Being honest is tough for most people. There are some aspects of ourselves that we wish could stay hidden. No one is perfect; and that desire to preserve some anonymity in this very public world is understandable. Sadly, some people take this to an extreme.
I'm pretty sure most of us have watched or heard of the documentary "Catfish" or have seen the MTV spin-off show it inspired. It's about people pretending to be someone or something they're not online. These lies are often created in the hope of making someone fall in love with this fake persona. It's shocking how many people this has happened to and is happening to right now. I've never been able to admit this before, and only one other person knows this, but I was Catfished by someone. This wasn't a recent occurrence, however, it has affected almost every aspect of my life for years.
A online friendship turned into this enormous web of emotions and lies. I ended up falling for a fake person, hook, line and sinker. When I found out that I was being lied to for so long, I didn't even know what to do with myself. When this happens to you, you feel so many emotions all at once. There's the initial shock, but the aftershock is what really gets to you. You end up feeling embarrassed, ashamed, used, violated and worthless. Someone you don't know at all, broke into the most sacred aspect of your being. A complete stranger made their way into your heart and corrupted it with their vile lies. Those lies are like a virus that starts out small, but ends up attacking all the healthy cells in your body. These lies drain you, and even after the liar has left your life, they're still in your body. You constantly feel like at any moment, they could return; and you could once again be infected.
This fear consumes you. Even if you try to move on, the paranoia still lingers. After my Catfish ordeal, my entire life changed. Even though the liar was gone for good, there was this disgusting residue of them that permeated into every pore of my body. My real relationships were greatly affected, and not for the good. Looking back now, I can see that. I ruined the only real shot at love I ever had, because I was afraid to get close to someone. I was scared that if I opened myself up to another person, it would once again blow up in my face, and I would be hurt again.
I broke up with the only person I've ever actually loved because I was scared that they'd end up hurting me. The reason I gave them for breaking up was "I need to find myself." That wasn't really a lie, because I did feel lost. I felt trapped inside my own body. But the main reason for this breakup was fear. I'd rather be alone and miserable, than give myself completely to someone and end up broken again. When I ended this relationship, I feel like I was right on the cusp of falling completely, headlong, no turning back in love. I mean I already loved that person, but I was almost to the point of giving myself completely to them. Offering up every ounce me that I had guarded. When I realized that I was about to fall, I panicked. That virus of hurt and distrust made it's way into my heart. So instead of making myself completely vulnerable, I shut down. And closed the chapter of my life that could have turned into the most perfect of novels.
Since then, I've stumbled through broken and meaningless relationships. I guess I was trying to fill the void I created when I let go of the person who had been holding me together. But I'm done with that now. I'm tired of letting someone who I never even knew, ruin what should be the best times of my life. I'm going to step into the fire, and burn every remnant of this virus from my body. Then I will emerge from these ashes, stronger than I ever was before. I may never find someone who I loved as much as the person I let go, but I think I'm okay with that. I at least got to experience real love for a short time. If there's anything good that could come from this, I hope it's that I can help at least one person, somewhere.
If you've been Catfished, you're not alone. And if you are a Catfish, maybe reading this will open your eyes. Sure, lying to someone online is going to hurt that person; but ultimately, you're hurting yourself the most. If you can make someone fall for a fake person, that you've created, why wouldn't someone fall for the real you? You deserve someone who will love you for you, not the gorgeous model you're pretending to be online. We're all worthy of something real and honest. Don't fall into this web of lies, because eventually, you're going to get stuck with no way out. If you care about someone, let them know, and let it come from the real you. Life is too short for lies.
Be yourself, and know that YOU are enough.
I believe in soul mates. And I believe that two souls could be destined to dance infinity through time and space together. I believe our souls are made up of fragments of energy that have existed since the beginning of the universes. Pieces of my soul, and pieces of your soul, have belonged to an infinite number of people, places, and things. That's why we have an affinity for certain objects and locations; even if we've never been there or held that object. I believe the same goes for people.
What if a piece of my soul was once connected to a piece of yours? Would these pieces not be drawn to one another? I would think so. Maybe the whole purpose of life is to rebuild the original soul of the universe. Like we're all pieces of a giant Rubik cube, shifting, flipping, turning, twisting, trying to come back together the way were intended to.
