For every Justin Bieber, there’s a Kendrick Lamar who released his breakout album in his mid-20s (which, news alert, is still young!). For every Jennifer Lawrence being stopped on vacation in New York as a teen, there’s a Kerry Washington who didn’t nail her career-making role on Scandal until age 35. And for every prodigy you stumble across on the internet, there are thousands of later-bloomers whose big breaks just haven’t come yet.
The trouble is, giving up now means your big break can’t come. So your acoustic cover of “Drunk in Love” only got 200 views…so what? Don’t get discouraged simply because something you loved doing didn’t score you a record deal on the first shot. When your quirky Tumblr isn’t featured on BuzzFeed within the week, remember that fires that burn too quickly have a way of flaming out. Let yourself breathe and slowly but surely build something great. The real key to success is time.
3:16 pm • 6 February 2014 • 340 notes
on dating and on love
I have had the unique pleasure to work with CollegeCandy answering questions about love, jobs, boys, girls, texting, cheating, loving and lying every week for over a year now, but the time has come to wrap up this chapter and start answering some lingering questions for myself. Below is my final Dear DBN for CollegeCandy, a compilation of the best advice I’d ever given… or received. I hope you enjoy!
The first few months should be easy. How many romantic stories ever started with, “He dumped me three times before proposing! I cried to my girlfriends all the time!” Please note that this is different from, “I ignored him for the first three months.” It should be easy when you are dating.
Everybody is somebody’s ex. We’ve all dated other people. We don’t need to talk about it.
Do not spend all day texting/G-chatting. My best friend and I g-chat every day, and when she goes on vacation, I just about lose my mind wanting to talk to her. Let your lover feel that way, too. Let them fantasize about having you in their arms, about wrapping you up and kissing you when they see you, instead of listening to you complain all day about how the girl next to you won’t stop smacking on her gum. I spend all day IMing with my best friends because I spend all night not talking to them. People either get day or they get evening because everyone gets tired of each other. Everyone.
The more you need to ask for advice about someone, the more likely it is you shouldn’t be dating them. When I met my best friend, I didn’t constantly ask other people if the things she was doing were indicative of a good best friend, or if I should call her that, or if the text she sent meant she actually wanted to hang out on Saturday. We both started calling each other “best friend” because it was obvious and good and natural. I know this is solid advice solely based on how many times I have cavalierly opted to ignore it and ended up in heartache.
Love and sex do not always pair when we want them to. Great sex does not mean you’re in love. Being in love doesn’t mean the sex will be good. Because life’s unfair.
Don’t “social media” your relationship to death. If you saw someone sexy at a party, would you follow them around and listen to every conversation and try to glean information from every inside joke and immediately follow around anyone they spoke to trying to determine their relationship status and checking who that person spoke to and how frequently and if they talked to that person again, following all of these people around like a poorly trained dog begging for scraps? Because that’s what social media stalking is and it’s tacky and weird. Stop it. People are not meant to be open books for dissection, they’re meant to be fascinating creatures of discovery.
Men typically go after what they want. No one ever said this meant women shouldn’t.
And in Love:
Love isn’t an elaborate YouTube video. Love is doing the dishes and the laundry when you’re stuck at the office and leaving a plate of dinner in the microwave for you. Having three million strangers comment on your proposal won’t mean shit when he doesn’t answer your texts and stumbles in drunk the next morning. Big displays of love are just that: displays. And they can feel good and they can turn things around, but love is a river and it will stagnate in a pool of one off gestures.
Do not try to have serious conversations via text. How many times do we need to go over this before it becomes clear that you cannot convey tone in a text message? That taking a phone call in the middle of a text conversation can leave a three minute gap after “do you love me?” and ruin everything? You can’t even use bold or italics in texting! Stop trying to have life altering conversations on this medium.
Your boyfriend and your best friend should be two separate people. For your sanity and his. This person is your lover. They are not your best friend. Your best friend is a different category.
