He Was White

He was white
He was white and he was wispy and he chilled my bones
The way the cold morning air fills with fog and seeps into your jacket
Until it’s buried inside of you
He would grab my hand and he would slip through my grasp
Tendrils of smoke swirling around me
But he wasn’t always wispy and he wasn’t always gone
He started as a thick creamy white
Rich and deep, like pools of color being reflected through a prism of glass
His words like clouds, thick with emotion
Thick with rain
Heavy with meaning
And then little by little, he thinned
We thinned
Our hope thinned
Our future thinned
Just words back and forth, vanishing air, shallow, and dry
Shadows of white
Until one day, I put my heart in his airy hands and he couldn’t hold its load
It slipped through his grip and shattered into ten white marble pieces
The pieces were solid and he was air
He looked at the ground with chilling fear and he looked at the sky with gaunt skin
And he looked at me with remorse
And then he knew, too, that he was only air
And I was a suffocating, rich smoke
We mourned with the breeze
And just as smoothly as he had filled my lungs, he floated away

How To (Actually) Win Your Breakup

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I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while now, but I wasn’t really sure how it would look or what I wanted it to say. Plus, I’m still in a few of these stages myself, so bear with me.

1. Stop trying to win.
First of all, the way to win your break up is to take away this idea that one person can actually beat the other. As young twenty-somethings, we’re constantly faced with the notion that when we break up, we should immediately try to be happier than the other person. We should act like our lives are all cool and great without them, and then they’ll be sad because it’ll look like we’re fine when they’re still hurting. This mentality is poisonous. No one is “winning” when both people in pain – and dealing with it differently.

2. Allow yourself time to grieve.
Maybe you dated for six months. Maybe you dated a year. Maybe you dated five years and broke off an engagement. There is no correct amount of time to grieve. I’ve heard so many people say, “well shouldn’t I be over this by now?” No darling, you shouldn’t. You should feel exactly how you feel (and this doesn’t just apply to breakups). It has taken me the full length of a relationship to feel like I’ve completely gotten over someone. There have also been times when three years down the road, I still feel pangs of sadness. That’s okay. That’s allowed. You grieve for as long as you need to, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

3. Take your happiness out of someone else’s hands.
When I break up with someone,  I feel like I have to reinvent myself. I’ve invested so much of my joy and happiness in someone else and how they’ll act, and then I’m left feeling like I need to rebuild or start over. A badass chick once told me that a relationship should be two happy people walking side by side, rather than one walking toward the other, with their partner as the end goal. I believe that our happiness should based in something (or Someone) much larger – but, regardless, your happiness should at least be based upon yourself. Don’t let the other person have any say in the matter. What brings you joy? What makes you, at this exact point in time, want to take a deep breath of fresh air with a smile on your face? What fills your heart?

4. Learn to love yourself.
You are a diamond. You are a beautiful creature full of life and potential, with opportunities at your fingertips. We can’t be free or happy if we’re chained within our own souls. Love yourself. Take care of yourself. Give yourself some extra TLC. Do things on your own. Say no to plans. Drink wine. Wear cozy socks. List off the things that you love about yourself. As a matter of fact, I’m writing this post with Moose Tracks in hand and Friends reruns in the background – and that’s okay. Go out for dinner alone. Take a hike in a beautiful place. And, most importantly, be gentle with how you talk to yourself. If you’ve ever seen me post-breakup, you’ll know that I use terms of endearment to encourage myself throughout the day. And, as ridiculous as it sounds, it helps.

5. Stop creeping his/her social media.
If you’ve ever broken up with someone, you’ll know how dangerous social media can be. Whether you’re reading into their tweets, refreshing their Facebook, seeing what/who’s pictures they’re liking on Instagram or posting on your Snapchat story to see if they’ll read it – we start to find our validation and answers through social media. Or, we become obsessed. I’ve gotten irrationally angry a handful of times over things I’ve deduced via social media that aren’t even true – and that’s unhealthy.

