We Moved!

Hi, hello, from the great state of Washington. The good ol' pacific northwest. We out here. 

I know this came as a bit of a shock to most of you... and I'm going to include myself in that category because this definitely was a quick move! We had a 1 year signed lease at our place in southern California... and we were only there for about 6 months total. It just so happens, Spencer, being the hard working busy bee that he is, got an amazing job offer from a company here in WA. A dream job - if you will. We could not turn this down, there's just no way. He deserves this.

It's quite funny, I remember talking to Spencer back in October 2017 when we still lived in Long Beach saying "Let's just move to Washington or something" and looking at houses drooling over the affordable prices.. it was extremely far fetched (I thought) because in our heads... we needed a reason. Our families are in CA, everything we've ever known is in CA, so for us personally, we needed a legit reason. 

And literally, 2 months later... we had a reason. 

Let me start off by stating the obvious - moving is scary as fuck. Even if you know you're making the right decision, you're excited to make new friends and explore a new city, to have more room and save money - it doesn't matter, it's still fucking scary. It's a fact. 

This does not mean, however, that it is impossible to do - obviously. If it wasn't hard it wouldn't be worth it. I miss my parents so much, they're my best friends but I'm equally as excited to show them around whenever they come and visit. If you focus on that, it's so much easier. 

Moving with a significant other.

Moving as a couple is also a challenge. Regardless of how perfect your relationship may be, (no relationship is perfect), if you throw stress and a deadline to pick up and move your entire life and all of it's belongings into the mix, it's gonna be hard. Don't deny that. But if you work as a team blah blah blah, I'm serious though - it works. Be prepared for the word 'team' to come up a lot in this section. Communication is everything. I'm only going to touch on this subject for a little bit so if you're interested, keep reading - if not, skip to the next paragraph. 

Every person is different, they handle change very differently and they also handle stress very differently. It's important to be aware of yourself but also aware of what the other person needs in order to feel confident about moving far away. Me, for example, I've moved away from home before when I was 18 to Illinois, sure it was VERY different as I had little to nothing holding me back and I quit my job and BYE. I was just a baby. However, Spencer has never moved very far away from his family. Whether you're 18 or 28, it's never a fun time saying goodbye to family. We were spoiled. We are big family people. So, while I'm somewhat prepared and familiar with the goodbye part - he was not. Respect the hell out of that. Don't sit there saying "It's fine you'll be fine I was fine". You're not them and that's not what they want to hear. Just simply BE THERE for them, give them space when they need it and be supportive. 

Secondly, I highly suggest sitting down and going over finances and rent/mortgage questions BEFORE you move. Not only is this just time efficient, but it is mentally so healthy. There won't be any panicking over bills when you're already there - this risks you potentially feeling trapped if you do not agree on something. If you gotta write out a rent contract so you're both aware of who pays for what and how things are split, do it. There's nothing wrong with that. But doing it BEFORE you get to your destination is always a smart thing to do. You go into the situation with confidence and more importantly - you're on the same page. And holy hell is that important.

You're a team. Act like a team. Be respectful of the other persons feelings and the way they handle change and talk about what you're excited about. Make plans to explore and be a supportive unit to the... team. I say team a lot.

Be a fucking team.

Quick insight on me as a human before we continue.

I am an unapologetic outgoing introvert. I'm not shy by any means, I will talk to strangers and put myself out there (to an extent).. but when it comes to navigating the unfamiliar BY MYSELF, hm nope. I've always been that person that didn't like to do things alone, unless I had done it a dozen times before and was familiar. You wouldn't ever see me sitting in a restaurant eating by myself, I'd rather drive thru and sit in my car alone. I never wanted to be the one to make outgoing general inquiry phone calls. No, you call and order the pizza. But during this move and especially BEING HERE.. I'm really proud of myself and how I'm overcoming these obstacles on a daily basis like it's no big deal. Quick tiny shout out to myself, hey go you. Just know that it is OKAY to be this way, there's nothing wrong with you, we're all wired differently. These tasks may seem like NOTHING to some people, but that doesn't make them better than you. You're not less of a person for being scared of the unknown. Hello, hi, *waves* You're not alone. 

