“You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.”

I know, that quote is totally unoriginal and I probably could have done a better job with getting your attention.  But, alas, here you are!  This quote has certainly stuck with me over the past few months as I’ve gone through so many unexpected changes in a relatively short amount of time.

I addressed this in my previous blog post, but on June 10th, Ed and I’s relationship, 10 days short of 1.5 years, came to an end.  I was the one who facilitated the break up, but I think I had been pushed to calling it quits for awhile before I actually had the nerve to end it.  There was so much that influenced how, when, where, and why I broke up with him.  The most frequently asked question I’ve received in the two months since is simply, “why?”  Honestly, this is the hardest question to answer.  There were so many factors that played into my decision.  I had been feeling like I was on the receiving end of an undetermined amount of empty promises for the last quarter of our relationship; I wasn’t sure that Ed would be the only man to make me as happy as he did, without the constant bickering and compromising on things that I shouldn’t have had to sacrifice; my 5 year plan was vastly different than his was and would have ultimately ended in my sacrificing things that I’m passionate about (getting married and starting a family young).  Alongside the big issues were smaller ones like feeling as though I wasn’t as big of a priority as I felt like I deserved to be – this is NOT to say that I expect to be tended to 24/7, but rather that I would constantly be put on the back burner to his friends, skateboarding, and work.

There were nights where we fought so loudly that I woke my roommate up from the other side of the wall, nights where I didn’t have the courage or energy to muster myself from my bed for fear that I would burst into tears, nights spent with him where I wished I was back at school.  And on the flip side, there were nights where I could picture doing whatever it was that we were doing for the rest of our lives and being so content.  Days spent with his family, evenings spent with our friends, phone calls and text messages professing our love for one another, and so many times where we sat and talked about how our future would look.  I think, looking back on it now, that I had on my rose colored glasses for a good majority of our relationship.  Whether that’s something that I should be ashamed of or impressed by, I’m not sure at this point.  I do know that there are days where I take my memories and experiences and thrive from everything I’ve learned both in the year and a half spent with him and the past two months being away, but there are also days where I want to take everything back and scream at the younger version of me, “GUARD YOUR HEART.  BE SMART.  LISTEN TO MOM AND DAD,” but I don’t think that either of these feelings are totally fair.  While it’s important to learn from mistakes and experiences, it’s also important to know which is a mistake and which is an experience and try not to confuse the two in the future.

I know this post makes it seem like I was trapped in a miserable relationship for the better part of two years, and I want to be 100% clear that that’s not how it was at all.  When Ed and I were good, it was as good as anything I’ve ever known.  I had someone who appreciated me for everything that I was and maybe even a little more at times, someone who loved me unconditionally and unapologetically, and someone who made me believe in the good in people again.  Above all, Ed made me feel beautiful.  That’s one of the most important things I can stress to people who ask me for relationship advice: if your significant other doesn’t make you feel beautiful without question, there’s probably something missing.  It just so happened that there was something missing in my relationship, too.  Sometimes, it happens.  I’m a firm believer in the fact that everything happens for a reason and also that if it’s meant to be, it will be.  Pretty much, those sayings (and a few others) have been playing in my head like a record.  I know it was hard for Ed and I both to walk away from something that seemed to be working well enough, but I had to ask myself if I was willing to settle for “good enough” at 19.  Ultimately, it wasn’t something I felt like I had to do at this point in my life.

I haven’t spoken to him in great length since the break up – we communicated briefly about returning sweatshirts and the like a few weeks after I ended it, but since then we have had no communication – but I saw his mom once when I went to pick my clothes up at his house.  Saying goodbye to Ed’s family was one of the hardest things I had to do, and it also made it 10x more real in my mind.  I didn’t say goodbye to Noah for a variety of reasons, mostly because I hadn’t made up my mind by the last time I saw him but also I think it’s for the best because that would have been confusing for him and extremely upsetting for me.  He made Ed and I’s happy days so much happier and I feel lucky that I got to watch him grow up, even if it was only for a little while.  I didn’t personally say goodbye to any of Ed’s family, but a few days after the 10th both his mom and sister texted me, wishing me well and saying that they’d miss me and that I was good for Ed.  I thought I had wrapped up my emotions for awhile until I got his mom’s text and then everything unraveled again for awhile.  I had formed such an amazing connection with his family, but especially with his mom, so saying goodbye to someone I really cared about (and I know she cared about me as much) was so hard, and is something that I get emotional about if I think too hard about it.

