Wednesday, October 30, 2013

20 Lessons I've Learned at 20: Lesson Nineteen

19.      Write a letter to yourself.

I know it doesn't relate to the topic, but isn't my Grandpa the cutest?
I have loved to write from a young age. I was gifted my first journal at the age of eight and immediately started spilling the seat-gripping details of my insanely eventful life. These juicy entries usually began with the Little Debbie snack I sneaked for breakfast and ended with an argument I had with my sister. You’re begging for more, I know, but I have to get on with it.
So I continued to write at least weekly every year. I continued writing through middle school, high school, and continue to journal today. But one thing I have started doing over the past few years is something I am doing for a future me. You know, laying the foundation for a memory.
I began writing letters to the future me in recent years. I wrote one letter to myself to open the day of my wedding and one for my groom as well. Every year or so, I write to the Rachel kicking down doors and being the independent young professional I hope she will be. I write to the Rachel with a family and a home. I write to the Rachel receiving her Bachelor’s and being handed the most expensive piece of paper she will ever buy. I write to the Rachel who may be on her knees begging for strength.
Sometimes the lessons we learn in life haven’t happened yet. And as I begin to conclude this journey you have taken with me, I want you to know that. I have learned so many lessons before the age of 20. And I hope to learn many more before the first anniversary of my 29th. But sometimes it helps to lay the groundwork for those new lessons to be built. Write a letter to the future you with big dreams and small realities. Write a letter to the future you facing the biggest change of your life. Write a letter to the future you that needs a little reminder of how far you’ve come. Because often the person we lose touch with the most is the one in the mirror staring back at us.
I will leave you with that before I get too sappy on you. That’s for lesson 20…
it’s an outlet. it’s an inspiration. it’s a gift. it’s a purpose

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

20 Lessons I've Learned at 20: Lesson Eighteen

18.   Make your own rules & follow them.

From a young age, I have always been quite opinionated. I credit my parents for giving me the moral compass and curiosity in order to freely develop my opinions. Teachers, however, rarely valued my young talent. It made me question them, their lessons, and sometimes, even their authority.
But now that I have nobody’s rules to follow but my own, I have created my own. I’m not talking deep, philosophical rules. I’m talking my own set of dating rules. And in case you were wondering, I’ve learned every single one of them the hard way…
So, here we go. My personal set of dating rules in order to prevent me from thinking it is acceptable to date someone who will ultimately end with a “you’re a great girl, but.”
1. Loves a certain animal more than he could love you.
2. Loves himself more than he could love you.
3. Thinks it is socially acceptable to wear makeup and more hair products than you.
4. Shows up on a first date in a blinged-out Ed Hardy shirt and alligator skin boots.
5. Shows up on a first date in a cut-off shirt with an animation of a boy peeing on anything.
6. Cries on a third date.
7. Thinks peach is the best color on him.
8. Carries an overnight bag bigger than yours.
9. Shows up on a blind date with hair as long as yours.
10. Begins communication as a direct message on Twitter.
11. Tickles you in a movie theater to strategically move you closer to him.
12. Uses the line “If you were a pirate, would you want your parrot on this shoulder or this shoulder?” as he puts his arm (not cleverly) behind you.
13. Hits on your friend. (Male friend, might I add.)
14. Tells you he could see himself living with his parents for as long as they will take him.
15. Has a celebrity crush on Kim Kardashian.
16. Eats a salad on a date while you reach for the burger.
17. Lists “getting swole” as one of his greatest passions.
18. Does donuts in the parking lot when picking you up on a first date.
19. Has watched The Notebook more times than you.
20. Is 27 and not ready to settle down.
21. Is known by your family as nobody other than “the sheep farmer.”
22. You have to call your family and warn them by saying “he’s really metrosexual but I swear he’s not gay.”
So, ladies and gents, there it is. Hopefully I made you chuckle, made you think, and more than likely, made you feel better about your own dating/relationship/marriage life.
And if you’re still reading this, you, my dear, get the most important lesson of all:
Never make a pact with yourself that you will never turn down a date offer. Unless you want to find yourself in a living room surrounded by your family while your brother-in-law asks your prospective date if he has any STD’s, it’s best to just use your discretion.
it’s an outlet. it’s an inspiration. it’s a gift. it’s a purpose


