objects

I don’t remember
when I gave you permission
to judge my body

Is it inherent
for men to have the right to
compliment my butt?

Am I supposed to
smile and thank you when you
say my boobs look good?

When I wear lipstick
because it makes me happy
you don’t understand

You seem so confused
“Who are you tryna impress?”
(I must want the D)

How about myself?
You misogynistic shit
Oh but I’m sorry

I have forgotten
that women only do things
because men wish it

 

Note: I’ve been browsing through poems on the awesome misandry in haiku tumblr and it inspired me to write a (shittier) one of my own.

Know Your Worth

**Using gender-neutral pronouns here, so note the use of they/their as referring to a single person

A while ago I had a huge crush on one of my friends (which was reciprocated in full). We flirted a lot, but also shared a lot of our deepest, most personal secrets with each other. This person was still interested in their ex, and I thought I was okay with it. I mean, as long as we were together, I could overlook it. After getting pretty deep into it emotionally together, I found out this person was still talking and fighting with their ex even after I thought they were done. This person still wanted to be with me anyway, even wanted to talk to me about their problems from their previous/still ongoing relationship with this semi-ex/still-relevant significant other.

I had a few options at this point:
1. I could stick around. I’d had feelings for this person since last fall and I’d been dreaming about what it would be like if we finally got together. Was I really going to give up now?

2. I could stop. It wouldn’t really be quitting or failing at this attempt at love. I really did try. I gave this person a chance and an intimate position in my life. I opened myself up deeply and genuinely, connecting with them in a way I never had before with anyone else. I could accept that it was fun while it lasted, but know that I’m better than waiting for someone who got to see the real me and didn’t want me enough to take this opportunity.

I chose the latter.

Maybe at the beginning of 2013 or earlier, I would’ve stuck around. I had lower self-esteem before and often settled for whoever took any interest in me.

This person had their chance. I could have stayed and waited for them to make up their mind, but I didn’t. I know that I am an intelligent, beautiful person who deserves someone who will fully appreciate me for who I am. I know that I’m worth having a partner who wants to be with me, without having to fully weigh out their options before they decide they think I’m worth it. I know I’m worth better than playing second fiddle to some person who didn’t even give my person the time of day.

If someone is stringing you along, don’t wait around. Make your move, let them know how you feel, and put the ball in their court. If they don’t respond/don’t realize how great a person you are, then know when to let go and move forward. Know your worth, and don’t look back to someone who wasn’t smart enough to realize what a catch you are.

13 Lessons I’ve Learned in 2013

2013 has undoubtedly been the best year of my life. I learned to truly love myself, opened up my heart to new people even after having my heart broken just a few months before the year began, made more new friends in a single year than in my entire life, traveled a bit, and got closer to my family. This year has been such a beautiful journey for me. I’ve learned so much about life and love, and I have a few things I want to share with you all, as cliche or obvious as they may be. I’m no expert, but here are a few lessons I’ve learned this year that I think people might find useful:

