To the Friends I Made in College

As it is for most people, high school was a difficult time for me. Making friends never came easily to me, and often times the ones I did make weren’t always the best people to keep around. During high school, I had the opportunity to have my two closest friends sit in front of me, and point out everything they didn’t like about me. I had my group of friends literally turn their back on me while I cried in the lunch line about my dad walking out on my family. I had my best friend tell people she wished I would kill myself so she wouldn’t have to do it herself. I had my entire group of friends go on a hiking trip I had planned without me. I watched them make plans in front of me without ever being included; sometimes I even helped with the planning. While they weren’t all bad, and those that were had redeeming qualities, I never realized how much I was missing out on in the friend department until I went to college. While my high school friends were a part of my life I will never forget, and I do appreciate those of you I still talk to, this post is for the friends I made in college.

Let me just start by saying that I don’t know how you guys do it. I often wonder why you all continue to put up with me, especially considering that I know I’m not easy to handle. I know that I can be obnoxious, annoying, crazy, moody, and a million other things, but yet you all choose to continue seeing the best in me. While I know being my friend is no simple task, I feel that I owe you a few explanations.

First of all, I know I apologize a lot, but just know that every apology is sincere. I apologize because I am terrified that I have actually insulted or upset you in some way, and it kills me to think one of you are mad at me. The truth is that I am terrified to lose any of you, so I will apologize for every little thing. I will constantly ask you if I am annoying, because the last thing I want to do is annoy you, however I feel that I am ALWAYS annoying you. When you text me and don’t reply, I know how obnoxious it is that I will automatically think you are mad at me; which I will probably apologize for later. Sometimes the littlest thing will set me off, and it will seem dramatic. Please just know that it is a side effect of my anxiety, as are all of these things. Sometimes I just need some space, and I just need you to be patient with me. I don’t mean to ask so much from you, but I promise, when you let me, I will try my hardest to be a good a friend in return.

I appreciate all the little things you guys do for me; even the smallest compliment means the world to me. I never want you guys to think I don’t appreciate you, so I do my best to show it. You guys have no idea how much I value you, but you all mean the world to me. You have shown me what true friends do for each other, and I will never be able to thank you enough for that. Maintaining a friendship with someone with depression or anxiety is hard enough, but being friends with someone who struggles with both is nearly impossible. I honestly don’t know how or why any of you do it, but I am so thankful that you do. Not only have you shown me how wonderful this world can look when it is filled with amazing friends, you have also helped me to see that I do have some self-worth. You have shown me that it is okay to let your friends see your weaknesses, because they are willing to overlook them to see your strengths. True friends will look past your many flaws, and choose to see the beauty in your heart. While I appreciate all of you, I want to mention some of the people here that have changed me and my life the most.

Stephanie: I am so glad we ended up talking more this past year, and I hope we continue to get to know each other better. You understand me in some ways better than anyone else could, and I thank you for that. You are an amazing person who can always brighten my day.

Dan: Having another writer friend is something I have never had before. It is so amazing having someone to talk about my greatest passion with; someone who understands the passion. You are an amazing writer and an even more amazing friend. I’m lucky to have been introduced to you my freshman year.

Mama: Thank you for being such an important part of the sport I love. You have always encouraged and challenged me, and I appreciate everything you have done for me. You continue to be a huge role model to me, and you have shown me the type of woman I want to be. You have truly become a second mom to me, and I wish you nothing but happiness.

Alex: I owe nearly everything I am in rugby to you. Not only were you the one to talk me into coming to my first practice, you were also the one who talked me through every self doubt and every struggle. You are more than my teammate, you are a friend that I owe my rugby playing to. You believed in me when no one else did, and you never stopped encouraging me to play my best. You helped me find my inner beast and never stopped building up my confidence. I miss you dearly, and I am honored to have taken the rugby field so many times with you. I hope to eventually be half as good of a rugby player as you.

