How to Lose Yourself in the Pursuit of Happily Ever After

“And they lived happily ever after…” That’s the dream, right? To live in bliss with your person until death do you part. Or maybe until death of who you once were. Or until one day, you look in the mirror and don’t recognize yourself anymore.

And you wonder, “how did this happen?” You wonder how it ever got this far.

You wonder, “What happened to us? What happened to me? I was a strong and confident woman. And now I’m nothing but a shell.”

It happens slowly. Piece by piece you change. You give in. You compromise. You lose.

You focus less on your dreams as an individual and start working towards the goals you two have created for your relationship. Well, maybe I didn’t get that promotion, but we moved in together.

You spend all your free time with him, because you want to, you love him. But does he do the same for you? Is that even what you want?

You let his happiness, or lack thereof, become your own. It hurts to see him so unhappy, so you become unhappy. You forget that we are all responsible for our own happiness.

You let your relationship become your everything. If you two are good, then life is good. If you two are bad, the whole world is bad.

You let his influence overpower your own desires. You do what’s best for “us” as opposed to what’s best for you.

You sacrifice a little bit of your values for the greater good of your relationship. “Just this once,” right?

You start to believe everything he says. Your personality starts to morph. You’ve become unrecognizable. Because you slowly start to lose, not just your arguments, your strength and determination, but most importantly, yourself.

You’ll look at your life and your relationship and ask yourself how could I lose so much of me? The things that I loved about myself are buried. The fire that he was once attracted to has died, and the emotions bubbling up inside of you are terrifying.

First, you start to blame him. How could he take so much? What gives him the right to take the pieces of who you are? Why couldn’t he just be happy?

The cold truth is, you handed him every piece; thinking that maybe this piece would be the one he needed to make himself whole. Losing this piece will make him fall in love with you again. You did this. You allowed him to take those pieces, but you justified it all. It was a willing sacrifice all in the pursuit of happily ever after.

When all is said and done, hopefully there are pieces you keep. Pieces, that whatever your ending may look like, you can tape back together to start rebuilding yourself.

Start reminding yourself of who you want to be. Remind yourself of the great things about yourself that you gave up, of  what you truly want, and of the life you want to live.

And you might even have to remind yourself that sometimes, happily ever after doesn’t look like the movies. Sometimes, happily ever after is just you. Whole, wonderful, beautiful you.

 

*A very special thank you to my sister, Heather, who co-wrote this with me. I happily share this piece with her.

Currently… July

Reading: I just started The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. Waiting for Tom Hanks was a fun, cute read… just not necessarily a page turner for me.

Writing: I’ve been writing a lot of notes on my phone. Just thoughts I have in the moment that I need to get out. Otherwise I haven’t been very productive in this area.

Watching: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. So after signing up for my free trial of Amazon Prime, I decided to see what the big deal is about this show. I didn’t know anything about the story, I pretty much only knew that it takes place in the 1950s, my favorite era, and that it has won a bunch of awards. Well now I’m obsessed and watching it whenever I can squeeze in an episode.

Planning: On eating so much pasta this weekend! Comfort food that is easy to make is always a win in my book!

Obsessed with: See above, Mrs. Maisel. But also, a strawberry salad I’ve been making myself. Who woulda thought it would be so delicious to a carb lover like myself?!

Proud of: I recently joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Hopefully I will make the right connections and

Thinking: I am going to severely limit my phone usage this weekend. I have the house to myself, (other than our precious animals of course), a list of things I want to get done, and tons on my mind. I’m going to take the weekend to just be. Disconnecting sounds pretty glorious.

Sorry this wasn’t anything special. I’ll try to get to writing some other stuff soon. Thanks for reading!

-M

 

 

 

 

Someday Novel… Fairy Tales

“I couldn’t tell if I was drunk in love or just plain drunk, but if I could bottle the way he looked at me — savor it for just a little while longer, slowly let it escape in moments of weakness, like fireflies in a summer dusk, sprinkle it onto my pillow before sleep — then even I could learn to believe in fairy tales.”

Currently… June

Reading: Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey. I saw this book while with my sister and best friend in Seattle. It’s about a girl who is obsessed with rom coms like Sleepless in Seattle, which just so happens to be my favorite movie, and is waiting for her Tom Hanks like character. Another fun, easy, summer read!

Writing: Sadly not much right now. Not even just for myself.

Watching: Masterchef. And I really want to see Toy Story 4 this week.

Obsessed with: Organization. I finally went through our paperwork that’s always laying around, and next on my list are our spare rooms.

Thinking about: How I’m going to use my four day weekend! And how hard it is to find friends that are genuinely good people, or maybe to keep those friends, and friendships in general and the purposes they serve and the differences between adult friendships and childhood friendships. Plus a million other tiny little things.

Proud of: Our landscaping progress. My rose bushes are growing like crazy, and the rockbed that I converted to a garden is still thriving as well! We have regrown some patches of grass and are working on another patch now. And I got this blog post in while it was still June!

Working on: Eating better. Drinking less Starbucks. Disconnecting to reconnect.

