The Wolf and The Lamb

Despite doing all I could, I never quite fit in. But I would try. Lord, would I try. I wanted to be the perfect girl, skinny and beautiful and deserving of my future husband.

Since I can remember, that’s all I would obsess over. Being worthy of a good man. After all, that was supposed to be my main goal. As a young woman in that sect of Christianity, the only way to lead a fulfilled life was to get married ASAP, then pregnant within the following year.

That’s what I thought I wanted, at least. That’s what I was constantly told I needed to want, so naturally, I obeyed. While the boys learned how to survive in the mountains, I was being taught how to put on my makeup to impress them.

It never happened, though. For whatever reason, the boys never wanted anything to do with me. Whether I was too chubby, my hair too brown and messy, my personality too loud and excitable– I don’t know. When the other girls my age were being asked on dates, I was spending my nights at home watching TV and listening to sad music.

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I didn’t let anyone know how upset I was, even as the years passed and I felt more and more unwanted. People I knew started meeting their future spouses, getting engaged. I kept going to singles’ activities. They started having kids. I went out with someone every now and again, but there was rarely a second date.

When I left my hometown to continue my education, I thought to myself, this is a fresh start. I can make new friends in this bigger city, I can find a man and hopefully get my life back on track. I wanted to be an active churchgoer again, return to the good graces of god.

Three weeks after moving and attending my new church, I went home and cried.

I was in a new city, not knowing a single person, not having a single friend– and everyone at my new church alienated the hell out of me. They wouldn’t speak to me. I sat by myself each week, despite attempts to make nice. Everything was rushing back again– was I too ugly? Too fat? Did I not look friendly? Were my legs not crossed tightly enough?

I stopped going altogether.

When friends and concerned family back home asked if I had a boyfriend, my answer was always the same: “Haha, nope, not yet! I’m not really worried about it right now!”

In truth, though, I wanted to say this: “I don’t want to be a housewife. I don’t like kids. Every boy I meet is boring and ambitionless.”

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No one knew how miserably lonely I was. No one knew how depressed I was, because I didn’t have a niche anymore. I was no longer a good Christian girl, but I had to pretend to be. I didn’t belong there, moreso than ever before. And If I told them I was depressed, they would respond with, “have you been reading your bible? Have you been praying?”

Throughout all of this, I was going to school. I took a graphic design class one semester, because at the time that’s what I wanted to major in. In that class, I met Mary.

She was all the things I secretly wanted to be, but couldn’t, growing up conservative. Cool, grunge, punk badass. She wore ripped jeans, crop tops, beanies, she had 100 piercings in each ear and more in her nose. Her lipstick was dark, her nail polish darker.

The voice in my head, the one trained since I was a kid in sunday school, began to whisper things to me.

“Why does she have to make such a spectacle of herself?”

“Is that crop top really necessary? Who is she trying to impress?”

I told the voice to shut up. What did it matter to me?

Nonetheless, I felt that voice’s effects. I wasn’t supposed to interact with the wolves, the people who weren’t of my flock. That was what I was always taught. And this girl was a wolf if I’d ever seen one.

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I would never speak to her first, but I didn’t realize I was doing it. She would talk to me, though. A lot, and I wouldn’t carry on the conversation if I didn’t have to. Looking back, I must’ve seemed like a real bitch. She was nothing but nice– but that voice never stopped whispering, and it was constantly seeking out things to use against her.

A year later, returning to school in the fall was a mixed bag of emotions.

Walking into my first class that fall morning, I remember I was wearing the cutest dress I owned. The skirt was a little too short to be modest, so I wore tights underneath. It was sleeveless, so I had a jacket on over the top, at least until I left the house and watchful gaze of my new religious roommates.

I reached my first class early, and sat outside in the hallway with a few others, when someone approached me. I slapped on my best customer-service voice, prepared to smile and end the interaction within just a few seconds– before recognizing her face from somewhere. It took a second to recall it, but when I did, I felt like I’d been hit by a train. It was that wolf from my digital art class.

We sat next to each other when the room opened up, and it was nice to have someone I knew to be with. At the time, I was friendless, sad, and floating through a life I was pretending to live for the sake of my family and those watching me. Good Christian girl, with opaque tights under her questionably-knee length skirt.

Wolf-girl reintroduced herself. Mary. I remembered, when she reminded me. When we first met in the digital art class, I thought about the nursery rhyme when she first told me, and it was ironic. Mary had a little lamb, whose fleece was black as death.

