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Invisible Scars: Would You Have Believed Me?

“Get the f-ck over it. I’m done with you being so crazy.” 

That is one of many texts (888 PDF pages worth of them, to be exact) between me and my “best friend,” the first person I ever loved.  I wish I could say that was the first and last time he spoke to me that way, but it wasn’t.


It’s easy to tell yourself that you would never allow yourself to be abused, but it’s harder to follow through when you don’t know what to look for. When I thought of abusive relationships, I pictured the scenes I watched in movies like “Enough,” where the spouse was clearly awful and the abuse was physical — that was all I really knew until I experienced otherwise. I used to tell myself, “I’ll never let myself get into an abusive relationship. And if I do, I won’t stay. I’d never let someone hit me.”

According to statistics from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, nearly one in four women and one in seven men in the United States have been a victim of physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Of the victims who suffer injuries, only one in five will get medical attention and only half of them will report the violence to the police. 

The reasons for not reporting vary for each individual. They may be ashamed, or scared that their abuser will retaliate. Maybe they have children. But oftentimes, it isn’t reported simply because the victims don’t think they’ll be believed, and that nothing will be done. These are victims who have bruises and scars, physical evidence of their abuse that the world can see. But what about the scars we can’t see? 

A 2015 survey taken by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says that 48.4 percent of women and 48.8 percent of men have experienced some form of psychological abuse. Like victims of physical abuse, psychological abuse can continue to affect someone long after the abusive relationship has ended. Emotional abuse isn’t obvious enough for the world to see, and it often can’t be understood unless you are the one enduring the abuse, making it even harder to be believed. 

I was 22 when we met. He was 33. I was young, naive, inexperienced, and absolutely thrilled to finally get attention from a guy. After struggling with my weight since day one of puberty and having little to no confidence, I was convinced that no boy would ever like me. But then he came up to me at work one day and proved me wrong. Here was a guy, an older guy, telling me how much he liked me, how beautiful I was, and asking me out. He had a reputation. I’d been warned the first day of work that I was his type, but still, I fell, and I kept falling for more than three years.

He made it clear that I was not the only girl in his life, but he made sure that he was the only man in mine. When I wasn’t being love-bombed, I was being gaslighted so badly that I was convinced I was lucky to have him because “nobody else would want to deal with me.” Or I was being given the silent treatment for so long that all I could think about was making him talk to me again. If I made plans with a male friend, he’d get so jealous I’d feel guilty for days. But when I tried to explain to people why I was an anxious mess and constantly apologizing, they didn’t believe me. He was good at what he did. To everyone else I looked like the crazy one — I mean, he didn’t hit me, I didn’t have proof, why would they believe me? 

It’s hard to speak up for yourself when your self-worth and self-respect have been slowly stripped away from you, or when you try to tell mutual friends the way he makes you feel about yourself and they respond with, “You knew what he was like when you met, you asked for it.” It’s even harder to have your feelings validated when the response you usually receive is, “Does he hit you?” Well, no, he didn’t, I’d never even been afraid that he would. This was what I’d remind myself of when I’d cry myself to sleep at night. He doesn’t hit me, it isn’t that bad.

When I hear stories of brave women (and men) who are able to speak up about their abuse but are met with skepticism, I’m taken back to the moments when I tried to tell coworkers what was happening and why I frequently broke down at work, but they brushed it away. I watched strong women speak out against Larry Nassar (the former U.S.A. Gymnastics national team doctor accused of sexually assaulting over 250 girls) and tell the stories of the first time they tried to report him but nobody investigated. I remembered the first time I admitted to myself that what I was going through was abuse, I took a test that scored almost 100 percent that yes, I was being emotionally abused, and when I reached out to a friend mid-anxiety attack she told me to get over it. It wasn’t like he hit me. 

On March 12, 2019, thanks to my family, real friends, and therapists, I’ll be one year of No Contact. On September 30, 2018, I met someone, and when I gathered the courage, I told him. I braced myself for the reaction of- “But did he hit you?” Instead, I heard him say, “You know that’s abuse, right?” He believed me. 

So Long, 2020

So about this year.

2020, am I right? 

This year was, a lot, to put it simply. I don’t know a single person who can say that this year wasn’t absolutely crazy – between COVID, the protests and riots from this summer, depressing celebrity deaths (RIP Chadwick Boseman and Alex Trebek), murder hornets, and Prince Harry leaving the royal family – among many other things – 2020 seemed to want to see exactly just how much we could take. But, this year didn’t totally suck for me. 

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Yes, I lost the job that was supposed to be my super-cool “big girl” job that I actually stayed with for more than six months. Yes, I flew across the country to spend the weekend with a guy I had met once and was convinced was the real thing just to have my heart broken and end up abandoned in a mall. I went to Florida to be with my family for two weeks (remember when we thought that was all it would take to flatten the curve?) and stayed for five months, which I wasn’t prepared for. I went six months without seeing a friend that wasn’t also a family member, and I had to cancel two trips that I was really looking forward to. I got a Travel Rewards credit card back in February which was hilariously ignored. 

Obviously, I know that in the grand scheme of things the “bad shit” that happened to me this year really wasn’t that bad compared to what a lot of other people have been through, and I’m very aware of that, but it doesn’t mean that it still wasn’t tough to get through. But, I did get through it and ended up stronger and better than ever. 


A friend of mine and I have been saying lately that if you think 2020 completely sucked, then, no offense, you kind of suck, too. I absolutely believe that this year had a meaning – what it is, I don’t know, but I think it did. It forced a lot of people to slow down and appreciate the little things in life, and remember how much they have to be grateful for. They realized what their true priorities need to be. Employers realized that maybe allowing for a better work-life balance wouldn’t be such a bad thing. People realized how important family is, and that honestly, it’s silly to be overly loyal to a company when the company isn’t very loyal to you. This year came with a lot of trials and tribulations, absolutely, but if you’ve simply been dwelling on all the bad things and haven’t learned any lessons from this year then I’m sorry to say that I don’t think your 2021 is going to be much better. 

Yes, some bad things happened to me, but good things did, too. I got to see my baby niece’s first steps and hear some of her first words. I spent an unexpectedly large amount of time with my family. I got certified as a Barre instructor after years of saying I would, finally renewed my First Aid certification, and was able to dedicate more time to studying for (and taking) the beast that is the LSAT so I can start law school next year. I sought out specific treatment to discuss my history with disordered eating so that I don’t adopt those habits and end up as sick and miserable as I was when I was at the height of my eating disorder a few years ago. I baked, a lot. I learned to kayak with my mom, started lettering, and read a ton of books. I got my first position on a Board of Directors for a non-profit I’m extremely passionate about, took on a very fulfilling leadership position in the Junior League, and most importantly, I learned to prioritize myself! I finally had a talk with someone that I’ve felt I needed to have for years, and we were able to put the past where it belongs and start to become friends after way too much resentment and pain. I invested the amount of time, money, and energy that I’m used to investing in other people into myself and I’ve come out on the other side a completely different person. 

Oh hay.

A friend of mine developed a “Soul Purpose” program, and I decided to take part in it because when shit started to hit the fan back in April – even before the pandemic got really bad – I couldn’t help but feel like I was meant to take a step back and reevaluate what I was doing with my life, because I wasn’t on the right path at all. It took me a while to decide to participate, but I am so glad that I did. Honestly, the work I’ve done with her over the past twelve weeks has been infinitely better for me than anything I worked on with my most recent therapist, who pretty much ghosted me when I had an insurance issue and couldn’t see her as regularly. I felt strong enough to go off my anti-anxiety medication because a lot of the reasons I was anxious in the past were no longer present. I learned to trust myself, love myself, and not feel like I have to be responsible for the happiness of everyone in my life – even when it’s at my own expense. I placed boundaries that I actually enforced (finally). I learned more about myself than I thought was possible in only three months, and I’m ending this year happier than I’ve been in years. 

I know my experiences might be the exception, but I really do think that attitude can make a huge difference. Even when I lost my job because of budget issues, I knew that I was insanely lucky because I didn’t have nearly as much to worry about as others. There was the coworker who was just a couple of years from retirement, the one who found out shortly after being laid off that she was pregnant, or the one who had moved from a different state specifically for a job she lost just a couple of months later. I don’t have kids or a mortgage, and I’m insanely lucky and grateful to have a supportive family. But I also didn’t take that for granted. I took advantage of the opportunities this year gave me, and the position I was in, to make sure that I didn’t waste something that I was fortunate enough to have. And because I didn’t take my job loss personally, or spend every day finding a reason to have a pity party, I received more opportunities to grow and continue being grateful. 


