It never gets easier, you just get stronger

I’ll admit, I was on kind of a high for a few months there in 2018. I finally, finally, met the love of my life. Someone who enjoys all the same things I do. Who really just completes me. Finding him actually made me feel stupid for all the time I wasted on other guys who weren’t right for me, when someone exactly like him existed in this world. He makes me a better person, and I thank the stars every day that I get to call him mine. In addition, I sold my car on a whim at the end of the summer, and ended up getting an amazing deal on a brand new one that I absolutely love. Family was good, work was fine… I was comfortable financially and even took a beach vacation with one of my girlfriends for the first time in years. I was just plain comfortable in general. Nothing was really going terribly wrong in my life and, deep down, a part of me recognized that. And we all know you can’t enjoy the sunshine without a little rain, but what I got felt more like a monsoon…

The last few months have been pretty rough to say the least. It started right before the holiday season, when I first discovered a loved ones’ personal, private battle with addiction. I didn’t even know if they would be home for Christmas this year, as they decided to leave town and get help. It’s something you see all over the news, and read countless stories over social media; you know it’s an epidemic because that’s what they tell you. But you really don’t fully understand until it affects someone you know and love. It was one of the scariest times in my life, and even when you think you “made it through” the worst part, accepting that this will be a lifelong battle with someone you care tremendously about, is still utterly terrifying. But experiencing this when I did taught me the value of having faith, remaining positive no matter what, practicing unwavering support, and believing in something greater than myself. It doesn’t make the situation any less challenging, but I have kept these lessons close to me.

Then the New Year came and went, and that first weekend, at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning, I got a call that would change my life forever.

“Come quick, it’s your father,” my mom said between sobs. I had never driven so fast in my life. My dad had been rushed to the ER and not long after, we all would be sitting in a private room as a doctor came in and told us, they did everything they could, that my dad didn’t make it. We would later find out it was a massive heart attack that took him from us. He never even stood a chance. It still doesn’t seem like any of that was real.

No one ever prepares you for losing someone you are close to. It’s not discussed, not ever acknowledged as a legitimate possibility. We’re taught that “getting your affairs in order” can actually be a warning sign for suicide, because as a society we just don’t plan on any alternative other than us dying at an old age. And we foolishly believe that, as we drink, smoke, tan, and continue in all kinds of other high risk behaviors- just assuming that we are all invincible. And we continue seemingly low-risk behaviors too, like crossing the street not knowing if that will be the moment a car will hit us out of nowhere, or if a meteor will fall out of the sky while we’re having a picnic or going for a jog.

And then one day someone is there and fine, and the next they’re gone. And life becomes a whirlwind of funeral homes and cemeteries, life insurance companies and figuring out account balances and bills that are due, returning his uniforms and key card to work. These things we should realistically all be prepared for to a certain degree, but no one really ever is. When in reality, the only inevitable in life is that every single one of us will die, though no one really knows what to do when it happens to someone earlier than anticipated. My dad was an amazing man who treated others with so much kindness and respect; he would do anything for anyone. And now that he’s gone, everyone who relied on him so heavily and loved him so much, well… we’re all lost.

Something that has always given me strength in unexpected ways is a statement my boot camp instructor tells us at the end of class…

“It never gets easier, you just get stronger.”

Obviously, the instructor was referring to the workout itself, as in, her class is and always will be tough. But as you work harder to get stronger, your mind will trick you into thinking it gets easier. And it doesn’t, your muscles are just developing in a way that it takes you less effort to get through the class.

The first time I applied this sentiment to other areas in life, it was when that loved one made the decision to go to rehab. You could call in to leave them messages, and a lady at the nurses’ station would write it on a slip of paper and hang on a board for them to receive. One day I decided to leave just that, because I knew it was fitting in this situation too.

And then when my dad died, a flood of people had a myriad of advice. And I knew everyone was just as shocked as we were, and they all just wanted to offer comfort and support. But if I heard the words “new normal,” or “it’ll get easier,” one more time… I was going to explode. So I wrote that boot camp message on a sheet of paper, and hung it up on my mom’s calendar (which was riddled with phone numbers and to-do lists), because deep down I knew this was the only thing I could say, and the only way I could feel, to ease the pain of the loss we are all experiencing. Because it’s not going to get easier. What happened was shitty. It wasn’t fair at all. We are all suffering. But we will get stronger- little by little, day by day. I see it every single day in my mother, I can see it in myself. And if these words can help you get through a hard time, no matter what it is, I just want to make sure you know:

It will always be tough. But as you work harder to get stronger, your mind will trick you into thinking it gets easier. And it doesn’t, your muscles are just developing in a way that it takes you less effort to get through.