  1. Be honest and open, always. A few months ago, I made the choice to be totally open with my thoughts and feelings. From starting this blog and turning my painful past into lessons in articles, to coming out to everyone I know, to just telling people daily how I feel about them or what I think, my life has improved so much just by being more open. I live with less regret and less worrying, and I feel great.
  2. The only person who can heal you is yourself. Even at the beginning of this year, I sought people who could fix my emotional wounds that festered over time. I learned that trying to use other people to heal me only made those wounds deeper. Only after I learned to take care of myself and love myself did I really begin to heal those wounds.
  3. Alone doesn’t always mean lonely. I used to be so afraid of being alone and went from one committed relationship to the next. But I’ve learned that it takes time to get over each relationship, and that time you spend alone makes you stronger.  Now I need lots of alone time just to be happy!
  4. You don’t need a boyfriend/girlfriend to be happy.  After being single for awhile, my life gets increasingly better. I’m much happier and more fun to be around.
  5. Nobody cares. I used to worry so much about what people thought about what I looked like or how I acted, but really, nobody notices the little flaws about me as much as I do. Nobody cares if my hair looks unwashed or my clothes are wrinkled. Other people are often so wrapped up in their own problems that they won’t notice your little imperfections, so don’t sweat it.
  6. People care. People may not care about the tiny imperfections, but they care about you. This year has taught me that there are so many people out there who will be there for me, there are so many goodhearted people in the world. Even if it sometimes feels like it, you’re never really alone.
  7. There will be people who don’t like you. I used to always stress over getting people to like me and pleasing others. Although I still do this a lot, I understand that not everyone will like me, no matter what I do. And that’s okay. I have people who love me whom I love back and that’s all that matters.
  8. Just because someone thinks you’re attractive doesn’t mean they’ll be the only one who thinks so. Don’t settle for the first person who hits on you; stick it out, be picky, and wait until you’ve found the person who truly deserves you.
  9. You are beautiful. In a society that constantly tries to remind womxn that we are flawed and far from the unrealistic yet ideal beauty standard, it’s important to remember who created these beauty standards. Corporations (controlled predominantly by men) create a fake image of what womxn should look like, in order to break down our self-esteem so that we spend our money on beauty products, clothes, and other services, trying desperately to conform to that unrealistic beauty standard. Forget what they say, do what you want–whether that means wearing makeup or not–but just do it because it makes you feel good, not because you’re trying to look the way men want  you to.
  10. You don’t owe prettiness to anyone.
  11. Tell the people you love that you love them. You could die at literally any second, and so could your loved ones. Don’t let a day go by when you don’t tell people you love that you love them; you may regret it if you don’t. Plus it really brightens people’s days when you tell them how you feel, so why wouldn’t you do it?
  12. Haters gon’ hate. Everyone has their own problems and you will always have to interact with negative people. People are bound to be mean to you at some point, but don’t let it get to you. More often than not, people will project their own insecurities or problems onto you; don’t take it personally.
  13. Live your life for yourself, not for anyone else. You can major in a subject you’re not really interested in just because your parents tell you to, you can take a job because your parents want you to, you can live your life staying in the closet because you’re afraid of what people will think of you. But really, it is your life, not theirs. Spend your time doing what you love, with people who make you feel happy, and pursuing your passions; you don’t want to look back on your life years from now and realize that you only did things to make other people happy and ignored your true ambitions.

I’m incredibly grateful for everyone who has been a part of my life this year–from my loving family who supports me with whatever I do, my friends (new and old) at UCSB who inspire me and helped me make great memories this year, my friends back on Guam who’ve been so supportive of my writing, and everyone else I’ve met this year that has brought positivity to my life. I love you all, and I hope I can continue to provide quality writing on Lovescrewed as I keep going on my path of self-discovery and self-love.

Happy New Year!

Updates on My Best Relationship

I entered an exclusive relationship over the summer and so far it is hands down the best experience of my life. We started dating about 5 months ago and I’ve never been happier!

We started getting to know each other deeply around May this year. Our dates were the best and I always felt more comfortable when I was only with her than I did with anyone else. We went to the beach almost every day to be alone. We’d read The Princess Bride, wade into the water, or just lie down and listen to Grouplove. I spent more time with her than anyone at this point. She was there for me while I was going through a really difficult emotional period, when nobody else was. The nights were less lonely with just her in my bed; I cried a lot less than I did before.

Then around July, we decided to be exclusive. I promised myself I would put her first instead of searching for a new partner to complete me, like I always did in the past. I promised that I would be myself, always, and not change who I was for anyone else. Unlike in other relationships, I knew I never had to change for her, unless I wanted to. At the same time, she always made me want to become a better person.

I never have jealousy or trust issues with her. I’ll admit this is the first relationship in which I haven’t been totally faithful (I’ve kissed a few odd people now and then since we started dating), but I always come back to her in the end. For the most part, I remain loyal to her. I try to remind her that she’s beautiful when she’s feeling down (which can be quite often), and lately she can be completely happy with only my approval. I’ve grown to love her an incredible amount over the past few months.

