it makes me crazy that i'm drawing inspiration from taylor freakin' swift

of all people, but she sings a ridiculously chipper and unfortunately catchy song about things that shine and I can't get it out of my head.

I can't even begin to tell you the number of times in life that people have told me to do what makes me happy. We all go through it. Before we're shoved out of childhood and into young adulthood, it's the number one piece of advice anyone will give us. "Follow your dreams. Listen to your heart. Reach for the stars. Do what makes you happy."

Lately, for whatever reason, I can't seem to get away from people who are concerned about my happiness. Yes, it's great to know I have people looking out for me. And yes, I know I'm blessed to have that kind of care and concern in my life. But when the casual "and how are things going for you these days?" turns into an interrogation about the choices I make and the things that are actually making me happy, I start to feel a little less blessed and a little more ticked off. Not at the person asking, but more at myself.

Here's the problem: I'm turning into someone I don't like to convince everyone else that I'm doing alright. And I'd love to know at what point in my life I decided that I had to live by any definition of happiness other than my own. I'd love to know when I decided it was important to convince anyone else other than myself that I'm happy where I am, the way the things are.

Seriously. Where did that come from? Why do any of us ever try to change what we do for the sake of what other people think? Doesn't Dr. Seuss teach us all at the age of 5 to be who we are and say what we feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind?

As of this moment, I'm officially done pretending, done trying to play a part that I just don't fit. I'm done listening to what everyone else tells me I should do or how everyone else tells me I should feel, because I can't afford to do anymore damage than I already have.

I have a good thing going right now. I don't need anything more and I certainly don't need to change who I am.  I'm happier than I ever have been, and I'd like to keep it that way.

At the end of the day, the only person who really knows what you need is yourself. God love her, Tay Swift has a point. The stakes are high and the water's rough, but this love, this life, this happiness, this whatever belongs to you and you alone. And if people wanna throw rocks at it? Just say f*ck 'em.

No need to keep worrying your pretty little mind. :)


"you're welcome to come over and bitch about it all whenever you want,"

she tells me as we leave her screened-in porch. "Because I'm telling you, the next year of your life is going to be hell."

And as I say goodbye, get in my car and drive back towards 495, it sets in. It's finally happening, I've finally been given the chance to get out of the what-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life-now rut that I've been stuck in since May 15th, 2010. I'll be starting nursing school in four months. And working full-time. And trying to keep the little bits of my life that aren't already consumed by work intact.

Yes, indeed, the next year of my life is going to be hell. The worst part about that statement is that right now, I feel like I only barely have a hold on my life and my sanity as it is.

So then I start thinking: what's changed? Where did I mess up? Things are falling into place. I have a plan. I finally have a purpose. So... why do I feel more lost now than I did two years ago, when I had no idea what my next move was going to be?

And it hits me. Maybe it's because I stopped writing.

Anyone who knows me knows that speaking up is not my greatest strength. I surround myself with people who are loud and extroverted because I admire their ability to do what I just haven't figured out how to do yet. I have a lot to say, but I have no idea how to say it.

The purpose of this stupid overly-pink blog has always been to give me a place to process the millions of things that go through my mind every second; a place to speak without speaking, to share with everyone around me all the things I want to say to them instead of burying it all inside until I find myself doing clinically troubling totally emotionally stable things like driving 2 hours to Sandwich in the middle of February to sit on the beach for 5 minutes and get a coffee from Mary Lou's because I just need to take a break from existing for a while. My Honda has been in poor health lately and just can't keep taking on that kind of responsibility.

I forgot about this thing for so long. Which is really too bad, because as I look through some of the old entries, I'm realizing that the things I write say more about me and about who I am than I've ever been able to say about myself.

Big changes are coming. Big steps, big moves. And for the sake of my mental health, I can't afford to keep going through life without telling people what's really going on. Will I take up the offer to sit on a screened-in porch and bitch about it all? Most likely yes. But for the times I can't do that, I need somewhere else to go to let it all out.

Watch out, friends. I'm back. I have a lot I need to say. And you're all about to get an earful of it.