On the Subject of…

High School.

Recently I have been binge watching  the, sadly, short-lived Carrie Diaries (only 2 seasons…sad face.) And like all the teen dramas I’ve enjoyed in my life (Dawson’s Creek, The OC, One Tree Hill, etc) watching it makes me feel like maybe I missed something.

I never had a first kiss in high school or a date to the  prom. My girlfriends and I never asked the good questions about sex and while I had plenty of crushes on cute boys…what’s the point if none of the boys ever knew it?

That’s not to say that there weren’t plenty of seminal moments in my high school experience. There were. But what little remains of my spotty memory of events is mixed with stories my parents told me, pictures in a yearbook and a box full of notes from people I haven’t seen in over 15 years.

Maybe teenagers these days are more self aware because of You Tube and Facebook and the internet in general. They’re creating a generation of people who are watching themselves grow up on camera…in print. Permanently, for the world to see and share. Then again, maybe it was just me. Maybe I was the only one floating along and phoning the whole experience in. I was a D student who never raised my hand and rarely spoke up in class. A far cry from the Nerd you know today!!

Looking back at those tender, wonder years I wish a piece of who I am now had been found back then. If only because maybe I could have tapped into my confident, ass-kicking, girl bossy ways much sooner. It’s not like that girl wasn’t somewhere inside me back then, waiting to break out. I was just too scared of who I could have been, of who I eventually became.

So many of these fears are explored and overcome in high school and yeah…I managed to bungle my way through some of them. But out of all the lessons I’ve watched play out on these teeny bopper, baby mama dramas, I have to say (lamentably) it’s the things of a more romantical nature that I really missed out on the most in high school.

 

I was a bit of a late bloomer in that area…in fact, I’ll let you know when that actually happens. Because I still get crushes on boys that never know about it. Needless to say…I missed a lot of things that would have been much easier if I’d gotten it out of the way in high school. But that’s not my story.

And, Hey!! Maybe it’s never too late to bloom.

I am where I am, who I am and what I am. And the only thing worth wondering about is…what’s next for me?

Whatever it is…I feel it coming!

For more of this month’s Instagram challenge, head over to my Instagram @nerdinthesand or follow along here:

Quality over Quantity

Pick your friend's nose E Cards friendship blog post

Think back to when you were in the 2nd grade. How many friends did you have? If you’re a social butterfly like me, then you had lots of friends. I knew practically everyone in the 2nd grade at my little, country elementary school and they all knew me. I was the one who was always on the play ground holding court and making sure everyone had room on the jungle gym. If you can’t get along on the jungle gym then there’s no hope for you in the halls of a school. I tried very hard to make people feel welcome and accepted, which lead to my bevy of friends.

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Photo: Unsplash.com by Daniel Ruyter

Flash forward to high school and gym time was an entirely different story. Not only do jungle gyms disappear in 6th grade (sadly) but so did my popularity. In 6th grade I began to show signs of becoming awkwardly tall and awkward in personality. The quirks that set you apart and make you cool when you’re little, immediately are seen as weird when you hit middle school. It’s all about homogeny and I wasn’t good at that game. So, I had a couple friends that were my besties, but that was really it. All the awkwardness of middle school was only exacerbated by age and my entrance into high school. And to some degree it continued into college.

The older I got the smaller my pool of friends became. In my head, I still had this picture of me on the jungle gym surrounded by all kinds of people, all kinds of friends. The friends that will get your back in a fight. The friends that will tell you it’s stupid to fight. The friends that started the fight. The friends who are fighting you. The friends on the sidelines cheering you on. I’m the kind of girl that cherishes all the friends. The more the merry.

So, to have a handful still throws me sometimes. I feel like I’m doing something wrong if I invite my friends to my party and 4 people show up. It doesn’t diminish the importance of those 4 friends, it’s just that sometimes my head doesn’t reconcile itself to my present reality. It may sound juvenile or silly, but what it really is, is completely honest. I have a hard time with reality. Especially when I paint really gorgeous thoughts and ideas in my head. Why wouldn’t I want to spend more time up there?

