Just Be Brave

I’ve been in a bit of a reflective mood lately. Could be because I just returned from vacation, am preparing to move apartments, or the fact I recently bought an adult coloring book (which oh my god I love! how did it take me so long to invest in one of these?). Anyway often when life changes are happening and I’m feeling particularly doubtful, I look back to an old post I wrote back in 2013 when I was commuting five hours a day from Baltimore to Bethesda and nearing the end of a four-year relationship.

I never published it but I feel the sentiments ring true. Just like tonight when I was coloring inside these insanely detailed lines from my new coloring book, my fingers started to hurt but I kept coloring because I needed to see my ideas visualized and because I knew however hard it was it would make me happy.

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Just Be Brave (December 2013)

I retweeted a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert yesterday that went something like this: “Met a woman tonight who said, ‘Just because a decision makes you sad doesn’t mean it was the wrong one.’ Things I wish I’d known at 25 …” Continue reading

Making Up for the Break-Up: 10 Hard-And-Fast Rules

Break-ups are hard. I don’t know what it is about them that makes one question everything. Like why am I in DC? Why did I go to grad school? Why do I have so much student loan debt? Why am I still single? Why did I give up everything for a job I only semi-love?

I just went through my second hardest break-up in two years. Didn’t really know it was going to be hard until two weeks later when I spent eight hours of the day crying. Seriously, isn’t there a limit to how many waterworks one can produce?

But I guess it’s hard when you come to depend on someone for certain needs – a certain happiness so-to-speak – and then that happiness is taken out from under you and you’re left with a stark image of yourself in the mirror. Seriously how was I ever not single?

Anyway one thing I have learned from break-ups is as much as your friends and family may be tired of hearing about your failed single life, they kind of get it, and they’re totally there for you. And since I may be single for a long time now (okay just my pessimistic self speaking here), I might as well come up with some fun rules to get me back on the road to recovery and feeling excited about being free again.

So the next time I decide to end things for my own benefit (I’m being optimistic here) I’ll try to keep the following in mind: Continue reading

The 28-Year-Old Virgin

When I first met Harry outside of Starbucks back in May, he wore khaki’s and a shirt-sleeved collared shirt. His forehead was already smeared in sweat, and his light hair was pushed over to his right side. He walked with a subtle limp, and his glasses were completely transparent against his pale skin. But his smile was confident, and we immediately began chatting about running 10 miles along the Capital Crescent Trail.

And then in August looking across from him at a German pub, taking a big gulp of my lager in a glass mug and losing certain motor functions, I realized how great he was. My palms were sweaty, and I wiped them along my deep purple work dress, the black belt tight around my small midsection, and my feet sweating in my navy blue flats.

It was still humid in DC. We spent hours catching up on the phone the past weekend while I was in Kentucky for my 10-year high school reunion. We agreed to stay friends after about six or seven dates when he hadn’t made a move and I realized I wasn’t physically interested in the relationship. But I enjoyed his company and the more I got to know him the more I became myself.

Although I’ve had my own series of sexual misadventures, I’m not one to make the first move. And I didn’t want to destroy the one good friendship I had going in the DC area. In the year since my move from Baltimore, I’ve met many young people, but I had yet to make any new friends or see anyone past a few dates. Continue reading

Taking a Break But Not Forever

Much has changed since I started this blog on September 11, 2013. My nonfiction grad school cohort can tell you how much I didn’t want to write about diabetes for my MFA thesis – the book that became the start to this blog. And in the six years since I’ve been diagnosed, I am still learning new things about myself with this disease.

I wanted to share those experiences with the world and contribute to a community of Type 1s. And maybe I wanted to prove to myself that I could manage life given this short end of the stick. What I didn’t expect when I started this blog back in 2013 was where it would take me and what kind of content my readers would inspire me to write.

I cannot tell you much I value your readership and support these past two years. You are the reason I keep this blog going. You are the reason I continue to write. And although this blog has kept me writing and contributing to this online community, I must now re-focus my priorities and take what little time I have to write to devote to other publishing opportunities. Continue reading

Failing DC

There have been various reasons I have been a little absent from this blog.

I don’t want to talk about diabetes because it still befuddles me and all my recent insurance hassles and doctor visits just make me upset. I don’t want to talk about dating because I’m tired of being disappointed. I don’t want to talk about work because I’m tired of it taking up most of my life and stressing me out like no other. I don’t want to talk about DC because I still have no close friends in proximity to me and it depresses me to hell (sometimes). I don’t want to talk about Norm, my cat, because well, he’s had a rough month, too, and no one wants to hear about a miserable kitty.

But more than all of that, I haven’t written on this blog because up until a week ago, I was pretty sure I had utterly and despicably failed in DC, and I was pretty devastated by this realization. I thought it might be time to consider moving on, maybe even move back to Kentucky for a while. Why did I think I had failed? Here are a few speculations: Continue reading

‘It’s All About Perspective’

More than a week ago, I was in Louisville, Kentucky for my 10-year high school reunion. In addition to that, I spent a wonderful extended weekend with family and friends celebrating birthdays and life’s successes. And all of this while sleeping on a cot (because like myself, my parents do not waste space — as soon as I left for college my old bedroom was turned into a bedroom for my brothers and then an office for my parents).