I think I’ve said this before, but every morning before I get out of bed I list three things I’m grateful for and three things I’m looking forward to that day. I get that on REALLY hard days that isn’t enough – and I’ve had some of those days myself – but the important thing is to keep on going. I know this sounds kind of ~earthy~, but I do think this year has made me a bit of a hippie so I’m going with it (I even have a “hippie tray” in my room to hold all my crystals), but I also totally believe in that. You know that book “The Secret”? It’s true. Attitude can make a huge difference in your life, so make sure you have a good one. 

This doesn’t mean to belittle your own feelings when you have a valid reason to be upset because someone always has it worse, or you should be grateful for the good things and forget the bad, because that’s not realistic and it’s also not healthy to never have a negative emotion, and it isn’t fair to you to feel like you’re not allowed to have a bad day. You are! Everyone is! But, don’t let one bad day define your whole year. And by the same token, don’t let one bad year define the rest of them.

Sunshine.

Just because I had a pretty good year, comparatively speaking, doesn’t mean I’m not ready to say goodbye to 2020. I am, trust me. I’m sad for those grieving a loved one that was lost because of COVID, or any other illness or accident. I’m sad at how divided our country has become. I’m sad for the people who’ve struggled with mental health, abusive relationships or families, or food insecurity because of places being closed. I’m sad for families that missed the holidays together, and I’m sad that my not even three-year old niece gets nervous when her mask falls off in public. I know things aren’t perfect. But, I can’t control a lot of those things. What I can control is how I react to those things. I can’t send positivity and love to people who need it when I’m still taking a job loss from April personally, or being upset about a jerk in Arizona, because I wouldn’t have anything to give them if I was so focused on the ‘bad’ things that happened. Especially because if those things hadn’t happened, SO many of the great  things that happened to me this year probably wouldn’t have either!

My friend who led the “Soul Purpose” program I did has made a positive impact on my life since we first met in Orlando when she did my waxes, but this year she went above and beyond. She helped me learn to trust myself, listen to my intuition, address areas I needed to work on to be the best version of me I can possibly be, and most importantly, she helped me find my purpose. To serve others. I’m excited to spend the next year – and beyond – figuring out exactly how I want to serve others, and then doing it! I wouldn’t have been able to do that if this year had been as perfect as I imagined it would be back in February. 

So, yes, 2020 sucked but it doesn’t mean that 2021 has to as well. I hope you were able to learn something from this year, too, and if not – there’s still time! I finally worked on things from five years ago this year. It’s never too late. I’m excited to put this year to bed, and I’m ready to take on 2021 and make it the best year yet! That is, until 2022.


I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, and safe New Year’s Eve celebration, and I’m wishing everyone an amazing new year! Praying for peace, love, and light, and for everyone who struggled this year, don’t give up.

2020 is over and it can only go up from here! Right? Right.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Chapter 34: Dating Apps – Ranked and My Profile Rules

You know you’ve used too many dating apps when you can create a ranked list of them.

There are a lot of dating apps out there, and I’ve used a ton of them. From Hinge to Happn, Coffee Meets Bagel to Bumble, there are so many options out there. While I’m just one person and my experiences are probably vastly different from someone else’s, I wanted to share my ranking of the apps that I’ve used. So here are eight dating apps ranked in order (worst to best) for your reading pleasure.


8. Happn

Happn gets the bottom spot for two reasons – one, because it’s where I met The Creepy Catfish, and two, because now that I think about it, the premise of it makes me feel like it was the inspiration behind “You.” Seriously, it’s a “Criminal Minds” episode waiting to happen. If it wasn’t that I was asked to download it out of support for someone I don’t even remember, I probably would have never used it because seriously, it’s creepy. How it still exists I don’t really know but I don’t remember having a good experience with finding anyone except for one person that made me seriously question my safety and consider entering a convent. So, Happn gets put at the bottom of the list. Easily.

7. Coffee Meets Bagel

I only used Coffee Meets Bagel for a little bit, but from what I remember I didn’t have much luck. I know some people have had success, and I’ve heard that of all the dating apps they tend to have the highest number of highly educated users, but that wasn’t my experience. If I’m remembering correctly, I talked to maybe two people during my brief stint of being active on it. To be fair, I was using this in Orlando where (no offense) there are VERY slim-pickings when it comes to straight, available men who are also boyfriend-material so maybe I’d have a different experience if I used it now. I was also kind of confused at the functionality of the app and didn’t feel like I was using it correctly but again that’s kind of a personal perspective. Regardless, I wasn’t a fan.

6. OKCupid / Plenty of Fish

I put OKCupid and Plenty of Fish together only because I genuinely don’t remember which of them I actually used, and in general I get them confused and don’t really know the difference. Dating apps all start to run together after a while. I know I used one of them, and by “used” I mean I created a profile, went to bed, woke up to over 50 messages, got overwhelmed, and closed my account. Listen, I know I’m a catch but there is clearly a bad gender ratio on there if I’m waking up to over 50 messages after less than 12 hours of making a profile. I know people who’ve met their significant other on both of these apps, but I’m too lazy to weed through dozens of messages to find someone who knows the difference between “your” and “you’re.” So it was not my thing.

5. EHarmony

Y’all already know how I feel about EHarmony, and if you don’t, go back and read my review of it here. Yes, it’s supposed to be one of the most trusted and successful paid dating sites, but again, I was not a fan. I hate the way that you “unmatch” someone, I hate how much information they force you to provide in order to get the full benefits that you already paid for, and I was not finding quality men on there considering the price of it. The only reason it’s not lower is because I feel bad shit-talking them as much as I have so I gave them a couple of bonus points to be nice.

4. Clover

Clover is another one of those apps that I think I used for maybe a week total, if that. When I got no matches after a week or so, I deleted it. I’m impatient.  However, I do give them points because I like how many features they offer and that they seem to really be trying to create a quality app that people can use for a variety of reasons. I don’t feel like it’s as well-known as some of the others so it isn’t used as much, but I feel like if they keep up with being innovative and maybe increase their social media presence it could get more popular easily.

3. Hinge

I’ve actually had the most success with getting good matches that led to good dates on Hinge, but because it’s where I met The Stalker and it took them several months to respond to my numerous attempts to report him, they got bumped on the list. They’re still top three because again, I know it’s a good app and lots of people have had really good luck and success stories, but I don’t like that they didn’t seem to care about users’ safety. It’s a shame because I actually like the matching method on there the best, but safety is very important to me, so they got moved to third.

2. Tinder

Call me crazy but I actually like Tinder. Do I expect to meet the love of my life on there? No. But, I have met a handful of guys who’ve at least provided me with a good story for here. I know that Tinder is considered more of the “hookup” app and not relationships, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to use from time to time. I feel like Tinder is kind of like that person you know that’s really popular and even though you want to hate them because of their reputation, you just can’t. It’s simple and straight-forward, and even though I’m pretty positive most of the ‘people’ on there are bots or catfishers, I don’t totally hate it.

1. Bumble

I’ve actually only had mediocre success on Bumble, but I like the app as a whole the best. I like that it’s simple and to the point, I like the design, and I like the different filters. I also like that they’ve kind of adopted some of Hinge’s ideas and now instead of having all photos you can answer prompts to add to your profile, too. I really like that girls message first because sometimes I accidentally swipe on someone I didn’t mean to on dating apps and I feel bad ghosting them if they message me first. I also feel like it’s just a bit safer that way. Plus, they provide some ideas for opening lines which I think is pretty cool. Overall, I feel like it has mostly good quality people on there, it’s easy to use, I feel safe, and I haven’t met anyone crazy off of it (yet), so it’s my number one.


Maybe it’s just me, but I personally have a set of “guidelines,” if you will, of what I look for on a guy’s profile. Okay, it’s more like a list of “Don’ts” that, unless they look like Liam Hemsworth, get them an immediate swipe left.


