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My Last Summer

Well….The summer is almost over. I cannot begin to tell you how sad that makes me for a host of reasons. It means leaving Alan. It means going back to Memphis. It means school is starting again. It means I actually have to look at reality and be an adult now. I have to conquer my last semester of my Undergrad Bachelor’s of Science. I have to vanquish my senior project (which looks like a train wreck right now and is already a month behind schedule). I have to get married. Wait….what?

So I’ve spent the summer in California with the love of my life. I’ve traipsed all over San Diego and seen L.A. I’ve gone to the Safari Park and am going to Sea World this week. I’ve eaten a ridiculous amount of horribly unhealthy food and have gained so much perspective on life. I have kayaked in the Pacific and seen sea lions swimming a foot away from me. I have seen more of this great country than I ever thought I would. All of these adventures and the whole feel of the city around me makes me regret going to school in Tennessee. I would have loved to have lived out here and gone to college here. I can’t help but imagine how different my life would be if I’d come here for school and hadn’t gotten into ROTC. I can definitely say that it would have been a thousand times more fun and I probably would have learned to surf. I definitely would be a lot more tan and in shape because I know I’d have spent most of my free time out on the water or hiking.

Anyway, the summer is drawing to a close and I’m heading home next week. Time to tackle my last semester of being a young adult. In December, everything is going to be so real. I’m getting married in September. I’m graduating and commissioning into the Navy in December. I’m moving to a new state which is scary since I’ve only lived in Tennessee my entire life. I’ll be heading to a new job and a new life and I’ll be totally alone. My hubby and I won’t be stationed together. So I have to be an adult very soon.

At least it’s been an amazing summer.

Hawaii

Aloha! Well I just spent a couple of very solid days on the gorgeous island of Oahu. I flew out on Tuesday and was waiting for my man when he walked off the ship on Wednesday afternoon. The next couple of days flew by but they were genuinely a dream come true. I mean, come on. A few days in paradise with the love of your life? Sounds as good as it was.

Seeing someone after such a long time is sort of an out-of-body experience. The ship was on the horizon for about an hour before it was close enough that we could see that they were really booking it. Once the ship was up next to us steaming through the channel in all its awesome power and glory, my heart lept to my throat. I could see sailors standing on the flight deck in their dress whites, ready to render salutes to the memorials. He was up there somewhere. After a little over two years, he was within shouting distance. No, I didn’t cry. I don’t cry. But I very nearly did. It took a serious pep talk to keep those tears from collecting.

When I saw his face, my heart literally stopped. I could tell he was nervous by the way he was walking, but when he looked at me it was like all was right with the world. There was a second at first when we were trying to read each other. We stopped and were trying to decide how to handle the situation. Do I put my stuff down? Do I hug you first? Kiss then hug? Handshake? What? I just went straight for the hug to try to take some of the awkward out of the moment as well as to keep myself standing upright, because I was a smidge weak in the knees and very shaky from all the nerves.

I finally worked up the nerve to kiss him and while it was strange at first, it became one of the most natural feelings I’ve ever experienced. The first kiss wasn’t some awe-inspiring, movie moment, but it was real. It was the culmination of a very long distance, very serious relationship and it was real for the first time in so long.

We spent the next couple of hours being awkward and trying to figure out how to be normal with each other. Our relationship has been incredibly strange. This week was the first time for a lot of things. It was the first time we’d ever been seen in public together, our first date, the first time we’d had sex. I mean, it was an incredibly eventful week.

Normally when the boys are in port, they do a ton of shopping and drinking. Half of that sounds logical, but shopping? You’d be surprised. Well we did a ton of shopping and had drinks with meals but didn’t drink in excess. I suppose the need wasn’t there. Instead we spent hours just cuddled up with each other in the hotel room, talking about anything and everything. Somehow we never ran out of things to talk about. For three whole days, I think there was one moment of silence, but it was only because we were both pretty deep in thought. It was incredible. We went out to eat and spent a little time on the beach and a ton of time shopping. We went and met up with a giant part of my family that I hadn’t seen in fifteen years. Most importantly, I kissed him every chance I got.