Ain’t nothing wrong with loving someone who loves you more. Imagine this scenario: you need to pull a cart of rocks to the top of a mountain and you can choose one of two people to do it. The first choice won’t complain when you get a little lazy and he’ll stop and help you up when you scrape your knee. The second choice will occasionally tell you that you need to pull it yourself because he’s had a hard life and my god does he appreciate you for doing that for him. He will also tell you that you are strong enough to pick yourself up when you fall, and baby you’ll appreciate me later for making you dust yourself off, because you’re a strong woman. That second man is a manipulative piece of shit and it’s better to learn that now. Being tough is great. Being tough and having someone who’s like, “I don’t care how tough you are, you can’t push a cart of rocks up a mountain with a broken ankle” is better. Learn this now and save yourself years and years of bullshit.
Fights are not multi-media or multi-topic. Talk about the problem at hand and not anything else. Wanting to hear him say you’re beautiful more often is not the right time to mention that your wealthy, charming and single male boss tells you that you look great all the time. The problem is how often your boyfriend says it, not how often anyone else does. Fight fair. And if he’s the one not fighting fair, just yell, “Objection! Leading the witness into a different issue that can be addressed at a later date but not right now!”
Hug and kiss your person the moment they walk in the door. It helps differentiate them from, you know, roommates. It’s the equivalent of washing a garment the moment you spill something on it – it’s much easier to remove that stain after it happens than a week later at the dry cleaner’s. Now kiss and makeup.
Other men and other women are not your enemy. Your partner has control and ownership of their actions. I don’t care if you find another woman in your bed literally wearing a shirt that says “homewrecker”, she is not the problem – the problem is the person who betrayed you. And if the “homewrecker” tank top is your best friend, then the problem is you because you’ve got shitty taste in people.
Being happy is better than being right. You’re probably right about the year KFC was founded, who played Churchill in The King’s Speech, and how many National Championships your university has won. Look it up later, pat yourself on the back, and let it go. Actually, maybe correct him on that National Championships one because your team is technically family.
Comfortable is not the same as boring and passionate is not the same as good. Think about your job, your family members, your friends… you don’t worship them every day. Some days they’re difficult and selfish and pointlessly difficult, but you don’t quit them. You don’t quit your job because your boss didn’t praise your latest PowerPoint deck. You don’t abandon your sister because she got shitfaced at your birthday and you had to give up your night to drive her home. You don’t delete your friend’s number because she didn’t respond to a text. Relationships and occupations ebb and flow and between highs and lows there are plateaus of living your life, of day in and day out, sunrise to sunset of paying bills and buying groceries, good outfits and bad hair days, and the quiet lull of being an animal living its life. And sometimes, when for the seemingly umpteenth time you come home and watch TV with your honey and think, “our relationship is so boring,” consider that they might be thinking the same thing and maybe it’s on you to say, “want to go for a walk and grab a beer?”
The best piece of advice I ever got, concerning anything, was from my father. I was in the dregs of hating my “pointless job” and wondering if I was meant to seriously create digital banner ads under this much duress for all of eternity and what was I even adding to the world and not understanding why men were such complete gas lighting idiots and how could the world be so pointless and cruel to rip away the one thing I loved the most and why was it so hard to figure out how to cook rice and how was our government ever going to fix anything and what was the point of any of this and why couldn’t I find one single god damned outfit to wear that night.
My father told me to have a glass of water, go for a walk, and calm the fuck down.
Therein lay the solution to everything: we get so worked up, so twisted into our own thoughts and misconceptions and assumptions that we forget today is just another day on top of another day and only in the calm can we see the horizon clearly. Everyone gets worried, suspicious, panicky, and confused, and everyone says things that get misunderstood, misconstrued, misattributed, and missed all together. When we’re doubling over backwards to understand life, it’s worth remembering we’re not supposed to understand it, we’re supposed to enjoy it. Seek the calm so you may see the joy more clearly.
1:16 pm • 6 February 2014 • 247 notes
“Asking the person you are dumping if you can still be friends is like firing someone and then saying they’re welcome to stick around as an intern. Rude.”
