An interesting journey I’m on…

Closing chapters from over ten years ago

For context, these posts might help to fill it some background for what you’re about to read: Mommy Issues & A Metaphorical Death.

Long story short, I dated my first girlfriend from age 15-17 after feelings developed the year before at age 14 (puts us in 9th grade FYI). I say “dated” very lightly because just 2-4 weeks after making things official, her mother caught wind of it and started putting up some pretty extensive barriers: transferring schools, blocking my number, confiscating technology, reading through said girlfriend’s phone, etc. We would communicate infrequently and inconsistently through apps and friends’ phones, seeing each other in person only at school/band events or by sneaking around her mom’s back. It was rough because all the while there was a multitude of mental health issues and even just figuring out identities as queer teenagers in the south of the US. It was a weird introduction to dating and being gay, just saying.

Anyway, this went on from about October 2012 to October 2014 (I think). That’s when we mutually ended things because it had just gotten to be too much. That same night, I reconnected with an old friend and dated her for 1.5-2 years too (we don’t like her too much, FYI).

Fast forward to mid-2016: my second relationship comes to an end and me and girlfriend #1 start texting “as friends”. As I’m sure ya’ll have guessed, we started hanging out more (night driving, swimming, sitting in the car and talking, lots and lots of texting because I was still unwelcome in her house). One night, while her parents were on a trip, she invited me over and we made a decision to try dating again. It only lasted maybe 36-48 hours. I remember having breakfast with my current best friend up in Atlanta and I can recall the excitement and the feeling of “it’s finally coming together” when I told her that we made this decision. Just hours after that, I started having doubts and reality did sink it. My plans of studying in Germany, joining AmeriCorps, finishing school, and moving out of my hometown hit me as more of a distant dream vs reality if I was going to choose this path right now.

Furthermore, there was the fact that we were very different people when we broke up and I don’t think we recognized each other any more. Part of me felt like it was a good thing and it would allow us to start over with a clean slate; however, the slate wasn’t clean. We were mixing past feelings of an unresolved relationship with current realities and new goals- it just wasn’t going to work without extreme effort and I guess it wasn’t worth it to put all other aspects of my life aside for something unknown like that. I also realized through my second relationship, that the acceptance of my partner’s family is important to me, and I knew that I would never get that with girlfriend #1. It just wasn’t worth it to try dating again. It was never going to work. Inside, 14-15 year old me was sad, but 18-19 year old me at the time was trying to be rational and not get into something complicated– again.

So, it’s been over 10 years since we started this “shebang”. It’s been a fucking doozy to say the least. We’ve maintained random and inconsistent contact, sometimes getting updates from social media or mutual friends. I’ve told every partner I’ve had about us because some form of contact would always happen. We also share an amazing friend group, and our gatherings have occurred more and more in the past 3ish years, so our interactions have been less forced, awkward, and weird.

Well, we got together as a group this past Sunday. Afterwards, we started texting again as we do every 6-12 months to catch up and she invited me to lunch to formally get up to speed on each other’s lives.

** My fiancé is quite informed of everything, so she’s been an incredible support. Girlfriend #1 also has a wonderful girlfriend of about 1 year, so she is also being very encouraging towards us. **

So, lunch with the ex. It sounds so much more dramatic than it was. We did kind of go down a rabbit hole, though, in regards to trying to piece together exactly what happened between us over the past 10 years (more so the first 2, and also 2016ish). Turns out that trauma has a way of taking parts of your memories, so we struggled to get an exact timeline of things.

So, that is the journey we are currently taking: after a pool party in a few weeks at our good mutual friend’s house, we are bringing forth all remnants of “us” and going through them together and then burning them- both physically and digitally. I want to close this chapter for good because every time we meet my brain goes to the unresolved. It’s distracting and it brings up a lot of anxiety because that time was nothing short of stressful and traumatic. Our solution to this sounds a little crazy, I know, and I can understand that, but unusual situations call for unusual and unique resolutions. This is what my ex said about it: “I feel like for a lot of people, sitting in a room with your ex, drinking and looking at old photos would be very weird, but for us it just seems like something that needed to be done way before now.” I agree with that 100%. Wish us luck.