I’m sure you’re all curious as to who this person is… it’s myself. I risk sounding super bigheaded in this post but dating myself really was the best thing I’ve ever done for my self-esteem and overall happiness. Dating myself taught me that I don’t need anyone to complete me and that I can take care of myself. I don’t need some guy to try to fix me. I don’t need anyone else to tell me I’m beautiful anymore in order for me to believe it.

Although I think relationships are great, I think that dating yourself is a very important step to becoming emotionally stable enough to date anyone else. After dating myself for several months, I already feel like I’m much more self-reliant and much less needy than I was in my past relationships. I’m on my way to becoming whole and I did it completely by myself. I’m not at the Sue Sylvester level of self-love to the point where I want to legally marry myself, but I’m at a much better place than I was before.

Unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t allow us to make our relationship status official, but whatever, I guess. We’re not really into labels anyway.

Screen Shot 2013-12-21 at 10.01.17 PM

How to Turn Your Rivals into Your Friends

A few years ago, I was dating a guy who obviously was very interested in another girl. He had a huge crush on her before we met, and did all kinds of sweet, cheesy crap for her, like buying her flowers and showing up at her place unexpectedly (although if you ask me, that’s actually creepier than it is cute). He used to tell me how much I reminded him of her; how we were both smart, pretty, liked to read, and so on. I often felt like I was just a consolation girlfriend because she was never interested in him, even though he made it clear to her that he was very interested.

Reasonably so (or at least it was reasonable in my mind), I ended up hating this girl. I obsessed over her. I’d look at her tumblr and think of the sassiest, bitchiest things to say about her and her shitty excuse for poetry. I’d laugh when she called herself a writer. I’d send her anonymous messages correcting her grammar (I’m almost not even sorry about this). I was unapologetically petty towards someone who had never personally wronged me in her life.

I spent so much of my time thinking about how much I hated her and I ended up hating myself every time he liked one of his pictures. Wasn’t I enough for him? It killed me when he started following her on Instagram. Every time he complimented her at all, it felt like a blow to my self-esteem.

After awhile, I began to realize how consuming, unhealthy, and irrational this imaginary rivalry was between me and some girl who never even thought about me. I tried to figure out a way to get over her in my head, since hating her or pretending she didn’t exist didn’t work.

I realized that she and I were actually a lot a like. We both loved to read, we loved creative writing, we liked cheesy romantic things, we had similar interest in books (we were both reading the Hunger Games series at the time), and hell–we even looked alike. If I hadn’t met her under these circumstances, we’d probably be friends. Why did I have to hate her?

I decided that if she was going to be in my life, I might as well win. I’d make her my friend. I reached out to her, was very friendly, and made an effort for us to get to know each other. After a few weeks, we actually became friends! And as I kept dating this guy, as he turned into a total asshole, she had my back when he didn’t. She’d give me her support, give me good advice, and she’d even stick up for me when he talked to her about our relationship. She’s actually a really nice, genuine person and I’m sorry for how petty I was. I’d actually like to think we’re still friends, even after that guy isn’t a part of my life anymore.

Looking back on this experience, I realize how unnecessary all that negativity was. A guy I follow on Twitter posted something amazing a few weeks ago and it really resonated with me:

“Women should never compete with each other for a man’s affection. It’s like running in a race and the prize is a bag of diarrhea.” –Solomon Georgio via Twitter

It’s true. Why did I spend so much time hating a girl who was actually really nice and had never wronged me? Furthermore, why did I hate her because my boyfriend liked her? The real problem was with him and his misplaced affections while in a committed relationship, and even more with my own self-esteem issues. It wasn’t like he was some perfect person I needed to fight over anyway.