Maybe there is a God. Or was. Maybe God was this original soul, that broke up into infinite pieces, so that we could Exist. Create. Feel. Love. And ultimately come back together. Stronger than before, because we knew what it was like to be scattered and in disarray. We all carry a piece of God in us. Our job is to protect it and connect it with as many others as we possibly can during our brief existence.
Today, we're so self-centered. I believe we need to be soul-centered. That's why I want to travel; I want to connect with as many people and places as I possibly can. I believe this will strengthen my soul. That's also the main reason I write, and have this blog. I want to reach people. Bond with people even if I'm not physically with them. I want to strengthen the souls of as many people as I possibly can. I believe that's my calling in life. I think it's really all of our callings; sadly too many people ignore it.
So my challenge to you is: answer your true calling. Connect with people. Connect with yourself and tune into your soul.
Sitting here, after a night of restless sleep, covered in crumbs from the fifty Oreos I just scarfed down, I realized something. I'm tired of dwelling on my past. I'm tired of making myself a prisoner in my own mind. Instead of moving on with my life, making new memories, and enjoying this brief flash that is life, I've been dwindling into oblivion.
Sure, sometimes it's good to reflect on the past. I mean, the past is what brought us to where we are at this very moment. It has shaped and molded our every thought and action. The past is a part of us. However, it's not all of us. We are not our pasts. We are the present. We are the now. Do you like where you are in this moment? Can you accept who you are in this very instance? If not, change it. That first minute in which you began reading this, is now the past.
Why do we complain about our pasts and our situations instead of doing something to change them? I don't want to live a complacent life anymore. Instead of dwelling on lost love and missed opportunities, I want to focus on finding new love and creating new opportunities. These things wont come to us; we must actively seek the things we want in our lives. Furthermore, we need to seek the things that we honestly need in our lives at this moment.
I might want to win back a lost love, but maybe that's not what I need right now. I'm at a crucial, transitioning moment in my life's timeline. I don't have a lot right now. In fact, I pretty much have a blank slate. I wrecked my brand new car, cut ties with people who were dragging me down, finished earning my associates degree, and I don't have a job. I really don't have anything to my name at the moment, except for my name alone. But I see some beauty in this emptiness. There's infinite possibility in this nothingness.
Today, I have the chance to find a new car; and while I don't have one, I can appreciate what it means to have the freedom that a vehicle provides. I'm completely single, and I only have relationships with my true friends. Not the people you occasionally say hi to, the people who would lay their lives down for me. I have my associates degree now, and I know that I want to further my education. Not taking any classes this semester has shown me how deep my passion for knowledge is. I would complain endlessly about going to class, but now that I can't go, I miss it. So I'm applying to a bunch of universities and planning on working for my bachelors degree in the fall. Being 21, and unemployed makes me feel pretty worthless. I want to prove to my family and myself that I am independent. I want to start earning my own money, and being responsible for more things. In this moment, I have nothing. But in this moment, I'm also working towards everything. I'm laying the foundation for my future.
It's like standing on the edge of a giant canyon, and the only move you can make is forward. Forward will feel like falling, but on the decent, you have time to build a safety net. Something to land on when you've finished the fall. I'm trying to build one of those cartoon-ish springs that will propel me up and over the canon altogether as soon as I land on it. I don't want to take this leap and land on my ass. I'm ready to start my life. My new life. The life I have always dreamed of. Full of adventure, new people, new places, new ideas, and a new me.
We can't skip over all the muck that exists in the present and land in the future. But we can wipe off the sediment and rot of our pasts. We don't need more things weighing us down in this moment.
This moment is your life. Make it worth living.
I had always thought I was a pretty staunch believer in Karma. If you put good out into the universe, good will come back to you. Events that have transpired lately really make me question my belief in Karma and a slew of other things. At the rate my life has been going lately, I'm starting to think it's true that nice guys (and girls) finish last.
Think about it. It's not the drug dealer struggling to make a living, it's the working mom trying to feed her kids. The student with rich parents, who coasts through life because they have money to fall back on, isn't worried about finding their way into college. The student from a low income family, who works hard in school, is the one who can't afford the university of their dreams. The CEO, who lied and stole his way into wealth, is sleeping fine at night. The honest, ambitious intern is the person struggling to pay their rent. Why does it seem like those who deserve the world bear the weight of it?