Rock climbing, house sitting, and pool parties.

Rock climbing.

I’ve been going rock climbing at a local gym, as well as using their regular gym equipment, too. I was inspired by this video, and I have friends who have been doing it, so it was just kind of the final push. Last week, we also got belay certified for that particular location, so now we can climb the fun stuff (top ropes). Until now, we had been on the auto belays, and they’re a good time, but they’re kind of short and I want to switch it up.

I think what I love most about this gym and climbing in general is the diversity, community, and the fact that it is a form of exercise that I don’t hate. When we walk into the gym, we see old people, children, differently abled individuals, a wide variety of races, and whole bunch o’ gays. Like a lot of gays. I love it.

My goal is to just keep climbing and so that I might hit my fitness goals by my wedding in September. The goal from that point on will be to continue climbing, buy my own gear, and just feel stronger and more confident. I also hope to make some friends; I don’t think that will be too difficult as everyone is always really friendly and mingling with one another.

House-sitting.

I’m currently in my hometown house and dog-sitting for my grandparents for 4 nights. They have a wonderful house with an even better property. It’s great for our dog and his fetch addiction. It is really weird to be here, though. I have extremely conflicting feelings about where I grew up.

On one hand, it’s nostalgic, right? Marching band, old flames, my first few jobs, streets I drove down over and over after finally getting my license, and, lastly, summer nights where I’d just lay in my mom’s driveway watching the stars the best that I could because light pollution (we’re more in the country than Atlanta, for example, but not by much). On the other hand, I don’t like being here too long. The reasons behind why I wanted to leave this town so badly are quick to make appearances, so we keep visitation to just a few hours if we can help it.

Pool parties.

Yesterday, we went to my friend’s house to enjoy her pool with her and other friends. This particular group of friends is from high school (10 years ago!?!?!). I wasn’t so sure I would remain friends with people from high school, but I think I picked a good crowd, and we’ve been able to see each other a few times per year. It’s nice to have people your age who are equally disturbed at the reality of what being an adult actually entails.

I was also chatting with one friend about establishing 1-2 annual trips per year as a group. One trip should be to the beach, and the other to a cabin. If enough people go, it should be pretty affordable.

Conclusion.

I’m in my hometown with my fiancé. I feel weird. I feel a little sad. I feel a little happy. I am looking forward to being back in my house and going rock climbing at the end of this week. If I can focus on work right now, I should be alright.

I am feeling excitement.

We are halfway through 2022 and I am feeling extreme excitement. There have been a lot of mental changes in my brain and also some life changes that my fiancé and I have decided on. WordPress also has this cool new background color thing going on, so I thought I’d try it out! Let me know if it sucks, please!

  1. I have officially applied to some paid writing gigs. I’ve been writing in journals since I was 12 and I’ve had blogs for the past 5 years (no, I have never made money from them… mostly because I don’t know how). The point is that I have loved writing since always and I’ve just been too scared to try to make money with that skill because someone might tell me it’s not good enough or I won’t be successful. I would say that writing is my dream job because it can be done remotely and it’s something I love and I’m good at it. I can write a fictional story, I can do journal entries, and I can write an informational paper on the importance of bees.
  2. Colorado. I have dreamed of living in Colorado since high school. 10 years ago. Wow. I went on a trip with my mom to Colorado when I was about 14 or 15 years old and we went back one more time and I just haven’t ever let the dream go of living there. The landscape is just breathtaking. It’s so different than Georgia and I’m craving change. Not to mention, it’s a more liberal state, marijuana is legalized (mostly thinking in the medicinal sense), and it’s closer to my fiancé’s twin sibling.
  3. Tiny house living. When I was in Germany in 2017, I was planning what I would do between returning to the states and joining AmeriCorps NCCC. I created several folders in Google Drive dedicated to “van life” and “nomadic living”. I researched the best solar showers, portable refrigerators, and how to find places to park. Then, I arrived back in Atlanta, GA and found that I didn’t have the money or the time I thought I did in order to fulfill this goal. So I stashed it away. Fast forward 4 years and the topic of “going tiny” has come up again in a new form. Long story short (I will dedicate a blog post solely to this bullet point soon!), in about 2 years, we’re planning on selling the house, buying a tiny house, and moving to CO for the foreseeable future. Obviously a lot can happen between now and then, but you better believe I’m holding on to this dream because it escaped me once before. The reason for waiting is my fiancé’s job and our senior dog.
  4. Wedding season. Our wedding is in 2 months and we are somewhat prepared. I actually don’t have much to say on this topic except that I still want to elope and eat some cake already.
  5. Podcasts. I’ve been listening to some pretty cool podcasts recently. The tiny house obsession has lead me to topics surrounding minimalism and sustainability, so I’ve been learning a lot about how to live more sustainable for the environment, but also for myself. For example, I heard someone say that many people often fall into the trap of “when I get this, when I go there, etc., THEN I will be, I will feel, I will have, etc.” The reality of it is that we should already identify ourselves as what we want to be. This is how we trick our brain into acting how we want to act. Fake it till you make it at its finest, am I right?? Anyway, this lead me into personal development, career advice areas, and so forth. We come full circle because the podcasts and having a happy career and feeling fulfilled are what lead me to take a chance and apply to some writing gigs. We’ll see what happens, but I am already feeling more joy.

