2018 Goals

You had to know this was coming, so here are my 2018 goals! I decided to pick just 10 this year (again) so it is more achievable.

  1. Go to the gym a minimum of three times a week
  2. Work on transitioning my blog and online presence to more of what I want it to be and less of just quick fixes.
  3. Start working freelance
  4. Get organized
  5. Open an Etsy shop
  6. A solo-vacation (or maybe with friends who knows)
  7. Read 12 books
  8. Volunteer and be more charitable
  9. Write a book about blogging and publish it for the Amazon Kindle
  10. Eat better!

What are your goals for the new year?

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2017 Goals in Review

Every year I review my goals. Normally, I do it twice and this year I didn’t want to do a mid-year review. Mostly because honestly, this is the first time I’ve looked at my goals since last January. L O L. 2017 has been a little rough- some really cool stuff happened and I might do a reflection piece all about that, but at the same time I’ve been creatively bogged down, exhausted, and often generally defeated. However, let’s dive into that as I reflect on my 2017 goals.

  1. Blog at LEAST three times a week. This did not happen. Obviously. I’ve found extremely difficult to manage my work writing and then staying motivated enough to come home and write more often. I did, however, write far more than I did last year, finally broke 500 followers (thank you everyone) and was proud of every piece I published. 
  2. Go self-hosted, break out of .wordpress (eek!!) Done! I thought it would be scarier because that yearly $100 price tag seemed high, but I renewed it this month with no hesitation. I’m content with my domain name and look of my blog (generally). 
  3. Get my first real adult job doing something I love. I’m working in my field- which I love that I’m using my degree. There are parts of my job that I really do love, however, this isn’t my dream job and my boss reassures me that it’s a stepping stone to doing what I really want to do- freelancing. 
  4. Move out of my parent’s house. I did! I *officially* moved to Frederick where I had semi-permanently lived over the four years of college. Now, it’s my home. 
  5. Travel somewhere cool. I didn’t go anywhere super cool and exciting- at least to most people. However, for me, I had a lot of fun going to BloggyCon and spending time with people who love the same things as me. Mostly, having people understand me when I talked was really cool too. After I went there, I took the long way home and visited a friend who is in Kentucky (hi Kellianne) which was just super nice. 
  6. Grow in my relationships with God and Jesus. That’s a personal question goal that I don’t need to delve into on the internet :) One day there will be a whole post on my religious views. 
  7. Learn something new I learned to embroider and knit this year! I’m not advanced at either but I’d say I’m a novice in both. 
  8. Eat better– i.e. eventually no more dairy or soy, the crux of all of my stomach issues I did- it didn’t work. 
  9. Find a therapist wherever I end up post-graduation to continue positively growing with my mental health. I didn’t do this. It turned out I dreading going to therapy. I’m still on medication and one day I hope to find a therapist that I connect with better but overall I’m okay(ish) where I am now anxiety wise. 
  10. Be creative all the time, in thinking, in daily life, constantly expanding my mind in creativity. Obviously, from the first paragraph of this post- this was trying for me. I’ve had creativity-block like others have writer’s block. It has impacted nearly every aspect of my life and has been incredibly annoying. However, this is something to work on again for 2018.

How did you do on your 2017 goals? As you can guess, my 2018 goals are around the corner!

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.

Stranger Stories: An Anonymous Love Story

An Anonymous Love Story

A couple of months ago I asked my dear friend Mary if I could be an anonymous guest writer on her awesome blog. Because she is literally the nicest person I probably know, she willingly accepted my request. So hello Mary’s avid readers! I’m sorry I can’t introduce myself, but perhaps if you continue reading, the reason as to why will be made clear.

I’ve felt the need, over these last few months, to get something off of my chest but life gets hectic and the feelings I’m about to share were not nearly as important as the other aspects of my life. As things begin to calm down and my routine is more set, the feelings can’t be pushed aside much longer. They pop up out of nowhere and they pester me at the most inconvenient of times. As my therapist once told me, writing can be extremely useful for people who have a hard time expressing their feelings. And so, here I am, hiding behind anonymity in the hopes of being able to find some type of peace of mind.