The other downfall is that if your ex-significant other does have a shorter grief period and starts posting about a new person in his/her life, you’ll just be causing yourself more pain by having it in your face 24/7. Don’t twist the knife further. For me, this translates to forcing myself off a social media platform for the day – even if it means something as simple as not posting in my Snap Story.

6. Write down your feelings.
This has been the most therapeutic process I’ve ever come across, so I’d like to share it. Beginning with post-breakup Day 1, I began writing an email draft of everything I wanted to say to my ex-significant other. This was all unfiltered emotion – from what was happening to work to me being in pain to me confessing over and over that I felt like it was my fault and that I was acting weakly. Then I saved the draft, and continued on with my day. I felt like I’d gotten out everything I wanted to say at that point, and it was all written down somewhere (with the potential to go to the person it was intended for).

And then, as I thought of more and more things, I just kept adding to the draft. Some days I would write four or five paragraphs about missing him, and some days I would write angry sentences full of questions that would never be answered. But, as I wrote them down, I began to feel better. Now, a month into my email document, my entries have started to become fewer. I even accidentally skipped a day this week, which I took as a great sign. Granted, my email draft is pages upon pages of words that he will never (hopefully!) see – but I know it’s always accessible and there if I need it.

7. Learn the things that you were relying on them for.
Chances are, this person you were dating knew how to do something – or knew about something – that you don’t. Maybe they’re super handy. Maybe they’re knowledgeable about sports. Maybe they can cook. Now, without them, you’re going to need some context for doing these things alone. I changed a headlight the other day with the help of a YouTube video. If there’s a super villain in a TV show whose background I don’t understand, I Google it. When I place bets on March Madness (and my ex happens to be my only association to basketball), I have to do a little research. I still lose, but it makes me feel better that I don’t need to turn to someone else to solve these things.

8. Don’t self-destruct. 
In the early stages of the breakup, there are a lot of things to say and emotions are running high. Don’t use these feelings as an excuse to contact the person. If you still feel the same way a day later, go ahead. But, we’ve all experienced those flashes of anger that makes us want to type out furious messages. I’ve written and deleted more texts than I can count. With the help of some diligent proofreading friends, they’ve been vetoed. Unfortunately, these messages usually don’t yield the responses we’re looking for. And, these types of situations can also inhibit your ex-partner’s healing process; we take the other person down with us when we pick lose-lose fights.

Breakups are tricky, and even trickier to do with grace. I think the real key to winning your breakup is to accept the closure of this chapter in your life. Cherish the good times you had with this person, and acknowledge that you will be okay. It won’t be this painful forever.

xx
A

Millennial Goes 16 Hours Without Phone

This is the sad tale of a millennial without a phone. For 16 hours.

It was a day like any other.

I text a few times, I Snapchat, I refresh Facebook.

Work flies by, and my phone – Isabelle – is loved much less than usual.

I visit the gym after work, and my screen unattaches from its body. Panic.

I thank my lucky stars that my gym is by my house, because Lord knows I wouldn’t have been able to make it home from downtown without a GPS in under three hours.

I get home. I try and squish my screen back into existence, crushing little shards of glass as I go. No dice.

I lay in bed, staring at the phone on the counter. No Instagram. No daily feed of funny pictures. No idea what events are on Facebook (side note, I did crack open my laptop for the last one). No Snapchat stories.

I think about what I’m going to do with my spare time.

A few tears escape my eyes.

I pick up a book. I read a few chapters (thanks, Nicholas Sparks). I think about how glad I am that I didn’t download this book digitally or spring for the audiobook, instead.

I watch Netflix. On a TV, because my Netflix app is indisposed.

I think about how many people are probably trying to contact me, or have been in accidents, or urgently need my help, or have a once-in-a-lifetime million-dollar job offer that expires in five minutes.

I lay down at 9PM, with no hours to blow on perusing social media.

I hope Lamar and Khloe didn’t choose tonight to make a public statement about how they’re getting back together, because I will surely miss it.

