An Open Letter To The Aching Heart Of Mine

An Open Letter To The Aching Heart Of Mine

What this situation is going to do to a girl like me is help me live to my fullest and grow into the best version of myself.

I'm never one to usually share my feelings on such a raw occasion as this, and I'm not one to really open up to an experience such as this. But when I'm no songwriter, I can't really pull a Taylor Swift and draft a number one hit about my sad, not-very-pleasant ending, so I turn to other methods, such as this, to give the world a rare and enticing version of myself and my story.

No, I won't give you a sob story and give you detail by detail of my fallout, because really that's no one's business but my own. But, what I will give you is a story of what this will do to a girl like me.

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A girl like me, one with very few close friends, a crazy family who I love more than anything, a lover of dogs, shopping, writing, and reading. One who hates science more than anything and can't workout unless it's my last duty on this Earth. One who loves Taylor Swift too much but isn't ashamed of my ultimate fan-girlism. One who eats literally anything and loves food more than most. A girl like me, a homebody but actually now enjoys going to school. One who prefers to stay in instead of going out each night on the weekend. One who can put an outfit together in a matter of seconds. One who writes about how I feel, because it's really one of the only ways I know how to express it. One who doesn't know where this new found chapter in my life will take me, but am hoping it leads to endless opportunities and creativity.

So, what is a girl like me going to do with my life now that my relationship of almost two and a half years failed and any other girl would say it's "the end of their lives" or "the end of the world." Well, thankful to say, it certainly isn't the end of my life or the end of the world, and I'm certainly not going to let it ruin me. What a girl like me is going to do from now on is to live and grow. Live to my fullest and grow to be the best version of myself that I can be.

I'm by no means throwing any "shade" or "throwing him under the bus," because that's not what any of this is about. I'm by no means demeaning this relationship or talking down upon it. In fact, I'm rather glad it happened and thankful I got to spend the last two years of my life with someone. It taught me a lot of things and I wouldn't ever take it back. Maybe tweak a few things here and there, but if I could go back in time and take something back, this certainly would not be it.

I loved to my fullest. Sure, many of you may say, "oh, you can't love, you're too young. You don't know what love even is at 18." And, maybe you're right. I'll probably look back on this article in a few years and feel like a fool because I was so fearless and naive when it came to this love. Because a few years from now, my perspective will have changed and I'll either be on my own, happy, or I'll be with someone new, happy. Either way, down the road my perspective will change and so yes, to many of you older people, maybe I don't know what your version of love is at the moment, but I for sure do know mine.

I experienced my version of love when I realized I had my best friend. One of my only best friends. A best friend who I never got sick of and was there for me when I needed it the most and one who I could literally tell anything and everything to. I experienced it when we were in the car and one hand was in mine, the other on the wheel. I experienced it when I would laugh so hard I would cry. Or when my heart would ache so bad because college put distance between us and all I wanted to do was see my best friend. I experienced it when I could look at him and just think of how truly happy I was. In those moments, nothing else really mattered.

I experienced it on Valentine's Day at the zoo when it was -11 degrees out, but that's all I wanted to do that day and so we did just that. I experienced it when we would watch "Frozen" day after day, multiple times, because it was my favorite movie at the time and I just loved it, despite how much he could care less to watch it again. I experienced it the countless numbers of times we went to go get ice cream or Chipotle. Honestly, really just any place to get food. I experienced it every time he asked "what do you want to eat?" and I could never decide for the life of me but we didn't go until I was the one who had decided, because according to him I was always in the mood for something, which was very true but I'd never admit it.

I experienced it when I got 199/200 on my first college paper and he was the first person I told and he told me how proud he was of me. I experienced it when I wanted to tell him everything, even if it was stuff that was meant to keep secret, but I just had to tell him. I experienced it when we would go shopping and he'd talk me out of buying those shoes I didn't need or that shirt that really wasn't that cute but was only like $6. Everyone needs that kind of person in their life.

I experienced it when he would tell me straight how it is instead of sugar coating a situation because he cared enough about me at the time to be up front with me and to be brutally honest, even if I'd oppose sometimes. I experienced it watching "The Office" and just being able to laugh over the dumbest scenes with him. I experienced it on the three-hour drive to his college and trying to drive faster the closer I got because it was itching at me that soon enough I'd be able to see him. I experienced it when we were away from each other weeks at a time, but once we were together, it was like we were never away. I experienced it the first time he came back after moving from college and I was so, so nervous to see him because it had been a month. I hadn't known what to expect because it was the longest we'd ever gone without seeing each other at the time. I experienced it when, even though I was the worst at sleepovers and hogged the bed, he still didn't bother and let me get my beauty sleep even if it was keeping him up. I experienced it in many ways. More than I could even tell you. And, of course, you can say "that's not love at all, you know nothing." But to me, that was my love for the past two years and it was a great enough love for me, I'll tell you that.

