than an active one. Until I got a little taste. Just a drop—three days. But it was enough.

Enough for me to want more, and to realize I probably won’t get it. Not this time, at least. It’s odd, because I’d never really worried about being clingy before I traveled. I’ve always been pretty good at separating my feelings, isolating the annoying or unnecessary in the presence of someone who might not reciprocate them. And I’ve had flings, and even hookups, during the last three months abroad. They’re fun, and they don’t last. We go our separate ways. We might stay friends on Facebook, or we might not remember any more about each other than a blurry face and a first name. That’s the unspoken rule of travel: you let go. Everyone’s here to meet people and see the world, not to stay or settle down or fall in love. Not in a way that lasts, at least. But somehow, despite knowing all of this, I sort of did.

I don’t wish it didn’t happen, not really. He’s a good, good guy. One of the best I’ve met. In fact, I can only think of one other guy I’ve known, back home, who comes across as pure and lovely as this one. My cynical British friend insists I’m naive about it, too hopeful and foolhardy. But I know. I’ve met good guys, I’ve met decent guys, bad guys as well. But only a few are… tender and pure. I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s more of a feeling, that they respect you, treat you like an equal. They might be more reserved with touch because they’re a bit shy and don’t want to overstep your boundaries. They’re sweet and can express their feelings but they don’t overload you with them. They feel lucky to be with you, but not because they’re insecure. I’m doing a shit job of trying to articulate it, but like I said, when I meet one of these guys, I know.

I feel fortunate, really. It was a beautiful thing for me, and I’ll always have the memories. But it still hurts. It feels like I lost something that I only barely managed to grasp as the time slipped away. Part of it is lust, of course; I’m not entirely immune to that feeling, or the knowledge that it’s a factor in all of this. But for me at least, there was an audible click. And the hard part is not knowing whether he heard it too. Or rather, whether it was loud enough to last. Like I said, I’ve never worried about being clingy, but expectations are different with travelers. Snapchatting or messaging a few times a day at home would be normal, but I’m suddenly worried it’s too much. That maybe I’m a bother. This is all internal fear; nothing he’s done has implied as much. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised when he messaged me that day, after we’d said goodbye. I left expecting it to be over, and was prepared to resign myself to it. I prefer to leave rather than be left, so perhaps I’m overanalyzing the signs, preparing for the worst and to be the first person to take that step if need be. It’s such a long shot for anything to come of it… And yet I want something to. That’s what makes me a dreamer, and that’s what makes it hurt. Because in some parallel world or storyline, something like this could happen, and does happen, for people. The knowledge that, if feelings and motivation were mutual, something grand could emerge from a simple travel fling makes the leaving hard sometimes. Painful even. Because they often aren’t or maybe they are but the two people don’t know that they both feel the same way. Want the same thing. We’re too scared to be honest, to make ourselves vulnerable, and who knows how many opportunities we miss out on because of those fears. I fear rejection, because rejection ruins the dream. And if you let it, taints the beautiful memories. 

I’ve never had a breakup before, never had my heart broken. Not in love, anyway. This is probably the closest thing to it I’ve felt, and I don’t quite understand why. Why him, why now. I wasn’t even looking for anything that night, had worn a loose dress and little makeup and thrown my hair in a bun because I was tired of going home with someone. Tired of missing out on dancing with my friends because I’d met a guy. It’s funny how you find what you’ve been looking for when you finally stop searching for it. And it’s sad because the beginning was almost the end for us; we were both about to move on. 

I could have stayed another night. Thought about it, but not really. I was going to stick with my new friends and see another town, because after all, that’s what I’m here for. Not boys, but places. And the people I meet along the way. But then he came the next day, and stayed up all night with me, long after our friends had gone to bed, because I had to catch an early bus and didn’t want to sleep and didn’t want to miss a moment of this goodbye. I can’t say how much I appreciated that. To sleep with someone—twice—without any sex. Without feeling like I owe something, or that someone expects it from me. Not to say I didn’t want to, because I did. But I think it means more to me this way. It’s more special, rare, and therefore treasured. 