Ginny: You are one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. Your heart is as beautiful as your face, which is impressive because your face is absolutely gorgeous. I love all our conversations, especially when we’ve each had a few. I wish I could paint and draw as well as you can, because your talent is unbelievable. Never forget how amazing you are, and never let anyone dull your inner sparkle.

Seth: You are so unlike anyone else I have ever met, and I mean that in the best way. I have more memories with you than I can count. I never cease to laugh when I’m around you, but you also have such a beautiful soul. I hope no matter what this world throws at you, you never lose that.

Cassy: You made my freshman year unforgettable. We have so many wonderful memories together, and I am so thankful I met you that first weekend. You were my first friend in college, and you have stayed with me through so many hardships. I love you so much, and I cannot wait to see what this world has to offer you. You’re style and confidence is something that I wish I could obtain, and your soul is one of the strongest and most beautiful one I’ve ever seen. I wish you all the happiness in the world as you prepare to start the next chapter of your life.

Lee: First, I have to say you are such a beast! You are amazing on and off the rugby field, with one of the most amazing sense of kindness I have ever seen. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t be who you want to be, and if they do, tackle them to the ground.

Sabrina, Raina, Josi, and Arianna: You girls have such beautiful personalities. I cannot wait to get to know you better as we play the beautiful game of rugby this season. You girls are amazing, and you all work so hard every practice. Keep trying your best, because as a team, we appreciate you. You, along with our other rookies, are the future of this team.

Abbey, Jessie, Julia, Claira, Lil’ Meg, Katie, and Courtney: Words cannot describe how proud I am of all of you for all your hard work on and off the rugby field. You guys are so much more than teammates to me- you are some of the best friends I have ever been lucky enough to achieve. As I said before, you are the future of this team. I cannot wait to see all the amazing things you will do. You are beautiful girls, inside and out, and I am so unbelievably happy and proud to call you my teammates and my friends. Never lose your spirits.

Tous: I haven’t known you very long, but you have changed my life. You can always make me smile, even on my worst days. You are a great listener who never judges me. You laugh at all my jokes and you never cease to make me feel pretty, just the way I am. You build my confidence every time I’m around you, and I think you are an amazing person. Never let anyone tell you any differently.

Ryan: How lucky am I that you are dating my roommate. You are so unbelievably funny and kind, and Amanda is so lucky to have you. I am honored to serve as your third wheel, and I love having you around. You brighten up our apartment every time you come to town. You are more than simply my roommate’s boyfriend; you are my friend. You are a wonderful person and I am extremely fortunate to have met you.

Alyssa: We got so close so fast, and I’m so happy we did. I love our walks and coffee breaks and all the awesome adventures we have gone on- I hope there are many more to make! Whether sober or not, I never cease to have fun when I’m with you. You are utterly fantastic and I love your beautiful spirit. I wish you nothing but happiness, and I cannot wait to see what adventures await us. I love you!

Mataya: I have been trying so hard to force my friendship on you, and I am confident enough to say I have succeeded! I think you are just such an awesome person, and you are so darn beautiful, it makes me so jealous (in a good way). I hope that we can get to know each other better in the future, but I enjoy spending time with you on and off the rugby field. As your new third wheel, let me know if you ever need me to take care of… something. You are so fun to be around and I would love to hang out with you more.

Brycestefer: Okay, I have no idea how to spell that, so that’s what we will go with. I need to start by saying that you definitely lucked out in the woman department, so don’t you dare mess that up! You have a very unique personality that I enjoy being around. You make me smile and laugh more than most with your sarcasm. I especially enjoy the way we can make fun of each other, without getting mad at each other. I’m glad I forced my friendship on you, because you did so much for me when I was going through my boy troubles. Thank you for listening to me and for always being honest with me. I owe you so much for that, and I will never be able to thank you enough. Thank you for being my friend, despite how annoying I can be.

Kienan: Our friendship has never been easy, but I have enjoyed it all the same. You know me better than almost anyone else, and I have so much to be grateful for when it comes to you. More than anything, thank you for always being there for me. Words will never describe how much you mean to me and how much I appreciate you. There is so much more I could say, but I’ll just leave it at this- I don’t know what I’ll do when you move away, but you have been a huge part of my life that I will never forget. I wish you the best, and I hope this life gives you everything you want.

