I Found Love

A year ago, I prayed for love.

I was broken and betrayed and I wished with all of my heart for love to come find me.

I screamed to the heavens with sorrowful begging.

PROVE to me that I am worthy, I thought.

I cursed karma and told myself how hard it would be to ever trust a man again.

I hated the idea of letting someone else break me.

360 days have gone by and I realize that I got exactly what I asked for.

I found love.

No, a man did not come and sweep me off my feet and fix my broken heart.

But I sure did.

Prince Charming did not ride up on a silver horse and hand me my self-worth.

I built it day by day.

I found love through myself.

Love for the weird quirks that make me who I am.

Like laughing at my own jokes or talking to myself in the emptiness of my apartment.

The inability to make good comebacks and tenderness to cry at the tears of someone else.

I started a journey to truly love the person I am and see my own worth as valuable currency.

I stopped spending my energy on those who didn’t appreciate it.

When I did that, I started meeting new faces.

I found love.

I found friends who cared so deeply for me they would listen to me talk about the same dilemma for hours and days just so I could walk myself through it.

They took me on crazy adventures and introduced me to more and more people until I built a network of love and support.

Losing one person led me to an incredible family of friends who have loved me and protected me in the exact way I need it.

In the way that never leaves.

They have shown me the selflessness it takes to make a relationship work, friendships or any type of relationship.

They have supported me with every dream and decision and pushed me forward when I need a little nudge.

The people I have met in the past year have become indispensable and incredibly valuable.

They have continuously encouraged my self growth and self love.

I prayed for love and at the time, I wanted a man I could call my best friend.

I got something so essential to what I need.

I got a team of best friends who have loved me more than anyone has before.

And I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Love,

Anna Marie

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Allie

“I’ve never gotten a real love letter, I’ve always written them.”

Every girl deserves a love letter, Allie. Especially you.

Dear Allie,

It’s not fair is it? That someone has never taken the time to sit down and write, carefully and thoughtfully, about how special you are. It isn’t fair at all and so here it is, your very first love letter. It’s not from someone who is in love with you or will ask for your hand in marriage but it’s from someone who considers you such a close friend and THAT says more than a boyfriend ever will.

I know every struggle, every tear, every shred of doubt you’ve faced and I plan to stick by your side for whatever comes in the future- just like you’ve done for me.

You have this light that cannot be described. When you walk into a room- your energy ignites warmth. It is kind, creative and filled with passion. You feel and love so deeply, Allie. Never stop opening your heart to people in this way. It is a strength that is learned and a fear so many people never challenge.

The way you embrace someone is inspiring. It is fierce and all at once. It is full and intricate. You see someone through their love for what makes them happy. You take that and you fuel them to become something beautiful. You stand by their side as if to never complete them, only to hold their hand if they start shaking.

That is beautiful.

And I know it’s left you broken.

Because sometimes people don’t know how to handle those whose passion is simply life.

But don’t you dare stop loving everything you do. Your art, your poetry and your creativity deserve the crazy fire you put into it. It spreads inspiration and cultivates the fire in others.

Your flame doesn’t go out by lighting others, you only create more light.

Never stop sharing your light, Allie.

Love,

Anna Marie

We Need To Stop The “No Expectations” Advice

“If you don’t expect anything, you won’t get hurt.”

You also won’t work for anything either. You won’t try but I guess you also won’t fail.

I understand what this “no expectations” outbreak is going for… don’t expect too much because you’ll put yourself in a situation that may make you unhappy. You may be far too demanding of those around you and constantly put yourself in a position to disappoint your own wishes. I get that, but NO expectations?

Don’t tell young people of this age that we should have NO expectations in life. There is SO many great expectations that we can hold that push us further and make us work hard.I have expectations for a lot of things. I’m human and believe that we should carry expectations for ourselves.

For example:

Relationships. We should expect to be treated with respect. If we don’t expect that, we can easily become a doormat. I don’t think anyone likes feeling that way. We should expect someone to care about us and show it because it’s what we need to share a happy relationship (at least for some of us). If we don’t expect to be cared about then what the heck do we even date for? You might as well marry a rock. Or a log. I don’t know. I don’t expect strangers to care about me and I can’t have you on the same plane as them.

We can expect to be loved. Isn’t that what you get into a relationship for? If I don’t expect you to love me then I probably don’t care about you at all. I expect you to work through problems with me because that is what you’re supposed to do in a relationship (in my eyes). If I don’t expect that, we will hold grudges or resent each other until we are such a dysfunctional couple we aren’t happy anymore.

When it goes too far… I don’t expect flowers or to be showered with gifts. I just expect some type of effort because that’s what I believe a relationship needs. I don’t expect us to never fight. I don’t expect you to be perfect or for either of us to always be right. I just want your love.