That’s all I’ve got for tonight. Thanks for reading!

 

I’m Sorry I Cannot Save You

I am slowly starting to accept that I cannot fix you. I cannot save you.

I’m sorry I don’t know how to love you the way you need to be loved right now. Do you even know how you want to be loved? I know you cannot love yourself, and I wish I could save you from yourself, but I cannot.

I am slowly starting to take the pressure off of myself to be perfect enough to heal you.

We’re just two beings totally alone while sitting right beside each other.

I know you’re at your worst, and you may not mean the things you say, but they still hurt like hell to hear. I can forgive you for treating me the way you feel about yourself, but even that will not save you.

I will keep smiling in hopes that it will make you smile. I will hide my tears behind closed doors in hopes that it will make you feel stronger. I will hold on until I weaken from giving you my everything. I will be here for you, in hopes that you will somehow find your way back to me. I will give you my all, until I have nothing left. But it will not save you.

I can put my feelings aside, push them down to be strong for you, but it will not save you.

I can make sure you eat, try to get you out of bed and into the sun, seeing friends, but you have to learn to save yourself. Unfortunately, I alone cannot save you.

I will do my best to believe in us in hopes that you will too. And I will have hope, because without it, I will become less of a shell than you have become. I will have hope. But I cannot save you.

I can give it my absolute best, but I have finally realized that even then, I cannot save you. And I am so sorry that I can’t.

**This article can also be found here.

Currently… May

Reading: After I finished When All is Said, I needed a lighter read. So now I just started The Dirty Book Club by Lisi Harrison. But When All is Said, was a great read, so much so I even have pictures of pages that I loved reading, it was just a lot for me right now!

Writing: This, and this. I have a lot of ideas in my head and a lot of titles to someday pieces.

Watching: I finished Dead to Me on Netflix and it was amazing! Now I’m impatiently waiting for season 2!

Planning: Our girls trip to Seattle is booked! I’m not planning anything necessarily for it, but I’m excited!

Obsessed with: My bed and my animals. I am consistently amazed at how great they are at comforting me.

Proud of: My garden is coming along beautifully and while I’m still not quite finished with it, I’m proud of how far we’ve come!

I feel like anything else will be even more boring than this post already was, so thanks for reading!

-M

 

Forgive Yourself For All The Times When You Weren’t Enough

“Why am I not enough? Will I ever be?”

How many times have you asked yourself those questions? Maybe you were sitting at your desk, holding back tears after making another mistake. Maybe you were rejected or disrespected. Maybe you were out with your friends trying to forget about the breakup you didn’t see coming. Or maybe you were lying in bed alone, trying to escape the depths of your own mind but never really finding the answers to your questions.

I am here to tell you that it is time you forgive. Forgive yourself for not being enough.

Maybe the problem isn’t with you. It’s not that you’re not enough, but that someone is too much.

Maybe you tried so hard to save someone and in the end you learned that you weren’t enough. They have to want to be saved, and participate in their own rescue. So forgive yourself for not being enough.

Forgive yourself for not being enough for someone to hold on to. If you are not enough for them, let them go. The right person won’t have to “handle” you, they will just know, and so will you.

Forgive yourself for not being enough to achieve your dream right now. You are enough. You have it in you and you will get there. Don’t compare yourself to everyone else, just be you and that will be enough.

Forgive yourself for not being enough for the expectations that were put on you by society. Everyone is fighting a battle and yours is no less important. Whether it’s an internal battle, a medical issue, or with another person, forgive yourself.

Forgive yourself for not being enough to make someone happy. Happiness is fleeting and everyone finds it in different things, whether we like it or not. You are not responsible for anyone else’s happiness but your own.

Forgive yourself for not being enough for someone to treat you with respect. That is not a reflection of you, but of them. Because you are more than enough to be treated with respect.

Forgive yourself for not having enough in you to keep fighting. Everyone breaks sometimes. You have held on to this burden for far too long, and that in itself is enough.

Forgive yourself for not being put together enough, confident enough, pretty enough. For not being the perfect spouse, friend, co-worker.

You are enough. For the person who will stay. For the person who will help you when you fall. For the person who will love you despite your shortcomings. Most importantly, believe that you are enough for you.

So the next time you feel like crying at your desk, or you’re disrespected, or you’re out with your friends, or you’re just lying in bed alone wondering why you aren’t enough, or if you will ever be, forgive yourself. Because once you are able to forgive yourself for not being enough, you let go of the power it has over you, and suddenly you remember, you are enough.  

 

*This post was originally written for Thought Catalog.*

A Call for Compassion

I am struggling. There, I said it.

This is not a cry for help, I have support in many different forms. Rather, it’s a cry for compassion. I’m not sure whether it’s due to social media, current events, or the anonymity the internet provides, but as a society, it seems we have forgotten what compassion looks like. Put aside your differences, your own prejudices, your own agenda, your pre-conceived ideas of how things should be, who someone is, and take a minute to look at each other as human beings. Don’t be so quick to anger, or judge. Be a little less self-interested and a little more interested. Be kinder to each other. Treat someone as a friend before you assume they’re an enemy.

