Losing a Best Friend

Hello hello hello hello beautiful people!

 

So I skipped a week or so or a million, do not come for me! I finished this post Monday night and was sad that I had to wait 4 more days to post it! 😦

But I’m tryna be a consistent content queen 🙂

Like I have said before, I will randomly get super inspired for a blog post and just start typing away….

(that’s me right now, my fingers are literally flying across the keyboard 🙂 )

And this idea just came to me the other day and I thought:

What an interesting topic to discuss in my blog.

Because, you guys know, that I love to share my personal experiences on this blog. It seems like lately I have been sharing the more unfortunate things that have happened in my life than positives.

I should really stop doing that …

But if my own experiences, situations, and the story of how I dealt with them can help one person going through something similar, then my job is done.

And if not, you have helped me by allowing me to share these personal stories and allowing me to feel these feelings without judgement.

Anyway, the topic of losing friends is one I think most people can relate to. Especially new adults like myself who are basically growing into their adult life.

That is such a weird way to phrase that but its the only way I can think to describe it. You’re growing up and quickly and everything seems to be changing so fast.

People naturally grow apart and even the closest people find themselves  acquiring different interests, different desires for their life, and just in general, no longer fit in each other’s lives. It’s a completely natural thing. I always stress that this is completely normal. Sometimes, losing people in your life can feel like it is the end of the world.

It’s not.

And sometimes it’s inevitable. Remind yourself that the people who are meant to be in your life will always be.

But for me, I find it so incredibly weird that someone who was once your other half, someone who you were completely inseparable from, is now a complete stranger that you make awkward small talk with. Someone who knew all of your secrets, all of your dreams, and supported you no matter what, is gone.

Which is where the inspiration for this topic came into my brain because I lost a best friend years and years ago and I actually ran into her a few months ago on campus.

And it was that strangeness of just talking about small insignificant things while also knowing very very personal things about them. And them about me.

I guess we should give this person a fake name in case they read this blog post (unlikely) and also, I like giving people fake names because it’s kinda funny.

Had to be there I guess.

Anywayyyyyyyy

Let’s call her Susan.

Susan was my BEST friend. And by best friend I mean BEST BEST BEST BEST friend. She is the closest friend I have ever had. I have never been this close to anyone in my life besides Hunter (obviously) and my family.

I think we all have a soulmate in the form of a husband, partner, lover but I also think we have friends that are our soulmates as well. Like a soul sister.

She was mine.

We were friends from, I wanna say, the 5th grade to the end of our freshman year of high school.

Susan came from a family similar to mine- good parents, good siblings, Christian based home with rules and good morals. We had a lot in common- which we all know is basis for a good friendship.

And when I say we had a lot in common- no, I do not mean that we both like Chipoltle and swear by Starbucks frappecinos. We had deep and intellectual things in common.

We both wanted to write books. I remember we used to text each other excerpts from our respective novels. We would literally critique each other’s work over the phone. We would make suggestions on what to add and which parts needed to go where. It was so weird.

We both cared a lot about our grades and about school. This is so weird for two girls that were so young but we used to do our homework when we hung out. Like we would finish our homework, discuss it, and then do whatever else we had planned for the day.

We both were very religious and put our relationship with God above everything else. We used to go to church together and pray together. Praying isn’t something that  I even do with Hunter that often. I don’t know if you realize how comfortable you have to be with someone to pray with them.

So our friendship was a deep and meaningful one. In the best way.

We had different personalities. She was more outgoing in places where I was more reserved. She was much more outspoken than me, she had an easier time talking to people than I seemed to. I can’t think of an example now, but I know that I brought out a different side of her too.

Our personalities complimented each other.

I even later found it hard to be outgoing and talk to people and get outside of my little shell when she wasn’t around.

But she was my best friend, like I said. She was my soulmate. We did everything together. She was basically another sister to me.

We spent A LOT of time together. At the time, I didn’t know much of the world outside of our little friendship bubble. As quickly as we became best friends, I also became very dependent upon her.

I felt like I could’t do homework without discussing it with her, couldn’t buy an outfit without asking her opinion, or couldn’t talk to my other friends and peers without her by my side.

It was like this for awhile, well into our freshman year.

But as high school usually does, it forced us to grow apart.

We no longer played on the same sports teams-she played basketball and ran track. We no longer had every class together and couldn’t do our homework together in study hall.

She made new friends, just as I always knew she would. I mean, why wouldn’t she?

She was outgoing and bubbly and had this way of making everyone she talked to feel special. She was beautiful and all the guys seemed to like her for that even though, I always knew it was because she was such a sweet and kind person. She was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside.

She made boys feel special too.

So in the presence of this newfound space between us, in walks jealousy and spite. I was jealous that even though we still made the effort to be friends, I wasn’t her only friend anymore. I felt like I was slowly losing my best friend.

The people she became friends with weren’t the best. They didn’t share her morals, they didn’t make the best choices.  I always knew that she wouldn’t follow in their footsteps or let them influence her but it still made me angry that she chose to spend time with them. I was thinking: what about me?

To add some more drama, there were boys. There were boys that I liked that obviously chose her. There were arguments, petty fights, you know the drill with 15 year old girls.

I honestly cannot, for the life of me, remember what incident went down that ultimately led to us deciding to call the friendship quits.

Isn’t that crazy? You build this special friendship around mutual love and support and can’t even remember what led to its fallout.

That right there proves its insignificance.

The small and insignificant things, details, feelings, even relationships that mean nothing can tear two people apart- if you let it.

There were boys, other friends involved but ultimately, it was her and I who let the friendship slip.  I’m not placing any blame on her, or myself for that matter. It was a group effort- or lack of.

It was her and I who let the pettiness, the drama destroy our bond as sisters. It was us who let the little things come between us.

And if you ask me now at 21 years old, I am still the QUEEN of losing friends. Of letting old bonds fade and friendships be severed over nothing.

