2018 (In 6 Parts)
Traditionally, year in review posts start from the beginning and work their way toward the end. I mean, that’s typically how you review something, right? From top to bottom. But not this year’s review. This year (er, which I guess is technically now last year but you know what I’m saying), I’m going to start from the end and work my way backwards because it makes more sense that way given the end of my year.
After 10 months of dating, my boyfriend and I broke up a week before Christmas. If you’re astute and observational as hell like me, you probably picked up on it via Instagram. If you’re reading this right now like “WHAT?! NOOOOO!” then you’re either really not observational or really not invested in my personal life, and I’m fine with either. But the fact is it happened, and we’re gonna talk about it. But not too much.
In short, it wasn’t meant to be. Did I sort of know that after a certain point? Yes. Did I choose to ignore the instinct and keep pushing forward with the hope that I was wrong? Yes. Why? Because sometimes it be like that.
But really. I’m still very much processing the who what where when why and how of our relationship and that always takes a bit of time. It comes in waves, and there’s so much ground to cover and analyze. However, what I know is this…
I’m okay. More than okay. I’m good, actually. Like a lot better than one would expect me to be (truly, my friends and family have been happily confused by it). But that’s because, probably unbeknownst to him or anyone else, I’d been mourning our breakup two months before it even happened. The beginning of the end was (very sadly because it’s my favorite fucking city in the world) our Portland trip. On that trip, after 8 months of being together, I told him I loved him and, after 8 months, he “wasn’t ready” to say it back. I knew that would be his response—I had known for a while. But I had to say it and express myself and prove my fear to be correct so I could start to process the inevitable demise of our relationship.
I know the first sign of something not working is having too many “talks,” but as an overly-communicative person dealing with a completely nonverbal, uncommunicative person, I felt “talks” were helping us grow. Alas, they weren’t. Not really. Man, this is harder to write than I thought, which is why I’m not at all ready to get into the nitty gritty like I normally would. I’ll just say this: I don’t regret any of it. Any of the time or energy spent. I’m very thankful I met him and was able to exercise my relationship muscles because they’d been out of use for a minute, and it felt so good to get back into it and to care about someone that much. Obviously, there was plenty enough good between us to continue as long as we did. For a good while, I felt so safe with him. I was infatuated. Taken. So excited at the thought of what this could be. When I loved him, I loved HARD. But that’s how I am in life with everything. When I’m in, I’m all in. I’m obsessed with you — I think everything you do, say, wear, whatever is perfect. I want to fawn over you whenever I get the chance to make sure you know how amazing you are and how lucky I feel to be with you. I can’t help myself — if I like you, I REALLY like you. And all I ask for in return is for you to make me feel the same. But he didn’t. He couldn’t. He tried, but it didn’t come naturally to him. You may have laughed off the idea of love languages in the past, but I’m here to tell you they are real as fuck, guys. And if two people aren’t both willing to recognize and exercise the other’s love language on a consistent basis, you don’t stand a chance. I learned that the hard way over the last almost year. Once the magic of the very beginning wore off, I often found myself starting to feel… empty? Unseen? Unappreciated? Not liked? Unloved? But, ya know — we’d talk it out. He’d hear me. Things would feel better for a while. Repeat steps 1-3.
What I refused to accept early on when the initial magic wore off is that we weren’t a match. With a good handful of things, yes. But with another, bigger handful of fundamental things, no. But those were somehow easier to push to the side for the time being. I mean, I hadn’t felt this good about someone in a long time and we were doing it! We were doing a relationship. However, I knew going into Portland I was at the end of my rope of giving all I had but not receiving what I needed. That moment in Portland forced me to take a huge step back and really look at our relationship. Was this guy really it for me? Was I forcing this? Was I being honest with myself?
I’ve already gone on longer than I planned, so this is where I’ll stop. When it came down to it, it was mutual. And it sucks. It always does, no matter what. Even if you knew it or were ready for it like I was. Sure, that might make it a little bit “easier,” but not really. I just think life is too short to not be with someone who you’re obsessed with and who is as equally obsessed with you and makes sure you know that most of the time.
So. New year. Newly single. Here goes nothing.
Ironically, the day I met my now ex, my best friend since freshman year of college got engaged to her longtime love of 7 years. There I was, sitting at brunch on an uncharacteristically warm February day when I checked my phone to see I had missed a FaceTime call from my friend. She NEVER FaceTimes, AND she was away for the weekend with her boyfriend at his dad’s ranch house which is so special to them. I immediately knew.
“OMG!” I screamed on the crowded outdoor patio as I jumped up from our table, splashing my newly refilled mimosa flute onto the table. “I THINK MY FRIEND JUST GOT ENGAGED!” I screamed AT the friend I was with as I hit “Call Back” and ran inside then back outside to find somewhere quiet. I was frantic. She picked up and there she was, holding up her slender freckled hand into the camera with a gorgeous diamond on it, laughing out of shock. Anyone within walking distance from the restaurant could hear me squealing. And the best part? I was the first friend she called 🤗
Next came my 31st birthday and a trip to San Francisco with Whitney (who, by the way, is starting up her photography side hustle with her hubby and you should give them a follow on IG). Deciding to get out of town for my birthday was the best decision I’ve made in a while and is a tradition I will absolutely continue for the rest of my days (God willing). I’d always stay in town and plan some sort of dinner or day drinking extravaganza, but not this time. This time, I wanted to venture out. I had never taken a big trip like that with a friend but knew I was in tiny yet mighty hands with Whitney by my side. We spent 3 full days in San Fran, dodging human excrement on the street, eating incredible food, listening to jazz, and sipping wine and it was perfect. To be honest, my newly budding relationship put me in a bit of a fog every now and again on that trip (you know — worrying if you’ll hear from them today, etc.) and I wish I could take that back. But it was such a good trip with the best travel companion, and I hope you’ll travel with me again, Bit. Even though I did get food poisoning by eating a chicken salad sandwich from the airport right before our flight home. Wow. PLEASE travel with me again? PLEASE. I PROMISE I’LL DO BETTER.
