Stranger Stories: An Anonymous Story About Being the “Other” Woman

a note from Mary: this story contains sensitive subject matter, please be aware. 

Like the author of the last fabulously-written anonymous story, I too reached out to Mary to be a guest writer on her blog. I have found that some stories are harder for me to share, and this is one few people want to hear let alone try to understand. This is the story about being the other woman. 

I know what you’re probably thinking, because I can almost guarantee I’ve thought the same things too. I’ve called those women numerous names and made assumptions about them, and then one day, somehow, I became the other woman. 

Four years ago I was entering my freshman year of college. I instantly became friends with this guy Scott (changing his name for the purpose of this story). Scott and I had many common interests and instantly became not just friends, but best friends. I knew I could call him at any second of the day or night and he’d coming running across the quad to my dorm and sit with me until the swelling of my eyes settled from crying so much. When I first met Scott I was still dating a boy from high school. The distance became too much for my little naïve heart to handle, and I soon started dating another guy, we’ll call him Mark. I knew from the start Mark was a bad idea. He was 3 years older than me and certainly more experienced than me. You know when you’re little and your mom tells you if something really makes you sad or uncomfortable that you don’t have to do it, that you should trust those feelings? Well unfortunately 18-year-old me didn’t listen to my mom’s advice. I wound up in an extremely physically and emotionally abusive relationship with Mark. It wasn’t until I was laying naked on the bathroom floor of my dorm room covered in bruises and blood that I realized I needed to get away, that I needed help.  

For the weeks to come, I distanced myself from everyone and everything and Scott and my friendship started fading away. It wasn’t until the summer after our freshman year that I told him the truth about Mark. This angered Scott. Okay so anger doesn’t even begin to describe how furious he was with Mark and the situation and how he wasn’t there for me, but somehow this turned into a conversation of Scott telling me he loves me. I told Scott I didn’t know how I felt. Looking back four years later I knew in that moment I loved Scott as far more than a friend, but I also knew my perception of love and life had been greatly altered by my relationship with Mark. 

So, Scott and I learned to live our lives separately. He loved me from afar and I hid under the covers of other men. Eventually we started dating other people and falling in love with them. Senior year of college came, and Scott was still in a very long-distance relationship with this girl (we’ll call her Emma) while I was single again for the first time in a long time. Scott and I quickly began to spend more time together. Scott would complain to me about how hard his relationship was with Emma being so far away and having so many differences, while I tried dating man after man, I realized I wasn’t happy and in love with anyone like I was with Scott. So one cold winter night, while I was crying over another boy, Scott comforted me, and we kissed. Right away we apologized, and said it was a mistake. I mean it was a mistake right? He had a girlfriend. I finally confessed to Scott how I felt and he said it wasn’t fair to him- he had felt that way before about me and I wasn’t ready and though he was miserable dating Emma right now it just wasn’t fair. So yet again, Scott and I drifted apart.   

Months went by without a single word shared between us, until one Saturday at 3 in the morning I received a phone call from him. The rest of that night is blurry. I’m not sure if it’s that I don’t remember it, or that I don’t want to. We ended up hooking up and then I just started hysterically crying telling him how much I love him. I told him to leave Emma. I told him if he wasn’t happy with her that he needed to break up with her, and be with me. He said now I knew how it felt, now I knew what it meant to have my heart broken, and I began to cry even more. He quickly apologized, and said that’s not what he meant. He said that’s what he wanted too, for us to be together, and we fell asleep. The next morning I woke up in an empty room, trying to figure out if the night before really happened or if it was all a dream. After a few days passed I called Scott and said we needed to talk. So we did, and suddenly I realized I was the other woman. Scott didn’t want to be with me, but he didn’t want to let me go. Scott told Emma what happened and I was suddenly blocked from all of her social media accounts and all of his. I spent my last few weeks of college walking around campus with puffy eyes and baggy sweatpants, keeping my head staring at the ground as people called me a “homewrecker” and a “Whore.” I started to believe those names people called me, and I started hating myself.  