So let me talk about the Chongs for a moment. There is a side of my family that I pretty much only knew existed. The majority of them live in Hawaii so we don’t see a whole lot of them, especially since our family doesn’t really do reunions anymore. Alan and I went up to my Great Aunt’s house for dinner. It turned out to be a great night. Easy conversation with great people. They’re a loving group of people and very fun to be around. That’s the most family I have had in years. When my mom died, everyone went their separate ways. For the most part, since then, I haven’t had more than about three family members in the same room at a time so to be surrounded by such a big, happy family was a little overwhelming. Somehow he understood and we just rode back to the hotel in silence. I will be forever grateful to him for letting me go meet up with them and taking time out of his leave to go do something like that for me, even though he claims he wouldn’t change a thing about our days together.

Sex was definitely something I was worried about. My rebound from Jake was this hot, macho, sexy man that showed me around the bedroom in a way I thought was only something women dreamed about. I never missed the guy once he disappeared from my life, but I definitely missed the sex. I thought nothing would ever compare to that carnal, raw, sweaty sex. I was wrong. Sex with Alan was so much better. It was real and passionate but fulfilling at the same time. I’ve never been able to orgasm the first time I slept with someone. I did with him.

When I left him and got back on the plane to head home, my heart broke. I understand love now in ways that I never did before. Our goodbye on the pier was sad and sincere, but as I saw him walking away I knew I didn’t want him to be sad. So I called out to him and made him smile just one more time with a silly goodbye even though my heart was breaking. When I landed in Memphis, I cried. I’ve lived in Memphis my whole life. It’s always been home, but for the first time in 22 years, it isn’t anymore. There is a saying that is one to live by. “Home is where the heart is.” My heart isn’t with me anymore. My heart is on that aircraft carrier with the love of my life. The only thing that made the goodbye bearable was knowing that it was only for a couple of days. He’ll be on his way home at the end of the week.

So, this week I learned that love is such a powerful thing. It’s needing the other person to be okay even when you aren’t. It’s sacrificing things you want to make them happy. Any it’s spending the rest of your life with someone you can’t breathe without.

If We Wrote Our Vows

There are moments in life that stand out to you and then there are moments that kind of knock the wind out of you and you realize life will never be the same. It was like that the day I met him.

I ran cross country my freshman year of high school. There was a day that the baseball team ran with us for some conditioning. He was in the pack of guys that I was trying to motivate. I told them not to stop running as I jogged past them, but then I stopped and walked. Go figure. They all got a kick out of that, naturally. He was in that group. I didn’t see him, but he saw me.

Fast forward to the end of January. I was in Coach Jones’ classroom getting ready to practice or for a game when my friend walked outside to talk to a guy. I looked up and saw him. He was so cute and I was just drawn to him so I went and stood next to her while she talked to him. He looked at me while he talked to her. We just stared at each other, hardly breaking eye contact. Even as he walked away, he looked back at me.

I felt my world shift that day. I knew something big was going to happen and I knew my life would never be the same. For me, it was love at first sight. It took me a few months to realize that’s what it was, but I fell for him and I fell hard. We had a hard time over the next five or six years. I was too intense and passionate and inexperienced and he had a lot of growing up to do. Actually, we both did. We kept track of each other, falling more and more in love as time passed. He went off into the Navy and saw the world while I stayed behind and went to school. I had a couple of failed attempts at relationships as I tried to convince myself I was over him and he wasn’t what I wanted.

We are done fighting it. I’ve been in love with him for almost 8 years and this year I’m going to marry him.

“The magic of first love is the ignorance that it can never end.” Except it didn’t. It just grew.

TBT

I can’t stop shaking. I’ve been shaking for two hours. I’m on the verge of tears.

There’s nothing like it when you get a phone call or a text saying someone you care about or cared about is in the hospital. That gut wrenching feeling that you should be there immediately and worrying if something horrible has happened that you won’t be able to make it in time.

I got that text today. Jake’s (my ex) mom texted me and told me he was in the ER. That he’d hit his head, passed out, and started throwing up. I panicked. We broke up in September and I pretty much hated his guts, but I had to go. I knew his girlfriend would probably be there, but I had to go.

When I got there he was surprised to see me, but so was the rest of the group. He was far from alone. Our Instructor was there. His Aunt, Uncle, two cousins, and girlfriend were there. While we stood there for a little while, his dad, step-mom, and step-brother showed up and his Mom and brother were on the way. It was a full house.