Also I’ve learned that it’s because I am THE WORST at reaching out to people. Hands down. But that’s a discussion for a whole nother blog post.

But just as quickly as we fell into our deep friendship, we were falling out. I knew I didn’t want our “goodbye” to be forever but I would later learn that it was.

I was too shy to reach out to her,even awhile after things cooled down and it seemed safe again. She never reached out either.

For me, it was because I was too afraid that  I would bother her with my attempts. I figured she never wanted talk to me again, never wanted to be friends again. I let the fear of being rejected keep me from reaching out to a friend and possibly save a really good friendship.

We later would be on the same sports team again for a season and there was a flicker of possibility that things could go back to normal. We hung out a few times, we talked like we used to.

But too much time had passed and things would just never be the same.

For us, that’s where the story ends. Two friends close as can be through middle school and early high school and now- complete strangers.

So here is where the life lesson comes in- grab your popcorn 🙂

I would love to meet the guy who has never lost a single friend (and like get his secret 😉 )

I wish we could be close to everyone we once were, I wish I could have kept all of my closest friends from middle school, high school, college. But the truth is, we can’t.

We’re constantly changing and just as quickly as you’re changing, so are your friends. Sometimes, friends grow in opposite directions, their visions, interests no longer align. The bond between them simply falters at the hands of these differences.

My 21 year old self doesn’t have anything in common with the people I was friends with at 17 years old. Not to say that I don’t love them and wish we were friends but as I keep growing and changing so do they.

I’ve learned from this situation alone that you lose friends- simply put.

Never in my dreams could I have imagined losing this person and yet here I was doing exactly that.

It happens. We grow up and naturally, people grow apart. It’s all a part of becoming who you are. Sometimes we outgrow friendships, we lose that common interest, that special bond.

That is completely normal. It’s so weird when you think about it but you don’t have to stay close to someone out of obligation. You move on and do your thing.

However, sometimes it can be quite the opposite. Sometimes it’s not about growing apart mentally, it’s about being scared to reach out after so much time has passed.

If you’re feeling like maybe the friendship shouldn’t have ended, maybe there was still potential there that you could start over and be close again, I encourage you to reach out to that person.

If you feel like maybe all you need is someone to make the first move and reach out, be that person. I guarantee it will almost always be mutual.

If it’s not, at least you were the one who tried, you were the one who gave it your all.

I think, for me especially, what gets in the way of mending broken friendships is fear. Fear that if you do reach out after all this time, you’ll be rejected, you’ll be ignored, you’ll be bothering them.

I would say that in most cases, that won’t be true. Nobody minds hearing from an old friend even if it’s to catch up for only a moment.

I honestly haven’t thought about Susan or our friendship in years and when I was reminded of it now- as an adult- it opened my eyes. I’ve changed so much from my middle school/ high school self and I see my own past experiences with new clarity.

At the time, I didn’t see the situation as  I do now. I was blinded by the pettiness, the drama, and honestly- feeling like  I had to hate her just because we weren’t close anymore.

But now that I’m not such a teenager, I’ve realized that the friendship was always there, just not the effort. That’s on me.

Losing friends isn’t the end of the world. It feels like the end of the world, trust me, I know. Losing a friend is worse than a breakup and way, way, way, way messier.

Friendships hurt because they matter. They”re important.

Even as you do grow up and grow apart from old friends, don’t carry any bitterness, jealousy, hatred in your heart for them. After all, at one point, they were everything to you. You can’t un-love someone.

The people who are meant to be in your life will be in your life. Cherish them, thank them, be incredibly grateful for them. Don’t ever think it’s not important to tell your friends how much they mean to you.

If you’re one of f those people with the same single best friend since birth,  I admire you. Truly.

But if you’re like most of us and you do lose a best friend or even several along your journey, just know that you’re not alone and it always gets better!

 

Love and hugs,

Cerena 🙂

We Make Our Own Fairytales Here

Hello hello hello beautiful people!

I know, I know, I KNOW I am back at you again with inconsistent blog posts after I told you I was making more time for this…

I’ve decided that I will be posting a new blog post every Friday now! I know, I know you will be waiting in anticipation every Friday from now on 🙂

I thought if I set aside one day to come out with a blog post every week, I could stay more consistent so here’s hoping!

Today’s post is something that I have been thinking about for a really long time and has been on my mind for awhile now.

And it’s this:

People don’t understand you if you’re different. Most people anyway.

Some people find your differences endearing and know that it’s what makes you unique. Others see differences as being “weird”, “off”, or just dumb.

I can be honest here-that’s what this blog is for- and say that  I am defiantly not normal. I’ve always been one of those people terrified to conform, scared of fitting in. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to stand out. With my clothes, my hobbies, the way I talked and treated people. I wanted to leave people thinking: “hey, she’s a little different.”

I remember people saying:

Why would you wear that?

Why would you post that picture?

Among other hurtful things that only reinforced that I was different. But it was always intentional. The differences that make me who I am  never embarrassed me, never made me want to act like everyone else. The negative comments, the people with the intention of hurting my feelings by saying I dress weird, I look weird, I talk weird never made me want to change.

And that’s important.

Because I think there is incredible weirdness inside of all of us. We all have creative ideas, huge dreams, and are drawn to romanticize everyday life.  But for the most part, it’s just easier to get through high school, to get through life, by adapting to the normal and trying our hardest to blend in.

But not me.

I’m 21 years old now and I still love Disney movies, I still want to be a mermaid , I still love to read fantasy books that take me to another world. I still sometimes pretend that I go to Hogwarts, I still obsess over all the animals at the zoo, and now- I make weird Youtube videos.

And this is all okay by me. I fear the day that I wake up and don’t know all the words to the latest Disney song or I don’t remember where I put my mermaid tail. To me, these things make me feel special. They make me Cerena.

But all of this, to other people, sometimes comes across as being childish.

Okay really childish.

I’ve been told to “grow up”, “act your age”, “be an adult for once”

And these things make me very incredibly sad which brings me to the whole point of this post:

We make our own fairytales here.