Graduation came, the summertime came, and I thought I was free. But, life never works out quite that way does it? Soon it was October, and I received numerous phone calls from friends in the area saying that Scott was talking about me. So I finally worked up the courage to go sit down with him face to face and talk about everything. Amongst the awkward silences were a lot of “I’m sorry” and “I want you to be happy” and “let’s try to be friends.” So we did, try. Four days later of us “trying to be friends” landed us both in my apartment bed, cuddling, and you guessed it-me crying. I told him I didn’t want him to leave this time, I wanted to wake up the next morning and see him. By some miracle I did, which of course was when he decided to tell me that him and his girlfriend were on a break and he needed to figure out what he wanted. Although they weren’t together at this point, a part of me still felt guilty, like I was trying to weave myself into someone else’s story. I decided this time to trust that gut instinct. After a few weeks of back and forth arguing, I’m not sure if I’ll ever see him again. 

So here I am, writing this, finally typing up my story. If you’re still reading this, you’re probably wondering what I want you to take away from it, why this story is important. It’s important because it’s not just a story, it’s my life. I am not THE OTHER WOMAN, I am A WOMAN. I have a heart and a conscience and a mind and soul. I do not have “bad morals.” I fell in love with a guy who had always been there for me. I fell in love with my best friend and he fell out of love with his girlfriend, and I thought that by some miracle we could be happy together. What I have come to realize is that it will never happen, us. So often I read stories about how much it sucks to get cheated on, and trust me I know, I have been there too. But what hurts even more is being “the other woman,” the one who always saw the good in people, the one who put up with people calling her a “fucking whore” and her supposed best friend telling her “you have no morals and you’re a homewrecker,” all because I believed that Scott really, truly did love me and wanted to be with me.  

“I am not THE OTHER WOMAN, I am A WOMAN.”

My mom used to tell me, “once a cheater, always a cheater.” She warned me about heartbreak and loss, but she never quite prepared me for this empty, disgusted feeling with yourself. So, here I am, trying to move on and live my life, without Scott. Believe it or not, I was the one who ended things. I don’t care if him and Emma were on a break or broken up or whatever the hell you want to call it, but I was and am done with being a part of his life. I am learning to forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made, but more importantly, I am learning to love myself again. Sometimes we invest so much of ourselves into someone else’s potential that we forget who they really are and who we are and what we believe and what we want. I want someone who wants me, and only me. Emma, if you’re reading this, I’m so sorry how things happened, but I really did love Scott. And Scott, if you’re reading this, you need to make up your mind. I would’ve/could’ve loved you with everything that I had left to give, but I realize it was never really me that you wanted. Maybe it was all just a game to you, and you were reaching to feel something again, but it was always so much more to me. To my audience, I’m not sure what you think of me, and frankly, I don’t care. I am learning to love myself again. I am learning that no one is perfect, myself included. I am learning that we all make mistakes. I am also learning that everyone is deserving of love. One day, I will find the love meant for me. 

So before you go around calling people “homewreckers” and “slut-bags” and whatever witty things you think you can come up with, know this: We are each just trying to find our way in life, trying to find love and all deserving of love. And yes, I “the other woman,” have a heart too.  

Also, to those who are in abusive relationships, or have been assaulted or raped, I hope you find the courage to tell someone. I hope you find the courage to leave and to seek help. I still have moments where it is hard for me, but I am so thankful to have family and friends who love and support me and will never make me feel alone again. Surround yourself with people who make you happy to be alive. Those are the friendships worth having, and never settle for anything less than that.  

If you have a story that you would like to share, anonymous or otherwise email me at marysaverageadventures@gmail.com.

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Job Searching is Work, NOT Luck.

I walked across the stage at graduation with the knowledge that within the next month I would be starting a full-time job using the diploma they were about to hand me. I was told a multitude of phrases when I told people, family, close friends, and all of my mentors were very congratulatory, they knew how hard I had been working towards getting a job post-graduation. My roommates knew that I spent most of my free time applying for jobs and going on interviews that lead nowhere. On top of my school work (and work) applying for jobs was essentially a full-time gig for me.

