subject line: herbal tea before bed



I read the response to my piece, “We Keep Locking Eyes”, and I thought “oh no. I have somehow romanticized this boy”. To the girl who ended up with the boy in her bed, I just want to say, of course he would end up in your bed. You are amazing. You write emails to strangers, you eat chips and salsa at 5 am, and you openly admit to the world the feeling of being lost. Your friends are going to tell you to avoid a lot of boys because most of them probably aren’t quite good enough for you. Of course, you won’t listen to them. Nor should you. Fall in love over and over again, I know I have. I want to mention. The boy who I dated briefly is the one I would be writing about if my head had written a think piece instead of my heart. I want to mention that while that boy may have ended up in my bed that night, there had been what seemed 100 nights I had extended the invitation only for him to decline. I have always stood by this theory that if a boy really wants you, you’ll know it. He’ll be there every damn night.

When he ended up in my bed, it wasn’t the beginning to my fairy tale. Oh no, he never loved me the way that love normally plays out. He has never met my best friend. He couldn’t tell you my favorite color. We kiss each other like it’s the first time every time. Like we will never commit to each other. As if it is brand new after 10 months of stumbling into each other’s arms. So yes, I kissed other people. I kissed people who have cared more deeply and extensively for me than he might ever in his life. I am hanging on to a maybe when he never chose me. There is undoubtedly a part of me that believes he will someday. He is an extraordinary human. Until then, yes. I will still be kissing other people and no. I will not come to his house past midnight. He can crawl into my bed all he wants, but I’m not crawling into his anymore. It is time he chose me. I’d like to think I’m pretty damn worth it. And so are you. I hope that none of you ever let anyone make you feel inadequate.

subject line: settled



I thought I was over it. I thought I was okay and settled for adventure and traveling and friends and the kind of love that isn’t about me.
I guess I’m not.
The truth is, I still want it all. I still want someone to hold my hand. I still want to slow dance in my own kitchen. I still want the white dress, the vows. I still want to make love and babies too. I still want more than this.
I’m getting older. I’m not old, but I’m older. Most my friends are married now. I go to drinks and dinner parties and halfway through I look around and realize that I’m the only one alone. I’m not the only one who notices. I see their glances full of pity. I can sense their sorrow.
I don’t want their pity or sorrow. I like my life. I like the liberties I have and how I can still do spontaneous things and I don’t have to worry about being irresponsible. I fly across the world and explore. I can volunteer all my saturdays at the old folks home and every evening with homeless kids. Other people can’t do that. Other women have to make dinner.

I would though.
I would like a husband to make dinner for.

I’d give up some of those Saturdays. I’d come home early sometimes. I’d not get on the plane.

subject line: you get married tomorrow


opposite east coast towns

It started when I was 16 and said yes to go running and finding a waterfall. It was my first kiss. It continued when I turned 17 and your sweet grandma bought us front row Red Sox tickets. It was the night I grew up too early. It ended at 18 in a lacrosse field, hearing my father’s voice saying “no” and your answer was “we’ll meet up in our mid-twenties and live out the North Carolina dentist and author dream.” I hated that goodbye and swore I’d never love someone that way again.

Fast forward seven years later and you’re getting married tomorrow. The 16 year old me wanted to be that bride so badly. The 17 year old me was confident I would be. The 18 year old me didn’t know how to not be. The 24 year old me is...

... living 1200 miles away from where we met. I am not the elementary teacher turned author and housewife in North Carolina you envisioned me to be. I am the corporate america breadwinner, grad student, living with a man who loves me right and reminds me of his love, daily. How did we both end up getting it right?

The 24 year old me smiles quietly for you.

subject line: haha



A year ago I wrote to you guys saying I used Tinder to get over a guy, to regain my confidence, and to find myself. I didn’t actually meet anyone in person, but it was fun.

A year later I’m sitting here with the guy “I got over” realizing that we all deserve multiple chances in life. We didn’t talk for a year and a half, and it was the year I found myself. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I’ve told 3 people we are dating again because I’ve stuck up for you so many times in the last ten years, always defending you. All I know is that when you kissed me it felt like home and that’s something I haven’t felt before. For once I didn’t need to defend you, you apologized and stuck up for yourself.

I might have been over you for 18 months and I was happy without you, but when you walked through that door I knew that my heart was in trouble.

I told my best friend we were dating again and her response was, “It’s about damn time, haha.”

I’m glad it’s’s about damn time. Haha.

subject line: you are not alone



I’ve wanted to tell my story many times — to go into the difficulties that I have lived through. It is a long story, though, and as time goes on, the purpose of telling my story has changed from wanting sympathy to wanting to encourage people that things get better with time, but most importantly, that they are not alone.