This is earth, this is America. There is no magic here. There’s no guaranteed happily ever after for every character. There’s no breaking into musical songs after experiencing a hardship-there’s just hardships.

What may come across as being childish or caring about things I shouldn’t, is just how I keep the magic real in my life.

I’ve always been more on the creative side of things. I know that growing up means giving up the power to create and fantasize in my own mind.

I’ve given up so much of it  already.

But if growing older and becoming mature and becoming an adult goes hand in hand with giving up my imagination entirely, then I’m not sure that I ever want that for myself.

I never want to lose the part of me that is childish because that is the same part that allows me to dream, that reminds me to believe in myself, and reminds me that it’s okay to be different.

Over the years, in moments of doubt, I found myself wondering if it would be easier to just try harder to fit in. Rather than having to defend myself, justify my creativity, and explain to those  who will never understand why I do the things that I do.

In high school, middle school, elementary school I was made fun of ALL THE TIME. It was always for being different, for thinking differently, and for caring about things that my peers did not.

I remember this like it happened yesterday….. I had become inspired by a photo shoot I watched on America’s Next Top Model (don’t even lie you watched it too) where they modeled with their bodies covered in paint. I thought paint would be such a cool thing to work with, mind you- this was at the VERY beginning of my journey in learning photography so I was very inexperienced. But basically I got the idea to paint my own face and take a picture of it.

I worked incredibly hard on this photo, editing it just right, just perfect. I remember feeling nervous to post the photo to my Instagram page since- let’s’ face it- it was a little extra. Back then anyway. But I was so happy with the way it turned out and I was excited for the rest of the world to see it (okay just my Instagram followers 🙂 ).

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And I remember my friends making fun of me,even my boyfriend thought the photo was weird. And that’s one of the moments when I really realized that my ideas, my thoughts, weren’t even in the same ball park as the people around me.

But I was okay with that.

I don’t owe anyone an explanation.I don’t owe anyone an apology for all the things that make me who I am.

I wanna paint my face, I wanna dream a new dream everyday, I want to take photos in front of my green screen and photoshop Hogwarts in the background. I don’t want to live a boring and mundane life. I try my hardest to put magic in every single thing that I do.

In my relationship with my fiance, Hunter, he now willingly participates in any weird thing I want to do. Whether it’s dressing up as the Tune Squad for Halloween, or taking Tangled theme engagement photos before our Tangled themed wedding.

My biggest dream in life is to be a mom someday. I hope that when that day comes, I won’t have lost all the magic. I want my children to grow up visiting Disney world, reading the Harry Potter books or whatever great adventures will come out, and I want them to know, first hand, the magic that comes along with loving yourself exactly the way you are.

I wanna be the mom who watches every Disney movie with her kids 1,000 times (and knows every song), who dresses up for fun-not just Halloween. I wanna play the soap opera that is Barbies with my daughter and take them to my favorite place- Disney World. I wanna read the books they’ll read, about adventure and magic and love.

I want to wear my Mickey Mouse ears to the grocery store and not even care.

I have done that before.

I cannot stress it enough that it is UP TO US to make our own happy ending. There is no writer with his pen to fix all of our problems and ensure our happy endings. There is only you to make sure your life is full of magic, creativity, and imagination. Do not let what other people think discourage you.

Live your life the way you want to live it, mouse ears and all. It will always be okay to act a little childish for as long as you live because we truly do make our own fairytales here.

Love and hugs,

Cerena 🙂

Dear Mom,

Dear mom,

We met, face-to-face, for the first time 21 years ago. Actually we met 21 years 6 months and 21 days ago because this is Mother’s Day.

Wow. I bet you can remember when you were 21.

All young and carefree and smiles because you were probably thinking about marrying my dad.

You probably were not thinking of me.

Maybe you were thinking of me though. Maybe in a nameless, faceless kind of way. Like when you thought of how happy my dad made you sometimes maybe your mind would wander to the thought of children who looked like him. Or like you.

Maybe you thought you would like a son, or maybe you knew you would love whatever you were given. And then shortly after, you let your mind wander to the thought of having a daughter and that was me.

Well it wasn’t me yet but it would be.

Maybe you were scared because you didn’t know how to be a mom. I mean, nobody teaches you that. But you knew already that you would love me unconditionally my entire life.

I was loved when  I was only a thought.  I was loved before I had a face, a name, before I even existed, I was loved.

My brother would make you a mom. And today you’ve loved him for 23 years, 1 month, and 12 days.

You were already a mom when I came along. You already loved me but after I was born,you finally got to hold me in your arms.

I have a face now! And a name!

And I didn’t know, the day that we met, that you would become my best friend, my biggest hero, and the greatest love I’ve ever known.

You were  always there when I needed you. Always.

Do you remember, when I was four years old, I told you that I wanted to stay that age forever?  I said I never wanted to grow up because I just wanted to hang out with my mom everyday.

I still feel that sometimes.

You and my dad brought me to church and introduced me to Jesus Christ. I remember because I was too young to really understand who Jesus was and what His role was in all of this but I always knew that He was a friend.

The love I experienced throughout my entire childhood was overwhelming. I can remember more of my childhood than most people can and it was an endless stream of love, laughter, and whole lot of forcing you to play Barbies 🙂

We drifted apart, not too far, but a little when I became a teenager. Doesn’t everyone though?

I most defiantly tested your unconditional love by being very annoying. I can remember getting into arguments and looking back, I just know they had to have been over the silliest of things. Like not being allowed to go to someone’s sleepover, being out past curfew, to name a few.

When you got sick, I always knew we were all going to make it through together. I had so much faith in my friend Jesus because He knew I couldn’t live without my mom.

He knew there were 5 children who couldn’t live without their mom.

It’s weird because I always looked to you when I needed strength and there you were, through everything, still strong, still hopeful, still amazingly unfaltering.

And now as I grow into adulthood, you’re not only my mom but my closest friend.