Putting My Dreams On Hold?

I was talking with a friend yesterday about the feeling of being caught between travel dreams and a good job (or meeting someone and settling down).

Long story short, my friend Blaire had plans to go on a month long trip to Europe with her sister this summer. Afterwards, she planned on joining another lengthy volunteer program or homesteading or just jumping in her car and driving across the US.

But she met someone in the first program she was in in 2018 and they now live together in Indiana. They both work and they’re both highly considering attending college after having not been in school for almost 2 years.

However, Blaire still has major travel dreams and doesn’t want to tuck everything under the rug just because she fell in love.

Additionally, she also fears finding an amazing job that won’t let her hit pause to travel every now and again. She hates feeling tied down and is concerned that a “normal” job will do that. In a sense, the relationship has tied her down as well, but she confessed that she is 100% okay with that at this point- she and her partner fit really well together and she loves coming home to her.

I told Blaire that my current job might be more of a long-term situation than I initially thought; however, I wasn’t concerned about not being able to travel because there are opportunities to travel through my company. They’re also just super flexible about all of their employees’ schedules and encourage travel and “you-time”.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have any concerns about not being able to travel as extensively as I’d planned prior to getting into my current relationship. There were moments of concern, yes, but after falling utterly and completely in love with Chelsea, I no longer wanted to travel with anyone but her.

One day, I hope we can take an extended trip (6 months-1 year), but, for now, I’m okay with mini trips scattered throughout the year. In fact, we’re taking our first trip together to North Georgia in about 3 weeks!

Are any of you experiencing worry about putting dreams on hold because of a really good job or because of a relationship? Share them with me!

An Update on an Experiment I’ve Been Doing With Myself:

I stopped taking birth control about 2 months ago because I wanted to see if my body and mind would react differently to stressors and triggers of my anxiety.

I wish I could say that I’ve noticed a significant difference, but I haven’t. The only difference I’ve noticed are the mad cramps and back pain that accompany my period.

Funny enough, sometimes the cramps are so bad that my mind can think about nothing else- panic attacks included- so maybe that’s a plus, but overall, I don’t think it’s worth it to stop taking birth control.

I can only speak for myself; my cramps are quite bad and I often call out of work because of them, so I started taking birth control and my problems were solved. Of course, it took about 3 different types of birth control and a LOT of bleeding to find the one that works best with my body, but it was also well worth it.

So, here I am on my second period since stopping birth control and I think my time off of birth control is coming to an end. For me, I don’t think birth control has a significant hand in my anxiety.

Vocalizing an Unfamiliar Fear

My girlfriend vocalized a fear she had last night that I’ve been pondering myself for weeks now: The simple fear of losing your partner. I suppose it doesn’t really matter in what sense- loss is loss.

I’ve confessed to this blog, as well as to my girlfriend, that I’ve never feared losing a partner. I don’t believe it’s because I didn’t have feelings for them, but I do think it’s because I didn’t let my feelings get as deep as they undeniably are now.