Monday, October 28, 2013

20 Lessons I've Learned at 20: Lesson Seventeen

17.      Take pride in your hometown.


I was born in a town that is the epitome of the intersection between city folk and Old McDonald. I went to a small farm school for my elementary education where you could name everyone in your grade. The “Ag” program started at a young age and our history was as solid as the bricks that built the school. The name was Hopewell and it created within its students what the name suggests—hope for a future with endless education and the wellness of mind from knowing the people around you would form the friendships you cherish forever.
As we grew into awkward brace-faced preteens with curious minds and Lisa Frank folders, we graduated D.A.R.E and went to middle school. The other elementary school in the district combined with mine to double our class size and in turn doubling our pool of boyfriend prospects. It was intimidating having these “city kids” march into recess with their Aeropostale baby T’s. But we stuck with what we knew and held hands through the change. We let in new friends but held tight to the old. They were our comfort, our past, and our home.
Soon there were no lines between one person’s past and another’s. We were the big dogs of the school with our boy-girl parties and our first kisses. We were too cool for dances and hell, come at us, we even wore mascara. We went to movies and held hands and (kind of) fell in love. We had couple songs to Gavin Degraw’s Chariot and made friendship bracelets.
Then we went to high school. We went from head honchos to little punks and we held tight through it all. We went through our first heartbreaks and low-points and maybe even failed a test. But the one thing we never lost was our grip. We knew where each other came from and we made sure we never lost sight of it. We whined there was nothing to do when we got our first taste of freedom at the sweet age of sixteen. Yet our lack of events made us appreciate the simple company of each other. We didn’t have IMAX theaters or teen clubs. We had movie rentals and Adornetto’s. We had bonfires and toasted marshmallows and sleepovers galore. We had game nights and lazy nights and gift exchanges.
And when we once again became the big dogs of the school—only this time with true loves and sisterhoods facing the biggest change of our lives—we prepared to say “see you later” with our hands, still, held tight.
I will forever be grateful for the place that taught me most of these lessons. Be grateful for the town that taught you how to love, how to fight— and how to be.

it’s an outlet. it’s an inspiration. it’s a gift. it’s a purpose

Thursday, October 24, 2013

20 Lessons I've Learned at 20: Lesson Sixteen

16.      You’re never in a boat alone.


Unless the biggest issue in your life is not being able to conquer eating a dozen bananas while falling from the sky with no parachute handcuffed to a toaster oven, or some other unique situation, listen up. This may ease a fear or calm your nerves, even if it may be temporary.
Sometimes one of my favorite things about the person I have grown to be is also my least favorite attribute. I am independent to a point that sometimes hinders my ability to fully let people in. I have a big heart and everything, but after learning lesson four I have come to know it is better to be alone than to be in the company of someone who personally drives you to misery.
The formulation above has set me up to spend a decent amount of time alone. Now before you start to go all puppy-eyes on me, you must know that I thoroughly enjoy being by myself. I always have. To me, it is a sign of maturity and satisfaction with the person you are. But the point is that even when we are alone, we are never without the comfort of knowing someone is facing a similar trial or obstacle.
And maybe the situation you’re in is mind-numbing or physical and emotionally draining. But the peace of mind in knowing you aren’t the only one to be facing the hazy future in a boat with one paddle can be comforting. You aren’t the first or only person to be facing financial worries. You aren’t the first and you won’t be the last one who doesn’t know if you made the right decision or who is taking your life down the right river. But just know when you’re in that boat and you seem lost and lonely, know there will always be someone paddling behind you. Even if that person is me eating a dozen bananas while falling from the sky with no parachute handcuffed to a toaster oven…
it’s an outlet. it’s an inspiration. it’s a gift. it’s a purpose

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

20 Lessons I've Learned at 20: Lesson Fifteen

15. Don't make stress, make a plan

So if you never took my advice way back in the beginning of this journey, you may still have inspirational quotes as the background on your phone. Which, if that’s what gets your mind at ease or your motivation running, be my guest. But for today’s purposes, let’s focus on the stress we have created in our lives that encouraged us to seek inspirational quotes on Pinterest in the first place.
Some of you may have read over the “stress we have created in our lives” part above and turned red. Some of you may have forgotten how you stumbled upon this inspirational pile of randomness and were incoherent when you read it. But if I made you mad by stating it that way, let me explain.
See, life hands us some unfortunate circumstances sometimes. Whether it be short-term or long-term, navigating the rain puddles and detours in our journey can prove to be difficult. It is natural for us to worry about how we are going to handle the obstacle or stress over what the next challenge will be.
But if we took the time we spent worrying and stressing and used it to draft a plan, imagine how much happier we would be. I once said quite some time ago that every moment spent worrying can be spent living. I would like to take a step further and say sometimes those moments spent worrying need to be spent strategizing as to how you can live more happily. It sounds mathematical and therefore foreign to me, but it is true.
Stop stressing and start planning. As a wise little girl once told me, “when life hands you lemons, you just gotta add sugar.” Make a plan as to how you’re going to add your sugar, and work it out. Stress is toxic—sugar is delicious.
it’s an outlet. it’s an inspiration. it’s a gift. it’s a purpose

