What Being Engaged at 17 Taught Me

What Being Engaged at 17 Taught Me

Am I the only girl in her 20's that isn't engaged right now?

It was early afternoon two years ago when my fiancé said, “Wanna go get coffee?”

We’d never, in the almost three years of being in a relationship, gone for coffee. He hated coffee. I knew that something was wrong and I felt it in the pit of my stomach.

We didn’t end up grabbing coffee, instead we sat in his white Mustang in a nearby Mission Viejo suburb, where he admitted to cheating on me a week earlier when he was blacked out at a party. I remember hitting him on his chest, watching the tears stream down his face and wondering what I had done wrong to push him so far away. He dropped me off at my grandparent’s house and he drove down their street for the last time.

I was 17 when I asked him to buy me a ring from the jewelry store at Disneyland and I obsessed over my a-little-too-big cubic zirconia $16 emblem of our unending love that rested on my finger. We talked about having our ceremony on the beach and digging our toes in the sand. I wanted Harry Potter themed items in the décor and he loathed the idea. I should have seen that as the first red flag.

Now at 22 almost every month one of my Facebook friends becomes engaged. I see endless pictures of my feed of stunning rings with captions like "Feyonce", "He put a ring on it", and even more relationship statuses changed to "engaged" to finally cement their love.

(Photo via Huffington Post)

This May I went to one of my high school best friend’s wedding to her lover of only a few months, and I cried while I watched them dance and feed each other cake. I look at these pictures and rub the empty place on my finger where my old ring used to be. It’s hard not to measure my worth as a young woman in her 20s against these young and blushing brides–some years younger than me, flashing their pearly whites beside their handsome beaus. Obviously I know I’m worth more on my own than what a marriage license could give me, but how can I not see these new fiancés and remember when I, too, was planning my special day in a whirlwind romance of love?

It took months and months of crying, Netflix binging and late night conversations with friends in order to get over the man who “got away”. Even now, it’s hard not to feel a quiet pang in my heart when I watch David Tutera’s My Fair Wedding and wonder what could have been. For two years, though, I have never regretted the path that I’m now on.

What I realized is that relationship taught me a lot about my worth as a woman. Being left by someone I was going to walk down the aisle with broke me, but it made me realize what I did and didn’t want in a partner. It was hard, but because of it I take relationships very seriously. I follow my mother's advice, which is to never date anyone I wouldn't marry. I will never again settle for someone. Saying “I do” means more to me now than it ever did before. It doesn’t just mean pinning wedding dresses all day; it means building a lasting and trusting relationship with another person.

(Photo via Instagram)

While it's not my personal path, I say congratulations to all you newlyweds out there. And, to anyone else who is a bit jaded by all the social media engagements, remember we're all on our paths. Marriage isn't on the table for you right now, but it will when the time is right. As for me, I think I’m going to wait just a little bit longer, until I finally feel in my heart that a ring on my finger is meant to be.

Cover Image Credit: Grey Likes Weddings

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To The Girls Feeling Pressure

You don’t have to have it figured out all the time.

I think I grew up differently.

In school, it seemed like everyone was more preoccupied with getting their first kiss at a certain time, finding someone to date for more than two days, and picking out the right clothes for school; waking up at six in the morning to do so, no less. I’m not saying everyone was like this, there were the studious ones, the ones who didn’t say anything, the ones who didn’t care, the ones who cared too much.

And then there was me.

I was quiet (unless I was with friends of course), cared more about school than social status, and I didn’t worry about when I was going to get a boyfriend. A boyfriend seemed like a thing to put on the back burner, I had too much going on in the way of clubs and sports teams. Plus, I wore a uniform for most of middle school and all of high school, so I didn’t have that added pressure of what to wear.

I remember reading a magazine article when I was around 11, one of those teenybopper magazines that were obnoxiously adorned with pictures of Zac Efron and Miley Cyrus. It said that most girls got their first kiss around 13 or 14 years old. From then on, it seemed like it was a goal for girls my age to get their first kiss, that if it didn’t happen by 13 or 14, that was it.

Looking back, I think that was the first time that I experienced pressure from the media. Of course, media pressure only got worse from there.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to be growing up in the age of social media. The age where everyone can know everything about you with the click of a button. The age where girls don’t read teen magazines because they’re more concerned with other “womanly” things.

It seems now kids are growing up way too fast and they don’t have to. We expect our children to know more than they need to because they are growing up in the age of technology. Sometimes, it’s hurting them more than it’s helping.

To all those out there who feel like things need to be done at a certain time, slow down. Take life as it comes. Enjoy the journey and every moment in between.

Take it from me, things come when they’re supposed to, and a first kiss doesn’t have to happen a certain age, even if there’s a poster of Zac Efron next to that statistic.

Cover Image Credit: Max Pixel

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High School Wasn't For Me, And It's Okay If It Isn't For You Either

High school really isn't like the movies.

If you're reading this, you more than likely attended high school at some point in your life. If you were a few of the lucky ones that participated in homeschooling, count your blessings.

I know that for a lot of people high school was a sweet mixture of pep rallies, spirit week, and football games, but for me, these small things were only part of my disappointment with my entire "high school experience."

When I was in high school, I wasn't really labeled anything. I wasn't apart of the popular crowd, or the nerds, or any other stereotypical label you can think of. I mostly kept to myself, and I had a couple of close friends, so I didn't really put much thought into my "high school experience" most days.

However, there were days when I would genuinely wonder if something was wrong with me. Why didn't I enjoy going to football games or dressing up on game days? Why did I prefer to sit in my car and eat lunch? Why did everyone seem so excited about such trivial things, like prom?

I beat myself up wondering these things, along with a thousand others.

It wasn't until college that I realized that those feelings I felt in high school were totally okay, and justifiable even.

So if there's anyone reading this who, like me, struggled to "fit in" in high school, there are a few things I want to share with you.

I realized that winning prom queen or homecoming maid really doesn't matter. I ran for homecoming maid three times, and each time that I didn't get it, I was POSITIVE that not gaining that title would ruin my future. Well, it didn't. And if it helps, not a single person after graduation has ever asked me about it.

The car you drive doesn't reflect who you are. In high school, if you had an expensive car, you were considered the richest, coolest kid around. In college, everyone thinks you're cool if you even have a car at all.

Spirit days are kind of pointless. Yeah, okay. It can be fun to dress up as a safari animal or your favorite cartoon character on the day of a big game, but the most I've ever had to dress up for a football game now is wearing a black shirt for a "blackout" game.

No, you really don't have to have 10 close friends. Let's be honest here. You probably won't see a lot of those people after you graduate high school, and if you do, I can promise you won't have the time to hang out with all 10 of them.

Your stupid high school mistakes won't follow you around forever. Obviously, I'm not saying this to justify making dumb mistakes, but when you're fifteen you more than likely will. But don't worry, those little, embarrassing mistakes will become irrelevant over time.

The brand of clothes you wear doesn't matter. Always try and look your best, but that $40 pair of jeans looks nearly identical to the $140 pair.

I know high school is miserable for some, awesome for others, and trying for all, but no matter how you viewed it, always remember the important things: the first note you got in your locker, the trivial secrets you told your friends in the bathroom, your teachers' names, and the last time you walked down the hall.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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