Still, there was nothing harder than saying goodbye to Ed.  Some days, it still doesn’t feel real; kind of like the past year and a half was some sort of subconscious dream that I was observing instead of actually participating in.  It’s weird to think that the person I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with might actually never speak with me again.  However, I did something that I needed to do for myself – I was selfish, yes, but I would have cheated myself out of being 100% confident and happy going further if I hadn’t drawn the line.  Do I wish I had never fallen in love with Ed?  Some days, I do, but only because it still hurts a little.  I wrote a prose piece years ago about how it’s okay to be sad after you’re the one who did the ending (attached below!) but sometimes it’s still hard to remember.

When I’m in doubt, I think of the confidence and pride that my mother has for me; she is undoubtedly sure that I’m on my path to greatness, and I’m so thankful that she’s going through this journey with me and has picked me up and carried me when I no longer could.  I’m certainly blessed with the best family and friends anyone could ask for, and while this summer hasn’t especially gone as planned, I don’t think I would change anything.

Be proud of yourself for being brave.

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College: Spring Term

I know I already posted tonight but I’m going out of town for two days starting tomorrow and so I wanted to get ahead (as if that makes up for my lack of posting for a WHOLE YEAR)!

Spring Term was all sorts of wonderful.  I stayed close with Tay, Adam, and AJ and continued to cultivate my friendship with Dominique next door.  We spend so many nights in Tay and my room just laughing and being silly.  She’s really someone that I’m glad I got to know.  Maintaining friendships was something that came as more difficult for me than I anticipated.  I had a huge falling out with my best friend from all the way back n sophomore year of high school in the beginning of Winter Term, and we took some time apart from each other to do a little bit of growing on our own (thankfully we have since made up and really are closer than ever, something that I am more grateful for than I think even she knows).  It was hard for me to find my footing apart from her and my other high school best friend who was at the University of Iowa, balancing her hated for her school as well as her long distance relationship.  I felt alone for a little while, and then realized that I have so many people who love me and want the best for me, so I promptly stopped feeling sorry for myself and embraced the ability that I was given to find myself – and I think I didn’t do too badly of a job.

In addition to cultivating my friendships, I added a second major!!! I KNOW, look at me go! At the beginning of the term, I decided to add radio to my class list and began to DJ for two hours every Friday night and Saturday morning.  Almost immediately, I was hooked.  (Thanks, Adam)!  Instead of keeping it as a hobby, I decided to pursue it further and am really pleased with the options that are open to me.  As a double major in poly sci and broadcast communications, I have such a wide variety of potential career paths and internships available to me, plus my background in theatre has given me a confidence that many of my peers don’t possess immediately when they’re thrown on air.  Admittedly, I still get MAD butterflies when the “ON AIR” sign flashes red, but the rush of pride I get when listeners call in to tell me they enjoy what I have to say is so immense that I’ll take the butterflies anytime.  Also, it’s so fun to listen to my mom brag to everyone (literally everyone) that her daughter has a radio show.  It makes me happy knowing that she’s proud of me.

Despite some drama involving someone my friend group used to hang out with, Spring Term was mostly smooth sailing.  I worked hard on my grades and buckled down in Sonata.  I was elected as the Social Media Consultant on the Exec Board for the 2016-17 school year and I was so incredibly proud of myself 🙂  It’s still a huge high point in my life. Ed and I found ourselves arguing more and more, however, and almost called it quits a few times.  It got to the point where I think I was holding onto something that wasn’t there anymore – this is certainly not to say that he didn’t love me anymore or that I didn’t love him.  I had more love in my heart for him than I knew possible; he was just evolving into someone that I didn’t know.  In all fairness, I have changed too.  But where I think that my change is for the better, I wasn’t always so confident with his.  We fought about important things and stupid things just the same, and it was taking a toll on me and everyone around me.  I have my mom and Taylor to thank for keeping me sane in those few weeks of crazy emotions…I don’t know what I would have done if they hadn’t stepped up and held me up when all I so badly wanted was to admit defeat and let my sadness overtake me.  I began to think for myself and make decisions that I was proud of.  This isn’t to say that I wasn’t proud of myself before, but I began to take control and not let him manipulate things like when I was finished hanging out with my friends so he could pick me up, or how long I could hang out with Adam for until it got uncomfortable (which is never, ever did).

Spring Term were some of the most emotionally taxing 10 weeks I’ve ever been through, but they were for sure my favorite 10 weeks of college thus far.  I got home from school on June 8th and not two hours later I was dying to go back.