I come to the shocking realization that I have no alarm clock. I have no way to wake up for work.

I say a quick prayer that my body wakes up on its daily clock of 7:30AM, and go to bed fingers crossed.

I wake up at 7:46AM. Close enough. I realize my phone may have a chance, and I drop it off at the phone repair store as soon as they open. There has to be a way.

I am within five days of my warranty, so the repair is free. I am feeling BLESSED, because I already allotted for a lack of social life in my mind with the thought of another 100 dollar repair.

Within two hours, Isabelle is back in my hands. I let out a small gasp of joy when she turns on, glossy screen showing notifications upon notifications. I use praise Jesus emoji hands, and text everyone I know.

Millennial refreshes Instagram. Millennial sends a tweet. Millennial feels connected again.

Sayonara, College

I haven’t blogged in a while, mostly because my job is now lots of blogging. So, if you’d like to see my blogs on a blog other than my blog, head on over to The Daily South.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately what it means to be a young professional that’s not in college. College is one of those times in your life when you do awesome stuff for a short period of time, and it completely shapes who you are. I felt like I knew very distinctively where I fit in college. I knew who I was in college, who my friends were in college, who I loved in college, and what I was going to eat for lunch.

I’ve had a lot of friends graduate from college and tell me that they wish they could go back. They miss the parties and the structure and the weird happenstances and the yoga pants to 8AM classes.

I don’t miss college.

There, I said it. A lot of people miss college – but I don’t miss college.

When I think about college, my first reaction is – “I’m too old for this shit.” (Sorry, mom!)

I like feeling like I’m growing. I don’t feel an attachment to the brick buildings or the discussions or the textbooks or Facebooking in the library. Do I miss people? Yes. Is it part of growing up to take what you’ve been equipped with and apply it to other areas of your life? Yes. I’m happy keeping the people I love close, and separating them from the college mindset. It turns into mature decisions and scary choices and living places that aren’t accessed with a student ID. But, it’s freeing. It’s knowing that you’re smarter than when you started, and that you’ll never make those same mistakes again.

Regardless of whether or not you consider yourself to have actually learned anything in college, you are 100% not the same person you were going into it. You may have made friends and lost friends. You may have been put in situations that would make your parents cringe. You may have been offered drugs or turned down shots or worn a little less than you should have one night. Maybe, you missed out on a memory because you chose to cram for an exam you should’ve studied for earlier. Maybe you had the perfectly balanced college experience of friends and academics and still slept 8 hours a night (yeah, right!).

Take those experiences, and turn them into a storage of memories that influence how you make your young adult decisions. Don’t carry that immaturity with you. Drinking at 9AM for Spring Break or being argumentative in class or belittling those that are different from you will now only affect you. There’s the change – the responsibility. It’s your life and your choices, but you will still have to own up to those the next day.

But, in the meantime, I still use my student ID for a 10% Goodwill discount.

Day 71: Ernie’s Birthday

Never fear, friends – I am eating very well in the Williams home.

For the sake of these bomb tacos (made with remarkable chicken from Ernie’s new smoker), here’s a picture of the big guy on his birthday.

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Here’s a list of more awesome food I’ve gotten to try:

Ernie’s Smoked Ribs
Pimiento Cheese
Eggs Benedict
Chicken & Waffles
Corn Casserole
Biscuits with pecans and maple syrup
Pulled Pork
White Barbecue Sauce
Chocolate Gravy
Gin & Tonic (not a food, but certainly delicious)
Mojito (refer to above)
Mango Margarita (refer to above)

I will survive.

Letter To Your Broken Heart

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I’ve been blessed in my life with beautiful friends who encourage me to no end. When I went through a breakup, I was showered with motivation and words of grace and beauty that inspired me to push forward. For all the broken hearts who need encouragement, let me share with you some of the love I received.

Letter To Your Broken Heart

My heart feels ripped for you right now, because I know exactly what this feels like. I want to take this all away from you. It’s one of those thing where you don’t want to go through the motions of life because it means time you have to endure.