When previous partners talked about not knowing what they’d do if we broke up or if something tragic happened to me, I really didn’t relate. Sure, I’d be sad and mourn them/the relationship; however, I had absolutely no doubt that I’d be back doing my same old thing in no time.

I’ve always had a way of treating unfortunate events in a very logical manner and that allows me to move on very quickly. I’m not so sure that I could deal with the loss of Chelsea so logically.

Lukas Graham has a lovely song out: Love Someone. I heard it for the first time months ago- before meeting Chelsea. It’s a beautiful tune, but there were lyrics that I heard that I absolutely couldn’t relate to. I will even go as far as to say that I thought they were stupid.

“If you love someone

And you’re not afraid to lose ’em

You probably never loved someone like I do”

Fast forward many feelings later, I, for the first time in my life, am scared to lose someone in the way that this song refers.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this just feels different. It feels complete. It feels right. It feels like home. She feels like home.

You have to trust your partner’s words and feelings.

When I was 16, I wrote a letter to my future self. The letter was about believing my own children (if I decided to have them) when they say that they’re in love at 16. I wrote the letter at a time where I was madly in love with my first girlfriend.

Today, as adults, we have a tendency to look at young[er] love and laugh. “They’re not going to last.” “Little do they know they won’t end up together.” “How cute, they think this is forever.” Whatever your phrase is that you use when looking at teenagers in love, you can’t deny their attraction to each other. You can’t deny their hormones and their impulsive tendencies. It’s new, it’s exciting, and it may or may not last, but what they feel is real. I was there, I was 16, and I know that what I felt wasn’t made up.

16 year old Megan

When your own feelings and words are questioned or doubted, you are quick to get defensive about them- I am, anyway. “What? What do you mean you don’t believe me when I say [insert your words here]?” “Why would you doubt my feelings for you?”

However, on the flip side, I do completely understand the other point of view. The internal dialogue might go something like this: “There is no way that [insert name here] feels what I feel. There is NO way that they like me as much as I like them. They would probably think I’m crazy if they actually knew how often they were in my thoughts. I can’t believe how into them I am, but I’m not convinced that the feeling is completely mutual.”

I think that the above dialogue stems from simple insecurity of self. We are our own biggest critic. We set our hopes and dreams above what we think we will actually ever achieve. We belittle ourselves. We are hard on ourselves. We have a difficult time accepting ourselves as who we are as humans, so the idea that someone else has accepted us- an anxiously uncertain jittering human mass of unshaven limbs and hair that we think looks like it was ordered by the electric socket in our bathroom- can seem very unreal at first.

I’m being dramatic. Personally, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had minimal insecurities about my physical appearance; however, my general “it is what it is” attitude, my frequent use of sarcasm, and my very forward and blunt responses have gotten me into some trouble in the past. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to terms with my personality and I think I’m hilarious. Finding a partner who feels the same way about the things that come out of my mouth has proven to be challenging.

So, when mutual romantic feelings were confessed between me and my now girlfriend, I did have a momentary lapse of thought that went a little like this: “Does she really think that’s funny, though? Is she really okay with what’s happening? I hope I didn’t just insult her. I also hope that she doesn’t think that I sound like a prick. I hope she can tell that I’m not as arrogant as my words make it out to be sometimes.”

In conclusion, humans are all insecure in some way, shape, or form at some point in their lives. We all have issues. We all doubt both ourselves and those around us. For the sake of your relationships, though, do your best to take what your partner says at face value; don’t look too deep into it. Believe them, trust them, and enjoy the ride. If they weren’t into you, they probably wouldn’t be dating you.

A metaphorical death.

One of the first posts on this blog was about the issues with the mothers of my girlfriends that I’ve had. I also expanded just a tad on my relationship with a man. I went into great detail about the manipulative ex I dated for almost 2 years. One thing that I have not written much about was the first girlfriend I ever had.

I’ve decided to write about it now because it recently occurred to me that she does not actually exist anymore. The name I have used to reference her is Maya. I will do my very best to condense this story because it spans over 5 years.