It’s not that I felt iced out or unwelcome. Quite the opposite actually. He talked to me and laughed with me. His aunt raved about how cute my snapchat stories of my kitty are. Everyone hugged me and said it was so good to see me and they’d missed me. I felt more loved with them than I do with even my own family. Meanwhile, Renee sat in the corner just gritting her teeth.

His mom was so grateful that I’d shown up, but she was texting me the whole time I was standing there. I told her he was fine and who all was there and she got upset. “Ugh I wish Renee would leave!” That was news. I thought they loved her. She went on to tell me that he doesn’t love her and that he still loves me. She said he lights up when he talks about me but that his face changes every time someone mentions my name. She said she prays we will get back together and that their whole family misses me being around. After I left she said that his aunt had sent her a snapchat of Jake. She replied to the snap by saying, “Oh he has that Clara smile.” His Aunt said, ” I was just thinking the same thing.”

Now I know this shouldn’t phase me. I’m getting married. I’m finally dating the right man. I’m finally happy. Jake was a monster. The majority of our relationship was a nightmare. He was mean and cruel and he was pretty much cheating on me for more than half of the time we were together. He always had a couple of girls that he texted more than he texted me and talked to very inappropriately. It was awful. Getting away from him was the best thing I ever did. I’m so much happier and so much better off.

So why do I feel like someone ripped my heart open?

The Dress

Everyone has dreams.

Kids grow up wanting to be princesses, knights, firemen, policemen, and just about anything else they can imagine. But just about every little girl has one singular dream that they hold on to well into their adult life: getting married.

From the first time they see Cinderella or the first time they can really comprehend the idea of being a princess for a day and marrying prince charming, little girls dream of what it’ll be like to get married one day. She pictures the wedding in detail, some details more outlandish than others, but she wishes and waits for their prince charming to come knock the wind of her with the whirlwind romance and the feelings of true love.

As long as I can remember, I’ve thought I was a princess. I wanted to get married more than anything in the world. Sure, being married was alright but I was mostly excited for the wedding. The afterwards wasn’t nearly as much of a consideration for me. Then, today, I went dress shopping. I tried on seven dresses total, but by the third one I knew I had found THE DRESS. I looked at myself in the mirror and teared up a little bit. The realization hit me like a ton of bricks as my mom walked around me taking pictures and commenting on how pretty it was: I am getting married.

I tried on a few more dresses but inevitably put THE DRESS back on and stared at myself in the mirror. It is perfect. It is love. It fits me like it was made for me. It is everything I’d ever dreamed it would be and then some.

The coolest part about planning the wedding, though, is that the wedding is going to be amazing, but I’m even more excited about being married. I’d elope if it was necessary, I’m just mostly excited for waking up next to him on Saturday mornings and drinking coffee on the porch together. I can see him mowing the yard or working in the garage while I clean the house. I can see grocery shopping with him and watching a movie with a glass of wine at the end of the week. Sure, the wedding will be amazing and it’ll be beautiful. Sure, it’ll be the happiest day of my life, but at the end of that day, I get to go home with the one person who is essential to my happiness and the only one that has ever made me feel whole.

Letters to Bootcamp

You know that saying, “You never know what you got til it’s gone”? Well I knew what I had, in a way, but even now it’s awful.

My sister left for bootcamp a couple of weeks ago. I’m beyond proud of her and I know she is kicking butt, but I miss her more than I ever imagined I would. In the last year, we became closer than I ever thought we could be. We went on two incredible trips together, saw many amazing movies, had tons of dinners, and countless phone calls. I’d call her to whine about anything and everything or just if I was bored. We talked and bonded constantly.

In January, we went to Gatlinburg for a ski trip. It was amazing and though I was tired of her and her friend Charles by the end of it, it was a week full of memories that I’ll never forget. In March, we drove to Universal Studios to see Harry Potter world. I’d already been once but I knew that was something she needed to see. Of course, the park has changed a lot in the past five years so it felt like the first time for me too. Over Christmas break, she spent a couple of weeks living with me. She stayed in Amber’s room because she was between the dorm and her boyfriend’s parents’ house. I just loved having her close.