My Rules

  1. No more than one “holding a fish” photo.
  2. No more than one mirror photo – and if he has a mirror photo/gym selfie, his face has to be in it, too.
  3. He’s allowed to have a group photo, but if ALL of the photos are group photos, it’s a no-go. I’m trying to find a match, not play a game of Guess Who?
  4. I allow one grammatical or spelling error, but if he doesn’t know the difference between “your”/”you’re” and “there”/”their”/”they’re,” unfortunately, it’s an automatic nope.
  5. If he doesn’t have anything written in his bio, it makes me wonder if he’s capable of having a conversation. It depends on the rest of the profile is this ends up being a no.
  6. No ridiculous abbreviations. Does it really take so long to write a full sentence? No. Just use full words, please.
  7. A cute cat or dog in a photo can cancel out one (and only one) of the rules above to put them in potential swipe-right territory.

Do you agree with my ranking? Or, do you have any suggestions for dating apps I should try? Christian Mingle, Farmers Only, I’m open to suggestions. Let me know in the comments!

Chapter 33: The Repeat

Take two.

Have you ever matched with someone on an app, and then had them stop talking to you, and then somehow rematched with them later on? That recently happened to me. 

When I saw Naveen’s profile on Bumble a couple of months ago, my first impression was that he was really cute, and seemed very put together! He was also holding a super cute puppy in his main picture and just overall looked like a cool guy from the rest of his profile. 

So, since it was Bumble and I had to start the conversation, I opened up with what I thought was a cute line. I figured that if we hit it off, he could be fun to go out with. I told him that the puppy in his picture was the second cutest thing I’d seen all day, and when he asked what the first was, I said that he was.

And, crickets. 

Naveen did not answer. Side note, I get SO frustrated when that happens regardless of what the opening line was – just in general, like where do these guys go after they swipe right? So many times I’ve matched with a guy, sent him the opening message soon after, and then the match expires because he just doesn’t answer in time – but like, he had to have been on recently for us to have matched? Are they robots? Were they abducted? I don’t know, it’s just annoying.

In any case, Naveen didn’t answer but I figured maybe he was busy so I let it go and went about my day. Well, days. Finally, I figured I needed to clean out my matches that were not going anywhere so I tried one more time with Naveen and still, no answer. So I unmatched him. 


I went off of Bumble for a bit after that because I was getting ready for the LSAT and really focused on studying at that time, and then I had a friend in town, so I just wasn’t as active. But then I decided to go back on just to kill some time and after swiping for a bit, guess who popped up again? Naveen. 

I decided to swipe right on him again just to see what happened, and I was surprised to see that we managed to match again! This time, I tried a different tactic with my opening line and challenged him to show me the last photo in his camera roll on his phone, and he did. I wouldn’t have been surprised if after that he disappeared again like last time, but he didn’t. This time, he was actually very chatty.

As we talked, I realized we had a good amount in common and he seemed very engaged which was quite a shift from last time. We exchanged numbers (well, he did, I gave my fake number) and eventually Instagram usernames (which is basically second base I think) and have been chatting since then. 


Of course, like most guys I’ve experienced on dating apps, he seems keen on trying to get things to go in a sexual direction with our conversations but I quickly change the subject and he goes with it, so I feel like maybe he just thinks that’s what girls are into? I don’t know – it’s definitely like an orange flag and something I’m keeping in mind, but not completely cutting him out. Mainly because I’m running out of stories on here and need to go out on some more dates to get more material. 

But also, he’s offered to cook for me, and he’s currently on a vacation that I’m VERY jealous of but he said he’d take me sometime, so I have to give him some points for that. He also kind of looks like he might actually be royalty or something with how well he dresses and just his overall demeanor from what I’ve seen. Does anyone remember that TLC show, “Secret Prince”? Maybe they brought it back. 

I haven’t told him yet that we already matched, and I’m wondering if he recognizes me from the first time around. So far I don’t think so. I’m waiting for the perfect moment to remind him that we already matched once but I didn’t like his lack of responsiveness. I honestly didn’t even know that you could rematch with somebody, but now I know. 

In any case, I’ve yet to meet Naveen but I’m hoping to do so soon (once he returns from his trip and I know he doesn’t have COVID). But, he seems somewhat promising. Maybe it’s really the second time that’s the charm. 

Chapter 32: One Hit Blunders, Part V – The Joker

Creepy clown makeup not included.

The first guy that I actually went out with after getting back on Tinder and Bumble upon my return to Boston was a guy that I’ve decided to call Clark. 

Clark opened up by asking me something about robbing a bank – I don’t remember exactly what the situation was, but in any case it was a good ice breaker and I thought it was funny and original to start planning a bank robbery (which I’ve never done and will never do), so I went along with it. This is also why I’ve decided to refer to him as “The Joker,” because The Joker from Batman robs banks, plus, this was clearly a joke that we should rob a bank – right?

Clark isn’t really what I usually go for physically, but he was cute and at this time I was just looking to meet new people so I wasn’t being very picky. He was funny, though, and he has a good job and seemed decent so after a bit of back and forth, he asked me out and I said yes. 

We made plans to get drinks at a bar near Quincy Market on a Sunday night, and then about 45 minutes before we were meant to meet he told me he would be running a little bit late. He was having some car issues but he’d let me know when he was leaving. So, at this point I figured it was something fixable but he’d just be late, so I kept getting ready. 

When it was getting closer to our meeting time, though, I texted him again (got to love that Google Voice number) and told him to let me know when he was leaving so I knew when to leave my place. At this time I was completely ready – hair, makeup, all that – since he had never made it sound like the date wouldn’t be happening. Then, a few minutes later after we were scheduled to be meeting, he texted me that he was very sorry but he had to cancel because to fix his car he needed to go get a piece from his mom’s house, and he wanted to get it fixed before he went away at the end of the week.

Honestly I was probably more understanding than I should have been, but he said he was sorry and offered to make it up to me another night that week, but I did think it was a little weird that he didn’t at least offer to get an Uber or something, and that he HAD to fix it at that very moment when he knew I was ready to go. But, because I’m nice I gave him a second chance and we decided to go out to the same bar later that week. 


On the night of our date (for real), I ended up getting there before him, but not having to wait too long. When he showed up he was a bit shorter than I expected, but cute. It was weird because of COVID times we couldn’t hug or anything, so we just kind of walked in and found a table. I got a hard cider, and he got a vodka soda. 

We ended up also ordering an appetizer to split, just some buffalo wings, which were pretty good, and the date itself was decent. Nothing to write home about – I definitely wasn’t feeling a major spark or romantic chemistry or anything –  but he was funny and I was having a good time just being out of my apartment. 

After a bit, though, I could tell that I was ready to go home because it was way past my bedtime and I knew that this wasn’t really going to go anywhere, but it just felt very weird trying to find a way to nicely tell him I was ready to wrap this up and go home. 

Photo by Akshay Anand on Pexels.com

Finally I found a way to get that message across, and this is where the biggest problem with Clark came to be. As I’m sure y’all know by now, I’m old-fashioned and expect to be paid for on a first date. So when the bill came and I did my customary offer of splitting and he said, “Yes,” I was not pleased. But not just because I’m traditional. Because he also said, “Let’s do 50/50,” despite the fact that my hard cider was nearly $4 cheaper than his vodka soda, and he’d had two of them. And the wings we ‘split’? I ate maybe two or three, while he ate more like six or seven. 

And on top of that, he was telling me how his company and industry have been “thriving” during all of this while then listening to me talk about being unemployed and trying to survive off of unemployment. I’m a big believer that if you can’t afford to eat out you shouldn’t eat out, which is why I ordered a cheaper drink so that if he did say we should split it I wasn’t paying for overpriced liquor. He was the one who suggested the appetizer, too, and he ate so much more of it. Plus, the fact that he was basically gloating about now having to experience the stress that millions of people have had to experience lately… it was a major turnoff that essentially, he was letting me pay for him since his drinks were more expensive. 

Also let me just remind you that he basically stood me up just a few nights before, and promised to “make it up to me.” So his idea of making it up to me was letting me pay for part of his vodka and wings on a first date? I just think that’s tacky. 


However, he did offer to walk me home so I was almost willing to give him just ONE more pass. That is, until we started to get close to my place. When I told him I was right across the street so we could part there, and I could clearly see the look on his face that showed he was very much expecting me to invite him up. Even though I really don’t think any of our conversations had been very flirty, and he didn’t even attempt to woo me, so this felt very weird to me. I was very unimpressed with this and even though I lied and said we could hang out again, I knew we would not be. 

When I got back to my apartment, I brushed my teeth and got into bed. A bit later he messaged me that, “I’m cute and we should hang out again soon.” Yes, I am cute, but I just said thanks and good night. And, luckily, I never heard from Clark again.

