They Need You, And You’re Where You’re Supposed to Be

I watched the series finale of Game of Thrones last night. I’m pretty sure the finale evoked a lot of emotions from fans of the show. Some people thought it was a fitting end and were happy. Many others (and probably the majority) thought it was a horrible ending. I’m on the fence about it, but erring on the glass-half-full side, I was pretty content.

There was a moment during the finale, though, that really stuck with me. (Disclaimer: there are definitely major spoilers, so don’t read if you don’t want to know). It was toward the end of the episode when Jon is leaving to head back to the North and he says goodbye to his two sisters, Sansa and Arya, and Bran. His moment with each of the three is special, but what he says to Bran is that moment that has been stuck with me. To Bran, Jon says “I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you needed me.” Bran, exercising the patience and mercy the new leader of Westeros needs at that point, says “you were exactly where you were supposed to be.”

If you’ve paid at least a little bit of attention, then you probably know I’ve had a lot of difficulty with abandonment. I’ve been struggling with a particular abandonment for a little over a year. Before everything with this situation had ever happened, I didn’t deal with it. I didn’t acknowledge it. I never confronted anyone or got outwardly angry. I just swept it under the symbolic rug and called it a day. When someone would ask at all about it when I was younger, I wouldn’t want to talk about it.

But I was hurt. I just felt like it was stupid for me to feel like that- I got perfect grades, was deemed mature for my age by literally everyone who knew me, was able to do six sports/activities all at the same time, worked and went to school full-time, and just generally seemed like the type of person that had it all together. Me feeling that hurt didn’t feel valid. So instead of talking about it, I’d isolate myself to feeling what I needed to feel at night, right before I went to sleep. I still do it and it’s not pretty- I have a pillow full of mascara to prove it.

Yes, being the Disney lover that I am, I hoped and prayed for some sort of sign every single night. And I got it for two months. This, I am sure, sounds like the corniest thing I could say, but it honestly did feel like God heard me and gave me what I had been asking for. Having that knowledge alone made me feel great. It felt like I had gotten a wish of mine that was deserved and fair. Of course, life happens, and that wish went away. I cracked. The thing I struggle with a lot is that while I was doing what I was doing, I knew it was wrong. I guess I just felt entitled to an answer of some sort. And even when I got that answer, I felt even more entitled to not being abandoned again. It was a horrible situation that I provoked, and it’s been a really hard year full of continued confusion, disappointment, and frustration on both ends.

But I think what I’m really trying to say is that, even if it seems like the last place on earth you’d want to be- whether that be a literal geographic location, a life experience, or a mental state – there is a purpose. It’s not necessarily fair. Most of the time, it’s really hard. And it’s hard coming to terms with that unfairness. I honestly don’t feel like I’ve yet experienced the fruits, if there are any, of what I myself have done and been through. There probably isn’t a whole lot positive to come from this all, in all honesty. But grounding myself in the knowledge that there was a reason for all of this, even if that reason is unapparent right now, does me a lot more good. And I think it is the truth. Because that person was where they needed to be. One-hundred percent. They were being a builder for people that they were absolutely obligated to be there for. As for me, I needed that experience to finally go to therapy. Actually, if it hadn’t been for it, I wouldn’t even have thought about auditioning for a community theatre production in the next couple of months. I wouldn’t have written any of these posts or discovered my love to write.

It’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of feeling like you’re not needed. It’s easy because it’s a valid feeling. Let me say, though, even if I don’t know you or anything about your own life story, you are needed. You are. And you’re where you’re supposed to be.

I haven’t written a gratitude post in a while, and there are a lot of reasons as to why that is that I myself am just now coming to terms with. The thing is, the reason I started this blog was because I read someone else’s blog and I wanted the life they had, or at least the life they had written about. I thought this blog would help me get that somehow, in some way. I thought if one person in particular read it, they would come back, and it would make me feel less alone. I was seeking attention. It was creepy, weird, borderline, and looking back, I can’t believe I let myself get to that point.

I’ve slowly but surely been learning a lot about myself. I’ve learned in particular that I copy other people I admire, whether it be Rachel Berry from Glee, my high school idol with the word “picski” and my first choice college of Fairleigh Dickinson, my older cousin when I dyed my hair blonde in middle school, Lindsay Lohan in The Parent Trap when she cuts her bangs, or someone I’ve never even met. Why does that seem to be a common thread in my life? Well, if you had asked me a year-ish ago, I don’t know if I would have had an answer. But I think now I just might. 