Now, she has only been gone two weeks, but I’ve gone to pick up the phone to call her about a million times. Any time I want to see a movie or want to go to eat or want to do just about anything, I want to call her.

I am going dress shopping on Tuesday. While I’m incredibly excited, I’m so sad she won’t be there. She doesn’t even know we are getting married. I told her we were just going to do the Justice of the Peace thing this summer and do the real deal sometime in the Spring, but we decided to go ahead and do the full big shebang in September. She doesn’t know. We don’t have her contact information yet so I haven’t been able to write her and tell her.

I don’t know how we will make it in the future, being on opposite coasts or whatever is to come. We chose a complicated life. I’m just so lucky that I have so many wonderful friends and the most incredible man to help me through it all. I just can’t wait for my sister to have her phone and be able to talk to me again.

Anxious for the Future

Anxiety is a curious and terrible thing. I don’t think anyone has ever enjoyed being anxious and it isn’t something one can afford. My heart is constantly beating at an irregular pace, my stomach is in knots, and I’m incredibly distracted. I HATE it.

The worst thing about it is that you really can’t remedy the situation unless you’re apt at meditation or you ingest some for of medication. Neither of these things apply to me so I’m stuck with the sweaty palms and the not-so-restful sleep.

“What are you anxious about, Clara?” one might ask.

Well even if you don’t care, I’m going to tell you.

I have so many balls in the air right now. Life is happening. I’m growing up and my entire world will change within the next few months. There are too many big things on the horizon and to be honest, I don’t think I’m handling it very well. I’ve been sick to my stomach for a week and my best guess is it’s because Mess Night is tomorrow night.

Mess Night is a very traditional dining experience that has become an integral part of boosting morale and camaraderie within the military. All the branches have some sort of this tradition where we all gather for an evening of toasts, traditions, and fines. Fines are stories made to seem like horrible acts in order to embarrass the accused and send them to the grog. The grog is the most disgusting compilation of ingredients that the Vice President of the Mess is tasked with creating. To give you an idea, one year it had hot sauce, pickles, and dogfood in it (among other things).

This year, since I’m a senior, the pressure is on to levy a couple of fines. The past two years I’ve managed to fly under the radar. I haven’t gotten called on, nor have I had to partake of the grog. My shy side was more than appreciative. This year, however, there aren’t a whole lot of jokesters in the upperclassmen that can be counted on to keep the others entertained. As a result, I’ve prepared a few things to keep the night rolling. Hopefully it’ll all work out and be in good fun. Hopefully I’ll be able to get through my accusation without messing up or stuttering like an idiot under all the pressure. Hopefully I don’t have to drink grog. Fingers crossed.

So that’s a massive stressor on my mind right now. It may not seem like much but it’s a compilation of things I struggle with or hate.

Another giant thing on my mind is Alan. I’m afraid to jinx it given my history – especially since I almost agreed to marry my last idiot boyfriend. First, I get to talk to him on Skype for the first time in over a month. That’ll happen either tonight or tomorrow night. Second, there is still a whole lot in the air about my trip to San Diego to spend the summer with him and the trip to Hawaii to see him a couple of days early. It’s hard on me having all of this uncertainty and having so many variables still up in the air. I’m getting sick of the “Well we could” or “It might”. I want conformation and decision, but the Navy isn’t going to do what I want. I’m anxious about seeing him for the first time in almost three years. I’m anxious about spending the whole summer with him. I excited for that too. I’m anxious about the fact that we have been very seriously talking about getting married.

Okay, lemme defend myself. Yes, it’s soon. Yes, we are young. Yes, I’ve thought I was going to marry my last three boyfriends. But, I’ve loved Alan and only Alan so whole heartedly since I met him. I’ve never not loved him. I’ve never been able to let go of him. I’ve known him for years. We have a ton of history and we have a very prior-established relationship. It’s always been Alan. He was always the one I went back to. His is the name that gave me butterflies. His is the voice I longed to hear. I want to go hunting with him and see the world with him and watch Netflix with him and hide out in the mountains with him. I want everything with him. All of the other guys were me just lying to myself. I was just trying to convince  myself (and everyone else) that I was over him. I was sure we were over. I was sure that Jake was great and that he would get better after we were married. I was sure that there was no way it couldn’t work out. Plus I was scared of him and didn’t know how to break up with him.