Mary and I hit it off better than I expected. She intimidated me, but I liked it. I invited her to my D&D group. My contact lens broken apart in my eye the first session I drove her to, and she thought we were going to die. I had to drive back to my house with only one working eye. We couldn’t stop laughing.

I started opening up to her more, and I stopped feeling so sad all of the time. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel like a fake. I didn’t feel like I had to be just another carbon copy in order to fit in, in order to be wanted. I could talk to her about the real world without needing to sugarcoat it. Without having to tailor it to god or the church. I felt like I was able to breathe again.

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Eventually, though, I was back to feeling breathless. Honestly, I didn’t know what was happening to me, my brain was scrambled eggs. Talking, hanging out, it didn’t matter, I just wanted to fill all of my waking (and sleeping) hours with her. My heart would was race when I saw her. We’d hold hands and cuddle on her couch, and I’d never felt more content.

It took a cry-session in her car for us to finally admit we wanted to be together– and (as far as I’m concerned) god said, let it be done.

Sometimes I still have to combat against the learned-voices that hide in my head, those that tell me I’m wrong. I’m a bad person. I’m reserving my place in hell.

The same voices that, for the longest time, beat me up because I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, virtuous enough to deserve a marriage to a good husband.

Never in my life did I expect my “sinful” gay relationship to be the thing that finally taught me I was worthy of a fulfilled life away from a wedding and a kid. My childhood church promised I would never be happier than I was with them– but lying in bed with my girlfriend on late Friday nights, keeping each other warm at football games, making milkshake runs in the middle of snowstorms, bingeing Assassin’s Creed on Sunday mornings in t-shirts and leggings– I beg to differ.

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I Made A “How To Draw Manga” Book For a Boy I Liked

Have you ever done something so incredibly embarrassing that just thinking about it makes you want to rocket up and out of the Matrix mainframe so you can ideally delete yourself from the existence of time and space?

NO?

Let’s take a journey together. A journey back to the messy year that was 2012.

Let me tell you right now that I am in a happily committed relationship with a ✨GIRL✨, and that only makes this more painful to recount.

I wrote a big long open letter to the world about the religious community in which I was raised and how it really f**ked me up emotionally and in terms of my self-esteem and sexuality, but it’s currently sitting idly in Cosmo’s email inbox waiting to maybe, hopefully, be published– like, someday. So. Maybe one day it’ll be visible to the light of day. For the time being though, let me give you the abridged version:

I was raised thinking I wouldn’t amount to anything unless I got married and had babies AS SOON AS PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE. And so, when any traditionally-attractive man would give me the time of day, I would fall head over heels for him, imagining our lives together with our ten kids and nice house. (LAUGHS FOREVER)

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I met James in our psychology class. He was cool, and charismatic, and smart, and funny, and he made me feel nice and like I was an interesting person. In the end, he was actually just a very social person who probably felt bad for me or something, but needless to say, I can’t honestly state that he’s an actual decent person anymore after the way everything ended between us. I spent all of my emotional energy trying to impress him, but it was never enough, and so into the depression pit I tumbled. God, I hated 2012.

During these classes when he’d sit next to me, we’d spend a lot of time doodling together. He wanted to learn how to draw ~anime~, so I’d show him some stuff. He was always really impressed with my sick skills, for whatever reason, and I spent most of every lecture drawing chibis on his arms.

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And so, when his birthday came around, I knew exactly what I wanted to do for him. By this point, I felt like we had a pretty strong rapport, we were friendly, and I was desperate for him to fall in love with me following one big grand gesture, or whatever.

I also am just the best at gifts, so, what can I say.

I did what any other weebass victim of the cupid’s sparrow would do: I composed an entire How to Draw Manga book for him, everything drawn by me, everything written by me. And then, I printed all of the pages out and bound them together into an actual, physical book. On one side, wowie wow wow, what a great gift! On the other hand though, damn girl, you thirsty for this pasty ass white boy.

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Needless to say, he and I didn’t end up together. And honestly thank god, because soon after, he was married with a kid on the way. Hooooo boy. I’ll stick to my scary-cute gf, thnks.
If you really want to see the entire thing in it’s entirety, I guess I’ll upload it. (Honestly, should I be charging for this? There’s some hella advice in here. That 2012 art though, yikes. If you want to see where I stand now, hit up my art tumblr or my deviantart.)