I've always heard that you'll never be given challenges you're not strong enough to bear; and the cliche "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." But sometimes it's tough not to feel like you're dying on the inside. There's always a great rags to riches story out there. What happens to those who work tirelessly to escape those rags but still end up being buried in them? What separates the winners from the losers?
Are some people destined to suffer with no reward at all? I know many people will interject with "the reward comes in the afterlife." If the afterlife is so fantastic, why do we have an earthly life at all? Sometimes it would be nice for our good deeds to simply seem acknowledged, not even rewarded. The daily onslaught of merciless blows to our wallets, bodies, heads and hearts are sometimes too much to handle.
I guess what I'm searching for is a release. Furthermore, it would be great if this release didn't have to come in the form of death. I don't want to believe that we are all simply pawns in this cosmic game between good and evil. My goal is not to become a King or Queen in that game; I just wish the pawns weren't sacrificed so easily. I believe the hardworkers, the honest individuals, the dreamers and so-on deserve a chance at some glory. Glory that wasn't inherited or the result of a lucky break. Simply, glory that was earned.
I almost never remember my dreams, and when I do, they're dull and senseless. Last night I had a dream so vivid and perfect, that waking up was one of the greatest disappointments I've had to endure.
He was in my dream. The 'he' who inspires almost every word that I write. He who once was the glue that took the time to piece my broken soul back together. He who showed my what love what was, even though I was too blind and naive to see it and hold onto it. He who I let slip from my grasp and haunt me daily. He is the ghost I want to confront but never exercise from my life. He was my life. He now consumes my core, my being, my existence. He is a part of me. He is the one memory my mind can never erase. He was in my dream last night, and he was gone, like always, when I woke.
In my dream, I received a letter. One of the letters, thick with time and commitment to writing me the most perfect words ever penned. Opening the letter was a delight within itself; breaking the seam his lips and tongue had once touched. I longed to be that seal, unbroken by my greedy, impatient fingers. Once the envelope was opened, and the letter unfolded, I was greeted by that bright, green calligraphy I had grown to love. The meticulous curl of each letter, as meaningful as every word penned. His words, his soul, flowed through his pen. Words for my eyes only. Words that I longed to hear.
The dream was so real. The letter so tangible; so similar to the other letters I had once received over a year ago. They were not just green words on a page, they were him. Oh, how those words were him. They contained everything I had longed to hear for the past year. I was forgiven for letting him go. Time had not deepened the gap between our souls, it had closed it. The desire to once more be together was mutual. His charm and playfulness danced off the pages in this dream letter and straight into my heart. Struck with delight, like Cupid's arrow had again pierced me. I could not read the words on the pages quick enough. My pulse quickened with every letter. He wanted to be with me, in the same way that I wanted and needed to be with him. To feel whole again.
The euphoria of my dream only escalated once I finished with the letter. I beckoned my sister into my room and told her what I had just read. Then, the doorbell rang. She went to answer it, and in the next moment my heart stopped. She guided him down the hallway he walked countless times before. He stood in the doorway; as perfect as he had been the last time I saw him. The familiar driver's hat perched upon his blonde hair. The smile that I had always delighted in, now only feet away. He was there. Though it was just a dream, it seemed so real. He was so tangible. It felt as though time had never passed. We had never parted. We were still together. Inseparable. Friends and loyal Lovers. All the things we had sworn to remain that day we first said 'I love you" and he gave me the most perfect gift. Not only did I have his heart, I had a symbol of it in the claddagh jewelry he gave me.
My dream only got better as he walked towards me, silent. Smiling, he embraced me. In that moment, I felt as though I would collapse into the floor and sink into the abyss. His long, muscular arms felt like they had never left my body. His tight shoulders made me feel safe and secure. Even his scent danced in the air. This could not be a dream. He was there, in my arms. The past year of confusion, isolation, and conflict within myself was the dream. I would not make the mistake of falling asleep again, and letting him go. He was mine again.