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Something I heard recently, and it's solid advice, is to pick something you want to do and pick something you need to do - one thing a day, minimum. It can be something as small as taking a shower, cooking your favorite meal, sitting outside and reading a book for a few minutes, anything... and then pick something you need to do, like laundry, going to the gym, running a simple errand, anything. I guarantee this way of thinking will do nothing but improve your anxieties over time because lists and things of that nature always help me. Makes me feel accomplished at the end of the day.

Don't be afraid to reach out to locals. A very smart and nerdy thing I did before moving here was I joined a Community Group on Facebook. If I had any questions, for ex: I was looking for a good kennel free boarding place for Warwick... just trying to be productive. And asking everyone in that community group was SO helpful. Even just scroll through and reading other peoples questions and answers was super reassuring. Especially if you're looking for a place to live - asking the locals what good areas are is so smart. Just my two cents.

Don't sweat it. Just tackle this one day at a time. You'll do great.

The Actual Moving Process.

So this was a struggle for me at first, I kept going back and forth and back and forth between moving companies to use. We knew we didn't want to drive our stuff up ourselves, just because we had the dog and Spencer's car, it just felt a lot less stressful and easier to go with a company. I researched 4 or 5, called and got quotes or honestly some of them never even got back to my emails. I had danced with the idea of using PODS because I heard so many of my friends use them, but had of course heard mixed reviews... I got a quote, set it aside, and kept looking. I had called a company called Zippy Movers, talked to a lady on the phone for 25 minutes (20 of those minutes was her telling me how much PODS sucked instead of educating me on their moving process... a bit fishy) But I wrote down the quote anyway, a little bit cheaper but not by much. It's always good to do research and read reviews.

When it came down to crunch time, we went with PODS. They had been super helpful in answering my questions (all 10,000 of them) and were super responsive and easy to book. The POD arrived at the apartment, we hired movers to pack it up (recommended!) and it got picked up and went on it's way. This gave us 7 days without our things. We had packed a bags worth of stuff, stayed in town for a few more days and left. We were so eager to get up here we left sooner, took 3 days to drive up, and spent 3 days at the house without our stuff and just an inflatable air mattress. (not recommended) or maybe our air mattress just sucked. My back was killing me and I couldn't WAIT to unload our bed. If I could go back and do it again, I would've waited and arrived when our stuff arrived but 3 days isn't so bad and I'm being a baby. 

The POD was dropped off (on time) and we hired movers to help unload because we did have some bulky heavy items... but when I look back at it, we could have easily had friends come over and help us unload and that would've saved us a few $$. But it's alright. Having the movers LOAD everything into the POD was crucial. You should hire a company that is familiar with PODS and how to pack them tightly so nothing gets damaged. As far as unloading goes, it's very black and white, there's no special way to do it. You don't really need experts. It's not rocket science. Again, just my two cents.

All in all, I would 100% recommend PODS. I would use them again if we ever move again in the future. Most of the horror stories I have heard were regarding having them store the POD for a few weeks before it's delivered. So I probably wouldn't do that (if possible). Just straight and narrow - pick up, drop off k thanks bye. That's the way to go.

*not sponsored by PODS, we paid for that shit.

So. Here's our perfect little home. We're renting, for anyone who's wondering. We live in a HOUSE that's twice the size of our apartment in CA with a 2 car garage and it's CHEAPER RENT THAN WHAT WE WERE PAYING. *looks into camera like The Office* 

I didn't know what to expect when moving here, but I can honestly say I have zero regrets. It feels so right. I'm not going to say "Why didn't we do this sooner?" because honestly... timing is everything... and it was perfect timing. For me, for Spencer & I as a couple, for everything. It's important to notice that. 