It’s hard right now to imagine meeting another guy. Charlie Puth’s lyric “Does it feel, feel like you’re never gonna find nothing better?” comes to mind. I’ve only thought that before about one other guy, the only other good, good one that I’ve known. (Known and been interested in, I should say.) And even with him, it wasn’t to this extent. That adds to the sadness, because I can’t help but wonder about the “what if’s” and the “might be’s”. Will the feelings fade? They have to, if nothing comes of them, because people move on from real relationships and breakups all the time. They survive, and thrive, and fall in love again. At the moment, I don’t understand how, but I guess I’ll just have to trust the journey. Travel is crazy, and can make you crazy, I swear it. Yet I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. 

After a week, I think that’s what I needed to say. To get it out of my system, or at least sort it out a bit in my head. Writing down my feelings helps me validate and understand them, and I’ve been in a bit of a limbo this last week having them bounce around with no sort of sense. This has been a stream-of-conscious post, which I love doing when I want to dump my thoughts and feelings onto paper (or in this case, the notes section of my phone) without worrying about making them sound orderly or pretty. Despite the fact that I’ll probably post this on my blog, it’s not for anyone else. If you can take something from it, all the better, but I wrote it for me, and I hope that if you’re reading it, you can understand and respect that. I’ve been pretty open and vulnerable, and I hope to God that doesn’t make me come across as fucking clingy. Or crazy. And that I can stop worrying about those words entirely. 

“So we’ll just let things take their course, and never be sorry.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

2015 Recap

With the end of one year and the beginning of another, I find that I do a lot of thinking and reflection on the past 365 days of my life. As I was pondering the year 2015, I began to realize just how much happened and changed for me this year. So I thought I’d write a 2015 recap that highlights my, well, highlights, of 2015. Enjoy.

I met Lightning players and got cool, autographed stuff.
This year, I met (and took photos with!) goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and left wing Ondrej Palat. My dad won me a signed, game-used Valtteri Filppula stick at an auction, and I had a few chance run-ins with defenseman Anton Stralman. I also got most of the 2014-2015 team’s autographs at an open practice held in a town nearby.

The Lightning tweeted me. Several times. 
They tweeted me happy birthday on my birthday (the Lightning beat the Dallas Stars). Then they delivered a birthday cupcake to me at my seat a few days later and got the whole row to sing me happy birthday. I tweeted them to thank them and they tweeted me happy birthday again! Later in the year, they retweeted my Black Friday picture with Ondrej Palat. AH.

I joined Lit Up Review. 
I became a bimonthly contributor for a teen book blog run by a bunch of bibliophiles and fangirls just like me. It’s been a fun experience and has inspired me to write more book reviews/discussions.

I traveled a lot.
I went on five trips this year. First, I visited Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts over spring break in March with my dad. We toured colleges, skied, saw relatives, and attended a Lighting/Bruins game in Boston, as well as a UVM/BC college hockey game. Next, I traveled to Portland, Maine in early July with my mom, dad, and youngest brother. He had a hockey tournament, but on the off-days, we explored Portland and its surrounding area, including a few state parks. Just two days after returning home from Maine, I left with one of my best friends for Europe. But I’ll discuss that trip a bit more below. In September, I traveled to Chicago with my mom, touring colleges and taking a day trip to Indiana to attend my first college football game. The Chicago Blackhawks were also present and the team sat just yards away from us, with the Stanley Cup, no less. Finally, in December for Christmas break, my family of six traveled to Keystone, Colorado to ski for over a week. More on that below.

Zayn left One Direction. 
I think this is fairly self-explanatory, but I’ll spell it out anyway. As an avid 1D fan, this was a rocky year. Zayn left the band, the four remaining boys finished their tour and released an amazing new album, and now they’re going on a yearlong break. Sigh.

I was inducted into the Order of the Gold & Black honor society. 
It’s the most selective and prestigious honor society at my school – only twenty juniors get in in the spring. And I was one of them. It’s always nice when your hard work pays off, and getting recognized for it is just a bonus.

The Lightning made the Stanley Cup Final. 
Need I say more? I attended every home playoff game and it was such a blast. Looking back on the 2015 playoffs, it was definitely one of the best times of my life. I have so much love and nostalgia for that period, though going through it was actually very intense and nerve-wracking.

