You shouldn’t have called me a friend.

In grade school I had friends. Just a few good ones. My one saving grace in life when I was younger, between the ages of 8-12, is that I had some good friends to walk to school with. Every morning I would walk a block to my friend K’s house. Then we’d walk a few houses over to A’s house. A’s mom worked a Monday through Friday and was up early in the morning. Their house had a specific smell to it. One that has stuck with me to this day, 22 years later. As a kid I didn’t really know what it was, but now when I think back it was mainly coffee with some fruit and the normal smells of a home mixed together. Occasionally you’d be able to smell a home cooked breakfast mixed in. It was such a calming smell. Each morning I’d walk into A’s house and the smell would greet me and linger in my sense of smell. I loved it. If for some reason we were running late and I didn’t get to go inside A’s house, it made me feel like I missed out on something. A morning ritual. I’ve come to realize with time that it wasn’t just the smell that brought such joy to my morning. I enjoyed going to A’s house because it was like an alternate reality to my life. My life was chaotic. My mother and I were poor and I never knew any other way of growing up than without money. I didn’t know how it felt to have new shoes, how it felt to have brand new clothes, how it felt to not have to rely on the kindness of others to get the things I need or wanted in life. I constantly reeked of cigarette smoke and my (future) beautiful curly hair was always a mess. My mother worked hard at a job that barely brought in enough to pay the bills. At the time I wasn’t aware of her addiction to scratch tickets, but now in my older years I realize a lot of things my youthful naivety kept me from noticing. Going to A’s house was like a breath of fresh air. A’s mother was also divorced with a young daughter but she worked a decent job that brought in enough money to pay the bills and mortgage on a really nice house located in a safe neighborhood in a good school district. A didn’t go without. She had everything she needed. She had long blonde hair, THICK, with braces and she walked with terrible posture. She wore glasses. And she was the stereotypical nerd. She was extremely intelligent and if you needed help with your homework she was the girl to ask. I don’t know why she was my friend but I didn’t deserve her.

The truth is, I bullied her. I was mean to her. K and I were mean to her. Me more so than K. I made fun of A a lot. For being nerdy. For being smart. For being such a good kid. I was jealous because she had more than me. In my stupid little kid brain I was jealous because she had things that were out of her control. I was jealous because she had a mother that worked a normal job so her family didn’t go without. Jealous because she didn’t live in the neighborhood crack house. Jealous because she didn’t have to share a room with someone else in a house where multiple people chain smoked cigarettes and did crack in the master bedroom for days on end. At least I can credit my mother with that: She never touched the drugs. And before we moved into that home (that was owned by her best friend at the time) no one was doing crack. Times changed and things got crazy and it’s a long story. But I was jealous so I was cruel. And I am ashamed of that.

I found A one day on Facebook and messaged her. I apologized. Not to make myself feel better, but just because I wanted to let her know she deserved better than that. And I was so happy to hear she was living an amazing life. Her brains got her far. She got her braces off and improved her posture and turned into a woman as physically beautiful as she is on the inside.

I didn’t deserve to have A as a friend, but I am absolutely grateful she accepted me for who I was even when I couldn’t do the same for her.

Where am I?

I haven’t written anything in quite some time. The only excuse I have come up with is that I’ve been moving and getting settled into the new place. The move has been good. I (we) needed to get out of that depressing little town we were in. Oklahoma is amazing, beautiful and the quality of life here is already substantially better.

I read something the other day along the lines of “Being 16-25 is like playing a video game and skipping the tutorial…just kind of winging it”. I thought that was interesting. Here I am at 27 years old (holy fuck) and still not having a clue what is going on sometimes.

There are societal norms that most everyone pushes themselves to conform to. Like, at a certain age you’re supposed to have a nice car, and then a nice husband (wife?) and then comes the fancy house and the children. Oh and lets not forget a great job. I think music and television make us believe that it is the “norm” to have these things by the time you’re 30, when I know plenty of 50 somethings that don’t even have these things. I won’t even say that they haven’t accomplished these things, they just don’t have them. Are these things really accomplishments? Maybe to some people, but I feel like to more and more people, these things don’t matter as much.

With a world full of looming debt for college students and uncertainty for their way of life, more and more people are skipping the norms and just doing what makes them happy. They’re not so worried about the societal pressures to have all of the things that “normal” people have by a certain age. And maybe that’s me.