I hope this post was helpful to ANYONE who's looking for advice on moving long distance, especially those in relationships. Spencer and I have learned so much during this process and if sharing our experience is helpful - I'M ABOUT IT. I'll forever be transparent with you all. Love you guys! xo

ps. Thanks for the warm welcome, WA. It's been BEAUTIFUL here ever since we arrived and I hope I didn't just jinx that. crap.

I Survived An Abusive Marriage.

Okay, where do I even start here...

First off. I was never one to be pressured into doing things, even in high school. I never felt like I gave in to anything I didn't want to do. Hell, it's 2017 and I still have never smoked weed and I'm cool with that. Not my cup of tea. I liked doing my own thing. I still do. But peer pressure is absolutely nothing compared to being scared to leave an unhealthy situation. 

circa 2008

circa 2008

Eighteen years old. Working part time making smoothies with my friends and hanging out. Your typical teenager. I've always been into the internet and blogging; hell yeah I had a melodramatic, a live journal, a myspace, flickr, etc. you name it. I had no real big online presence by any means, but that has never stopped me from writing and being social. One thing lead to another and I met a guy online through a mutual friend who lived a few states away. A bit older than me, but at 18, that was totally cool. *exaggerated eye roll* As these stories go, they are great in the beginning. Of course. No complaints. I felt loved and treated well and I was happy. I visited him, he came out here to CA once, and within 3-4 months I made the 18 year old decision to quit my job and move there. Fuck it. You only live once, right? 

There were definitely red flags once I made the move. Nights when I would be on the phone with my mom and had her asking me if I wanted to come home. But in my mind, all I could think about was that I had already made such a big commitment in moving, my car was driven all the way out here, I had no job to go home to, I was scared. I would brush it off, cry and wake up the next day hoping it would be better. Sometimes it was or sometimes a blow out argument would occur for the slightest reasons. Yet there I was, still taking photos and posting them to everyone like everything was great. It's weird how you go to this place in your mind where you're numb and everything is cloudy and you're just sort of floating through each day, walking on egg shells and trying to them happy and forgetting about yourself.

circa 2008

circa 2008

Not even 2 months later, we came back out to visit my family for the holidays. Apparently he asked my parents permission to marry me and they told him to wait longer. Of course he didn't listen. It was hardly a proposal. I don't even think the words "Will you marry me?" came out of his mouth at all. He just tried putting on a ring that was at least 3 sizes too big. He got angry and threw a little fit. Romantic, right? I tried to stay calm. I was scared and not knowing how to act. He told me that my entire family was waiting at the house and that I "needed to act happy." I threw up a little on the way to the car. Trust me, a congratulations was hardly needed.

circa 2009

circa 2009

I sometimes wonder how painfully obvious I was to the people around me or how completely oblivious everyone was. I never knew what people were thinking but I never really told anyone because the days would fluctuate so rapidly. I was usually pretty good at hiding my emotions back then. I got flung into wedding planning and was enjoying it. What girl wouldn't at 18/19? We ended up getting matching tattoos and told each other that after the wedding we would each get the second piece to complete it. Needless to say, I got the second piece after the wedding and he never did. Clever foreshadowing, universe... if only I had taken notice. A few months flew by, we ended up moving out to CA because I knew I would feel safer near my family. I really missed home. The wedding happened. That's all I have to say...it happened. No fond memories or crazy enjoyable moments. It was awkward and I was painfully sober. A big waste of money is what I think and it makes me physically sick. What an expensive lesson. I am so sorry mom & dad.

Nineteen years old. Newly married to someone I had zero respect for and who clearly had zero respect for me right back. Tumbling down the rabbit hole we went. I figured, well, this is my life I can't back out now. Not even a month into the marriage, being in an unfamiliar place for him with zero friends, he put me on constant watch. It was go to work and come straight home. If I didn't, I was questioned. No grocery store by myself, because why on earth would I go without him? What's the password for your computer? Email? I would take my laptop with me to work just so he wouldn't try and break it if I wasn't there. Most arguments would end with me trying to be calm and stepping outside to get some air but getting locked out of the house or locked out on the balcony in the cold. One time when I stepped out I took my keys with me, because I knew his locking pattern, yet came back to find the door barricaded shut with the coffee table. A few times I was forced to pee in our kitchen sink because he locked me out of our bathroom. Getting called stupid for overcooking dinner or folding the laundry "wrong". This did not seem like typical married life to me but I didn't know what to do about it. I was always told you get married once. I had never had the "What if I want to get divorced?" talk with anyone before. 