Maya and I met in 2011 during high school marching band practice. We were both freshmen, but we came from different middle schools; we actually came from opposite ends of the town. Upon first meeting, I decided that she was too loud and too “in-your-face” for my liking. I hung out with my friends, mostly, and interacted very little with her. She caught on to the fact that I wasn’t exactly her biggest fan.

While I had a more serious crush on a senior at our high school, I also developed a crush on Maya. I can’t tell you how it happened, but I just knew I liked it when she “bothered” me. I liked the attention and she liked my reactions. At the final band concert of our 9th grade year, I told her that I, in fact, did not hate her.

That moment began a friendship. 10th grade came around and we had 3 or 4 classes together. I was pretty happy about it. However, the more we talked in class, the more I started to see a very sad side of her. She had a lot going on in her mind and at home. The romance began slowly and we were both so confused by the feelings we were experiencing. I think she was the first to say something about it.

Marching band caused us to reserve every Friday night to go to football games. I remember always being happy about a long bus ride to an away game because Maya would sit next to me and lean against my chest while I leaned against the window. That was about as much physical contact as I had allowed her. I had my own issues at the time.

I remember us hanging out with mutual friends on Halloween of 2012. I remember her arm around my waist as we walked through the neighborhood, not really trick or treating, but just enjoying each other and our friends.

I remember Maya’s mother suggesting that our group of friends should have a sleepover at their house. So we did. It was me, Maya, a few of our other female friends. We watched The Ring while all sitting on a couch. I sat next to Maya, of course. That night would be the first night we held hands. I can recall both of our hands doing the very movie-like slow crawl towards each other like neither one was aware of what was happening. The next morning, her mother gathered that we were together and that’s when shit hit the fan.

Over the next 2 months, I was blocked from her Facebook, email, and cell phone. Her mother also transferred her to a different school.

Between 2013 and 2014 we had minimal regular contact, but we still were “together”. She would text me from friends’ phones, create a new email, a fake Facebook account, and various free texting apps.

While me and Maya dated, there were a few suicide attempts (from Maya’s end), issues with abuse at home, and a variety of other mental health problems. We eventually did break up in 2014 “for good” because “long distance” just wasn’t working.

While I was in in my first semester of college, in 2015, I received a voicemail from a voice I didn’t recognize, “Hey, it’s me. Your number was the only number I memorized, so that’s why I’m calling.” It was Maya calling from rehab after a very serious suicide attempt. That day was October 15, 2015. That’s the day that Maya [metaphorically] died.

I’ve had on and off contact with “Maya” since 2015, but in 2017 I met a new person. Her name was Maya, but she didn’t speak like Maya or act like Maya. The sense of humor was still there, but she wasn’t as sad. 2018 rolled around and she continued to grow. 2019 held an even bigger surprise (but not really).

Present day, I am good friends with the person who inhabits the body of my first girlfriend. Their name is Max.

In a recent conversation with them, I told them that while I was very happy for them, I also felt like I was mourning the loss of my first girlfriend and how did that statement make them feel? They informed me that Maya had, in fact, died 4 years ago. They didn’t know who they were between Maya and Max, but they’ve finally arrived at an identity that feels more like home than anything else.

For me, these are complicated feelings I’m feeling because I know that the girl I fell in love with at age 15 disappeared, but to know that that person no longer exists in her entirety is just a sad thought. Max insists that Maya was “ego-centric, impulsive, attention-seeking, unstable, self-serving, and unable to see anyone’s perspective but [their] own.” But a younger me looked at Maya with nothing but love. I didn’t see these things and Maya never treated me badly. I knew she had problems that were beyond me (and beyond herself), but our relationship was an innocent one.

We were never very physical, I’d say. Most of our time together was spent just existing together side by side because being in each other’s presence was a rare occurrence. I think I spent more time talking her off the edge than anything else. It was rough. I don’t want to downplay the severity of her mental health struggles, but that relationship heavily impacted the way I looked at people, family dynamics, mental health resources, and relationships.

I never blamed Maya for “putting me through” anything. I put up with a lot. I went through a lot. But I never blamed her. When I spoke to Max a few days ago, they apologized on her behalf. They said, “I did love you, I loved you very much and I hope I never made you question that or feel otherwise with my words, actions, or behaviors. Even though I can’t go back and change anything now, I still want to apologize for all of that, and how helpless and confused it must have made you feel.”