I tell you everything. You give me advice, you laugh at my jokes, you listen to me. You really listen to me and care about what I have to say (even if it’s just about what happened in the last book I read).

You bring out the very best in me. You’ve always taught me what it is to have morals, to know right from wrong.

We’re all tempted to make the wrong decisions, I’ve made wrong decisions before, we all have. But I always found myself feeling guilty when tempted to do the wrong thing because I love you and my dad too much to not respect the way you raised me. You can’t unlearn integrity, you can’t delete your morals.

I remember ditching the plans I had with you once to hang out with a friend. I still feel bad about it sometimes because here you were, eager to spend time with me and I made you feel like I would rather hang out with my friend. After all those years, I never hear from that friend anymore but you still want to hang out with me all the time.

I am always growing, I am always learning, but I am glad to have realized that you are my best friend forever.

You’ve always been my biggest fan, supported even my wildest of dreams. I was never afraid  of dreaming too big because no matter what my latest fantasy was, you were always there to shower me with noting but love and support.

You’ve never once been selfish for as long as I’ve known you. You have always put my siblings and I first. Always.  I always knew that all of my needs would be taken care of and that’s only because I have such selfless parents who were always willing to do anything for my well-being.

You taught me to respect myself and that is something I can never thank you enough for. As a young woman, I demanded respect from boys and I always knew that I didn’t owe them anything, not my body, not any part of me that I didn’t want to give them. You taught me that I didn’t need validation from anyone but me.

You’re so kind. You’re the kindest person I have ever met and you have been this kind for as long as I’ve known you. You treat everyone as if they were a friend and you go out of your way to make anyone and everyone feel special. I always strive to treat everyone with kindness and I know it’s only because I have seen you do it over and over and over again.

You know that I never say I want to be like anyone else because I like to be different, but I’ve always wanted to be like you. I’ve wanted to be beautiful just like you, know God just like you, treat others with nothing but kindness just like you.

I know that someday I’ll move out. I won’t be your 4 year old little girl anymore who just wants to spend every day with her mom. I know the future is exciting but I’ll miss the nights that  I  can come into your bedroom after a long day and just talk about anything and everything. I will miss having my best friend just down the hall. I will miss you and your influence over me, but I know that it will be in my heart forever.

My biggest dream, what I want most out of this life, is to be a mother. I know because I have those nameless, faceless children in my mind too. And I know that I want so badly to be a mom because I had such an incredible example of what a mother should be to watch my entire life.

I have a mom who is strong, who beat cancer, who inspires me to be kind, who shows me the way to Jesus Christ, who listens, who supports me, who teaches me, and who is my very best friend.

I have a mom who has loved me without pause, without question, with no hesitation, no conditions, just has completely and perfectly loved me.

I have only God to thank for giving me such an incredible mother. He really couldn’t ask for a better follower. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t deserve the parents I have been given.  I don’t deserve the endless amount of blessings you have poured into my life. I could never repay you for everything that you have done for me.

I wanted you to know how much you mean to me not only on this special day, but for everyday for the rest of our lives. I wouldn’t trade a single moment with you for anything in the world. I love you so much! Happy Mother’s Day!

Love you forever,

Cerena 🙂

How I Survived 6 Weeks Without Social Media

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Hello hello hello beautiful people!

This blog post today, WOW, I have been working on this forever. Do you ever have like a really good idea and you spend so much time on it because when it comes out, you want it to be just right?

That is me with this post right now. I have been grasping at the right words to say, the right ideas to share with you guys. I want to do right by you in this post, so here is me trying my best to do just that….

Where do I even begin?

I guess I will start at the very beginning…

What is social media?

To me, I sort-of grew up alongside what we now call social media. I was in early middle school when sites like Facebook and Myspace became popular. I was in probably late middle school to early high school as places like Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat came onto the scene.

I was in that mix of people who were old enough to make an account on those websites, apps, etc… as they were coming out. I was learning to use them alongside the people learning to create them.

And okay, I wasn’t actually allowed to have a Facebook or Myspace in middle school but I defiantly did anyway….

Sorry mom and Dad.

I remember deleting my internet history after logging onto myspace before anyone would see what I was doing.

My bad.

Anywayyyyy

As the years went on, slowly but surely, social media was woven into my everyday life. It’s so strange but I couldn’t imagine living my life without having places like Facebook and Instagram to post pictures, highlighting my everyday life. I can’t imagine what it was like before we could see what everyone was up to in their picture sharing and posting.

And I eagerly joined in on them.

Did it even happen if you don’t post about it?

Did you really get asked to homecoming if you didn’t post a picture of it?  Did you get into that college, make the team, join the band if you didn’t post about it? Did you really go to prom unless you upload hundreds of pictures to Facebook?

The constant urge to chronicle our everyday lives is so weird when you really think about it.

And I am in no way bashing those people who post everything on the internet because, I am one of them. I think it is great that we can share our personal experiences with our Facebook friends, followers, etc…

But I do, at times, think about how it takes away from just living in the moment and being happy making memories. We are too worried about taking that perfect Instagram-worthy shot.

Or at least I am that way.

So to make a long rambling story short, social media has become, since its creation, a big part of my everyday life.

But there’s a downside to it as well.

I love Instagram. Surprise, surprise. I am a photography enthusiast so I enjoy a platform where we can share photos we’ve taken. I love the idea of a social media page that centers around just posting photos because, in all seriousness, that is what I am most passionate about.

But I became so obsessed with this app, so transfixed with not only the photos other people were posting but about my profile as well. I became OBSESSED with what my personal Instagram feed looked like. I wanted all my photos to match or have a theme to them and look good together on my feed. I began (and this is when you just know you’re a psychopath) to plan out what I would post so that they would match the photos next to them.

It was important to me.

So in a very real way, my Instagram was actually taking up time in my life for such unnecessary things. Like MATCHING YOUR PICTURES.

I’m sorry. I just can’t get over that. That is so crazy.

Do you ever want to punch your old self in the face?

