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Image Credits: Rhythm Agency

Hey guys! Happy New Years Eve! It’s about that time of year again where I look back at the past year and reflect on some of the greatest moments of the year. I came into 2016 pretty broken. I was in the midst of dealing with a difficult breakup, I was stuck in a job that I could no longer stand, and I was about as miserable as could be.

2016 was by no means a perfect year. I’ve been battling a terrible illness for the past couple of months and was recently diagnosed with bronchitis. My beloved cat and friend, Gizmo also passed away at the ripe old approximate age of 21.

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Rest in Peace…Gizmo

But overall, despite how many people claim that 2016 was their “worst year ever”, 2016 ended up being pretty good for me. Here 6 of my best moments from 2016.

  1. FINALLY going to NYC…(Twice, actually).

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I have been obsessed with NYC ever since I was a little kid. I swear, I must have been born a city slicker. However, up until 2016 I’ve never actually been to NYC, my loved was based solely on what I read about it o seen on TV or in movies.

I had plans in the past to go. I was supposed to go to see the Statue of Liberty for a field trip in 7th grade, but when the terrorists attacked the twin towers on 9/11/2001 when I was in 6th grade, so naturally that field trip was cancelled.

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I was also going to go on September 11, 2013 for a job interview I had with the Christian Post. However, at the time I wasn’t exactly in the same place as I am today with my faith. I was on the fence about the job and unsure about it being in NYC which was pretty far from where I lived. I received another job offer to work at a local SEO agency the day before my scheduled interview, so I decided to accept that job offer instead.

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Fast forward to 2.5 years later and my magical job suddenly wasn’t so magical. I was unhappy and more than ready to move on.

I applied to more than 100 jobs, some of which were in NYC. When I got a call back to interview for an Assistant Digital Producer job at Scholastic I was stoked. Working for Scholastic seemed like a dream to me. I grew up reading every scholastic book imaginable and was obsessed with the book fairs. This love and obsession carried on to me even in my adult life.

The interview was pretty much a disaster. The recruiter was super nice and that preliminary screening went well, but when I met with the person who I guess would’ve been my boss it all went down hill. I thought a digital producer was basically the same thing as a content coordinator but I quickly found out I was completely wrong.

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I still don’t know what an Assistant Digital Producer does at Scholastic, but I know it’s definitely not blogging, social media, or content marketing…

But I had a great time in NYC anyway. Just being able to see the office was amazing and NYC was everything I thought it would be. I definitely still want to move there.

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I loved my first trip to NYC so much that I decided to come back there to celebrate my 26th birthday. I went to eat lunch at Black Tap NYC. This restaurant was all the rage at the time thanks to their famous milkshakes. The restaurant was actually really disappointing and the staff was horrible, but the rest of the trip was great. I was really just in complete awe of the city. I enjoyed going to the M&M Factory and Bubba Gump and exploring Times Square. I can’t wait to get back there again.

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2. Seeing Good Charlotte…Twice.

For those of you who don’t know, Good Charlotte is by  far my favorite band. I saw them perform for the first time in 100+ degree weather outside on Father’s Day at Festival Pier in Penn’s Landing back in 2010. Since then I’ve seen them Cherry Hill, at the TLA multiple times, and most recently at the Fillmore. I’ve seen them a total of 5 or 6 times, two of which were in 2016.

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Seeing them in 2016 was especially special for me because it was the first time I could REALLY hear them. They sounded just as amazing as I remembered. I liked that I could hear everything they said when they were just talking, too. Before receiving my cochlear implants in 2014 and 2015 I would miss out a lot on their talks to the crowd and teasing each other. The Madden twins have such a great sense of humor that really comes out when they play shows together. It was great to finally get to hear it in these shows.

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Both of the shows were amazing. The TLA will probably always be my favorite venue, but the Fillmore was pretty awesome, too. I like the atmosphere of the TLA better and have a lot of great memories at the TLA, but I think the sound quality at the Fillmore was better. While both shows were incredible I’ll have to say the one I saw in November at the Fillmore was probably their best show ever. It was the perfect blend of old and new songs and so very nostalgic. It was like my childhood come to life in musical form.

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I can’t wait to see them again. For those of you who really, really, really love me they will be performing/traveling with this amazing warped tour/emo/punk cruise ship package thing in October. If you buy it for me I promise to love you for forever…just saying…

3. Working at Becker’s School Supplies

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Image Credits: Becker’s School Supplies on Facebook

This one probably comes as a surprise for most of you guys.. My job at Becker’s didn’t really work out. I actually didn’t get this job originally. It’s kind of a funny story. I found the open SEO Marketer position accidentally on Monster.com, a website I rarely ever used during my job search (I was pretty loyal/exclusive to LinkedIn). I applied and got an interview pretty quickly and thought I had nailed it. I couldn’t have asked for a better interview. I got along with everyone  so well. Being obsessed with school supplies and wearing paperclip earrings to my interview also helped a lot haha.

Imagine my devastation when I received a phone call while at work on April Fool’s Day of all days. I couldn’t believe it.

But the story didn’t end there. I got another call from them about a week later. Apparently things didn’t work out with the first person they hired, so I was next in line. Eager to get our of the miserable job I was currently stuck in, I quickly accepted.

Becker’s wasn’t a bad job at all. It was actually almost anything you could ask for in a job. It was pretty much the complete opposite from my current job which was a plus. It was a family owned business that benefitted the education system in a positive way. I was honestly just excited to get out of the agency life. I also liked that it was a small family-owned business that was around for many years. But my favorite parts? Everyone was sooooooooo nice and professional and there was none of the typical office drama or politics.

I got along great with everyone and was well-liked. It was refreshing to see and work with various members of the Becker family each day. They owned the company and were at the top of the tier, but they never made you feel like you were below them. Everyone was all part of the same team. They valued and respected all of their employees. I’ll never forget how the first thing Kurt Becker, the company’s treasurer, asked me was what I thought about the website and what I’d fix. I was an employee at that time for less than a week and he still valued my opinion and expertise enough to want to know my ideas for change.

As great as Becker’s was though, it wasn’t right for me. I spent years working in SEO in the past, but it was much different. I learned that when it comes to SEO, I’m all about creating content such as blogs and other website content that is optimized for SEO. I’m not much for Google Analytics (although I’m learning!) or any of the data/analytical side of things which this position dealt a lot with. Also, while I loved school supplies my love for school supplies didn’t quite match up with the products the company sold. I thought this was a company that sold a bunch of notebooks and pens, but it was really all early childhood education supplies like furniture for childcare centers.

I used to love product meetings where vendors will show us their stuff and try to persuade us to purchase it, mainly because I’m a child and I love to play with fake sand and dinosaurs and legos and read picture books, but I have a hard time wrapping my head around early education. I never went to pre-school, let alone daycare as a kid. It was a whole new field for me.

When I accepted the job with Becker’s I still had a lot of other job applications out and was negotiating with Penn Medicine. I wasn’t sure what would happen with that opportunity. It sounded good, but I have also been negotiating for several months and nothing was happening and I really needed a new job. I was also looking into grad school and applying for the TEP program. My future was so unclear. Everything was a risk.

I have absolutely no regrets about Becker’s. I learned so much about my career interests, job preferences, and how to turn down a job that isn’t working for you. I left them with the best gift I had to give: I referred them to a former co-worker who I saw as an expert in SEO that I knew was interested in the position. She could do for them everything they needed and wanted in terms of SEO that I didn’t know how to do. They hired her almost immediately. The rest is history.

4.Working at Penn Medicine

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Image Credits: Henrietta Hudson 

While it was quite the long process, I did end up getting hired by Penn Medicine in 2016. I initially turned down the position to work at Becker’s, but they begged me to reconsider. Isn’t it funny how things work out? I applied in January and was finally hired in June.