Is it fair to call this a dream when it ends like a nightmare? Waking means losing what I've wanted for so long. When the light of a new day seeps into the window and floods the room, he drowns into my psyche. He goes back to the place I've tried to bury him so that I can function daily. He's still with me, only hidden. I've never put much stock on dreams becoming reality, but if this did, I would not protest or think twice about it.
They say everything happens for a reason, but I cannot figure out why I was so ignorant. How could life be cruel enough to place love on a silver platter at my feet and allow me to clumsily walk all over it? I've wondered if I was given this glimpse at love so I'd never make the mistake of letting it go again. What happens if it never comes again? What if that was my one shot at true happiness and I pissed it away in one night? Eight months of happiness, murdered by one night of self-doubt. I hope that the reason for my foolish actions will one day be revealed. Until then, I'll at least have this dream. This memory of true happiness clinging onto my soul.
It seems like each day, I see or hear something that worries me for the future. Today, while watching the news, a segment focused on teachers who are learning to use firearms. In the wake of the Connecticut school shooting, apparently educators see a need to brings firearms into schools and classrooms. This seems entirely counterproductive, in my opinion.
Why must fire always be fought with fire? The initiative to arm teachers is defended by calling this the best way to protect students. I believe the best way to protect students is to keep them as far away from firearms as possible. Personally, I believe that bringing a gun into a classroom would not make children feel safe. I think it would desensitize children to guns, and furthermore, teach children that violence is the best means of action against more violence.
Before educating teachers on how to fire a weapon, teachers should be educated on how to recognize signs of psychological disorders. In school, I never even knew the name of my counselor. What good does it do to have a counselor in a school, if this person is not active in the school at all? I believe all students should spend one-on-one time with their counselor, and that this counselor be better trained on psychological issues.
Not only that, I believe all teachers should have some psychological education under their belt, so they can recognize warning signs that something is not quite right with one of their students. Instead of sending a problem child to time-out or the principal, maybe they should be sent to the counselor first. So many students are sitting in classrooms today with issues just under the surface that no one takes the times to uncover or address.
The shootings in schools, and movie theaters that have happened recently are at the hands of young individuals. Perhaps this senseless violence could have been avoided if someone had sense enough, while these individuals were in school, to look closely at their mental health. So many mental disorders go undetected today, which is surprising, considering how many people actually do struggle with their mental health.
We live in a very fast paced society; a society that is very self-centered. Perhaps, instead of jumping the proverbial gun and setting our sights on arming teachers, we should pause, and instead place our sights on the students. Focus on the real issue here, because it's not guns. The real issue is mental health, and the blind eye that is turned to it.
I hope that one day, no one will ever have to live in fear of sending their child to school. Or live in fear of venturing into public, because anyone could be armed and ready to pull the trigger at the drop of a hat. I'm not a fan of guns to begin with, but I believe the government shouldn't focus so much on reforming gun laws, they should invest in psychological education.
That's one thing that really annoys me about America and the age that it's in; everyone wants to fix problems as quickly and painlessly as possible, instead of investing some time and effort. So many of the issues in this country could be fixed if people and politicians weren't so greedy with their money and time. Instead of being so self-centered, we should be society-centered, and look out for each other. I sadly don't see this happening any time in the foreseeable future; but maybe if more people started highlighting the real issues, eventually others will catch on and change will slowly become more visible.
I understand that I live in a ridiculously small, southern town, and that people here are not the most open minded. One thing I have been discovering disgustingly quick is the fact that members of my own family are horribly backwards thinking.
Just to clarify, I'm not talking about my mom, dad or sister; I'm going a bit further out in the family circle. During election season I had an eye opening conversation with a female family member. Some of the things she said utterly disgusted me. I had mentioned something about a female president and she responded with a conversation she had with a female coworker. They believed that a woman would not make a good president because "women can't control their emotions well and if she was having a bad day, she might decide to nuke everyone." This was not said in a joking manner, and I immediately wanted to punch her square in the vagina.
