I’m Okay With Being Alone

When I was a younger teenager, I constantly longed for love of any kind. I would buy Seventeen magazine and read the monthly horoscope section to see if Gemini’s were going to be romantically lucky this month. I would watch cute, cheesy love movies and read romance novels. My number one Google search was probably “how to get a boy to like you.” All of my friends always had at least one boy to talk to, and no boy was ever interested in dating me. (At this point in my life I didn’t even know you could like boys AND girls without being ‘weird’. I live in a very conservative small town right outside of Pittsburgh.)
I didn’t fully understand why no one was interested in me until I really thought about it. I never interacted with people at school, and never would I DARE leave my house to meet people outside of my school. Around freshman year of high school, I recognized I was a loner, but I was very okay with it. I loved being alone and, though I rarely am anymore, I still love it. I cherish the time I do have alone.
Spending time alone is something I believe everyone should do if they’re looking to make a change in their life, whether that is manifesting meaningful relationships or simply just changing the way they think. Being alone is what you were given, and is what you can use; your best work comes out of being lonely and thinking all of the time. When relationships are meant to be in your life, it will happen; there is no need for force.
If you are not sure how to effectively spend your time alone, here are some ideas:
1. Journal. Letting your thoughts out in a safe place where there is no judgement is very helpful. Talking to people is okay, too, but if you feel uncomfortable being very vulnerable, journaling is a good solution. It is also amazing to have something physical to go back and look at how you were feeling at a specific point in your life.
2. Learn something that interests you. Read a book or watch a documentary about a specific topic you’ve always wanted to know more about.
3. Meditate. Ground yourself. Connect with your inner being and feel at 100% peace. Meditating helps clear so much negative energy and clear your mind.
4. Go places alone that would make you feel a little uncomfortable. Go to a restaurant and eat a meal. Go to a park and take a walk or read. Just do things you normally wouldn’t do alone to cultivate a relationship with yourself in the real world.
When you do these things and learn how to enjoy being alone, you will slowly form a relationship with yourself you never knew was possible to have. Life is so much easier when you enjoy your own company. This is a very hard process, but if you REALLY want change, I PROMISE you can do these things. I believe in you and I am already proud of what you are going to accomplish.
With love,
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Grow Up Already

         For years, I’ve felt reluctant to grow up. All of my birthdays have been sad, because I just keep growing older. I cried when I got my period for the first time. And second. And third. I knew that was a significant mark of womanhood, and I wanted nothing more than to stay out of it. I cried the first time my Mom made me wear a bra. Though I have not worn one in three years, my boobs have grown and I still feel scared when I think about it. I quit my first job since it made me uncomfortable simply because I could not believe I was old enough to have one. I still haven’t had my first real kiss and I would never think about going to a high school party. Although it took me a long time, I realize I have a huge fear of growing up.

          It’s not that I even had an amazing childhood that anyone would miss, but I just can’t seem to let go of it. Maybe I feel as though it COULD’VE been better, or it SHOULD’VE been better. I need to accept the fact that I cannot change it. Spending all of my time hoping and wishing I was raised in a different area or family wastes my time thinking about what I am doing right in this moment.

          A lot of my childhood, I was obsessed with teenagers. When I’d go to the mall, I’d see the sixteen-year old boy and girl holding hands and smiling. I saw the group of girls holding 25 shopping bags collectively, whispering about the hot topic in their group. They always seemed so much older than me. Actually, they still feel so much older than me. Everyone my age has been through so much more than I have and I feel so behind and lonely. I feel like it’s time to stop obsessing over teenagers and the way they act (and calling them ‘they’ like I am not one myself). I need to experience things, kiss people, get a job, and do more than just sit in my room reading a book all day. I’m anxious and I don’t know where to begin.

         I guess I just wrote this essay to make myself feel vulnerable and hopefully discover I am not alone. I’m not sure how exactly to grow up, but I think it starts by living in the present rather than the past, or even the future. I’m always in a rush, but I never stop to think what I’m doing. I need to stop trying to make things happen and accept that they will happen if they are meant to. I’m hoping 2018 is an actual fresh start, for me and everyone else reading this that feels lost. May you stick with your resolutions and prosper in every way you can. I love you. (This world needs more love.)

