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The cycle of writing

So, today I have been narrowing down my list of graduate schools I want to apply to, and subsequently, working on the application forms. In direct effect of this action, I have decided to write this blog. Why, you ask? Well, to do what I do best: procrastinate. What did you think I was going to say? Writing? If you think “writing” is what I do best then you must not know many writers.

Here is how a writer works: first, we decide that something needs to be written, and we are obviously the chosen ones. Then, we spend some time on Facebook and Twitter, slowly moving to BuzzFeed. When we are really low, we peruse Tumblr. This is done, naturally, in the name of “research.”

After that hard days work, most writers are tired. We concede to “start the project” tomorrow, after a good night’s rest. Except we stay up all night watching Netflix and Friends re-runs on Nick at Nite. We can’t all be perfect people.

But it’s a new day now. One where we will write something that will inspire the world! Enter: staring at a blank white screen for a solid 45 minutes. You check Twitter. Decide that if you are ever going to get anything done, you must turn off your internet. Stare at the screen for another 5 minutes before checking Twitter on your phone. Dammit technology, there is no escaping you! And, we, as writers, have very little will power.

My favorite trick has been the reward system. If I write for an hour, then I get (blank) after. Well, I’ve already spent 50 minutes staring at the screen, so only ten more minutes before I can watch the new Kardashians episode (don’t judge me, it’s research!).

I sit perched with my fingers on the keyboard. Any minute now inspiration will strike. I start writing nonsensical sentences: “It was the worst of times, it was the well…ok of times.” You and I both know this is a rip off/doesn’t make much sense, but I can’t delete it, otherwise there will be no proof of my hard work.

I actually write for a solid half hour. Chances are what I have written makes no sense, and will never see the final draft, but I’ve done it. And boy, am I exhausted. (Even during the writing of this blog, I checked Facebook and Twitter. I’m procrastinating from my procrastinating hobby).

So, when people ask why I need to go to graduate school and why not “just write a novel in your free time?” I will show them this.

But then they will show me graduate school applications and I will be lost in the hopelessness that is the procrastination circle.

Writers, I know I’m not alone in this. Stand up and claim your procrastination!

This post has been a long time coming. And it’s going to be the most personal thing I have ever written, let alone posted on the internet. So, please, bare with me.

If you know me at all, even just in passing, then you probably know about the heart-wrenching break up I went through last February. If the black eye I sported for a month didn’t tip you off, then the gloomy cloud that hung over my head for months after probably did. Yes, I was in a long-term, abusive relationship. Yes, I stayed way longer than I should’ve. And, yes, it still hurts today.

I want to start this off and say if you are in an abusive relationship, whether verbal, physical, or emotional, please, please, please end it. The fact is that people don’t change. Especially when you keep going back and essentially telling them their actions are acceptable.

So. Since this has all happened, or really since it has all become public knowledge, I have been bombarded with questions. The first, really, has been how long was this going on. Honestly? Too long. We were together for four years, and he had been physically abusive to me for about three of those years. Before he was physically abusive, he was verbally abusive. Not all the time, not at all. But when we fought nasty names were said and harsh words that I could never forget came out of his mouth.

People also asked why I stayed. I have many quick answers: I thought I could help him, which is true. I loved him, true. The real answer is way more complex. Yes, I truly thought that by staying by his side and loving him so completely that I could somehow fix this issue. But also, the first few times it happened I just believed it wouldn’t happen again. This was the man I had loved more than anything, my first love. I trusted him with everything I had. This couldn’t be a permanent thing; he would get better. WE could get better. Sometimes I blamed myself and said that I need to learn to back off when we fought. Other times, I downplayed it so much in my mind, “It wasn’t really that bad, he just lost his cool but it could’ve been worse.” I justified his actions because that was what he grew up with, and he truly didn’t know any better. When it comes down to it, I was so utterly afraid to walk away from the one person who seemingly loved me no matter what (though looking back, those were just thoughts in my head). And yes, he had some amazing qualities. Would I have stayed without the good times? I don’t know. I’d like to say no, but I was so addicted to the drama of our relationship; of trying to save him from himself. I believed for a good portion of our relationship that he would change for me the way he promised. *People don’t change for you, they ONLY change for themselves.* I stayed because I loved him, and the idea of our relationship and our future, more than I loved myself.

I want to make this clear: There is absolutely, positively NO reason to abuse anyone, and especially the person you are in love with. All those excuses I told myself to make up for his behavior…well, they DON’T. Can I be a frustrating person to deal with at times? Absolutely. Does that warrant any kind of abuse? Absolutely not. This goes for every single human being on the planet.