circa 2011

circa 2011

No, I was never punched in the face or thrown down a flight of stairs but that does not mean this relationship wasn't abusive. There are so many different types of abuse. There were times when I would wish he would hit me so that I would have a reason to leave and I'd have physical proof to show people. But you almost feel foolish running to the police or any authoritative person with "He's calling me names and being mean to me." You somehow, in your naive frightened mind, feel like it's not a good enough excuse. But I'm telling you, it is. It fucking is.  

Twenty one years old. I left. I lasted 1 year and 10 months somehow. I don't even know how I made it that long. I am the first one to always admit that it takes two people to create a problem in any relationship. I wasn't going to walk away from this unless I knew I tried everything possible to fix it. Just for my sanity. I got myself a therapist. It felt amazing having a neutral person to talk to about my frustrations but of course, I was still a bit guarded in disclosing some details. About 2 months later, feeling a bit more confident... I was slowly gaining respect for myself; I started to see the light. She had asked me to invite him to our next weekly session. Now, this was my ah-ha moment. My light bulb. Everyone has one. I asked him to come, and I got the response: "Why would I go when you're the one with the issues?" 

K, bye. 

He went out to visit his family a few days later, I did not go with him, and while he was gone I had friends and family help me move my stuff out. I finally felt strong enough to leave. I tried everything to better myself for the sake of whatever was left of the relationship and he basically spat in my face when it came to doing his part. That's okay. I'm okay. I'm better without you. I will never have a "what if" thought because I tried so I'm moving on with my head held high.

I have never publicly written about this portion of my life before. Even when it was happening. Mainly because I was still healing from everything and trying to move on, but mostly because I didn't want anyone to feel sorry for me. Yes, I was the victim, but I never wanted to be viewed as a victim. Does that make sense? I also felt like it was really nobodies business and if they wanted to make their own judgements about me without asking, then cool whatever. I lost a few friends who never bothered to ask and just assumed I was young and wanted to play the field some more and didn't take the institution of marriage seriously. *shrug* When you're 21 years old and you're at the courthouse alone filing for a divorce, you don't get the most comforting looks. People don't know and that's okay. I knew what happened and that's what's most important. People will still assume and say to me "Well you're writing off marriage now huh." Um... Absolutely not, I definitely want to get married again. Why would I blame the institution of marriage because one person was a complete asshole? 

The best thing I did afterwards was stay in therapy. Building myself back up and focusing on ME was so important. The worst thing I did was try to find comfort in jumping into other relationships. Going from the mentality of "this is forever" to "okay it's not forever, I'm free" is quite a culture shock especially since I was so young and still very naive. The one thing I do regret is jumping into things so quickly because I ended up hurting some people who didn't deserve it. 

before / after

before / after

It's now been 6 years since I left.

I just recently covered a big piece of the past. That matching tattoo. This was a total psychological cover up. Nobody should ever be forced to carry around a painful reminder and nobody should ever feel ashamed for the ways they need to heal.

This tattoo is now mine and only mine. I feel such a sense of pride in this. Fuck. It feel so good. 

Now. (Almost) Twenty seven years old. Today. I am 200% confident in saying that if this all never happened to me, I would not be the person I am today. Now, that's not saying I'm glad it happened...at all. What I'm saying is it's all about perspective. I spent years trying to grasp "why me? why me?" and sulk about it but when it came to eventually healing... it ended up shaping me and making me strong because of how I viewed the situation, not because it happened. I'm really proud of who I am because of that bullshit. Thus my "give no fucks" attitude was born. I now put respect at the top of my list when it comes to relationships. Even friendships. I am so happy now and I recognize my worth because of the times when it wasn't recognized. I am in a healthy relationship with someone who respects me and loves me and pushes me to be better. Spencer, you are an angel. 