I got job. 
I’ve worked all throughout high school – babysitting, tutoring, swim instructing, and working baseball concessions – but in June I started my first “real” job at a women’s clothing boutique. I think it’s been a valuable learning experience and it’s always nice to have a steady (if meager) income.

I started watching Game of Thrones.
AKA the greatest show on earth. Jon Snow, Jon Snow, Jon Snow. In England, I bought the complete box set of the book series, along with a Funko Pop! and Jon Snow sweatshirt. In Northern Ireland, I got to go on a Game of Thrones filming locations tour. So, so cool. (The cast was actually in the area filming at the time, but we didn’t know until we met a locations scout for the show on the bus back to Dublin.) I can’t wait for season 6!

I visited Europe for the first time. 
I left North America for the first time this year and got to travel to my favorite place on earth: Europe (sorry Canada). I visited Paris, France; London, Oxford, and Cambridge, England; Dublin and Malahide, Ireland; and Belfast, Northern Ireland (along with all the GoT tour stops, like the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge).

My best friends graduated from high school and started college.
Two of my high school best friends left my hometown to begin college this fall and it was very bittersweet. There was definitely an adjustment period I had to go through, as I was so unused to not having them around. But yay for school breaks when they come back to visit!

I became a senior.
It’s actually crazy to think about. I’ve been dreaming of this for years, but when it finally happened I just couldn’t wrap my head around it for awhile. Again, another adjustment period because it was weird at first being the oldest in the school. But now, I’m doing just fine.

I was named a National Merit Semifinalist.
This was something I distantly hoped for, but actually earning this honor was an incredible surprise. It’s opened up scholarship opportunities for me and just makes me happy and proud.

I attended some amazing concerts (key word: some). 
I attended 5 Seconds of Summer’s Rock Out with Your Socks Out Tour with my friend Kathryn in September and it was tons of fun. The highlight of the year though, in terms of concerts, was Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour, which featured opening acts Shawn Mendes and Vance Joy (both were phenomenal live). For the not-so-great, I attended The Weeknd’s Fall Madness Tour, which was supposed to open with Halsey. However, she was in the hospital on my tour date. The music was too loud, people were drunk, vaping, and smoking indoors, and, while The Weeknd sounds good live, the show was just a total bust for me.

I concluded my swimming career.
I finished my nearly ten-year stint with competitive swimming at my last high school State meet. I swam really well, medaling in the medley relay and doing two personal best times in the 400 freestyle relay.

The Hunger Games film franchise ended. 
The odds are always in this film franchise’s favor: The Hunger Games films are arguably some of the best book-to-movie adaptations out there. I absolutely adore these movies – the screenplay, actors, acting, characters, plot, everything. The final installment to the series, Mockingjay Part 2, released in November and it was fantastic.

My family took its first family vacation in 2.5 years…
… And survived intact. We traveled to Colorado for Christmas – the first Christmas I’d ever spent outside of my city. We stayed there for nine days in a cozy little condo with a fireplace that warmed us from the -10 degree weather outside. Colorado is breathtakingly beautiful, and I really enjoyed the longer runs down the mountains (as opposed to the northeastern U.S., where I’ve skied in the past). And our private instructor, Will, was awesome!

I applied to colleges. 
What a hellish nightmare. Absolutely awful. 0/10, would not recommend. But seriously, joking aside, it’s not a fun process. I’ve received two acceptance letters and one deferral, but I won’t hear from the majority of schools I applied to until February or March.

Well, that’s it for me and 2015.
What were some of your 2015 highlights? 

Thanks for reading.

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The Happy List | 4

  1. It’s December.
  2. I can taste the scent of pines on my tongue. Is that strange?
  3. Winter Candy Apple from Bath & Body Works – it’s my favorite scent.
  4. The song Cake by the Ocean by DNCE.
  5. Vlogmas!!! I’m nosy and love getting a peek into the daily lives and refreshing normality of some of my favorite YouTubers.
  6. Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. It’s laugh out loud hilarious.
  7. Studying so much that I dream I’m a tree… Thanks, APES.
  8. A Lightning win last night. And hoping that it happens more often.
  9. The unexpected love, support, and overwhelming kindness that people went out of their way to give me this week.
  10. Functional adjustment.

Let me know what’s on your happy list below!

Thanks for reading.

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