Scared to be Lonely

I have been in a relationship for a majority of my teen/young adult years. Rarely did I not have a boyfriend, a fling, or some sort of companionship. 

I don’t know why. I guess I always felt compelled to have someone by my side, even for just a little while. It’s not that I didn’t care for these men– trust me, I did and still do, for the most part. The problem lies deeper than a simple relationship. 

I’m lonely. Truly. I don’t know why I need constant validation from a man, but if I’m being honest with myself, that’s what it boils down to. I’m not aware of my own worth. I need the attention of a male to fill the void. I don’t know why that is. Maybe growing up without a dad in my life created a larger problem than just grief. It’s difficult to type the words “daddy issues” without cringing, but the sooner I come to grips with the truth, the better I’ll become. 

It’s embarrassing, to say the least, that I find it hard to function on my own. I know at the end of the day, I am the only person I need. I am my own best friend, supporter, motivator. I can do anything I damn well please, completely by myself. Single. I also know that one day I’ll be okay, and when I say it, I’ll mean it.

I made a promise to myself to become a better Leah. To work harder, clear my mind more often, get up earlier, and sleep less. I promised Leah that I wouldn’t tack the blame on others for the problems I created. I promised Leah that I would be great, and I can’t let her down again. I’ve done that too many times.

I’ve made the mistake of letting a man– or many men, for that matter, define my worth. I’ve let them take power over how I view myself, all these years, when I should have been building myself up from scratch.

It’s all my fault.

I’ll be better next time, Leah. 

Featuring Writing #3- A Photo

I loved you.

When we first met, I did my best to come across as being effortlessly cool, something I knew I was not. My hands were clammy and my stomach hurt. I don’t know how, but I managed.

You were way out of my league, older and experienced. I was fresh out of an abusive relationship, still trying to stitch my seams into something that made sense. I was hurting and you tried to ease the pain. You did your best.

I remember when I confessed to you what my ex-boyfriend had done to me. It took everything in me to utter those words without my voice cracking. It did anyway. I burst into tears, almost inconsolable. I was embarrassed by my past. You weren’t.

Content is the only way to describe how I felt when these photos were taken. I never experienced such comfort before you. Like nothing could hurt me, the world around us didn’t matter– we were untouchable. We had each other and that was enough. And for a while, it was.

The problems didn’t rise above surface until much later. The demons always find a way, poking their existence in and out throughout my life. But this was different. The demons had come and made it clear they were here to stay. There wasn’t enough Venlafaxine or Xanax in the world to soothe the incessant panic, the plaguing compulsions.

I was different.

The saddest part about it all is nothing specific happened. Nothing set me off, no trigger. It’s just who I became. I turned into my old self again, slightly self-destructive, a real-life mess.

I loved you.

The problem is, I loved you so much that I forgot to love myself. Who was I? What did I want?
I spent so much time thinking about our future and what we wanted that I forgot to make time for me. I lost track of my progress. I slept a lot. I started overeating. I didn’t want to do anything, nor go anywhere. I didn’t want to exist. I didn’t want to live the mundane life I knew I created for myself. Most of all, though, I didn’t want to entangle you in the shit show starring me. It wasn’t fair to you. I dug my hole, now it was time to rest in it.

How do you tell someone you love and spent so much of your life with that you can’t be with them anymore? How do you break a heart knowing they gave it to you already half broken? How do you live with that guilt?

I don’t know. You just do.

Sometimes you can love someone with every fiber of your being, but sometimes love’s just not enough. Sometimes the time isn’t right. Sometimes it’s not meant to be… and sometimes it is. Sometimes it takes a long time to determine what we want. Sometimes we’ll never know.

I loved you.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sorry. For being the way I am, for dragging you into my world knowing it was already in flames. I’m sorry you fell in love with a beautiful mess. I’ve said “sorry” in my head so many times it doesn’t even sound like a real word anymore. When I try to say it out loud it feels like shards of glass are stuck in my throat. I’m sorry I can’t say sorry enough.

I don’t know what fate has in store for me. I don’t know if you’re involved. I don’t know if we’ll ever speak or see each other again, but if we do I hope it’s for something wonderful. I don’t know why things had to be this way, but I trust my heart more than I trust my mind.

I loved you.
I am sorry.
I still love you.
I can’t be with you.

Feature Writing #2- A Place

This semester is kicking my ass, one blow after another. 

Seriously, Fall 2017 has been the most difficult semester yet. Maybe that’s partially my fault. Perhaps my priorities aren’t aligned. Maybe I’m just too tired.

Within a few months time, my whole life changed. I am not who I was last year or even last semester. Just within the past month I’ve dealt with an increasingly worse time mentally, the death of a friend, a break up. These things change you as a person. We are constantly evolving. 

When my mentor and friend (and professor, I guess) suggested we write about a place we have been, there was no other feeling but dread inside me. Where the hell do I go that’s worth writing about? The reader doesn’t give a shit about that time I went to Disney five years ago.

I tried to think of a place, both abstract and concrete, that I’ve been to and has left an imprint on me. I suppose a lot of places have. One in particular, though, has changed my life forever.

For a long time I was scared to be myself. I was afraid to open up and show people who I really was and let my personality radiate a room full of individuals that were probably way cooler than I could ever be. But that place came, and I didn’t even realize it until much later.

Class. 

The building that houses my major and similar majors is filled with creativity, warmth, and sometimes the occasional furry. (We can get past that last part if we try hard enough.) Never in my life have I been surrounded with like-minded individuals in a setting dedicated to the arts. These people were my people, and we were all here for a reason— to succeed.

I didn’t know back when I changed my major that I would be forever affected by my decision. I didn’t know Ed Ackerman and his quarters would give me a purpose. I didn’t know people would recognize me for writing. I didn’t know.

Now I know. 

The family I have made at Luzerne has surpassed anything I could imagine. Even on my loneliest days, I am never alone. The group of goofs and wise asses I surround myself with in the Advanced Technology Center have given me more than they might know or understand— a will to keep pushing forward because I owe it to these people for being a part of my life. A reason to rise above. I write about experiences, and these people deserve to feel like they have someone who understands. Trust me, I understand.

The friends I have made and the donuts I have eaten have given me a sense of achievement and also an extra couple inches on my waist line. I wouldn’t trade the feeling of content for anything else, even on the days I can’t get myself out of bed or the times I stare at my phone instead of engaging in worthwhile conversations.

The people in building 12 have given me a purpose I didn’t realize I wanted. 

I didn’t know when I started majoring in journalism that I would be freed of any restrictions I put on myself.

I didn’t know, but now I know.

I am eternally grateful—- even on my bad days. (There are lots of bad days.)  

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