So next time you find yourself hating on that “bitch” your boyfriend’s trying to get at, or when someone cheats on you, just stop. Direct your anger towards the person who’s actually doing you wrong, who’s breaking a promise to you. Better yet, ditch them and find someone better, or fly solo, because there’s no use in sticking around with someone who treats you with any less respect than you deserve. I’ve used this technique several times now with different girls and it has a 100% success rate so far. I feel great about myself and I don’t let boyfriends with wandering eyes take up any of my time. Plus now I have all these awesome friends!

Love yourself, love each other, and forget the assholes who bring you down.

Sophrosyne: My First Tattoo

A few days ago, I got my first tattoo.

I’ve actually been looking for the perfect tattoo for me since I turned 18 (the first ideas were all Harry Potter-related, obviously) and only recently did I find the perfect piece that embodied everything I wanted in a tattoo. At first, I just wanted a piece that represented something I’m passionate about. But over the past few months, I started looking for something to commemorate this important chapter of my life: the time I spent finally learning to love myself.

Half of 2013 for me has been a wonderful period of self-discovery and personal growth. I can say without a doubt that this is the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life (excluding most of my time at M.U. Lujan Elementary School; sometimes I think I peaked at 5th grade). It’s exciting, beautiful, and scary all at once. At the same time, I’ve been exploring the idea and feeling of loneliness and how it affects me. As I’ve said many times before, I spent so many years searching for the perfect guy to magically make my life happier. Sliding from one failed, teenage committed relationship into another, serial monogamy was my life. Each time I was dumped, I was convinced again and again that there was something inherently wrong with me; I was just undateable. It comes as no surprise to learn that I didn’t end up finding some perfect person to heal my wounds and make me whole. It did come as a surprise, though, for me to find that I was actually the person I needed to make myself happy and whole.

So with the realization that I am enough for myself and that I don’t need anyone to fix my life (or to do anything for me, for that matter), I’ve been looking out for something to come my way that I could use to commemorate the incredible period of growth I’ve gone through this year. A few weeks ago, it came to me through my friend Franceska’s tumblr: sophrosyne.

sophrosyne

 

The word spoke to my soul. The script was beautiful. The definition was even more beautiful. I immediately reblogged the picture but was left with the impression that there was something about this beautiful word that resonated with me deeply.

After I talked through the idea of the tattoo with a couple of close friends, I researched the word intensively for the next few weeks. I’ll write a post exploring the concept behind sophrosyne later, but here are a few other meanings I learned behind this word:

  • “A healthy mind in a healthy body.”
  • Sophrosyne was a Greek goddess (the spirit of moderation, self-control, temperance, restraint, and discretion).
  • This is a Greek virtue that was lost but is regaining popularity as people now try to focus on more self-realization.
  • Practicing moderation, but because you know you are sated, not because you want to limit yourself from anything.
  • “Know thyself.”
  • Healthy-mindedness and from there self-control or moderation guided by knowledge and balance.
  • It suggests that lifelong happiness may be obtained when one’s mental needs are satisfied, and it resembles the idea of enlightenment through harmonious living.
  • It’s a good virtue to practice in love/relationships; approaching love in with self-control instead of letting it consume you and ruin your life.

Instead of getting a Harry Potter-related tattoo as my first, I ended up with a word that was all me. I won’t rule out getting tattoos in the future to pay homage to books/TV shows/movies I love, but I’m glad that I made the decision to get one that was just about myself. I used to obsess over guys and celebrities/characters, but I’ve grown to the point where I am strong in my own identity, instead of only relying on the objects of my affection to define me.

Long story, medium-short, I impulsively (in my definition of the word, at least) decided to get the tattoo in downtown Santa Barbara with one of my best friends the week before finals. It hurt, but it was bearable, and very empowering. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my adult life so far, and I’m looking forward to a life full of living up to this virtue.

IMG_20131208_155023

You’re Better Than Backsliding

If you’ve ever been through a breakup (at least with someone who hasn’t done anything truly horrible to you), there will almost inevitably be a point when you start to think about them again. You think, “what if?” What would happen if we got back together? Would it really be that bad? Actually, it’d be awesome… why did we even break up in the first place?