I honestly wasn’t sure about Penn when I first applied. I previously did an internship with Slack Medical journals and really, really, really hated it. It was so boring and technical and confusing. I was afraid Penn would be the same, yet for some reason this felt really different. I almost backed out of this interview several times because of other interviews I had (first with Scholastic and then with Bernie Robbins jewelers). I am so glad that my mom and some of my friends and former colleagues pushed me to go and keep pursuing this opportunity, even when it seemed hopeless.

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Working at Penn has been a blessing to me in so, so, so many ways. First off, I really love the location. Like I stated previously, I’m a city slicker. We’re located right in University City. It’s a safe part of Philly and there’s so much stuff going on! We’re within walking distance of many restaurants which makes lunch time fun, especially if we have a new member to our team. I recently tried an Indian buffet with my co-workers and in the summer we’d frequently meet up for green smoothies from the fruit lady’s food truck or frozen yogurt from Kiwi yogurt.

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The content team at the #LoveFest Pep Rally

Secondly, I love my job itself. I get to do my two favorite things: write a lot and work on social media. I also get to teach my co-workers what I learn, specifically with our new social media content management system, Sprinklr. I’m never bored. I learn constantly and am always challenged. I didn’t know much about medical conditions initially, but have since learned so many incredible things. I’m in awe by Dr. Carl June’s work with immunotherapy and cancer. All of the neurological conditions constantly blow my mind (did you know there’s a procedure where they turn off and test different parts of the brain to see what if anything will be lost if they cut away part of it?). It’s fascinating stuff!

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My co-workers are also the best. They are so talented, kind, and hard-working. It’s also a very professional atmosphere free of office drama and politics. While everyone is always working really hard, we also have fun together with team building exercises such as monthly full staff meetings, our pep rally, and our Christmas bowling party. We are also starting a professional development book club which should be fun.

5. Becoming an Adjunct Professor AND a Grad School Student at Rowan University

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Image Credits: Rowan

Of all of the possible things that could’ve happened this year, I never imagined I’d become a college professor, but that is exactly what happened.

I’ve been toying with the idea of going back to school to earn my MA in Writing for years. I didn’t want to get my MA originally. I was tired and burnt out after earning to BA’s and I didn’t think an MA was all that important to be honest. But after receiving bilateral cochlear implants I wrote a book and now I want so additional help to finish writing/revising it and publish it.

Still, I wasn’t sure how this would work. I didn’t know at the time that Penn has an amazing benefits package that would cover the cost of my tuition. I just knew that financial aid wasn’t an option with grad school, so I was on my own and grad school doesn’t come cheap.

When Professor Block emailed me about grad school and mentioned the TEP program which allows students to teach while earning their MA and pays for at least part of their tuition costs, I saw it as a sign that I was meant to go to grad school and apply.

I wasn’t totally sure what to expect. I knew I like teaching, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I ultimately did. I didn’t expect to get so attached to my students. I think teaching is one of the best things to ever happen to me, honestly. I love it so much. I love feeling like I’m making a difference and seeing my students improve as writers.

Grad school’s not bad, either. Some of the writing projects for Core were fun. It’s not the most interesting year for me though. I feel like I have a lot of pre-reqs which can be a little dry to take now to get to the good stuff like writing the memoir and non-fiction writing. But still I’ve really loved just being back in school again. I love the challenge of it all. I love learning.

It hasn’t been easy. Juggling a full time job in the city, teaching three times a week, and taking 2 graduate level courses a semester is no joke. But I love the thrill of the challenge and being constantly under pressure. I feel like I am constantly working towards a goal and I feel I’ve been fairly successful so far.

6. Going to Washington DC

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DC is another place I had plans to go to multiple times, but never actually went to until this year. I was first going to go on a field trip in 7th grade, but alas the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on 9/11/2001 when I was in 6th grade caused the trip to get cancelled. Then in 2014 or whenever it was I was going to meet Casey there and get back together with him, but in a really bizarre turn of events he cancelled our plans and ran off and got engaged and married to some other girl…but that’s another story…

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Every year Rowan picks a book to have the University read together as a whole. This year the book was Americanah! by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I don’t know what the book was about because I didn’t actually read it lol. Anyway though, the book inspired the University to take a free trip to DC that was open to all students and faculty and since I’ve always wanted to go to DC anyway, I jumped at the opportunity to go.

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I was nervous about the trip at first since I didn’t know anyone who was going. Who would I hang out with so I wouldn’t get lost? Should I go as a student or a faculty member since I was actually both? I hung out with faculty originally until I met a faculty member’s son who was a current senior at Rowan and closest in age to me. We hung out for the rest of the trip and became fast friends and had a blast.

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We went to the museum of African history, an African art museum, and one of the Smithsonians, though we didn’t have much time at the Smithsonian. It was a really cool trip. I’m a museum and art nerd so I love looking at and learning about this stuff. The only down side was that the main African history museum was realllllllllllllly crowded and you could hardly move.

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We also ate at a soul food restaurant. I don’t eat soul food much, if ever, so it was a different experience for me. I had these oysters cooked in some kind of a hot sauce that were really good.

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It was a really nice trip especially since it helped me to get out of my comfort zone. I am glad that I did end up befriending someone despite not knowing anyone and that I took the risk to go to a new place with no one I knew. I’d definitely do something like this again in the future and I hope that in 2017 Rowan provides me with more opportunities to do so!

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7. Going to Kentucky.

My trip to Kentucky was incredible and perhaps the highlight of 2016.

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My mom and I went with Gloucester County Community Church (GCCC). I’ve been following the making of the Ark from day 1 a few years back and when I heard it opened in the summer I couldn’t wait to go. We previously looked into driving down for my mom’s birthday in August, but it was too expensive. However, going with the church would save us money and we’d take a bus with everyone so transportation wouldn’t be an issue.

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Our trip lasted 3 days and consisted with a few hours at the Creation Museum followed by almost a full day at the Ark.

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The Creation Museum was okay. Not quite as good as I was expecting, but still pretty cool. I really loved the dinosaurs. I always liked dinosaurs ever since I was a kid. About a year ago I realized that the bible never mentions the word “dinosaur” so I started to ponder why. I turned to Answers in Genesis and they explained how dinosaurs did exist and were referred to using different words. To see and learn more about this at the museum was neat. Most of the dinosaurs weren’t as big as made out to be and the dinosaurs used to only eat plants as did all animals which the bible clearly states, but few people realize. It was very informative.

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Noah’s Ark was amazing. You don’t realize how big it is until you see if for yourself. It was also incredible biblically accurate. They had all of the animals that they had back then and the cages and everything so well done. I enjoyed learning about Noah and his family and the work that they did on the Ark as well. It made me thirsty to learn more.

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Overall, 2016 was an incredible year. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for me!

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Image Credits: Edutopia

Hey guys! Happy Wednesday! It’s a happy Wednesday because I’m finally on the last day of the 30 day writing challenge! It took me long enough!

The final challenge is to write about something I’m looking forward to. There are many exciting things I’m looking forward to in my life, but one of the biggest ones is becoming a college adjunct professor and teaching my first class this fall.

I know a lot of people were surprised when I announced that I’d be teaching this fall. Some were a bit surprised and a lot of people have expressed their concerns and almost doubt me and my ability to teach. I know some people, whether they actually come out and say it or not, are thinking that this is kind of “random”. Surprising? Yes. Crazy? A bit.But random? No…not at all.

Teaching is actually something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time. I’ve always valued education. I’ve always loved to learn and have been a bit of a nerd my whole life. Many people thought I would become a teacher. My parents always encouraged it, that’s for sure. When I was in high school I was an AVID tutor that worked with at-risk students to help to prepare them for college. My teachers all loved the work I did as a tutor and they thought I’d make a great teacher, too.