Another famous question being asked is why I didn’t tell you what was going on. If you are someone who asked me this, please don’t take it personally. I couldn’t admit it to myself that I was in an abusive relationship, let alone admit it to you, no matter how close we are. For those of you who have understood without asking, thank you.

Now we get to the fun part. The day I actually left. Or, rather, made him leave. We both weren’t feeling well, my ex actually didn’t go to work. I came home from a meeting and we got into a trivial argument. I told him that it isn’t a big deal and he needs to stop being so dramatic. That simply angered him more and he said he was done with me and taking his stuff and leaving. At this point, I honestly don’t know what was going through my mind, but when he was leaving, I asked him to leave his key. I was done with the bullshit. He started to take the key off the ring, but instead of giving it to me, he punched me in the face. Hence the black eye. I don’t want to get into the graphic details after that because this isn’t about putting him on trial.

The only thing going through my head this time was, “He is going to kill me.” I had never truly believed that before. There had been times way worse than this, and I still never thought he would kill me. Until then. The next thing that ran through my head was, “I want to have a family. I can’t let my kids go through this!” I don’t have any kids, yet, and I was already thinking of them.

After he left, I locked the door immediately. I didn’t look in the mirror, but I could feel it was bad. I called my mom and sob-talked my deepest darkest secret, “He hit me.” It was one of the only times I admitted it to another person, let alone admit it to myself. My mother, my amazing, saint-like mother, left work and came straight to me. I tried to hide my face from her, I’m not sure why, shame, perhaps? After hugging and sobbing more, my dad arrived. I debated about calling the police. “I don’t want to ruin his life,” I said, “He isn’t a bad person.” But my mom said something that really struck a chord with me, “Gabriella, this could help him. This could stop him from doing this to you or another girl again.” She was right. I called the police, and then I went to the hospital.

Going to work as a waitress with a black eye was a test to my strength. It didn’t hurt a lot so mostly I could forget about it, until I walked by a mirror, or a customer looked at me, concerned. I tried to give the generic answer, “Oh, it’s not as bad as it seems,” when someone asked what happened. To speak of the breakup caused me to get so choked up.

So, why did I leave this time? Sure, some of it was because I couldn’t hide a black eye. Some of it was because I was scared for my life. But mostly, it just felt time. I can’t put a finger on why I really felt this time was it. There were previous times that were way worse, albeit slightly less obvious to the public, that didn’t cause me to leave. I suppose, I was just ready. That’s the best explanation I can give.

So, here I am. 11 months later. My heart still hurts on occasion. Sometimes, I still miss the amazing guy I knew. It was hard to let go of all the dreams I had resting on him, and our relationship. But, it was the best thing that has ever happened to me. It was also the absolutely hardest thing I have ever had to go through. It tested my beliefs in everything. It challenged the strength I had. It stressed every relationship I have. I came out of it so much stronger, so much more aware of the power I have over my life. My true family and friends outshone all others. I now believe in myself. I’m not the young, naive teenager that fell in love with this man. For the first time, I am an adult on my own. And you know the craziest part? I’m ok.

Last 24.

What if you knew when your last 24 hours would be with a certain person. Would you be kinder to them; listen more intently to what they have to say? Would you let the trivial issues go, and forgive past arguments? Maybe, you would embrace their flaws and insecurities; or maybe, you’d just hold them a bit longer.

Maybe you’d take those last few hours to make them happy, and do whatever they requested. Or, maybe, you would take that time to tell them how you truly feel. 

Do you think that knowing it’s your last time to speak with, hold hands with, and listen to someone would change your actions towards them? If so, maybe those actions should be implemented today. 

Don’t be a “should’ve, would’ve, could’ve”. Don’t wait to realize what you have until it’s gone.

New Year.

So. It’s a new year. I rang it in with the Backstreet Boys, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get much better than that. My last post spent a lot of time reflecting on 2012. It was a beautiful year in a tragic, hopeful, growing way. 

But 2013. Oh, the hopes I have for you. I don’t make specific resolutions, because I feel like that is being set up for failure. But hopes. Hopes can never hurt, right? Without hope, the world would be a dull, depressing world.

So, my hopes for 2013. I hope to write more, whether it is on here or for myself personally. This will most likely happen as I am going back to grad school. For writing. So it’s kind of required.

I hope I continue to grow as an adult and experience new things. I never want to settle for something in my life because I am lonely, or feel like I am “supposed to” do it. That’s never who I have been and I intend to stay true to myself.

