Trust. /trəst/.

trust /trəst/ verb 1. belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of. “I should never have trusted him.”

Trust is fragile; I’ve known that for what feels like a lifetime.

As a baby and child, you trust that your parents will keep you safe and healthy. From an early age, you look to them for food, shelter, and warmth. They were my providers for so long, and I trust them to always have my best interest in mind when they make decisions for themselves and for me. I trust their strength and knowledge. I trust that the truth will always come with validation and honesty.

Growing up with a sibling, you learn how to gain their trust. As the younger sibling, you enter as a foreigner into someone’s home. Children begin to see the attention they once had from their parents divide and focus on the new child. There is animosity built alongside a love that needs to be tended to and grown. That is true, at least in my family. I never doubted my brother’s love or trust, but the ability to trust another comes more-so over time. You show that you won’t always be a tattletale and that you can keep pinkie-promises. You show that you can stand your ground and stand up for them. Siblings learn to trust through their mutual agreements and growth as individuals and becomes a trust you take with you through life.

When you enter school, you trust that your teachers know what they are saying and your schoolmates will keep your secrets. Eventually, you will learn that sometimes teachers don’t always have all the answers, but they always try their best, and not every girl and boy keeps your secrets. Drama is spread fast between loose lips and eager ears. The whispers hurt as your insecurities grow. You will learn to find who will keep your intimate details, intimate, but for many, this is the first time you will struggle with trust.

It stings when a friend, a close friend, betrays your trust. You wonder how you will ever confide in them again, and struggle with the reality of a now distanced connection as you forcibly replace the trust with space and nondescript conversations. In the back of your head, you will think about stories you want to share or advice you need to seek, but your lips don’t budge, and you hide what it is you are really thinking in fear that someone else will know your truth.

Then there are relationships, romantic relationships. Where you meet someone and immediately believe in their reliability, truth, and ability, in order to find in the strength of the match. The person could be familiar, a fellow classmate, a next-door neighbor, a friend of a friend, or friend the family––someone where trust lingers between your undoubted and harboring trust. But then there is a chance the person is a stranger, someone you’ve met at a bar, bus stop, or meet up. The person is a blind date, a match on an app, or a random follower. The trust is new, foreign, and needs to be tended to.

When you first fall for someone, you typically have no reason to believe they aren’t reliable, truthful, or able to be in a relationship. It takes time and investment for you to grow and learn about who this person is––could they be family, someone with your best interest in mind, or could they be reckless with your unhindered belief in them?

Trust is necessary for a relationship, but very quickly destroyed because of its delicate nature. With love, lust, emotions, and attraction on the line, many lines are crossed, and a lot can be released. You overlook the red flags, look past the warning signs, and drive more in-depth into the destruction of a one-off relationship.

“I should never have trusted him.”

“How could she do that.”

“Why did they hurt me like that?”

Losing trust in someone is scary and takes time to build back. There are lessons I have learned from loving those who have damaged the trust in our relationship. At times I felt on guard and nervous because loving them can cause some internal anxiety. Communication is something you need to grow, and that communication requires honesty. Honestly with everyone.

If you feel like you need to hide your relationship, you aren’t honest. If there are aspects to your relationship that hurt you, you need to be accurate. You, as a person, need that to survive. If you are hurting, be honest with yourself and seek what it is that you need.

When you can learn from the times that you have lost trust, you can grow more as a person. Sometimes it is hard to see through the mirage which is a vision of a failed relationship, but soon the veil will lift, and you’ll be capable of thriving in a new relationship.

I Wrote a Novel

For my Master’s thesis, I undertook 280+ pages of pure emotion that bleed throughout my first completed fiction piece. I only needed to write a 20-page academic paper to get my degree, but my advisor encouraged me to write a novel because it is what I want to do in life. It was hard, but I did it

Entering February, I only had a 1/4 of my book done and I needed it completed before the end of March. In April, I found myself trying to edit my book, but there was so much more I neede to accomplish, including actually writing that 20-page academic paper.