I think part of it stems from me being someone who, when I like something, I really, really like it. It’s part of what has driven my musical-theatre obsession and whatnot. I’m a pretty passionate person. That’s both a blessing and curse. I’m someone who gets hooked on a musical one day, and continues to listen to/research that musical for the entirety of the month. I have a hard time letting go and moving on, too. I fixate on things I have no control over, hating the fact that I can’t control everything I want. Remember the title of my last blog, “Come What May”? Aside from being a song from one of my favorite movie musicals, Moulin Rouge, I only named it that because it was the exact opposite of how I handled a situation in my life. I know it would have been much better to actually handle that situation by those three words, but I couldn’t.

I think another big part of this, and this is the toughest for me to share, is that I have a pretty low sense of self-esteem.  I’ve had a lot of people that I really thought would be there for me, and to be clear – who should have been there for me – leave without any sort of explanation. Those disappointments have left me feeling a lot of shame I haven’t wanted to admit or acknowledge. I don’t feel like I’m enough, or that I don’t do enough, to keep people around. I feel as though I’m constantly being replaced. It’s something I think about every minute and, though the logical side of me knows that I didn’t do anything wrong, it’s been a really hard thing for me to actually accept. So, I think in a sense me copying/imitating others is a result of that. If I could just pretend for a moment to be someone else that had the things which I perceived to have lost, then maybe the hurt I’ve been feeling could go away. And in a sense, it has made me forget. It’s served its purpose as a distraction.

Back to the reason I haven’t written in a while, well, it’s complicated. As I’ve been writing lately, I’ve felt like a fraud. This wasn’t my own original idea. This was someone else’s. I know that I’m grateful to have certain people and things in my life, but the big question I’ve been thinking about lately: am I doing it just to seem like this happy, joyful almost 24-year-old? The tough answer is yes, I think so.

I’m really confused right now. I hate being confused by this in particular because I really admire the principle of this blog. It left a really big impression on me when I was introduced to it, but it just doesn’t seem to be serving me in the way I wish it would or could.

I haven’t read any of her books yet (though it’s certainly on my bucket list), but someone once mentioned to me that Brene Brown talks a lot about how important expressing gratitude is and that, if that’s the case, this blog might be a good way for me to cope with everything. But even though Brene (who I really admire and just watched her Netflix show) says what she says, the circumstances around this blog just don’t make me feel that great. It’s hard to explain and a confusing conundrum. It’s as if for every second I derive some sort of pleasure from the gratitude I’m expressing, it’s accompanied by an hour’s worth of sadness. You guys don’t see that part. I hide it pretty well. I could literally count on one hand the amount of people that have been subject to my absolute worst. And, to be ultra-honest, I feel cheated. I feel like the exception, that I’m not needed like I thought I was, that I don’t have the full truth. Or that me expressing my own truth isn’t acceptable, and that my writing is too dramatic. Most of all, it’s as if my loneliness isn’t a valid thing for me to feel when there are so many others feeling the same way and who are dealing with a whole lot more than I am. It’s a horrendous thing to write, and I’ll admit a really hard thought I’ve been wrestling with, but right now that’s how I feel.

I don’t really know how to end this post. I want to keep on writing, but I know that this blog hasn’t necessarily been making me happy or as fulfilled as I thought. I’m grateful for all of you, I really, truly am, but I think for right now I need to leave this project to rest.

No. 118: Jersey Sangria Berry

My mom went to a baby shower November of last year and came back with a new staple in our wine cabinet: Jersey Sangria Berry.

This particular wine has a fruity, yet tart flavor, and it’s the perfect drink during the spring/summer months when you need that alcoholic juiciness. If you want to try it out, you can order it right here at this link or you can go to Heritage Winery in Mullica Hill and see if you can pick up a bottle. I promise it’s worth it.

I had this wine last night, and I’m grateful for helping me relax and for a taste that I find just sweet enough.

No. 117: Sabrina’s Cafe

I’m a true millennial, meaning I find/rate restaurants I want to go to by judging their Instagram accounts. It’s actually been a pretty great way for me in finding quality restaurants, so don’t judge me or my tendency to take a gazillion pictures of my food (yeah, I’m one of those people).

So with that knowledge, of course, I just HAD to get to Sabrina’s in Collingswood one day. I mean, basically everyone but me has been there, so what was I missing out on?Turns out, I was missing out on a lot: great service, wait staff, menu selections, and a casual, yet chic aesthetic. And best yet- a Game of Thrones themed brunch in honor of the final season.