So, it never gets easier, you just get stronger. x

The pit bull chapter

“[Love] isn’t urgent, it isn’t stressful, it isn’t about pity.
I don’t think that to love someone else you should have to
abandon yourself.”

I’m not sure why, but I’ve read a lot of books written by female comedians. [Proof here, and here.] It started when I joined a “book club” with my friends, that never amounted us meeting or discussing said books… but, I digress. This genre is typically an easy read, it’s entertaining, witty, and tends to address larger issues of how women are treated and perceived in a male-dominated industry. For my birthday last year, a friend got me Whitney Cummings’ book, I’m Fine …and Other Lies. While I am familiar with Whitney Cummings, I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a fan of her work; I can remember watching a bit of one of her shows or maybe stand-up and thinking she was pretty cool. At any rate, I gave her book a go.

I learned a lot of information about her: from her struggles with codependency, relationship issues, and severe anorexia, to her very personal experiences with different forms of therapy. With each chapter I became more and more surprised with how dysfunctional her life actually was, and how she managed to turn every bit of it into something positive. There was one chapter that really resonated with me: it started out about how she gravitates towards rescuing pit bulls, explaining that they are a misunderstood breed; often a product of poor training or having been taken from their mothers too young. Pit bulls are the most common dog breed found in shelters, and as a result the most frequently euthanized. One day, she came across a year-old blue pit that was only a couple days away from being euthanized and in desperate need of a home. She ended up taking him in and naming him Billy.

Now her game plan wasn’t to keep Billy, as she already had 3 doggos of her own. Her goal was to figure out his triggers, provide some much needed impulse control training, help him heal from the previous abuse he had experienced, and find him a forever home.

Long story short, she got into a… situation with Billy – and through a combination of poor impulse control and razor-sharp teeth – she found herself with half of her ear dangling from her head. [Side note: I highly recommend reading this book to get all the details, because it’s a pretty crazy story.] But the lesson behind this experience is what really stuck with me. Cummings goes on to explain, what she did with Billy is similar to what she does in relationships – getting herself into a bad situation because she underestimated what she was dealing with. All of this stemmed from an innate addiction – to love.

Some examples of how love addiction can manifest in relationships: ignoring red flags and rationalizing unsavory behavior; glorifying a person instead of accepting who they are showing you they are; falling for someone’s potential instead of who they actually are; letting your world get smaller and making the person (or pit bull you’re trying to rescue) become your primary focus.

And here was the kicker…

“I constantly gave points to men for things that should be filed under ‘the least you can do.'”

Let us all take a moment to remember that your significant other does not earn bonus points for things such as (but not limited to): calling you, wanting to spend time with you, not cheating on you, not lying to you, etc. Things that should be considered bare minimum requirements of being in a committed relationship does not warrant praise. Let me repeat: the bare minimum. Does. Not. Warrant. Praise. Let’s hold our significant others to a higher standard and let go of those who don’t live up to that standard. Don’t accept anything less than exactly what you deserve, and especially don’t do so in the name of love.

It took losing an ear for me to learn to take it slow with people, friends, work relationships, house hunting, hair color decisions, and the animals I bring into my home.” Cummings goes on to remind us to take people at face value instead of projecting our expectations/hopes/dreams onto them. You won’t change someones neurology or value system just by loving them. Love has boundaries, and we shouldn’t lose ourselves for the sake of it. Don’t confuse love with sympathy. And don’t confuse rescuing someone with intimacy.

Thanks for the tip hidden in this gem of a chapter, Whit. < 3

August was never our month

Sometimes you have to say goodbye to the one person you thought you’d spend forever with.

No matter how much you truly care about someone, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. No matter how hard you fight for someone, sometimes there is nothing more you can do when they look you in the eye and tell you they don’t know if they love you anymore. Sometimes after you give all you have, there’s truly nothing left. Loving someone isn’t always enough.

Humans are often motivated by fear; the fear of the unknown, fear of change, the fear of ending up alone. And that fear can cause us to settle. To resent the very thing we are trying so hard to keep. How many times does the universe have to show you, if you struggle so hard to keep something, it was never really yours to begin with?

“Loss of control is always the source of fear. It is also, however, always the source of change.”
–James Frey

And then there’s the fear of facing the fact that maybe we deserve better.

