Open Topic

Cheers To Friends.

To the friends who dry every tear I wish I wasn’t crying.

To the friends who pick up the pieces, even though you warned me about him.

To the friends who told me to walk away, when all I did was run towards him.

You just watched knowing I was making a mistake, but you knew I had to learn for myself.

To the friends who never said I told you so.

To the friends who love me unconditionally, when it’s me who has to learn to love myself.

To the friends who watch me give my best to the boys who don’t deserve it.

To the friends who watch me make the same mistakes with the same people.

To the friends who want to curse him out but bite their tongue.

To the friends who reassure me and build me up because this rejection broke me.

To the friends who tell me I’m pretty enough, smart enough and good enough time and time again, even though I’ve questioned it because of him.

I hear you.

To the friends who don’t want to talk about him anymore, but know I need to, so you listen.

To the friends who hate him the way I should, but I keep telling you I love him.

To the friends whose hearts hurt for me thinking this is love when all it is, is self-destruction I’m choosing.

To the friends who answer calls late at night and you know I’ve been drinking more than I should.

Drinking to forget. Drinking to numb pain. Drinking to talk about things I won’t remember. 

To the friends who constantly remind me what I deserve every time I settle for less.

To the friends who are there every time he disappoints me.

To the friends who get the screenshots, even though you told me not to answer.

To the friends who want this story to end, but I keep turning the pages bringing you along.

To the friends who don’t give up on me the way he has.

To the friends who love me the way he should.

To the friends who are loyal.

To the friends I know will be standing there on my wedding day.

I love you.

I love you more than I will any boy. 

Open Topic

It Isn’t Love.

It isn’t love if he knows you’re going to bed upset and doesn’t do anything to fix it. 

It isn’t love if he gains something out of making you cry.

It isn’t love if he needs to knock you down to build himself up. 

It isn’t love if he yells and takes out his frustrations on you.

It isn’t love if he can ignore you and not care that you’re waiting by your phone.

It isn’t love when he calls at 2AM and demands something of you.

It isn’t love when you say I love you and he replies, “ I know.” 

It isn’t love when he cancels, even though the plans you made were two weeks ago.

It isn’t love if he can hurt you and not feel remorse.

It isn’t love if he can walk away easily thinking you’ll always be there.

It isn’t love if he belittles you.

It isn’t love if you are some secret and he won’t commit.

It isn’t love if he makes you feel you have to compete for his time and attention.

It isn’t love if he doesn’t meet you halfway.

It isn’t love if he expects things and doesn’t say thank you.

It isn’t love if he can hold another woman in his arms knowing you’re going to bed alone thinking of him.

It isn’t love just cause he said sorry.

It isn’t love just because he said thank you.

It isn’t love just because he pulled you in closer because he saw you pulling away.

It isn’t love if he can open your snap and not care to answer.

It isn’t love if he sees your name as you call and he pushes ignore.

It isn’t love just because he’s good at making up excuses.

It isn’t love just because he did one kind thing and that’s what you hang onto. 

It isn’t love if your friends hate him.

Love doesn’t hurt you. 

Love does not get jealous.

Love does not cause pain.

Love does not leave you empty.

Love does not offend.

Love does not yell. 

Love is not unkind.

Love is not one sided.

Love is not sad tears.

Love is not confusion.

Love is not blurry lines.

Love does not leave or give up ever.

Real love is everything that makes you better. Everything that makes you whole. Everything that completes.

Please stay single until you find that, because a toxic relationship isn’t love. A toxic relationship has room for only one person. The person you think you love and the love they have for themselves. 

Open Topic

My Favorite Mistake.

From the moment I met you it was there. Even if I couldn’t put my finger on what “it” was. It was something. And in time, it only grew more. With every conversation and interaction, I watched myself fall faster. 

I knew very well this could be a mistake. I knew very well someone like you would hurt me. I walked into this with this knowledge that it’d be in my best interest to run the other way, but I couldn’t seem to. A force I couldn’t explain. A force that drove me closer. It was you. 

It had always been you.

Three words slipped out of my mouth and I almost wanted to apologize. Cause I knew there was nothing you would say back. I knew there was nothing you could say. The words hung in the dark night and that was it. 