🌈Happy glad-to-be-gay Valentine’s Day, everybody🌈

 

The Anime Monologues

I grew up drawing anime, and I guess it could’ve been worse.

Yu-Gi-Oh! was technically the first “anime” I was a big fan of as a kid, if that even counts (I think it counts in the same way that Pokemon counts as an anime, in that anything touched by 4Kids doesn’t count. Eh.)

After that, though, came FullMetal Alchemist, which all in all is a freaking anime, by anyone’s standard. Yeah! Hell yeah! A real anime!

Edward Elric was my first anime crush (well, ok, after Yami Yugi/Pharaoh Atem, if we’re splitting hairs here.) I think my first anime swag was an FMA shoulder bag that I got at Hot Topic. I RP’d over MSN Messenger with my equally 11-years-old best friend at the time, and Mary-Sue’d the hell out of myself.giphy-67Even before all of this, though, I was drawing anime.

It was definitely my entrenchment in YGO that all of this happened, but the gateway-drug that was FMA didn’t help. I was the quiet, weird kid in the back of the class drawing bug-eyed cat girls and perpetually angry dudes with pencil-thin eyebrows and winking eyes that perpetually tried to escape the outline of the face. I drew the pointy hair, the glittery irises, the tiny triangle mouths. I had a library of How to Draw Manga book stuffed under my bed, dog-eared and wrinkled with my tears of frustration. I cried some more whenever I walked by the Copic Marker section of the art store.

Growing up, though, I seemed to only ever hear one thing: anime/manga isn’t real art (implying that it’s somehow, actually, fake art?) I was told that college art professors wouldn’t take me seriously if I only ever drew anime (and yet Americanized cartoons were A-OK.)

And so, naturally, I attempted to adjust my style in order to avoid this stigma. I hid my art from passersby, I refused to let anyone glance through my sketchbook. Whenever people would try and laud me as a good artist, I’d respond, “haha, no, not really, I only know how to draw anime!”

This is so messy

God, how I wish people hadn’t burdened me with that opinion, the opinion that anime is lesser of an art form, or whatever. I guess the same goes for most styles of illustration, though, all of it being considered lesser than “fine art,” while “fine art” is considered lesser that video art, on and on and on we go.

Still though, anime remained at the bottom of the totem pole, for whatever reason, and so for years and years I never actually considered myself to be a ~real artist~, seeing as anime isn’t ~~real~~ art. And yet, even with all of that, I continued to draw it. The bug-eyed cat girls, the pencil-thin eyebrows, the arms bent behind backs because hands are hard to draw.

I even got my BA in art, and my emphasis would have been illustration if I’d wanted to spend an extra year or two grinding away at it. It was this point in my life that I was hit with an epiphany– that epiphany being this:

Anime is art, just as modern art is art, just as contemporary art is art. Anything can be art, if viewed in the proper mindset. Anime was no lesser of an artform than the cartoons of Glen Keane (OK, BAD EXAMPLE, Glen Keane is a god among men, I’m so sorry that his name is included within a sentence that also includes the word “anime”).

And so, after finally swallowing my embarrassment in showing off my anime art in class, I found myself opening up dialogues between myself and a number of other students who felt the same way, that anime was mocked within the art world for seemingly no reason. Even professors would join in, apparently surprised that this stereotype even existed in the first place. I wasn’t the only one who’d been teased and bullied and demeaned over my art style through the years, and knowing that honestly made me want to draw anime even harder.

And, let me tell you, nothing is more satisfying than looking around and finding a bunch of other nerds like me embracing their once-secret anime skillsets and demonstrating them in class projects. Whether they drew traditional 90’s-esque anime, or big doe-eyed moe anime, or some warped hybrid of them all– it warmed my heart.

Embrace your inner weeaboo flame, make the style yours, flaunt it and don’t be afraid to show it off. While there will always be people and teachers who disapprove, anyone with actual art education and an understanding of the art world will appreciate what you bring to the table.

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The Day I Realized I Don’t Deserve the Emotional Abuse

Alternatively: The Evil Stepmom Trope Is Real And I’m Living In It

I grew up in what was considered to be a “broken family.” My sister held daily screaming matches with my at the time too-overbearing dad, my mom popped pills in the bathroom with the door locked, I cried in my room by myself.