When I see Alan I suppose I’ll know. But overall it’s a huge stress factor.

Sydney is leaving for bootcamp in a few days. She has become like my best friend lately and I’m going to miss her more than I’d ever imagined.

I’m going to graduate college and commission in the Navy and move from the only state I’ve ever lived in within a year.

Basically everything is changing. It’s terrifying more than it’s exciting at this point. I think I’ll be happier once I know where I’m going, if Alan and I will get married, and how Sydney is doing.

Plus, Mess Night being over with after tomorrow will probably help in the short term.

Anxiety is a bitch. I’ve got to start meditating.

A Quick Tribute

I imagine at the ten year point this post will be a tad lengthy. However, today seems like an appropriate day for a small tribute to seven years of coexistence.

I opened up my Time Hop today and saw that three of my posts from the last five years were some sort of a Happy Birthday wish to one of my dearest friends. I then realized that we have been friends for the better part of a decade (if you can even call it friendship).

I started my blog in my junior year of high school. I have always been a writer and the easiest way for me to express myself is through the random musings of my fingertips when given an open, blank document. We each started blogs on this site as a means of communicating with each other. There had been quite a bit of flux when it came to our relationship, which lead to our not being open about remaining friends. You’d have to go back and read posts in order to fully understand the depth of which this kind of a relationship began, but I’ll do my best to shorten it for you.

Freshman year he was dating a friend of mine. We didn’t speak much.

Sophomore year we ended up in a couple of classes together – namely Driver’s Ed and the school newspaper crew. We were placed in the same group in Driver’s Ed which led to hours spent in that smelly car with the ever-creepy Mr. Orrick and his Austin Powers smile. There was dancing, popcorn, energy drinks, music, and more laughter than I’ll likely ever have again. One time in particular it was our “thing” to give each other wet willies. (We were in high school. What do you expect?) TD gave me one while I was driving. Naturally I freaked out and so did Mr. Orrick. So began the rants where he threatened to split us up out of that group. The year ended with his break with my friend and a messy class of friend groups. Naturally the girls bonded together and TD was left on the outside to seek solace in other friends. Thus began the war between the two “cliques”.

The summer after that year TD and I got closer than we would ever be. We talked on the phone for hours at a time and divulged our deepest, darkest secrets. We were totally honest and open while we grew to know and love one another. That summer will live in infamy as being one of the most real I’ve ever had. It was raw and passionate and intense and I’ll never forget how I felt. But things hadn’t changed as far as our friends went. So Junior year started and we weren’t allowed to be friends. We had classes together and passed notes in silence, doing anything and everything to keep from being noticed by our friends. We started a movie trend where he would pass me a DVD a couple of times a week because I hadn’t seen really anything and he took it upon himself to educate me in the world of cinematography. Never will I forget when we read The Crucible allowed. I was Abigail Williams and he was John Proctor. I’ll never forget how red my face turned when we read the part that outlined their explicit affair. Looking back now I’m sure no one knew what was going on between us, but I felt as if our secrets had been painted on a billboard for everyone to see.

The blog began that year as well. We used it as a means of passing notes to one another. We expressed our feelings and had witty conversations through our posts and I came to realize that he was my dearest friend. Hands down I cherished him more than I have ever cherished anyone. I adored him and I adored being around him.

For some reason or another we ended up on the outs later that year that led to my group doing something downright shameful.

This is where it starts to get hazy because there were so many bouts of ups and downs that it started to get confusing. I do know that we were on good terms in time for Mr. Winfrey’s AP Lit class senior year. I will never forget his rendition of “Chuck E. Cheese” set to some track I’ve long since forgotten. We also made a trailer for our version of Macbeth. That was a day that was both embarrassing (for having to display my acting skills – or lack thereof) and fun. I laughed more than I had in a while that day.

We weren’t on good terms when we left that awful school. I do remember how sad that was for me. Some point in freshmen year I think we met back up but it’s hard to remember. Since then it’s been more off than on, but the fact of the matter is that I know I can always go to him if I really need someone who gets me.

This summer I was in the middle of trying to break up with the big oaf I’d been dating for a year and a half. I posted things that attempted to describe how horrible he was to me and how unhappy and devastated I was. TD posted a response that gave me the courage to figure out my life and finally get away from him. It was the last bit of reassurance in myself that I needed.