Chapter 31: The Werewolf

I know what you are…

After only a few days on Tinder, I matched with a guy that I’ll call Jacob. Just before matching with him, though, my friend Mary had sent me a funny story about a girl who only talked to her matches in “Twilight” quotes. Given that I was reading “Midnight Sun” (please tell me I’m not the only one) and have been reliving my high school days of being obsessed with the books and movies, I thought that this was hilarious. So we decided that the next match I had, I would try that.


Jacob was the next guy I matched with, so he was the lucky man that got to be on the receiving end of some weird messages. 

I opened with the classic, “You don’t know how long I’ve waited for you.” And it went from there. Jacob was a very good sport about it, and when he asked where I lived and I replied, “Forks, Washington,” he got instant bonus points for answering with an amazing pun and saying, “Get the Fork out of here with that.” 

Finally, I told him what I’d been doing and he thought it was pretty funny. Apparently, it didn’t scare him off at all that I was quoting a book I read when I was 16, and he was still into me, so we continued talking. 

After a couple of days, Jacob asked me when we could get together and I said I wasn’t sure, but maybe that night if he was around. He had a different idea and wanted to meet earlier. He offered to come over and hang out on his lunch break in just a little bit. But, me being the crime junkie I am, I don’t let random people come over so I asked if we could meet in public first. Apparently, he was very anxious to meet with me so he suggested that we FaceTime instead. 

So, right after I got back from my run that morning, we FaceTimed and talked for a little bit before I took a shower and he got ready to come over on his lunch break that day. I decided that he wasn’t giving off serial killer vibes or any other kind of red flag, so I sent him my address. He came over, we hung out for a bit, and then he left. It was probably one of the weirdest and most random “first meetings” I’ve had – except for when I met The Bartender at a Best Buy parking lot, but it was also very enjoyable.

He told me that he’d always wanted a friend with a swanky apartment, so we should hang out again soon, and I agreed. It was also good timing because I’d just made my apple cider cakes and needed someone to share them with so they didn’t go bad. However, part of my plan with sharing them with him was that I was hoping he’d put the cake pans back up for me because they go in a cabinet that I can’t reach without a step ladder, and he’s very tall, but of course I forgot to ask him. I’m not going to lie and say that I haven’t put a couple of tasks aside because I’m definitely hoping I can charm him to help me with them next time he comes over. 

Photo by Vincent Peters on Pexels.com

Honestly, he’s a really fun guy and extremely funny. He seems very genuine, too. We took turns showing off pictures of our nieces and bragging about them, and anyone who loves their nieces/nephews as much as I love mine is good in my book. He’s smart, has a good job, and kind of seems like a big teddy bear which is why I went with calling him Jacob over Edward – he definitely gives off more of a werewolf vibe than a vampire vibe. Considering that back in the height of my “Twilight” phase I was mostly Team Jacob, I’m perfectly happy with this. 


The second time we hung out, it was equally brief, but still fun. We’ve talked about our love of true crime and Netflix documentaries, another bonus in my book, and I think I might have finally found a man who loves pizza the way that I do. We actually have a good amount in common, too.

He sends me funny and actually kind of sweet snap chats. He’s been good so far about remembering details about me, and so far he hasn’t done anything to piss me off. All good signs. 

We have some of the weirdest hang outs, honestly. The most recent time I saw him was right after I took the LSAT. I was too tired to go out and I just wanted to enjoy not having anything to do, but I was bored and kind of lonely in the hotel I was staying at (I took the test in a hotel room and figured I’d stay the night), so he came over. He was so excited for me that I was done because he knows how hard I’ve been studying. He wished me luck and told me I was going to kill it like every day for the three days leading up to the test, which is a lot more than I can say for a good amount of people who’ve known me for way longer. 

We hung out and talked and enjoyed how comfy the hotel bed was, and it’s kind of funny too because I feel like he’s one of the few guys where I haven’t felt like I had to know EVERYTHING about him after a week, so I feel like every time I see him I learn more about him and he learns more about me, which is probably how it should be. This time we talked about our sometimes crazy families and how much we both love Thanksgiving. He also saw my stuffed sloth that I have and had brought with me (I just like cuddling, okay?) and got me to tell him all about my slightly-obsessive fascination with sloths. And he STILL wasn’t scared off. He actually seems very into my weirdness. I’m a fan. 

He actually did tell me that last time. When he saw the sloth and teased me about it for a second and I let it slip that I really love sloths, and still have sentimental stuffed animals, and admitted that that’s a little weird, he replied that he knows I’m kind of weird, he could tell right away, but that’s part of why he likes me. It’s nice to feel like I don’t have to hide my weirdness around him and I can just be myself and not be worried that my quirks will scare him off.


My old roommate in Orlando, Chelsea, is fascinated by this and is convinced we’re going to get married. She also thinks it’s amazing and a classic “only Madeline” thing that I would end up actually having some sort of thing with a guy that I started off with talking to only in “Twilight” quotes, and honestly I agree with her. Considering I recently had a guy from Tinder stop talking to me because I wouldn’t send him pictures of my vagina (true story) and another from Bumble tried to bait me into a political debate, I’ve obviously had guys ghost me for less weird things – or no reason at all. 

So, we shall see what happens with Jacob. I’m hoping I have more stories with him soon because he seems cool and like he could give me some more fun material. For now, I’m just hoping he doesn’t imprint on my unborn child. 

Chapter 30: Catfished, Part I – The Area Manager and The Size King

Where’s Nev when you need him?

The time has come for a new series, one that I’ll be calling “Catfished,” that is dedicated to all of the men who are not who they say they are – in some way or another – and that don’t fit into One Hit Blunders because I never even went on a date with them.

These are men who have ghosted me or just avoided actually meeting me, so even if they are who they say they are, I have to assume that they’re lying and that they catfished me which is why we never actually met or why they disappeared. 

By the way, before I go on, I’ve come to the conclusion that The Boyfriend was a major catfish.  To be fair, I’ve known that for a while but was still willing to meet and call him out in person (publicly)… but we never even got there. I thought we were finally getting somewhere in terms of actually meeting, and then he got weird on me again! I kept trying to video call him and he wouldn’t answer, and one time I asked for him to send me a photo of his face and he kept making up excuses. Finally, I told him that he was like Santa Claus and he asked me why and I said because I’ve never seen him so I have to just tell myself to believe that he’s real. He just laughed and that was the last time we spoke.

Anywho, in this chapter you get to meet two catfishing fellows – The Area Manager and The Size King. Again, one is set in Florida, and the other in Boston so you get a two-state experience again. Ready? Let’s go.


Back when my parents were helping me swipe on Bumble, I ended up matching with a guy I’ll call Max. He was very cute and had beautiful blueish green eyes, a nice smile, and was tall. He also didn’t look American and as you know I’m very into that, so we got to talking right away. 

Max is an area manager for Amazon, and he actually lives in Miami, but his family lives in the Sarasota area and he’s actually been actively looking to move to Bradenton and transfer his role to there, which is why he was looking in that area, too. 

We seemed to hit it off immediately. He even called me pretty early on just to say hi, which as you know I’m a sucker for a guy who likes phone calls, and I liked his voice. I found out that his name isn’t actually Max, his family is Ukrainian but he chose the name Max because he thought it was a good, strong name, and nobody could ever pronounce his Ukrainian name so he changed it. Ironically, it’s the same first name as The Semi-Date, so I actually did know how to pronounce it, but he told me just to call him Max.

We flirted, we talked, and he seemed like a decent guy! He very much had his shit together from what I could tell, he was funny, invested in our conversations, and kept begging me to not move back to Boston because he thought I was so “perfect” he would be devastated if I went back to Boston before we met. I told him that I’d make sure we met before then.

After a couple weeks of talking, he told me he’d be in town for the weekend and asked me if I wanted to go to the beach with him. Beaches were open by then, so I figured since it was outdoors that was probably safer, and it could be fun. I agreed, thinking that would be a fun first date, and I even bought a new bathing suit for it. 

When the day came, I told him to let me know when he woke up and to let me know what time he wanted to meet. And I never heard from him. All. Day. Long. I had already cleared my very busy schedule of baking, job hunting, and hanging out with my 3-year old niece for the day so I was kind of annoyed, but after a bit of waiting I just decided to call it a loss and move on with my day.