When my grandma passed away at the age of 84 this past May, my grieving grandpa said something that resonated within me: “Sixty-three years I spent with her, and it still wasn’t enough.” That is the love I want. That is the love I deserve.

In the end, there is only one person you are absolutely guaranteed to spend forever with, and that person is you. So when it comes down to losing someone, we all eventually have to trust that we will make it through. And trust, that in taking care of the person you do have to spend forever with, you will welcome love back into your life.

I won’t let you giving up on me mean that I should give up on myself.

Just because you don’t love me, that doesn’t make me unlovable.

I will repeat these words when the thought of losing you makes me sad. I will repeat these words, over and over again, until they become my only truth.

I am going to be fine. I will get through this. And I will be better for it. I will find somebody out there who treats me the way I deserve to be treated, who showers me with the love you never wanted to show me. And in a few months, when you realize [again] what you lost, this time I won’t be there.

the amicable split

It’s time to discuss a very real occurrence in the world. One that will creep up on you if you find yourself getting too comfortable with your mate: it’s called the amicable split.

A friendly break-up is always one of the hardest things two human beings in a romantic relationship have to face. You don’t hate each other; you don’t despise or resent each other–it’s that moment when you finally realize you’re just going through the motions, and no amount of shared history with another person can justify staying together, so the only other logical option is to split.

People want to be able to pinpoint some major flaw in themselves or in their partner when a relationship finally comes to an end. It’s easier to hate your significant other for cheating, or to hate yourself for not showing up in a relationship. It’s easier to have something tangible to blame. It’s easier than facing the fact that you might still love and care about someone without actually being in love with them. It’s easier than admitting you’re just not meant to be together.

But the truth is, settling for something–something that isn’t meant to be… that’s true torture. Remember kiddies, the opposite of love isn’t hate–it’s indifference.

Stay heartless, my pretties.

the guyatus

Ever feel like you’re just going through the motions, like your happiness depends on the actions of someone you actually have no control over? Having trouble reconciling the difference between being in love with yourself and being expected to share your life with someone else? Yeah, it might be time for you to take a guyatus. I definitely made that word up. But, like, it’s clever, right?

ɡī ādəs/
1. a pause or gap in a sequence, series, or process, specifically with romantic encounters

There are many different benefits to a guyatus, the most important being the self-care aspect. Just focusing on yourself. Taking a break from searching; from expectations; from disappointment; from meaningless encounters. Looking inward to figure out how to really be happy instead of always seeking happiness outward. I highly recommend everyone try it at least once, because most times that’s all you need to figure out what you want and what you need.

Remember that bunk ass psychology class they made you take in high school? Recall something called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? No? Let me refresh your memory.


So every human has a basic physiological needs like food, water and sleep. Then we need shelter. The next step is fostering relationships with family, friends, etc. Then self-esteem, and finally, self-actualization; or knowing what you want and achieving it. Basically, what I’m trying to tell you, is take a guyatus, and reach self-actualization. Probably.

I don’t know I mean I made up the word like a month ago.

Love and Marriage and Mindy Kaling

Oh, hey there. Long time no see. Note to self: Never plan your first day at a new job directly following America’s birthday. You will not be ready for it Monday morning after a freakin’ weekend bender in the sun. Ugh. Anyway. ‘Murica.

So when I’m not spending 80% of my day at, learning, or thinking about my new job (which is great, really. I love it. But it’s new and they think I’m some sort of genius so they’re basically letting me dive right in), I’m thinking about weddings.

Ha. Ha. Ha. No, not my wedding. That’s a good one. I’m the Maid of Honor in my best friends wedding at the end of summer, which will mark not only my first time as MOH, but first time in a wedding in general. And even with the most laid back bride in the world, planning various activities and helping out with everything can be a lot of work. Just thinking about the fact that my best friend who I grew up with (who is also five years my senior so shut up) is now ready to tie the knot… I can’t even.

If you happened to stumble across this post from last month, you know I’m in the midst of reading Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). As expected, it’s outstanding. I would compare it to Tina Fey’s Bossypants (which I also happened to write a little bit about here), in that it is a series of short, often hilarious/ridiculous, and surprisingly profound and empowering thoughts from a successful female comedian. I just finished a short essay entitled “Married People Need to Step It Up” that I feel is so important right now, with weddings constantly being on my brain (I’m looking at you, Facebook. Cut that shit out).