You’re allowed to feel however you want to feel. But so you’re reminded, you’re strong and you are resilient.

It breaks my heart because I love you SO much, and it hurts me. I know how fresh it feels. We will get through this together, just like we have with the many, many other things we’ve pushed through together. It’s easy to say, but nothing is going to really help the next little bit except for knowing that you have the infinite support of your family and friends.

You have the brightest future ahead of you beautiful girl, and you are destined to be magnificent. Anyone who chooses not to be part of your life shouldn’t be there.

You are stunning. You have a stunning personality and a stunning heart. Everyone you meet falls in love with your spirit. You are the most alive person I have ever met, and a part of being so alive is that you feel every emotion deeply and you truly live your life to the fullest. You will never have to regret not trying hard enough or not giving it your full heart – our time is too limited to live (or love) half-heartedly.

If he was perfect for you, he would see how perfect you are.

I know it feels hopeless and lonely, but know that you’re not – your heart will mend. Cheer up, sweet beautiful girl. You are going to love again and it will be amazing.

I am here for you every hour of every day. This feeling of hopelessness will pass.

It’s not your fault, it was never your fault. You are flawless. You have the most beautiful soul I have ever known, and if he can’t acknowledge that then he does not deserve to have you by his side. I’m not saying this because I love you, I’m saying this because you could ask anyone who knows you.

I know that doesn’t make the hurt go away and it won’t for awhile, but take it from me that you are remarkable. You WILL get through this to the other side. I wish I could take your pain away, but you will just need to take it one day at a time.

No matter what, I’m going through all of this with you, because I know that a heartbreak – especially the ones we don’t expect – can hurt the soul inexplicably. Right now, you’re shocked and confused, and probably wondering what you did wrong. That’s the worst part, right off the bat. I can’t speak for him, but I can speak for you – as far as he’s concerned, you’re the one that got away.

Try not to let those wandering thoughts consume you; they’ll take you into darkness. It’s not your fault. Just because it happened the way it did makes you absolutely no less strong of a person. You are not the ‘weak’ or the ‘desperate’ one. You are a phoenix. You are the one that carries yourself through heartache. You are the one who sits with the cold body on the shower floor, and picks it up. You are the one who feeds it, clothes it, who tucks it into bed, and you should be proud of that. Having the strength to take care of yourself when everyone around you is trying to bleed you dry, that is the strongest thing in the universe.

The initial stages are the hardest but we’ve all had to do it, and you have to do it as well. Do things that make you happy. Throw yourself into the things you’re passionate about. Love yourself.

The thing to remember is that what you’re feeling right now is what everyone on earth who has ever been brave enough to let someone in – to become vulnerable – has felt. It’s frightening and scary and disappointing, but anyone who can’t see your worth has no place in your future.

I’m still here. Always here.

You’re loved beyond measure.

22

“When she was 22, the future looked bright.” – Lily Allen

21 has been a big year for me, full of transitions and opportunities and experiences.

I started a blog,

entered a new relationship,

took on a new leadership role,

learned how to plan a conference,

discovered why I speed on the highway,

stared at the sky,

bought a [new-to-me] car,

created my first Buzzfeed post,

applied for a crazy dream job,

felt anxious over my career direction,

got my dream job,

graduated from college,

moved to Birmingham,

lost old friends,

felt lonely,

made new friends,

and felt an overwhelming amount of anxiety,

among other things.

21 has taught me so many things about myself. I like being comfortable and safe. I love deeply. I have to realign my priorities daily. It’s hard for me to be alone.

This next year, I want to grow. I want to take advantage of being 22 and suck the marrow out of life. I have no idea what I want, and I have no idea where I will be in a year. But, I know that I want to seize opportunity.

For this reason, I want to try 22 things that make me feel uncomfortable. Probably, a lot of these will involve me doing things alone and being okay with it – something I find difficult now.

If you dwell on the past, on what could’ve been, or what should’ve been, you’ll miss out on the beauty of the moments right in front of you. Cheers to 22.