Friendship blog post Unsplash photos by Brooke Cagle
Photo: Unsplash.com by Brooke Cagle

See, in my head, it’s easy to be friends with people, but in reality it is difficult to be a friend and have friends sometimes. Especially when most of my besties are far, far away. There are times when I think that I’d make a better cave person than a friend. I want so desperately to do life with people that I care about, that I forget that there are people who don’t want to do life with me back. It’s still a new concept for me, hopeless optimist that I am. But it has become part of my present reality. A decidedly painful reality.

I get it. We all have one life to live and we have to make choices about who gets our time. Time is very important to me, so I understand spending it well. I guess the thought that I would be someone undeserving of a person’s time and energy is just so baffling, because I find myself occasionally delightful at best and moderately tolerable at worst. I hope that doesn’t sound narcissistic. It’s just that I spent all those awkward teen and college years trying to be anyone else. And I’ve finally accepted that I’m a pretty neat person. So I don’t apologize for liking myself after all this time. Liking yourself is a gift!

With that in mind, I want to give the time that is allotted to me to those individuals who enhance my life’s journey. And what I’ve learned is that quantity does not matter. Who cares how many friends you have? What matters is who will show up when you need them the most. The quality of friendship far outweighs the latter.

I am blessed to count on my hands a number of people who would drop everything to take my call. And who I would do the same for. I hate to make it sound harsh and I truly hate adulting. While cutting out the chaff may be difficult, it is a vitally important step in the process of growing up.

That’s not to say that I don’t still sometimes wish I was back on the jungle gym where things were easy and you became friends with someone simply because you were both wearing the same color…it’s just not physically true anymore. And I don’t have time for the fair-weather friends of the world. What happens when the storm comes? Who’s holding the umbrella with you? That’s the friend I want in my corner. It’s the kind of friend I hope that I am to my quality handful.

Friendship blog post  Unsplash photos by Pavel Badrtdinov
Photo: Unsplash.com by Pavel Badrtdinov

You’d think that social media would help immensely with this friendship problem, but it only muddies the waters. It only creates a false sense  of closeness with people who let go of you a long time ago and you just forgot to delete from your contact list. So, gentle reader, choose quality over quantity. You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose…unless they’re a quality friend, then they’ll probably pick your nose right back!

Pick your friend's nose E Cards friendship blog post
Photo: SomeEcards.com

Overachiever Much?

Back in high school, no one could accuse me of being an overachiever. I sat in the back of the class, half-assed my work and got bad grades to show for it. I graduated with zero honors and went to Community College because I didn’t get in to FSU on my first go around. All that to say, achieving wasn’t a high priority, not to mention over achieving.
Flash forward to 2015, 14 years after graduating high school and my life paints a very different picture. Thank goodness for that! If we just stand still then there’s no growth and what do we have to show for our experiences? What have we learned? But more importantly 14 years??? Where has the time gone?

I’m glad to have grown older and a little bit wiser. People who know me now are shocked to find out about my poor grades and mediocre commitment to learning back in high school. You know what? I’m proud that they’re shocked. I’m proud that they expect an A student on the honor roll with plenty of extracurriculars to impress the college folks. (Think Rory Gilmore, not Paris Gellar!)
Because nowadays I’m motivated. I love learning and yes…I would proudly raise my hand in overachievers anonymous and tell my story!
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For example: this month is #NaNoWriMo and for those of you not hip to the hashtag, that stands for National Novel Writing Month. For the next month I am committed to writing a minimum of 1600+ words a day. Not just any old words…novel words… story words. I’ve never written a novel in my life. I’ve dreamed of it. I’ve talked about it, but I’ve never taken actionable steps towards that goal. As of November 1st, that is no longer the case!

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Guess what, November is also #NaBloPoMo. Again, for those of you born before 1970, that’s National Blog Post Month. So on top of my pointed novel words, I’m adding a commitment to a month of blog posts. A blog post a day, to be precise. That’s more words. Clearly November should instead be called #NaLiHaWaTooManWoToWriMo which of course translates to National Liz Has Way Too Many Words To Write Month!!