That little post that might not have seemed like much to him meant the world to me. That post let me know that after everything, I know that TD will always be there for me. He will always help me out when I need him most and I hope he feels the same way.

So here’s to you on your 22nd birthday, after so many years of coexistence and growth together. Here’s to someone who molded my writing more than any teacher I’ve ever known. Here’s to some of the best and worst memories from the worst high school in the world. Here’s to long nights and getting to know someone truly better than you know yourself. Here’s to you my lucky charm.

I will always love you.

Ghosts

There are things in life that haunt us. The human mind has the incredible ability to seemingly forget all of the wonderful things we have accomplished and the good memories and instead torture us with every single mistake we have ever made. It’s easy to dwell on the little “I should have”‘s or the “I didn’t”‘s.

I shouldn’t have slept with that guy.

Sleeping with a total stranger was something totally against my personality and totally out of character for me. I barely knew him but there was fire and there was a raw carnal need that I simply didn’t wish to deny. I do not, for a second, regret any moment spent with him. I regret nothing that I did. However, I do regret perhaps pushing the situation. He asked me on dates a couple of times, but they never came to pass. Even though he swore it wasn’t, it was just sex. I didn’t want to get attached and he was a basket case. There was one night where we were trying to keep quiet because my roommate was home. Trying to keep quiet changed things. The sex was different. It was much more sensual and much slower. Looking at him in the moonlight, my heart was stirred. I think that he felt something too because I only saw him one other time after that. He acted strangely when he dropped me off at my house, kissing me but not trying to come upstairs. After the traditional phone call on his drive home, I never heard from him again.

For a while I tortured myself over what I could have done differently and what I probably said to make him vanish like that. I mean, when a guy you’re having sex with just up and disappears, it must have been something I did, right? Wrong. He was a mess. He had commitment issues and personality issues and depression issues – I was very serious when I said “basket case”. I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t my fault and that I felt slighted and cheap because I’d made myself available to a man I barely knew. Yes, he threw me aside, but I put myself in the position to be tossed out in the first place. I’ll accept some of the guilt here, but I miss it every day. He was handsome and wonderful to be around. He had everything going for him, but he was “50 shades of fucked up”.

So tonight, I was alone at an early screening of 50 Shades of Grey. It has been two and a half months since this guy vanished and then in he walks with a girl. First thought: “Oh fuck. Of all the places.” Second thought: “He moved on,” (even though it’s been almost three months and I assumed he had another girl within a week). Third thought: “I’m way hotter than her.” While the third thought was very conceited and totally unlike me, it was the pep talk I needed to recover from the slap in the face. What made her better than me? Then it occurred to me that she might just be his next victim and that they could have just met. He didn’t do the relationship thing so it’s likely he has gone through a handful of women between our time together and her.

He didn’t see me as far as I know, and they took a seat near the front of the theater. Now here is the secret…He reminded me of Christian Grey. He was rough and it was like a whole different person took over his body when it came to sex. He didn’t take his shirt off the first few times we had sex and he was pretty secretive about most of his life. So here I am, sitting in a theater, thinking about a man that is sitting less than twenty feet from me. Of course.

The movie was very well done and they perfectly portrayed the heartache and the raw passion that was there. I left the theater feeling all of their heart break as well as mine. Tonight I feel like I am the only person on this Earth.

I want passion and fire. I want someone to look at me the way that he looked at her. I want someone to want me so badly that he just takes me then and there. I want crazy, hot sex. I’ve always been a hopeless romantic. I’ve always wanted the love that is so intense that it threatens to consume you and results in steamy, sleepless nights full of kisses and desire. Tonight I had to come to terms with the fact that I don’t think that Alan is that kind of guy. I can’t see him throwing me on the couch and having his way with me. I was watching this movie and thinking of an old fuckbuddy instead of the love of my life.

Alan and I have only spent one night together. It was steamy and full of desire and longing. I was still a virgin so we didn’t have sex. Perhaps that is why I can’t see him that way. I am hoping that’s why, because I don’t want to imagine a world without either one of the things that I have grown to want most out of life.