This family member is only in her early thirties. The fact that she was so young, and pretty much sexist about her own gender shocked me. What happened to forward thinking younger generations? The conversation only sickened me more when the topic of abortion came up. Now, I'm pro-choice, simply because I believe every person should have control of their bodies (that includes who goes in and out). I understand that my family member is a devout Christian, so she's pro-life. However when I mentioned cases of rape, I was left flabbergasted when she said that she believed "God wanted that rape to happen and that child to be born." Question, what kind of God "wants" someone to get raped? Her logic completely disturbed me.
I understand where her backwards thinking got its start, her mother is ridiculously closed minded and hypocritical. The thing that scares me though, is the fact that she's raising her twelve year old son to be judgmental and full of hate.
Today her son was at my house and made remarks just as disturbing as his mother. He has just switched schools and was talking about his new classmates. He mentioned one boy whom he believes is gay. He said he'd never be his friend because he's weird. My mom chimed in with "It doesn't matter if he's gay or not, he might make a really good friend." My dear, young, little family member responded with "he already has a lot of friends, but they're all girls." Since he's in middle school, I said "Woah, maybe you should hang out with him then, you might get a girlfriend and a new bestfriend." The thing he said following this honestly hurt my heart, he said "They're all black girls and my mom wont let me date black girls."
His grandmother was sitting there totally agreeing that he should not befriend the "gay" child or date outside of his race. I literally had to bite my tongue so I didn't go off on her. I've had arguments with her before about homosexuality and racism, and it's literally like talking to a wall.
I'm so sick of people defending their hate with a Bible, or people sticking up for the rude remarks of others because the rude people are "from a different generation." Age has nothing to do with a person's capacity to hate or love or think. Ignorance breeds more ignorance. I'm so scared this vicious cycle of hate and misunderstanding is never going to cease, it's only going to perpetuate. Is there no way at all to get through to these people? I'm ashamed that these comments came from members of my own family.
I really don't even want to be associated with them at this point. I just wish I knew how to get through the thick, Bible-numbed minds of these individuals and the countless others just like them. Why, in 2013, are the issues of racism, sexism, and homophobia still relevant at all? How can there ever be progress in this world if younger generations are brought up in a perverted time capsule?
Is there hope for these people, or the future for that matter?
Today is my 21st birthday. This is usually a time of great celebration and copious amounts of intoxication. Not for me. I had final exams all day, and I have been running on empty. I celebrated my milestone birthday by writing a paper and enjoying a slice of cake with my family. I'm okay with that; I have never really wanted to drink or "party hard," that's just not my thing. Honestly, I'm really glad that I spent this birthday doing what I normally do. I feel like if I went out and did the typical 21st birthday thing, the gravity of this new age would not have really sunk in.
I graduate with my Associates in Arts degree tomorrow. This means that I'm already halfway through with my college degree. Wait, what? It does not feel like I should be this far along in my life yet. I think a huge part of me is afraid to grow up. I'm not scared of this big number, I'm scared of the big responsibility that comes along with it. I'm taking a semester off from school in order to find a job, sort out my plans, and to honestly grow up a bit more. I recognize the fact that I'm not fully ready to be on my own. I still need my family and the security they bring as a crutch.
I hope that during this semester off, I find my own two feet and feel stable enough to support myself. When I go off to college in the fall, I want to be self-aware and self-sufficient. I don't want the world to scare or change me. I am going to be focusing all of my attention becoming a true 21 year old young woman.
The word "woman" has always scared and slightly offended me. It seems like a term reserved for people my mother's age. I've always been the petite, cute little girl that's just too adorable to have any real responsibility. I am going to embrace the word woman from now on. To me, a woman has her priorities in order, she doesn't always need the help of others but knows when to accept assistance when she does need it; a woman knows who she is and where she is going in life; a woman is sound mentally, spiritually, and physically. A woman is everything that I have been pretending to be for years, but never actually put enough effort into becoming.
So from this day forward, I am going to put all of my attention into becoming the best me possible. I am going to cut ties with those who have been enabling my lazy and dependent nature, and begin enabling myself. Growing up is a terrifying thing, but I feel prepared to jump into the great abyss and come out the other side standing on my own two feet. I know this transition into adulthood is not going to be easy, but I am committed to transitioning as gracefully as possible. I'm going to document every step and stumble of my journey, so prepare yourselves for a bumpy ride.