This is backsliding.

Backsliding can often refer to sex with an ex partner, but it also can refer to getting back into relationships with former partners.

Sometimes it really is okay and people can get into happy relationships after they’ve broken up and gone through their own personal changes, or if they broke up just because of certain circumstances (e.g. not geographically near each other, conflicting schedules, not emotionally ready yet, etc.).

But more often than not, backsliding is emotionally unhealthy and should be avoided.

I’ve been tempted to backslide more times than I’d like to admit, but I know it’s in my best interest to keep moving forward. Your relationship ended for a reason. Unless that reason is gone and circumstances have changed, and unless your partner is worth your time and effort, you shouldn’t waste your time going back. If you spend so much time stuck in the past, you’ll never enjoy the present.

Here are a few tips I use to avoid backsliding:

  1. Remember why you broke up. If you aren’t together anymore, there’s probably a good reason. Maybe you two fought a lot or weren’t compatible. Maybe he flirted with other girls right in front of you. Maybe he wasn’t ready for a committed relationship (or maybe you weren’t ready either). It is most especially in your best interest if you don’t backslide into a formerly toxic relationship. If he abused you physically/emotionally, cheated on you, or seriously disrespected you somehow, do not forget about this. Use it as a reminder of why you shouldn’t get back together, but don’t let it hold you back from moving forward with your life.
  2. Remind yourself about the deal breakers. E.g.: he didn’t share your core values, he didn’t remember your birthday, he didn’t get along with your best friend, he identified as a “men’s rights activist” (true story from one of my friends), he spent more time playing video games than paying any attention to you, etc. Being in a relationship with someone means that you’ll spend a lot of time together. If you know that you can’t stand being around him because of these deal breakers, why bother trying again? This is your chance to find people whose company you do enjoy. Don’t miss it!
  3. Think about the future. Do you really want to end up with this person? If you don’t see the relationship going anywhere in the future, why waste your time with someone who you don’t see yourself with in the long haul? Sticking with someone just because they’re familiar or because you’re comfortable with them can hold you back from meeting new people who you may be much more compatible with, or someone who you could live with happily, instead of your ex.
  4. Ask yourself why you’re doing it. Are you lonely? Do you miss the familiarity of your old relationship? Loneliness comes and goes, but it can lead to true happiness as you grow stronger and find people who bring a positive influence to your life. Familiarity is nice but with time, you can become familiar and comfortable with other people, too.
  5. Don’t settle. Sure, your ex might have made you feel great and attractive at some points in your relationship. He might have done nice things for you sometimes. But always remember that things happen for a reason. If you broke up, it’s only an opportunity to grow as an individual and to start over. Just because your ex is an option doesn’t mean he’s the only option. With time, things will get better. Outside of your past relationship, there is always the possibility of happiness, but if you go back to your past relationship, you’re more likely to get into the same problems you had before and restart that cycle. Try to stick it out even if it’s difficult because the best is yet to come.

You’ll Be Ready

Here’s a poem-ish piece I wrote in July 2013:

You’ll Be Ready

It is going to be hard.
There will be times when you want to give up.
There will be lonely nights.
Lots of them.
Ones when you’ll wish you had someone beautiful and soft to cuddle up with
To spoon you and curl around your backside so that you feel safe and warm.
There will be days when you hate everyone and everything in your life
And you’ll wish you had that one person who will listen and understand.
There will be beautiful sunsets
Dozens, hundreds, even thousands of them
And you’ll wish you had a hand to hold in yours
To witness the earth’s natural glory
And ground you with their presence.