Acquaintances, random people who felt obliged to ask me what I was doing post-graduation were less congratulatory and were far more likely to tell me how lucky I was. “You know not very many people graduate with a job lined up, you’re quite lucky,” was a response I got quite often. Let me tell you, luck had absolutely nothing to do with it. I had worked my butt off for 17 years in school, and I wanted something to show for it, more than a piece of paper. I worked extremely difficult to get a job- it wasn’t easy but you can do it.

Here are my tips for your job search:

  • Start sooner rather than later- it’s better to start early and know early then start late and no have anything lined up.
  • If it says 3-5 years experience and you’re just graduating college, apply anyway. Use your experience from school, internships, etc.
  • The worst that can happen is they say no. Trust me- you can get really far and they’ll say no and it’ll SUCK, but then you’ll get a different job and be fine. I know from experience.
  • Networking is important, knowing people helps, but at the end of the day, you need to sell yourself. Know your strengths and how you can help a company grow, that’s what will get you far.
  • Ask for help, see if your connections know of any places hiring or know of people that are top rated in your industry that can give you advice.

Work hard to work hard, but if you do something you love it’ll be worth it.

The War on Free Press

While I work in marketing and have no desire to ever go into journalism, that’s essentially what my communications degree is in. I was editor-in-chief my senior year and I have spent a lot of my time writing and research about new things for my classes. I took almost every journalistic type class offered during college and as Trump began to stick out as a forerunner, then a major candidate, and then finally president elect it became a big topic of discussion in many of our classes.

I don’t care what your political affiliation is, by deeming news to be fake, you are hurting free press. When the president pinpoints specific news outlets to be “fake” he’s hurting one of the major values of our country. I’m sure you all know where I stand with him, but to me, this is one thing we need to be standing up for.

Today, I saw a headline for the NYT (couldn’t read it; reached my max for the month already) and it was about how journalists are not the enemy, and I haven’t seen something that describes this war of free press so perfectly. Everyone has opinions, everyone has thoughts, and that’s the point of living in America, we can share those thoughts and opinions without fear of persecution.

In May, my college made national headlines because of a display that was put up by the Hood College Republicans, many found it offensive, including myself. However, it stayed up because my college honored free speech. Although some tried to deem it hate speech, there was nothing attributed to specific members of the club, but rather big names of the Republican party. I respect that, I respect that my college allowed it to remain standing. I would not say I would have allowed so much discussion over it (giving us some negative right-wing publicity) but it’s the perfect demonstration of why free speech is so important.

I think everyone is willing to admit how biased some news outlets are, especially in today’s political climate. However, by deeming essentially all news other than Fox, an extremely right-winged outlet to be fake we are hurting free speech. When I hear the president call out nearly every basic cable channel as fake news, all I can think about are children all over the country who will turn to Fox as their main source.

There is biased media, CNN, Fox, even the NYT I have recently been perceived as more left-winged recently (maybe it’s because of what one of their reporters said to me but that’s a different story). Just because there are biased media, doesn’t mean there are unbiased media. Do your research, according to the Pew Research Center, everyone seems to equally trust the Wall Street Journal (and no one trusts BuzzFeed big surprise there). Learn what sites you find to be most valuable, but traditionally left and right winged media shouldn’t be trusted. Yes, I’d prefer to go check out CNN over Fox, but really I’m probably not going to go to either, I’m going to check multiple sources, get more than one side of the story.

The thing about a free press is that it’s not just for one party, which is why we shouldn’t be relying on one or few sources like Trump seems to be doing. When people think about America one of the first things they think about is freedom, which includes speech, which guess what, includes the media.

Fake news was not coined to attack CNN, NYT, ABC, and so on, it was coined for those falling for Onion articles shared on Facebook. I found this topic interesting because it’s trending on Twitter, how journalists today aren’t journalists, which frankly I have to disagree with. Journalists today have to work so much harder, they’re fighting not only other news outlets for stories but also the internet, which funny enough you can’t just take someone’s Tweets and call it news (@BuzzFeed). Also consider the fact that many journalists and specific media organizations were banned from Trump rallies, making their jobs even harder.