As far as twitter goes, I love twitter. I love the connection that Twitter gives us to people all over the world. We can follow our close friends, family, and keep up with their funny tweets and life updates in the same place that we can follow the President, Ellen Degeneres, J.K. Rowling, to name a few. There’s such a sense of connection with the world there. I follow people from Australia, Europe, Hawaii, New York City, and other places all over the globe.

Somehow, following these people on Twitter makes me feel connected to them, like we are friends. Makes the world feel like a smaller place. And I love Twitter for the single fact that it’s hilarious. So many funny people, funny tweets, and they’re making more hilarious content by the hour.

If you want a laugh, go to Twitter.

But it has its drawbacks.

There’s a thing called sub-tweeting that should’ve just been left in 2014.

TOP DEFINITION
Subtweeting (n.)
Indirectly tweeting something about someone without mentioning their name. Even though their name is not mentioned, it is clear who the person tweeting is referring to.

And most of the time, okay all of the time, subtweeting is done with pretty malicious intent.

But hey, I’ve done it, we’ve all done it.

But I am grown now and I don’t see the point in creating pointless internet drama with other people. I’m 21 years old and I am trying my best to be an adult and follow my dreams and yet I still encounter subtweeting and I just don’t get it.

You’re my age and you’re subtweeting-get a life.

Months ago, before the social media cleanse, there was a person subtweeting mean things very clearly about me and I don’t know why but as stupid as it sounds, my feelings were very hurt. I cried. I was upset. Mostly because it was from someone I used to consider a close friend.

But I remember saying that’s it! I’m done! I’m never logging back onto twitter again (that lasted like an hour 🙂 )

And this is where I was just over social media. I started to see all of it in its most negative light.

What even is subtweeting? That is literally so stupid..

Insert fancy transitional phrases because I don’t know what to say before we get into this part……

The religion that I consider myself, at this stage of my life, is Catholic. I was raised Catholic by my two Catholic parents. As the Easter season approached, we celebrate what is known as lent.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of it but just in case you have no idea what I am talking about, it’s a period of 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday (a week before Easter) where we are made to give up something  we like- chocolate, soda, alcohol, meat, fast-food, whatever we like a great deal as it is meant to be a sacrifice.

For Catholics and most Christians,  Easter is the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. It is a time to be thankful for the sacrifice He made in giving up His life for us.

He made the ultimate sacrifice and that idea was very near to my heart as I started to think of what I wanted to give up myself for lent.

I realized one  the hardest things to give up for 6 weeks would probably be social media. It would be Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook. They have become such a huge part of my everyday life, it seemed so difficult.

Jesus is my best friend. I can’t even  put into words the amount of love He has for us. He gave His life so that we may spend forever with Him in the kingdom of Heaven.

Wow. No social media is a pretty measly feat.

I wanted to use this newfound “free time” I had to get closer to God. I wanted to prepare my heart for the celebration of His resurrection. In the spare moments I had, sitting in waiting rooms, trying to relax on my lunch break, I would say a prayer. Instead of using free moments to check Instagram, send a snapchat, I would say a little prayer for someone.

And I used to check these apps several times a day.

So after Valentine’s Day, I deleted the Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter app from my phone.

**Real quick side quote: I know I  did not give up Youtube and that is still considered social media. I don’t want people to think I was lying or invalidate what I am sharing in this post because I didn’t give that particular form of social media up. For me, I didn’t see Youtube as an app that I was addicted to or that I found myself caught up in drama on. Before about a month ago, I was not a Youtube creator. I watch videos from other creators on the app pretty regularly but wasn’t making posts of my own. I did decide to start my own channel in this time period (mostly because it was just something I have always wanted to do and like always, I got super inspired randomly). Anyway, even after posting myself I still didn’t lump it in the same  category as other forms of social media because first of all, my mom is the only person whose ever watched those videos (hey mom). Second of all, it still wasn’t this place of hatred or cyber fights that I often experienced on Twitter and also wasn’t obsessing over photos and which ones I should post like I experienced on Instagram. Basically, taking away Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter was where I really struggled and I really made more room and time for God.

I guess after getting over the initial shock of just having no connection to the people I follow on social media, I was always wanting to check things. It was like my fingers had to be constantly opening apps on my phone and checking them. So, when I ran out of social media apps to check regularly throughout the day, I found myself checking my school email just to satisfy that urge.

I never check my school email.

And as far as I can tell you, in regards to how this break from social media has helped me, it changed my entire perspective on how I have been living my life up to this point. When I was forced to see that social media is not reality, my whole world was kind-of broken. I was faced with some tough questions I had to ask myself.

Who am I doing this for? Am I still posting content on the internet for me? Has it become about someone or something else?

Does it still make me happy? Or does it pressure me into presenting myself in a way that is photogenically pleasing?

I have reached into myself and learned that I do not have present myself as wholesome, put-together, aesthetically appealing on the internet because it is not and will never be, a real place. The internet, your Facebook wall, is not reality. How you present yourself online means very little in the real world.

In the world outside of the computer/phone/tablet screen.

This whole experience has literally been a reality check for me. Social media has evolved into almost this bubble that is easily intertwined with reality. Sometimes, it is difficult to tell one from another. It was a wake up call to dissect and separate the two. I hope that going forward, I can keep them that way.

And this experience has also been incredible for my mental health. As someone who has struggled with this, I cannot stress to you how important it is that we take care of our mental health. Taking a step back and evaluating the toll that social media had on my mental health was very insightful. I was allowing negativity, conflict, hatred, judgement in the various forms it can take on through social media into my life without realizing it.

And it all means nothing. At the end of the day, the likes, the comments, the heated debates, the arguing doesn’t mean a single thing.

I am creating, for myself, a new attitude going forward and taking everything I have learned over the past six weeks with me.

If you don’t like someone, don’t agree with the content they are posting whether it is starting arguments, spewing hateful opinions, or just in general putting a negative twist on the world around them- UNFOLLOW THEM.