Monday, October 21, 2013

20 Lessons I've Learned at 20: Lesson Fourteen

14.      If someone doesn’t contribute to your life, pack your good memories and move the hell on.



As a child, I wasn’t the easiest to get along with. I was bossy, challenging, and overly inquisitive. I thought it was my personal duty to make sure that everyone knew their place in my life. For some, this was the beginning of longtime friendships. But for others, it may have meant a swift kick to the balls. No, seriously. I once did just that to a boy on the playground…
Sound harsh? It was. This attitude set me up for some hard-hitting lessons growing up. Though, the small trace of this attitude has served me right in some ways as well.
At what point do we lose sight of this mindset? If you have a gut feeling about someone, or they do you wrong, don’t look in the rearview mirror as you remove them from your life. Remember the good memories—there was a reason why they were in your life at one point. They served a purpose in your life for a few weeks or maybe a few decades. But be thoughtful of the bad memories. It is easy to miss someone for the wonderful time you spent with him or her. But it takes strength and confidence in your intuition and wisdom earned to remember how they did you wrong.
The goals you have in mind and the happiness you seek in life are far more important than letting a black hole in your life take it from you. It may hurt more than you think you can physically handle. But when you aren’t losing energy to someone unworthy of your relentless thoughts, you’ll be surprised at how beautiful life can be.
Cut the ties that bind you to the weight on your back. Knee the person where it counts if you need to. (Maybe more figuratively speaking…) You are more beautiful when you are surrounded by people who shed light on your beauty rather than those who cast shadows on it.
it’s an outlet. it’s an inspiration. it’s a gift. it’s a purpose

Friday, October 18, 2013

20 Lessons I've Learned at 20: Lesson Thirteen

13.      You can learn the deepest knowledge from the youngest brains.

I’ll never forget it.
I had just found out that my sister, brother-in-law and two little angels would be moving two states away.
It was as if I could feel my heart hesitate in rhythm and slow to a dull ache. Those little girls were my escape and their parents my backrest. They took the dreariness and pressure away from my life. And here they were being taken away from me.
Then a few weeks later I was lying in bed next to my little niece and mini-me. Her name is Faith and she gives me what her name suggests. There I was, lying next to her, tears streaming down my face and disappearing into my pillow. I thought she was asleep until she opened her big hazel eyes and stared right through my teary ones. I’ll never forget this three-year-old little girl holding me as she wiped my tears and told me we would always be together.
I probably only slept a few hours that night. Half because she is quite violent in her sleep and half because my heart and head couldn’t fathom a world without them close.
But that little girl taught me a huge lesson. Sometimes we let the lemons life hands us spoil instead of strategizing ways to make them sweeter. I think it is a result of letting life taint us bit-by-bit. Because our youth haven’t experienced let downs in any form more intense than the refusal to eat ice cream for dinner, they don’t let setbacks slam the brakes on their lives.
Ask the little ones in your life some deep questions. I guarantee you’ll find every answer you’ve never searched for and some comfort, too. They read through your tough exterior walls you have built to “protect them.” See, they haven’t had a reason to build them unless they’re made of Legos and chicken nuggets.
it’s an outlet. it’s an inspiration. it’s a gift. it’s a purpose