But the truth is, I don’t know how to unlove you. 

I don’t know how to unfeel all these things. I don’t know how to unteach a heart like my to not care.

I don’t know how to not smile when I see your name appear on my phone.

Or laugh out loud when you tell a joke even if it’s not funny. 

I don’t know how to ignore you when you’re every favorite conversation of my day. 

Even though I know it might be for the best.

I don’t know how to calm every nerve as my heart races faster knowing I’ll see you. 

I don’t know how to look at you differently. 

I don’t know how to pretend like we’re strangers when you know me better than anyone. I don’t know how to unknow you.

And honestly, I don’t know if I’d want to. 

How do I forget every story you’ve told? Or the ones I’ve been a part of?

 How do I forget the moment I looked at you and just knew I loved you more than anyone?

How do I listen to any of your favorite songs and just pretend I’m not thinking about you? 

How do I go to those places and not be brought back to moments when it was you and I there? 

I don’t know how to unlove you. 

I don’t know how to forget. 

I don’t know how to forget someone who has given me so much to remember. 

I don’t know how to unmake what turned out to be my favorite mistake.

Because if loving you was a mistake, it’s one I’d make a thousand times over again.

Open Topic

Best Hearted.

It always seems the best kindest people I know end up in these relationships with these people who don’t deserve all they have to offer. I find myself wondering both about them and myself. Why do we choose these types of people? Why is this recurring theme so dominate in our lives? Different person. The same type of person. Same attraction. The same cycle we can’t seem to get ourselves out of. Same endings that crush us. And we think it’s our fault or it’s us to blame and maybe it is. Maybe we have to be more cautious. Use our head instead of our heart. But that’s never easy for people like us. 

They say it’s weak people who end up in toxic relationships but I believe these people have a strength that goes unrecognized and unappreciated.

But it’s these people who end up changing others through being good and kind. They’re ones that leave a mark on even the cruelest and undeserving hearts.

1. They see the good in everyone.

There is something about people with good hearts, it isn’t that they are blind or naive to someone’s flaws. They see it clear as day but they make a deliberate choice to channel their energy into someone’s best qualities.

While this is a good trait to have, it also is their greatest flaw because they will ignore every red flag thrown their way.

2. They give too many chances.

All you need to say when you mess up is I’m sorry. That’s it for them. They move completely forward giving you another shot.

This becomes a problem when the toxic person knows they can say and do whatever, and anyone with a good heart will always welcome you with open arms.

There are some people who don’t deserve even two chances to burn you then they go and give them ten, only to get hurt every time.

3. They never treat someone the way they are treated.

They know what it’s like to be treated badly and they will never deliberately make the choice to hurt someone. They will never give someone a taste of their own medicine. They don’t believe in hurting anyone, even if the person hurts them.

They truly believe in goodness. 

4. They forgive and forget easily.

They really do have an ability to just forget even the worst moments. Their friends have to remind them, remember this person did this, that, and another thing.

The truth is, no matter how many times they get hurt by someone, they don’t hold onto pain. They let it go carelessly and easily.

They don’t fear wearing their heart on their sleeve. 

They will pour their hearts out to people who don’t deserve their love. Their ability to love deeply knows no bounds. They just never run out of love to give people.

Loving hard comes very naturally to them and they do it fearlessly. What is hard about being like this is, they give other people the love they should be giving themselves.

5. They give more than they get.

They don’t expect anything of anyone, yet they’ll give the shirt on their back to someone who might not even deserve it. They will constantly go out of their way and go the extra mile for the people they care about.

The problem arises in toxic relationships when people take advantage of it. They go from appreciating it, to expecting it, then getting mad when the person doesn’t keep up that standard. 

What it teaches is the constant need to always try to win someone over through gestures, even when it’s not reciprocated and that’s when it becomes toxic.

6. They don’t judge someone’s mistakes.

They are so accepting of everyone and everything. Tell them the worst thing you’ve ever done or the worst thing that has ever happened to you and I promise they will accept and teach you how to.

They lack judgment because they know even they make mistakes and have done things they aren’t proud of. 