You do not need that kind of negativity in your life. People will understand. Your mindsets and what you want to spread to the world and share via social media just don’t match up. And that is okay.

Post whatever the hell you want to post. And I mean that. Your pages, your feeds, they are yours. One of the best things about social media (in my opinion) is that they are almost always free sites and apps for anyone to make their own. It’s your place, your digital space, make it exactly how you want it and don’t apologize.

To close (because this post is so long I apologize already 🙂 ):

If you ever find yourself in a situation where social media seems to be doing more harm than good in your life-people are painting the walls with their negative opinions, attacking you personally, or making you feel pressured to present yourself in a different way, I encourage you to take a break. You can always come back to social media when you are ready, whether it’s been 3 hours, 3 days, or 3 weeks. It is always okay to take a break. Sometimes, it is the best thing you can do for your mental health and well-being.

Just remember: God loves you just the way you are. He can see the positive light you are trying to shine on the world and He knows your heart. That will never be based on likes, comments, or the way you present yourself to the world via social media.

If you are still reading this, thank you so much for not ignoring me because I took a little break fro social media for awhile 🙂

Love and Hugs,

Cerena

Do Mean Girls Ever Go Away?

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Hey guys!

I’m baaaaaaaaaack

If I ever think of a really good idea to blog about, I start typing right away while it is still fresh in my mind and I am at the peak of inspiration. Today’s post was actually inspired by something that happened recently and my mind has been running nonstop with ideas, advice, ranting (lol)- ever since.

You know me. I like to turn my unfortunate situations into a life lesson for all of the people reading this post because hey- we’ve all been there. We can learn from each other’s experiences and help to build that sense of understanding. I want to get my point across-because I think it is a very important one- but I might find myself ranting.

Obviously we are going to talk about mean girls in this post and that can be very upsetting to some people i.e. me.

I’ve wanted to address mean girls in a blog post since I started this thing but I haven’t felt as passionately about it as  I do right now. Right now I am obviously feeling hurt and angry, but mostly I am feeling grateful.

Grateful that I don’t have to stoop to their level to feel satisfaction with myself.

Anyway I apologize if this gets ranty. I will try my best.

The mean girl has been around since the beginning of time.

Adam and Eve started life here on earth and sometime along the way one girl said to herself:

I am going to be mean to other people and bring them down for NO REASON AT ALL.

And thus the mean girl was created.

In all seriousness, it seems like no matter what situation you find yourself in, what group you find yourself a part of, there will always be a mean girl present whose sole purpose is to try and make your life miserable.

I am a very non-confrontational person. I will do anything and everything in my power to avoid any type of conflict at all costs. I hate disagreeing with people, I hate not getting along with people. Disagreement in general just makes my skin crawl.

I hate it.

So naturally, my own personal run-ins with mean girls have been pretty minimal.

In high school -I am always throwing it back to high school to relay crappy situations – I encountered mean girls all the time.

I wish I had the words to describe the insecurity, the angst, jealousy, every teenage girl feels throughout high school. There are simply no words.

I would like to think that I have changed tremendously since I was in high school. I have grown as a person and I have a better understanding of who I am and who I want to be. I thought I was mature when I was in high school, I thought I had everything figured out, but I was sadly mistaken.

I had no idea. And I don’t think any of us have any idea who we are in high school but the problem is- we think we do.

We think Yes! I have conquered high school. Bring on college, bring on the world.

I can handle anything.

But we can’t. We still have room for so much self growth.

And even now, I still do.

There was a particular period in high school that lasted probably a few months where I couldn’t go one day without hearing a new, nasty rumor about me. Or about my boyfriend, Hunter. Or about Hunter and I. It was one thing after another after another.

And it was all started by the same one girl, or group of girls, for reasons I still do not know to this day.

But people in high school are so quick to believe even the most ridiculous of rumors because our minds aren’t very mature. We want to believe the worst in people, we want to believe that people are capable of the worst possible things.

It is my personal opinion that we all want to believe the worst in each other as teenagers because our adolescent brains are so bored with our own lives that we are entertained by the idea of scandal- even if it isn’t true.

When I finally had enough, when I didn’t think I could take another day of the lies and rumors and assumptions, I retaliated against this girl. I’m not proud of that because for the duration of this entire situation I had been strong and tried my best to ignore it.

 

I was so tired of people assuming things about me and my relationship that I felt the need to defend myself. I went about it all wrong.

It’s hard to hear this- I know that- but the best way to respond to a mean girl is to ignore her.

Let her have her fun, let her tear you down, let her tear everyone down. She is the one who has to live with the pain and hurt she has caused, not you.

And pray for her. I think it’s obvious that our tormentors may need our prayers most. There is clearly something wrong with her if she feels the need to bring so much hurt upon other people. There is something fundamentally broken inside her to make her feel that type of behavior is okay.

Mean girls are everywhere.

The attitude that bringing someone else down-whether to their face or behind their back- is almost wired into every girl’s brain. Almost every one of us has participated in some level of mean girl activity at some point in our life. Whether that be talking behind someone’s back, calling someone ugly, passing along a rumor that we knew probably wasn’t true. We have all done it.

I admit that occasionally I did participate in the whispering, the rumors, but I didn’t make a habit of it.

I never went out of my way to spread a rumor, break up a couple, etc…

And that’s where we get into mean girl territory…

I would say probably the worst type of mean girl encounter is of the ex-girfriend variety.

Again I don’t know what it is about being a teenager that makes our emotions run so high and our break ups go so badly.

I was dating someone (Hunter) who had a CRAZY ex-grifriend.

And I hate that I have to call her crazy because I really don’t like when people call girls crazy just for being a little jealous, or a little upset because- most of the time- it is justified. But this girl was crazy.

This girl found my Instagram page which normally I wouldn’t care that she followed me because, I mean, I take hella cute selfies and all that (:

I had no idea why she would want to follow me- being my boyfriend’s ex and all- but I didn’t think much of it.