Legendary.

Thanks, Sabrina’s, for being everything I wanted you to be. I’m pretty sure I’ll be visiting you again in the near future.

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No. 116: Fresh Haircut

I took off of work today mostly because two of my other coworkers did, the hectic-ness of crowdfunding week, and me saying “why not?” (note: I acknowledge this may not be the best reason to take a personal day, but I had two left to use in the span of the next two months and it needed to be used anyway, so deal).

I decided to actually honor this day as a true personal day and do the one thing I have been absolutely needing to do literally for the past year: get a haircut. A truly amazing family friend usually does my hair (thanks Aunt Reenie!), but I went into Woodbury to Images, a place I’ve been going at least once or twice a year since I was about nine.

It was glorious. The feeling of getting your hair washed and conditioned is always amazing, the conversation with the hairstylist was pretty decent, and having my hair blow dried felt really great (yes, even when you forget there’s a tornado warning and it’s supposed to thunderstorm – see below Instastory caption).

Thank you, Images, and thank you, new haircut.

(Plot twist – my hair survived!)

No. 115: NFL Draft

In case you are truly NOT a sports fan at all, the NFL Draft officially started tonight.

While I fortunately (or unfortunately?) missed working on the Parkway when the draft was in Philly two years ago, I like the excitement of the draft. I love watching fresh-out-of-college players get that phone call from their agent while surrounded by friends and family. We get to see these people’s lives change in the blink of an eye and it’s inspiring.

You may have your issues, NFL, but just know that your annual draft gives us a lot to look forward to and a whole lot to be grateful for.

No. 114: Crowdfunding

Today was a big day at work- it was crowdfunding day.

I’ve never actually participated in a crowdfunding day, but let me tell you- it’s thrilling. I entered work today pumped to start sending out messages to our constituencies. It was absolutely amazing connecting with alums and friends who loved our personalized efforts. It was great talking with them about why they love Moore, and I became even more grateful to work where I do.

We’re still short of our goal, so please please please seriously consider making some sort of a donation. You can donate right here: https://www.givecampus.com/cmux5h.

Every donation counts. Even $1.00. Yes, even $1.00. Just know that, if you do decide to donate, that you’ll be donating to an institution that I’ve grown to love and cherish. It’s one with a mission to educate and prepare women for careers in the arts that I am fully behind. I know that every single dollar makes the biggest difference- I see it every day. These students are exceptional. They inspire me with their passion and talent, and they so so so deserve every single dollar we can raise for them.

Now help us get to 100 donors by midnight! I promise, you won’t regret it. 🙂

No. 113: CJ

Today is my brother C.J.’s birthday, and for one month we will both be the same age of 23 (a pretty good sibling anecdote for us Irish twins).

C.J. and I are pretty much complete contradictions of each other in every sense of the word. I won’t bother going into all that makes us different, though, because there is a whole lot that we share: a love of music, of cats, The Office, sports, and more that I’m definitely forgetting right now.

My brother is pretty much as stubborn as can be, but he’s always been there for me. He was particularly a great source of support when I was in graduate school. He never failed to be there for me when I came home after a day full of work and class at night, as stressed and ragged as could be. I’ve nicknamed them our “10 o’clock chats”, where we would literally just rant to each other for about an hour. Though they don’t happen as often as they did last year, I’m grateful to have had a sibling to talk and vent to.

Happy birthday, C.J. Here’s to 23 more!

No. 112: Tulips

Philly is in full spring mode. And it seems that everywhere I go, there’s a pink or yellow tulip somewhere. It’s a beautiful juxtaposition to the urban setting, but they’re also full of meaning for me.

Tulips remind me of my Grandma Maz. She passed away a few years ago, but I remember every Easter season going over to house with a flower, usually a tulip, and talking about whatever was going on in the string band world with either Entertainment Tonight or Wheel of Fortune playing in the background. I miss that so, so much.

Tulips are a welcome sign in my world, and I’m grateful to be seeing them everyday.

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No. 111: Easter

Today, as I am sure you all know, is Easter Sunday, the day Jesus is resurrected from the dead (and also, coincidentally enough, the Queen’s birthday). While many see it as a day designated for pictures with the Easter bunny, Easter egg hunts, and tons of chocolate, it’s also a day that makes us believe in the impossible and in the goodness that ultimately prevails.

I’m grateful for that.

It’ll be a quaint day with just the three of us at our place, but I’m grateful for one of the more religious holidays full of food, family, and relaxing.