I want to tell you that you are not alone in your struggles, even when you are positive that you are. You are not alone if you aren’t feeling well — physically or mentally. You aren’t alone when you sometimes wake up and just want to sleep until noon, and then stay in your pajamas eating pancakes and watching cartoons all day — because that kind of life seems easier than dealing with reality. You aren’t alone when your heart rate skyrockets because you are overwhelmed with near crippling anxiety at the most inopportune times, like right before an important meeting at work. You aren’t alone when someone you love calls you to ask you how you’re doing and you lie through your teeth with the words, “Oh they are great, and how are you?” — then cry when you hang up because you were too ashamed of yourself to tell the truth. You aren’t alone if you get dumped and feel like you will never find love again. You are not alone if you’ve ever gotten divorced. You aren’t alone if you think you’ll never get married. You aren’t alone if you take medications every day to treat a disease that will never go away. You aren’t alone if you increasingly worry about the good parts of your health, especially as you get older. You aren’t alone if you constantly worry about your children and their well-being and their futures. You aren’t alone when you are afraid of your parents dying someday, and not having them in your life. You aren’t alone when you are angry with the state of the world and with politics. You aren’t alone if you have a soft belly. You are not alone if you worry about your money, and constantly whether or not you have enough of it. You aren’t alone in feeling upset when you are grumpy on a perfectly sunny and gorgeous day outside. You aren’t alone when you want to unfollow every person you are friends with on Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat, because they are seemingly happy and leading seemingly perfect lives. I assure you, their lives are not perfect. They feel all of these things, too.

You are never alone. Look around you. This is life. We are all going through the same things. Talk to your friends. Talk to your family. Tell them when you are not okay, and they will love you and hug you and try to make you feel better. And when you are at the bottom, try to remember that things can and will get better. But not instantly. A newly diagnosed disease or injury will take time to heal — you will take time to adjust. A fresh breakup will become the past soon, and you will love fiercely again. You will save money for your future in time. There will be other sunny days. Your children will grow into strong and resilient humans just as you have.

Look back at your happy days, and always remember to look forward to the ones yet to come.

subject line: humans of walmart


Southern California

I was in Wal-Mart the other day, waiting in line to check out and I was just people-watching, slowly falling in love with some of them. They were trying to keep their kids in line, going back and forth between Spanish and English; he was talking on the phone and laughing, tilting his head back; she was smiling at her husband through her big old glasses, holding his wrinkled hands; they were chasing their sister down the school supply aisle in their Vans with the untied shoelaces; he was staring ahead straight-faced holding a six-pack of Coors Light; they were just living their lives. And suddenly I realized I would probably never see these humans again in my life. They had gone their whole lives without me in them and they would go the rest of their lives without knowing of my existence. I got so sad knowing that when each of us walked out of that store that night, we would most likely never cross paths again. I wanted to know them. To know what they looked like without makeup on, to taste their favorite food, to hear their story. But I guess that’s the beautiful thing about the people who are in our lives. Our existence at some point is the reciprocal of a million almosts. The day you met your husband at the barbeque you almost didn’t go to. The time you almost didn’t take that accidental wrong turn and just missed a three-car collision. The year you almost decided to accept the job that would have made you rich but miserable. The time you were almost too scared to ask that girl to dance, but you did and two years later you married her. We are made of almosts and there are a thousand different lives that exist on the beds of our fingers & on the tips of our tongues. And what a scary & sacred privilege it is to be ourselves… our blooming, becoming,precarious, almost selves.

subject line: I keep runnin


The hilliest part of Georgia

I took up running this summer. I told myself I wanted to be “healthier” and try to “live longer.” And yet, I’d buy the biggest Coca-cola Sonic sold every afternoon. I don’t think the running was for my body. It was for my mind. I needed somewhere I could control the pace and feel my body contributing to something bigger than myself. When I am running, I am part of the world more so than when I sit on my couch and watch too many hours of Netflix. Honestly, I keep running because when I get into my stride I don’t think about all the poor decisions I’ve made this past year and all the hearts I have disappointed with my short comings. I keep running because I think each mile will put me further away from the past I can’t seem to distance my mind from.

subject line: something like this happens to someone like me...sometimes...this is the first time



In response to “We Keep Locking Eyes”:

The day your email was posted, there was a boy in my bed. The day that you sent in your email, the very things you said were my reality. And that night is still playing out over and over and over again in my head.