There’s a lot of freedoms we have in this country, which is a very good thing, but BOTH sides need to stop attacking the media. If we didn’t have a free press our country would be a very dark place. So go ahead and call it fake news or whatever you want, just know that we need a free press. It needs to be protected. Find people in the middle, find outlets that have a fair compromise, I swear they’re out there. If you write off any news outlet that doesn’t align with your political beliefs, you’re only going to get half the story. A lot of problems can be found when people disagree.

If the government were to start impeeding on free press, free speech might be next, which then no one will be able to march, either side.

Fake news isn’t what the right wants you to believe, it’s the Onion, and sites like that, not sites that are perpetuating a left-winged agenda. Both exist, so learn about both, learn all the sides. A good journalist will let you know everything.

It’s not Fox or CNN that I feel bad for in this case, it’s newspapers, middle of road news stations, people who are really just trying to share the news. Journalists are so passionate about what they do, it’s a shame to see polictics impeed on a passion like that.

Why Start a Blog?

Chances are if you found this post you’re on the fence about blogging, well I’m here to tell you why you should and how it will positively impact your life.

  1. It’s fun! Blogging is a good and creative outlet for all of your thoughts that get stuck in your head. You have something to look forward to when you’re bored or have an idea and you have somewhere to put it.
  2. The people and community. I have found that the people in the blogging world and the community that they hold together is simply amazing. While I may not have my own niche community (yet) I have found some great friends and people that have turned into friends, even though I have never actually met them.
  3. Learning more about yourself and the things you love. With communities, commenters, and friends you never knew shared common interests you can learn a lot about the things you love. However, in addition, just by writing consistently you can learn a lot about yourself.
  4. Remembering to write down and document all the really cool stuff that happens to you. There are things I would forget about if I didn’t blog about them. It’s like a virtual, public diary for me. It lets me remember all of the good things that have happened over the past four years (maybe some of the bad too but that’s okay) and that knowledge can help you grow.
  5. Writing helps everything. There is proof that writing is good for you. It stops you from forgetting a lot when you get old. It’s yet to work for me, but hey, it’s worth a try!
  6. Get different opinions! Tired of hearing the same things from your friends? Well ask some internet friends, get a new perspective on a problem you feel like you have exhausted your options on. Share stories of how other opinions have impacted your decision making!
  7. Peer validation!  I mean I’m not saying I need and/or crave peer validation, but it does make me feel better about myself. It helps me from feeling as if I’m the only one facing problems and that there are other people in the same exact place as me. On the other hand, it’s also nice to know people like my blog (if I’m going to get real honest here).
  8. Simple but still creative. Making a pretty website and expressing yourself in your own way can be so simple today. It doesn’t take a lot to click your favorite theme and run with it. You can still be creative with your writing and graphics, but there are very simple ways to handle it.
  9. Simply being creative. (Get it play from tip 8 I’m hilarious) Everyone should just be creative. Take the time and energy and put it into something you love. You have something you like, make it creative and put it in a blog!
  10. Share your thoughts/views/opinions! Everyone thinks, has views and opinions, so why not share them? Why not share your love of tomatoes, fashion, being a mom, makeup, or really just love of anything. There are people out there that you never knew shared the same interests.

Share with me why you started blogging and why you stuck with it! Don’t have a blog yet? Tell me what’s holding you up!

Late Night Blogging with Mary: Part 29

Once upon a time, I started this blog because I was going to college and I wanted to document the most mundane of adventures. Did I ever really do that? Not really. It has been three and a half years of rants, thought vomit, out of this world adventures, and sometimes just straight non-sense.

Yesterday, I hit 500 followers. I didn’t cry or shout like I thought I would (well I was at work) but I did get teary eyed. a little shaken and quite frankly a little overwhelmed. That’s a lot of people my friends.

Anyway, so thank you for that. It’s very moving.

Speaking of moving, I have been watching “Girl Boss” which is slightly inspiring. Like Sophia is a one-of-a-kind type of gal who doesn’t always do what’s best and not always what I would do. However, she is quite the go-getter, which is admirable. The show starts off with Sophia (the main character) going on about how being an adult sucks; which is a sentiment I am starting to sympathize with.