Years ago, I fell in love. Or at least I thought I did. I’ve come to realize that what I loved was the idea of him, the idea of being in love with him, the romance of the entire situation. But not him, I never really loved him. And the only reason I’m able to say this is because now I actually love someone, and it hurts substantially more. It started as this perpetual cold feeling somewhere between my heart and my diaphragm, like someone punched me with a snowball. Now there’s just this empty feeling there, as if a part of my side was ripped out entirely. If I try to visualize the space it’s a black, empty void. Somehow, that hurts worse than the snowball punch.

I met him a few years ago. I was recovering from a really tough year and we were studying at the same place. We became instant friends and spent most of our time together. I’ve never had a male friend like him. We have the same interests, same passions, same humor. We grew close and soon he became one of my best friends. When we said goodbye to each other, I (accidentally) told him I loved him and turned around and got on a bus. It was a very friendly ‘I love you’ but even still, I meant it.

It was months before I saw him again but nothing changed between us. We picked up right where we left off. Again I was leaving on a bus when he hugged me and told me he loved me. Once more, strictly in a friend way. I smiled and walked away.

Years went by and we kept in touch; a skype call here and there, a couple snapchats a week and few friendly text messages. He was still one of my best friends and I loved telling people about our adventures together and how great he was. Then we saw each other again.

I was so excited to see him and we had one of those running into each other’s arms at the airport moments. It had been years since we had seen each other and yet, we were as comfortable as ever. Before our reunion, my friends kept asking me if I thought we’d hook up, which in my opinion was an absurd question. “Hook up with him? He’s like my brother guys, never.” So naturally we hooked up.

I was terrified. This would totally ruin our friendship. Everything was going to be awkward now. I’d royally screwed up. Thankfully, I was entirely wrong about all of that. But the one thing that I was right about was that I’d never be the same. The more time I spent with him and the more intimate we got, the more attached I became. Despite my best efforts, I knew I was falling in love him. I couldn’t have stopped it even if I had wanted to.

We spent two weeks together, 24/7 and not once did I get annoyed. Not once did I want to rip his head off. Not once did I need alone time. I can’t do this with my best friends that I’ve known for years. I can’t do this with my sister or mother or anyone. But with him, I’m a different person and I really like that person. I want to be her more.

The time came and he was leaving. His bus was leaving late, he was heading to his next adventure. (As I’m writing this, I’m starting to realize what an important part buses play in this whole little story). I looked in his eyes while tears streamed down my face and I was speechless. I couldn’t say anything. So I smiled while he told me how much fun he had, how much he’d miss me, how excited he was for our next trip together. We hugged, I looked at him once more and walked away. I didn’t turn back. I couldn’t turn back. My life wasn’t behind me and I had to keep moving forward. But that wasn’t the real reason I didn’t look back.

You see, his next adventure was visiting The Girl. The Girl is a friend of mine and I knew from the start that he was going to visit her. The Girl is someone who he told me he could see a future with. We were very open about The Girl and talked about all of it after we had hooked up. So the real reason I didn’t look back is because I didn’t want to know whether he was watching me leave or if he was on the phone with her. It would have broken my heart in that moment if I knew the answer. I wanted to remember him fondly and hold no grudges. So I walked onward, content with my oblivion.

While I write this, I know that I’m heartbroken. I know that the person I love doesn’t know that I do and most likely doesn’t harbor the same feelings. But I still love him and I always will. Perhaps that’s the heartbreaking part of this whole story. I really do believe that I will always love him. He is my first love, the first person I can envision a real, viable future with. I want to spend my life with him, I want him by my side through all of the adventures. We’re still best friends. We still talk frequently and on the surface, nothing has changed. I haven’t told him I love him because at this point in time, there is no benefit in doing so.

Perhaps now you understand why I chose anonymity. I need to confess to the world that I love someone who doesn’t love me back and I need to do so without anyone knowing I did. The irrationality of love annoys me. I hope you don’t feel like your time has been wasted reading this story. Perhaps no one will even get to the end of this blog. But I can pretend that I’ve shared my story with people and I can pretend that they can at least relate to it.

I suppose the lesson I’ve learned from all of this is that sometimes there are heartbreaks so enormous you can’t just get over them. I will always love him and I will always remember this heartbreak, but it won’t define me nor will it stop me. I’m not bitter and I don’t regret a thing. Now that I’ve fallen in love I know how great it is, even though it hurts so much. Sometimes, it’s ok to be broken for awhile because then you can learn how to put yourself back together.

