To The Boy That Loved Me So Fiercely, I Learned To Love Myself

To The Boy That Loved Me So Fiercely, I Learned To Love Myself

You have been life changing for my soul.
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This is a personal thank you to the man that has loved me so fiercely that I have had no choice but to begin to love myself.

Now I am all for women holding their own and being able to make themselves whole. I have lived vicariously through stories like Sex and The City and Eat, Pray, Love for years, and trust me the idea of "creating my own happiness" is nothing I am a stranger to trying to achieve. And while I do think one can achieve complete content on their own, I feel at this point in my life I needed you.

You saved me from myself at a time I felt I wasn't going to recover from pain and broken trust.

To understand how much this means to me you must first understand where I had begun mentally, because I'm not sure you really know (I try to only show you my best): I was at a point in my life that I really just didn't understand. I had been lied to, cheated, emotionally distraught, and left with nothing. I couldn't comprehend why I was living on my best friend's couch or when I was going to be able to stop carrying an arsenal of makeup in my wristlet to fix tear-stained wings. Meals consisted of random snacks when the hunger got too unbearable and wine replaced water. My bedtime became 5 am and my eyes were heavier than they had ever been. I was reliant on the entire Gilmore Girls series on DVD and wrinkled clothing out of mismatched suitcases and a purple rubbermaid. My hair went from highlighted in beautiful sun-kissed strands to box-dyed deep brown and I completely lost control of my head. This pain was a different kind of hurt. It cut right down to the bone and left my soul raw. Trust issues ran high, and self esteem was at a new low.

I was, for a lack of better words, mistreated.

It was a repetitive kind of pain that had left me as the common denominator. I got to this point after many occasions and years, this is not an isolated sort of pain. I got there by trusting those that didn't deserve my friendship and by putting myself second to find love with the most toxic of people.

I was not looking for what I have found. I wanted nothing to do with new relationships and I really wasn't even sure that I could be worthy of what I had been looking for in the first place. I am a firm believer that you found me at a time that I needed you most. I had never truly hated myself until this point and you came in with nothing but admiration for my body, mind and soul. Feeling your stare as I do mundane daily tasks has been a learning experience for me to understanding what real adoration is. You have appreciated every hour I've worked, every dinner I have cooked and every mind-straining task I have accomplished and have encouraged me to rest and take chances. You never fail to let me know at any moment that you think I look great or that you love me unconditionally and this has made me feel invincible. You have me truly convinced that there is nothing we can't overcome and that falling out of love isn't an option for us. This love is one I will never recover from, you have built mountains out of the broken rubble that was my soul.

I have begun to love myself through a different lens.

I have started to see myself through your eyes and I have loved myself ever since. I have started to feel stunning, sexy, motherly, incredibly kind, accomplished, and talented. You have given me the courage to put myself in positions I never would have before, may it be through expressive writing or even a wild lipstick color, you assure me I will always be loved unconditionally. Your support is so enduring and has left our bond and my trust, in us and myself, unshakable. Finding someone who is able to make you shift your attitudes towards yourself is the most empowering feeling in the entire universe. I am not saying that finding a man or a significant other will solve all of your problems or any of them for that matter, but finding a soul that compliments mine so much that I have been so positively affected is the biggest blessing I have ever received. Having a strong support system and someone that believes in me in every aspect in life is so mentally and physically life changing.

My soul had been screaming out for this revelation for so long and I am shaken by the impacts it has induced. You have taught me to love myself by loving me so boldly, and for that, I cannot thank you enough.

Cover Image Credit: Brandi Harmon

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Just Because You're Single Doesn't Mean You Aren't Worth A Loving Relationship

The presence of a significant other doesn't define your beauty or worth.

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Freshman year of high school: Maybe I'll finally date someone this year! It's high school now, after all, there has to be someone who would be interested in me!

Graduating from high school: Maybe I just wasn't meant to date anyone in high school. Dating is overrated, anyway.

Throughout my childhood, I've never been the beautiful cheerleader or popular girl who every boy wanted to have a chance with. Instead, I've always watched everyone else's relationships from the sidelines, always wondering when it would be my turn to finally meet someone. While I've made peace with being single at this stage of my life (it's pointless to date senior year anyway, especially if you're moving seven hours away to your dream school and will likely only be back in your hometown once or twice a year), I didn't always feel this way.

With the beginning of high school comes the beginning of a multitude of relationships and new couples flourishing everywhere. It can be incredibly hard to watch this when you're single with no boys snapchatting you to hang out while all your friends' phones are constantly blowing up with messages from every guy in school. It's taken me years to accept the fact that God's plan for my life didn't include dating anyone in high school. Reflecting on the past four years now, I see the divinity in this plan as I head into my future. No one should be defined by their relationship status, and having a significant other makes no difference in your worth and value.

So to the one who's still single, you are worthy.

It's completely okay if you haven't found that person yet, the one who flips your world upside down whenever you lock eyes. It's okay if you haven't found the one you would cross time and space to be with, because if you're meant to find them, I promise you will. In fact, they're probably feeling the same way. The funny thing about love is how it hits you out of nowhere. It's the guy you bump into at the grocery store and keep running into everywhere you go. When two people are destined to meet, they will.

You are so much more than your relationship status. In case no one's told you yet, being single is actually a lot of fun. There's unparalleled freedom in being able to do as you please without having to consider someone else's feelings or opinions. You can move across the country or the globe, pursue any dream in your heart, and simply hang out with whoever you want whenever you want. God has an incredible person waiting for you, but don't waste your youth waiting for them. Live a life you love, and become someone you would be proud to call yours and marry someday.

In the end, the wait will be more than worth it when you find the one you're meant to spend eternity with.

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