All the love,

Shelby

 

photo credit

Bad Year

It is the end of the year. 2017, the horrifying monster in 2016’s closet has finally released it’s tight grip on us. If it was kind to you, congratulations on your successes and your luck. The rest of us have been chewed up and spit out.
The moral of the story this year, for me at least,  has been “Things Don’t Go As Planned.” I learned my lesson by trying to fight the winds of change as much as I could, to follow on a beaten path, to be as “safe” as possible in order to avoid any extra heartbreak. Needless to say that was a mistake. A messy one.
As humans, one of our most profound abilities is to grow. Our experiences, especially the scariest ones, help us to evolve, to become stronger and wiser. This year I witnessed the women in my life go through their own metamorphoses- my grandmother, who lost her husband of 50 years, became independent and stayed strong, never letting herself cry in front of her children and grandchildren. She began to surround herself with friends again, and by Thanksgiving she was laughing and cooking and sharing all the same, and did the chores my grandfather always did for her without as much as a sigh. My 15 year old sister’s friend ended his life after so many bad days that it seemed impossible to continue. She stood in a line of grieving kids for hours for her chance to say goodbye. That night, she texted her friends she’d lost contact with, and patched up the holes in their friendship. After years in the same position at the same company, my mother decided to start a business helping others find jobs. She left a journal page open, which revealed to me that she wants to write a book in the future. She knows she’s only getting started.
And then there was me, who came running home after a string of stress and bad decisions left my mental state in shambles. I was lucky enough to be compassionately received by my family. For once in my life, I had no idea what was next. It turns out that downtime and trauma leave you the opportunity to become re-acquainted with yourself, to reassess your priorities, and to outline who you want to become and how you’re going to get there. In that time I was able to assess where exactly I saw my life going within the next 5 years and I feel more hopeful than ever before.
My best friend’s father, Gregg, had a catchphrase: “You are always where you’re supposed to be.” Nearly 4 years after his death, Gregg’s voice still repeats this mantra in my head whenever I begin to doubt myself. This statement might seem too broad to be universally true, but 2017 showed me that Gregg was onto something. Did my vision for this year include a mental breakdown? Of course not. My grandmother didn’t plan to lose her husband, nor my sister’s friend’s parents to lose their child. If you’re anything like me, the endless possibilities of what life could throw your way in a year absolutely terrifies you. Knowing that a curveball could smash my hopes and dreams for the future in an instant is quite possibly the root of all my anxiety. I would love to share advice on how to deal with this, but I have yet to find any that truly helps. However, I find solace in the idea that we are constantly learning and absorbing our surroundings. Where you are at the end of this year may not be where you want to be, but in honor of Gregg, look around and assess what you’re learning from your current situation, and how it can help you grow in the long run. Calming, isn’t it?
If you’ve had a bad year, I extend my hugs and best wishes to you. You win some, you lose some. It will be okay. It’s impossible to say what 2018 has in store for us, but before we begin our next trip around the sun, do something I only ever began to do halfway into this year- count your blessings. Understand that things can’t always happen our way and why that might be a good thing. You may be just where you’re supposed to be.
All the love,

Notevember – Week One

Notevember, writing everyday for the sake of exploring all kinds of words.

Wednesday, November 1st
Im failing to forget about everything basically.

About how I could’ve loved you better and fixed this. Instead of sitting here listening to songs that make it extremely hard for me to forget everything. 
Thursday, November 2nd
I rejected you at first, your love and care.

I thought that if I forced myself to forgot the idea of someone loving you existed.

Then I wouldn’t have to face the perishing heartache afterwards, but i did.

I slipped and fell so softly, i almost didn’t notice the falling. But the discomfort leached on to me until i had to acknowledge it eventually.
Friday, November 3rd
I’ll write to you, throughout this journey, i’ll write to you about several feelings and emotions that are so common between us because it’s simply Its what i do best.

I’ll write to you because my words carry a great value and i’ll never put more effort into anything but my words.

 So for you, I’ll write 
Saturday, November 4th
to you, my person.

Someone who i can easily talk to about how my sanity is leaving in little pieces.

She goes through impenetrable battles and she raises her head high.

Most importantly she carries pure wisdom, she sees the bigger picture like its left there at the back of her mind.

She’s a mosaic art piece and every piece of her tells a story deeper than the other.

My person, a rock in a fathomless atmosphere.
Sunday, November 5th
Love poems that screech in your head, so loud you try to block your ears. Love poems they fill your heart with an unknown feeling, perhaps its because you miss so dearly and you remember so clearly. How it once felt to love so deeply. But even if you grew past that, love poems speak so loudly. You don’t understand, you want to yell back ” do you have to be so loud? About your love and all that desires for someone? Do you have to be so loud about how dwelled in someone’s heart?” But you cant, and you stay quiet for the soul purpose which is of your heart. Because you once again remember how it felt at some point of your life.
Saturday, November 6th
a wicked smile, tears from laughter 

she’s the epitome of an outstanding soul 

in a crowd full of a million faces that look the same 

she’s standing right there uniquely effortlessly 

no way you’ll miss her.