Finally, later that day he told me that his family had surprised him with a last-minute trip to Marco Island for his birthday. I thought that was sweet, so I went with it, and he apologized for leaving me hanging and promised to make it up to me the next time he was in town.

I think I had something going on the following weekend, so we didn’t make plans then, but we kept talking. This whole time, anytime he was in town but too busy for the beach or anything, he’d ask me if I wanted to meet somewhere and just make out in his car for a bit. Uh, no. 

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The next weekend, Max was in town again so we made tentative plans to finally meet up and go to the beach. Again, I told him to tell me what time he wanted to meet up and he said he’d call me after the gym. He didn’t. 

At this point, I was kind of worried that he might be dead or something, so I decided to Google him and make sure that he was who he said he was. At first, when I was just searching for his Snapchat name (I find that a lot of people use the same username for a LOT of different accounts) I was finding some weird Ukrainian or Russian forums, I don’t even know, I think some of it was very weird porn? I clicked out really fast. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was him, though, considering he did tell me that his biggest fetish is peeing on a girl. Don’t ask me how I meet these people because I don’t know either.

The thing is that his last name is really weird and even though one time I’d asked him to spell it out for me on the phone, I think I must’ve written it down incorrectly because I was still struggling to find him. Finally, I had a breakthrough and I found him. That is, I found his mugshot from when he was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct.

So after that, I figured I’d cut my losses and delete him. I blocked him on Snapchat and carried on with my life but then, a bit later, I randomly get a WhatsApp message from him showing me the houses he’s looking at in Bradenton and saying that he wanted me to help decorate (I do love decorating) and I called him out on ditching me twice at that point and told him that I’d blocked him on Snapchat because of it, which he thought was funny.

Really though, Max just seemed sad that he never got to see me in my new bathing suit, which I mean I don’t blame him – I looked great in it – but also that’s not really what I’m looking for at this point and I still wasn’t into his car makeouts idea, so I just finished the conversation, it fizzled out, and I ended up back in Boston not too long after – still having no idea what he really liked look outside of the photos he’d sent me. Which leads me to my next story.


Being back in Boston, but still having most of the city under strict guidelines due to you-know-what, I decided to get back on Bumble and Tinder just to keep myself entertained. Since I wasn’t having any luck on EHarmony, (side note, they finally let me delete my account after I reported the guy who went and stalked me on LinkedIn – and now on Instagram AND Facebook, too – and gave me a partial refund), but I wanted to feel kind of social at least, so I figured trying them again couldn’t hurt. 

There was one profile of a guy, Don, who was very tall, in good shape, was wearing a suit, and seemed like he had a good sense of humor, so I swiped right. The only thing on his profile that gave me pause was where he asked, “Where my size queens at?” I’ve never heard that phrase, but I figured it had something to do with him liking girls who are “thicc” since that’s a thing, and I mean I’m considered “slim thicc” from what the young and hip kids have told me, so I figured that would suffice.

Don and I matched and got to chatting. After a bit of back and forth, he asked me if I’d read his profile. I said yes, and he said, “So you’re into that?” 

I had no clue what he was talking about, so I asked him to clarify. He asked me if I was a size queen. I told him I had no idea what that meant, but I thought it was about being thicc. He said no, that’s not what it means. 

Now, I was terrified at what I’d potentially gotten myself into so before he even said anything else I searched Urban Dictionary and found out that, according to them, a size queen is, “A person who will only accept larger than average penises in sexual partners.” About the same time that I read this, Don responded to me himself that that is what a size queen is. 

Well, now I was too deep into this conversation to back out, and very curious, so I asked him if that was the case with him and he said yes. He asked if I was into that, and I admitted that I wouldn’t know from experience, but I’m always up to try new things. 

Obviously, I was super curious as to how big he was but I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable so I didn’t ask. But then, he offered to show me. I told him only if he was comfortable, because I was intrigued, but didn’t want him to do anything he didn’t want to. He said he was happy to show me, so I gave him my Google voice number because he didn’t have Snapchat.

After our introductions over text, he asked me if I liked Trulys, and I said yes, and then he sent the picture. It was of his dick, obviously, held next to a can of Truly hard seltzer – I’m not even kidding. And while the first thing I noticed was that he’s not circumcised, I did realize after that that, yeah, it was very big. 

Once he was assured that he hadn’t totally scared me off (hey, I’m human) he offered to send more and I didn’t really answer because really one is enough, but he did want to see my tattoos so I sent him a photo (clothed) where he could see my tattoos. He did ask me for nudes at one point, but I told him I don’t do that with people I don’t know and that for now clothed was the only way he was getting photos of me, and he said that was fine.

Then Don just started sending me more dick pics. First was just it poking out of his pants, and from that angle I was kind of scared honestly, and then the next one – I kid you not – was him holding it next to a can of Rustoleum. They were the same size. I will never be able to look at Rustoleum the same ever again. But also, do you think he just walks around his house finding things to compare his dick to, or does he have a few go-tos that he just always has on hand? 

We flirted a lot, and besides the size thing he actually seemed funny and nice and smart, so I felt comfortable enough to consider planning a date with him. But when I asked him when we were going to meet and act on our flirtation and everything, he said that was a good question and asked when I was free. I told him, and he didn’t respond. 

After a few hours, I sent the upside down smiling face emoji because that’s kind of my thing when I’m trying to tell a guy, “Hey, you’re ignoring me but instead of calling you out on it I’m just going to send you an emoji.” Still nothing. The next morning, I realized that he had unmatched me on Tinder. 

When this happens, I assume one of three things – 1), they got back together with their ex or met someone else and are no longer looking, 2), they’re intimidated by my assertiveness/aggressive nature and don’t want to talk anymore, or 3), they’re a catfish and now that they got what they wanted from the conversation, he’s ready to move on. With Don, I’m betting option three.


Stay tuned because I’m sure I’ll have more Catfished stories soon, and next week, we’re back to our regularly scheduled program of guys I’ve been out with recently! You’ll be meeting my latest One-But Blunder, The Joker. Have a great week!

Chapter 29: Best & Worst Dates

the best of times and the worst of times

I have been on some good dates and some bad dates, clearly, but recently, someone asked me what the best day I’ve ever been on was. So, I thought that I’d do a quick little post about the best and worst dates I’ve ever been on – the top three for each – and go into a bit more detail about each of them, even for the ones that you might think you already know everything about. 

For the record, these dates are not about the person, necessarily. I’m strictly going off of the date itself. The person will definitely play a part in it in some instances, but even if the person turned out to be an asshole AFTER the date discussed, it could still be considered a good date. It’s based only off of that particular date. 

Let’s start off with the bad, shall we? I mean, I am an optimist so I do have to end on a good note.

While I have certainly had my share of bad dates ( I mean, I had to create a whole “One Hit Blunders” series to talk about them) the following three stand out as being the top three worst ones.


Top 3 Worst Dates

3. Brunch with The Cancer

After our first date, which as a reminder was drinks at Tavern in the Square and then around Faneuil Hall, PJ invited me to brunch at Rosebud. While the food was good, the date was not. 

I remember being a minute or two late, as I usually am, because I was having trouble getting an Uber and the way he made me feel about it was like I had just held up his entire day. I fully get being annoyed when someone is late – it drives me crazy when my friends are constantly very late for things – but it was just a minute or two, and I told him right away. So, that kind of bothered me but I tried to let it go.

As the date went on, I remember realizing that we just weren’t very compatible. He kept talking about really weird things, and then would just kind of give me this borderline creepy stare as he waited to see my reaction to it. He also told me that he sleeps with the temperature on 60 DEGREES. How is that even possible? I like it a bit chilly but I think I’d actually freeze to death if I did that. 

But, really I just think that in general “eating” dates are overrated and not what I enjoy. I don’t like having to feel like I need to be super conscious of what I’m eating, and if I’m being a messy eater, and it’s hard to have a conversation over food. Even though I’m not a big drinker, I’d rather do drinks first because at least it’s easier to talk. 

Also, after brunch was over I was talking about what else I needed to do that day clearly sending the hint that I was done with this date and ready to go home, yet he convinced me to go on a walk even though it was starting to rain, and then insisted on driving me back even though I was perfectly fine calling an Uber. Sometimes things cross the line between polite and possessive, and this was one of those times. 

Overall, it was just very weird and why I agreed to a third date after that, I don’t know. It was just weird, and when I think about some of the worst dates I’ve been on one definitely makes the list.