Although the novel isn’t where I wish I would be, I would love to share my site, some samples of my book, and where you can find it as I start the process of publishing my work. I look forward to blogging more about my process and the steps that are to come in the

Book Synopsis

Elizabeth Calhoun fantasizes about her child’s future, while her daughter, Annabelle, fights for her life after a devastating accident. The traumatizing sight of her daughter in pain spurs Elizabeth to gather her thoughts into letters for Annabelle to read. For two years, Elizabeth fills the letters with stories and advice while imagining a world where her daughter opens them after turning eighteen.

What remains on the page is a mother looking back on vulnerable teenage years, misguided decisions, and serendipitous first loves, all while reexamining who she is as a person. The letters tether the mother and daughter together through a collection of memories that Elizabeth uses to uncover who she is through the words of wisdom she aims to pass along to her daughter.

To face the harrowing details of love, anger, grief, and relationships, Elizabeth must come to terms with her daughter’s altered life journey and meet her darkest temptations. Through the process of Elizabeth’s passage through madness, depression, and pain, this evolving stack of letters collect on her desk and become a refuge that both heals and terrifies a mother.

About the Novel

I conceived the idea of Open When, my first self published novel, while reflecting ways I have tried to help my friends and family through trying times. During my time spent writing, I traveled to Leavenworth, Washinton to experience life in such a unique city. From there the idea of having letter writing tether two lives together inspired the epistolary form of the letters. The entirety of the novel is narrated by Elizabeth, the mother, as she encounters advice that her daughter may need in the future while still maintaining the form we have all come to know within letter writing. The novel had its first reading on May 10th, 2019 during “XE Thesis Symposium” where I presented on the Explorations of Form.

Enchantment Park, Leavenworth, Washington when I was on-site for research 

Sample of the Book

Purchasing a Copy

Within the immediate future, I will revisit the manuscript, initially prepared for my graduate thesis, and prep it for literary agents to manifest it across bookshelves in the future as a way to inspire more to understand life’s most difficult times. In the meantime, Open When is available for purchase on Lulu Publishing.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

NYC Bedroom

Sometimes I miss my old room.

There was a quaintness that came to waking up every morning to some exposed brick and the sunlight drenching the white curtains hanging in the window and ivory sheets that cloaked my body. There was an elegance that came with cozying up in my emerald green, crushed velvet chair that sat in the corner and became my nook for writing, reading, and studying.

I am looking forward to making this new bedroom even more exciting, although it is smaller, but a new home for myself in the coming year. As this new place is a work in progress, enjoy some interior inspo from my last place and enjoy a sneak peek to the way I incorporate the past into my new space!

Growth.

It has been over a year since I started this blog. Since then I have moved and then moved again. I have started graduate school and an internship; I am nearing the completion of both. I turned twenty-three and wonder if I ever updated my about me (I didn’tnow I did). I went through heartbreak and I am giving relationships a second chance.  I made new friends and left toxic new “friends” behind.

There have been radical changes in my year, and yet I still have more growing to do. I have seen so much growth, but part of me craves more while still wondering what it is I want to grow into.

Grow–grō/
verb
1.  (of a living thing) undergo natural development by increasing in size and changing physically; progress to maturity.
I want to change physically and mentally. There are toxic aspects to my life that hinder me occasionally and I wonder how to shift these habits into better habits.

I took my first step in a new direction by moving. The East Village was my home for a year. I went in wide-eyed and took in the world around me, by the end of the year I hung my head low and averted my eyes from the strangers that surrounded me.

My neighborhood was desirable, my apartment was impeccable, and my life was coveted. I was a grad student, living in the heart of Manhattan, working a corporate job, sharing a life with an incredibly handsome and supportive boyfriend, but I was uneasy.

I was uneasy heading to school and work. I was uneasy in my talents. I was uneasy in my relationship all because I was anxious about the past.

I had a past life in the Village. I had “friends” I spent my evenings with. I just wanted to fade out of their lives, because they did not make my life any easier. I would walk home from the store and worry about running into one of them. I would dread walking by their usual hangouts because I wondered if they would see me, and I would be forced to ask them how they were doing—because I did not care to know.