The problem is when a toxic person doesn’t learn from their mistakes and the person with a good heart is the one that gets hurt because of it.

7. They gravitate towards people with baggage.

People with good hearts love seeing the underdog overcome something. So they always end up in these relationships with people who have a tough past. But they don’t judge them for it, but accept them.

It becomes toxic though when they get handed too much. When this person relies on them really heavily. When this person doesn’t know how to properly channel all of their emotions and instead of doing it in a healthy way, they take it out on the person who has been there.

They know the person with a good heart can handle them at their worst and that’s exactly what you get.

8. They don’t use words to hurt people.

People with good hearts know the power words have. They have watched themselves fall apart because of others choosing to take them down with harsh and cruel words. They’ve watched themselves cry over texts they’ve reread.

People with good hearts truly don’t understand unkindness. Because they don’t have a mean bone in their body. 

In toxic relationships, toxic people have a sour tongue and lack remorse. When a toxic person develops a deep relationship with someone with a good heart, they get to know them better than anyone, but that also means they know exactly what to say to take them down and they do.

9. They aren’t confrontational.

They avoid fights. They will apologize even when it’s not their fault. They will never call you out on something and they don’t stick up for themselves too much.

Toxic people see someone like this and they are attracted to the fact they know they can control them. And people with good hearts simply try and appease them. 

10. They want to save people.

They don’t look at someone who is damaged and broken as someone who is flawed. They look at it as a challenge. They look at it as someone they want to fix.

But in the attempt to try to fix someone toxic, they lose pieces of themselves trying to keep someone whole. 

11. They hate giving up on anyone.

Toxic relationships run in these tireless circles because people with good hearts refuse to give up on someone they believe in. People with good hearts see people others look past and they want to be right about them. So they stand by them months or years in hopes that they become this person they knew they would be. But the cost is getting hurt because a toxic person has got to learn on their own.

12. They think they can change people.

People with good hearts think they can change people, but the change doesn’t occur while in the relationships. Toxic relationships ruin everyone involved. It isn’t until the relationship is over does the toxic person reflect on this good person they did have and took advantage of. There’s this moment where they realize how horrible they were to this person who deserved it least. And it’s only then when each person has moved on do they change.

People with good hearts change toxic people but toxic people destroy the good ones. 

Anyone with a good heart finally does walk away from their toxic half but it kills them to do so. They feel like they’ve let them down. But then they realize it’s for their own good. Then they have to learn to heal from a relationship that took such an emotional toll on them.

Because while they were loving this toxic person who couldn’t love them back, fully or right in that time their good heart changed.

They suddenly become to trust anyone including themselves a little less. They have walls that are so high that they never had up before. They question everyone and everything because of one person.

People with good hearts sacrifice themselves to try to save someone, but the cost was self-destruction in the process. 

Open Topic

Suicide Prevention.

I was 18 at the time, into my first year of college. 

I had no proper training in suicide prevention. It hadn’t been a conversation I had ever talked much about. I would spend the next 7 years researching suicide prevention, reading stories, joining a board and speaking on panels. 

But at 18, the word “suicide” became very personal as it would suddenly change the life of a close friend and his family forever. 

I remember sitting on the bus coming home from a get together. 

A conversation became very dark, very quickly. Then he told me he wanted to kill himself.

I responded, “How?”

One word and I was figuring, did he have a plan? How serious was this? When would he want to do this? How long had he been thinking about it? 

I knew if I could keep him talking, he was here with us and he was safe. That was always my goal when conversations in the future took turns like this, “keep him talking.” 

I knew if I could try to understand as much about this as I could, maybe things could change. 

I was 14 hours away by car. 2 hours by plane. And not scheduled to come home for a few weeks during Thanksgiving break. 

I ran to my apartment and called my mentor and coach from home. “What do I do?”

“You are going to have to make a very difficult phone call right now Carla. Call his parents immediately when you get off the phone with me.”

So I did. The house phone went right to voicemail. Followed by a callback. 

In the many difficult conversations I’ve had with people in my life, this was the hardest one to date. My words were met with disbelief. And while I was still trying to gauge the severity of this recent conversation, his family was trying also to wrap their heads around it. 

Text messages were forwarded to everyone who needed to see them. 