2. Japanese with The Dollar Man

Not only was this a food-related first date, which I’ve already said I’m not into, it also involved us sitting next to each other which is one of my biggest pet peeves with couples in general – how do you talk like that? 

Obviously, it’s required at a Japanese steakhouse, and I do love Japanese food, but still, it just makes for a very awkward first date when you’re half talking, half watching someone cook your food. Overall, it’s just not the ideal situation for a first date. 

Add this is with how much he talked about me offering to split the bill, and how intimidated he seemed to be by me the whole night, and it just turned out to not be one of my favorite dates. Plus, he took my leftovers which I think is kind of weird, and I just never heard from him again afterwards, so why spend so much money on a first date if there was never going to be a second one?

  1. “Hot chocolate” with The Creepy Catfish

Did y’all really have any doubt that this would be the worst date I’ve ever been on? I’m not sure if it was the part where he tried to hold my hand and yelled at me when I didn’t want him to, or when he literally backed me against a tree and got in my face, or the whole bit where he told me I was “too fucked up” to love, or when he basically insinuated that I couldn’t make him leave my apartment because he’s bigger than me that sealed the deal, but no matter what, he definitely takes the cake. 

And that’s not even including the whole part that he – one, showed up over an hour late to the date that he planned and, two, changed the date from bowling to hot chocolate and wouldn’t even bother to take me to a legitimate place for a hot chocolate. I like to be at least somewhat courted, and Starbucks is not going to cut it.

Top 3 Best Dates

3. Halloween Horror Nights with The Vegan

As I’ve said before, I really like doing activities or going to special events on dates, and this one stands out to me because Halloween Horror Nights is not something you can do just anywhere. 

As I said in his chapter, I am a huge scaredy-cat. I scream like I’m being murdered at the slightest jump scare, but he sucked it up and powered through the night. He went first into EVERY single house, let me hold his hand and bury my head into his back while he pulled me through certain parts, and was so sweet. Even though I definitely almost ditched him at one point running from guys with chainsaws, this was just a really fun first date activity if you’re into spooky things which, despite how scared I get, I do like.  

It’s also a really great way to weed people out – if he told me to suck it up and didn’t care that I was scared half to death, I wouldn’t have liked it, and if he decided that my swearing like a sailor wasn’t his thing, then at least we figured that out right away, right?

2. Hiking with The Rollercoaster

I liked this date because it was the first time I’d ever done a big hike (which I totally lied about to both impress him and make him not feel like we couldn’t go hiking because I wasn’t that experienced) and it was such a beautiful place to have been my first “big” hike.

It was an activity, always a good thing, and it was also something you can’t do everywhere (you can’t go hiking in Florida, really) and something that was also a good challenge for me. It was fun experiencing something new with someone I cared about, and I just really like to be outside.

The views made it even better for sure, and I liked that at some parts we talked but at other parts, we just let each other enjoy the whole situation and have some silence that wasn’t awkward or weird at all – I feel like that’s always a big thing if you can be quiet with someone and it’s not weird. 

Overall, this was just a really fun and exciting and adventurous date and it’ll always be one to beat in my eyes.

  1. Bowling with The Cheater

The absolute best date I’ve ever been on was bowling with Al. It was the perfect mix of time talking and time doing something fun together. It was the right idea to have a drink or two first to get to know each other and loosen up a bit (and have the bartender comment on the fact that this was our first date) before moving into the next portion of the date.

I definitely liked that I beat him at bowling, and I’m also just weird and love bowling. The conversation flowed, which is important to me, and we had a great time at every part of the date. It is kind of weird looking back and thinking about how much chemistry we had right off the bat knowing what he was really doing. 

It doesn’t hurt that the date ended with us going to Trader Joe’s so he could buy me wine and guacamole, and then him making me tacos while I pet his cat, but I think that even without the tacos this would still be my favorite date I’ve been on. It’s also the longest first date I’ve ever been on – I think we met at Lucky Strike at about 3:30pm and he drove me home from his place at like 2:30am. I only remember that because we almost got Tasty Burger but then we realized it was closed. But I was still hungry, and I also needed something from the drugstore, and for whatever reason at nearly 3am it seemed like THE most important thing to get, so after he dropped me off I immediately called an Uber and went to a 24 hour CVS near me to get it… and some frozen mozzarella sticks because it was too late for Domino’s delivery.


So there you have it – my top three best and worst dates! Tell me about yours – what are your best and worst dates you’ve been on?

Chapter 28: The High School Crush

Let’s take a trip down memory lane…

Everyone remembers their first real crush, and I’m no exception. Of course, my high school crush also ended up being my first big disappointment with men, so maybe that’s why. 

For those of you who don’t know, I went to boarding school. My older brother went, so it just kind of made sense that I’d go, too. The school we went to was in Boca Raton, Florida, which, let’s just say, has a very particular vibe to it that really didn’t fit me, and is why I ended up transferring to another boarding school in Asheville, North Carolina after my sophomore year, when my brother graduated. 


I was a bit boy-crazy in my youth, and this definitely started for me in high school (okay, middle school). My freshman year, I mostly focused on my brother’s friends because I thought that I was SO cool because Junior boys knew who I was. But of course, being an older brother, he probably told all of them I was off-limits, plus I’m pretty sure that dating your friend’s little sister violates some kind of bro code rules, so I knew none of them were going to work out. But a girl can dream, right


My sophomore year, I decided to set my sights on the boys my own age, figuring that maybe I’d have better luck with them since they didn’t know my brother very well. This meant they couldn’t be deterred by him or know to be afraid of him. 

While there were a few boys who caught my eye and I certainly wouldn’t have been opposed to any of them being part of my little high school romance fantasies, there was one that I was particularly interested in. He was tall, had dark hair, and was French-Candian, which to me at the age of 15, was pretty exotic (despite the fact that I literally went to a boarding school with dozens of international students). You know that he’s French-Canadian because he has two names, and the first name is a common name that’s spelled differently. For the sake of the story, I’ll call him Luc-Arthur, or just Luc.

Luc-Arthur was technically part of the “popular” crowd, but I was a floater in high school, so that didn’t really make a difference in my mind. I had at least one or two friends in just about every clique, plus a few girls that I was very close with and were my best friends. I’ll call the three of them Betsy, Emma, and Alanna. 

Luc and I had a couple of classes either together, or in the classrooms next to each other, so we did interact on occasion. I’ll be totally honest and admit that I am absolutely not one of those girls who peaked in high school, I very much went through an awkward phase (like when I read in Seventeen magazine that it was “so cool” to wear two different color metallic eyeliners, so I did that for way longer than I care to remember) but luckily, I had mostly grown out of at least that part of it by this point. I definitely didn’t have very high self-esteem, but I was cute. Not gorgeous (yet!) but pretty enough, and luckily for me despite puberty being absolutely awful to me in every other way, it did help me have much bigger boobs than most of my female classmates. So, at least I had that going for me. 

In any case, I’m saying this because I want it to be clear that it was not delusional of me to think that he could maybe have a crush on me, too. And the more we talked outside of class, the more I thought that he did, and also, the more my crush on him grew. 

(A few photos of baby Madeline – I still have and fit into that first dress!)

One day, my roommate Melanie was in our room with a friend of hers, Kelly, when I came back after class. I had a class or two with Kelly, too, so I knew her and I liked her, so we all talked for a bit. It’s important to note, though, that Melanie and Kelly – especially Kelly – were very much part of the “popular” crowd. In any case, as we talked I mentioned something about having a crush on someone and after lots of pleading on their part, I finally gave in and told them that it was on Luc-Arthur. They both swore they wouldn’t tell a soul, and, because I thought we were at least friendly, I believed them. 


Not too long after that, I got a Facebook (or maybe even MySpace or AIM, I don’t even remember) message from Luc’s best friend, Aidan, basically just telling me that he knew that Luc really liked me, and that he was planning on asking me out pretty soon. I wasn’t dumb, so I refused to believe him for quite awhile until he could give me some sort of solid proof that he wasn’t lying, and basically begging him to please not be fucking with me. I refused to admit that I had a crush on Luc, too, until the next time that he messaged me, which I think was later that week. He passed it all off as basically being a good wingman and making sure that if Luc asked me out I’d say yes so that he didn’t embarrass himself. 

After this, I was pretty excited, obviously, but still wanted to play it cool. I remember that after that there were a couple of times when I’d be outside a classroom waiting to go in, and Luc would be in the class next to me and he’d go drop off his backpack and then go back outside and talk to me while I waited to be able to go in, which I thought was a sure sign that he was going to ask me out soon.