(Look at me believing the best in people again)

I figured it out when she started screenshotting my selfies and sending them to Hunter. She would send them to him along with a message talking about how ugly and fat I am and how much better she was than me. She would literally make fun of my instagram pictures.

And blocking them does absolutely nothing to slow the crazy ex-girfriends because they are the most innovative people on the planet.

We unfortunately crossed paths at a local restaurant one evening. When I went to go use the bathroom, her and her friends started to yell my name. When I saw it was this girl and her many friends- props to her friends by the way for doing everything she told them to like if she jumped off a cliff would they….. ?

my stomach just dropped because I hate confrontation but also I hate ignoring them and looking like a weak little girl. And I just knew that something was coming.

They called me a slut, a whore, you name it- they called me it.

I just ignored them.

But when I got home and had the chance to really think about it, it hurt my feelings.

And so she won that one.

But I didn’t retaliate because it didn’t mean anything to me. Quickly they got bored of me as a target and moved on to greener pastures.

That was probably the worst run-in I experienced with a mean girl. It makes me sad to think that this level of b*tchiness is dished out to some girls on a DAILY basis. And it never ends, they are relentless.

And I guess this is where I leave you on high school because I still don’t understand why we do it. I don’t understand why we are so insecure at such a young age, I don’t understand why we cared so much about what people thought of us.

When you leave those hallways, I swear on my life, none of that matters.

And while talking about the ways mean girls treated me in high school I would like to point out that, like myself, these girls have probably changed.

But then again some people don’t.

I am currently 21 years old. I am going to college, I have a job, I am following my dreams. I am engaged to the love of my life that  I have been dating for 5 years. I have no interest in drama, I have no interest in people who cause drama.

But it still upsets me.

People still want to start rumors and at this age, I know we’re still young, but we are too old to be participating in that. We are way too old to be starting so much drama. And so much pointless drama.

Just recently, I experienced an attempt to start drama with me and I have just ignored it. I don’t have time for that. But I also think that this incident shows again how much farther I still have to go. I still have room to grow and mature.

Because it hurt my feelings.

I’m not at the point where my feelings don’t get hurt because I still believe the best in people, I still want everyone to get along, I want everyone to like me.

And with mean girls, that is unrealistic.

But because I am in college I expected the pettiness, the nastiness, to just disappear. As this incident has proven however, it hasn’t.

Which bears the question:

Do mean girls ever really leave?

Do they ever grow up or are we going be experiencing run-ins with mean girls for the rest of our lives?

Which brings me to the entire point of this post- prior to the drama I have had to deal with recently- adult mean girls.

I think when we were all young, and girls were all kinds of petty, we dreamed of the day that we would grow up and mean girls would be a thing of the past.

But is it?

And what brought this question to mind is a situation I found myself in where I realized: maybe adults don’t all grow up.

I was talking to a grown woman- a mom- whom I thought would be mature, above all the cattiness and drama. She literally looked at another girl passing by, a girl that she knew who is probably 15 years old, and -I am not joking- she said to me:

That girl is so ugly.

Let me paint the picture for you. This girl, who in my opinion is a very pretty girl, is a sophomore in high school. She is literally 15 years old.

Now I don’t think I have to remind you that high school is crawling with mean girls anyway, but now we have to look out for mean moms too?

I didn’t even say anything. My initial thought was to ask why she thought she was ugly because I didn’t see that but I was too shocked. I actually didn’t say anything which is probably more awkward but what am I supposed to say to that?

It sounded like something another high school girl-probably 15 years old- would say. Not someone’s mom.

And the more I thought about it, the angrier I got.

Why can’t we all get along? Why are we, as girls, drawn to this need to insult others in order to feel better about ourselves?

Why don’t we grow out of this? Why do we stay stuck on the drama, on the pettiness, on the rumors?

Again, I find it best to ignore the rumors, the insults, the tweets, the texts, etc..

Retaliation may feel good for a minute or two but because you are a good person with high morality and a good heart- you will end up regretting it.

Be the bigger person.

I think rumors frustrate me because it hurts my feelings to know that people would believe something about me that isn’t true. In this situation I just remind myself that God knows what is in your heart. He knows your intentions, He knows truth from deception. He knows the kind of person you are and He will take care of you.

And He never lets the mean girls win. No matter how defeated they may make you feel, put your trust in Him and He will take care of you.

You’re all beautiful and deserve nothing but love!

Love and Hugs,

Cerena 🙂

Starting a Youtube Channel?

Hello beautiful people!

Looooooooooooooong time, no see.

It is currently the middle of March and I have already completely ditched my plans of blogging more in 2018 and making time to write. I’ve been busy with school and work (as per usual) and I haven’t made writing a priority as much as I wanted to.

I have also been off of social media for the past month and I have plans to make a more in-depth blog post about that coming soon!

Anyway, with a break from social media, I also took a break from blogging. In this time, I decided to finally, finally,

FINALLY,

finally start a youtube channel.

(and I know this is considered social media still but like, hold your horses, we will talk all about that in my next post 🙂 )

For now, I have news that I  FINALLY MADE A YOUTUBE CHANNEL!!!!

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I have always wanted to make a youtube channel ever since the age of 12, when I started watching videos regularly myself.

I love youtube, I love that this online website allows creators to make videos and post their own content of their choosing.

Anyone can find their place on youtube whether it is watching makeup artists share their tips and tricks, recreating DIY projects, or watching people tell crazy personal stories about their lives-if you want it, youtube has it.

It is this magical place where you can post what you want, when you want, and for no reason other than you just wanted to have a good time filming a video.

Sooooo naturally I wanted to join in on this community. I wanted to post videos that made me laugh- both while watching and while filming them. I wanted to post the things I wanted to post, wanted to share my take on this beautiful, creative place and it has been every bit as fun as I thought it would be.

Someone said to me:

“Why do you even make videos? You only get like 7 views per video?”

And my response was pretty much along the lines of:

I am doing this for myself.