I’ve always enjoyed working with kids as well. I first realized how much I enjoyed working with children when I was about 12 years old and worked my first job as a summer camp counselor. I made less than $70 for the entire summer, but I didn’t care at all because I loved what I was doing so much. I didn’t just play with kids, but I learned from them and they learned to me. I built relationships with these kids and I got to see them grow so much in the 2 months that we spent together. I talked about them all all the time as if they were my own kids. I felt good about the work I did as a camp counselor and it made me realize that if I enjoyed this work so much, I’d certainly love to be a teacher where I could make an even bigger impact on children.

I dreamed of becoming a pre-school or kindergarten teacher. Then I realized I had a passion for English and becoming an English teacher started to gain appeal.

There was just one major problem:

I was born with profound hearing loss. I never learned sign language. I couldn’t hear the kids I was a camp counselor for (fortunately it never mattered much. I had the support of the other counselors to fall back on and the kids just wanted to play anyway). How would I ever hear my students?

Not being able to hear the kids I supervised at camp was one thing. Not being able to hear students was quite another thing. I wouldn’t be able to ask them questions, because I’d never hear the answers. I wouldn’t be able to answer their questions, either because I wouldn’t be able to hear them.

Suddenly, I found myself completely giving up on dream and chalking it up on the list of things that just weren’t meant to be for my life. I still decided to study English and writing in college, but this time it was for my own personal use to become a writer instead. Becoming a teacher just didn’t seem like a possibility for me.

At least, not at that moment…

I didn’t realize back then that I’d later go on to receive cochlear implants that would allow me to gain above average hearing. I never could’ve imagined that I’d be given this incredible gift that would allow me to hear almost perfectly…a gift that would make it so I’d never have to worry about hearing my students.

But even after receiving my cochlear implants I didn’t think it would ever open the door to teaching for me. I thought that was a missed opportunity I would never get back again. How could I be a teacher now? I was working full time for an agency receiving below-average pay. While my checks weren’t for much, I depended very heavily on them. I also worked a typical day schedule…which would be the exact schedule I’d need to follow in order to do student teaching which is a requirement in order to be certified to teach at a grade school level. Teaching at a college level also wasn’t an option since I didn’t have my MA yet and wasn’t sure if I ever would. I have wanted to enroll in Rowan’s MA in Writing Program for years, but always backed out fearing the cost. I was already thousands of dollars in debt and unable to afford my student loan repayments from my undergrad. I heard financial aid didn’t exist as a grad student. Grad school sounded like a great idea, but completely impractical. There was no way I’d ever be able to afford it.

That was, until I received an e-mail from Professor Rob Block in March explaining that Rowan has developed a new Teaching Experience Program (TEP). The program sounded like the answer to all of my problems. It would allow me to follow my dream of becoming a teacher without having to give up my full time job and it would also help me to pay the cost of my tuition and allow me to work towards earning my MA degree.

To make things even better, a few months after receiving that initial email I left my job at the agency I was working for and started working for Penn Medicine instead. After my first semester, Penn will pay up to $8,000 a year towards my tuition which should cover the full cost each semester I’d imagine. They are also more than willing to help to work around my school and teaching schedule.

This is the beginning of the next chapter in my life. It may have taken me awhile, but I am finally going to have the opportunity to fulfill my dream of becoming a teacher, and not just a teacher – but a college professor! I am so beyond excited to take on this new role in September. It’s about so much more than just teaching first year writing to students. It’s about creating strong relationships with these students and working to motivate, encourage, and inspire them and to help them to grow not just as writers, but as students. I hope to improve their writing skills, but more than that, I hope to make a difference in their  lives and their college experience. If I manage to do those things, then I’ll consider my job as a professor to have been a success.

 


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Image Credits: Search Quotes

I hate the writing challenge for day 26. For day 26 it tells me to write the things I’d say to an ex.Where do I even begin? I guess I’ll start from the beginning with “Dear Larry” and take it from there, right? This could take awhile…

Dear Larry:

It has been approximately 8 and a half months since we broke up. They were right when they said it takes approximately half the length of a relationship to get over a breakup. The pain finally started to ease when we hit that 6 month mark in April. I’m not entirely sure that I’m fully where I need or want to be yet. I think a part of me still loves you, and I sometimes think a part of me always will.

How about you? How are you holding up? I had to unfriend you,and for awhile, block you. I couldn’t stand to see your updates on Facebook. It didn’t matter that you were “leaving me alone”,because I couldn’t leave me alone. I couldn’t stop stalking your page. It killed me when I saw you friended and were interacting with Maria. That girl. Tell me, did you do it out of spite? You knew it would get to me. That’s why you did it, isn’t it? Was this your way of getting back at me? If so, as much as I hate to admit it, it worked.

You’re kind of unbelievable, but at the same time I shouldn’t be surprised. She played a huge role in our downfall, afterall. Do you remember the night of August 8, 2015? I don’t think I will ever in all my life forget it, but I sure wish I could. I was so happy to have you home. We couldn’t decide what we wanted to do, but it didn’t even matter. You were home and I loved you so much. Anything we did made me happy, just to be with you. You were so rarely home. I learned to treasure each and every moment we had.

…I guess you didn’t feel the same way about me.

Sometimes you’d say you missed me, but did you really? Or was it Maria that you were missing?

I knew something was up when you asked me how I felt about you being friends with Maria. When she was back in your life. I give you credit for being honest about her being your ex and telling me that much of the truth. But I don’t think you gave me the FULL truth…I’m not sure I’ll ever know the real truth.

Maybe she sent a friend request. That is fine. I have no problem with that at all. I know you’d beg to differ, but I am not crazy. I have a million Facebook friends, most of whom I never talk to, some of which are exes.

Here’s the thing that is NOT okay: to give your exes more attention than your current girlfriend. To lie to your current girlfriend about our ex girlfriend. To ignore your current girlfriend because you’re too wrapped up in your ex. To feel the need to hide your cell phone because of messages from your ex girlfriend that you don’t wan your current girlfriend to see.

Maybe you didn’t have sex with her. Maybe you didn’t kiss her. Maybe you never touched her. Maybe you haven’t even seen her since you broke up.

…but that doesn’t make you innocent.

If you have to hide you phone from your current girlfriend because of messages from another girl, as far as I’m concerned, when it comes to cheating, you’re already there.

Do you have any idea how much it hurt for me to find all of those messages on your phone on August 8th? The ones about how she’s so beautiful, asking her if she’s single, asking to video chat.

It didn’t hurt.

It killed.

A part of me died the night of August 8, 2015.

I did what any normal girl would do: I freaked out.

Consider yourself lucky, I didn’t hit you. I should have. I really, really should have.

Breaking up then and there seemed like the obvious answer. I gave my all to you. I was as loyal and committed to you as one could have been, and this was the thanks I got? Really? But I loved you so much.

Remember that night? In your car? We cried together for hours. I never saw a man cry like that before. That wasn’t fake; no man can fake-cry that well. You SOBBED. You were hysterical. How could I not have accepted your apology after that? You made a mistake. But you didn’t mean to hurt me. You loved me. It was a one time thing. It would never happen again. It wouldn’t be easy for me to trust you after that, but I was willing to try. I still had hope and faith in you. I believed we could put this hold thing behind us. Just keep it between us and move on.

Except…it wasn’t between you and me.

It was me, you, Maria, and your family.

Your stupid freaking family.

I often wondered if I was dating you or your family.Sometimes it felt like both. I’m all for being close to your family. You were over my house all the time, you know I was close to my family. You also knew that especially towards the end, they weren’t always too found of you. They didn’t hate you like I know that you think they did…they just believed I deserved better. You didn’t treat me the way I should have been treated.

They were right.

While my family may not have quite approved of you all the time, they still knew that my love life was just that – my love life. It was for me to figure out and for me to make decisions about. They never told me to break up with you (although they definitely didn’t discourage it). They allowed me to make my own decisions.

Larry, you’re 27 years old. When are you going to grow up and be your own man?