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

20 Lessons I've Learned at 20: Lesson Twelve

12.      Believe in that four letter word.


As a child, I was fortunate enough to see my parents happily married. Of course, as a child, I didn’t see myself as fortunate. I saw it as gross and repulsive that the two people that diapered me at one time, actually, like, ya know, kissed and stuff. The thought makes you shudder when you’re young. I mean, hello! Cooties!
But then I got older, and learned that I was actually quite blessed to have two parents that loved each other. Granted, I skipped a large chunk of time in this story. There was the stage I thought my parents were as smart as that Miss South Carolina Teen contestant and the stage that I thought I was smarter than them. But now that I’ve lived two decades, I can say that all I hope and pray for is to find a love that withstands the test of time that they have.
Sometimes I feel the judgment when I still cry at the end of every predictable romance movie. Not because it’s another Jennifer Aniston rom-com and everyone including the husband half asleep in the theater knows the ending. But mainly because my friends and family know I have been on some of the most painstaking dates and have survived incredibly numbing heartbreaks. I have heard the corny pick-up lines and the witnessed the emotional roller coasters. Yet I still have every bit of faith in love.
A couple of years ago I wrote a letter to the future me to open on my wedding day. I wrote one for the lucky groom, too. I don’t know who I will be or who he will be. But I do know that on that day every tear shed during those movies will be worth it. I will no longer cry because that love is what I’m searching for—I’ll cry because it’s everything I’ve found. I will know that the way my parents still look at each other will be my future. And you better believe that the groom will have one heck of a tolerance for quirkiness and sassy oddballs.
it’s an outlet. it’s an inspiration. it’s a gift. it’s a purpose

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

20 Lessons I've Learned at 20: Lesson Eleven

11.     Laugh at yourself.


Most of my lessons have been years in the making. I have lived through multiple episodes of the same plot resulting in the same lesson. (I’m hard headed). But this lesson came as an epiphany. Let me set the scene for you.
I have been planning the largest canned food drive at my beloved Ohio University. The logistics of this event are similar to fixing the haircut we all tried to give ourselves when we were three. You can keep trimming away the details, but there will always be those inevitable loose ends. I won’t bore you with more, but let’s just say on this particular day, I had lifted well over 1,300 canned foods, spilled horrid mushroom soup down my front, and accidentally punched a cabinet. I felt like the bird in that Windex commercial that is tricked into thinking the glass door is actually an open window.
So after slamming into my day and sliding down the window in slow motion, I hit the ground. I walked into my apartment, took my pants off, and made hot dogs. I turned on Law & Order SVU and dug into my mustard covered feast. It was two hot dogs in that I put down my fork and just started giggling at myself. My giggles turned to belly laughs and my belly laughs turned into full-on, teary-eyed cackling. At this point, the tears were rolling down my cheeks and it was literally becoming difficult to take a deep breath…
I mean, come on! Here I am sitting in my living room with no pants on eating bun-less hot dogs watching Detective Benson do her thing. I had a hundred things I should have been doing. But I wasn’t worried about them. My biggest concern was my roommate walking in and checking me into a mental institution.
We’ve all had these moments. You may have had pants on in yours. You may have been 20 feet below sea level. Or have just realized your fly was unzipped for the entirety of your day. But either way, enjoy that moment of just doing as you feel and having the ability to realize sometimes you’re an absolute oddball. After all, if all of us are oddballs, then really none of us are odd at all...  

it’s an outlet. it’s an inspiration. it’s a gift. it’s a purpose

Monday, October 14, 2013

20 Lessons I've Learned at 20: Lesson Ten

10.      You have the pen that writes your life story.

If you were offered to leave the country for a month, would you go?
If the plane was going up and you could skydive out of it, would you jump?
If your friend asked you to dance on the table, would you get up?
If you answered yes to all three, congratulations! You have the eye of the tiger as my girl Katy would say. But chances are you probably didn’t. Or you mindlessly read them wondering where I was going with them… But, regardless, I’m not going to preach that you should take every opportunity that presents itself. Sometimes just because you have the ability to take your pants off or tattoo your mother’s name across your chest doesn’t mean you should. But if you do, that’s cool too. The point is that you shouldn’t feel as if you must follow the story society writes for you.
I sometimes think when I find the “end-all, be-all” love, it is going to be like a romantic comedy. You know the ones. Girl meets boy. Girl loves Boy. Boy loves girl but messes up. Girl struggles with a decision. Girl decides she still loves Boy. Girl and Boy kiss. The End. But life isn’t a rom com and I’m not Jennifer Aniston. Instead of waiting for life to write my story, I must realize that the paper is in front of me and the pen is in no one else’s hand but my own. If the person makes your heart happy and your wheels turning, let it happen. It's your story.
Write your story. Cross things out. Make things bold. Write softly, write with meaning. Hell, doodle outside the lines. Just make sure when you turn the last page, you're happy with the memories within the bindings and your name is staring back at you as the author.
it’s an outlet. it’s an inspiration. it’s a gift. it’s a purpose


