Babies.

They are great. I mean that is what everyone says. The crying, diapers, doctor appointments, daycare, and clothes… In the future, cars, gas money, insurance, talking back, disrespectfulness, school activities, sports, food, college… Everyone says they are great.

The thought of having kids absolutely terrifies me. I love holding babies and seeing their cute smiles, until they burp up all over my shirt. Sometimes I do not think people understand the financial burden that comes with having just one child.

I don’t like crying and I don’t like screaming. Isn’t that all babies do? People say once its my baby that I will have a different feeling about it, but what if I don’t? What if I have a baby and do not like being a mother? The thought of secretly hating motherhood and dreading waking up at 3am to feed a screaming baby is a thought that haunts me.

Is this normal? I’ve been told my thoughts are irrational and weird. I absolutely adore my husband and love devoting my time and energy to him. I don’t want that to all disappear. I want to be able to travel with my husband and not have to worry about where the kids are going to go or how much more it’d cost to bring them along, just to cancel the trip altogether.

Kids terrify me. But they are great; that is what everyone says.

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Loneliness

Loneliness.

It sure has a way of captivating you. The emptiness as a jogger passes you by, businessmen yelling into their phone as they wave down a cab, and homeless men shaking a cup of coins. The world is spinning, whirling by, but you remain still.

The silence grows louder. The echoes seem distant. The loudness of the world seems like mimes. Lips moving, sirens blaring, but the world remains silent.

In a prison that has no release date.

“Who am I? Where am I? What am I doing?” The same questions repeat in my head day in and day out. Laying in bed and staring into the darkness, the questions consume my every thought as a tear streams down my cheek.

The sun rises. A new day with the same questions. The same silence.

Leading the Way

I found him. I really think I have.

I always told myself that I would never let anyone in my life again.  I could never endure the pain that I felt, for I do not think my life could handle it once more. But here I am. Allowing my walls to fall, my armour collapses a little more each day.

I wasn’t searching for anyone; I wasn’t looking for him. I had my mind on the goal and thought nothing could steal my gaze. But he did.

I was invited to a byo at a Chinese restaurant on September 23 of 2017. Little did I know that event, that once seemed so insignificant, would change my life forever.

As the evening approached, I began to wonder if I should even go to the byo. Being the nervous new kid that just transferred universities, this place was so foreign and, at times, scary as hell. As the evening grew closer, I convinced myself to step out of my comfort zone and go to this byo where I knew no one. Plus, whats the worst that could happen? Little did I know.

I caught his eye the moment I walked in, unaware that he was in my group. I sat down at a table and introduced myself. The voices echoed in the background of my thoughts. Thoughts of wondering if I wore the right outfit, if I was supposed to laugh at that annoying joke, wondering how people even attempted to make friends around here. These people were not like me. The feeling of loneliness was hidden by my insistence of another jello-shot and trying to make conversation with everyone at the table.

By the end of the evening, I was able to remember a total of 3 people’s names, as that has never been my strong suit. At the end of the night, we realized that we needed to finish off the last of the boxed wine and for us, that was not an issue. That’s when I officially met him.

I filled my last glass to the brim, and he told me I have to finish it. Not romantic, I know. But that is how it all started. Little did I know the spike-haired, tan skinned, button-up pink plaid shirt with rolled sleeves, and polo shorts guy would be smiling at me. Maybe he was just fascinated by the Oklahoma accent that had not yet faded. It was the talk of the night for many people, but it seemed more than that with him.

As the restaurant closed, the remaining of us proceeded to the sidewalk outside. With my arm now linked with his, I asked everyone else where we were going now. I was not planning to have a late evening, but I was not about to let the night be over. As we chatted a little more, we were told about a party.

We ended up at the party and made our way to the best part, the beer pong table. Clearly intoxicated, we were giving the other team a run for their money. It eventually came down to 1-to-1, with the other team sinking the last cup. I was up next and if anyone knows a hard-headed gal from Oklahoma, you know there is nothing she hates more than losing. I take a couple of blinks to clear my vision and release; this was my last chance, the redemption cup. I should have known this was the start of a great future.

He goes on to sink the last cup, and we won. Boy did we win. We were unaware of how much we really won.

Afterward, we made our way downstairs to find the drinks. Drinks that were not needed, but why not? Music was blaring, and space was limited, pushing our way past every sticky and sweaty person. We were hand-in-hand as he led the way through the crowd.

We ended up with another drink in our hand and looking at each other as I placed his one free hand on my hips as we moved to the music that was unavoidable and interrupting every conversation. Final sips were taken, and the one thing happened that I never thought imaginable. Lips touched.

For many people, this is common occurrence for a college weekend. Not for me. Not for the girl that has yet to kiss a single guy all of college. Now a junior, the thought of kissing a guy seemed a million miles away. Not that I didn’t want that in my future, that just was not my focus. Not my priority at the moment.

It continued. I mean who stops at one kiss?

We ended up leaving to escape the sweat and smell and somehow ended up in my dorm. The kissing continued until it happened. Not the usual, my life is not usual. The noise one makes mid-kiss to prevent the proceeding. I do not think it was what he had expected. It’s not what most people expect after meeting a girl and making out with her at a party. Unwanting things to end, he was respectful of my wish. He proceeded to put his number in my phone, but I didn’t think he it would ever be used.