So, enough of the sappiness and enough about me experiencing my version of love. I've found there's one of two roads I can take from here on out. I can blame myself, or even blame him, for the rough fallout and make it harder on myself to get through this. Or, instead of taking the blame or being the one to blame, I can learn to find the good from the situation and build myself up from that good. For me, it's going to be the ladder. It has to be.

I want to experience new things and experience new factors. I want to work on myself and put myself first for a while, and I'm going to do just that. What this situation is going to do to a girl like me is help me live to my fullest and grow into the best version of myself.

I want to eat healthier and work out more. I want to become a better person to people. I want to learn my boundaries, which I'm starting to already, knowing when enough is enough. I want to become a stronger me. I want to read more. I want to start my day off, my every day off, with happy upbeat music, so my day will get off to a good start. I want to meet new people and make new friends. I want to spend more time with my family and friends. I want to have days where I wake up and plan my day as it goes, spontaneous and in the moment. I want to keep a healthy mindset and become more positive. I want to find new hobbies and discover new interests of mine. Heck, I want to go to the Humane Society and look at dogs once a week. I want to be a better version of me, the best version I can be. I want to do many things, and I've found the only way I can actually stick to them is if I find out who I really am and what my purpose really is. I need to build myself up and learn from my mistakes. I'll need to forgive myself, forgive him, forgive the situation, and just move on. Perhaps it'll take weeks to months, but time is all we have now and this time is going to help me grow.

Of course, there will be days where I turn to doubtfulness and wonder where the hell I went wrong, replaying countless numbers of conversations in my head, wondering what I could've done differently. If maybe just this one thing changed, I wouldn't even be writing this article at 1:31 a.m. on a Tuesday morning and I'd be asleep, not worrying or caring what was to come because everything would be the way it should be. I'll wonder why I wasn't good enough and what was so wrong with me. When really, I was good enough and nothing was wrong with me. And, I'll think that maybe it was me. Or maybe it was him. Or maybe it was just the two of us. But whatever it may be, it happened.

Sometimes things burn down in flames and that's just the way life works. The very sad truth, but it's just the way life turns on its carousel. We can't go back and change what we thought was the cause of it spiraling, though sometimes I wish it was possible. Sure, we can imagine different outcomes in our mind and live off of the wishful thinking and the endless daydreams, but that's just not reality and it's not the truth. The truth and reality is that it did happen and it was a chapter in my life. What happened can't be change. We can turn the page forward, but it's really hard to go back. So there will be my bad days and there will be my good days, but that's just the way it's always going to go.

I'll learn eventually that instead of doubting myself, doubting the roots of the problems, to look at it differently. I'll learn to look at the memories and instead of being sad about them. I'll hopefully end up cherishing them and look at the friendship that had been made out of it. Being the hopeful person I am, that will be good enough for me. So maybe it was me, or maybe it wasn't. But I know damn well that whomever it may be, that blaming can't be an option and it realistically isn't plausible. It'll only dig the root deeper and nobody wants that.

I know day by day I'm going to continue to experience that love. No matter how much I'll try to push it aside, it'll still be there--it will be for a very long time. I'll experience it in my every day routine, when a smell, sound, or sight reminds me of those years. It'll cross my mind at the most random times when I least expect it, and my heart will begin to ache. I'll experience it when a friend accidentally mentions his name and memories flood into my mind. I'll experience it in the car when I'm listening to a song that relates so much to my situation. I'll experience it when I've had a bad day and want more than anything to turn to him, but he's not there anymore, so I turn to someone new. I'll experience when I watch "The Office," because it's just that show. I'll experience it when in a few weeks, or even months I'll be wondering how he is but know it's best if I don't ask. I'll experience it at school when I meet new people and they're just not him. I'll experience it for the longest of times, and I know I will, so I just need to learn to accept the fact that it'll be there, hanging out, waiting to come at the most random times.

The thing about experiencing love is just that: an experience. Eventually, I won't feel it anymore. Eventually, it'll just be the chapter it was supposed to be. But day by day, what a raw outcome is going to do to a girl like me is help me grow from those experiences. So, maybe the feeling will end or maybe I'll always feel it in some way. But at least I'll be able to experience it instead of resent it. God only knows where I'd be if I chose to resent it.

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Cover Image Credit: Evolution Writers

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Stop Saying 'Love Is Love' And Then Shame Me For Dating A Republican

"How can you date a Republican?!" Quite easily, actually.


"And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love." Other theater geeks like me probably also remember this quote from Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony acceptance speech in 2016. Now, thanks to Lin-Manuel and his talent for catchy phrases, every time someone says "love is love," all I can think of is Lin-Manuel's emphatic cry for equality.