Thursday, October 10, 2013

20 Lessons I've Learned at 20: Lesson Nine

9.      Look up.

WARNING: This material may be too sassy for younger audiences.
We’ve all experienced it or have done it ourselves. That moment when you’re talking with someone about feeling broken hearted or pooped on by life and that special someone has his or her eyes down on a screen. I say screen because at this point, people have phones built into watches for crying out loud. And all you want to do is SCREAM. You want to scream:

“Oh, I guarantee that tattoo idea you’re pinning on Pinterest is so much cooler than life pooping on me.” Or, “Wow! That tweet you just sent to Busta Rhymes sounds super compelling and noteworthy!”
But, instead, you continue on your conversation with the fascinating brick wall of a friend you have, and pretend it is the norm.
On a more serious note, this lesson applies to other situations as well. Sometimes life does seem to be pooping on us—it is one thing after another. I spilled half of a jar of mushroom soup on my sweater then accidentally punched a wall. But instead of looking down and pouting, I remembered I was Taylor Swift (read lesson eight) and looked up. I looked up to the fact my mushroom soup would dry and that someone was watching over me with a giggle.
We've all heard the saying, "when life get's you down, get back up." But I'm here to tell you that you don't even have to exert that much effort. Just merely look up. Look up from your phone screen, look up from life, and look into the eyes of someone who needs you. Chances are they will be a more beautiful sight anyways.
it’s an outlet. it’s an inspiration. it’s a gift. it’s a purpose

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

20 Lessons I've Learned at 20: Lesson Eight

8.      Life will place you exactly where you need to be.

One of my greatest blessings in life is my title of “aunt.” I am an aunt to four little ones, and it has brought more laughs, love, and unsurprising lessons than I could have imagined. Just the other day, two of my nieces, sat down to chat with me for a few minutes. As usual, one of the most commonly asked questions in my life came up.
So you’re thinking, “Oh, Rachel. Did they ask you how you were?” Funny you ask, actually… No. That is not the question I had in mind.
“Oh, so they asked you how college is going, right?” Yes, they did. But we are talking about my sassy little divas, here, so no, that isn’t what I’m referring to.
They asked me if I had a boyfriend yet. And, I said, “No, ladies. Do I need to have one?” And like the two angels I have taught them to be, they replied, “Oh, no, absolutely not! You’re like Taylor Swift!”
I winced in agony for a good while. But, not for too long. Mainly because this isn’t the first time they have told me this. But also because I know in the mind of a 4 year old, that is the biggest compliment you could possibly give someone.
Now I know life has placed me exactly where I need to be. Some people can grow with someone beside them. I suppose this is when you know you have found the person who should be beside you until you take your last breath. But for me, not having someone beside me has forced me to look within myself for the answers. I haven’t had to explain myself, my actions, my choices, or even my outfit choices to anyone. (Purple pants and a convict-orange sweater? Taylor Swift says yes.)
Now don’t get me wrong, I look forward to the moment my life aligns with someone else’s. I’m a hopeless romantic; I cry at the end of every sappy “I love you and I always have” movie and have my wedding dreamt up in my head. But the time I have had to define just what my life means as a product of one is invaluable. And among other opportunities that have come my way, I have learned that God will put just what I need on my plate when I need it the most.
Have confidence that life will be all you need it to be. Shout out to all my Taylor Swifts out there. We're doing it-- and we're rocking it out with sequined guitars and one kickass attitude.
it’s an outlet. it’s an inspiration. it’s a gift. it’s a purpose

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

20 Lessons I've Learned at 20: Lesson Seven

7.   Never stop doing what removes you from the chaos

I’ll never forget that minty blue-green leotard and the magic it encapsulated. It was about the same size as would fit a Chihuahua. I visited my grandmother who now dances from above, and the day was what every three-year-old little girl has ever dreamed of. (Minus Cinderella making me the long lost Disney princess and living in a castle with my invisible friend Amy.)

I began dancing that day back 17 years ago, and it began my love of movement and the power it gave me to express myself. I truly believe this passion of mine paved the way to a creative talent I share with you today—writing.
The way a poetic melody paired with a compelling lyric made my toes flutter and my heart pound was intoxicating. It was as if the music moved through me. My brain didn’t need to equate or calculate. It was a beautiful escape.