Somehow I convinced him to go to Fresh Grocer with me, the 24-hour grocery store across the street. He did not realize this was just a reason to get him out of my room. Not ready to get rid of him, but as a way to keep myself from allowing things to escalate between us. A way to stop myself, because he was oh so hot.

He walked to the grocery store with me and I had to think of something cheap to buy, not really needing anything. On our way back we stopped outside of my dorm. Take a guess as to what happened.

No surprise, we kissed a little bit more. The way his lips touched mine, I did not want to turn him away. As we parted ways, he promised he would text me. This was not a promise I expected him to keep. However, life does have a way of surprising us.

Earlier in the evening I had felt lonely and scared in a crowd full of people. Unable to find my way, unsure of who I am. While he does not define me, he does a beautiful job of complimenting me.

Still uncertain of where I am at and where I am going in life. Nervous and scared of what lies ahead. Now I have someone with whom to share those fears and uncertainties. To hold my hand along the way, leading the way into the crowd.

Falling for the Girl Who’s Taught Herself Not to Need Anyone

“This one is going to be different. I can promise you that. But I can also promise that you won’t ever be uninspired or bored – this is the girl who will change you, she won’t ever take your shit, and you’ll be a better man because of it.

She comes across as a paradoxical mix of outgoing but introverted, very social but seldom out. When you’re so used to not needing anyone, you know exactly who you are, and she’ll never fake anything because of it. This makes maintaining relationships a constant struggle for her. She’ll connect with many, and they’ll quickly feel comfortable with her, but it takes her a while to feel fully comfortable, so she can only take being around others incrementally.

This might frustrate you. There seem to be so many walls to break down. Just when you start to feel like you’re figuring her out – you find another piece to the puzzle that throws everything off. Be patient. She’s this tough because she had to be. Something happened that taught her to never need anyone. Someone she needed left before she was done needing them. But none of this will spill out easily. She’s extremely uncomfortable with other people seeing her vulnerable or in pain. Her emotions and pain are hers, and this is what she’s used to.

She’ll tell herself she doesn’t need you. She’ll make situations worse by trying to suppress her feelings about them. When you fall for the girl who’s used to not needing anyone, believe that she has more feelings and layers than she knows what to do with. Her instinct will be to try to compose herself. When she does open up to you, it’s everything. Being emotionally naked with someone is how she expresses her love.

She’ll know exactly who she is and what she wants. When you’re used to not needing anyone, you do what you want, when you want, and without asking permission or informing anyone. She loves this part of her identity, but she secretly wants you to confront her. She’s hoping that sometimes, you’ll put your foot down, and challenge her stubborn ways.

She’s strong, maybe even too strong for you at first. Don’t let this fool you. This is her outer shell. Her armor. She is so used to taking care of herself that it’s going to be hard for her to let someone else in. It took a lot of work to get to where she is: Independent, taking no shit and being happy on her own. She’s afraid to let you in because she’s afraid of what will happen if you might leave.

I can promise you it won’t be easy, she’ll hang on to her walls for as long as she can. She will be enigmatic. She will always want things her way, and she’ll fight you when she doesn’t get it.

She’ll even try to push you away. This is how she protects herself.

But when you really get to know her, she’ll be the girl who will change your life. Don’t always give in to her, but be patient with her. She’s strong, but she’s also scared – scared of love, scared of needing someone, and definitely scared of you.

Because even if she says she doesn’t need you, at her core she is just a girl who has more love than she knows what to do with.”

By Anna Bashedly

Into the Darkness

Into the DarkerI can’t really ignore the one thing that is on my mind right now. As a sophomore in college, in a sorority, triple majoring with a perfect gpa, and surrounded with amazing friends… one might think that I know exactly where my life is headed. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Yes, I have goals and dreams that I hope to achieve, but that does not keep me from feeling like I am drowning in a ruthless world. We reside in a world where the definition of success is merely defined by personal opinion because the past’s idea of a successful person is now a rarity and seems impossible to achieve. While in high school, I felt like I knew the exact path my life would take, but that was thrown to hell in a blink of an eye.

I grew up in a small town of 825 people. Friday night football was the highlight of the town, but gossip and rumors were like chains that could not be shaken. I had a brother that was 2 years older than me and we had the same group of friends, I mean it’s not like we had much to choose from. I began high school thinking everything was going perfect. I played every sport, excelled academically, believed I had a solid friend base, what could possibly go wrong? To top it off I had a young man (unable to call him my boyfriend due to parents’ demands, lol) that was smart, hardheaded, athletic, stubborn, determined, handsome, and strong. He had eyes that gave me butterflies at the slightest glance across the halls between classes. We understood each other’s goals and ambitions and we thought we were on the same road. Somewhere amongst the post football game bonfires and sneaking behind a pillar at a banquet for two seconds to get a peck on the cheek, everything came crashing down. *

My sense of security was suddenly shattered like a barrier that shielded my life from all the evil in the world. After 4 years with the guy I shared my first kiss with behind a tree in my backyard on my birthday, I was certain our lives were meant to always be together. We would attend college wherever that might be and promised not to select a school or turn down an opportunity for each other. We loved each other more than to hold each other back, plus we knew that nothing was going to come between us anyways. Well I thought I knew that. I thought I knew that I could go to medical school somewhere close to where he chose to play football, as he worked to get his engineering degree. We complimented each other so well; no one questioned if we were meant to be. I let my guard down. I exposed myself too much. I fell in love. The future ceased to terrify me because I knew he would be there with me. I was wrong.