A very big part in why I'm choosing to share this with you is... I never had someone to relate to, to run to, to confide in when I was going through all of this shit. When I was slowly realizing that the things that were happening to me were not normal I would print out articles online regarding abusive relationships and make all of the necessary connections but as we know, wikipedia isn't always very personal. There could be 5 million different definitions of this shit. I'd rather hear from a freaking human being who's been through it. Who is now.. me. 

I'd like to think I'm a good example of how you can trudge through trauma and still come out on the right side. You are not unlovable. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to be the one to create it and you have every tool necessary. The more I viewed this whole situation as one big lesson, the less and less I regret it happening. I just think - the more I learn from, hell.. everything that has ever happened to me, the better person I will be tomorrow. All of the times I got fucked over, the times I fucked others over, it's all to help you grow - it just depends on how you look at it. Like I said, it's all about your perspective. 

If sharing my story helps even just one person who is currently in the same position or a similar position I was in so many years ago, that's all I want. Know that I am here and you are not alone. This is not the end. So much life exists after abuse and so does love.



I Don't Have Many Girlfriends.

I've never been one to be in a girl clique. A constant group text of together-ness, nail appointments and slumber parties. Some might find that surprising considering the vast number of girls who follow this blog. But, internet friends aside, when we're talking about real life, it's true.

Growing up I always had a constant best friend, 1 girlfriend who was my side kick and we'd be together every weekend if we could. I mostly hung out with the boys because they were simple, they didn't mind playing in the dirt and they got my jokes. In elementary school I had one best girl friend, junior high I had a few, and in high school I had one for about 10 years straight. Besides those select few, I was always the friend who was the "floater." I'd like to think I'm pretty easy to get along with and I am definitely not shy when it comes to meeting new people and fitting in with my surroundings; I admire myself for that. But, planning girls nights out and having weekend getaways in Palm Springs was never something that I've ever wanted to do. That was okay with me. 

It wasn't until after high school when my sister got married that I started feeling like "Okay, maybe something is wrong with me." Nothing personal against my sister, her and I are just complete opposites but being constantly surrounded by it when I was little I figured that's how every girl should be. She has had the same group of girlfriends since elementary school and here I was, 17 years old trying to plan her bachelorette party with all of her friends realizing, "Who the heck would I have in my wedding? I don't even KNOW that many girls, let alone ones I'm that close with."  

Some girls are wired to have a lot of girlfriends, but some are wired to only have a few select close ones. Some say it has to do with being an extrovert or an introvert but I don't really think that's true. Some girls really connect with other women; that girl bond is sacred to them and is vital in their life. They treasure it. It's a community. Others, like myself, are more wired for an intimate connection with maybe one or two girlfriends perhaps, but even more so in a relationship with a guy. That is just a more comfortable connection. (Just choose them wisely) What I've learned? Both ways are OKAY. There is nothing wrong with either party.

I get messages sometimes asking why I don't post photos on Instagram of me "out with the girlfriends" and I, like I have been my whole life, get immediately judged for it. Assuming that I don't have many friends in real life and maybe I just fake my personality for my internet persona. I gotta be honest, that sounds like a lot of work. Ain't nobody got time for that, haha. Also for the record, just because someone doesn't post a photo of them doing something, doesn't mean it never actually happened. Oh internet...

My point is, we shouldn't be judging other girls based on whether or not they have a group of girlfriends or not. We should be on each other's team, not acting like there are two different teams. There are no sides, there is no right or wrong. We are wired different for a reason, so we can learn from one another. Let's focus on that instead. 

I wanted to write this post for all of the girls who are like me, to tell you that there's nothing wrong with you and you aren't defective. I've learned to love the way I am and you should too. 

Girl clique or not, I consider all of you my friends and I wouldn't have it any other way. *group hug*