And initially, my friend was angry with me for not keeping his secret. I would have rather lost a friend living, doing what was right, then lost a friend to death knowing I could have prevented it. 

I went to bed every single night praying I didn’t have to fly back home to attend a funeral.

A lot of 18-year-olds my age were at the latest party, drinking to get drunk and have nights they wouldn’t remember. Me, I just remember most my nights consisted of looking at my phone every few hours. I held a beer in one hand and engaged in college activities, but I was so emotionally checked out dealing with this.

I went to bed every night telling him to text me in the morning just so I knew he was alive and still here. 

Just keep fighting until I come home, is what I told him. 

We will take it one day at a time and that’s exactly what we did.

It gave him something to look forward to. November 28th, 2010 

His father and I sat in the living room as he got ready. And there was an unspoken dialogue between the two of us. Our eyes met and he said thank you. 

It’s been 2,399 days since then. 343 weeks. 78 months. 

He’s still here. 

He’s still fighting.

And I still continue to learn as much as I can about suicide. 

Maybe it’s odd how comfortable I am talking about death. Maybe it’s odd I get angry at these statistics. I just truly believe the second leading cause of death for people the ages of 18-22 should not be something within our own control. This needs to change. 

My heart breaks reading another story about a college student who just couldn’t handle it anymore. Even though we are strangers, it’s like I know them. I feel for them. I understand how hard it is sometimes. I know giving up might seem like you are taking away your pain, but you are just passing it on to someone who has to live with the guilt of your absence. 

In the seven years, I’ve done research on the topic, I don’t think it’s life people are trying to escape from, what people are trying for is no longer feeling pain or no longer feeling loneliness. No longer feeling heartbreak because the person they loved left. They want to sleep at night without dark thoughts consuming them. They don’t want to lay there awake at night as things get worse in their mind. Or as they cry alone for reasons they can’t explain. They don’t want to keep hurting and have to wake up and put on a brave face and smile when inside, they are falling apart. Only no one sees it. 

Suicide victims don’t want to die, they just want to live without this pain that consumes them.

They want to know they aren’t alone. They want to know they aren’t crazy for feeling these things. They want to know things will get better. 

I can’t talk to every person who is struggling like I did my friend. I can’t be there with you at 2 AM. But what I can tell you and what I will continue to tell every friend, every reader, every person who confides in me is it will get better. Things will change. This pain you are feeling will subside and it will be replaced with something greater.

If you’re reading this and this resonates with you even if a little, I’m going to ask you to make me the same promise I made my friend make. Give it one more day. Just get through one more day. And watch quickly as it turns into two then three then weeks then years. 

You are not weak for feeling things this heavy, you are strong for being able to fight this as long as you have. But don’t stop fighting. Don’t give up so soon. 

You are needed. You are wanted. You are loved. And things will change.

Open Topic

Take A Chance.

If she’s kept you smiling since day one, take a chance on her. 

If she makes you want to be a better man, take a chance on her.

If somehow you guys always find your way back to each other, take a chance on her.

If she hates the people who hurt you, take a chance on her. 

If she defends you, protects you, and looks out for your best interest, take a chance on her. 

If she makes you question the choices you’ve made because you want to make her proud, take a chance on her.

If she forgives you for your mistakes and helps you to learn from them, take on a chance on her 

If the thought of hurting her, upsetting her, letting her down keeps you up at night, take a chance on her. 

If she’s someone your mom already likes, take a chance on her.

If she motivates you and supports your goals and dreams, take a chance on her. 

If you find yourself lost in thought throughout your busy day, thinking of her, take a chance on her. 

If she scares you a little bit, take a chance on her. 

If she’s just been there the whole time, loyalty like that is hard to find, take that chance.

If she’s different, authentic and not like the girls you usually go for, take a chance on her.

Maybe your problem is you are going for the wrong ones when the right one is standing a foot in front of you. 

If she has a heart of gold, know girls like that are hard to find so take a chance on her.

If she’s the one you turn to when things go wrong and she’s your rock, take a chance on her. 

If you’ve gone back and forth thinking it could be a mistake but you can’t get your mind off of taking a chance, go for it.