While applying for many, many jobs I have found it to be barely bearable. I’m honestly so over it. It’s so boring and excruciatingly painstaking. However, I shall press on and find a job that will do until I have a million children and can start up my mommy blog.

So here’s just a short little LNBM for now. Still working on the re-brand. I’d say by June it’ll be full swing.

Pause

via Daily Prompt: Pause

I saw the Daily Prompt for today was “Pause” and it ties in a little too perfectly with my life right now.

I keep hitting the fast forward button when I should be hitting pause. I shouldn’t be wishing my last six weeks of college away, yet here I am staring at my semi-daunting to-do list not wanting to do any of it.

I’m waiting for the end of the week, waiting to hear if I got a job or two, or none. But I shouldn’t be waiting for that moment. I should be savoring every moment. Cherishing the time I spend with the kids I watch because soon (well hopefully) I’ll be working full time and I probably won’t be a nanny anymore. I should be taking mental pictures of every meal with my roommates, every time I walk across the cherry-blossom filled campus, and just every little moment that I can hold on to, I should be holding on.

I’ve reached a point where I’m so focused on whatever’s next that I’m not pausing anymore, when really I should be pausing more. No more fast forward, just a nice hold down on the pause so it’s almost a stop.

My mom told me when I was starting high school that life would only get faster, I don’t know if I didn’t believe her, or just didn’t know what she was talking about, but she was right. I’ve been blogging for three and a half years, it feels like it was just yesterday I was cursing WordPress for being stupid (eh could’ve been yesterday) but my time online and in college has been flying by. I can’t believe that I’m graduating in six weeks, but here I am wishing I was graduating tomorrow just to get on with the next part of life.

I think that’s probably not just a me problem, even more of a societal problem. We’re so focused on the future, what are we doing this weekend, next week, the next deadline. We forget to focus on what is happening right now. Right now is what really matters. Maybe we all need to take some time and just pause.

So take a moment, pause, reflect, think about right now. Right now, I’m at work, right now, I’m at a decent place in my life, right now.

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Weekend Coffee Share

If we were having coffee you’d be sitting on the other side of the couch at the home I babysit at every Sunday. We would be watch “13 Reasons Why” and I would be ranting about how much I hate boys and I just want to meet a nice man that treats me right and how I hope so badly it’s the one that’s talking to me now. Then I’d tell you that I don’t think it is, which makes me feel conflicted as conflicted can be.

If we were having coffee I’d be sipping my second big cup of the day. Trying to get rid of the headache, the tiredness I’ve been feeling from barely sleeping the past few weeks, and most importantly, just trying to enjoy the taste and calming down.

If we were having coffee I’d pour you a nice big cup. We would talk about all of the things that have been bothering me. My blog, boys, jobs, everything. I would vent, and then let you vent. I’d probably interrupt because that’s probably my worst habit of all. I’d complain about not knowing what to make for dinner, my diet, and then I would whisper “I’ll probably just go to Subway again.”

If we were having coffee, I’d let you know that I think it’s weird the baby has been sleeping for three hours, but I wouldn’t complain. Trust me I’m thankful. I would then go on to show you pictures of how cute he is, and how thankful I am for all of the wonderful families have allowed me to watch over their children this year.

If we were having coffee, I would probably go on a feminist rant, tell you about how much I love social media, and how I wish my blog would thrive. I’d have a lot to say, but at the same time, nothing at all. I’d open up like I used to on my blog. Before I went public with it, before I was applying for jobs, and before when I didn’t have many friends. I’d share my worries, my thoughts, and my doubts.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you if you want another cup but pour you another no matter what the answer was. The truth is, on Sundays I get to a point where I desperately need to talk to an adult so I wouldn’t really want you to leave.