It’s been almost two weeks since that night, and sometimes I still have trouble convincing myself that he was actually there, because, well, it doesn’t really make sense that he was. He graduated, I’m still in school. He lives at home with his parents, he’s working a real job, he loves Jesus, he KNOWS Jesus, he knows how to talk to God. Yet here I am, still in school, staying another semester even after this year and feeling sorry for myself about that, not sure what or where my faith is, how to talk to God right now, or how to talk to anyone really.

Basically, we seem like polar opposites. I’m pretty sure any of his good friends – who are also some of my good friends – would give me a big “NO-NO” if I told them that I was falling for him, and falling hard.

Yet he texted me that night. And he wanted to see me. So we all went out – meaning him and me and my roommates. And then we all ended up back at our house, on the kitchen floor, eating chips and salsa. And, well, I think I maybe said 5 words on that kitchen floor, because I tend to lose my voice in a group like that – I get overpowered. And then we all went to bed, him in our guest bed. Yet somehow, he ended up in my bed halfway through the night.

And that point you made – “He comes from privilege, and I’m fighting battles he doesn’t understand.” Fuck. That is me and him summed up into one perfect sentence.

To be honest, I don’t know much about his home life, his childhood. But I am learning, slowly, and I know it wasn’t the childhood I came from. Compared to mine, it WAS privilege. And right now, there are a lot of battles going on in my head – a lot of battles that a lot of people don’t know about. But he’s the first person I actually want to talk to about those battles and those demons, which is a huge step.

So why was he in my bed? Why me, out of the literally hundreds of people that he knows, and the hundreds of girls that pined over him for his four years of college, none of whom he ever dated? I don’t know – it’s kind of fucked up, and I’ve been asking myself every day since it happened it if really did happen. But I guess all that matters at this point is that I finally understand that something like this happens to someone like me every once in a while; the guy you fall hard for, finally falls hard for you.

subject line: read the cautions signs



Dear Me,

As I’m writing this, I keep erasing because the words I’m writing aren’t pretty enough to describe how it’s okay to learn you aren’t as wonderful as you thought you were. Humility isn’t a road that is just stumbled upon its one you have to choose… and usually it’s another person that God uses to help you walk that path.

For you humility will be found in how you label yourself in accordance to the other people in your life, but don’t worry I’ll make a caution sign for you because things will get hard if you don’t follow this rule.

*Caution, any desired title you give yourself is a double-edged sword, and someone will get hurt*

You’ll realize that giving yourself the title of “Influential.” will actually mean “Manipulative.” And it turns out that every situation that you made yourself “influential in” really means you are choosing the outcome for the person next to you.

You’ll realize that giving yourself the title of “Intelligent.” will actually mean “Arrogant.” And it turns out that every time you find yourself “smarter than the person next to you” you are really letting that person know you think they are dumb.

You’ll realize that giving yourself the title of “Sought-After.” will actually mean “Unapproachable.” And it turns out that every time you make yourself “higher than someone else” you are really letting someone know they are mediocre.

*Caution, any desired title you give yourself is a double-edged sword, and someone will get hurt*

You’ll find someone you love and all of the sudden the “Influential, Intelligent, Sought-After” man you thought you were really means bringing in the baggage of being a “Manipulative, Arrogant, Unapproachable” guy who thought he had it all figured out.

But good news!

You’re in luck.

You’ll learn to give yourself all of those desirable titles less, and learn to give them out more. And when you tell the person you love that they are “Influential, Intelligent, and Sought-After” it no longer comes as a double-edged sword because you aren’t giving them a title they chose for themselves, you are giving them words you chose to describe why they are loved by you.

There is a lot of beauty in learning this lesson. It will be more difficult than you think, and the road to finding out you aren’t the amazing man you thought you were is very humbling. But that’s the point. Humility isn’t something that you stumble upon its something you have to choose. It’s a shift of the heart. It’s a desire for someone else and not for yourself. All the titles you have given yourself wont make you happy until you give them away. Remember that.


subject line: balance



I’m a self-proclaimed work-a-holic with a boss who demonstrates absolutely no form of work-life balance. We’re like a Devil Wears Prada match made in heaven. It’s miserable, sure, but this is what it takes to launch a successful career, I’m told.

Still, every day when mine is the only car left in the parking lot, I wonder how even the most illustrious career can be worth yet another missed pizza night with my family.

subject line: We keep locking eyes


Coffee Thoughts

The first time I kissed him was in November, and since then I’ve been kissing other people trying to forget him. I dated someone relatively seriously for months. I never even mentioned I was seeing someone else. I just fell out of his life, small talk as needed, always keeping him at an arm’s length away because I couldn’t quite let go.