My sister ran away from home, again and again, until finally she was too old to be picked up by the police and brought home. My dad left my mom, and won full custody of me, eventually realizing his mistakes with my sister and befriending her with apologies for his actions. The divorce was messy, but necessary.

My mom took up alcoholism again, and moved away. I never saw her anymore, and barely spoke with her, either, except on federal holidays and birthdays. She’d spent my childhood lying in bed, rendered unconscious from sleeping pills, pain medication, whatever it was she felt like she needed that day, and I spent all my years as a kid hanging out with my dad. The coolest dad in the world.

I was raised by my single dad for the rest of middle school, high school, and a few years into college, before I bit the bullet and moved away from home (my adventures of which I’ve immortalized in a previous blog post). During this time, my dad met his second soon-to-be wife, and went on to marry her, too.giphy-59I’ll call her B. Whether that’s the first letter of her name, or the first letter of what she is (a salty word I don’t dare broadcast), I’ll leave for you to decide. But all in all, what I wish for you to know about B before diving in, is this:

My first impression of B was that she was a genuinely good person, who loved my dad a lot, and wanted to mutually take care of him while he took care of her. She treated me with respect, though she was shy, and I thought, for once, I might know what it was like to have an involved mother-figure in my life (one living under the same household as my dad, at least).

After the wedding, though– apparently, not even 10 minutes after the wedding, either, B shed her nice person skin like a goddamn poisonous pit-viper.

I wasn’t there for most of it, I was off doing my thing during college, but I heard enough from my dad. Things started small, “B and I have been disagreeing lately, but I think it’s just because we’re a new couple.”

“B has been giving me the silent treatment for the last week, but I think it’s because we don’t know how to communicate effectively yet.”

“B tells me I’m a mean person, so I’ve been trying harder to understand her point of view.”

“I pay all of the bills, including the mortgage, but B buys the groceries sometimes. It’s because she believes the man should be the provider for the household.”

“B says she’s refusing to cook dinner anymore, but then gets upset when I then only cook for myself.”

“B came home to me watching TV on the couch last night, and it was like WWIII.”

“B refuses to go to couples’ counselling, because she says if there’s something wrong with the relationship, it’s my fault.”

“B is clearly bipolar, or depressed, or [something else needing medication], but she refuses to go to the doctor, because she doesn’t think anything is wrong, and I’m the one that’s instigating all of the fights.”
giphy-51And then, finally, everything culminated the summer I had to move back home, or else be rendered homeless. According to B, it was the “worst summer of her life.”

According to me, it was the “summer I almost actually ended my life out of misery and desperation.”

I have a tendency for being dramatic. I’ll admit this. But that summer I was with her, I honestly, for the life of me, can’t understand how it was possibly the “worst summer of her life,” unless she’s lived every summer previous at a resort hotel and spa in Hawaii. (Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case, since she grew up wealthy.)

Most of the summer for me went like this: I stayed in my room when she was home. When she wasn’t home, I might go into the living room to watch TV. I might make something to eat. But when the garage door opened, I would retreat back to my hole. The only time I ever actually interacted with her was during dinner, or when my dad would invite her along on our weekend outings into town.

If I was on speaking terms with her now, I’d love to ask what it was that made her hate me so immediately, without question. I didn’t want to live there, since the beginning. I was being forced to live there. I would’ve never stepped foot into that house, had I been able to help it.

She accused me of rolling my eyes, constantly. She accused me of “stealing” my dad– which made no sense, because she was married to him, and living in the same house. She thought I was inconsiderate, because I rearranged the guest room she was letting me “borrow.” She thought I was an ungrateful child, because she couldn’t comprehend why I didn’t have a positive relationship with my mother. I was afraid to speak when she was nearby, because she had a problem with anything that escaped my mouth. She would condescendingly laugh whenever I did speak, or offer an opinion. She told my dad she didn’t approve of my relationship with him, accusing me of being disrespectful because of the friendly rapport he and I shared.

God damnit, for the life of me, I have no idea what I did to her.

This went on for months. I was absolutely miserable. I was depressed. I was ready to die. The only reason I didn’t, was because I didn’t want to leave my dad behind, alone with this sad excuse for a sentient human being.

And yet she’s the victim, it being the “worst summer of her life.”giphy-52I felt like a burden, I felt like an eyesore, I felt less than wanted. Despite never leaving my room in fear of enraging the beast, I somehow still managed to get under her scales. Anything I said or did, she would take out on my dad, rather than coming to me with her issues. How many problems could have been solved if she hadn’t been so goddamn passive-aggressive, like a high schooler?

