Navigating Relationships Is Not Always Smooth Sailing

Navigating Relationships Is Not Always Smooth Sailing

At the end of the day, it is simply about being with the person you love, and the rest will come.

One of the biggest growth areas in my room has been my relationship skills. It is something that I am constantly working on and being only nineteen, I know I still have a lot to learn. Growing up and navigating my own relationships with my parents, friends, and boyfriend, I have realized that there is no easy way to perfect a relationship. Nobody can give you all the answers, and often times, the advice others give you is selective to their experience so that leaves you to your own devices.

However, in my short amount of time, there are some things that I have learned that may be useful for others.

When it comes to relationships with parents, it can be difficult because there are already a lot of expectations that they are waiting for you to live up to. Jada Pinkett Smith recently said in one of her "Red Table Talks" that expectations can steal joy and blind you from the blessings already present. These expectations can present a lot of problems for a child and their parents.

From my experience, the ability to understand and compromise is necessary on both sides. Communication is the biggest key in any relationship but particularly between a child and their parents. Rather than communicating with a passive aggressive silence, it is important to be able to articulate what you're feeling. The authoritative dynamic of parenthood can be effective, but parents, you are never too important to apologize to your children when necessary.

Friends, however, are a different story. I have been lucky enough to have some amazing friendships in my life as well as a handful of toxic friendships that have taught me some important lessons. Toxic friendships have showed me the importance of self-respect and recognizing that when somebody in your life is no longer serving a positive purpose, it is time to walk away. Letting go of people will always be a difficult thing to do, but as you get older, it becomes easier to realize it is a necessity.

As for successful friendships, such as the one I have with my best friend, I have learned that the biggest thing is that you do not need to talk 24/7 to maintain an important friendship. As you are exploring different life paths, it becomes less necessary to speak all day everyday but instead, it is crucial to recognize the moments when you two really need each other. Being there for each other when it is needed most is most essential to maintaining that friendship. Again, I feel that this is something that comes with maturity in my experience.

Finally, one of the most important relationships in my life is the one I have with my boyfriend. As we've been together for almost two years, I have learned a great deal about compassionate and selfless love. The biggest challenge we have encountered is pursuing two completely different paths in life that kept us physically apart. In dealing with that struggle, together we have learned the importance of open and honest communication, even when it's hard. Being able to discuss things in a way that is not angry, irrational, or accusatory has been my biggest lesson. The rough patches have taught me the most, forcing me to evaluate what I truly want from a partner and how to listen to what he wants as well.

At the end of the day, it is simply about being with the person you love, and the rest will come.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.


When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

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Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

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Batter Up

Because someone needed to teach her rotten boyfriend a lesson about how to treat a woman.


I have this memory from when I was younger,

I must have been six, maybe seven? An age

When you can remember, but not quite

Understand. I remember the landline

Ringing sometime in the middle

Of the night in my grandmother's small,

But adequate house. I had been sleeping,

Tucked under a shield of satin covers,

My grandmother next to me, blanketless,

And stiff, on the very edge of the queen mattress

Like she was anticipating some sort of disaster.

It wasn't the phone that pulled me from my sleep,

It was my grandmother's instant jerk, her eyes

Flipping open quicker than a light switch,

The mattress springing back up, adjusting

To the new lightness as she fled the room. My waking

Was soft like a song. Slow and humane.

My eyes adjusting to the dark, my ears absorbing the ringing,

My mind reminding itself that I was at my grandmother's house.

Then, the ringing stopped;

Abrupt, like a disarmed fire alarm.

It was just a drill, I thought.

But, then I heard the mumbling

From behind the door, panicked mumbling.

Rapid, like gunfire. My grandmother's Rs

Rolling down the hallway and under the door crack.

She only spoke Spanish when she was angry.

The call ended, my grandmother returned to the room,

Wrapped me in a blanket, and carried me into the night.

She buckled me into the backseat of her Toyota and said,

We were going to Auntie Mandy's house because someone

Needed to teach her rotten boyfriend a lesson about how to treat

A woman.

When we arrived at the house, we found the front door

Wide open, the house lights spilling out onto the porch.

A truck, I had seen once before, was parked a foot away

From the front door, aggressive. The truck had trampled

Over the dandelions and daisies, which lay wounded

In the front yard. A scene that begged for investigation.

My grandmother told me to stay put in my seat.

I watched as she walked to the back of the car, her normally pretty

Face turned straight, looked masculine. I watched as she pulled

Something wooden out of her trunk, then in her feline walk,

Approached the house. She turned to me, and I saw the

Baseball bat, immense in her female hands.

I slouched in my seat, the window above my head.

I never saw her go into the house.

I don't remember how long I sat,

Until the red and blue lights came.

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