We have no idea what battles someone is fighting, and really, should it matter? Why do we have to know they’re struggling to be kinder?

This weekend my animals were my saving grace. My cat very gently woke me up when he knew I was sleeping to much. My dog cuddled up with me and was thrilled to keep me company wherever we went. Because animals just want love, so they give love. Why can’t we be more like them? All I wanted to do was sleep. But instead, I forced myself to get up and go out. All I could think about was how much I wanted to be home and in bed, sleeping to escape. My stomach was in knots all weekend. But still, I forced myself to eat. I forced myself to stay awake just a little bit longer.

Sometimes that is all someone can do. Force themselves to stay awake a little bit longer. And force themselves to actually live life. Sometimes everything feels exhausting. Sometimes everything is heavy. Sometimes you can’t even remember the last time you smiled a genuine smile. Sometimes the only thing you can see are escape routes.

So find it in your heart to show them some compassion. They don’t need pity. They need support. And occasionally your forgiveness. It’s not that they don’t want to hang out with you, they just don’t want to be a burden. It’s not that they didn’t want to reach out to you, they just don’t have the energy to talk. Remember, sometimes everything is exhausting.

Currently… April

Reading: When All is Said by Anne Griffin. If you had to pick the five most influential people in your life, who would they be? What would you say? What would you be drinking? The protagonist is telling these stories that are of course, all connected to this larger story that he is telling his son while sitting at the bar. It’s heartbreaking and intricate. Definitely a good read so far.

Writing: My last post is doing very well on Thought Catalog. Go check it out if you’re so inclined. I really didn’t know where I was going with that one, but I am proud of how it turned out.

Watching: Avengers: Endgame tonight! After Life on Netflix.

Obsessed with: P!nk’s new album, Hurts 2B Human. Specifically, “Love Me Anyway” (excuse me while I ugly cry), “Courage,” and “90 Days.”

Planning: A day trip to Fort Collins soon 🙂 And my garden/landscaping for the house!

Thinking about: The future. But not in the sense that I normally do. I’m thinking about what I want my life to look like even if all my plans fall apart. And then what can I do today to make that happen? I’ve been working through “worst case scenarios” in my head lately to maybe try and face some of my fears before they may or may not be real.

Needing: To eat better.

Wanting: A milkshake! Hehe 🙂

Thanks for reading!

I Think It’s Time We Apologize For Loving Each Other The Wrong Way

It wasn’t until someone asked me, “What are the ways someone can show you that they love you?” that I stopped to think about how we love one another. And until then, I had no idea that you could show love to someone in the wrong way. And then I realized that while I thought that I was doing everything I could to show love to my loved ones, I realized, maybe they need a different kind of love. A love that I’m not used to giving or receiving. And if I truly want to show them love that they feel, then I need to stop focusing on what I think love means or looks like, and start exploring what it looks like for them. And maybe even more importantly, maybe I need to stop getting upset when they don’t recognize my acts of love as love.

Maybe this person doesn’t know how to accept the type of love that I give.

I’m sorry for giving you space when you really needed to just share in the silence together.

I’m sorry for trying to solve the problem, when you really just wanted someone to listen.

I’m sorry for not recognizing the small acts that meant so much to you and went unnoticed by me.

I’m sorry for not reciprocating those acts for you.

I’m sorry I didn’t notice the effort and time you took to show me your love, even if I didn’t understand it.

I’m sorry for forcing you to talk about it when you needed to process everything first.

I’m sorry for stifling your growth, even if I didn’t mean to.

I’m sorry that my attempt to show empathy and be relatable came off as self-centered.

I’m sorry for giving you a hug when you wanted space.

I’m sorry that you didn’t feel understood because my response was not what you needed.

I’m sorry for not saying the right things, or not saying anything at all.

I’m sorry for not giving you my undivided attention.

I’m sorry for not being your rock when you wanted to crumble.

I’m sorry for asking you to be my rock when you were unable to live up to that responsibility.

I’m sorry for trying to push you to grow when you just wanted to be still for a moment.

I’m sorry that the timing is never right for us to be vulnerable with one another.

I’m sorry that you didn’t feel appreciated.

I’m sorry for not helping you. I didn’t understand how hard it is for you to ask for help and not recognizing just how much you do.

I’m sorry for turning to someone else instead of giving you a chance to love me differently.

I’m sorry we didn’t work out simply because our styles of love were imbalanced. When things, no matter how small, go unnoticed, and words go unsaid, resentment, confusion, anger and sadness start to grow. We turn inwards and we tell ourselves to let go. We could have held on. We could have tried again and learned to love, to understand on a deeper level, and to reach out of our comfort zone and acknowledge the love we are receiving and adapt the love that we are giving.

I’m sorry I left the small things go unnoticed, and words go unsaid. I’m sorry I let the anger and the sadness grow. I’m sorry that I let go before giving you another chance. I’m sorry I couldn’t hold on any longer.

And I’m sorry that we didn’t love each other the way we needed to be loved.

*This post can also be found here.