I never was out for numbers, never cared who was watching.  If my mom is the only person who will ever see my video, I am still happy. I am still satisfied because this was never about other people, this was about me.

I made this channel as a way to express myself. And at this moment, only a few weeks in, I can say that making youtube videos has brought me nothing but happiness and that will always be, with or without viewers.

Youtube has given me this opportunity to film videos that make me laugh, to try things that make me laugh.

I know it might sound crazy-being a person that sits in their room alone and talks to their camera- but oftentimes talking about certain things on camera makes me feel better. Makes me laugh at myself and relieves a lot of anxiety.

And I know, I know, I know I am still super awkward in front of the camera, but that can only get better. Right?

I love expressing myself, doing fun things, laughing at myself, and just in general- trying my best to get outside of my comfort zone.

Life’s too short.

I knew if I didn’t start this channel now( at age 21) I would be a real, actual adult soon and I would never do it. And then it would always be something I wanted to do but never did because I was scared or intimidated.

Like I said, it isn’t about subscribers, it isn’t about how many people watch my videos, it has always been about me and the way that youtube has always made me feel included and accepted- even though I’m super weird and never fit in anywhere.

Also, I think making thumbnail pictures (the picture that appears for people to click on your video) is the most fun thing in the world to do. I love making funny faces, and using pretty out-there poses (as seen in the 3 photos above 🙂 )

I am so happy to be on the other side of Youtube, the creator side.

If you have read all the way down to here, feel free to visit my channel if you’d like (and subscribe if you want 😉 )

youtube.com/CerenaG.

As always, thank you so much for tuning in, and reading my blog!!!!

Love,

Cerena

Dear 2017

Dear 2017,

First of all, I want to thank  you for being so much better than 2016.

2016 sucked ammirght?

Thank you for bringing me new memories, new opportunities, and new people into my life to be grateful for each and everyday. Thank you for bringing me closer to the person I want to be and the life I want to live. I still have a ways to go, but 2017 was, at least, a step closer.

Thank you for one last season of softball. I knew this day would eventually come and I was prepared for it (as prepared as you can be). This game,  this sport, has been the biggest part of my life since I was 6 years old and it’s incredibly heartbreaking to see it go.

But this isn’t goodbye, softball will always be a big part of who I am today and not playing anymore could never change that.

 

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Thank you for the opportunity to do baton one last time with my sister. This makes it sound like everything is ending, but just like softball, baton will be a part of who I am for as long as I live.

Growing up, I took baton lessons. It was incredibly fun and challanging and my favorite thing ever . Again, like softball, it was something that my sister and I did together. We decided that we should do a routine for showboat together, one last time. It was great to get to work with our baton teacher that we love and come up with a completely new routine. Baton isn’t something that you can just quit, it’s a part of you. I can go months without touching my baton but as soon as I pick it up, it’s back to being that part of me-like another arm. Even as I type this, I find myself wanting to go do some finger twirls.

Anyway, I said this is “one last time” but we all know it won’t be 🙂

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Thank you for the opportunity to further my education at Ohio University. I have never been to a major university like OU before this year and although it was an adjustment, I am always grateful that I have the opportunity to attend college and major in something that I am passionate about.

Along with that, thank you for my new job- doing something that matters and that I really love.

Thank you for my family and all the memories that we made in 2017. I will forever be grateful that I live in a household where we are all so close. I love spending time with them and look forward to, well who knows what we’ll get into for 2018.

 

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Thank you for the opportunity to coach at my high school. I was lucky enough to get to assist with the middle school softball team. I had such a hard time moving on from high school- because I missed softball so much. Getting to help coach was the perfect way to mend that brokenness I felt from closing that chapter in my life. I have since realized that I want to make softball a part of my life in the future- I want to coach and I don’t know where this will take me, but I now know for sure that it is something I want to do. I want to teach my own daughter how to pitch someday. I want to teach her the game that I love so much.

And I loved coaching girls who are so young and so full of life. I got to work with so many talented young athletes who’s drive and ambition reminded me of 13 year old Cerena- who had a dream of pitching for her varsity team.

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Thank you for another year with my fiancé, Hunter. We grow closer every year, every day and I will never get tired of spending another year with him.

I’m grateful that I get to experience so much with him in this life. I got to travel with him and just spend every day loving him.

This year, we started our future together by getting engaged and I’m so excited for the adventures that I know we will get into in 2018.

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In October 2017, I turned the big 21.

Everyone knows that your 21st birthday means you get your hands on that sideways license and it’s finally legal for you to drink alcohol. I have never drank alcohol before my birthday and let’s just say- it didn’t live up to the 21 years of hype.

Thank you for reminding me to continue  to live and act responsibly (with or without alcohol).

Thank you for the animals!

In 2017 I visited the Wilds for the first time and the Columbus Zoo for probably the millionth. I love animals, all kinds, and I am so passionate about making their education a priority in my life. They are one of my favorite subjects to photograph. I love to capture their spirit, their beauty.

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Along with that, I am grateful for another year of photography. I swear my love for capturing photographs only continues to grow every day. I tried several new techniques and learned so much! I even took a photography course for an art credit at school. I am always anxious to learn new things and get out there to capture the ideas I hold in my head.

 

But even as I type this and I say thank you to 2017 for the blessings, I only have God to thank for this incredible journey of a year.

Thank you for family, for friends, for co workers, for classmates, for teammates, . Thank you for positive people who enrich my life every single day.

I say thank you 2017 but really  I mean thank you, Lord.

Thank You for sending Your son down to die for our sins so that we can have eternal life with You someday. Thank You for remaining by my side as You do for another year. Thank You for bringing people into my life that You knew I would need and for removing people You knew weren’t serving me well. Thank You for bringing me closer to people that lift me up and encourage me everyday. Thank You for brining me closer to my purpose in this life.

No thanks will ever be enough, obviously, but for now- thank You for 2017!

 

Love and Hugs,

Cerena 🙂