Add onto that the countdown to the biggest event in nerd history (if I have to tell you…then this may not be the place for you.) An adjustment to moving back to Florida from my sojourn in sunny California. The impending holiday season (thanks for that reminder ABC Family and your already advertised 25 Days of Christmas programming…talk about overachievers.) And the prospect of being an aunt to infant babies. As well as the daily struggle to maintain some semblance of a prayer life, the potential dating career in my future, a desperate need to commit to that Title Boxing Membership that I’ve been trying to ignore, wanting to find time to volunteer, planning a potential mission trip and a million, zillion other things…yeah overachieving…it’s sorta my new thing.
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*Photo from Power of Positivity
But instead of lamenting my need for purpose and my drive for excellence, I’m diving in head first. I’m making commitments left and right. I am no longer intimidated by the label of being an “overachiever” I am wearing it like a badge of honor. And I was never a very good Girl Scout, but darn if I didn’t like the look of all those badges on that pretty, bright, yellow sash. (Side note, I also dropped out of Girl Scouts before we even got around to cookie selling season. Trust me…that was a girl who grossly undervalued her potential.)

If I could crawl into a Delorean, tap the Flux capacitor and go back in time…I wouldn’t change a thing. Sure good grades woulda been nice, but sitting in the back of the classroom taught me that I never want to be overlooked again. And that is a lesson that front row kids never get to learn.
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So the joke’s on you, time machine…cause I choose to go see Elvis’ last concert in Indianapolis on June 26, 1977. (Yep, I Googled that, but it doesn’t make my desire to see the King on stage any less real!)

To Thine Own Self be True

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Photo from Fashion by Mayhem

Today is National Shero Day! A day to celebrate dynamic women that inspire us and drive us to be better. And the Shero I want to talk about is not a woman yet, but she is an inspiration. She is 6 year old Mayhem from the amazing Instagram and blog Fashion by Mayhem. If you haven’t discovered the amazingness of Mayhem’s daily fashion creations, please check her out right now.

I’ve been following Mayhem for a while and I continue to be amazed by her personality and ability to stay herself. She is gaining more and more press and attention and it hasn’t changed her. I hope this continues. But it made me think of myself when I was a kid. And how growing up did change me.

When I was younger, I always used to try crazy style ideas that I’d come up with in my head. (Who would ever have thought me capable of such a thing?) Skirts over pants, multiple bindis on my forehead, fingerless glove sleeves. I even made my own homecoming gown in the 10th grade. Basically, if I had fun with it and liked what I saw when I left the house… I’d wear it.

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This gave me a reputation for being a weird kid. I would often be made fun of and not just by the mean bullies, but by close friends and sometimes family too. I don’t think they meant to be mean. They were just commenting on the vast difference between me and (seemingly) everyone else. They just didn’t get me. Didn’t get my style and as we see everyday, humans tend to persecute what they don’t understand.

So, somewhere along the way, right around Junior/ Senior years of high school, I started to do what the other kids were doing. I started to lose that confidence and style that was once so uniquely me. I took to wearing t-shirts and baggy jeans, because if no one notices you, then no one will be mean to you. And I let myself fade into the background. I quit the high school marching band and got low grades and just phoned it all in.

There’s a funny story I like to tell about taking my Senior school pictures. Right before I went into the room, someone told me I had the biggest smile. So big that they could see my gums. And I thought “well, that’s a horrifying thought.” When I walked into the photographer’s room, instead of flashing my big, bright, beautiful smile with the confidence of my younger self, my smile ended up looking like what I can only describe as the pinched smile of a person with zero self esteem. Basically I looked like I had been drugged! I let someone else’s comment on my appearance change one of my favorite features. I love my smile, but in a split second I made the choice to hide it because of someone’s words.

I know what you’re thinking… how can style effect someone so much. It’s not the clothes that mattered in this situation because there was a lot more going on under the surface. More than a drastic change in fashion sense. There’s usually more than what you see or what you think going on in any given situation.

For a kid who proudly wore her Wonder Woman pj’s as everyday clothes, this switch in style was an important red flag.

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It took many years for me to feel comfortable in my own skin again. And to eschew the opinion of others, mean or otherwise, in deference to not only my own opinion of myself, but God’s opinion of me.