It’s not just about you living at home. That’s fine – I mean I still live at home, why  would I condemn that? But you let your family control you and your life and your relationships so much. It wasn’t fair for me or for you.

It was like I already stated, I wasn’t just dating you, I dated your family, too.

I constantly had to seek their approval and nothing was ever just between us. If we had an argument or a dispute or anything at all that I said to you, got back to them, too and they made sure to let me know it.

It wasn’t even just your parents. It was your parents, all of your sisters, your freaking grandmom, cousins, aunts, uncles, random people who I guess are somehow related to you.

It was never their business. A relationship should be between two people, not two people and their family.

One of the things that bothered me the most was the fact that Amanda knew about Maria before we even had our little dispute. Remember the barbecue? It was that same week…maybe even the day after the fact? The wounds were still really fresh and still really deep, Larry. I was doing my best not to think about it, to not hold it against you…forgive and forget. Then while we were alone, when we were dropping Amanda and Emma off she said to us, “Larry, are you still talking to your ex? That’s a really bad idea.” And she followed up after she went home with a text about how you better get your crap together or you’re going to lose me…you’re never around for me. You treat me like crap. Say what you will about Amanda. Yeah, maybe she’s made some mistakes and done some things you and the rest of your family don’t agree with…but was she not right?

You never learn though, do you? You were the center of my life. My world revolved around you. My world stopped for you. The only thing I remember about last summer is being in this constant state of waiting — waiting for you to come home from work. Waiting for you to get done with your dad. Waiting for you to show up at my house. Waiting for you to text. Waiting for you to call.

Waiting for you to come home from your 8th family vacation that you totally didn’t have to go on.

Waiting for you to tell the truth.

Waiting for you to love me the way I loved you.

We started to fight a lot. The main thing we fought about was how I needed more from you. I was exhausted from giving you all that I had whereas you never even attempted to measure up.I cried a lot and suffered horrible anxiety by the end of our relationship because I knew things weren’t the same and I was terrified of losing you and I could no longer trust you. I did lose you in the end – but choice – because it was no longer worth staying, as painful as leaving you came to be.

I knew you were a truck driver and couldn’t be home much. It wasn’t easy, but I accepted that.

What I couldn’t accept was how you made things unnecessarily hard on us with these stupid volunteer vacations. Instead of seeing me, you took time off to spend a week with your family on vacation.

One vacation is one thing.

8 is quite another, and no, I’m not even exaggerating.

I went to Disney with you and I had the time of my life. I will never, even regret that despite how things ended with us. It was uncomfortable as anything staying with your sisters and your mom. Your mom is not exactly the nicest, friendliest person in the world – especially not to me. Your little sister is alright…for a 5 year old. It’s too bad she’s now going on 15 or 16. I could go into more details here, and I almost did, but I’ll spare you that. You should be thanking me. Your older sister was nice enough…but it was a little uncomfortable living with someone who covered everything in tissues for a week because of germs…but maybe she had a point. That was he most disgusting freaking room I’ve ever seen. You’re lucky I’m as nice as I am…I could have and really should have made you take me somewhere else to stay…somewhere that isn’t totally disgusting. But I suppose that it was a step up from your actual house, as sad as that sounds. That was pretty freaking bad, too.

But why do you feel the need to go on ALL of these family vacations especially when they are often the same? Did you really need to go to Busch gardens like 3 times that summer? Oh yeah, you did. You had to be with your girlfriend during round 2.

Except I’ve never been to Busch Gardens.

You and your family make it sound like I’m a devil because of what I did to you during the 2nd trip to Busch Gardens.

I’m sorry – but what? What I did to you?

Yes. I cursed you out over a series of 20+ text.

Yes they were ugly.

Yes, I accused you of cheating…and that’s putting it mild.

What did you expect? You wen on vacation with another girl who was in the same age range, single,and you never told me about it.

When I asked if she was there, you took a long time to answer me and you said “Well….”

That tells me everything.

The first time you went to Busch Gardens, you told me everything about your day. Everywhere you went, everything you saw, everything you did. You couldn’t wait to talk to me.

The second time was another story. Because your girlfriend was there with you. Your other girlfriend.

I had to pretty much beg you to send me 1 little text a day. That’s unacceptable.

You got drunk. With her.

You never had a single drink when you were with me. And don’t you dare use the excuse of having to drive. What about Disney? Everyone gets drunk in Epcot. You could’ve had all the drinks you wanted – you had none.

You went in a hot tub. With her. Without your shirt on.

You were always very self conscious of that. I think I saw you shirtless maybe a total of 3 times…1 is more like it. Definitely no more than 3 during the course of our 13 month relationship.

THERE. IS. A. POOL. AT. MY. CONDO.

You could’ve gone swimming with me any time you wanted during the summer, but you refused because you were “too shy”. Too shy to take your shirt off in front of me, but when it comes to your other girlfriend, boy you can’t take your clothes off fast enough, can you?

And what about the tracking app?

I can understand people thinking it’s creepy. In most cases,  yes, but when you date a truck driver,the same rules don’t apply.

FYI, dating a truck driver gets freaking terrifying. I heard on the news all the time about major accidents with trucks where the drivers were killed and I always panicked thinking it could be you. The tracking app allowed me to sleep at night knowing you reached your destination safe. But yeah, I did use it when you were on vacation – I enjoyed seeing where you were going especially since it wasn’t like I was going to get a text out of you telling me where you were. You went ghost on me.

You liked the tracking app. You made a game out of it. The where’s Larry? game. Don’t you dare try to tell me otherwise.

Suddenly, minutes after I flipped out on you and accused you of cheating, the tracking app became disabled so I couldn’t keep track of you.

Let me guess…you let her take you to Hooters and you disabled the app so I wouldn’t find out because you know I’d get mad. You admitted she asked you to go…but you claim you said no. Lying was never one of your strongest suits though. I bet you said no. Sure…

This all took place less than a month after the whole Maria incident. And I’m just supposed to believe nothing happened, that you were completely innocent.

How stupid do you think I am?

And yet, I allowed you and your stupid friggen family to place all of the blame on me. I was the psychotic girlfriend with the worst anxiety that really needed to see a doctor like your brother did. God forbid I loved you. God forbid I worried about you. God forbid I feared losing you. You freaking cheated, yet it was all my fault. So I did the only thing I knew how to do: I apologized and begged you not to leave me.

But we were never the same after that. We were falling apart and could no longer be fixed.

And I was getting so sick and tired of fighting the same battles – begging you to make me a priority. Crying in your car and not even being sure why I was crying.

We were changing. I supposed I was seeing your true colors. And they were ugly. You were becoming more and more controlling, manipulative, and unsupportive of me and downright selfish.

In case I haven’t mentioned it yet, it’s really hard work to date a truck driver. But I did everything I could to make it work – to try to be understanding, supportive, and submissive like a good proverbs 31 woman.

But a proverbs 31 woman needs a proverbs 31 man. I didn’t have one. You didn’t take care of me. You took care of you.But I suppose I can’t blame you too much…do you even know what it is to be a Proverbs 31 man? Do you even know the significance of Proverbs 31? Probably not. I mean, you were only a pentecostal afterall.

Larry, do you know what a pentecostal christian is? It’s not exactly what I consider a “real” christian to be. When is the last time you went to church other than the Baptist church with me and those churches we saw christian concerts at?

Admit it…you’re only a pentecostal because your dad is.

Now that we aren’t together,I can finally say something I’ve been holding back for the longest time:

Your dad really isn’t a good man.

By dad I hope you know I mean your stepfather, not your birth dad. Your birth dad and I had our issues,  but he’s a far better man and I do think he tries with you – you just oftentimes don’t give him a chance.I hope that’s changed.