Crystal: or should I say Crustal? Girl, I don’t even know where to start. You are one of the funniest, nicest, coolest, smartest, most talented people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I loved living with you, nerding out with you, and making so many awesome memories with you. I wish you could come visit more, because we always have the best times with you. You never cease to highlight my life, especially where Harry Potter is concerned. I love you so much and I hope to continue to make more memories with you, ya Birch! You are so creative, intelligent, and talented. Because I have met you, I am changed for good. You are fantastic and a thousand other good things. Love you!

Payton: PAY PAY!!! You understand me in ways no one else does, especially when it comes to the single life and not liking the touching. From Carl to Spongebob, I always smile when I’m with you. You are one of the best people this world has to offer, and I wish I got to spend more time with you. You deserve the best this world has to offer. It takes an extraordinary person to be so selfless, funny, and compassionate, but that’s what makes you extraordinary. Your inner beauty shines just as bright as your outer beauty, and I am honored to call you my friend. Payton come home!!! Never stop being amazing.

Grady: You are like the older brother I lost. Thank you for always looking out for me, especially where alcohol is concerned, for being there for me, but also for matching my sarcasm on every level. You make me laugh harder than I thought possible, and your relationship with Michaela has taught me what a truly perfect (at least to me) relationship looks like. Thank you so much for all you have done for me. I don’t know what I’d do without you in my corner. Words cannot express how grateful I am for everything you have done. Thank you for continuing to be my friend, despite everything I put you through.

Maka: You are so unbelievably wonderful. Not only are you one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, but you are so beautiful and compassionate. I can talk to you about anything, and can always count on you to be honest with love. You have helped me through some tough stuff, and you never fail to brighten my day. Maquila is one of my favorite people to party with, but Michaela is one of my best friends. I am honored to call you my friend, and I am forever grateful for the friendship I have with you. Never let anything dull your personality. I wish you the best with lots of cats.

Jordan: I don’t think there is anyone in the world that comes close to you. It’s wonderful to have someone on my weirdness level. After all the time I spent forcing my friendship on you, you have finally admitted that I am in your top three. You may have been drunk when you said it, but I’m taking it. You make me smile wider and laugh harder than anyone else in this world. I am so thankful for our crazy, weird friendship. Whether I am sending you hawks, redoing your calendar, stealing your booze and hats, or helping you plan our life on a schoolie, many of my best memories of this past year are spent with you. I’m so happy to call you my friend, and I am so lucky to have you in my life. I’m dreading the day when you leave, because I’ll be lost. I hope your personality never dulls and your hair keeps its amazing flow. I hope you get everything you desire in this world, even if it is a school bus. Keep being the amazingly wonderful person you are.

Keaton: You are the craziest person I have ever met, and I love every second of it. You make me laugh until I can’t breathe. I have some of the best memories ever in college with you. From hanging in the study rooms to calling me mom to pouring pop on me, I have some of the best stories to share with you in them. I love how much crap we give each other, and I love that you never sugarcoat anything for me. I hope your wild spirit never calms, and I hope you never lose your amazing, fun-filled personality. Never change, or I’ll send you to live with your dad. I love you so much, and I can’t wait for you, Kelsey, and me to start the rest of our lives together.

Liz: I can’t believe how fast we got this close. You are so beautiful, inside and out, and I love you so much. We always have so much fun together, but you are also a great listener, especially when I need a shoulder to cry on. Even though I was ankle deep in a bad situation with a boy, you always supported me and all my decisions. You never judged me for them, and words can’t say how much I appreciate that. You have one of the most beautiful personalities in the world, and I hope you never lose that. You are so outgoing, fun, and just all around amazing. I am so jealous of how easy it is for you to talk to people, but that is part of what makes you so awesome. I’m so glad to call you my roommate and even happier to call you my friend. I love you so much, especially on Wednesdays.

