New Beginnings

I rarely go out for NYE anymore, but it’s still one of my favorite holidays. I love words and symbolism, so the idea of having a clean slate is such a beautiful thing filled with possibilities. This is my favorite idiom on January 1st, and I take resolutions pretty seriously.

The past few years I’ve been choosing a “word of the year” that I try to keep as the foundation of the decisions I make. 2016 was “perseverance.” It was the year of the deployment and involved a whole lot of patience, sleepless nights, and pushing through the really hard parts. Something I remember so well about this year was running away from my thoughts at the gym. I often rode the recumbent bike and pushed harder and harder to try to escape from the difficult parts of life. As I’ve grown up I’ve found my coping mechanisms for hardship involve either working out, or doing my hair and makeup for no reason other than to feel like I have control over something when I can’t do anything about certain things life throws my way. I have a hard time dealing when people do things that hurt me, and I begin to feel claustrophobic when I know there’s nothing I can do about the way others behave or the fact that my health is declining despite working hard to feel good. Finding things I can control when it feels like things are spiraling has been so helpful to my heart.

I skipped 2017 because I felt too busy and excited for Robert’s homecoming. I wrote all about trying to get Tom Brady to come greet him at the airport, then about what our reunion was actually like. It happened to be perfect, even without the greatest quarterback there with us. We started a normal life together this year, and I focused on being in the present a lot. This past year was supposed to be “Fearless,” but as I’ve said a few times before I failed miserably at this word for 2018. I didn’t leave my comfort zone enough, and I gave up on a lot of my writing because I felt scared of sharing my intimate thoughts with the Internet. One of the reasons Single in The Suburbs really took off in the beginning was because I was able to candidly talk about my life without much of a filter or fear of being judged. I loved being open about the dating world with everyone because I realized that my dating life was just as uncomfortable, frustrating, and fun as every other twenty-somethings. I embraced the awkwardness, shared my weirdest stories, and ultimately tried to help other people realize they weren’t alone in anything. We all were having a hard time trying to find love and meeting someone who really understood our heart.

My problem now is that I don’t always feel as relatable anymore. I feel like nobody understands the pain that I have (Even though I know they do, and so many have been through so much more), I am more guarded and protective of my relationships, and I am afraid of the shadows of strangers that lurk on the Internet. Instead of feeling like I have a nice space where I can share without being judged, I feel like there are so many people who are cruel to others for having a different opinion, and “different” is a word that seems to define me. I can’t always relate to normal twenty-something’s lives, but I rarely find myself feeling insecure about being different. I was raised to love and be kind to everyone — whether or not they are similar to me — and I don’t understand the culture that accepts being cruel as a way to show disagreement. The Internet is plagued with trolls and people who get a kick out of tearing others down, which makes sharing any sort of opinion frightening.

This year I asked my Instagram friends to help me choose a word. We were either going to focus on “Joy,” or try “Fearless” one last time. The vote fluctuated from leaning heavily on “fearless,” to giving “joy” the lead later in the day. They switched back and forth a few times, and I liked that people seemed interested in both words, but ultimately I landed on FEARLESS for my word of 2019. I chose it for a few different reasons. First, I think it’s more difficult for me. Joy is something that comes more naturally with my personality, and although it’s been more of a struggle through times of hardship, I am always going to try to be joyful — regardless of the circumstances in life I cannot control. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 2019 or a decade later, I don’t see that changing about me. I like a challenge and being fearless this year certainly is going to be just that. I don’t want to lose the part of my heart that makes me kind, but I need to get my edge back that makes me more resilient to other humans.

Finally, I got some words of wisdom from a friend that if I live fearlessly, joy will come along with that. This was exactly what I needed to hear to pull the trigger and choose 2019 as the year of living fearlessly. I want this to impact several parts of my life. I am going to start writing on here more about things that matter to me — even in the areas where I feel like I’m different than the majority. I am going to face my fear of rejection in more than one area of my life, and I am going to pace myself for the dreams I want to chase. Finally, I’m going to teach myself that I am more valuable than what my body can and can’t do. One of my biggest fears since getting sick with POTS has been whether or not I could still be a valuable part of the world, even when I feel like I’m at my worst. Exploring what makes me special is a surprisingly scary thing because what I used to really value and love about myself was different before I got sick. I had very different goals and things I wanted to do in my life, but my trajectory drastically changed five summers ago. This is going to be a year where I take care of myself and learn how to be brave, even when it’s hard. 2019, get ready to be fearless. 

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Photo Credit: Katie Nesbitt Photography

Rain, Rain, Go Away

I hate rainy days. They make my head hurt, body ache, and they are only soothing if it’s warm outside.

