Halfway between cutting limes for tequila shots and finishing the imperative work presentation for the next morning, I had an epiphany. As If the lightbulb had just gone off in my head, I slung that tequila shot back, bit into an incredibly sour lime and said to myself, “Emma, you are the problem, it wasn’t them, well... maybe it was a few of them, but you are definitely part to blame.”

Looking up at the glass I see myself in the mirror across the room of my loft, currently being lit up by the skyline of Seattle. I only bought the place for the window views, I realize that sounds swaggering, but it’s just me here, so I splurged. I walk closer to the mirror, leaving the bottle and laptop with the presentation still there needing to be done.

I stand and stare at my reflection. I see a tall, simply skinny, 32-year-old woman with long wavy strawberry blonde hair and bright green eyes. I believe that I am laughable and confident. I’ve always been great at making others smile and I’ve always kept in mind what I bring to the table. I scoff and shrug, turn around and walk back to focusing on my presentation. After all, it is 2 a.m. and I have to be up in three hours.

After a long, laser-focused 45 minutes I was finished with my assignment and eager to get as much sleep as I could before the morning alarm would ring again. Crawling into bed, I sat up looking at the empty space next to me in that California King bed. Feeling defeated, I sank back down into the comfort of the dozen or so pillows I had surrounding me. I spent the next few minutes thinking about all the past relationships I had and how they all ended up to be a waste of time, space, and feelings. Quietly thinking, I wondered, “Then why did I find them attractive them at all?"

Surely, there had to have been something that attracted me to all these crazies. Affirmingly nodded while saying, “Let’s start at the beginning" before snuggling more into bed.

It was my freshman year of college at The University of Washington in Seattle and I was moving into my dorm room. I was born and raised in Washington, just south of here in Renton, but it was going to be moving out into the big city by myself which I couldn’t be more excited about. I was ready for a change of pace and I couldn’t wait to live the city life. Being so ready to conquer Seattle, I mistakenly dropped my guard for the one and only, bad boy Brad.

Brad was handsome in a dark, soldering kinda way. He has dark eyes that latched onto you. Brad was far from perfect, I would soon learn that knowing him would be the same as always being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Brad also had a troubled past which I tried to be empathetic about, but at the end of the day, your past doesn’t dictate your future unless you allow it too.