I suppose that this really belongs in a summer entry, but I’ll include it because it had been a long time coming.  On June 10th, I ended Ed and I’s relationship, 12 days before our 1.5 year anniversary.  It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, without a doubt.  Essentially, I wasn’t confident that the man he was when I broke up with him was one that I wanted to or could spend the rest of my life with; he was worlds different from the man I fell in love with.  And I did still love him when we ended things, and I think a part of me will always love him.  He was my first great love; but that’s the thing.  I want to have many great loves and while I could see a future with Ed, I think at this point I’m too young to settle down without even trying to explore what’s out there!  It has been some of the most emotional days and weeks since the breakup, and I think I’ve been all over the emotion spectrum.  I’m so thankful for my wonderful friends and family who put up with my incessant tears after the initial break up…it felt like I didn’t stop crying for three days.  No one ever got mad or fed up with me though, and I really am blessed to have such a wonderful support system.  Every piece of advice I’ve gotten since the break up is just that I did the right thing, I’m in for a wonderful experience, and that I’m supported.  One of the women I babysit for, a close friend of my mom’s for 3 years or so, told me “be proud of yourself for being brave,” and that brought me to tears.  Since then, that’s been something that I’ve tried to remember when things get hard and I think I’ve made a horrible mistake.  So far, it’s been a different road than I anticipated taking maybe 6 months ago, but it has been a road full of opportunity and experience, and for that I am grateful.

I think I’ll make a separate blog post about how the break up went and how I’m doing almost 2 months since I’ve seen him, but right now I’m absolutely cashed.  Thanks for letting me ramble, and I’ll see y’all in a few short days!

xoxo

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Dominique, Taylor, and I cheering Tay on at her cheer showcase!

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Adam visited me & chatted on my radio show one Friday night – I didn’t stop laughing the whole evening. 🙂

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Sonata Problem at NIU, opening for the Huskie Hunks.  We sang a 3 piece set and made so many lovely friends that night!

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For Taylor’s 19th birthday, our dysfunctional friend group went to the Riverwalk at 11 pm and WADED in the ice cold water as the clock hit midnight…gotta ring it in big for Tay’s last teenage year!

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The winsome threesome at Springfest.  We didn’t know it then, but we have plans to hang those license plates up in our dorm room this year 🙂

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Me, Noah, and Ed at the Morton Arboretum one Sunday afternoon.  This was probably the Last Good Day, although we didn’t know it then.  I look disgusting in the picture but it makes my heart happy.  Ed and I took pictures of just the two of us but this one is my favorite because Noah was begging to get in the picture, and as soon as Ed’s mom took the camera and started snapping, he was distracted by the frog statues.  Kids, man. 😉

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My lovely lovely friend Haley, who is going through Sonata with me as a first year as well.  So grateful for her talented self!

Asking questions you don’t really want the answer to:

Sometimes, we all have these days.  You’ve got to know what I’m talking about: everything’s going great and then BAM! (really, feels like a huge BAM!), something hits ya and makes your day go from 60-0 real quick.  This doesn’t happen too often to me, but it’s a big bummer when it does.  For instance, take today.  I worked from 7:30A-2:00P and then came home, had some down time with my mom, and took a shower before Ed picked me up.  Then, we drove around and ran a few errands and I was in the best of moods.  After hanging out at his house for a bit, his parents took us (me, Ed, his sister, and Noah) to Chuck-E-Cheese.  We ate pizza, ran around, played games, and took cute pictures!  It was so much fun to see Noah experience this for the first time, and I’m lucky that their family wanted me to be a part of that.  Eventually, we went home and Ed put Noah to bed (not before he took me through his teeth-brushing routine which somehow ended up with him telling me that birds don’t like dog food, ???).  When he was settled, Ed and I were sitting in his backyard, on his porch; something that we do often.  I’m a freak when I can see the stars in the sky, and it was so clear that there were dozens out tonight.  I loved it.

We jumped around from topic to topic, playing music in the process, until we finally settled on Noah, parenthood, and of course, our future.  It was a sweet conversation, and it left me with a longing and excitement for the future.  The conversation turned into something that I get rather nervous talking about, which is Ed and Noah’s mom’s relationship.  I have a genuine curiosity about it, but I feel like asking questions is out of my limit as his girlfriend.  He’s never been shy about anything I’ve asked him, and he always reassures me that I can ask him anything because he’s an open book: the way he looks at it, he wants people to learn from his situation and no one’s going to do any learning if he’s closed off or awkward about it.  So, my curiosity and confidence getting the best of me, I asked him a few intimate questions about his previous relationship.  Almost immediately, I regretted asking.  It felt nosy, but I also think that I knew the answers before he told me.  I was hoping that he would tell me what I wanted to hear, to prove my suspicions wrong and reassure me that I shouldn’t stress about anything.  However, he gave me the answers that I knew I was going to get and the answers that I didn’t really want.  He was completely honest, and I love him so much for that; it would have been easier for both of us, I’m sure, if he would have given me the answers that I wanted.