Finally, one day, it occurred to me: I didn’t deserve to be treated like this. I didn’t deserve to be looked down upon, and walked all over like an insect. It wasn’t my problem she had an issue with everything I did, despite my never interacting with her anyway.

But, most importantly at all: she didn’t deserve a constant place in my mind.

I wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction of knowing she was taking a toll on me, that her scare-tactics and gaslighting were working.

A switch had flipped, suddenly, as if overnight. I couldn’t give a shit what she said, thought, accused me of doing, or being. It wasn’t my fault I’d been stuck living there all summer, it wasn’t my fault she hated me. If she wanted to dedicate her entire life to making me miserable, that was her own choice– but I wasn’t going to dedicate my own life to falling prey to her.

I stopped censoring what I said to my dad when she was within earshot. I stopped caring if my making individual meals in the kitchen bothered her, despite her being at work all day. I stopped caring what she said to my dad in complaint– because he’d stopped caring, too. He outright told her that he didn’t want to hear it anymore, that he knew everything she blamed on me wasn’t fair. Without even my dad on her side, she had no power over me.giphy-54While I’m not privy to physical abuse, or sexual abuse, and even this abuse I experienced over the summer was nothing more than having my self esteem demolished, I feel like I at least garnered a peek inside the mind of a miserable person who has nothing better to do that make other people miserable, too. Other, totally undeserving people, like me, and my dad,  and even my cat (who doesn’t give a damn about anyone, honestly).

By this point, though, I can confidently say she never even crosses my mind, and that’s exactly what she deserves.

I Crave Independence Like A Rebellious Teenager Craves The Understanding Of Their Too Overbearing Parents

Alternatively: A Bad Roommate Enumeration

This word vomit is opening a lot of old wounds I forgot I had, so if unladylike words pierce you like an old bobby pin with the rubber feet popped off, now’s your chance to bail.

At 24 years old, more than anything in the entire world right now, do I want to finally just live on my own, already. It took me 5.5 years to get my bachelor’s degree, which encompassed 2 universities, 2 vehicles, 6 addresses, and 15 roommates. To be fair, 6 of those roommates were grown ass adults, including my dad. They weren’t so bad, I guess.

There is nothing more frustrating than being a month away from having the means to live on my own– and still being a month away. I remember when I was still in high school, sitting across from my friendly neighborhood confidante/life coach/church mom, she told me “you need to have roommates, you need to learn how to live with people. Otherwise, you’ll never be sociable.”

I don’t think she worded it like that, exactly, but I remember what she was trying to tell me. At the time, I hated people. A lot. Crowds of people, interpersonal relationships, sleepovers, most things were just too exhausting and too complicated for me to expend energy on (most people know this as “being an introvert”).

I took her advice. When I left the university in my hometown after attending and living at home for two years, I was out on my own, away from my dad and his wise wisdom and support, parrying all the shit life threw at me– and damnit, I got roommates. I was going to be sociable and learn how to make friends, or whatever. I was going to expand my horizons and build healthy, long-term relationships with more people than just the friends I’d had since grade school.

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The first roommate I ever had was my dad, which is, well, normal. He’s incredible, and the greatest person to ever exist in my life, and the human I look up to most and want to do everything in my power make proud. My dad could fight your dad.

The first roommates I had outside of family (#s 2 and 3) were not the type of roommates I wanted. I still never want to have those kinds of roommates again.

#2 was inconsiderate and purposefully ignored me– though, looking back, I guess she reminds me a lot of myself. I definitely wasn’t a good roommate, either, and was equally disagreeable. But at least when I talked shit, I didn’t do it in the house where anyone could hear.

#3 talked to herself consistently under her breath, even while I was clearly curled up in my bed on the other side of the room, trying to sleep at 3 AM. God, wow, what a mess. I think I called my dad every day, or every other day, and 9 times out of 10 it was in tears. 0/10 would not recommend, like, ever, if you can help it.

I am happy to say, though, that after bailing the hell out of there the second I could, my next roommate (#4) was 600x more pleasant. She was a grad student, though, while I remained only a sophomore/junior, so maybe she didn’t exactly qualify when it came to “things bad roommates usually are.” (18, previously wealthy, self-centered).