It's so strange that hindsight is 20/20, but when we're living in a moment, living and breathing right within this fragment of time, we can be so blind. They say it's better to have loved and then lost than to never have loved at all; but what if you loved and tossed and now you are left feeling empty and lost? I made a mistake almost a year ago to the day, and I have been reeling from the events every second that I am breathing.
I am haunted by the ghosts of my past and past actions. I don't know if I am capable of moving on, or if I even should. It is advised to learn from your past and never look back, but what if a piece of your soul is tied to the past? Cutting this loose will not only hurt, it will kill a piece of my entire being. Is it possible to open doors from the past and not get them slammed back into our faces? I am seriously contemplating opening old wounds in attempt to heal. I don't want to hurt anyone further, I just want to be happy. I was happy once, truly happy; I just couldn't see it.
So, do you believe it's safe to rattle the skeletons in my closet? Or should I let the dead rest in peace and die along with them?
They say you live and you learn. They say it’s better to have loved and then lost than to never have loved at all. They also say you sometimes have to let go of your past do you can move on with your future. They suck and have obviously never truly lived. Sometimes it’s just way too difficult to ever actually do any of the things “they” say. I find myself struggling to keep my head above water these days because I’m learning that I lost the love of my life, and now my future sucks because I screwed up in my past. It’s an awesome predicament to be in, huh?
About this time last year, I had that mad, passionate, real love people always search for and dream of. The problem was that I didn't see it. I was insecure and let others peer pressure me into ending what was probably the best situation and relationship I had ever been in, or will ever be in. I regretted my decision pretty much instantly. Instead of trying to find myself, and find out what I really needed in life. I threw myself into countless, meaningless relationships. I couldn't bear the thought of being on my own. I loved myself when I was with this other person. I felt whole, and complete.
The thing that hurts the most is that hindsight is 20/20 and I didn't realize that this person had completed me. I thought I was this invincible and strong chick who didn't need a man to complete her. I thought this relationship was just a handbag to compliment my already awesome outfit. (Ignore the cheesy fashion metaphor; it just best describes my feelings at that time) In reality, I had been an incomplete being, and when I found my mate things fit together so perfectly, I didn't even realize it. This perfection and completion of me happened gradually, but I stupidly tore it down in an instant. So in order to cope with this gaping hole in my being, I started clinging to any and every guy who gave me attention.
I wasn't a whore when it came to my body, but I would call myself an emotional whore. I tried to share my feelings with these guys, but nothing clicked. I could tell they liked me, some even loved me. Their feelings were on a very superficial level. I was craving a deeper connection than what they could offer; even if they were offering me all that they had. I’m not an idiot, I can tell when a shoe fits, and I can tell when a person fits into my life. I've only found that fit once, and I threw it away.
So here I sit today, wallowing in my past. I’m haunted by thoughts of what could have been. I know my life would be miles different today if I hadn't screwed up so epically. It’s remarkable to me how blind we can be in certain situations, yet looking back, things seem crystal clear. I found love at time when I wasn't mature enough to realize the value of what I had in my possession. My riches weren't stolen by some clever thief; I tossed my wealth aside and I've been thriving on pennies ever since.
I’m tired of trying to find someone to complete me, and settling on people who aren't the right fit for me. It’s time for me to complete myself. It will be a struggle, but I think it’ll be worth it. In a perfect world, my missing puzzle piece would read this, and he’d miss me too; he’d call me up and we’d go meet over some coffee or ice cream and things would fall right back into place. It would be as if nothing had ever happened, and we’d live happily ever after. Unfortunately I’m not Cinderella, and I obviously suck at creating fairy tales for myself. So all I can do is warn the masses so some idiot like me won’t suffer the same fate.
If you have something good, something that just feels right, don’t let it go. Don’t seek bigger and better things. Be humble and honor what is right in front of you. Sometimes we don’t realize what we had until it’s gone. I’d give anything to go back in time and change my fate. Don’t be a fool. If it feels like love, it is. Simple as that. If it doesn't feel right, or it feels forced, it’s not love. Leave. Save yourself the headache and heartache. Life is too short to settle for anything mediocre, especially when it comes to something like love.
Lindsey. Twenty-Five. Currently pursuing a degree in Professional Writing & Film Studies.