I talk a lot about those awkward years of missteps and self discovery, because I was a hot mess (minus the hot.) I knew who I was, then forgot who I was, then tried to find who I was in the eyes of everyone else around me. This is universal stuff here. So I like to talk about it because, for the most part, I’m through it. I’m on the other side, gently patting my younger self on the head and saying, “Oh, little one. If only you knew what I know now. How much easier your journey would be.” And once again, I think this is not something that just little ole me has been through. And if someone out there reading this says, “Hey, I feel that way too” well, that’s why I share! Sharing opens the door on things that we are ashamed of. Our past, our shame, our embarrassment. By talking about these things, we take away the power they have over us.

Yeah, I was an awkward, weird kid. But I grew up. Though I’m still pretty quirky and weird. And people still think that remarking on my differences is somehow a nice thing. But if we hold onto these things then we never overcome them! So rise up. Rage against the machine. Don’t let the past win over your future. Cause God has better things planned for you!! And Mayhem wouldn’t like it!

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I Don’t Believe In That Anymore

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Back when I was 15 and a wide-eyed, romantic high school kid, I believed whole-heartedly in ‘The One.’ I believed there was One predestined,  preordained (I won’t say perfect, but pretty darn close) person God had picked out for me. And it was just a matter of time till he found me or I found him. Our paths would one day cross (ideally by the age of 22), he’d be captured by that thing that seems to capture men’s attention in the movies and we would be married and well on our way to ‘happily ever after.’
Cause that’s how it works right?

Well, 22 came and The One never did. 25 came and I was still single. 30 came and I thought something must have been wrong. Isn’t ‘he’ supposed to have found me by now? What was taking so long? Was I really that hard to find?

Then, one day, my pastor preached a sermon on love and The One at church. He said that there is no such thing as The One. This is not a concept created by God. He’s not up there weaving his magical tapestry of our lives and preordaining every single thing we do, including who we do or do not marry. Yes, He knows what our choice will be and I think to some people that seems to mean the choice isn’t there to begin with, if He knows the outcome. But I don’t believe that. He created so many different people for us to meet and connect with and love. It’s the choice that makes the difference. It’s the choice that makes us free. And it’s the choice to choose to love someone that makes falling in love so much better than just accidentally letting it happen and having no say in the matter.  (Check out the sermon series here: Journey NYC)

Besides, if there was only One person out there for me to end up with… what if he got bored and married someone else? What if he had a tragic accident leaving him unable to come and find me? What if he died prematurely, never allowing us to meet at all? Would that be it for me? Would that be the end of the romantic story of my life?

Can you imagine… you spend your life waiting and one day you die and you get to Heaven and ask God,

“What happened, God? I thought you wanted me to get married and have kids, but my One never came around. Did I do something wrong?”

And God says, “Totally had someone for you, but he fell onto the train tracks one day and died before he met you. Sorry about that. Nothing I could do, my hands were tied. But he would have been perfect for ya! I promise.”

By limiting ourselves to one person in a sea of billions, we limit the possibilities for our lives. We limit God’s imagination for us. And we limit ourselves to some unattainable fairytale.

I am an optimist. I am a romantic. I believe in love. I just don’t believe in love at first sight or destiny. I think it’s hard work to love someone. I think it will be hard work for someone to love me. I think that it’s a choice and I just haven’t chosen to take that step with anyone I have met so far. Rather than waiting for someone to see that magical thing in me that inspires love and devotion, I’m waiting to see it in someone. It takes two to tango and I won’t wait around to be chosen. I get to do the choosing! And that is an encouraging thought. God has placed the ball entirely in my court. It’s up to me to make the move.


Check out this week’s episode of my web series for more on The One!! 

I Know the Good Stuff

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I have been on exactly one real Valentine’s date in my entire life. I’ve been on plenty of V-Day dates with my girlfriends where we sit around and talk about how awesome we are all and how being single on Valentine’s Day isn’t all that bad. And I’ve spent plenty of Valentine’s Days watching action films instead of rom-coms to ignore the holiday altogether. I’ve even wallowed in the romance of Valentine’s Day and had marathons of every Jane Austen film ever made. I’ve done it all. And this Valentine’s Day, I will be celebrating Galentine’s Day with my executive producer and all around great friend. We will be doing a Rom-Com walking tour of New York City… so stay tuned for that.