I should not have feared it all, but I did. I started developing anxiety around the time I made this blog. It was therapeutic to write down my worries until the day to day anxiety got too much to handle, so I silenced myself. I still could stand up for myself and feel good with my days, but it was a rollercoaster of emotions from my morning alarm and my nightly sleeping pills.

When a letter arrived and it was a notice of my rising rent, I took a moment and thought a new beginning would be best for me. I would miss the East Village, but I was working a block from Union Square. I would never be far from my roots in The City, but I would finally breathe in fresh air in a new neighborhood.

Now that I have moved, I have physically changed. I am on the top floor of a walk-up and feel my calf muscles forming again. I oversee the Upper West Side, which is quiet and quaint. My surroundings have matured, and I can already feel the shift in my attitude while I approach each day.

I am excited for more, and I fear less—that was the growth I was hoping for. 

First Year: Done

Finally, it is summer. The completion of my finals may be enough of a sign, but the humidity in the stale New York air makes it feel real. I successfully completed a full year of graduate school at New York University. My first semester, school-wise, went fantastically. I received great marks on my papers and presentations. The new world of grad school was being conquered and I was the victor. The adaption to New York and all of the curveballs with mental health made the Fall, altogether, kinda ehhhh.

Fast forward to the rebooting I did during winter break and feeling better in my new habitat: my second semester, happiness-wise, went fantastically. I was involved in a beautiful relationship, had an incredible support system of friends, and felt overall overjoyed. The curveballs some of my more difficult classes gave me, made the Spring, a bit more than what I am used to. 

I was enrolled in classes that were out of my element. I was being berated for my writing styles and it made finding time to write a task to be fought against. I was losing my passion. For a moment, I no longer wanted to write. I had excelled in all of my classes before, but suddenly I was average. This instructor had no words of advice that ever helped, and all I was hearing was I would never be good enough. I let it get to the best of me and I took it all to heart. I felt like everything I ever wanted did not matter anymore.

It has been only a few days since the completion of my final exam of the semester. I spent the remaining days running around for a new job, interviewing for multiple internships, and trying to stay a float in all of my other tasks. I received an offer for an amazing internship, and came in second for the dream internship.

However, it was the circumstances for the dream internship that got me thinking. A woman working in Human Resources reached out to me on a professional website, in regards to if I had any interest in an opening at their company. I was immediately floored and ecstatic. I hoped on a call with the senior editor, and she asked “where have I seen your writing samples?” I was immediately torn, I had not sent any in, and now I felt like anything I had written in the past was not good enough.

There was a little silence on my end, and a bit of worry surrounding if she had found my old freelance work I had done during undergrad. Then she listed out my blog, this blog, and told me that she loved my style. Firstly, it was so strange to hear that because not even my boyfriend has read any of my blog, but then for a moment, I felt blissful. No one in my personal bubble knows about this space, so meeting someone who knew it was exciting.

I was always recognized by the writing I did in the past. I felt so good blogging, but during school I left that part out of my life. I placed it on pause. However, with the summer upon me and my first week heading into the work place of New York, there is a lot of change to be coming in my life. The relaunch of my blog, will follow, because I have so much to share.

Thankful.

’tis the season to take a step back and view what it is you should show gratitude for. 

I will always gravitate towards a selfless ideal in order to recognize that so many individuals deserved to be thanked in my life. I am thankful that my parents who continue to show myself and my brother unconditional love in our daily lives. I am thankful for my friends, new and old, who continue to share laughs and smiles no matter the distance between us.

I am thankful for the opportunities that have been presented to me. I am thankful for my health, although I have been quite under the weather for some time, as per usual. I am thankful that the world is still turning through all the sadness and disasters that have shaken it a bit. I am thankful that I have been able to travel and view even more of this beautiful Earth this year.

What I need most this year though is to be thankful for myself and be selfish for a change. Self-love does not get enough attention, and I am thankful that this month I have made even more strides in the direction of loving who it is that I am. I have struggled recently with what it is that I love about myself. I lost parts of myself and I tried relentlessly to gain a sense of wholeness for far too long.

Except there are parts of me that will remain changed and different and I have become mindful of that. I see what it is that I “need”, and how what I “want” should follow second so I can achieve what is the most important to have in life.