But for real..I don’t understand why you idolize your stepdad so much. He’s incredibly selfish and just seems…off.I have my theories about him, but to say I have a bad feeling about him is an understatement. You say he’s always been there for you and your family. Uh. Why does he have his own bedroom and everyone else except your little sister has to sleep in the middle of the living room (including your mom)? Why does he have a keurig strictly for himself? Why does he go out and do whatever he wants even if it means going alone and leaving the rest of the family home? Why did he make you do household chores and keep you from seeing me until like 10 at night on one of the only weekends you’d be home for an entire month? I see him as being incredibly selfish…

You should really reconsider that.

But regardless, your faith is not something to take lightly. It really really bothered me towards the end of our relationship when you wouldn’t pray for me, when you dismissed me when I told you how important it was to pray and read your bible and I even offered to give you my audio bible to listen to on the road.

I don’t think you understood just how important this all is. It is the most important thing in your life.

Being baptized doesn’t make you a Christian.

Listening to worship music doesn’t making you a Christian.

Seeing a Christian play doesn’t make you a Christian.

Only truly accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior will save you. I’m not entirely sure if you’re really there, Larry. I don’t know that I can honestly say I believe you to be saved. I believe you don’t really know what it means to be a Christian and to know Christ. I believe you don’t really understand what it means to have a relationship with him, and that makes me sad.

We weren’t on the same page with our faith…and I didn’t think we were going to get there. I was growing and maturing so much in my faith, and you were holding me back. I couldn’t let that happen.

I loved you so much. So. so. so. much.

I was terrified of losing you,but I saw you slipping away before my eyes.

The only thing that scared me more than losing you was our future, which I was also beginning to see more clearly.

I really really really wanted to marry you. Our original plan was we’d get engaged after our 2 year anniversary and married after we’ve been together for 5 years. It all seemed so easy. The first year flew by so fast.

That’s when everything became downright horrifying.

I wanted to marry you…but it wasn’t just about you.

I thought about our future kids all the time. Would they have a father? I know we talked about this before. You said you’d take a local job so you’d be there for our kids and for me. I believed you…but I heard this so many times…by our 13 month mark….I doubted there was any truth to the statement.

You loved that truck more than you loved me. And I wondered who you’d choose when kids came in the picture…would you still love the truck more? I feared the answer would still be yes, and that broke my heart. My future kids deserve to have a dad that they can depend on. I couldn’t depend on you, so why should I have believed they could depend on you? You know I never forced you to take a local job, although naturally I’d never discourage it. I wanted you to be happy and figured if you wanted to go the distance, now that we’re not married with kids, this was the time to do it. But you told me all the time you’d take a local job. You’d get my hopes up so high only to shoot them down and to end up going further that initially planned. It was an emotional roller coaster. It was one thing to force me on that ride, but it would never be fair to our future kids. I couldn’t imagine having to put them through that.

I started to see all of my hopes and dreams and everything I ever worked for go out the window. I could say goodbye to ever working in a big city like NYC or LA (or anywhere in California for that matter). You didn’t even support me and my desire to go to school for my master’s degree because of the debt I’d further put myself in (although it really didn’t matter when it came to you and trucking school, did it? Also, I never asked you to pay for it…so why did it matter at all?). You didn’t even support the things that really would help me that you always supported in the past…like my 2nd cochlear implant surgery…why on earth would you not want that for me? Why the change of heart?

I always supported you and your hopes and dreams and everything you wanted to do…not that it was ever an option. You went and did your thing and made your own decisions and told me after the decision was already made. If you wanted to go further on the road, you did. And I was there supporting you…even if it meant waiting 3 months for you to come home. And I was always faithful, it was never a thought not to be.

You made me choose.

You made me choose between you and my career. I didn’t even know where I was going, what was happening.

I didn’t go to California. I visited and interviewed in New York, but ended up in Pennsauken…your aunt’s town…initially and then later, Philly, which you also wouldn’t support.

Choosing my career…choosing myself was one of the hardest, scariest decisions of my life. I wanted to marry you so bad. I thought you were the one and it scared the living day lights to think that I could have been walking away from the one I was supposed to marry. What if I just gave up on the man God designated for me to spend eternity with? Would this mean I’d end up alone for the rest of my life?

As I already stated, my faith was important to me. I was a real christian unlike you and I was growing more in my faith. I was reading my bible more than ever. I began to read Mark Hall’s book, Thrive and I listened to the album that inspired the book. I prayed all the time.

We were made to thrive.

…So why wasn’t I thriving?

Not only was I not thriving, I wasn’t even living.

I was just a part of your shadow…sacrificing my everything…all for you.

But you wouldn’t even support me and my career…or really anything in my life.

I prayed all the time. First I prayed that things would get better. Then I realized, maybe this isn’t God’s will. Then I prayed for clarity. I prayed for God to show me the way.

Our anniversary came and went. I was so excited. I made you a special dinner. I got you a nice card. I didn’t get a gift since I didn’t think you’d get me one and I knew we were going away on vacation for our anniversary a month later.

You couldn’t even get me flowers. Or a card. I barely got a “Happy Anniversary” out of you.

…Ouch.

I guess I wasn’t even worth the $3 you’d pay for a card.

I didn’t even get mad though. I was use to the disappointment by then, and I knew we’d just celebrate in a month when we went away. I was so excited for that. We spent nearly a full year planning it. But then I noticed something….

I was the only one excited.

The closer we got, the less excited we got.

I didn’t get it. Maybe it was because you already went to Lancaster and did all of the things we were going to do with your family.

There you go with your freakin’ family again.

They discouraged you from going, didn’t they? What happened to “I really want to do this and am going to put my foot down?”. You parents never wanted us to go. Your sister ended up pregnant or a similar trip, so obviously we were destined to have the same fate.I’m so glad your family had so much faith in us. I’m so glad they seen me as little more than a whore. How flattering.

I told myself, if this didn’t work out, it must be a sign from God that I’m supposed to just walk away from it all. It’s not meant to be.

Boy, I didn’t want this to be true.

I wanted so bad for you to prove me wrong this time.

But you didn’t.

You did the opposite.

You claimed you were sick. Yeah, right.

I did not break up with you because you got sick. That’s ridiculous. Contrary to popular belief by your family and I guess you, too, I’m not crazy.

I broke up with you because you’re always sick. You’re always tired. You’re always late. You can never help it. It’s always something. Conveniently though, you’re only ever these things precisely when it’s time for you to come home and see me.

When you’re only coming to see me, you’re always several hours late and often times we can’t make it to whatever we initially planned…like say our 2nd Newsboys concert for our anniversary. But when it comes time to see your family, your world stops for them.

It wasn’t fair, Larry. I wanted you to be like that for me. I was jealous. I shouldn’t have had to feel that way…jealous of your family. Because I wanted to become your family. I wanted to become your wife.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” – Ephesians 5:31

It’s right there in the bible, Larry. If you’re a christian like you claim to be, you’d be more than willing to let go of your parents to pursue me and work towards making me your wife and building a foundation and family with me.

But you wouldn’t do that for me. And I was tired of waiting. I was tired of settling.

We were made to thrive.

So that day I fought with you. I hung up the phone. And I never looked back.

The part of our breakup that hurts the most is that you never attempted to call me back. Why is that? Why did you just let me go so easily without a fight?

No calls.

No texts.

No messages.

Just 13 months of our relationship all out the window. I never meant for things to end this way. I never wanted this ugly breakup.

A lot of people don’t understand why I never tried to reach out to you, why I never closed the deal and got my closure.

I guess I did though. I know why things had to end. I know this is God’s will. I did want it to end better though and I did wish we talked through it more, but I can’t bring myself to talk to you. Because it just further drills in the fact that it’s always me doing everything for you…loving you, giving you my all, putting forth an effort, and apologizing even for YOUR mistakes when I stand by idly getting nothing in return.