Amanda: I often wonder what would have happened if I had never come over for dinner all that time ago. That was one of the best decisions of my life. You opened me up to friendships, countless laughs, and an infinite amount of memories. When we cook together, laugh together, talk together, or anything else, I consider it an honor to call you my roommate as well as my friend. I know living with me isn’t always easy, so I appreciate that you have been able to do it for so long. I hope you have a life filled with happiness, because you deserve it. You have a beautiful face and an even more beautiful personality. You have played a huge part into shaping me into the person I am. Thank you for listening to me, for understanding my anxiety, for being patient with me, for laughing with me, and for a thousand other things. Becoming friends with you has been one of the best parts of my life. Thank you for all you do. I love you more than words can say. Thank you for being you.

Kelsey: There will never be enough words to describe how much I appreciate you, and I know a lot of words. You have put up with more from me than anyone else, but yet you remain my best friend. I honestly don’t know how you do it. You are the best person I know, and the world needs more people like you. You are unbelievably amazing, and I am so gracious to be your friend. I love you so much, and I’m so glad you have never given up on me. I know that being my friend has been hard on you, but you have done it with grace. I could go on forever on what you mean to me, but there isn’t enough time in the world for that. You are so unbelievably spectacular, and I hope I never lose you. You are a huge part of my world, and you have brightened my life. Thank you so much for being you.

To all my friends, listed here or not, you are my world. I don’t know how I would function without you. I appreciate everything you do for me, and I will never stop trying to make everything up to you. I would do anything for you guys. You all make my life so much brighter than I thought possible. I am so lucky to have you all in my life. Thank you all for being a bright part of my world. I love you all more than you will ever know, but I will never stop trying to show you how much I appreciate all of you.

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The Truth About Grief

As someone who is no stranger to grief, there is one thing I know without a doubt: there is no right or wrong way to grieve, though people will tell you there is. These people, in my opinion, have never been directly affected by grief, because if they had, they would know that there is no truth to this. The truth is there is no correct way to grieve; there is no normal way. Grief is not clean and organized; perfectly laid it out in a step by step guide. Grief is messy, ugly, and disorganized.

They say that the last stage of grief is acceptance, but how do you accept someone’s death? How can you ever be expected to go back to your old life, when there is no going back? You are forever changed. The fact of the matter is that you can get over an ex-boyfriend or an ex-girlfriend, but you don’t get over someone you love being ripped from the world. You only get through it. You learn to rebuild a new life from the pieces of the old one. You learn to function in a new way; a way that doesn’t include the person you lost.

Some days it seems like a lifetime ago and other days it seems like yesterday when you were talking to them, hugging them, laughing with them. Some days you catch yourself forgetting they’re gone and other days the vast emptiness of the loss is so great, it steals your breath away. This is notion few understand; people expect you to get up and get back to normal. Little do they know that there is no more normal, because your reality is forever changed. Nothing will ever be the same, especially you.

There are days that are so unbelievably hard that you wonder how you will ever survive. Other days provide a sweet relief when you forget they are gone, even if only for a few seconds, but then the memory comes rushing back in such a force, it nearly knocks you off your feet. Each of these types of days are their own type of evil, but the best types of days are the ones when the grief is manageable. When you have long grown used to the emptiness in your heart, and are able to make it through the day without the weight of their memory crushing down on your chest. These are the days we revel in, because they are the ones that make life bearable.

I don’t think there will ever come a day when my grief will end; it only becomes a little more bearable as the years pass. That’s the secret no one tells you; it doesn’t end. You don’t wake up one day, finally free from the chains of your sorrow. Instead, you get accustomed to the heaviness and learn to live with it. Those us of us who have been grief stricken carry a horribly heavy weight each and every day, and we do so discreetly that some may mistaken it for honor. But there is no honor in grief; there is survival. It takes an incredible amount of strength; strength that many of us don’t discover until we need it to keep living.