I have set my little goals and my mental and physical health have improved tenfold. I have limited the toxic activities and focused on the positivity. There are boundaries I have mapped out and I am protecting myself in ways I truly deserve.

Finally, I am thankful that I can forgive myself.

For a moment I felt like I deserved less, that I would give myself for less, and that the credit I deserved should be lessened. I weakened myself to fit the mold that is too small for me. My heart continued to overflow as I tried to shrink.

I have one life with these two feet below me, and I should be living as intentionally as I can. So when I look at myself in the mirror, I don’t hate that I looked and saw someone less than what it is I am, I forgive myself and know there is so much more to who I am.

I may have made mistakes, I may not have received the best criticism, I may have not taken myself out of negative situations fast enough, but I forgive myself. I know there is a strength that comes with recognizing that. I have spent my time feeling the lows, and now I will give myself the time to build towards the highs.

I am thankful that there is an internal strength inside of me and thankful for all of those who have been there for me throughout it all.

 

 

 

17 August 2016

I would like to insist that life is accompanied by a user manual. That way our birth certificates can be bound with all of the experiences we could encounter in life. So as we transition we can recognize them while they happen. Love is a verb I struggled to define before I really experienced it romantically.

I came home to my roommate a year ago today and asked when she knew she was in love with her partner. It was deep into their relationship for her, and here I was just two weeks into getting to know a man who had already confessed his love for me and I was thinking I really loved him.

He hit me with a foul ball plummeting from a universe I was so unaware of. I was ready for him to open up about something difficult when he asked me if he could tell me something without me freaking out, but I couldn’t prepare for the feelings he unleashed. I read the words everyone who has had a crush wants to see, hear, and feel. A man loves me!!! He loves me, yet I froze. So much had happened two days prior and our future felt futile, yet there I was thinking about moving away and falling in love. simultaneously.

I stared down those three words—8 letters—a simple construction of subjects and verb to which I was instantly filled with a pulse of electricity. It radiated from my heart down to my fingers and toes as I read them over and over. When it fell into my stomach the upheaval of emotions I suppressed for most of my life twisted at my innards. They were emotions I had never felt at this intensity and I was nervous.

He overwhelmed me.

My thoughts thrashed violently around my head. I had no idea what I was doing.

ABORT! ABORT! ABORT! 

He left me speechless, so that was what I responded with:

“You and making me speechless.”

“Is that bad?”

“No”

Then he started backtracking & attempting to explain himself. I felt like he was filling with anxiety because at that exact moment those words were too heavy for me to throw back in his direction. I began to get anxious. I was so unsure what it was that I felt because I didn’t have my user manual handy. 

Is that what love is? Feeling lighter than air as you float to the heavens while you simultaneously feel a magnet’s pull, that surpasses a human’s tolerance of g-forces, towards another soul? That you want to black out and throw up from the effects love has on the body? Is love a drug that forced its way into my bloodstream? I was scared to simplify it a year ago, but today I know that was how I first felt our love.

It grew to become something I needed. Soon it just became happiness. It filled me and my days with incredible thoughts. I walked around knowing someone loved me. I barely understood affection before him; hugs and kisses, romance, and the meaning I put to love were all different before him. I stepped into this world and had no intention of leaving. I spent my days telling him what I could not put into words a year ago.

Now I feel empty.

I freely share a love with all. The want to radiate it outwards comes naturally to me. However, this love came at a different rate for him. This love knew no depth—it knew only of infinite goals. This love poured out of me for him. I am yet to find the shut-off valve; I bust at the seems and let it flow from my eyes as I forcibly hide it each day. I feel constrained to only suppress it now. That I have no choice but to bury it alone in the darkness when all I want is to let it free. I am compromising for him.

I spoke to him on the phone a while ago and I said it again. I told him I loved him a month after he broke up me. He said nothing except that he doesn’t know what to say to “that”. Life came full circle. I blurted it out like he did a year ago and like me, he didn’t say it back. I never said it to hear it back when we were together, and I didn’t say it that day to change his mind. I just know I can’t spend my life pretending that I am okay with what we are now.

I feel like a liar if I did.