Permission to Make a Decision for Yourself

I think those four years of college are some of the most exciting and most confusing years of a young person’s life. I think the major part that I struggled with was determining what decisions were mine to make and what decisions I should consult my parents, advisers or mentors for. I remember multiple times calling and asking my mom about something and her answer was legitimately, you’re an adult, you don’t  need my permission. Wow. To not need someone’s OK to do something… weird. It’s still weird for me.

I’ve been wanting a dog for myself since I moved to college. I desperately missed my pup Chipper and the comfort a dog provides when you’re at your very worst. I did all the research. I found multiple breeds that wouldn’t bother my allergies and that were fit to live in an apartment. I’m a research-based person – very much like my dad, for better or worse. Research is part of my job, and I love it. Finding and determining the perfect fit or finding the spot that needs to be fixed… it’s a rush. But there are some things research can’t determine.

So I asked my fiance. I asked him over and over to the point that he too wanted a dog. So then I asked my mom. And she again said she couldn’t make the decision for me, but if she were me, she would wait.

But there are some things that mentors, advisers and parents can not advise.

And that’s where our “gut” comes in: what feels inherently right to us?

And we have to trust that is the right thing. We have to believe that beyond research and beyond advise that we will truly know what is right for us.

And that’s where I was. I think that sometimes stubbornness gets the blame when our gut should get the credit.

I think that is why I struggle so much when someone tries to tell me what I will or won’t like. When someone takes away my ability to decide for myself, to allow my body to decide for itself. I think there is something about the rush of a moment, and I think too often we allow someone else to take that moment away from us because it’s not what they think we’ll want or like.

I am the only person that knows my brain and my body. My doctor knows the way I react to certain medications. My mom knows the way I react when I’m hungry. My dad knows the way I react to his constant badgering. My fiance knows the way I react when he pokes me in the side. But I am the only one that knows the way my brain reacts and the way my body feels when something is or is not right for me.

Sometimes, we have to trust that we know ourselves better than anyone else. And sometimes we have to ditch the research, go against the advice of everyone else, and do what feels right for us.

I was so adamant about getting to New York because everyone told me I would hate it. Those decisions are decisions only I can make. Others can assume, they can try to think for me and you, but those are decisions only I can make for myself. We get so used to people asking for advice that sometimes we project it on them without them asking. That’s when things get messy. We assume that they want and need our advice. We assume that they want all the research and knowledge they can get.

But too much research and too much knowledge can be a bad thing…

And sometimes we need to learn when it is time to just shut up. To learn the time when our opinions, our advice and our research is unwarranted. When it’s a personal matter, and we are not included. When we don’t fully know the situation. When we can’t fully know the situation. Despite how we think we can help, we need to learn when our friends are no longer children, and when it is time to say you don’t need my permission; you don’t need my advice. 

Sometimes, we just need to say whatever is right for you is the right thing to do… even if we don’t agree. Because puppies are right for some people. New York is right for others. And some people just need to make a decision for themselves free from the burden of our opinions.

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New Relationship Status:

I’ve had a lot of friends ask since Joel proposed how did I know.  I’ve known Joel my entire life, so there are a lot of shared secrets and personal moments that have tied our lives together. Many of which include many of our mutual friends. But what these friends really mean in this question is how did you know, despite everything you’ve been through, that he was the one. Because the people asking aren’t the ones that have been active around our relationship for the past 6 years. Because the people really close that saw, they knew.

But this post isn’t going to tell you when I knew I’d marry Joel. This post is rather a giant disclaimer that everything you see on my Facebook is a lie. Ok, that’s a bit dramatic, but still partially true. We live in this digital world where everything looks perfect, and we don’t really know each other anymore. We see updates on Facebook and Instagram and maybe a blog post or two, but unless you spend extracurricular time with a couple, you don’t really see the inter-workings behind their relationship anymore.

So, I’m just being honest and upfront about this on my blog, because I don’t want you to read anything on my blog and think that I have this perfect life or relationship that is some fairy tale. I can’t live up to those expectations, our relationship can’t live up to those expectations. Our relationship is flawed in many ways, but we love each other. And through the many events – fortunate and unfortunate – that we have been through since our first date back in 2010, we still have decided to take on the daunting task of cohabitation for life.

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Note: This is not how I feel about living with a boy. This is how I feel about living with anyone.

I’d like to point out that our story did not come without bumps, curves or straight up do not enter caution tape. We all like to refer to relationships as “roller coasters” but we forget that roller coasters take months to design and build. Then they go through a series of tests to ensure it is built to proper safety codes and what not. Then, once riders are allowed on the roller coaster, it is not without its faults.