So here we are again. I watched him talk to my friends at the bar. I watched his goofy face light up, trying to charm them. He came home with me, talked to my roommate, ended up in my bed. It’s all some type of fucked up whimsy. I don’t know if it will ever lead anywhere. I don’t know if I will be able to consider that a real possibility. He comes from privilege, and I’m fighting battles he doesn’t understand.

But have you ever had someone wake you up in the middle of the night to tell you a joke? I’ve had more dreams about that laugh than I will ever be able to count. I don’t know why the universe wants him in my life, but he is undeniably there. This time I’m not running until I have the answer. There’s just no moving on without it. While I’m still a little skeptical about this whole thing, my heart is so happy to wake up next to that laugh instead of having to fall asleep to hear it.

subject line: exhale


Where the broken pieces sit

Is there an opposite to hyperventilating?

I just googled it, and there is. It’s called hypoventilating, and it means you’re not getting enough air because your breaths are too shallow.

The word feels too medical for what I’ve been feeling since April.

I can’t get a breath. Those good, deep breaths that satisfy you and make your lungs puff up and make your brain come alive with that beautiful oxygen. My body breathes but I don’t. There is a constant weight on my chest. I call it depression if I’m being honest and call it “feeling down” if I’m not.

I’ve never been punched in the gut, but I imagine it makes all the air just whoosh right out of you. I have belly-flopped in water and on land, though, and it does the same thing. All the air just leaves, and for those moments you feel frozen. It’s a pause, this giant, accidental exhale. And while your body’s still running on the oxygen it has, while it’s trying to get your lungs to get their fucking act together and breathe again, you kinda wonder... am I ever going to breathe again?

Breathe easy. That’s what I want. The breathing easy. Where your chest doesn’t feel tight, and your heart doesn’t feel like a boulder, and your brain doesn’t feel weighed down, like it’s sinking into your throat. I used to breathe easy and I don’t anymore and I haven’t for months.

subject line: I cried to my therapist today


Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

I cried to my therapist today.

Gross. The thought of it makes me want to cringe and scream and vomit, all at the same time. How did I get to so comfortable with the curly-haired woman in the yellow chair that I allowed myself to release actual tears in front of her? I know nothing about her, but somehow she knows everything about me. Gosh, she knows more about me than my mother does. Four walls, no windows, one door, fake pictures, plush pillows, hideous lamps, suffocation…and somehow I managed to become comfortable enough to cry.

And I feel like a failure. God, I feel like a pitiful failure. For seven years, I fought the idea of therapy. I can do this myself. I’m a strong woman. I don’t need someone I don’t know to tell me that I screwed up; to sit there across from me in her polished nails and cat-eyed glasses and analyze my fucked-up life. It’s my damn fault and I’ll fix this myself. But, I guess after seven years, you get sick of the all-too-frequent 2 a.m. crying sessions, and you take your stubborn ass to that four-walled room with the woman in the yellow chair to break down those walls that you spent seven years building up. But, demolishing the walls that you’ve spent a whole third of your life building up isn’t a walk in the park, especially when there’s a sense of pride attached to that closed up heart. I’ve spent so much time cementing my heart shut that allowing it to be opened up is kind of like dropping out of College a week before graduation. In other words, it feels completely pathetic. So, when I let tears fall down my cheeks while staring at that hideous painting of a poppy, I knew that I had officially broke down walls that I never planned to destroy; I had officially chosen to heal instead of just deal.

So this is to you, curly-haired woman with the polished nails and cat-eyed glasses sitting in the yellow chair: your tissues suck, but the taste of freedom and healing doesn’t. Thank you.

subject line: I like my definition better anyways


Clinton, Mississippi

Growing up I always though true love was red roses, dates on Saturday nights, little black box that held expensive things, and always knowing what to say. I thought true love was a kiss in the rain, deep explanations, and the perfect story. But now that I am older I’ve realized it’s not like that at all.

See because true love for me is ugly snapchats, and peeing while you’re on your phone. True love is kissing at 6 am despite morning breath and singing at the top of your lungs. It’s saying all the wrong things at all the wrong moments. It’s sarcasm and being honest even when it hurts. It’s late hours of the night when it’s been a long day and it’s no make up and bad hair. It’s tears from laughter, and tears from sadness and it’s nothing like any story book you’ve ever read. It’s never running out of things to talk about, and being comfortable in the silence of things. True love is watching the Notebook though you swore you never would. It’s getting mad over stupid things. It’s “you’re and idiot” and “ you’re a little shit” me knowing you’re so lucky to hear those every day. It’s spilling your feelings at 4 am when you should be asleep. It’s that song your hear on the radio that always makes you smile. It’s the worst story you could imagine, but thank God it worked out anyways. True love is never losing the magic. True love is not leaving when things get hard.

I liked my definition better anyways.