If she cares about you and isn’t afraid to show it, take a chance on her. 

If she says I love you and doesn’t need to hear it back, know how real and honest that is and there probably isn’t anyone you’ll meet who will love you more selflessly than that. Take a chance.

If you look at her and see a future and she helps you to be grateful for the past you used to regret, take a chance on her. 

If you look at her and can see the type of mother she’d be and you’d be proud standing by her, take a chance on her. 

Even if you’re scared.

Even if it might not be right. 

Even if you’ve only ever been just friends.

Even if she’s just a hookup you want to be more, take a chance on her. 

I know what it’s like to be afraid to take a chance on someone. I know what it’s like to fear losing someone close to you. I know how scary it is to take that first step and make that move which could very well lead to an awkward rejection.

But it’s a disservice to both of you if you know you both care a little and are too afraid to do anything about it. 

So take a chance because sometimes the things we fear most are exactly what we need. 

And sometimes the people we deserve most are the ones who have been there the whole time. 

Open Topic

Painful Goodbye.

I kept looking at my watch wanting to hang on to those final moments because I knew once we parted ways, that would be it. I didn’t know how I knew it exactly, it was just a feeling I had that everything would be different very soon.

I didn’t want to leave. I just wanted to freeze that moment. Because despite everything, I still sat there so comfortably next to you. Like there wasn’t anyone in the world who knew me better.

Your touch was soft and kind, and with that, my walls came crumbling down. I let you in so carelessly and so easily. I didn’t fear to trust you as much as I did. Every time I confided in you, every time I threw something big your way, expecting you to turn the other way, you didn’t. You were my rock. My best friend. Everything and every thought that began to consume me more and more.

We started as strangers, then suddenly everything about you was like a catchy tune on repeat and I couldn’t turn it off as I wanted to learn every word. Suddenly you were stuck in my head, but I didn’t mind it.

But it always felt like we were racing against a clock, you and me and the inevitable was us parting ways. With every goodbye, I wondered if there would be another hello. And I’d hug you a little tighter not being the one to pull away.

But then it just hit me. This was it. I knew the moment I walked out of those doors, it was over.

The questions that rang in my mind was, how do you forget someone who gave you so much to remember? How do you go back to unknowing and unloving someone who opened your heart that was so afraid to feel anything at all? But most of all, I held back tears walking away wondering how do you look at someone you are madly in love with and just walk away?

We said goodbye like we had many times before, only this time I knew there wasn’t going to be another hello for a while. And I looked back as you told a joke that made me laugh. God, you made me laugh more than anyone even knew how. But with that laughter came tears, I knew I didn’t deserve. Because it wasn’t all good, all the time.

Loving you came with pain and I knew love wasn’t supposed to hurt that much. 

It hurt letting go, but it also hurt hanging on to something that had changed as much as it had. There was a shift in us and I think we both knew without words where this was going.

I kept putting my faith in you, only to be let down. And I know it hurt you too not being what I needed. But it didn’t hurt enough for you to change or to meet me half way.

I was left always looking at the past envious of it. And I didn’t want to let go, but I had to for my own sake and sanity.

But the hardest part about moving on isn’t that final goodbye, it’s everything after that.

And it’s when you go somewhere and do something and you reach for your phone to tell them, only you put it back down.

It’s hearing that song on the radio and holding back tears.

It’s waking up and they are your first thought and you reach for your phone and their name isn’t there anymore.

It’s just knowing there is someone out there who just has all this information about you. Someone who knows you to the core of who you are and they aren’t in your life anymore.

It’s the pain of missing someone and not being able to tell them. 

It’s the pain of someone asking, how are they and you don’t know the answer.

It’s a name that no longer comes up in your notifications, even though you’re looking at their profile more than you’d ever admit.

It’s the pain of becoming strangers to someone you knew so well.

It’s watching someone else’s life moving on when you used to be right there with them.

It’s losing yourself to someone because when you part ways, there is no way to get back the parts you gave away to them.

They forever hold a piece of your heart as you have theirs too.

And as you move on and try to heal, you’ll search for them in the eyes of strangers just hoping and praying you find a familiarity that feels like home, and it’s there you will find yourself again.