But you won’t have that hand.
You’ll be alone.
You’ll watch those sunsets and remember that life is beautiful
and love is beautiful
and you don’t need anyone else’s hand
to feel love.
And on those shitty days when you hate
everyone and everything
You’ll breathe.
And write.
And remember all the good things you do have
even if it’s hard.
And on those lonely nights you wish you’d
spent making love or simply enjoying
someone’s arms wrapped around you
as you drift in and out of sleep
You’ll read a book
turn off the lights
tuck yourself in tightly
and lie with the pain, in honesty.
It will hurt
And maybe you’ll cry
But you’ll heal
and grow
And one day, you won’t need anyone
to feel happy or whole
You’ll just love because you want to
Not because you need to.

“Love when you’re ready

Not when you’re lonely”

Thanksgiving

Last Thanksgiving was the last time I ever talked to my most serious ex. I’m going to be completely honest. He ruined Thanksgiving for me (I’ll refrain from going into details about it). *Cut to this year* I came home yesterday excited to see my family, but I was mostly anxious to get the holiday over and move on with my life. Thanksgiving has never been one of my favorite holidays anyway because as a kid, I hated the *cough* white people food *cough*.

As a now-broke and hungry college student, I love any food that comes my way (aside from red meat, of course). I realize now that I was going about Thanksgiving all wrong. I had an unpleasant experience that happened to come on Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean that I have to let the past dictate my present. Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for the blessings in our lives (although I still feel uncomfortable celebrating a holiday with such problematic beginnings). It’s a time to let go of the negative aspects of life that holds us back and appreciate the good that surrounds us.

So for this Thanksgiving, I’m going to try my best to accept that my past is the past, and the if I continue to let it affect my present, I’m only letting the negativity win. I have an amazing life filled with people who love me, I attend a UC, I have 2 adorable cats, and I’ve grown so much over the past year in terms of self-love. Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and I hope you can all find things in your life to be grateful for too.

–Chloe

Breakups are Opportunities (to do more than eat your feelings)

As I’ve said many times before, breakups are the worst. But really, they don’t have to be as bad as you make them out to be. I spent some time reading my journal entries from a few months ago and found some really good advice from past-Chloe to present-Chloe.

Breakups may hurt a lot, but they also give you an opportunity to decide what kind of a person you want to be. In most of my past relationships (and I have so much proof of this in my diaries), I was this small, needy person who over-analyzed every tiny aspect of her partners. Whether it was something they said to me, something they did or didn’t do for me, I dissected the shit out of anything that involved my exes.

But after my breakups, I try my best to reflect on what went wrong and what went right. For figuring out what went wrong, I write a list of things I did that I wouldn’t want to do in any future relationships (e.g. Facebook stalking, waiting on his texts, leaving my plans for the day open so I always have time for him) so I can look back on it and remind myself what not to do. I do the same thing for my ex–I’ll write a list of ways I felt that he mistreated me or aspects about him that were essentially deal-breakers, so I remember not to let anyone do the same to me again (e.g. doesn’t like Community, checks my phone for texts from other guys, swears at me, flirts with other girls right in front of me/behind my back). I know how easy it is to romanticize the past, so I make sure to write the bad memories down to ground me. At the same time, I try to keep a fair account of the good memories too, so I remember that my past relationships did have love and benefits to them.

After every relationship, you’re bound to change somehow, so your expectations and standards for relationships might very well be different from the ones you had when you first got into your past relationship. A breakup is a good time to re-evaluate what you want from relationships, or if you even want a new relationship. My standards for relationships have changed immensely, just in the past few months. As I’m approaching the big 21 in a few months, I’m reminded of the fact that the next person I date might end up being my future husband or wife. With that in mind, I know better than to date someone who doesn’t bring anything positive to my life or somehow help me to become a better person. It’s good to pause between relationships to remember that you are beautiful and you deserve someone who will treat you with love and respect. What’s worse than being single is ending up with someone you settled for just because you were lonely.

Breakups suck, but you can still make the best of them. Re-evaluate what you want out of your life and out of your next potential relationships and always remember that you deserve the best, much better than the last one. Don’t ever let heartbreak screw you up; you are better than staying lovescrewed.
–Chloe

Past-Chloe's sound advice
Past-Chloe’s sound advice