If I talk to you and initiate the contact…it would be a mistake. I’ll apologize for you even though I did nothing wrong. I’ll beg you to take me back. We’ll get back together. And it will be this same horrendous, unhealthy cycle all over again.

I’m not going to make these mistakes. I’m not talking to you unless you talk to me first, and even that’s a maybe.

I’m focusing on me for once, and ever since I did that, my life’s gotten better.I left my miserable job and am now working a great one. I am becoming a college professor. I’m going back to school and it’s not even going to cost me anything to do it! I got my 2nd cochlear implant surgery. I visit NYC when I can and I love it every bit as much as I knew it would.

I got baptized. My relationship with God means far more to me than my relationship with you.

I am finding myself in this world, and realizing I have more of an identity than being a trucker’s wife.

And closure? This nearly 5,000 word blog post gave me all of the closure I could ever need. These are all of the words I’d say to you if I was ever going to talk to you again…which I have no plans of doing.

I survived you. Every day I get a little stronger and I realize:

I’m better off without you.

 


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Image Credits: Joseph AlvaricoImage Credits: Joseph Alvarico

Hey guys! Happy Monday! I don’t usually use those two words together, but I’m really loving my new job and I look forward to the start of a new work week, so it is indeed a happy monday (even though I’m incredibly tired…)

I left off on day 25 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge. This is a fun one: Write About 4 Weird Traits You Possess. So here it goes:

1. I frequently mispronounce words. This is weird when you take in consideration how much I love words. I read all the time and I am a writer by nature. I’m very good with writing words…just not actually saying them. I think this is because I was born with profound hearing loss…approximately 97% deaf.For the first 24 years of my life I really couldn’t hear most words. I learned words primarily from reading them and took a guess at how they were pronounced or how they were suppose to sound. Apparently I’m not very good at guessing…

2. I can’t read anything if there’s music playing or people talking. This trait I really developed after getting my cochlear implants. Now that I can hear sounds and understand them, I cannot focus on a task at hand especially if it requires reading while people or talking or music is playing. I can either listen to a conversation/the radio or read, but I cannot do both at the same time. I’m great at multitasking, which makes this weird. I guess that reading and listening require so much of my energy that it makes it impossible for me to do both at once. This is when I feel the most fortunate to have the ability to turn off all sounds in life. Whenever I want to read and people are talking or music is playing, I take my magnets off and tune out the world. Rude? Usually lol. But oh well, people will get over it. 🙂

3. I love hoagies…but only if I make them. Even though I’ve lived in South Jersey my entire life, I never quite “got” what the big deal with WaWa was. I hate their hoagies. In all honestly though, it’s not just WaWa. I hate just about any pre-made hoagie from any given place. I hate American hoagies. I hate Italian hoagies. Roast beef hoagies freak me out because the meat is never cooked enough. I can tolerate turkey or tuna hoagies…but I hate the cheese they put on them which annoys me. I’d much prefer to make my own hoagies. I love them when I make them. My hoagies usually contain combinations you’d never find on a menu. Here are two of my “signature” hoagies: Olive and munster cheese (this one is pretty simple) and the one that everyone laughs at me for when I order it from Carmen’s deli? An extra spicy one. And by extra spicy I  mean this is what it contains: hot capicola, buffalo chicken, pepper ham, and pepperjack cheese. What can I say? Some like it hot!

4. I only wear eyeshadow if it matches my clothes. I really love makeup, but I’m not very good at applying it. I’m also not very good at understanding it. I think you’re supposed to use eyeshadow that matches your eyes and your skin tone. I never understood that. How the heck am I supposed to know how to match my eyes/skin tone? What fun is that? I much prefer to match my eyeshadow with my clothes. If I’m wearing blue, I have on blue eyeshadow. Today I wore a tan skirt so I had on brown eyeshadow. Tomorrow I’m probably wearing black and white, so I’ll wear neutral eyeshadow (only because I don’t have white and that’s the next best thing). I think it’s more fun that way. Everyone tells me I’m weird for doing that though. Oh well. Like I care.

Do any of you guys share these same weird traits? Which one(s)? What are four weird traits of your own?


 

So…I’m still working on the 30-day writing challenge for May because I suck. I’m on day 14 so I’m still not even halfway through it. But I had to put today’s challenge off for a bit so I could figure some things out and talk with my boss, so naturally I didn’t want to say anything quite yet. Long story short: I’m making some career changes, which I’ll be getting into a little bit with this post. Today’s challenge is to write about how I see my life in 7 years.

Where to even begin? My life changed so much in the past 7 years I can only imagine where I’ll be in another 7.

Next Monday, June 13th, will be my first day working as a Website and Social Media Monitoring Specialist at Penn Medicine. It’s such an amazing opportunity and I believe this will be the start of a really bright future and long-lasting career for me. I definitely anticipate that I’ll still be working for Penn Medicine in the next 7 years.

I should definitely be finished with my Master’s in Writing Arts program within 7 years, too. The program shouldn’t take me longer than 3 years to complete. Maybe I’ll even decide to continue my education and go on to get a Doctorate degree after that or a MFA. Rowan doesn’t offer doctorate degrees in English or MFA’s. Of course, that could change over the next 7 years, but somehow I doubt that. I could get an MFA in Creative Writing (which from the sounds of it gets blended into their English program as well) from Rutgers Camden or another nearby school though.

I’m going to be teaching First Year Writing 3 times a week at Rowan for the first time ever this September as well. Since I have no prior teaching experience, I really don’t know what to expect. But if I end up really loving it, perhaps I’ll continue to teach over the next 7 years as well. Maybe I’ll even teach multiple classes and teach more advanced writing or English courses, too.

I really really really hope I finish writing God Granted Me Hearing over the next 7 years. Hopefully, if it’s God’s will, it will be published by then, too.

I want to get more involved with my church and missionary work or something, too. I found an amazing organization called Aid the Silent that works to bring the gospel to the deaf since 98% of all deaf individuals do not know Jesus. As a deaf Christian, this is a cause that is really important to me. I’d love to somehow get involved with them over the next 7 years. I actually just submitted a request for more information as I was typing this. Maybe I can join them on a missionary/missions trip or sponsor a child or something. Anything would be great.

I’ll be 33 in 7  years. I’m 26 now and about as single as one can be. I really hope that by the time I’m 33, that changes. I hope I find a wonderful man of God with shared interests and that we will bring out the best in each other. Maybe we will get married and have kids and a wonderful life together, but only if that is within God’s will. I trust God and his timing (although I often get extremely impatient). It would be nice to have that within the next 7 years, though.

Having my own home (doesn’t even have to be a huge house…just a home) would be nice. I swear 30 is my cutoff age. I love my parents dearly and appreciate all that they do for me, but I can’t imagine being a 30 year old woman still living at home. Nope.

I should probably get my license before then, though. I hope to have that within the next year. DEFINITELY before the next 7 years are up haha.

These are some of my biggest goals, hopes, and dreams over the next 7 years. Who knows what will actually happen though? I leave it all in God’s hands. Just as Job 14: 5 states, “A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” God knows every day of our lives. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for me over the next7 years. These past 7 years I’ve been beyond blessed and I can’t thank him enough for all he’s done and continues to do for me.


rubber duckeyyyyy squeakkkkkk

Image Credits: Press Up Inc.

Hey guys! Happy Monday! So I haven’t had time to write in a couple of days (big shock there…). My sister’s birthday was on Saturday so I’ve been pretty tied up with that. I left off on day 12 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge and it’s a fun one! For day 12 I’m instructed to write about two words/phrases that make me laugh and why.

The first two words that come to mind are “squeak” and “honeydew”.

Now, these seem like two completely different words. “Squeak” is a noise that a rubber duck makes (and precisely how I discovered I am kind of obsessed with that sound…more on that in a sec). Honeydew is a fruit. However, when applied to my life, these two different words have way more in common than you’d think.