But what I’m talking about here is that one and only Valentine’s Day date. It was with a friend, so I do call it a date, but only in the strictest sense of the word. Meaning that he asked me to get dressed up and to go out with him on said day and he paid for dinner. That made it a date and nothing else. We were not interested in each other in THAT way. But it was probably the second best date I’ve ever been on and the most fun I’ve ever had on Valentine’s Day. There’s a very good reason for that. We were friends (still are.) And there’s something safe and comfortable in friendship that I have not found on any of these dates I go on. We ate Italian and he threatened to fake propose to me to give the couples a little show and we spent the whole night laughing and making fun of all the weird couples around us doing weird couple things. (This one guy kept his hand, palm up, on the table the entire night while his girlfriend periodically held said hand. It was strange!) And incidentally, that night makes the all time favorites list.

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See, when it comes right down to it. I don’t know how to date. I’m pretty sure I’m doing it wrong! The small talk, the dating etiquette, how long to wait till texting after a first date, when to reach for the check… I know nothing about it. And all it does is depress the hell out of me. People always tell you, it’s a normal part of the process, it’s what you have to do to get to the good stuff. People tell you a lot about love when they’re in it and you’re not.

But I know what the good stuff is. Let me tell you about the good stuff. I’m gooood at the good stuff. I’m good at being a friend and wanting to be around someone. I’m good at baking cookies and laughing till my sides hurt. I’m good at remembering occasions and caring about someone. I’m good at Netflix binge-watching and being silly. I’m good at playing and loving and just being there for someone. That’s the good part. The part people suffer through small talk to get to.

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Of course, it’s easy to be good at something when there is no threat of the hard stuff. That’s probably why I’m good at all of that. It’s easy with friends. Lack of expectations. Lack of romance. The romance is the messy part. The hard part.

But no one tells you that. They tell you things like “you’ll know it when you feel it” or “you’ll find it when you least expect it.” What does that even mean? How can I find something that I don’t even know how to look for? And what is it magic or something? It just comes upon you and your sixth sense just knows it’s happening. Sounds like a lot hocus pocus to me!

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Listen, I hate having butterflies in my stomach and I hate dating. I like being comfortable with someone. I want to be sure of someone, of something. And all dating does is lead to massive uncertainty. To wondering if the other person likes you as much as you like them. To wondering what exactly about that text you sent made them never text you back. This is why people get this part out of the way in high school, because by the time you reach your 30’s, it’s just ridiculous to still be this uncertain. But here we are.

So… sure, maybe it’ll come when I least expect it or maybe it’s here and I just don’t recognize it yet.

What I do know is that I have a standard that I measure these dates with and it’s that one Valentine’s Day date. And no one has come even close to measuring up. Not even within throwing distance. It’s not their fault… you can’t compete with deep friendship. It’s unfair to measure by that, but measure I do. Now isn’t that an interesting fact!

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As always, the future is bright! And I look forward to sharing it with you all, lovely readers!

30 Days of Nerdy Hair

Day 19: Kat Stratford from 10 Things I Hate About You

This morning’s choice is one of the quintessential teen movies from my youth starring Julia Stiles and the late Heath Ledger. 10 Things I Hate About You. A modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.

If you are a kid of the 80’s and a teen of the 90’s then I’m sure you did not miss this movie! And if you’re like me, then you definitely dreamed of a long-haired, dreamy-eyed Heath serenading you on the bleachers at your high school. Or dang! How about at the high school in the movie. That thing was a castle. And who didn’t dream of having a live band at their high school prom, instead of a really terrible DJ. Personally… my prom was a big let down. Perhaps if I’d had this hair back then, it might have been a little better. My actual prom hair was pretty disappointing! I did it myself  and back then… well let’s just say I didn’t really know how to do my hair very well. I didn’t know what it or I was capable of.

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Luckily, I grew up and that disappointing prom became a distant memory. And hey, I learned how to do my hair. Now I just need a fancy dance and a serenading boy. A girl can dream, can’t she??!!

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11 days to go, nerds!! Make sure to check back. I’ve still got some good styles left to try. And if you have any suggestions for the next series… make sure to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts on styles I should attempt to recreate.