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

How to Prepare for the Snowstorm

Apparently there’s supposed to be a lot of snow this weekend, starting tonight. I don’t know if I can believe it, if I’m being honest. However, in case it does, here are some tips for preparing for the storm.

  • Have something to do- Don’t allow yourself get bored. Make sure you have at least one thing in mind to do that doesn’t require electricity, for example almost any craft.
  • Have food- snacks, candy, but also protein and other things in case you can’t cook. So essentially meals. The stores have been out of milk, bread, and eggs for days so good luck with those items at this point.
  • Keep a shovel in your car- I’ve learned this the hard way when the school calls and tells me to move my car, but my car is behind a three foot pile of snow.
  • Do your homework- This isn’t really how to be prepared or anything, it’s just a tip on what to do when it snows.
  • Have winter supplies ready to go- You don’t want to be searching for your winter boots when you have to walk to the dining hall, just to remember that you left them in your car on move-in day.
  • Keep blankets at the ready- Again, you never know when the power may go off, so always make sure you have blankets ready to go in case the heat goes off.

Are you in the 18-24 inch zone like me? The first flurries just started, I’m not ready for this. I don’t like snow. Stay safe everyone!

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Is it no big deal?

I do this thing when I really care about something or I really want something to happen I pretend like it’s not a big deal. The biggest thing I would say I do this to is marriage. Like I’m always like “I don’t want to get married. I don’t want to think about my wedding. Like let me just elope and get it over with.” It’s half true. I think weddings are hassles and I don’t know if I would necessarily enjoy it but it’s something that I would honestly like to experience in my life.

I doubt I’m the only one who pretends things aren’t a big deal that really mean a lot to them. I am well aware that I do this because I’m afraid these things aren’t going to happen for me. Like I honestly believe that I will not get married so I act like it’s something that I don’t want to do. I really don’t think I will ever be comfortable enough in a relationship to take those steps towards marriage so I just pretend like it’s something I don’t want.

I think a lot of people do this, we pretend things aren’t a big deal because it’s like that self-convincing thing. If you can convince everyone around you that something’s true- you’re eventually going to believe it too. So that’s why I do it. If I can tell myself that I look good everyday, I’m going to build my self-esteem, which I do and it makes me feel a lot better, however while this is a good thing to do, I do it with all the wrong things. “I don’t want to get married,” “I don’t really want a boyfriend,” “I don’t really know if I want to go into journalism after college,” these are all things I say to the people around me so I believe them.

Is is okay though? When I say it’s no big deal do I really mean that? Sometimes when you try to convince everyone around you that it’s not a big deal you forget what you really care about. I think I’ve started to rebuild what I care about.

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Why it’s Good to Mind Your Business

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I see a lot of articles on why it’s good to have kids young or wait, get married young or wait, move in with a significant other or wait, go to college or not, but really it’s no one’s life but your own. Everyone has an opinion. I understand that, it’s just that your opinion on someone else and their life doesn’t really matter and it shouldn’t affect them either way.

Today I got on Facebook and I saw an article “Why it’s good to get married young” and I was mad at first. It goes on about how it’s God’s gift to be married young, but for someone like me that is nothing that I’ve ever wanted. I don’t want someone judging me for not wanting to get married young, but I also should stop judging people who are at a point in their life where they feel stable enough to get married young.

I think the internet is great and all but I think there are some opinions that are actually personal decisions. I think there is too much pressure on people to make very personal decisions via something they read. I know I’ve read things which referred to me as a terrible Christian room just because I didn’t want to be a stay at home mom, or let alone a mom. This really offended me as a Christian woman and it was just someone’s opinion that was trying to influence my future when really God does call people to the single life and that’s my choice of whether or not to be a mother.

Sure it’s cool to get married at 20 but it’s also just as cool to get married at 65. If you want to have loads of babies go for it, but if you want to have none or one go for it! I’m tired of all these people trying to tell everyone what to do, let them live their lives and mind your own freaking business! I think we are all too far concerned with how other people live their lives and how they should live more like us or the lives we want to have and really NO ONE KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING WE ARE ALL JUST FIGURING IT OUT AS WE GO! You can’t do your own life wrong. I mean unless you’re a rapist or something I wouldn’t recommend that lifestyle but honestly everyone has to make their own choices so stop trying to control them. You do you and I’ll do me.