I think Ed knew that I was upset.  I’m not very good at hiding it, especially from him.  It’s actually infuriating sometimes, because sometimes the best thing is to be upset by yourself, and whenever I’m with him he always finagles it out of me.  Before I got the chance to say anything, he said that even though he had no problem answering any of my questions, he thought that the questions I had asked were ones that maybe I shouldn’t have, at least at this point.  Not because he’s ashamed of his past or the questions, but because he knows I struggle with his past.  He kept apologizing and that made me sad, because the only person who I was angry with was myself.  It was selfish of me to think that getting the answer (that I didn’t want) to a question (that I shouldn’t have asked) would quell my curiosity or make our situation better.  I know Ed loves me, and he does an amazing job of taking care of me and making sure I’m happy.  Tonight, though, I made myself so unhappy in the worst way.  Instead of getting mad or heated or frustrated or irritated, I made myself sad.

I can’t help but think to myself, what the heck is wrong with you??  You’re in this beautiful relationship, with the most handsome and caring man you’ve ever met.  Why can’t you just live in the now instead of worrying about his past?  Why must you ruin nights like this??  I know that I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, but tonight I couldn’t keep my eyes from feeling heavy or my throat from feeling tight.  I know Ed picked up on it, and I’m thankful that he respected me enough to not press me on the issue.  Even he knows that sometimes it’s best to be by yourself with your emotions, especially something that affects me like this does.

Recently, I made a deal with myself that, in order to find utmost happiness, I need to let go of things I cannot control – namely Ed’s past.  There is no way I could go back almost five years in time and stop them from meeting or dating, and I don’t know if I would want to because I know Ed’s the man he is today because of everything that happened in his past.  He wouldn’t be the same Ed, he wouldn’t be my Ed.  This being said, my biggest obstacle is Noah’s mom.  Even though she isn’t in Ed’s life anymore, I still feel threatened by her.  She knew him first, she loved him first, she was his before anyone else was.  I hate that, and I get a huge pit in my stomach when I think about it.  So writing this entry has been a huge pleasure for me.  (That was sarcasm, could you tell?).  These are the nights that I find myself struggling with the deal I made with myself.

However, I know that happiness is more important than dwelling on something that I can’t change.  So I’m working on it.  For now, I guess I’ll leave you with this: be careful with your curiosity.  Even though there might be a question that’s pressing the front of your brain and on the tip of your tongue, make sure asking will be worth the feeling you get if the answer is one you don’t want.

Advice (and other shenanigans)!

Yo yo yo!  Sorry, that was annoying.  Soooooo anyways, here’s the follow up most from my last blog (found here) about the struggles (but also joys) of dating a teen parent.  Let me clarify something, before we even get started: I knew Ed was a teen dad when I first got to know him, and I’ve never had the mindset of being Noah’s “New Mom” or “Other Mom”.  I didn’t enter the relationship so I could babysit someone else’s kid.  I was purely in it for Ed, and still am.  Do I care about Noah?  Absolutely.  He’s an extension of Ed, which makes me love him as much as everything else about Ed.  Plus, he’s the sweetest little boy you’ll ever meet.  So that’s a bonus.

Now that I got that very important tidbit of information out there, we can continue.  I’ve recently experienced a lot of unfamiliar emotions in regards to my relationship.  There’s something to be said about watching someone you love interact with his child (I say his purely because that’s my situation).  He lights up when he sees his son, and likewise for when Noah sees his dad.  He did an amazing job of studying and reading all the books when Noah was on his way and when he was younger.  Just the other day he was educating me on the safety of making sure the child’s car seat buckle was placed properly over his sternum to prevent asphyxiation in the event of a car crash.  He would’d agree with me, but I can tell that he’s proud of everything he’s learned about being a dad, and he really does make an amazing dad.  He wears the fact that he’s a teen dad on his sleeve and is not embarrassed or hesitant to answer anyone’s questions or talk about Noah or his situation at all.  I definitely think that’s admirable; in a situation as complex as his, it would be easy to feel closed off to the idea of talking to someone about it.  Ed embraces it though, and it’s something that I love about him.  Even seven months in, he’ll still answer any of my questions about the pregnancy or being a dad.  Watching him with Noah makes me excited for our future.  We know that we’re young and, in the grand scheme of things, haven’t been together for that long.  We also know, though, that we want to spend the rest of our lives together.  We want to get married, buy a house, wake up next to each other, start a family together.  It’s something that I think about all the time, and I cannot wait.