I hope I find something that truly fulfills me. I spent 2012 floundering in emotions, hoping not to drown. Most of my energy was spent on staying afloat, and now I want to redirect that energy to make my life have meaning. I don’t know exactly what that may be, but I do know I want to leave my mark on this world.

Most importantly, for 2013 I hope to be happy. I hope to be surrounded by people who inspire me, love me, and make me a better person. I hope I can be that person for others. 

Here’s to the New Year!

My Favorite Things of 2012

2012 has been an intense year for me. Tumultuous, heart-wrenching, strength building, life affirming, intense year. I can honestly say if you talked to me a year ago, I never would’ve predicted I would be where I am. Some of that is good, some of it is indifferent. All I can say is that I am happy where I am in life. Everything does happen for a reason.

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Though this was a rough year to get through, and I honestly cannot wait for 2013 (high hopes!), I had quite a few favorites of the year. I was going to do “Top 12 Favorites of 2012″ but I had far too many. So, I’m not sure what number it will end at (almost definitely will be an even number, though), but these are my favorite things of 2012, that made life a bit easier. In no real order because my brain is scattered.

1. Break-ups: Some of my favorite people, and myself included, went through heart-wrenching break ups this year. Though they really aren’t easy, ever, 9 times out of 10 they are for the best, and you come out a bit stronger.

2. Family and Friends: If you are in this category, THANK YOU. I know I wasn’t the easiest person to deal with this year. Without you guys I definitely wouldn’t be doing as well as I am today. (I promise this whole post won’t be sappy!)

3. Beyonce: Fierce and Fabulous. Live in concert she blows the roof off of anyone else. And she’s hot. I rest my case.

4. Taylor Swift: I am pretty sure we are the same person in different bodies. Her songs, new and old, are played religiously on my iPod.

5. Simon: My sweet, sweet puppy. He motivated me to get out of bed every morning. He is always thrilled to see me, and always keeps me on my toes (read: getting fleas, pooping under tables). I think I’m gonna go wake him up right now and shower him with kisses. I’m not crazy.

6. Braveheart: Braveheart has always been my second home. I am pretty sure I spend more time there than my actual home. This year, though, Braveheart meant just a little extra. Customers I knew became friends, strangers offered sweet words, and my co-workers always kept me smiling.

7. My iPhone: I fought getting an iPhone for so long. But I AM ADDICTED. Emojis really do make my life better.

8. Yellow: Always been my favorite color. But now, it is infused everywhere. My iPhone case (another plus for the apple product), my kilt, my necklace, my bedding. How can you not smile seeing the color yellow?!

9. Parenthood (the TV show): Talk about an emotional rollercoaster. This show incorporates every part of life I love. And it has brought Lauren Graham back into my life, as well as adding new actors to love.

10. Victaulic Boys: Maybe this is too much to share, but they really were my favorite things over the summer. A group of guys would live in our apartments during training, and were some of the most fun people. They livened up our summer.

11. Pinterest: I’m probably the millionth person to say this is a favorite, but I JUST DON’T CARE. Pinterest is my life. Seriously. Visit my boards (they aren’t organized in the slightest).

12. Puerto Rico: This trip was awesome. It was impossibly hard leaving Simon for a week (I asked for many pictures via text) but it resulted in so many awesome memories, and life lessons. Namely, I cannot kayak, should never get drunk in a hotel the first night because I will not be able to find my room, and that when drunk I only black out when on the balcony. Very vital life lessons.

13. Red Wine: Yes, it needs to be capitalized because it is a staple in any self respecting females diets.

14: Ellen Degeneres: I’ve always loved Ellen. Her books are hysterical. But this year I have been able to watch her show almost every day, and die laughing. But, she is also such a kind hearted person and really uses her fame and fortune for the best, by giving back.

15. Justin Timberlake: Yes, he got married. No, I am not suicidal. I am happy for him. I am sad for me. He will always be on a list of my favorite things.

16. Justin Bieber: The boy can sing. He is my second favorite Justin. (this is the only part of the list that is in correct order. TIMBERLAKE FOREVER.) I’m pretty sure I am 12 on the inside. But come on. Boyfriend. As Long as You Love Me. SELENER. Jelena forevz.

17. Perks of Being a Wallflower: Multiple people have told me to read this book in the past. I never listened. I was dumb. The book, the movie. Gorgeous story, and completely relatable. I wish I had read it when I was a sad, lonely high schooler.

18. The Hunger Games: Also another series I ignored suggestions to read. I did read them before the movie though. They were the first books I could actually get through after my breakup, and all I have to say is Team Katniss.

19. Dresses: I’ve never been a girly-girl, but this year I have discovered the feminine side of me that wants to dress up. Dresses can be so fun and flirty. And, hey, I’m 22. I might as well show it off now.