I spent most of the time in my room while staying with her, which is why I concede that I myself am certainly NOT a good roommate, particularly for anyone who’s looking for companionship out of the people they live with– but hot damn, was I depressed off my ass. The angel that was roommate #3 was my breath of fresh air in the fiery pit that was my life. I hated that I’d ever moved away from home at all, I hated who I was, I hated my job, I hated my classes. I was ready to graduate and just get on with it, already.

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Roomates #5, 6, and 7, were a mixed bag.

#5 was cool, had a good head on her shoulders, was down to earth and knew about life. I liked her. I should find her again on Facebook. I hope she’s happy and has achieved all of her goals.

#6 was messy, and was engaged to a manchild who I can only describe as “terrible.”

#7 was a goddamn disaster, and seemed to have just the hardest time locking the front door whenever she left and/or it was the middle of the night and we were sleeping. This was particularly disturbing/inconceivable seeing as there was a GD stalker/sexual prowler on the loose in our neighborhood at the time. A drunk girl sorority girl even walked into our house in the middle of the night, once, because of #7’s negligence, and relieved herself on our kitchen floor.

I started living with my 8th roommate while still technically on the lease for the previous house, because I couldn’t take roommate #6 anymore, and had been sharing a room with her. She’d stomp around while I was trying to sleep, snoozed every alarm that went off in 15-minute intervals starting at 5 AM until 9 AM, and did I mention her fiance was just the worst?

We were at the grocery store once, where I grabbed a half-gallon of skim milk, and he actually tried to convince me I didn’t know what I was doing. As if I were just a confused chimp, accidentally landing a grip on a jug after flapping my lanky arms around against the glass dairy fridge. Buddy, please. People don’t just start drinking skim by accident. You have to train your palette to even stomach that.

Anyway, I digress. Roommate #8 was actually my best friend at the time, and I ended up just slowly moving all my stuff into her parents’ place (#s 9 and 10), while her parents were preparing to move to another state and leave their house to her daughter and me to live in in their wake.

I loved living there, once they were gone and I could move into the master bedroom. I had my childhood cat living with me at the time, too, and everything was picture-purrfect, like those 100k-noted tumblr posts consisting of a room with messy sheets on the bed and fairy lights on the windows.

Actual documented proof of this temporary heaven on earth

But all good things must come to an end, and that friend found her future husband, later even marrying him. I moved back to my hometown for the summer, after her parents then called to tell me they were going to be renting the house to my friend’s aunt instead.

This is where roommate #11 comes into play, and I only have one thing to say about them: it’s my stepmom, and she’s evil.

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At this moment in time, right now, I’m currently still living with 12, 13, 14, and 15. #12 was good friends with #8 and I for a long time, before a weird falling out happened between us– even so, she and her family offered me a place to stay when I was essentially homeless, and for that I will always be grateful. They’re the first people I’ve lived with uninterrupted for longer than one semester, and what a blessing they are.

I still spend most of my time hiding away in my room– whether that’s leftover from my antisocial  childhood tendencies, or trauma from my previous living situations, or simply because, as a thriving introvert, at the end of the day all I want is to be by myself– but at least in my current household, I don’t hate going home. I don’t hate bumping into them when I’m scalping leftovers from their fridge or walking in through the door after a long day at work.

These days, though, I’m ready to be on my own. Even if more than half of my monthly paycheck will go toward rent and utilities, damn am I ready. I’m ready to have my own space, to cook in my own kitchen, to have my own rules and listen to my music without headphones. Since the day I moved away from home to this city four hours out of my comfort zone, I’ve been looking forward to this. I knew that the day I was finally able to support myself with my own paycheck, without having to split the rent, without having to call my dad for food money, everything would be ok.

Even if with rent, credit cards, and students loans sucking away the majority of my paycheck, the fact that I’ll still be able to live relatively comfortably on my own is really just– can I say I’m proud of myself? Is that alright? Cool.

I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of myself for sticking to it, for staying in school, for taking risks and doing things I didn’t want to do. I suffered a lot, I was miserable for a long time, but I learned so much and now I finally get to reap the rewards.

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There’s a phrase my dad used to always say to me when I would complain about something I didn’t want to do, and it’s become my life motto: Sometimes, you have to play the game.

Whether the game is 9 AM classes, working a job in retail, living with people you otherwise wouldn’t associate with, sometimes you just have to keep playing, because the trophy at the end is totally worth it.

In this case, my trophy is being 100% independent. And finally being able to adopt a cat.