I love this blog, though. It’s so good for my heart and I’m always happy to share my feelings with everyone because I know I’m a super-average twentysomething who can relate to Taylor Swift just as much as the next girl. Today is a Call it What You Want kind of day — partly because it’s her newest song, and partly because I have been feeling particularly brave about writing lately. It will take a little bit of time to share some of the things I’ve been working on lately because the gnarly pain in my arms seems to have come back for a sudden vengeance, however I am trying my hardest to use the dictation software that frustrates me to no end.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Hemmingway,

“There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

As an ENFP this is a really easy task for me. I don’t have the best memory when it comes to numbers, dates, or names, but if you ask me how I felt at any given event I can recall it in such vivid detail. If I think about the day Robert left to go overseas enough, my heart will hurt and remember the empty ache that took resudence in my body while he was gone. I remember small details from birthdays and how I felt on each of them, how much joy I felt running around New York City with my mom while I lived there and she visited me, and I can clearly recall the warmth that filled my heart when I realized I loved Robert. I can easily remember how I’ve felt in every stage of our relationship, even if I can’t recall how many dates we went on our first couple of months together.

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Having strong feelings can be a nuisance sometimes, however I think they help me connect to others so much more beautifully than if I didn’t feel deeply. Even if I haven’t been in the exact same situation as another human, my heart can connect to theirs and sing the same melody until they feel less alone. And that, my friends, is the reason I want to keep being so open in this space and why I have to keep writing.

Love Letters

The second Love Language I want to talk about is “Words of Affirmation.” I was really surprised to find that it is now #3 on my LL list, with a pretty big score of “6.” It seems very self-explanatory, but I wanted to share how you can use this LL to enhance your relationship and show your partner love. Words of affirmation are perhaps the easiest to do, as it only takes a matter of seconds to write out a tiny text about how much you love your significant other — and it can be done from halfway around the world, too!

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Ideas to implement this LL:

  • Say “I love you” often. I don’t think these three little words can be overused if you’re with the right person.
  • Telling someone they are handsome or beautiful is important in a romantic relationship, but it’s also important to remember words like “kind,” “thoughtful,” “funny,” and “smart.” Do you guys remember the scene in He’s Just Not That Into You when Scarlett Johansson (Anna) and Kevin Connolly (Conor) play the game with 4 different categories: smart, sexy, funny, and cute, and have to choose 2 for each. Conor mistakenly chooses “sexy and cute,” to which Anna replies with, “Nobody wants to be all in one column!” People like to know that you find them attractive in more ways than one, which is why we shouldn’t neglect the looks or personality column when giving words of affirmation.
  • Remind your significant other that you are there for them, even when things are hard. Especially when things are hard. Something I’ve always told my best friends, family members, and significant other is that we only have to take turns being strong. As long as one of us can offer a shoulder to lean on, the other can try to get back on their feet. Some days I’ll feel sick and weak and need extra help getting through the day, and others my significant other might need a boost. As long as we’re in this life together and offer each other love and support, we can get through anything.
  • Write your bae lots and lots of love letters. Letters are amazing because even when you’re away you are able to leave a little piece of your heart with someone. If you asked me what my 5 most cherished possessions were, my box full of letters would be on the list — along with Robert’s dog tags and jewelry he has given me, Paws — the stuffed dog I’ve had since I was a baby, my journals, and pictures of my friends and family. I have an entire box dedicated to the deployment, which holds memories from before Robert left, a stuffed bear he won me, and all the letters he’s ever given me. Letters are a great way to remember feelings at different times in your life, which is why I like them so much. I try to write my loved ones enough letters to keep a little “diary” of our different stages in life, and anyone who knows me will tell you I am terrible for the environment because of how much I write.
  • Going off of my last point, I think snail mail is a great way to send your partner words of affirmation. Whether they live 700 miles or 7 minutes from your house, getting a handwritten note in the middle of your day is sure to make it a lot brighter. Don’t forget to write more than just a “to,” and “love,” though. People who cherish words of affirmation tend to look less at what Hallmark has to say and more about what you have to say to them.
  • A text or little post-it note is also a fantastic way to use words to show love. Any of my old roommates will tell you I’m obsessed with the post-its, and I think most of them have taken that habit with them to new friends and roommates.
  • Write a song or poem about how you feel. These are gifts your partner will treasure in their heart forever.
  • Words of affirmation are great for special occasions, but life is so short that I believe you shouldn’t save important things like words for a special date. Use them every day, and watch how your relationship grows and blossoms with other love languages following the words of affirmation.

Words of affirmation are great to compliment any love language. Attaching a note to a gift, saying “I love you” after a kiss, expressing how much you loved a date, and writing a little thank you letter after your partner did something kind are all fantastic ways to use words of affirmation in everyday life.


What do you think about words of affirmation? How else could you tell someone you love them?