I am 27 and I drive a 2002 Chevy Malibu. And I’m okay with it. I have no car payment. I learned the hard way that buying a new car and shelling out $300+ a month was not a good decision on my part. I know I’ll need a new(er) car eventually, but for right now my little beater works. I don’t have a nice house. I have a decent sized apartment in a decent apartment complex with neighbors that apparently wear bricks on their feet when they’re home upstairs. And I am okay with that too. I have no inkling to go shell out $100,000+ on a house. I am not even married. OMG. I have a wonderful boyfriend that I’ve been with for over a year. Our relationship isn’t perfect, we aren’t perfect. But it works for us. We are both loyal, love one another and stick through thick and thin. And that works for us. I don’t have kids. In the last town I lived in, people looked at me like something was wrong with me. I didn’t have kids?! Well why not?! In that town, the only thing to do was settle down by the time you’re 20 and pop out kid after kid. People would ask me why in the world I’m waiting so long to have kids. I wanted to tell them to look around at all the zombie parents in this town. Toting around 3 or 4 kids, looking like they haven’t smiled in ages. I am not saying that its terrible for everyone. Some people I do believe were born to be parents. It is what fulfills them. But I see a lot of people missing something in their lives, so instead of being a kid and enjoying it, they have kids, and that hardly works out for anyone.

Oh as for work…I am an independent contractor with a pet and home care company. I really enjoy it. There’s no working with humans, its normally all working with pets. Which is great for me. The thing that is frustrating for me is, I have all this talent. Okay maybe not talent, but like you know, potential. I am intelligent, I’ve got common sense, and I learn easily. If I had a bunch of money I’d go to school and get a good degree in something that interests me. But I don’t have a lot of money. Honestly I could be a doctor, or a nurse even. I could be an English teacher at a university. I could be the CEO of a damn company. But I was not dealt the same hand of cards as someone else in a different situation than me. I was not handed a silver spoon and loads of college money to better my future. Instead I am a potential ridden 27 year old who is terrified of having student loans looming over my head, so I sit. And I wait. For my chance. I don’t know what that is though. I just keep hoping it comes to me one day and I can make my move. Get my big break. I’ve worked my ass off since I was 16. So, yeah.

I really am grateful for all that I have. Money in the bank, an amazing boyfriend and partner in crime. A job I enjoy and that pays the bills (that’s basically all though), a car that runs, and food to eat. I never want a six figure income and a giant house, that changes people. I don’t want to change. I just want to stop feeling like my potential is wasted day in and day out. I’ve always wanted to write a book, but every time I start, I always stop. I always lose it. Maybe one day.

Until then, I’ll just enjoy the little things. Like Stephen King books and Autumn leaves. And Coffee on a Monday.

White picket fence.

Throughout my entire life I always thought that finding my one true love would be so simple. When I was in 7th grade I thought I loved a guy who was in one of my classes. When I was in my Junior year of high school I really did love my first boyfriend. I loved him in the “new” love kind of way….in the way that you really don’t have a clue what you’re doing so you just follow your heart. After multiple heartbreaks I found myself reading a lot of motivational sayings and quotes. In the beginning they made me feel better, but after the 3rd heartbreak I just started to say…well, f*ck it. I gave up. I just decided that if I can get my heartbroken THIS many times, I am just going to give up.

I can have a big house, with a lot of things and a good job, all by myself. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. I don’t NEED a man.

I would listen to all of the stories all over the internet about how all of these women thought they’d never find the love of their life and then one day they did. And that they just knew he was “the one”. Barf. I didn’t believe it. I felt bad for these women thinking that their guy wasn’t going to go out and cheat on them. I felt bad for these women that thought that they’d found the one, and that he was always going to be around. Needless to say, I was burned and bitter.

But a lot of things changed in the year after my last break-up. I learned a lot about myself and who I was. And slowly but surely I started to realize something; I truly don’t need a man. But it would sure be nice to find someone to spend my life with. What is having the goal of getting a big house and a lot of things and a great job, without someone to share it with? Perhaps if I patiently waited I’d find someone who wanted to be with me, just as much as I wanted to be with them.

I met him at work. Well, I used to work there. We both did. And as soon as I saw him I knew. It sounds SOOOO lame especially because I was so opposed to it. But I really, truly did. Something inside me just lit up. And he wasn’t a Fabio look a like, and he wasn’t 6 foot tall with dark hair and dark eyes. Nope. He had a shaved head, and crystal blue eyes and all I knew was that I wanted to see more of him. Every time I saw him at work something told me that I wanted to see more of him. I came close to asking him out a hundred times, but I didn’t. I felt I needed to wait. And eventually, because he had no idea I liked him, I just told him. And he took me on our first date. And he made me laugh more than I’d laughed in a long time. I felt safe with him, and comfortable. And I fell in love. And so did he. And now, I know without a shadow of a doubt I want to spend the rest of my life with him. He didn’t complete me, I did. Long before I met him. But what he did do was show me that just when you are about to give up on love, love comes in whether you like it or not.

Now I know that I don’t want a big house, or a lot of things. I learned to let go of the material things in my life and focus on what is important. And to me, that is enjoying every minute I have with this amazing man who lights up my whole world.