30 Days of Nerdy Hair

Hello my lovely nerds! It’s that time again. A time for 4am wake up calls and an intense relationship with my hair straightener! That’s right! It’s 30 Days of Nerdy Hair. If you need a refresher of what has come before, Click Here. I have yet to repeat a hairstyle. And after this series, I’ll have done 120 nerdy hairstyles altogether. Wow!

I hope you have enjoyed what I’ve done in the past and are ready for some brand new things. I have discovered the wonderful app Flipagram! And will be using it to make little mini step by step tutorials on Instagram. So make sure to check over there for the vids. If you wanna take this challenge with me in any way (everyday or once in a while or maybe you have your own spin) then I encourage you to #nerdinthecity on all social media and make sure to send me the pics! I’d love to have you along for the ride!

Without further ado. Here it is:

Day 1: Josie from Josie and the Pussycats!

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A quintessentially, terrible high school movie that I absolutely loved when it came out in 2001. I was a high school senior and all I wanted to do was go join a chick rock band! This movie starring Rachel Leigh Cook as Josie along with band mates, Tara Reid and Rosario Dawson, went a long way to helping me believe I could be a funky rock star if I wanted. (Clearly that message got me far in life!) Fun Fact: These ears are official Josie and the Pussycats merchandise from back when this movie debuted. Definitely bought them and kept them all this time. I guess I always knew one day I’d grow up to be Josie! Ah… dreams.

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Regardless of whether or not it deserves a vote at the Worst Movie of the Year awards or not, it was fun. And personally that’s all a girl like me really wants, is to have a little fun!

 

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Don’t miss tomorrow’s hairstyle. If you want to follow along make sure to Subscribe!!! And to make sure you don’t miss any of my other little projects… Click Here!

The Indefinable, Wonderfully Made Me!

It’s fair to say that back in high school and even in college, I did not know myself very well. When I was little I was the outgoing one. Always in the middle of whatever was happening. The center of the spotlight.

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In middle school I learned that not everyone valued the ability to recite the entirety of Star Wars: A New Hope or the complete soundtrack to The Phantom of the Opera. But I had my little troop of friends and they got me. And it was enough.

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High school was just ridiculous. I was wearing bindis one minute and thought I was Hispanic the next. I was throwing keys and crushing on every boy I knew and was, in general, a big ole train wreck. I never felt at home in my own skin. I was constantly looking for other things to define me. Things besides the indefinable, wonderfully made me. The me that God himself thought to put together.

Looking back it’s clear to see why I was never kissed. I didn’t know me. So how could I possibly have let other people know me. And high school boys aren’t exactly patient and willing to wait around for you to find yourself. So I left for college, feeling inadequate and behind the times and just all around undesirable.

Again, I had friends who knew me as well as they possibly could. And I rarely thought about it in the day to day excitement of college life. But I turned 24 and something happened. It wasn’t enough. Everyone had these stories and experiences and I just had the fantasies I’d built up in my mind about how it would happen and what it would be like and who it’d be with.

If you haven’t seen this week’s episode, featuring the reenactment of said first kiss, then take a look. It was rushed and awkward and with someone who didn’t even want to date me. And who I didn’t even want to date. Just a friend. It was safe that way. There was no chance of getting hurt, because the not being kissed was the painful part. Finally being kissed was going to be a relief.

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And as I’m sure you guessed, it wasn’t a relief. Yep, I checked “First Kiss” off my bucket list. But was left with the icky feeling that I hadn’t done it all quite right. Insecurity is something that will haunt you if you let it. It’s not like it voluntarily packs it’s bags and leaves you alone. It’s always whispering in your ear. “No one cares. No one wants you. You are not good enough.”

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I’m proud to report that I do know myself these days. I know exactly who I am and how valuable my life is. And I still sometimes do stupid things (as you will bare witness to in my web series) but I don’t let the mistakes I make define me. They are apart of me, but I refuse to spend time regretting my past. Instead I let it inform my future and the decisions I make now. Always looking forward, but never forgetting where I’ve been.

 

I still have yet to be kissed in a meaningful and romantic way. By someone who wants me and who I want. And most importantly, without the influence of alcohol. But that’s a story for another day.

I’d love to hear from you, so please share your stories below. I can’t be the only one to mess things up sometimes.