None of us are ever safe from the pain of grief, for it is something we will all inevitably face. No one can save you from this; you will have to learn to save yourself. Save yourself from the crushing weight and the burning pain. Save yourself from the vast emptiness and the deep sadness. Save yourself from your scariest thoughts and deepest fears. the key? Remember that no matter how you are feeling or when you feel it; it is perfectly okay. Grief has no limitations; grieve the way you need to, because that is the only way to get through it.

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Dear Future Boyfriend

Dear Future Boyfriend,

I don’t know if you’ll ever actually exist, but in the off chance that you will, there’s some things you should probably know. First of all, I know that I am hard to love and I’m sorry for that. I know I won’t make it easy for you, but I hope you know that it isn’t easy for me either. Opening myself up and allowing someone to love me will be one of the hardest things I will ever do. I know you will get angry, frustrated, and fed up with me, but just know that I am loving you the best way I know how to.

I will pick a lot of fights. I can’t help it. Just know that that is me testing you and trying to push you away, just to see if you will stay. I hope you do. I only pick fights with the people I really care about, so know that those fights are not out of hate or anger, but out of love and fear of losing you. I would never intentionally hurt you, because that is just not who I am. It seems backwards, but what can I say? I’m crazy.

Speaking of that, I hope you will embrace all my weird quirks as I have. I do and say a lot of abnormal things, but I think the key is to take them for what they are and see the humor in them, as I do. It will make of our lives much easier. Yes, I am odd, but I can also be quite entertaining. I’m sure you have a lot of quirks as well, because otherwise how would this relationship work?

Because I want you to be successful in this relationship, I want to give you some advice. I want you to call me out on things. Don’t let me get away with being difficult, not saying what’s wrong, and not being open. I will get angry when you do it initially, but I promise you it’s what I want. Call me out on my bullshit; don’t just put up with it.

Be thoughtful. I’m not materialistic by any means, but I appreciate thought far more than any gift. Any guy can go buy a girl a heart shaped necklace, but I want you to put thought into things. I’m not like other girls, so I don’t want to be treated like one. I would appreciate a heart shaped pizza or a handwritten letter over any piece of jewelry or stuffed teddy bear. Flowers are an exception here, because I love flowers (hint hint).

More than anything, I want us to have fun together. I don’t want to spend all our time going out to eat and sitting on a couch (although those things are nice sometimes). I want to go look at the stars, play at a park, check out Christmas lights, and go on crazy adventures. I want to have stories to tell about us; good stories. I don’t want to be just another stereotypical couple; I want to be different.

I want to do nice things for you, just because I want to make sure you know that I appreciate you. I know it’s supposed to be boys doing romantic things for girls, but I want to do romantic things for you too. I will probably be crazy about you, and I really want you to understand that. I want you to have no doubts about how much I care about you, so I’m going to do my best to show you.

I tend to say what I mean. If I tell you I don’t care if you go out with your friends; do it. It’s not a trap. If I say I won’t be mad, I won’t be mad. I’m not a puzzle for you to figure out and I don’t expect you to read my mind. That’s not fair to you, so I will say what I mean as often as I can. I’m not your mother, so I don’t want to act like I am. I don’t need you to ask me permission to do the things you want to do. It’s your life, so I want you to live it.

I cannot do clingy. It’s not because I don’t want you around, it’s because I am so used to being independent that I will need alone time. I won’t text and call you every day, and I will get annoyed if I am expected to spend all my free time with you. I will feel suffocated and try to push you away. I don’t want to be the center of your world; I just want to be a part of it.

I hope I can bring you happiness. I know I won’t be the best girl in the world, but I will try my hardest to be the best that I canfor you. I have been waiting so long to find you, so I won’t take this relationship lightly, despite how I may act. Some days will be really hard, and it will probably be a lot of work, but I will try my hardest to make this a good and wholesome relationship. I don’t give up on people easily and I care very deeply about those I love, and you will be no exception. I hope that I can love you the way you deserve to be loved, and I hope you can love me more than I love myself.

Hope to see you some day,

Ruby

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