And on a night when I’m haunted by ghosts and bad endings and I feel like the only person alive, I can’t have the only thing that would comfort me and soothe my fears. I can’t have him here.

Old Habits

Part of growing up is moving on and becoming a different person than you were when you were younger. You are expected to experience things in life, fall in and out of love, make friends and memories that you’ll smile about when you’re older, and even make mistakes that continue to mold you.

While I have had some serious memory-making this past six months, I also broke a cardinal rule of growing up. I back tracked.

First, let me tell you about my recent experiences.

Over Christmas break my routine was very simple. I woke up, went to work, went out to a bar, and went to sleep. I did that almost every day for thirty days. I saw all kinds of different Memphis bars that I never would’ve seen otherwise. I tried new drinks and got to know some of my coworkers better. I went to a Speakeasy and stayed up all night way too often. On what was supposed to be a relaxing break, I ended up more tired and worn out than I was at the beginning of it.

Last semester I met a guy and slept with him quite a few times though we weren’t dating and I barely knew him. The sex was incredible and he was thrilling and edgy and outgoing in ways that helped me escape my comfort zone. After three or four weeks he just vanished. He had personal, emotional issues that I’m assuming caused him to run. I don’t regret a minute spent with him. I always wanted to have that hot and heavy one night stand kind of thing and even though that lasted more than a night, he was still a basic stranger with a hot body and a smile that could turn you on.

On New Years Eve I met up with a girl that I’d met on Tinder. We ended up making out and messing around in the bathroom. She turned out to be batshit crazy and I never spoke to her again after that night, but that was another bucket list thing that I got out of the way. My only regret is that I spent New Years Eve in a bathroom stall. That night kind of sucked but you live and learn. At least now I know I’m not a lezzie.

I also slept with two of my friends over the break. I really didn’t want either one to happen and they happened way too close together. Actually, it happened in 24 hours. The first one I felt obligated to and the second one kind of just happened even though I didn’t want it to. I said I didn’t want to and he kind of pushed me into it. Afterward I curled up in the fetal position and nearly cried. It was pretty terrible. I avoided them both for the rest of the break as best I could. That couple of days also fall in the mistake department.

I also went skiing and had the time of my life. I hung out with a cute boy and saw all kinds of bad things, but that night is one of my favorites.

So it was an eventful break.

Then, last Wednesday something magical happened. The last five months have been punctuated with Skype dates and Facebook messages. That’s where I backtracked. After all of this personal growth and all of the wonderful things I’ve experienced, I backtracked big time.

Alan has peppered my posts (actually he has been 75% of them) since I started this blog six years ago. He was my first love and he was the boy that taught me everything about playing hard to get and flirting. I fell hard and fast for someone I barely knew and he turned out to be an incredible asshole, but for reason I couldn’t escape him. Over the years we had every fight imaginable and we went months on end without a word passing between us. We dated other people and tried to move on. We each grew up and matured in many ways. However, a lot of things didn’t change. His name still made my breathing shallow. His voice made my chest constrict. He still drove me crazy in every way possible.

When I was in San Diego this summer, I was less than a mile from him. I posted Snapchats so he would know I was there in hopes that he might come to me. Jake had made it very clear that I wasn’t to talk to Alan, but I couldn’t help it if he texted me, right? So he did. He texted me and we had yet another hard conversation that was strained by the fact that we were in love with each other but I was still with Jake.

When I finally broke up with Jake a couple of months later, I went straight to Alan. I emailed him (since he was on deployment) and things kind of picked up right where we left them. I would feel bad about this regression except two things are different now.

1. He has grown up a lot. The realization that I almost married Jake and he would have lost me forever paired with the time he has spent in the Navy has led to a much older, much more mature Alan.

2. We are a couple officially for the first time in seven years. He told me he couldn’t chance losing me again and that he loved me and wouldn’t ever let me go.

Since then, things have been wonderful. He is thoughtful and sweet. We still bicker and we will fight I’m sure, but he definitely cares about me and wants nothing more than to take care of me.

He is already talking about getting married. Since I’m spending the summer with him in California, I imagine I’ll come back with an engagement ring. People will say it’s fast since we will only have been together six or seven months, but in truth it’s been long enough. I know I love him. I’ve always loved him.

But we will just see how the summer goes…

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