Career. We can expect to get a degree if we work hard and follow the guidelines to earn one. I wouldn’t be in college if I didn’t expect to get a degree at the end of it all. We expect to get hired eventually doing something we love because we will have earned a higher education to do so and have worked our butts off to get the special requirements needed.

When it goes too far… I won’t expect to get a raise because I think I deserve it. I won’t expect to get promoted if there are other great candidates around me. I won’t expect to work my way up easily.

Friendships. We can expect honesty. We can expect to be there for one another. We can expect to ask each other to hang out and put some effort in.

When it goes too far… I don’t expect me to be your best friend or your only friend. I don’t expect us to always be free or super close to each other.

It really makes me upset to see so many people say they just won’t expect anything anymore. You should have standards set for your goals and what you want out of life. Just don’t get carried away. That’s why quotes like this get popularized. Don’t expect TOO MUCH but please, for the love of all that is good and pure, expect something out of the world around you.

Until next time,

Anna Marie

Accents and Adventures

Let’s set the mood. You’re watching a movie that makes you feel incredibly giggly and hopeful and then all of a sudden someone dies or a bomb explodes and the credits start rolling. In this moment, all you can do is squeeze your fists as your body and mind try to process the emotion explosion that’s making your heart hurt.

This is what summer camp feels like.

I went to a summer camp as a camp counselor in New York during the summer of 2013 and it still causes an emotional labyrinth in my mind today. I did not know any of the other camp counselors and the first 6 out of 8 weeks were filled with demon children, weird accents, and little sleep. I went through culture shock in my own country when I realized that 12 year old girls make sex jokes and cut each others clothes up as an act of revenge. Not to mention how British people pronounce lilac and ADIDAS way differently than any American I know.

Let me break it down. The first day we got there, the head of the camp told us that when we leave, we will have made lifelong friends that know you better than the ones at home. I was skeptical. We arrived without the children, got to know each other, and waited for the kids to arrive. As soon as they did, we realized that if we did not support each other, the kids would make us want to jump in the lake and swim away.

My close friendships with people of completely different cultures was the only reason I made it through summer camp.

Some of the kids you met were so kind and wonderful but then some kids were just awful. They were late, rude, disrespectful and just plain old MEAN. I never thought a 12 year old could make me cry until the moment it happened. Ironically, I took the job because I love kids. Now, not ALL of them were that bad; there were some great kids there but the best thing I got out of summer camp were the lifelong friendships I made with other counselors.

New York City. July 31, 2013. Times Square & childhood dream.

Looking at this experience the right way really changed my whole perspective. I was really down while I was in New York. It was long, stressful days with only 5 days off in 2 months. Amazingly, you would never believe what those days did for you. I went camping on a river under the stars, stayed in a sketchy hotel with a really nice pool, and explored as much of New York City in 6 hours that a girl can. These days were spent with people from all over the U.S. and all over the world. It was amazing to be a part of a staff that was 75% international. Now, I didn’t get to know everyone, but a few co-counselors truly impacted me and I stay in touch with them to this day.

This is why. When I had an especially horrible day, I could reach out to these few girls and go on a quick walk with snot running down my nose and tears watering the sidewalk. I don’t have any idea what I would have done without them. So many times I wanted to call a cab to take me to the airport but they convinced me that if I wait it out, I wouldn’t regret it. I would call and talk to my mom and friends from home but no one quite understood what you were going through like the people who were stuck in the storm with you.

August, 2013. Camp Besties.

August, 2013. Camp Besties.

We were able to remind each other that we had to keep our chins up and smile because this experience had to be a good one. So, better late than never, I forced myself to smile and started to look at things in a more positive way. I reached out to more counselors and became friends with even more people. I began feeling a little more like myself every day until the final day came. The day we all went our separate ways to go home.

I have never cried so much than when I had to leave my camp best friends. You don’t know when you will meet each other again, but you do know that you will never forget how extraordinary those 8 weeks were and how it changed you and the ones around you. That picture is of two of the most incredible friends I have in the nation.

My co-counselor who became my international best friend. New York. 2015.

My co-counselor who became my international best friend. New York. 2015.

In this other picture is my English treasure, who I am hoping to visit this next summer. Without her, the children would have destroyed all strength I have and I couldn’t believe how two people from different worlds could become so close. From trying to teach her an American accent that always sounded Texan, to her making fun of the way I destroyed the English language, I will never forget the friendship we built by being there for each other when it was much needed.

SO.

Does my story make you think of one of your own? Something that changed your perspective? If not, think of any memory where you felt down. TWIST it. What was good about it?  Try to do this when life throws hammers at you and remember that the first step in fighting for happiness is standing back up after being knocked off your feet. 

 

Anna