About three and a half years have passed since my walls came crumbling down. I can’t say it gets easier, the memories just fade and that is a pain is terrifying in itself. The memories of the good and bad, feeling his lips against mine to the tears as I had to accept the so-called rumors as the truth, everything slowly slips from my memory. Although many months passed, it felt like the pain would never diminish, the stabs got deeper with every breath. The fatigue, stares, whispers, and weight loss was just another factor that started to become who I was. My normal, but there was nothing normal about it. There were evenings that I would sit on the shower floor, lifeless as the water beat me in the face. I was thankful for those times as they were few and far between. The lifelessness was an escape, not only was there no pain those few moments, there was also no joy, no tears, no laughter. But in those few moments, I didn’t hurt. Other than that I would get in the shower and crank up my radio to try to drown out the cries that whaled from within me. I would skip classes to come home to take a shower; maybe I thought I could wash the pain away, or better yet, the memories of him all together. I cried, begged, and pleaded for God. I was alone. Nobody understood. Nobody felt the humiliation, heartache, and pain that now consumed my life. I can’t say it gets easier, at times I wish I could feel the pain like I was did. There was pain, because there was love and emotion….and now there is nothing.

People say just move one, enough rebounds will get him off your mind. As ashamed as I am to admit it, I eventually tried that. Every kiss made me think of him. Every touch made me feel gross; I wasn’t supposed to be with these people. I would leave crying, because my plan had failed once again. I pray that I can find a man who captivates me enough so no one else creeps through my mind. Tears swell up in my eyes every time I think about getting married because I know the moment the doors open and see the aisle staring at me head on, taunting my every step… I know I will think of him, my first love, the one I always thought would be waiting for me at the altar. I hate that feeling because it would kill me if the man I was about to marry and promise my life to, knew that past guys were what was going through my mind as I was walking towards him in my wedding gown. I think it pains me even more because I know how devastated I would be if the roles were reversed. I want to be my husband’s entire world, so I know I would be really hurt if the one day that was supposed to be about celebrating our eternal love for one another he was choked up thinking about how his life was supposed to be with someone else.

The past few days I have wondered if that feeling was reversed at all. I wonder if when he woke up on his wedding day, if he rolled over in bed and stared at the ceiling thinking about me. Thinking about what our life could have been. You guessed it, HE IS MARRIED. At first I never imagined that I would be crying at the thought of him being married. I knew this day would come, but it seems like it came so quickly. I can’t breathe when I think about it. Tears pour down my cheeks, I don’t understand how he could be ready for this if I can’t even stand to see this. Its one thing to jump from girl to girl, but trying to accept that he is married makes me collapse. While I pray that the thought of him doesn’t bring me to tears right before I walk out to my fiancé, I guess part of me hopes that I mattered enough to him to at least cross his mind in the slightest moment. Not sure why I expect this from him, I should have learned long ago that I cannot count on him. I cannot depend on him when I need someone to talk to, when I’m having a stressful day, nor even when he makes me the happiest girl in the world. It was never like that when we were together. He was hardheaded and I was stubborn, but we clicked. We didn’t have problems; we didn’t fight. He was the one I could count on. I could depend on him to always have someone to talk to after a stressful day. We always laughed and smiled together because our lives were fun and we loved each other. No matter the heartache and pain I still endure, I try to not let them completely overshadow the memories that I adore so much. The hugs that I wanted to last forever, hearing his heart beat as my head laid on his chest in the dead of night, or seeing the smile on his face when I would run up to hug and give him a kiss when it had been several weeks since I had seen him last. I hope to be able to hold onto those memories forever, but everyday they fade a little bit more.

I know he still thinks about it. He how much he screwed up. How much he hurt me. The love he lost. The friendships that will never be the same. I don’t think you truly love someone until you want him or her to live a happy life, even if it isn’t lived with you. While is still hurts, I want him to be happy more than anything. I knew a long time ago that “she” was not going to be me, but I still pray for her. I hope she makes him happy. I hope she knows how to calm him. I hope she adores is stubbornness, but doesn’t let him go. I hope she pushes him to achieve his goals, no matter how hard life may get for her. I hope she continues to push him to be a more Godly man everyday. I don’t know exactly who she is supposed to be, but I know it’s not me so I hope, for him, that it is her. I hope he has found the love of his life, his supporter, and unconditional lover. I hope at night when he lays down beside her that he can hold her tight and want nothing more in the world. God forgive me, but I still hope that when he rolls over and stares into the darkness that he remembers the love that we shared.

*Story of our relationship will be saved for another time. Trust me, you will want to hear all about it!