Those words were the closure I didn’t know I needed.

So, to sum all of this up: Things were rough, but everyone got through it. Well, I suppose Maya didn’t, but that seems like it was for the best. Max and I are friends. We’re not “BFFs”, but I appreciate their existence and I wish only love and joy for them. They have expressed their happiness for me with my current relationship as well.

Until next time 🙂

Having a Life Outside of Your Romantic Relationship

The moment you go from single to taken, you tend to spend ALL of your free time with the new human in your life. This is normal. I think the first 2-3 months are very “honeymoonish” and you forget that you have hobbies, friends, and family. You might also forget that laundry, grocery shopping, and meal prepping were ever a thing you had time for.

Once you get settled in a relationship, both partners might resume their independent interests as well as start to combine them. I think this is SO important.

The topic of pursuing activities and events independently from your romantic partner is an interesting and tricky one for me. I am in full support of having your own friends. I also fully support merging friend groups. I support whatever works for whoever.

The issue that I have run across has been partners who are shocked to learn that I want to do things alone or only with my friends. In the past, its been taken VERY personally and it made me significantly decrease the amount of time I spent with anyone else who was not my partner. I learned later that that was very manipulative of them and that I should feel free to hang out with my friends whenever I please.

Currently, I am dating a lovely human. She and I both have our own friends. We have met most of each other’s friends and have spent time together with them, but we also regularly plan things independently of each other. It’s such a simple thing, but for me to spend time with my friends and not feel guilty about it is a new feeling for me.

So, my message to everyone is to keep living your own life even if you begin sharing it with someone else. If your partner doesn’t support your individual endeavors, then they are not the partner for you.

For Me, A Big [and difficult] Decision

Ever since I can remember I have been involved in extracurricular activities in school as well as additional hobbies outside of school.

Between 1st and 12th grade, I remember being enrolled or a member of gymnastics, dance, soccer, Concert Band, Marching Band, Environmental club, Science Olympiad, Gay-Straight Alliance, German club, and a sort of anti-genocide/genocide awareness club. Starting in 10th grade, I also started working after school and after marching band practice.

At age 15, I started juggling school from 7am-3:45pm, marching band practice from 4:30pm-6:30pm, and when I didn’t have marching band, I would instead go to work from 5pm to 10pm. In between those three activities, I tried to hang out with friends and family, but it was a lot.

It’s seven and a half years later, and I’ve never slowed down since then. Today, I am enrolled as a full-time student with 6 classes, I hold a 35hr/week job, and I commit to working weekends at my uncle’s bike shop, as well as dog-sit/house-sit for my grandma when needed. Among all of these activities, I am also trying to make time for family and friends, as well as a new person in my life who is very special and important to me.

Yesterday, for the first time, I was told that I didn’t have to deliberately put such a heavy load on my schedule. When it comes to family and friends, I think they see me somewhat as invincible- and I think I tricked myself into believing that as well. Sure, I can put all this on my plate and I can get through it- but at what cost?

So, after my meeting with my (1,000th??!!!?) advisor next Monday, I will formally withdraw from my Marketing class. It’s not a difficult class, but it has added a lot of extra “stuff”. I will also be telling my grandmother that I cannot dog-sit/house sit in October; the drive from her house to school and my work is too much to do for one week. When I am at her house, it also requires me to work more from home since I have a dog to take care of, and that isn’t always ideal. Lastly, I will probably tell my uncle that there are a few Saturdays that I cannot work due to school.

The main point here is that I don’t know how to slow down. I don’t know how to say no to family. I don’t know how to budget my time so that it involves leisure and fun. I don’t know how to make myself accept that I am, in fact, not invincible, and that I don’t need to put myself through this all the freaking time.

So, I’m figuring this out. I’m going to do my best to put what I learned in therapy to use. I’m going to learn how to not be so hard on myself. I’m going to learn how to budget “fun” into my schedule and make it mandatory. I need to accept that saying no does not translate into being weak.

It’s a tough habit to break, but here’s to slowing the fuck down.