You also need to keep in mind that at this time in my life, I was VERY innocent. I think it was the end of my freshman year that I heard people gossiping about one of the girls in our class giving a boy a blowjob at someone’s Bar Mitzvah, and I didn’t know what that was so I had to ask Emma. That’s how little I knew. I had to use UrbanDictionary SO much in high school. I was very much the sweet and innocent one, thinking that even if I got to make out with a boy that would be a big deal. Times have definitely changed, but at fifteen/sixteen, that was absolutely where I was at. 

At this point, Luc-Arthur still hadn’t asked me out, but I felt like it was coming because Aidan, and some of his other friends, kept telling me that it was. I remember we all had History together, and one day, this kid Jack F., went up and whispered into our teacher’s ear trying to get him to say something that our teacher refused to say, which made me think it was about me. It made me even more sure when throughout the rest of class, Jack F., Aidan, and Jack R. would randomly get up and walk behind our teacher to “throw something away” while holding up a piece of paper that said ‘Luc likes Madeline.’ I was mortified, but also figured they wouldn’t be embarrassing their friend like that if it wasn’t true, right? 

Wrong. A while after all of this started, my roommate Melanie somehow heard through her friend group that all of this – everything Aidan and Jack F. and Jack R. and Luc had been saying and doing to me for the past several weeks – was a joke, and she immediately ran to Emma and Alanna to tell them that they needed to tell me because she didn’t know what they were going to do, or when.

That day, I came out of History class to find Emma and Alanna waiting outside the door. I smiled and said hi, and they both just very calmly but sternly told me to go back to my room and they’d be there soon. I could tell something was up, so I went.

The second I got a few feet away, all I heard was yelling. I clearly heard Emma and Alanna’s voices, but I couldn’t really understand what they were saying. But I was smart enough to figure out that they were yelling at all of the boys, since that was the one class we all had together. I found out later that they both got in the face of this one kid who is actually now a pro-boxer and at the time towered over pretty much everyone, so he was pretty big, but apparently they got so angry when he tried to defend all of them that even he just kind of slid away to escape their wrath. 

After that amazing verbal smackdown, they came back to the dorm and told me what Melanie had told them. Emma also told me that after Melanie had told her, she had Chemistry with another guy kind of in their “group,” but that was actually a decent guy, so she asked him if he knew what was going on and he said yes. He told her that he’d only found out what was happening a day or two before, but he did think they were going to embarrass me publicly at some point, and told her to tell me before they did. He and I had a class or something together, so he knew that I was a very nice person who definitely didn’t deserve that, and he told her pretty much everything that he knew so she could yell at them all on my behalf, but also have answers so that I believed her when she told me. 

We literally had fireworks at our Homecoming game.

When they told me, I cried. I was really disappointed, like most sixteen-year old girls would be. I had been bullied when I was younger for my weight, but I’d never had someone basically just choose to basically bully me for no reason at all. I wasn’t close with Aidan or either of the Jacks or anything, but we talked in class before all of this happened, so I always thought we would at least be decent to each other because I’d never given them a reason not to be. I was also upset that Luc had let all of this happen, and didn’t really understand why he’d go along with something like that. And I was just mad that he didn’t like me back like I thought I did.

Then, Emma made it even better by telling me that she’d also found out that apparently, Aidan was going around telling everyone that I not only liked Luc, but also that I liked Aidan, too. Which was absolutely not true. This pissed me off even more, and I decided I was too emotionally distraught (aka dramatic) to go to my next class, so I skipped it and stayed with Betsy for my next period. Later, I went to the Dean (who loved me) and told her what had happened and she wrote off my absence as “Excused” and told me she’d never liked any of those boys, anyway.

My Favorite Ways to Stay Positive

I am a firm believer that attitude is everything, and that maintaining positivity in your life can bring you some of the best gifts the universe has to offer. Over the past several months, I know that it has been hard for a lot of people to stay positive given the circumstances and uncertainty that has been surrounding so many of us, myself included, so here are some of my favorite ways to stay positive, no matter what.


1. Gratitude.

For me, gratitude is one of the most grounding things and it always immediately puts me in a better mood to take a moment and remind myself of all of the amazing things that I do have. Every morning before I get out of bed, even before I check my phone, I say three things that I’m grateful for and three things that I’m looking forward to that day. 

Even if it’s something simple, like being grateful for my extremely comfy bed, or looking forward to watching something on TV, the little things count, too. Also, I keep a gratitude journal and at the end of each day, I write down one specific thing from that day that I’m grateful for. Sometimes it’s a person, sometimes it’s an event, sometimes it’s something about myself. 

The point is, remind yourself everyday that you have at least SOMETHING to be grateful for – because you do.

2. Start and end your day on a good note.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who sometimes struggles to get out of bed in the morning, and sometimes loses motivation halfway through the day, so to combat that, I like to plan my day so that I do the two things I’m most excited about first and last. 

I love to workout first thing in the morning – it gets my blood moving, I already feel like I’ve accomplished something, and I have more energy in the day. Plus, it’s my time to completely zone out and focus 100% on myself. So, every morning right after making my bed and having my first cup of coffee, I workout. Sometimes it’s just a 15 minute yoga video, but it’s better than nothing and it makes me feel good for the rest of the day. 

Especially right now since during the day I’m busy with LSAT prep, law school applications, job hunting, and blogging, I like to have one thing at the end of the day to look forward to. I’m like a little kid, and I need to always have something to be excited about. Even if it’s just a new episode of “The Bachelorette,” or making my favorite mug cake recipe, I make sure to do one nice, fun thing for myself to reward myself for all the work I’ve done that day and to end my day on a good note. I also find that I sleep better when I do this.

3. Surround yourself with positive things.

Your environment can absolutely dictate your attitude. Personally, I’m a brat when things are cluttered or not clean so I know that my area needs to always be clean and organized for me to be able to focus. 

Photo by Binti Malu on Pexels.com

Also, I make sure to have things that I like around me. I have a little “hippie tray,” as I call it, on my dresser that has all of my crystals and sage spray. My desk organizers are all in my favorite colors. My bookshelves are full of books and photos and other random things that make me happy. I don’t keep things that make me think of bad times, or moments where I was sad, or that just don’t make me feel good. When I’m surrounded by things that make me happy, I’m happy!

4. Affirmations.

I absolutely love affirmations and they have changed my life in so many ways. When I was on my second College Program at Disney and spending the entire drive to and from work every day, and most of my breaks, sobbing because I was so miserable, I would pull down the visor in my car or go to the bathroom and stare at myself in the mirror while I recitd my favorite “I am” affirmations until I could regain focus and was able to make it through the rest of the day. 

I have so many apps on my phone that are dedicated to affirmations and I start every single day with them. Before I check social media or anything else, I read my affirmations for the day. When I get sad in the middle of the day, I go back to them. If I can’t sleep, I say them to myself. There are so many places to find good ones that help you with whatever you need to focus on, and they really have helped me stay positive even in the worst times.

5. Maintain perspective.

It really is a cliche, but it is true that someone always has it worse. But that’s not to say that you’re not allowed to be upset about something, or that your feelings or experiences aren’t valid. They are. Besides, I absolutely think that honoring your feelings – even the bad ones – is necessary.

But whenever I want to throw myself a pity party for something trivial, I think about if whatever that problem is will matter in five days, five months, or five years. That’s something a teacher in high school taught me, and it really does make a difference. It helps me to reframe my problems and realize that most of the time, they’re extremely temporary situations that I’ll get out of soon. Don’t make mountains out of molehills. When I realize that something isn’t going to impact me forever, it helps me realize that I can get out of my funk and go back to being positive sooner.

6. Do something nice for someone else.

I like helping people. That’s why I worked at Disney, and that’s why I want to be a lawyer. When I do something nice for someone else, without a secret agenda or hopes that I’ll get some sort of reward for it, it makes me feel good and instantly improves my day.

A couple of weeks ago, I was walking home from the grocery store when a woman walking a bit ahead of me was struggling to hold her daughter and her plastic bag of groceries when the bag broke. Her things went everywhere, so after helping her collect them, I gave her one of my reusable bags. That bag cost me about 10 cents and it took me less than three minutes to help her out. But it made me feel better to know that I did something to make someone else’s day easier, even if it was just with a reusable bag.