— Dear DateByNumbers on CollegeCandy
12:16 pm • 10 January 2014 • 255 notes
“Relationships aren’t perfect. They’re arduous and complicated and beautiful and time-consuming and life-altering and happy and sad and fun and weird and they’re every day, all day. There is no perfect relationship, but there is the time when they do your laundry without asking, or when they’re waiting at the end of the race with water and snacks, or when they download the horror flick they wanted to see and also download the action movie you wanted to see, or when they’re kind and receptive and apologize for snapping, or when you come home to see they’ve already done the dishes and put your plate in the microwave and they kiss you when you walk in and you think, “this is the best person on the planet.””
— Dear DateByNumbers on CollegeCandy
3:05 pm • 9 January 2014 • 314 notes
Anonymous asked: So I sit here. You write some pretty dense lyrics. Metaphors about drowning, but rising through. But I ask you to cut through the simile, the metaphors, and the hypocatastasis (I mean I had to look it up). Why'd you break up? Who did you react? You're pushing through because you're strong, but how long did it take before you pushed through? You're awesome, keep writing, but write this post in simple terms.
This question was sent to me on December 22, anonymously. And it’s been bothering me. Or, maybe, lingering. Either way, it hasn’t left me. And I understand what you’re asking.
I don’t think you’re really asking for a breakdown of my breakup. I think you’re asking for a little humanity from me… which is astounding because it feels like all I do is pour my emotions on the screen like lyrical vomit.
When I talk about strength, I am not talking about invincibility. You want to know how I reacted to being dumped? I reacted like most people: I gathered my things, I walked out the door, and I waited until I was around the corner to start crying and call my dad. I cried to my dad. Then I cried to several friends. Then I cried the whole bike ride home. At home, I wanted to throw something and shatter it against the wall but it turns out I like my possessions so I kept picking things up and being like, “no, I like this.” I screamed into a pillow and it wasn’t satisfying and then I started laughing about it. I put on Britney Spears and danced around in lingerie and then burst into tears when the Pandora station played Rihanna’s “Stay” next. But having your heart broken doesn’t mean you can’t be happy or brave or take risks or cry yourself to sleep or flirt with strangers or check your phone for his name after a great night on the town.
Why we broke up, where we are now, the play-by-play… those are mine. And they’ll remain mine outside of cryptic pieces about my current emotional state. But let me assure you, the night he broke up with me, I did in fact go to the grocery store and start crying in the aisle past the bread. But you know what else I did besides cry everywhere like I was leaking? I sent out emails and text messages to basically anyone who knew me in Los Angeles saying some variation of, “I just got dumped and I need a friend. What are you doing this weekend?”
So that Saturday and Sunday, I went on a 45 mile bike ride, out to lunch, to a pub crawl, out to brunch, ice skating, out to dinner, and out to drinks. My friends and my acquaintances (who are now friends) were more than happy to help… and it’s because I asked them to. When I flew home to Idaho, it was the first time in three years I didn’t take anti-anxiety medication to fly - I was so proud of myself. I also cried on the plane because I felt like an idiot - all I wanted to do was tell him I’d done it without meds. I laughed playing dominos with my parents and giggled watching bad movies. And then I had to excuse myself from dinner because I was too sad to keep my composure at the table.
I wouldn’t write pieces about being strong if being strong were easy, if I didn’t need to hear those words myself. One pep talk doesn’t get you through a season. You need one every game, every half-time, every time-out. You need rallying cries and pleas and Hail Marys and god help us, and you need them all the time.
I don’t write in simple terms because life isn’t simple. It’s messy and awesome and harrowing and weird and beautiful. And somewhere in that mess is probably why we broke up… but somewhere in that mess is why we got together in the first place. So who knows and who cares and godspeed and good luck. This blog isn’t a case study - it’s my life.