20. Pumpkin Asparagus rolls: From Kome. Amazing. I don’t eat seafood, especially raw seafood in the form of sushi, but this roll is da bomb (don’t judge me).

21. Britney Spears: Because, well, it’s Britney, bitch. She’s pretty much always been awesome and I will go to my grave saying that. Also, some of the things that come out of her mouth on X Factor are just priceless.

22. Twitter: I’m really funny, and the world deserves to read my humor. Also, I don’t feel guilty updating it a thousand times a day, posting random song lyrics, or adding pictures of my puppy. It’s not Facebook, ok?!

23. Walks with Simon: I’m not the most athletic person, but this is something I can do. We go sometimes for 4 miles, and he still isn’t tired. I wish I had his energy.

24. The Obamas: I think it’s safe to say that The Obamas are quite the “power-couple”.

25. How I Met Your Mother: This isn’t a brand-new obsession, but it still holds steady. Barney, Lily, Ted, Marshall, and Robin are my fake best friends. I think I can find a bit of myself in all of them. And it’s just so freaking funny.

26. Gangnam Style: Yes. I know it’s overplayed, and I don’t know what they are saying 90% of the song, but it’s just so damn catchy. And I love when he calls me “sexy lady”. OPPA GANGNAM STYLE.

27. Katy Perry: This girl is the SHIT. From her movie to her album, she is just awesome. Every song on her album could be a hit. And she’s sexy. I wish I had her confidence.

28. EOS Lipbalm: I have three balls in my purse right now, and that isn’t even remotely sexual. They are the best chapstick and it’s really fun to say to people that I need to use my ball.

29. Chelsea Lately: It’s just funny. It’s crude and politically incorrect most of the time, but it’s so funny. She says what you want to, but can’t.

30. House Hunters (International included): I’ve heard that these shows are staged. I refuse to believe such blasphemy. I truly, truly believe now that I am able to pick out the perfect house if I ever have the money.

I hope this list wasn’t too all over the place. 2012 has been a hard year, and I am eager to move on to better things, but it will always be remembered as my year of biggest growth. Here’s to 2013!

What’s my age again?

This will most likely be my last post as a 21 year old (unless I get some crazy inspiration in the next 24 hours and NEED to blog about it). It’s crazy to think that I will be 22. When I was young, it seemed so old. Now, I’m feeling like it’s the perfect age.

21 has been a rough year. It’s been the hardest year of my life, actually. It’s also been the year that I have grown the most and learned the most about myself. A year ago, I was just starting my internship and waitressing. I was still reeling from the experience that was living in England. 

During 21, I have graduated college(HOLY CRAP), moved out, got a puppy of my very own (!!), went through a miserable break up, and learned how strong I actually am.

Lately, I have been telling everyone that I can’t wait for 21 to be over. It was a hard year and I’m having high hopes that 22 will be better…it isn’t easy to be much worse, honestly. But, I wouldn’t have traded this year for anything. I know myself so much better now. I know that I can handle anything even when it seems impossible. 21 had some really great moments. I met people vastly different from myself, and even learned to enjoy having fun. I’ve stopped taking myself quite so seriously, and, though I didn’t want to, have stopped relying on my “plans”. 

I don’t like to make resolutions or hopes for the year (but 2 is my favorite number, so this year better be doubly lucky!). All I want is to be happy. Hopefully, I can work towards my career path more than I have been. I’d love to travel more. But, honestly, all I hope for 22 is to keep growing, and keep learning about myself.

Focusing on…me?

September is my birthday month. Honestly, I love the fall and everything that comes with it. But, September is by far the best because it has my birthday. This past year has been full of ups and downs (mostly downs, but who’s counting?), growing up, and learning about myself. So, I made a pact with another September birthday friend to do something nice for myself every day of the month. 

But I have a problem. I don’t know what to do for myself. Sure, I watch my favorite show or indulge in sweets. I suppose that could be something nice for myself. But, I was thinking taking time to focus on my writing, or reading one of the books that are piled on top of my bookshelf. I haven’t been very good at  this whole putting-myself-first thing. 

I love birthdays. I make such a big deal of everyone else’s, so why is it so hard for me to make a big deal of mine? True, being the center of attention scares the living daylights out of me. True, I’ve always put others first. But, also true, I am getting older, and who doesn’t want to be celebrated sometimes. 

I am so eager to start a new year of my life. I have grown so much in the past few months, and believe it or not, have started focusing on myself a lot more. I guess I just need to work on spoiling myself more. It’s a start, though.

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