Come back tomorrow for tips on using another LL. 🙂

Your Least Important Love Language Is Still A Big Deal

I am currently taking the time to re-read Gary Chapman’s bestselling book, The 5 Love Languages. Whether you are single, in a relationship, married, or divorced I could not recommend this book enough, as it is all about how you can love the important people in your life in a way that is meaningful to them.

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“Gift giving” has always been one of my primary love languages, as I really enjoy taking the time to give people things that I know will make them happy, and it makes me feel really special when someone picks out something small just for me. Since I started dating Robert, though, I have noticed that “quality time” has become my top love language. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we did a deployment together and I wouldn’t trade time with him for anything.

Physical touch is tied with gift giving at my second greatest love language, and words of affirmation are right after that. Acts of service come in last with a measly 1 point. Instead of focusing on my greatest love languages, though, today I want to focus on my least — acts of service.

I think it’s so important to take this quiz and know what your most important — and least important — love languages are because they help you learn how to love the people around you even better. Something I realized when I took this quiz and saw how low “acts of service” is in my heart is that I don’t necessarily take note of the love in people’s actions when they perform an act of service for me. Having a chronic illness has really made a lot of my friends and family step up to try and make my life easier. Friends come pick me up at my house to go out for dessert (A few even drive over an hour one way to meet up with me on a regular basis!), carry my purse for me when we go out, and my parents drive me to countless doctors appointments with no complaints. These are all ways people are showing me that they love me through their actions.

I always really appreciate when loved ones take time out of their day to do these things for me, and I often feel bad that I can be such a big inconvenience. I haven’t ever thought of this as their way to show love to me, though. In the past I haven’t taken note of these actions as ways to love; I’ve just thought they were people merely being “nice” to me since I have a physical disability. From now on instead of feeling incredibly awkward that I am causing a problem for someone else, I am going to take a moment to realize that this is their way of showing me that they love and care about me.

I encourage you to find out what your most important love language is because you will be able to better articulate to your friends and significant other what makes you feel loved, however I think we should all go a step further and pay closer attention to the ways people give us the love we feel least connected to. Ever since I have decided to be more aware of the ways people give love to me I have actually felt more surrounded by love than I ever have before. Paying close attention to the little things people do for me every day has made me realize that utilizing your least important love language can still make you feel incredibly loved and will sometimes be the way people you care about will choose to love you.

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Macy lives to serve and does a great job making me feel loved each and every day. Here she is, prompting me to keep reading!

Actions Speak Louder

Once upon a time I dated someone who meant the world to me. We often talked about the excitement of conquering our dreams together, hand in hand. We were young, in love, and unsure of a lot in life — but we were certain that we wanted each other around.

After we had been together for some time he told me that he realized he wanted me to be his forever and always. He said that he wanted to hurry up and put a ring on my finger so he could snatch me up before anyone else had the chance. It was romantic thinking about how badly this gentleman wanted to be with me, especially since I felt the same way about him.

We were both at transitional points in our lives, and we had lived with a looming uncertainty as to where we would end up and when we could be together again. His solution was that he would find a job near me. There were so many options thrown out, and we excitedly talked about how he could even bartend for a few months until we had made a decision about school or a career move. Nothing mattered as long as we were together. Until he left. Or rather, never came back. Nothing happened. None of the words that were used in our conversations ever materialized, and instead of creating our love story together, he had a new one with someone else as the lead — himself. We were no longer partners in crime, but instead I became a sidekick in his story.

I held on to his words when I felt confused by a pile of broken promises and I begged for more when I was heartbroken about our stagnant relationship. Words were what kept me around even when his actions didn’t match up. I felt like the promises being made were all I had left of him; I was fine with taking any of the scraps he was willing to give me since I had been hungry for more for so long. The very words that I would swoon at had they been written from a stranger to his love became my source of torture. It was a constant roller coaster of “he loves me, he loves me not,” and I didn’t know how to get off because every time I tried he reeled me back in with sweet nothings about our wonderful future together. I just needed to wait around a little longer to see them materialize. Everything he was doing appeared to be selfish, but he reasoned that it was all for us. He was doing everything “for me.”

Some people tell you they love you. If you’re lucky, though, you’ll meet someone who shows you that they love you and don’t stop once they have you. They’ll keep showing you that they care through their actions, words, and by demonstrating forgiveness in every day life. Love isn’t always easy, but it is absolutely always worth it.

Today’s lesson: Words are beautiful, powerful things. They are what I use to express myself and part of the way I show people I love them. When actions don’t match up to the words that are used, however, the characters become meaningless. Someone could have the best intentions in the world, but if they don’t have the hustle and determination to back them up the beauty is taken away and they just become bland poetry from a stranger.

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