3:46 pm • 5 January 2014 • 136 notes
If you want the job, you apply for it. If you need a lawyer, you call one. If you like a band, you buy the album. And if you want to hang out with someone, you ask them. That’s it. Seriously. You can ask them to go to a concert, you can ask them to join you for a cup of coffee, you can ask them out for a drink, you can ask if they want to go for a walk, for a hike, for a jog, for a bite, for a beer, for a bender, whatever! Do things have the potential to get a little awkward for 35 seconds when that person turns out to be taken or attracted to the opposite sex or has rules against dating coworkers or maybe just has had a really shit year and isn’t ready to start answering questions that have to do with where they’re from or who they know and in the end them saying no has nothing to do with you at all? Well, yeah. But like I said, the “no” likely has nothing to do with you when the “yes” has everything to do with you.
So ask. That’s the only way anything goes anywhere.
— Dear DateByNumbers on CollegeCandy
2:23 pm • 20 December 2013 • 195 notes
Let The Ship Sink
All I wanted to hear was a knock at the door and the silence was deafening. The empty inbox, the text that never came, the phone that didn’t ring, no footsteps outside my door, no likes, no comments, no shards of anything anywhere except the sound of being unwanted. The heartache felt like nausea and I wanted to survive on it. My ears ached for any vibration that might sound like love-come-to-the-rescue and I knew I needed to get out of the house. I needed to eat.
At the grocery, I idled through the aisles. I ran my fingertips over labels and took care to scuff my shoes on the floor, trying to prove my amble to myself, to make the minutes feel like hours that never ended, like this moment was all there ever was, where no one knew me and no one knew this was my face when I was sad. No one would think it was unusual my hair was up or that my face was scrubbed clean. I could be as unnoticeable as I felt. I idled on in my self-pity.
The bread aisle was daunting. There were too many kinds of bread. There were too many labels with too many punch-lines for something as simple as bread. Why was it this complicated? A man, a guy, stood in front of the loaves like he was in the feminine hygiene aisle – how was he supposed to pick? Whole grain? Wheat? Seven grain? Seven whole grains of wheat?
“Bread, man. Who knew?” He seemed startled that I spoke to him, but laughed and made a noise that sounded like an agreement. I squeezed a loaf of Sara Lee wheat, put it in my basket, and nodded at him before walking away. I turned into the next aisle and tears welled in my eyes. I didn’t want to go unnoticed. I wanted to be noticed so much it made a scene. I wanted to be noticed so badly I was willing to disregard years of social anxiety to talk about bread with a stranger. I wanted to be noticed, I wanted to be loved, I wanted to be fought for, and instead I was buying peanut butter and jelly on a Friday night to put in a kitchen I hadn’t used in weeks.
And what it would be to be fought for, to see and to feel that you mean and you deserve as much as they say that you do. But the army never arrives for your heart the way they tell you it will. There is no note in the mailbox, no flowers at your desk. There is no Hail Mary, there is no grand gesture, there is no one at your door. So you bow your head and you do work. You swallow the hollow and move yourself on with long runs and caffeine, with hearty meals and hugs. You let the ship sink so you can swim to the shore.
Relationships are vessels for love, and they weather in storms and in waves and in day-to-day when their sailors are weary and looking at the horizon more than they look at the deck. Sometimes, all there is left to do is let the ship sink, let the debris decay, and then let it become something beautiful, something of lore. Let it become something you gaze at with reverie as the coral paints it with more majesty than it deserves. It only carried your heart before and now it carries a world of technicolor life. Let the ship sink, let the water engulf the memories, and let it settle into the depths. Let it become something you remember or something you forget, something you look for again or something you respect, a place where lessons lie and treasures can be found when time forgets the storm. It sailed once and it settled into the sea, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t something of glory and that doesn’t mean it can’t be something of beauty. No one will love you by begging them to. No one will dive into the sea for you by wishing them to. Let the ship sink so you can face the next battle, so you can swim to shore, so you can find your way home.