In relation to that, there’s also a sadness that I have experienced.  It hit me a few months ago, that I’ll be the holder of very few “firsts” for Ed.  I won’t be his first kiss, love, partner, or even the first one to mother his children.  This was such a raw emotion for me, and it’s still something that I struggle with every day.  Ed knows that I feel this way, to an extent, but I don’t know if he knows how much it still affects me.  A few weeks ago, we sat in his car in the parking lot of the restaurant we were going into and he listened to me vent and yell and cry about these feelings, which was the first time I had expressed this to him.  I haven’t broached the subject with him again, but it definitely hasn’t gone away.  I don’t know if it every will, to be honest, but I guess that’s something that I’ll have to get through should Ed and I continue on the path that we are on.

Another thing I’ve had to deal with (and am currently dealing with) is the drama between Ed’s ex and I.  Before we dated, she and I were actually civil with each other; we sat next to each other in our Drama Lit class and had many conversations.  When it came out that Ed and I were together, the friendship that we had established was completely crumbled and she had no intentions of being my friend.  To an extent, I understand her frustration and anger.  I’m another woman who is receiving the love she received for four years; that’s a pretty raw feeling.  Also, I’m sure she was worried and angry about me meeting Noah.  Granted, this didn’t happen until a few months into our relationship, but I can imagine that there’s an insecurity that occurs when the father of your child brings another woman around that child. Recently, I’ve been trying to “bury the hatchet” (or so they say) with her, because Ed and I talk seriously about our future, and there are going to be many occasions when all three of us are in the same room together, for Noah.  They’re trying to maintain a civil relationship so Noah doesn’t have to grow up with more drama than is necessary – remember that he’s going to live with the fact that he’s only 15 years younger than his parents.  When I told Ed that I was insecure about his past relationship with her and that it made me sad, he suggested that I try to be civil with her, not only for Noah but because it would make me feel better as well.  It takes a lot of energy to be hateful towards someone.  He mentioned that, at Noah’s last doctors appointment, she asked about Ed and I, and then proceeded to tell him that she was happy for us and that she thought we were cute together.  I was skeptical at first, because this came from his ex and also the girl who blocked me on Twitter when she found out about us (I KNOW!  7th grade, much??).  However, I told him that I would make an effort in being civil with her, for everyone’s sake.

Last week, Ed’s family brought me with them on their family vacation to Michigan City.  I had the most amazing time, so when I got home the first thing I did was upload all the pictures of us & vacation onto my social media sites – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc – and got many compliments from friends and family about how happy we looked.  I was happy.  The next day, I found out that Ed’s ex had said some things on Twitter about how my “time was running out” because I had “been there for a while”.  She then went on to say how she’s “always gonna be here, bitch”.  I was mad, not only because she was talking about me behind my back, but she was cowardly about it in the fact that she tweeted it because she thought, since I was blocked from viewing her profile, I couldn’t see her tweeting about me.  One thing that I’ve always had a problem with is when people talk about me behind my back.  The way I look at it is that I’m 18, and if someone has something to say, just say it.  It only makes waves when people gossip behind my back, and I find it a bit infuriating.  When I told Ed about this, his initial reaction was to tell me to brush it off because she was immature.  However, I stand firm in my decision that I’m done being civil with her.  She burned that bridge so fast, and if I’m being honest, I don’t even know if she’s intelligent enough to see that what she did will impact the future relationship between she and I.  But, I digress.

The purpose of this blog post was not to rant about the maturity of people, but to provide some sort of guidance for girls (or boys) who are going through the same situation that I am.  As big of a controversy as teen parenting is, there isn’t much support for the girlfriends or boyfriends of teen parents.  I can’t express how many times I’ve scoured the internet for a blog, support group, or even a Yahoo! Answers thread about what to do if I’m feeling this, that, or the other.  Hopefully someone who needs this will stumble across it and it’ll provide some relief.

That’s it, at least for now, on this subject.  I’m sure there will be more blog posts about this, but for now I’m typed out.