So buy someone a coffee, hold the door for the mom you see struggling to push her stroller through, or give someone a reusable bag. Reminding yourself that you matter, that your existence has value, and that you’re able to make the world a better place – one small step at a time – should always cheer you up. I know it does for me .

7. Take care of yourself physically.

You can’t feel good emotionally and mentally if you’re not feeling well physically. So, hydrate! I am never without my water bottle. Eat good foods. I don’t believe in diets or clean eating, but if you know you’re lactose intolerant, don’t have lactose. If you know that having too many french fries makes you bloated and unable to move, don’t eat too many french fries.

Also, make sure that you’re moving your body every day – even if it’s just a short walk – and get enough sleep. When I was going through my insane doctor visits trying to figure out why I had vertigo for six months straight, the one thing every doctor could agree on was that I needed to sleep more. Sleep is key. Take care of your body – it’s the only one you have.


I know there are lots of other great ways to maintain a positive attitude, but these are my top seven! Ever since I got out of the toxic situations that were holding me back, I feel much more like my old self – the self that was obnoxiously optimistic and always able to see the silver lining. I like being positive and I like being able to look back at a challenge and say to myself, “I made it through that and I did it with a smile.” So, whatever your methods are, stay positive. 2020 is almost over and 2021 is almost here – we can do it!

Chapter 27: The Runaway, Part II

Sometimes people come back into your life…

Sometimes men come back into your life right when you need a new story, and that’s what Elijah, The Runaway, did for me. 

If you don’t remember, Elijah was the guy from Orlando that I went out with last year, had a great time with at the arcade bar, but then on our second hangout he literally got up and walked out of my apartment without a word when he realized that I wasn’t going to put out that night. Here’s a refresher if you need it.

So, are you ready to hear about his reappearance into my life? Good, because I’m ready to tell you.


Not too long ago, I woke up to a text from Elijah simply saying, “Hey.” I was bored, so I responded, and he asked me if I was in Boston still, and I said yes. We started talking a bit, and eventually when I had the perfect moment to do so, I called him out on what he’d done to me a year before and asked if he was going to do that again. He said no, and he apologized for the way that he’d left things that night.  

We talked for a bit, and he really seemed to have changed. He seemed genuinely sorry for what had happened, and kept saying that he was surprised but very happy that I had even responded to him. I told him that while it sometimes bites me in the butt, I do try to give people two chances most of the time. But, after those two chances, you’re done. 


Ultimately, after talking for a bit and catching up, we made plans to hang out. Elijah is not the biggest movie buff, apparently, and he has a whole list of movies he’s never seen and was asking me for my favorite Halloween movie so he could add it to the list. Mine is the original “Friday the 13th,” and he said he’d never seen it. So, we decided that he’d come over and we’d watch it together and maybe I could help him cross some more movies off the list as time went on. 

He kept telling me how excited he was, and honestly, I was, too! I had really enjoyed my first date with him, and while in the moment I was too drunk and too focused on my hash browns, I was disappointed when he walked out on me. He was funny, we had a good time, and it wasn’t fun to have him disappear like that. I was really looking forward to getting together again. 


He came over a few nights later, and pretty quickly we picked things right back up where we left off. It wasn’t weird at all, and even though just to be safe I had my pepper spray in my pocket, I realized pretty quickly that I didn’t need it. I felt comfortable and safe, and it was really fun to just have someone to hang out with, joke around with, and cuddle. 

I made a bunch of chocolate chip cookies for him and opened up a bottle of wine, and after catching up for a bit, we started the movie. After a bit of watching, we ended up cuddling, which was totally fine with me. I’d told him going into the night not to expect anything, and he kept saying that he’d be happy even if he got to hold my hand. When I got scared, he hugged me, when he got scared, I hugged him, we laughed at the amazing fashion featured in the movie (apparently I have a thing for jorts?), and he got to cross a movie off of his list.

My cookies are better than these.
Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

While we were talking before the movie started, he was telling me a bit about some things he’s been working on in therapy, and explained how something they’d spoken about recently made him think of me, which is why he reached out. I don’t want to violate HIPAA and tell you what that is, but I thought it was sweet that he still thought about me and that I was the one that came to mind when he realized he needed to take some responsibility for things. He kept saying he was grateful I’d answered and that I’d invited him over, and I said there were no hard feelings – it was in the past, we can’t change it, we were both drunk, and it was okay. Let’s move on. 

After the movie, he started to give me a massage. He’d offered beforehand, and I’m never one to turn down a free massage, and he said like how I bake for people to show affection and appreciation, he offers massages. Plus, he wanted to show that he really did appreciate me forgiving him. The massage was amazing, and it definitely relaxed me even more, and it was just really nice to be close to someone again after almost 7 months of social distancing. After a bit, he asked if it was okay if he kissed me, and I said yes. 

We kissed, and after a bit, we decided to go into my room. I made it explicitly clear that we would NOT be having sex that night – I wasn’t ready, and it was not an option – and he kept saying that even by kissing me he’d already gotten to do more than he expected. We kept things pretty PG-13/high school for the most part, but it was actually kind of fun and very different from what I’m used to with guys trying to go straight to third base. 

We realized that the T was not running that late, and I didn’t want to make him get an Uber, and honestly I was happy to be borrowing some body heat from a human body and not my pillow so I said he could stay. He ended up spending the night, which was nice for me, the cuddle queen, and in the morning, I made waffles, we ate, and then he left.

While we were eating, I told him about my blog and that he was on it and he thought it was cool, and pretty funny, though I’m not sure he’s going to think it’s very funny now.


Over the next few days, we talked a bit via text and actually, a few times, he even called me on the phone just to say hi, or because he missed my voice. It was so sweet and given how some guys I’ve dealt with make me feel like asking for a phone call is like asking for a marriage proposal, again, it was just nice. A breath of fresh air. 

Even though we had already made out and everything, I did try to keep the talks not too flirty. I didn’t want him getting the wrong idea, but at the same time, I’d said multiple times at this point that I wasn’t ready to have sex, and wanted to take things slow right now, and he’d agreed. But, I felt like it was okay to be kind of flirty from time to time, and I just made sure to reiterate that this was an “if/when” kind of thing, not a “next time I see you” thing. 

Photo by Maria Lindsey Multimedia Creator on Pexels.com

We made plans to hang out a few nights later, the night of the NBA semi-finals, because I have access to cable and he wanted to watch. We also decided to play Never Have I Ever, and since I’d recently been apple picking and had so many apples still, I made us mini apple cobblers and apple cider moscow mules (which were amazing). He did come over with a backpack, which I thought was kind of presumptuous, but I brushed it off. 

We played Never Have I Ever, which was fun to spend more time getting to know each other after playing the question game last time, my moscow mules and apple cobblers were delicious and gone very quickly, and it was nice to just hang out. We cuddled and he gave me another massage, and just like last time, he asked me if he could kiss me, and I said yes. 

After a minute, he asked if we could go into the kitchen. I said yes, because I figured a change of scenery is nice, plus this way, none of the neighbors in opposite corner units from me could see me like I’m sure they’ve caught me having solo dance parties before. On the way there, I said again that we wouldn’t be having sex, and it wasn’t personal. He basically scolded me for saying that, saying that saying “it’s not personal” makes it sound like it is personal, so I apologized. I think that was the moment when it started to really kill my vibe. 

Once we were in there, though, I could tell even with that there was something he wanted me to do. While I did consider doing so for a minute, just to get it over with, honestly, I realized that I didn’t want to, and just because in the past I’ve given into things because it was easier than causing a scene or having a fight, I didn’t want to do that anymore. I wasn’t in the mood, and I still wasn’t ready. 

He could tell I wasn’t in the mood, but instead of reading the room and being like, “Hey, let’s just not do anything tonight,” he then directed me back to the couch and asked if I wanted to show him the kind of porn I watch. Honestly, I don’t watch porn, it’s just not my thing, but I’m not naive enough to not know where to find it or what the types of categories are, and I figured that this was a much more hands-off approach and more my speed at the time, so it was a better alternative. Then things got weird in a way I don’t even want to write about, and AGAIN he could tell I was not feeling it, but AGAIN he tried to steer the night into the opposite direction from where I wanted. 

This time, he asked me if I could show him my toys, and I just went with it because I figured if I did this right and made some juvenile jokes or something, maybe I could kill his mood. I did not succeed in my mission, unfortunately, and we ended up getting into my bed.