On Heartbreak and Media Pressures


I told you I would be honest with you on this blog. I told you I would not only talk about my successes and joys, but also my failures and heartbreaks. More importantly, I promised to write about what I learned from these experiences. So here I go.

This past fall, I met a boy. We became really good friends and then more than that and blah, blah, blah, all of that middle school sleepover stuff and everything. I won’t go into any details about any of that. 

Anyway, as these months progressed, we both slowly started to realize that this wasn’t going to ever really work out between us. We both kept ignoring that and pushing it aside, continuing with whatever it was we were doing. We were so captivated by the idea of having each other there that we didn’t care if we were ignoring obvious signs of it not working.

Finally, after several months of this, it all had to come to an end somehow. Unfortunately, it didn’t come to an end in a way that I would have really preferred, but it happened, and I can’t change how it happened. We decided to agree that it was not going to work between us. This being a new concept to me – having a relationship – I didn’t really know where to go from there. How does one just know how to move on from something like that? I guess you don’t, because I surely didn’t.

So as I was spending nights not knowing whether to be happy or cry myself to sleep, I began to analyze advice and suggestions I was being given. I had all of my friends telling me to forget him, that I “didn’t need a guy in my life.” I appreciated this, even though forgetting someone is a lot easier said than done. 

Then I began to think about the contradicting advice/suggestions I was receiving from other outlets – mainly the media. I happened to glance over at a copy of Seventeen magazine that my grandma had just sent me (because I am clearly still 17 years old). The cover included phrases like “How to Make Your Crush Like You!” and “Perfect Valentines Dates for you and your Boyfriend!” Well, that helped.

A week or so ago, we had just hired some new employees at my job. I was working with a new employee on her first day. We started chatting and one of the first things she asked me was, “So what are you and your boyfriend doing for Valentine’s Day?” and I had to give the awkward “Uh, I don’t have one” response. Why was that so important? Why is that so important? In one ear, I had my friends telling me “You don’t need a man to feel okay” and in the other ear society shouting “Why aren’t you turning boys away left and right?! Something must be wrong with YOU.”

I can’t say that I’ve figured out what I am doing in this situation. I’m still lost and in a process of “moving on” and returning to a state of being okay with not having him in my life constantly. I can say that this entire thing has been such a great learning experience. It is difficult to use the word “great” to describe it, since it consisted of a lot of anger, frustration and heartache, but I hope that a few years from now, I can look back and say that I learned to take the advice from my friends and not from society.

courageous

On Moving Away


Moving away from family and friends is terribly hard and incredibly humbling. During my senior year of high school, I applied to eight different schools and I remember receiving the letters from all of them inviting me to study with them. After visiting Ann Arbor in February of 2013, I knew that I wanted to live here. It was new and different. It was beautiful and perfect. Shortly after returning home from my visit, I decided that the University of Michigan was where I wanted to be. It was a crazy decision. I would be moving to a state I had only been to once. I would be living with two girls who I had met on Twitter. I would be leaving behind everything familiar and everyone I loved. Most importantly, I would be moving away from Community Coffee, gumbo and SEC Football. (What even is the Big Ten?)

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The culture in Michigan was completely different than what I had grown up around for the past 18 years. Most of the people I meet have no idea how to peel a crawfish or what to do when it’s hurricane season. The number of times I have had to explain how and why drive-thru daiquiri places are somehow legal where I live is exponential. I remember one of my first nights in Ann Arbor, a girl I was talking to at a party said “Oh my gosh. You just said y’all. That is SO cute.” I knew immediately that I was in a completely different world. There have been a countless number of times that I have had to explain that, contrary to popular belief, there are lots of cities in Louisiana other than New Orleans, and that I actually don’t really live near it. The first time I heard a Michigander refer to Coke or soda as “pop” I think I almost cried. I still refuse to eat the “gumbo” and “po-boys” that the dining halls attempt to make for dinner. And don’t even get me started on the snow.

I miss Louisiana every single day, but living here has been life-changing. After that first visit last February, Ann Arbor has held a special place in my heart. I can remember being here during my first week, walking down East Liberty and seeing Michigan Theater in all of its beauty and thinking “Wow, I have GOT to Instagram this,” but also more sentimental thoughts like, “Wow. I cannot believe that I actually live here.” This perfect little town continues to amaze me and I fall more and more in love every day that I’m here. Sometimes I think about how I got here, and what made me finally decide to leave the familiarity of Lafayette. I think back on my last week there in August and how I had such a strange mix of emotions that I don’t think I even cried about leaving. I was excited and terrified, but also sad and so very happy all at once. Being in a new city all alone forced me to humble myself to ask for directions or even just ask for help. Living on a campus where I knew no one forced me to join clubs and to go out and socialize. Doing that allowed me to meet people from different states and even different countries. I’ve met some of the best people in the world here, and despite how much I complain about just wanting a Turtle Mochasippi (extra shot and whipped cream please) and an entire King Cake to myself, I would not trade the experiences I am having here for anything in the world.

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So if I am trying to make a moral out of this story, it would be: just DO it. If you are considering it, DO it. If you want to study in a different state or a different country for a semester, DO it. If you want to use your spring break to go somewhere new, DO it. Life is short (no matter how cliché that saying is), and there is so much to see and experience before it’s over. I know you’ll miss home. You’ll miss familiar faces and you’ll miss your mom’s good food every night (Mom, please send me red beans and rice), but you will never regret doing something different and learning something new. Home will always be there for you when you want to come back, but the world is just waiting for you to venture out and experience it.

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“It may be the satisfaction I need depends on my going away, so that when I’ve gone and come back, I’ll find it at home.” – Jalai ad-Din Rumi