This cry is one that I support wholeheartedly. I think that you should be allowed to love whomever you choose and that you should do so without fear of hatred or scrutiny. If you are a guy who loves guys, great. If you are a girl who loves girls, great. If you are a girl who loves guys and girls, great. You are born a certain way with certain sexual preferences, and there is nothing wrong with that.

However, if you believe that people should be free to love anyone they choose, then, honey, you better start looking past gender.

Let me tell you a little story.

Recently, I had a conversation with one of my closest friends about my boyfriend of almost 11 months. Somehow (and I'm shocked that this hadn't come up before), my boyfriend's political preferences became the topic of conversation.

The conversation went something like this:

"Wait, so is Tom a Democrat or Republican?"

"He's a Republican."

"WHAT?! Are you serious?"


"How can you date a Republican?"

After that, I basically went on a five-minute rant about how at the end of the day, his political preferences only make up a small fraction of who he is as a person and that I am not so shallow that I would be deterred by something this trivial.

At our cores, Tom and I value the exact same things: compassion, knowledge, kindness, dedication, honesty, respect, and above all else, love. Tom loves me unconditionally and I give him that same love in return; honestly, what else could I ask for?

Tom and I do get in some political arguments from time to time, but we also agree on those issues that are most important to me: female reproductive rights, marriage equality, and support for survivors of sexual assault. All of those things are non-negotiables for me, and Tom understands that and possesses his own list of non-negotiables.

Before you ask, yep, he voted for Trump. Did that take me back at first? Yes. Did I struggle to understand what would compel a person to vote for him? Absolutely. Did that thought kind of terrify me at first? Hell yes.

But you know what? After I just sat and listened to Tom's reasoning as to why he voted for him and watched him delve deep into Trump's policies, I could understand why some would vote for him. And to tell the truth, once I fell in love with Tom, none of that mattered anymore. And what is sad is that people so often fall so deep into their own echo chambers nowadays, that they wouldn't even give someone with different beliefs their ear. Well, I'm damn glad I did because Tom is the most amazing person I've ever met and I fall more in love with him every day.

So to tie this all together with a pretty little bow, if you're going to go around and preach that love is love and that everyone should be free to love whom they choose, then that shouldn't change for me. Maybe you're a Democrat that would never date a Republican or maybe you're a Republican who would never date a Democrat; that's your choice. But we don't get to choose who we fall in love with (much to the dismay of my liberal family and friends). Just keep an open mind and who knows? Maybe you could find some absolutely epic happiness.

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After 365 Days Together, I Can Say For Sure: You're My Person

This year has been everything I needed and more. I love you very much.


About a year ago, we lay in my bed on a rainy Sunday morning and I asked you when you were going to make me yours. We had a conversation about the things we expected out of this proposed relationship and the things we expected of each other. We promised to take our bond seriously and to honor it at all costs. We looked at each other, knowingly, as if we could both tell this was the start of something very special.

Well, babe, we weren't wrong.

This past year has been one for the books, to say the least. We traveled the country and witnessed some insanely beautiful moments together. We endured bad days and came out stronger on the other side. We grew as individuals, and we grew as a couple. Every day is better for me just by you being a part of it.

I can't thank you enough for all you've done for me. It's the greatest feeling in the world knowing that you have someone who will love you unconditionally, no questions asked. You make me feel so secure in myself and our relationship, which is all I've ever really wanted out of sharing my life with someone. Maybe I'm biased, but I'm pretty sure our chemistry is off the charts. I've never seen two people mesh together so well. I feel like we have this connection that's so rare and so precious, I can't believe we were lucky enough to find each other this young.

The future seems scary sometimes, and I'm not sure about a lot of it. I don't know what job I'll have as an adult. I don't know where I want to end up living for the rest of my life. I don't even know my work schedule for next week yet. There's only one thing I know for certain in my bones: no matter where I'm at or what I'm doing, I can't picture myself not being by your side. You make all situations better for me.

You're undoubtedly my person.

My dream for us is to always continue to keep living and loving this way, together. I hope we never lose this undeniable chemistry and our comfortability of just being around one another. I know as we age things may change, and we may not always be as exciting and adventurous as we are at 21, but as long as you're mine, I promise to love you a little bit more every single day. As we grow and learn individually, I hope to also grow and learn as a pair. I know it takes a lot to make a relationship last, but if anyone can do it, it's absolutely going to be us.

Happy one year, my love. This life is crazy and beautiful and I wouldn't want to experience one minute of it without you. Thank you for taking me as I am, and loving me so well. This year has been everything I needed and more. I love you very much.

- Zoë

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