Then, the biggest event of the year happened — my best friend whom I’ve known for almost 22 years had her first child. Like a freak, I took off the entire day to get to the hospital just hours after she had been induced. I guess Hollywood has me all fucked up, thinking that babies come out right away. I was very misled. But I wouldn’t take back any of those 8 hours spent in the waiting room. I just wanted to be there. At one point after several hours of pushing had gone by, I snuck back to her room and, in true Emma form, lay down on the floor and put my ear against the small crack of the door in hopes of hearing whatever I could. Like a movie, at that very moment, I heard her daughter cry and teared up laying on the hospital floor knowing my best fucking friend who has literally seen me through so much shit had just brought life into the world via her tiny, tiny body. Seeing her for the first time was surreal and watching her baby grow and Kelley become a mom in the last 6.5 months has been wild in the best way. Everything feels different but exactly the same. She was born to be a mom, but with all the nurturing she’s provided me over the years, I already knew that. It’s been so natural, so nerve-racking, and so amazing to watch. But also @ the rest of my friends — you can totally wait to have a baby. THERE IS NO RUSH. WE HAVE ONE — WE CAN WAIT A WHILE FOR ANOTHER, K? HEHE.
Almost 5 years ago, I was out of a job and taking any meeting I could get with anyone who would talk to me about potential employment. As social media would have it, I was found by a girl who I would meet for lunch who would’ve just moved here from Boston and just took a job at a brand new company called rewardStyle, doing something with fashion and blogs and tech that I didn’t understand at all. She wouldn’t have a need for my skills at the time, but we’d keep in touch the next 5 years, having a dinner here and there and always keeping up on social media. Then, in the summer of 2018, she would reach out about an opening directly under her. By that time, rewardStyle had grown to monstrous proportions, launching the LIKEtoKNOW.it feature and app, and taking the blogger and influencer world by storm. I wanted nothing more than to work there and had wanted to for a while, so when that text came through that random day in June, I saw my future so clearly. I started at rewardStyle in August and, although I’m barely 5 months in, I’ve found a purpose for all my talents and, most epically important, a work family I genuinely love. The job came with a built-in group of amazing girlfriends, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the position I’m in and the work I’m doing.
The last big event of the year was one of our own getting hitched. In September, our little Annie married her love in an intimate, rustic, and food truck-and-pie filled wedding in a brewery here in Dallas and it was perfect (besides my now ex having his phone out the entire first half of the wedding, watching a football game 🤗). The five of us danced hard, sang harder, and drank a decent amount of red wine. It’s moments like those that you don’t get back or get to recreate often. Life happens. Big events are few and far between. It comes down to the every day. The grind of it all. Celebrating love and dancing like assholes with your best friends are the small moments that make it all worthwhile, and Annie’s wedding was one of those moments. We get to do it again in March for Steph, and I truly cannot wait. There’s nothing like it.
So, what have I taken away from this year? Well.
You can never spend or make enough time for true girlfriends. Carve it out. Make it work. No excuses.
TEN TO YOUR MOTHER FUCKING GUT (this is mostly directed at me, but I think we all need the reminder). IT ISN’T LYING. IT’S NOT IN YOUR HEAD. IT KNOWS THINGS.
When it comes to your happiness, never settle. Just don’t. Don’t convince yourself of something or be okay with “good enough.” It’s painful in the long run.
You aren’t “too much.” Maybe they’re not enough.
If it’s meant to be yours, nothing you do or say will spoil it. And if it does, it wasn’t meant to be.
Ask for what you want. Be explicit. Because if you don’t, how is someone to know?
Don’t wait around for plans. If you want some, make them yourself.
I like my hair longer.
“Must love dogs” is a very real non-negotiable. Not “like.” Not “tolerate.” Love.
When you’re sad or in a bad mood, shift the focus and ask your friends or family about themselves. And really listen. Giving that sort of undivided attention to others is instantaneously cleansing.
Instead of “Woe is me” change it to “Whoa! It’s me (emma’s thing!)!” Except don’t use my name. Or do.
As my sister reminded me the other day, no one cares about you as much as you do. And I don’t mean this in a sad way. I mean it in two ways. The first way is that for as paranoid as you can be, as much shit you can imagine people talk about you or how people look at you or what they think of you, remind yourself that literally no one cares enough about you to be doing those things on the reg. It’s a twisted way to approach it, but as someone who is naturally paranoid, it works. You may have an asshole fuck face in your head who talks down to you and tells you shitty things about yourself and convinces you everyone else feels the same way about you but they’re just an asshole fuck face with nothing better to do. Everyone else has better things to do. I promise. Second, no one should care about you as much as you do a) because that sounds very co-dependent-y to me and also b) because if you aren’t your number one concern and taking care of you, how can you best serve those around you?
So this year, I hope you’ll join me in trying to put to practice the lessons I took away from 2018. I have big things planned for this year. If they’ll all come to fruition, who knows. But that’s the funny thing about life — day in and day out, it can feel like it’s not moving. Not evolving. Not doing shit. Then suddenly, everything’s changed all at once. So keep your head up, do you before you do anyone else, realize you deserve what you want and need, take the time you need to start, end, or continue anything, and don’t be an asshole.
We’re coming for ya, 2019.