I’ll start first with “squeak”. I never had an opinion of this word until right after receiving my first cochlear implant in December of 2014. If you follow my other blog, Confessions of a Def Deaf Girl, you might remember that one of the first places I went with my cochlear implant after being activated was Smithville with my boyfriend at the time, Larry. When we went there, we got these crazy rubber ducks out of a machine. When I squeezed it and heard it the first time I thought it sounded hilarious and I couldn’t stop laughing. It was a sound I never heard before and it brought me such child-like wonder, amazement, and above all else, amusement. The only thing that was more amusing to me than hearing the actual rubber ducks “squeak” was hearing the word “squeak”. “SQUEAKKKKKKKK”. I like to say this word VERY loudly and stretch out each and every syllable. When I do this, I usually end up dying of laughter and everyone looks at me really weird. I know that it probably doesn’t make much sense to most people and most people won’t understand what’s so funny about this word. You have to be deaf to get it, and deaf in a certain frequency (high frequency) at that. “Squeak” is a high-frequency sounding word. I never heard it the way it’s supposed to sound until after I got activated and it sounded funny to me and it was so much fun to say. “SQUEAKKKKKKKKKKKKK”. Yup, still hilarious. Still fun to say.

honeydew

Image Credits: Belly Bytes

The other word that I’m kind of obsessed with is “honeydew”. This is a newer word obsession, although I’ve been obsessed with the fruit for a long time and when it’s in season, I typically eat a whole honeydew or two myself per week. I didn’t realize this until I went bilateral, but honeydew is a funny word, too. I love the way those syllables roll of my tongue and the sounds they all make together. Honeydew! I think it might have something to do with the “eeee” sound in honey and then the “ewww” or maybe the w” in “dew”. “EEEE” is high frequency and likely not a sound I heard fully in the past. I noticed as I worked to train my right ear after going bilateral that “W” sounds are a challenge to me. I think I’ve gotten much better with them (which would explain why this is a recent discovery for me), but it’s something I couldn’t hear right in the past. Now that I can hear “honeydew” correctly, it sounds funny to me. It sounds strange. Imagine all of the common everyday words in your life. Now try to imagine hearing those words for the very first time — some of them probably sound strange, right? That’s exactly how it is for me. It’s like when a baby hears a sound for the first time they might laugh and smile in amusement by it. That’s exactly how it is for me, too. I’m in wonder and awe at these new sounds. Also, “honeydew” sounds a lot like “how you do?”. I tried to make a joke based on this. It went something like:

Q: What’s a melon’s favorite greeting?

A: Honeyyyyydewwwww!

I’m the only one (other than my sister who will laugh at anything) that understood the joke or found it funny (let alone, hilarious), but oh well. I’ll amuse myself if no one else haha.

For me, words are funny because of the way they sound because many of these words I’ve been familiar with and have read or known of my entire life, but are just now hearing and discovering the sounds of for the very first times. I have been amazed almost every single day of my life since having my first cochlear implant activated by the sounds of words. I have always loved words and been an avid reader and writer. There are many words I’ve discovered from reading and writing, but never hear them. I have my own ideas on how to pronounce them or how they should sound, and then when I hear them for the first time it ends up being totally different and it just blows my mind and makes me laugh. Many times I argue that “my way is better so I’m just going to keep pronouncing it wrong!”.

“Squeak” and “honeydew” are my current word obsessions, but I’m sure that as I continue to progress with my cochlear implants and make more word discoveries, there will be many, many more to add onto that ever-growing list.


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Image Credits: Picture Quotes

So…writing about pineapples was pretty fun yesterday. Today’s topic? Much less than fun, though I’m betting I’ll have a better click through rate (CTR) on it. People apparently don’t care to read that much about my hatred of pineapples (their loss!), but always seem to be interested in relationship drama, or the lack thereof because ‘Merica.

For Day 11 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge I’m supposed to write about my relationship status, or lack thereof.

I’ve been single since October, so it looks like I’ll be discussing why.

I broke up with my boyfriend of 13 months in the middle of October, the night before we were supposed to go away for a weekend to celebrate our 1 year anniversary, something we had planned pretty much since we first got together. Needless to say, that trip never happened.

He probably thinks I broke up with him because he was sick and wasn’t sure if he was going to make it for our anniversary trip. Sure, it didn’t help at all. It was the final straw for me, really. But I’m not that heartless. Of course I didn’t just break up with him because he was sick. There was so so so much more to it than that.

I loved him very much, and the decision to walk away from our relationship was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but also something that was very necessary.

I thought he loved me for the longest time. Our relationship meant the world to me. I would have done anything for him, and in many ways, I think I did. A year ago I swore we were going to get married. I thought that by now I’d be engaged, or almost engaged to him. I was so sure he was the one. But well, obviously I was wrong about that.

For awhile, the longer we were together, the closer we were going to get. I was a trucker girlfriend, and for awhile, the distance while very hard, was making us stronger. We, or especially myself, would get so excited to see each other because it happened so infrequently. If we saw each other more than twice a month it was unheard of.

I began to really identify as a trucker girlfriend at this time. That was my main identity and I was proud of it. I knew what I was doing was hard. What girl wants to be with a guy that she never ever gets to see? But I kept told myself it was worth it…I had a great boyfriend and we loved each other very much and it wasn’t always going to be this way.

Some days being a trucker girlfriend were harder than others. I would sometimes cry a lot because I missed him so much and I’d worry about him constantly. Sometimes it just got so lonely. I had a great boyfriend that I loved to death and who was my best friend. I wanted to do and share everything with him, but it oftentimes wasn’t a possibility because he always had to work and go out on the road.

Our relationship was becoming more and more serious. We even spent a week in Disney together! It was such a great time. I got to spend like 18 hours at a time with my best friend who I swore was the love of my life for an entire week. That was practically the equivalent of every day we’ve ever been together since we first started dating. It was so hard to go home and say goodbye to him after that.

I think Disney strengthened our relationship for awhile, but it didn’t last…

I think that some of the ways we viewed each other began to change after that. We began to realize we weren’t as similar as we thought we were, and even if we had a lot in common, our families did not.

 

Realizing this began to put a real strain on our relationship. Our parents never met, but if they did, I don’t think it would’ve went over well at all. We came from very different backgrounds. But we loved each other and that’s all that mattered, right?

But here’s the thing, when you’re raised a certain way you usually believe that is the “right” way and all other ways are wrong. It’s not intentional, it’s just how it is.

I was raised to value education and to work to have a nice home and a nice car and things like that and to take pride in myself and my things. Vacations weren’t a priority — they never really took place. We all worked, studied, and enjoyed our home instead. We weren’t overly luxurious people by any means, but we had nice, expensive things that we worked hard for. It was more important for us to use money on our home and car and education and things like that than it was to have a cheap home and car and go on vacation.

His family was the opposite of that. They “just wanted to have fun”. They did work hard – but it often seemed like for all of the wrong reasons. They were sometimes obsessed with having money, but they were greedy with it. It was spent on things like vacations — and they weren’t educational or what I’d consider “traveling” – they were amusement parks and always the same ones multiple times throughout the year every year — it seemed kind of unnecessary. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, it just seemed a little weird because I wasn’t raised that way.

I think family had different meanings for both of us too. We were both close to our families but in different ways. Maybe we were in different parts of life. I wanted independence, but I wanted it with him. I was more than willing to be tied down to him. I wanted marriage and kids and a life of my own with my husband. He wanted to go on vacation with his parents and he did all the time. He’d choose that over spending time with me — and he’d choose it all the time. I wouldn’t have done it. I didn’t see him much. If it came between seeing my boyfriend more or going on vacation without him, I’d choose the option of seeing him more even if it meant giving up a family vacation or 2 (or like, 7).

As our relationship progressed, we learned more about each other and I thought more and more about our future and what it would be like to be married and raise a family together. But I stopped hearing the wedding bells. I didn’t see the love filled bliss anymore.

