the one where i’m being left behind

The moon doesn’t consider one phase better than another; she just glows, equally stunning at each turn. Why should we be any different?
-Cristen Rodgers

It blows my mind how quickly things can change. Back in February of 2015, two of my close friends from high school got engaged. At that point in time they were my only friends getting that serious, but I was just daunted by this new “twenty-something” phase I was entering. All I could think about was in the next few years my friends would start getting married, having kids, and moving on with their lives while I still hadn’t gone on a first date. There are so many things I wish I could have told nineteen year old me to ease her worries.

Little did I know that literally two years later I would be engaged myself.

I feel like back then I was in such a rush to get where I thought I was supposed to be. I wanted to be dating. I wanted to be graduated. I wanted to be successful. I wanted to be on my own. I wanted to have it all together. Now I’m married, graduated, fairly successful, and on my own… but even though I have majority of the things I wanted back then, she and I still have so much in common!

Now that I’m less worried about where I’m supposed to be and what milestones I’m supposed to be chasing, I feel more comfortable to just be. And just being makes me so happy! When I’m not constantly comparing my accomplishments to those of others and cutting myself down for “falling behind” in life, the stress levels are lowered for more enjoyable days. And what more could I want than more enjoyable days?

| Lauren Grey

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the one with all the phobias

To escape fear, you have to go through it, not around it.
-Richie Norton

Back in February of 2015, I was feeling overrun with fear and insecurity. For some reason, I decided I would feel better if I gave my fear a real name. I came up with anuptaphobia, aphenphosmphobia, and philophobia.

Anuptaphobia: the fear of staying or being single.

Aphenphosmphobia: the fear of being touched.

Philophobia: the fear of affection.

All of these irrational fears stemmed from the one that started it all: the fear of being single forever. I was am the biggest hopeless romantic and this only made my sadness of feeling alone deepen. I pored over romantic movies and books and hung on every word of the stories my friends would tell me about the guys they were dating. I thought about this notion all the time – night and day – and would come up empty on why I was still single. To be honest, I thought I was quite the catch and to stay grounded, I would tell myself that all those possible suitors who looked right past me were the ones missing out, but I still felt empty.

I wish I could tell you that as soon as a boy finally noticed me all was well. Little had I known that it was much worse to actually have someone there to backup your insecurities — as soon as it happened I wished that it hadn’t. I would have much rathered be invisible than being told I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, reckless enough, smart enough, worldly enough… the list goes on.

I wish I could tell you that if I had only been patient and waited for the right guy to come along that all would have been well. I truly do not believe that would have been the case. Had I made the choice to say no to the few offers I received in the next two years, I may not have known the good that was my husband or I might have taken his good for granted. I believe that had I not gone through that heartache and confusion, I might not have chosen my husband at all. I wouldn’t say I am grateful for all of the hurtful memories that accompanied dating, but I do think they were worth going through, because I wouldn’t trade where I ended up for anything!

Remember that guy I used to talk about? Then one who not only made me incredibly happy, but also accepted every part of me? Well, we got married! It blows my mind to look back and see how broken I was about being single when this guy was just around the corner. I used to be afraid of being single forever, of being touched, of affection… well I’m living proof that it is possible to put that behind you when the time is right. All of those fears have been stripped away from me and I feel so much lighter now!

| Lauren Grey