Sometimes it rides seamlessly and is full of fun and adventure.

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 Sometimes it stops right on its tracks then keeps moving.

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 Sometimes you have to stay on the ride even though your seat belt isn’t working because its going full speed.

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And, sometimes the riders even have to get off for it to be repaired.

Honestly, roller coasters aren’t the best metaphor for relationships, but I’m not that great at coming up with metaphors. So this is what I’ll tell you about what I know thus far:

Relationships come with disagreements. They come with laughter, fun, adventure, and occasionally knock-down, drag-out fights. And mine and Joel’s relationship is not an exception to any of those conditions. There are things about Joel that make me absolutely crazy, and if you stick around long enough at the wedding or reception, you’ll probably see me roll my eyes at him once or twice. But the thing is, if Joel was some perfect guy, he wouldn’t be perfect for me because I’m not perfect. But we’ve chosen to somehow find our way imperfectly through this world together and neither of us know how to read a map. We’re going to get things wrong, and you may or may not hear about it. But sometimes, we’ll get things right too.

My point is, we didn’t get here by having a perfect relationship all the time. He keeps fresh flowers on my desk now, but I can tell you that was not the case back in 2010. We’ve grown up a lot in the past 6 years. Thankfully, he’s matured slightly since these days:giphy (4).gif

I’m confident that we’ll make it past the 72 day marriage expectation that Kim K has set for our generation. So, at the 72 day mark, we will celebrate because we’ll be more successful than Kim Kardashian.

But whether our marriage rolls out on national television (#dream) or in the privacy of our new two-bedroom apartment in Atlanta that I get to decorate before he moves in (#winning), I can tell you one thing: it won’t be perfect, but we’re gonna love each other through it all.

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Sweet Home… Alabama.

New York has given me a run for my money on my last full day here. Between the bottoms of my feet being literally bruised to my debit card no longer working, I’d say Alabama is surely calling my name.

It’s been such a blessing to live out a dream and to be able to explore completely alone. For the first time, I took off to a place that I didn’t know without a single person to fall back on. I knew of people in the city, but there was no family, no close friends, and no one I was truly comfortable calling at 1 a.m. when something was wrong. It was me and the streets of New York.

So me and my Kate Spade personality hit the streets and discovered a lot. But I think I discovered more about myself than I did about this city. I know the streets. I can get pretty much anywhere without a map (with the exception of below Houston street because those are a bit tricky). I can even navigate Brooklyn pretty easily, and the subway is just another car.

But I learned a lot about myself. I truly “dated myself” for an entire summer. When I wanted Italian, I had Italian. When I wanted to see a movie, I went to the movies. Pedicures, food, wine, dinner, more food, dessert, shows, walks, runs, and even just laying in the park. I did what I wanted to without worrying about anyone else. It wasn’t selfish… it was truly a learning experience!

I learned my way through my fellowship, finding out all the right and wrong ways to do everything. Delivering mailers still proved to be the most difficult task because 7 a.m. on a Thursday morning and a giant box is difficult to stomp around NYC.

As much as I missed my friends and family, I didn’t yearn to see them. I set out to spend 3 months mostly by myself, and that’s what I did. I didn’t worry about making friends, although I did come out with some great ones. I didn’t set out to meet anyone famous, although I did see Usher and Kathie Lee Gifford and Penn and Teller. I didn’t set out to do so many things, but along the way, I found them. I am grateful for those that visited, mostly because I really missed human contact… especially hugs. 

But on my last full day despite all the chaos that ensued, I visited the 9/11 memorial fountains again at sunset. I was reminded once again how blessed I am to be alive and to be free. How blessed I am to be able to spend a summer wherever I please. How blessed I am to live in a country where I get to choose a career I love. How blessed I am to live somewhere I get to change my dreams, find my dreams and live my dreams. How blessed I am to have people supporting my every step, no matter how sketchy, unclear or hazardous that road may be. And how blessed I am to have so many people waiting on my return.

It’s a bittersweet goodbye. It’s like dark chocolate with sea salt really. Just enough bitter bite to cancel out the sweetness, with a surprise a salt to top it all off. (I love dark chocolate with sea salt… hint, hint). Ultimately, this summer has been everything and then some. And I can’t wait to share all I’ve learned. But first, I need to find my way back home where I will hopefully let my feet rest a bit before hitting the books for one more year!

Thanks for reading and for following my journey in the city. Who knows where I’m heading off to next!