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The Five Year Plan.

I don’t have a five year plan. I don’t even have a one year plan. I like the idea of the five year plan though, it’s a great concept. In five years I should hypothetically have my shit together, I highly doubt that will happen but that’s where I should be in five years. Five years from now I’ll be TWENTY FIVE! That’s really old, at least to me. My mom was 24 when she had me so that puts a lot into perspective on my side. I don’t want to have a child within the next five years. I don’t want to be married within the next five years. According to Mary Time I shouldn’t be getting married for at least another seven years, Mary Time will be explained another time.

I’m not a free spirited person, I’m very much a constricted person.  I wish I was a free spirited person because then the lack of a five year plan wouldn’t worry me so much. To me, there’s just so much in the world to experience and try that I’m at a loss for what to do next. For example, I want to study abroad next fall but I also am afraid of missing out here. I can’t let that stop me though, but at the same time I don’t know where to go. It’s a very complex up in my brain. So that stops my one year plan and holds it up a bit. Which makes me interested in a summer program or something along those lines. There’s a lot of things I have to think about.

I’m also very single. Like there’s not a man on my radar besides an attractive person I see on my way to class. If I was in a serious relationship I’m sure a goal of mine would be to get married within the next five years, but that’s not me or the position I’m currently in. For me to get married I would like to be dating the man for at least five years prior to marriage so I will not be getting married for at least another six years.

Currently I would like to consider myself in the selfish years. The next five years are for me, and if a man wants to enter my life he is more than welcome to do so, but for now these are the years for myself. I don’t have to report to anyone but myself. After I graduate college in two and a half years I have a lot of time to work on myself. I suppose I could currently be working on it but right now I still have responsibilities.

The point of a five year plan is to set up goals and have ambitions and an idea of what you’re going to do for the next five years. Shout out to the people who have five year plans, but an even bigger shout out to the people who can’t even manage a one year plan like myself.

There’s a greatness in a five year plan but there is also something really special about the endless opportunities of the lack of one. I’m rather excited that I can have endless opportunities and  experiences without the idea  of goals and expectations that I created for myself looming over my head.

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I’m Scared.

Yesterday I asked what my major career goal was. I don’t have one. Yesterday I was asked a question I will be and have been asked millions of times within my lifetime, yet yesterday was the first time I had nothing to say. Like I don’t know what I want to do, but I don’t have any career goals at all. Cool.

I’m tired of people telling me “a lot of people don’t know” and “you’ll figure it out” because that doesn’t mean that right at this moment I don’t feel sick everyday because I feel like I’m wasting my time. Wasting time is a huge anxiety trigger for me, wasting anything is, but especially time. Go ahead, tell me it’ll all work out but that’s not a guarantee. I’m sitting in class and I have no long term goals.

I enjoyed my internship as an experience but I honestly don’t think that I will thoroughly enjoy my life in a cubicle and I guess a goal of mine would to not be completely miserable by the time I’m thirty, and I think I might be miserable if I sit in a cubicle for the next fifty plus years. I go to class and I’m finally in classes for my major and I’m still uneasy and unsure of what I’m doing. I’m in News Writing and she’s already telling us about how many people we’re going to have to call, it takes me at least 20 minutes to make a phone call. I don’t know if I want to interview people my whole life either, trying to overcome anxiety every time I have an assignment.

I don’t know what I’m doing, it’s making me anxious and I’m afraid that I’m either wasting my time here or I’m going to end up somewhere I hate. Life scares me when I don’t have a plan. I’m not sure what I’m doing. I have no goals that go further than hobbies. I focus my energy on things like this that will probably get me nowhere. I put time into crafts, into YouTube, into silly things that will make me happy in the now, not something that’ s going to help me ten years from now. I’m lost, confused, and I have no idea what I’m doing. Most of all I’m scared. I’m scared that I’m going to end up doing nothing with my life. Afraid, that I’m going to be unhappy the rest of my days. Worried that one day I’ll look back and all that I’ve accomplished is a stable life. I want a good life, not just a stable one. I don’t want to live with regrets and I’m afraid that I’m on path that will lead me to a life with many. I know a life with zero regret is impossible at this point since I already have some, but I don’t want my whole life to be one giant regret because frankly that would just suck. Hopefully I figure it out before it’s too late.

XOXO,

Mary.