In the caverns of my darkest nights when the heartache holds me hostage, I will choose to let the ship sink. I cannot recover it on my own. I cannot wait for a lifeboat. I cannot hope there is someone to fight for me. So I will choose to take one last breath to dive down and survey what we became. And then I will look a little more carefully with a little more love at my surroundings, to listen to what can be heard in the depths of the wreckage. The footsteps of friends on the deck. The calls on my phone from family. The texts of kindness. The emails of opportunity. The likes and the comments and the hearts and the replies from every other broken heart. When the army doesn’t come for you, when no one chooses to fight for you, when no one dives in after you with fairy tales and promises, you write a different story. You write a tale of adventure and chaos, of survival and fortitude, and instead of wishing to be saved, you save yourself.
Check out my other pieces for Thought Catalog here.
11:52 am • 17 December 2013 • 236 notes
Anonymous asked: I need your help. about this time last year, I started dating my best guy friend. It was perfect and magical, until he freaked out and went back to his ex. He begged my forgiveness, and finally wore me down. We have been on and off a couple of times since, but every time we get really close, it explodes. He says we're perfect and meant to be, but he can't date me right now. I know how crazy I sound. I do know I deserve better, I just don't know how to move on. He gave me hope, and now it is gone
Hope is not something people give you, it’s something you grow. It’s something you nourish within yourself. People can give it light and oxygen and rain, but the hope is yours, and it is never gone.
Do you know what hope looks like? It looks like this, like a hand reaching out for assurance, for kindness, for light. It looks like you asking a stranger to say it will be OK - that, my dear woman, is hope, and he has nothing to do with it.
This is not a fairy tale. This is not an epic. This is your life and it could be over tomorrow. How can he say “not right now” to his “meant to be” when right now is all we have? No one knows how to move on. There isn’t a rule book, there isn’t a potion, there is only perseverance and the strong-armed will to make yourself better. There is only every sunrise to love yourself and make your life what you want it to be.
I have no time for “meant to be.” The only thing I am certain I am meant to be is happy, and I will make the decision every day to be as happy as I am able. And when the people around me say “not right now” ask them then, when? When will they learn that this is all we have? That these days are short and passing? When will they have the courage to be truthful and fearless? When will they stop living for the future and start living for right now?
When will you?
Day by day, you move on by pursuing joy. You move on not by knowing you deserve better, but by knowing you are better. At the end of the day, you’re all you have - be your own best friend and tell her exactly what she deserves.
1:46 pm • 14 December 2013 • 109 notes
If I could tell my 18-year-old self anything, it would be this: write it down. Write down everything because you will forget it. Keep it for yourself. Keep it on paper in leather-bound notebooks and stock pile them. Turns of phrases that haunt you, poems that rhyme too much and not at all, unexpected twists that catch you and your breath. And for the love of science, go to class.
Go to class and watch for when the professor’s speech pattern speeds up, when they’re passionate about something they’ve been covering for years. Get B’s and C’s because even though you go to class, you should go to the party and you should see the show and you should exhaust yourself. At least once, work as a waitor so you can learn how to tip and how to survive if you need to. Look for the compliments in criticism. When someone says your writing is too flowery, let it bloom. When someone says your skirt is too short, revel in your confidence in your body. When someone says there’s no future in an English major, know that you are made of courage and passion. An hour of Candy Crush will never be as fulfilling as writing a letter to your mom, telling her what she means to you. A pile of new clothes will never be as incredible as showing up on your best friend’s doorstep across the country unexpectedly. A new computer will never mean as much as the weeks you could backpack through South America. Respect your time, your wishes, your body, your feelings, your passions, your opinions, and your right to do with all of them what you please.
But above all else, remember the power of kindness. Be kind to the barista that didn’t make your latte correctly because he’s making $7.50 an hour. Be kind to the bus driver who didn’t greet you because this is her third straight shift. Be kind to the boss who didn’t sleep because the baby needs to go to the doctor, again. Be kind to your parents, to your enemies, to your self. It will make you happier and in the long run, it will bring so much more into your life, and how easy is it to write a story when the story comes to you? Be a beacon of light and guide your dreams to the shore.
- Dear DateByNumbers on CollegeCandy
4:27 pm • 24 October 2013 • 234 notes