If we were having coffee, I’d have to eventually excuse myself to get the crying baby and I’d thank you for joining me. I’d invite you back next week and be so happy for my friendships with you.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

Late Night Blogging with Mary: Part 28

I am sitting on our living room floor with about a million and five papers scattered around me along with a host of cold meds, decaf coffee, and some soy and dairy free chocolate. I keep staring at my very out-dated to-do list hoping it will give me answers that it’s not going to give me. I already took my evening dose of melatonin, so my apologies if this is a little scattered, I have to be up at 4:45 to babysit tomorrow morning so better safe than sorry with taking it early.

I have a second interview tomorrow, I’m not one for publicizing this type of information as I see it to be jinx worthy, however, I put everything here and maybe it’s jinx worthy to not ask for your best thoughts. Really, I’m afraid of jinxes no matter what so no matter what I do, if I don’t get this job I’m going to blame it as a jinx on something.

The job hunt in general, has been stressful. I have lost count of the number of jobs I’ve applied for. I’ve stopped applying to anything not on the east coast because I don’t think anybody wants to pay for me to relocate. If you do, ya know, let me know, I’ll move anywhere.

Other than jobs I have a crazy short time until graduation and I honestly can’t believe it. Although cliche, it does it feel like just yesterday that I started this blog in conjunction with my college career. While I’m so excited to be done school and get out of the classroom and maybe even out of my parents house (no offense, just looking for new), I’m not quite as ready for bills and whatever else real adults have to do. I want to do all the fun things and skip everything I might ever have to worry about. Generally, I’m more excited than not.

I’ve been working a lot this year to get to a point where I’m comfortable. I should’ve spent less but I’m considering this my last few months to be a little reckless. I babysit ALL the time, less now than earlier this year, but still a lot. I also work at the marketing department at my school, and as an intern. There might be other things I’m forgetting but, it’s been good. I think it’s been helping me prep for the future of being busy. If I could be a professional nanny, it’s definitely something I would consider. However, I did not go to college to do that, so I should really use the skills I’ve developed to please my parents and myself.

Anyway, here’s a little bit of my word vomit for everyone. How’s you job hunt going? Any tips for me? Anyone successfully freelancing and have some advice? Let me know!

Note to Self:

Yes you did brush your teeth this morning so stop worrying about it already!

Recently I’ve been facing a problem where if I do not write every single thing I need to do down, it’s not going to be remembered and therefore is unlikely to actually occur. I thought a little “note to self” might be of use today.

You’re going to write those articles, answer those emails, and do your homework, it’s on the to-do list and will get done, it’s a guarantee. What you need to remember is to put yourself first. Everyone around you has opinions, and they are great. The people around you are great, but sometimes, your thoughts matter more.

What do you want to do today? Do you want to cook dinner? Go to the store? Go to class? Do what you need to do, then pick and choose.

A note to self- worry about you and what you can control. There’s so much that falls outside of your realm of control, try not to worry about it.

Self-care is sometimes the most important thing you can do for yourself so don’t skip it, just embrace it.

Tackle your to-do list and write notes to yourself until you get everything done.

Late Night Blogging with Mary: Part 27

It has been quite sometime that I’ve ventured to this little corner of my blog, one of my previously most written in sections, I mean 27 posts is quite a few. Speaking of 27, Mary Fun Fact™ it’s my favorite number.

Recently, I have been very anxious again. I don’t know if it’s the boy stressing me out (yes of course he had to text me) or I drank too much this past weekend but I can’t shake it. It’s so annoying.

Besides the point, I have exactly two months until graduation. It’s absolutely insane. I cannot believe how quickly my time in college has gone. The past four years have flown by like no other. I remember when I finished middle school my mom was talking to my best friend and me about how quickly time was going to start going and I think about last year I realized how true that was. There’s a part of me who never wants to leave college, and then there’s a bigger part of me that’s very excited for the future.

This spring break was probably my most uneventful yet. I didn’t work, we had a snow day, and I went home for the weekend. However, other than my desire to be reading on a beach somewhere, I really appreciated all of the downtime I finally had. I probably should have done more school work than I did, but there’s a reason it’s a break.

I’m not sure what else really should be in here. I feel like there are a million things I have to say, yet nothing at the same time. I guess for now, this is my update.

What’s going on with everyone else?

Happy LNBM!