It was horrifying.

I saw a messy “home” in a run down trailer park in the middle of nowhere.

I saw old,broken, run down cars.

I saw my son who never saw his father and was always hurt and missing him.

I saw myself, a stay-at-home mother struggling to make ends meet and trying to explain to my children why daddy was never home.

I saw a garbage bin full of my hopes and dreams.

I began to question if this is what I wanted, and the answer was no.

That was not by any means the future I had imagined for myself or what I wanted. I wanted to go to New York. I wanted to finish my novel and be a bestselling author. I had a possible opportunity in California I wanted to explore. I wanted to go to grad school. I was considering getting my second cochlear implant since the first one was so successful.

I wanted to know that my boyfriend loved me as much as I loved him — something I was beginning to question.

I wanted a husband and a loyal father. I didn’t want to have to worry about daddy being home, where daddy was, what he was doing, whether or not he was safe, and when he’d be home.

I didn’t want to have to think of what to tell my children for why daddy missed yet another baseball game, another holiday, another birthday.

I didn’t want to live in a trailer park in the middle of nowhere.

I wanted a big house with a beautiful garden and nice lawn in a nice neighborhood. I wanted to know my neighbors and for their kids to be friends with my kids.

I didn’t want to be just a trucker wife that let her husband do whatever he wanted why she stayed home and waited for him.

I. WAS. SO. SICK. OF. WAITING.

I spent all of last summer doing nothing more than waiting. Waiting for him to call, waiting for him to text, waiting for him to come home, waiting for him to pick me up. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

And I was putting my life on the backburner. I was putting off my hopes and dreams and keeping myself from being who God destined me to be. I was a trucker girlfriend and that’s all I was. And it seemed like soon, that identity would be ripped away from me, too.

We were falling apart. We could no longer ignore our huge differences and our upbringings and who we were and what we wanted from life. Our future was becoming messy and muddled. The time away was getting to us. We were getting lonely. We were fighting. He was talking to other girls and cheating on me. I was getting mistrustful and paranoid.

I got kicked out of the trucker girlfriend groups. I never really knew why. But that’s when it felt like I really lost it all — because at the time, that’s all I had.

It felt like getting kicked in the face at first. I was already down and now the people who were supposed to be the only ones that could understand me, were kicking me further to the ground. But maybe, that’s exactly what I needed.

I needed to get angry.  I needed to break. I needed to say “Screw this lifestyle. I’m not a trucker girlfriend…I’m so much more.”

After that I began to see myself as more than just a trucker girlfriend. I was a person with my own identity and my own hopes and my own dreams. I supported him and his career and his hopes and dreams so much…the least he could do was support mine, right?

I was unhappy at work. I needed a new job. But there was one thing I had going for me — awesome health insurance. I needed to take advantage of that and get my second cochlear implant while I could. I never understood why, but he was less than supportive. He was very pessimistic. He didn’t think insurance would cover it. He was so supportive with my first surgery, it was weird that he was the opposite with the second. But I was only just considering it — I didn’t know if I’d go through with it yet, so I tried to ignore it.

I was writing more and more, too. My memoir was about half finished. I intended to finish it during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and I was very serious about it. But that wasn’t enough. I wanted to get it published and I knew the perfect way to go about it — to go back to school and get my MA in Writing at Rowan. He didn’t support that either. He thought it was too expensive and I was already so far in debt. He wanted to help me. He would help me financially, I just had to wait for him to build up his career. I dismissed this, too, and tried to ignore it. He has a point, he was right. He said he’d help me. But I didn’t realize how I didn’t need his help at all. His money and his opinion didn’t matter at all.

Then there was California — which I couldn’t really ignore. I had a HUGE amazing opportunity that was about to come to light — but it would be in California. It was exciting, but also terrifying. It was all the way across the country. But it was the perfect opportunity for me. He drove and was on the road and never home anyway, so surely this wouldn’t mater that much, right? We’d just do a long distance relationship until we got married which would only be a little harder than what we were doing. But he didn’t see it that way. He wanted me to do what would make me happy whether it be California or staying with him. But I couldn’t have both. One or the other.

Woah. Wait…what?

I’m sorry, but if he loved me, he wouldn’t have made me choose. He’d want to do anything to keep me, even if it meant moving to California (or at the very least, allowing me to go there) to be with me.This was a huge game changer and eye opener for me in my relationship.

I would’ve done it for him without thinking. I waited for him all the time. I compromised. I gave up so much of me and my life for him, but he wouldn’t for me. And it wasn’t all work, either. Sometimes I couldn’t see him because he chose his family over me. He’d rather go on vacation with them then see me. And I knew it and accepted it, as much as it hurt.

And I mentioned that to him then, too. You love your family more than you love me. I said. He admitted it. He said yes.

And it crushed me. Family is important — but I wanted to be more so. We’ve been dating for a year at that point. I wanted to BE his family. I wanted to be his wife, but I was realizing, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea.

I thought about everything. My hopes, my dreams, my love. I prayed a lot. I cried a lot. I went on a lot of walks to parks and random areas to sit and cry. At times I wanted to die. Other times, I felt like I was already dead. I had choices to make and it was terrifying. Where did I go? Did I take risks and try to follow my overly ambitious dreams? Did I give up my boyfriend — who might have been the love of my life and “the one” to do it? Or did I marry him and keep my mouth shut and settle down with a life that’s a bit less than what I hoped it would be?

It wasn’t an easy decision to make and it wasn’t something that was made over night. But after I read Thrive by Mark Hall from Casting Crowns, I knew my answer.

I have been surviving. Barely. More like struggling. Breathing through a clogged straw. Settling.

God didn’t make me to suffer. He didn’t make me to suffocate. He didn’t make me to settle. This is NOT how he wanted me to live my life.

I was made to THRIVE.

God didn’t want me to throw away my dreams for some boy. If he was really “the one” he would’ve supported me and my dreams and brought out the best of me. He wouldn’t have made me choose.

God wanted me to follow my dreams.

I gave him one chance. One more chance to prove he loved me that he could support me that this could work and that maybe he was the one. One more chance.

He blew it. We never went on our anniversary trip. Instead, we had a huge argument on the phone. I hung up. He never called back. I never bothered to apologize or forgive him for hurting me. It was the end of an era.

On that night, I decided I wasn’t going to be a trucker girlfriend anymore.

I was so much more than that.

I choose my dreams.

I have now been single for about 7 months. It’s not always easy. Sometimes I still really miss him. I still get mad that he never called me back. I still wonder what could have been. But I know this: my life got so much better when I stopped trying to be someone I wasn’t (a trucker girlfriend) and chased after my dreams and became the best possible version of myself.

I’m working a wonderful job now where I’m much happier. It’s not in California, but it doesn’t need to be. In the Fall, I will not only be a graduate student at Rowan, but I’ll be a college professor teaching first year writing, too! The first draft of my novel is complete and the second draft is about 90% complete. I’ll be focusing on this and trying to get it published through my career as a graduate student. I’ve gotten right with Christ and have even recently been baptized.

I’m not a trucker wife.

I’m single.

I’m a dreamer.

I’m a doer…doing BIG things.

I’m happy.

I.

AM.

UNSTOPPABLE.

 

And this is just the beginning.

I’m not opposed to the idea of being in a relationship. I could meet the right guy and end up in a relationship tomorrow (not likely, but you never know). If the right guy comes along I’d be more than happy to go out on a date and take it from there. But I’m really content with being single right now.

I know one thing, too. I will never put myself, my hopes, my dreams, and/or the person that I am on hold for a man. Never again.

Relationships are a two way street. Not one person supporting, loving, and doing everything for the other. For now on, I will always choose my dreams. And, the right person will be part of that dream. They will be for me and my dreams, not someone that will make me choose. Because when it comes down to “love” or my dreams, my dreams will win every time.



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