Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guest Post: You're in for it

I'm so excited that Emily is guest posting today! I loved her blog post and I hope you do too!

Hi all! I'm Emily and I usually blog over here. Brittany asked me to guest post for her, and I was happy to oblige. But before I get into the real juice of the post, I'll just share a tid bit about how Britt and I know each other.

Brittany and I are IRL (that stands for "in real life", Mom) friends and we have the internets to thank for that. Even though I'm sure we would have somehow become friends anyway (because she grew up right down the block from my Aunt and Uncle, my cousin and her sister went to HS together, her husband is from my 'hometown area' (he and I had a shared obsession with rap music in high school, it's a Southern Ohio thing) and she and I just so much darn alike). {I promise I didn't pay her to write this..but how sweet is she?! So thankful we are friends!}

I don't consider her just a blog friend that I get together with occasionally, she has become one of my best friends in real life - we've traveled to Chicago together, she's nursed me through break-ups, shared many great girls-night-outs and girls-night-ins, she posted an ad for me online and we even pet sit for each other. You get the picture, right? Oh, and her mom gives one helluva pep talk when you need it most. So thank you Britt for being one of my besties. :) I'm so glad we met.

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It's no lie that this past year has been a very challenging and trying time of my life, but it's also been the most rewarding and I have learned more in the past 15 months than I ever thought possible. I have gone from the wishy-washy of want I wanted out of life and being afraid to speak up for myself, waiting, waiting and more waiting.....then what I thought was my low point (it wasn't)........then the highest of highs (fairytale land)......and then I hit rock bottom. Like rock, rock bottom.

This was my problem. Spot on.
I remember sitting at the kitchen table at Brittany's parents house back in March while her mom was giving me the aforementioned pep talk and I just remember thinking about how unhappy I was and I was not happy with me. I was dealing with so much insecurity, I didn't have a lot of friends because I'd spent 4 years of college and 5 years after basing my life around what someone else (boyfriends) wanted and not what I wanted. I had no idea who I was or what I liked. I bet I cried myself to sleep every night for a solid two months and woke up crying too. (This wasn't just because of break-ups, it was because I was unhappy with me!)  So I decided to make some changes.

Last September I made a list of 101 Things To Do in 1001 Days. This was the second attempt. My first round was done here. When I made these lists, I included a lot of things that I wanted to do, not necessarily what anyone else wanted to do. As you can see (if you visited the link that is), I didn't get a lot of the things done on the first round.

So many of the things I didn't get done because I was relying my then boyfriend to do them with me, rather than just doing them because I wanted to. I was waiting. The same went for the first 6 months of my second round. I had hardly even touched it when I looked at it again in March. Again, because I had been in that stage of life where I was waiting on others to make decisions for me. More waiting.

I've spent my whole adult life waiting and worrying. Waiting on others. Instead of doing and enjoying life, I was waiting. On what? I was putting my life and happiness on hold and in someone else's hands.

When I moved in to my own apartment, I wanted bedroom furniture, but I didn't get it because I just figured I would get something when I got married. Same with dishes. I wanted a pink shower curtain, but I got gray because I was afraid my boyfriend wouldn't want to come over as much if it was pink. (Yes, I really thought that!) I wanted to go skiing, but I didn't want to go without the boyfriend. If I wanted to go to a fair or festival, or a tailgate or football game, or a concert or wedding or trip, I wouldn't go if the other half didn't want to go. Even when I started dating boy #2, I didn't even make my opinion known at all. Right from the beginning I was all about 'whatever you want' and 'you're the boss' and anything just to make sure he was happy. I was never doing anything I wanted to do and always waiting on someone else to figure out what I wanted. I was a people pleaser.

Bad advice and lack of good advice also played another roll in this people pleasing, self-esteem lowering behavior of mine. I was told not to get nice stuff for my house after college because I can just register for that when I got married. So I didn't. I was never told that it's ok to have an opinion and express it and not to be worried about if the other person agrees with that or not. I saw women of another family wait around on their husbands, so I did the same. I mean, they've been married 30-plus years, so doing whatever I can do to make my boyfriend happy must be the right way to do it, right? He makes decisions on where we go to eat, when I go home, if and when we go and leave a wedding. I was pretty much a little puppy lagging behind and just did whatever I could do to make the other half happy.

Looking back and seeing how I acted seriously makes me sick to my stomach. How I put my own wants and needs as the very last priority in every relationship I had - boys, friends, family. It didn't matter if it was a date with a boy, a brunch with the girls or a football game with my sister - I was just making sure everyone else was happy with me.

I knew something needed to change. I wasn't sure if it was a job change or a move, but it was definitely something. I started seeing a counselor. (Yes, I did and I'm not ashamed at all. She helped me through a lot of shit!) And I also was put on some anti-anxiety medicine. No shame there either. That stuff has worked wonders. And it also helped that I just started doing things that I wanted to do.

I went to NYC just for the heck of it. I'd always wanted to go, but because no one else I knew wanted to go, I assumed I'd never go. Dumb.

On Broadway in NYC.
I made my hair dark - my natural color because that's what I want it to look like. I'd always been afraid to do it before because I didn't want it to look bad for 'this upcoming event' or 'so and so's wedding." I also cut it off. I just did it. My mom hates it and tells me every chance she gets, but I love it. It's my hair. I see it in the mirror every day, not her.

My hair has looked the same for the last 10 years. Not anymore.
Four five years I avoided the high ropes course at 4-H camp when I was in high school because I was afraid. I did it this year when speaking at FFA camp. I also ziplined again in September and didn't even get nervous.

I went parasailing at Myrtle Beach. Again, always had been scared, I just went. I don't know why I was ever afraid. It was the most awesome thing.

I went to a Cubs game in Chicago BY MYSELF! No one ever wanted to go before, so I just went. Got on the El Train by myself and went. And made friends when I got there.
 
I've made friends with people I met on the internet and they are some of my best friends.



I've joined organizations and a bible study that I love.

I've decorated my house because it's my home. I could only live there another 3 months or for the next 10 years, but either way, it feels like home to me and not just a temporary dwelling.

I got a cat because I always wanted one.

My precious Bowie.
I've taken risks and done things that make me uncomfortable, but that is ok. That's good for me.

Last week's news of Matt Turner's passing (he was 32), in addition to the loss of my cousin last year who was the same age as me (26), and a series of other people that were young, I realize you never really know how much time you have. Enjoy the life you have. Do what you want! Quit waiting!

So tell me, what are you waiting for?

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That wasn't the normal guest blog post fluff. I'd been wanting to share it for a long time, and when Britt asked me to guest blog, it just felt like the right time to get it all out. :)

Thanks Brittany for being there for me during all of this and not thinking I'm crazy!








6 comments:

  1. Such a good post! I'm going through a journey of my own and even though I'm married, it's still a good reminder to do things for yourself and not because it's what is expected of you!

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    1. Thanks Samantha! That's what I've always done...what everyone expected me to do, not what I wanted. Best of luck to you on your journey too!

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  2. emily- I have tears in my eyes....this is by far the best post I have read in many years.
    Well done my friend...well done...
    HUGS and HUGS and HUGS!
    You rock...and now you know that the only person who counts is YOU.

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    1. Thanks Laura! :) We should chat soon.

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  3. Umm love her, and her cat I die soo cute!


    I love her story, ESP the first pic so true!

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  4. This is amazing and so true. Thank you for sharing and inspiring me to quit waiting for everyone else and start doing for me.

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