After 15 years of some interesting dance concepts on my part—I recreated the infamous Tom Cruise in Risky Business scene as a solo performance and wore a costume that made me look like a glittery pickle—I packed up everything I had ever known and moved to college. And with my reliance on my parents, my dancing fell to homework and college boys.
I have learned to incorporate dance and creativity into my schedule. And when I fail to do just this, my mood tends to show it. Because as time will tell you, the movement that removes you from the chaos is sometimes difficult to keep up with. But remember that little leotard and the look on your loved ones face when they saw a future for you before you created your own. There’s a reason you were given that talent. It is your ticket to sanity and a world your three-year-old self could have only dreamed of…

it’s an outlet. it’s an inspiration. it’s a gift. it’s a purpose

Monday, October 7, 2013

20 Lessons I've Learned at 20: Lesson Six

6.      Never overuse “I'm sorry.”

So you went all Edward Scissorhands on your roommate’s hair in their sleep. Apologize.
You thought it would be cool to dye the dog’s hair fuchsia. Apologize to little ole Chunks.
You didn’t see a problem in scrubbing the toilet with your sister’s toothbrush. Apologize. (Props to you, though)
You said no to spending time with someone who contributes little to your happiness. Go you!
...and don’t apologize.
You fought to the end of the world for someone that didn’t raise a finger for you. Don’t even think about apologizing.
You looked the person that dropped your heart on your feet in the eye through tears within your own. Do. Not. Apologize.
We’ve heard time and time again to overuse "I love you." But overusing apologies has seemingly replaced the love. If we even stutter on a word in a conversation, we apologize. If we even slightly touch someone, we apologize. We are a society of apologetic people who try our damnedest to not make too much of an impression or an impact.

Don’t get me wrong—there are many situations in which apologies make sense, as outlined above. But if you pull through the need to speak softly and act gently, you will feel the pride it took to stand before someone. To stand before someone feeling vulnerable and weak. To stand before someone and look them straight in the eye and spill the pain you’ve tucked away inside for too long. This beautiful sight is in need of no apology.

Apologies have no place in a room full of strength and courage.

it’s an outlet. it’s an inspiration. it’s a gift. it’s a purpose

Friday, October 4, 2013

20 Lessons I've Learned at 20: Lesson Five

5.      Sob uncontrollably if you have to. Just make sure you have peanut butter. There’s a reason why it’s so sticky—it mends the soul.

“Suck it up.”
“Man up.”
“Dry your tears.”
We’ve heard these words spoken to us since we were kids. And, granted, sometimes we deserved it. Pretty sure when my 6 year old self was sobbing on the other side of my bedroom door unable to unlock it due to the stolen chocolate dripping from my fingers, I deserved some tough love.
But as we grow in height, we grow in heart. What used to be solved with a tissue and some tough love now takes time, old sweatpants, a prayer, and a big ole jar of peanut butter.
After the sobs, cries, and anger subside, there is something beautiful that happens. Like the eye of a hurricane, a calm wave of clarity overcomes us. It’s as if the tears have literally washed away the deepest of the wound. The pain still aches through our chests, but the worst of the storm is over.
I’ve lost family to tragedy and I’ve lost love to heart break. I’ve cried my fair share. But amidst all of the loss, I have found me. A strong, curious, quirky, peanut-butter-breathed me.
it’s an outlet. it’s an inspiration. it’s a gift. it’s a purpose

Thursday, October 3, 2013

20 Lessons I've Learned at 20: Lesson Four

4.      If you have a funny feeling, chances are you’ve found a phony.

My family and friends have often told me I should write a book discussing all of the phonies I’ve found. I rarely consider myself an expert on a topic, but I can say with a high level of confidence that I am an expert on this subject. I even have the title picked out—“You’re A Great Girl, But…” Let’s just say my life is like the movie 50 First Dates… but I actually remember every.
                                                                                                                                               one of them.
The lesson I’ve learned from all of these enlightening experiences is that in each of them, I had a gut feeling at one point or another that something was off. Something wasn’t off with the way they chewed their gum (my sister actually broke up with a guy for this exact reason) or because they walked funny. (Guilty). Something was off in the way they left me feeling. It was like I ate something that seemed nice, but it took convincing myself that after a whole bowl of it that I would love it. But instead of loving it, it really just left a bad taste in my mouth that I tried to ignore.
If someone leaves a bad taste in your mouth, don’t keep digging in until the source of the taste is uncovered. Don’t be that guy that swishes it around in his mouth obnoxiously. Be that girl or that guy that walks the other direction the moment it occurs to you that your futures don’t align. Or that your heart doesn’t beat in sync with the other. Or that you will never end up serving the purpose you are meant to serve with that person beside you.
Trust me, being alone will never feel as lonely as being beside someone who makes you feel as if you are.

it’s an outlet. it’s an inspiration. it’s a gift. it’s a purpose