Mindy opens the essay explaining that the audience knows a Shakespeare play is a comedy (and not a tragedy) when it ends in a wedding. She argues, “…the actual reason Shakespeare ended them there is because he thought the journey leading up to marriage was more fun to watch than the one that begins after the vows were said.” Isn’t that how it usually goes? How many times have you heard your wedding day will be the greatest day of your life? And that it’s all downhill from there? Well, now we can blame Shakespeare for poisoning our minds with that garbage.


She goes on to talk about the unhappily married people, and how they have to stress marriage is always such hard work and how miserable it is. She says her divorced friends are some of the happiest, most enlightened people she knows after all is said and done. Her mom says, “…when one person is unhappy, it usually means two people are unhappy but that one has not come to terms with it yet.” Hindsight is always 20/20 when it comes to breakups and even divorces.

So, you might ask, what is Mindy Kaling’s secret to a great marriage? [You probably weren’t asking that because she’s not married, but you’re about to find out.] As observed through her parents marriage: Just. Be. Pals. That’s it. While it is an overly simplified notion, it’s kind of genius. Marriage is always work, but wouldn’t you rather it be work you enjoy doing?

OK so they're not even a real couple, but I love the Mindy Project so bad.

OK so they’re not even a real couple, but I love the Mindy Project so bad.

“I don’t want to hear about the endless struggles to keep sex exciting, or the work it takes to plan a date night. I want to hear that you guys watch every episode of The Bachelorette together in secret shame, or that one got the other hooked on Breaking Bad and if either watches it without the other, they’re dead meat. I want to see you guys high-five each other like teammates on a recreational softball team you both do for fun. I want to hear about it because I know it’s possible, and because I want it for myself.

Love Wins.

I just would like to leave this here for all, because today is a beautiful day. The man pictured below, Rob Rivera, was my AP European History teacher in high school, and I could not be any happier for him, his partner, and for all the people that were told today that who they love matters. Great job, America!

The full Supreme Court opinion can be read here. Start at page 8 and be sure to have some tissues handy.


The Dobler-Dahmer Theory

If both people are into each other, a big romantic gesture works: like Lloyd Dobler, holding up the boom box outside Diane Court’s window in Say Anything. But if one person isn’t into the other, the same gesture comes off serial-killer crazy: or Dahmer.

This, my friends, is The Dobler-Dahmer Theory, as explained by Ted Mosby in How I Met Your Mother.

Even if you have never seen Say Anything, you know this scene in the movie. Lloyd Dobler (played by John Cusack) stands outside of his love interest’s window post-breakup, holding up a boombox blasting Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” — the big romantic gesture to win her back. Hearts all over the world melted for that scene 25 years ago. At the opposite end of this theory, we have Jeffrey Dahmer — a serial killer and sex offender who stalked, raped, murdered, and eventually ate his victims. Hmm. Lovely.


“Whether a gesture is charming or alarming depends on how it’s received.”

Yes, I’m well aware that I’m two years late with this reference. I’ve been watching a lot of HIMYM on Netflix lately, and this has always been one of those theories that I feel holds so much truth and genius. [Unlike The Olive Theory… which is complete bullshit.] The theory conveys how tricky of a game dating, romance, and love can be to play. And in the end, that’s all it is anyway– a game.

The Dobler-Dahmer Theory states that there is no unequivocal line you cross for your actions to be construed as super sweet or certifiably nuts. What’s more, there is no way to know how your actions will be received until you actually go for it. In reality, you’re just placing a bet that you come out a Dobler. And even though you may think the house stacked the odds in your favor, anything can happen. There is *no* such thing as a sure thing.


You could pull the same move on every person you meet, and for every person that perceives you as a Dobler, there will be just as many that think you’re a total Dahmer. Even more disheartening, someone could spend an entire relationship a Dobler, and one day without warning, morph into a Dahmer. No matter how long you are with someone, once you see them as a Dahmer, there’s usually no going back. There are no guarantees in dating and in love and in romance… which is equally as awesome as it is depressing.

As if I needed any more of a reason to live out the rest of my days in the company of my cat…

I’ve been watching way too much Once Upon a Time…

Did Disney movies foster my lust for love?
This realization only just hit me.
I guess I should have figured this one out sooner.
But in every classic movie,
There’s the damsel in distress,
So desperately seeking to be saved,
To be loved.
And this is what I grew up watching.
Is this why
I can’t imagine a life is worth living
Without a man to share it with?
Well, shit.

Ariel was an idiot anyway.