And although I may complain every time I visit about the sleeping accommodations and the fact that I lay exposed in the living or dining room, I am secretly proud of my parents for not keeping my bedroom as a shrine, for making the most of what they have.

But since that weekend, I have endured countless awful days of stress and anxiety. And I sank into a small depressive hole, questioning what I was doing with my life and why my personal and professional lives could not co-exist in the same city.

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Devastating News

That is until I learned one of my best friends was almost beaten to death on his bike over a cell phone. Suddenly my questions about a meaningful existence seemed irrelevant. Because all that mattered is that my best friend made it out okay. All that mattered was that someone I loved would survive this tragedy without too much scarring. Continue reading

All The Pretty Girls

It’s hard to feel pretty when I feel like my mouth is the size of a cantaloupe, and I can only chew my dinner on the left side of my jaw. Today I had three cavities filled. I’ve never had a cavity in my life (damn those childhood sealants, which apparently become traps for bacteria as an adult).

I should really stop going to the doctor. This year is the year of medical expenses. Every time I go, even for what I think is going to be a yearly check-up, they find something wrong with me. A part of me wonders if this is some kind of conspiracy, but when my dentist showed me the actual images of my cavity-filled teeth, I knew he wasn’t lying.

The procedure wasn’t as bad as I thought. The numbing shots didn’t hurt, and there weren’t any bad smells, but when I left the office, I was oddly self-conscious of my numb face, and the fact that if the side of my face started to droop, I probably wouldn’t notice. So I spent the 20-minute walk home trying to keep my lips shut and avoid any kind of conversation with passersby.

But how is this different from any other day? I have a 10-minute commute to and from work every day. I’m lucky in that DC sense. And every time I make that trek, I am oddly self-conscious. Are my headphones too loud? Can anyone see my underwear line? Can anyone see my lacy bra peeking out beneath my sleeveless top? Is that bulge beneath my pencil skirt obvious? Are there sweat stains beneath my bra line?

Yet even amongst all these questions, I’m oddly confident. I make that walk like I own the sidewalk, and I never look back. I’m aware of my figure, and how good I look in my pencil skirt. But do I ever notice anyone checking me out? No. Do I ever see people look at me? Yep. And I automatically think there must be something wrong with my wardrobe or my headphones aren’t plugged into my phone and everyone can hear my music. Continue reading

The Emptiness of Dating

I bend the blade of grass into a braid. I attempt to pull one end of the braid and pull it into a rose, but the blade breaks before the rose forms. I throw it behind me and rest my hands over my raised knees. The humid air suffocates my energy, but the hot sun makes me feel alive. I feel the sweat drip down the back of my blouse and disappear at the tip of my bottom.

My date is talking about soccer or some sport, and I nod my head every few minutes, but I’m looking at the horizon. We sit on a hilltop, and as I watch the bees and flies buzz around me, I want to cry. I feel nothing, but I feel something. And even though my disinterest shows, my date doesn’t seem to mind.

He asks me questions, and I give him quick answers. He looks me in the eyes and smiles, and I fake a half-smile. There’s nothing wrong with this man next to me. He may be short and slightly balding, but after a few dates, I surmise he’s a good guy. And if I felt something, I might have another relationship opportunity, even if only for the short-term. Continue reading

Breaking Badly

Recently, in a lot of the shows I’ve been watching or books I’ve been reading, I come across men taking advantage of women, whether that be physically or emotionally, and even in supposed entertainment, it infuriates me. No matter how many times I see it and no matter how much we’ve “evolved,” I will never be de-sensitized to this treatment. It is not okay, and it will never be okay.

I admit in recent years I’ve focused more on my relationships with women. I attended a leadership conference almost 10 years ago (hard to believe), and the biggest threat to women in leadership positions then was other women. And instead of banding together, women competed against one another for that one spot.

I vowed to never do that, but yet here I am, involved in more than one organization with a white man at the top. And I am fighting women to climb higher. But my roommate recently told me of how one of her favorite stand-up comedians joked about how he didn’t understand why women kept dating when men were their number one threat. All men had to worry about was being rejected.

And I admit now that I’m back on the dating scene, I’m suspicious of even the more enthusiastic kind. Why are they so excited after a first date? What’s their real end game, I ask myself? This is silly, I know, but maybe smart? I am very overprotective of my single, independent state. I feel like I lost that in my last four-year relationship, and now I covet it more than money. Continue reading

Introducing Me Time and Dating

When I considered the end of my last relationship was near, I would sit on the metro on my two-hour commute from Bethesda to Baltimore, attempt to hold back the tears, and tell myself over and over again: Just be brave. Just be brave. Just be brave.

It’s amazing how far these three words got me, and it’s even more amazing to think that a young woman ending a long-term relationship should be considered brave. But even though I’m an introvert and a loner, I had been in back-to-back relationships for five years. I was scared that if I gave that up, I would forever be alone. Silly, I know. But true.

And yet a year and a half after I first told myself to be brave, I have re-entered the dating world. I always imagined from the many stories I heard that dating would be horrific and merely a means to an end. But in the past few months since I’ve re-introduced myself to this world, I’ve actually enjoyed it (well minus the awkward non-break-ups). Continue reading