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INDEX

06 / 07 08 / 11

JANUARY

FEBRUARY

12 / 15

MARCH

16 / 19

APRIL

20 / 25

MAY

26 / 31

JUNE

32 / 35

JULY

36 / 37

AUGUST

38 / 41

SEPTEMBER

42 / 45

OCTOBER

46 / 49

NOVEMBER

50 / 51

DECEMBER


January was a rough month for me. I had been dating a guy for three years, my very best friend and high school love. It started off wonderfully and turned very sour. I don’t really want to focus on it much, because since then, I have been learning on how to move on. That is not an easy lesson. I will, however use January as a bit of a preface for what influences to drive this publication.

nice to know that somebody has your back because you have theirs. Something that like, ya know, shouldn’t even have to be fucking understood in a healthy relationship, it’s just friendship and love. I was told that my feelings weren’t real or even my feelings, and that was the most frustrating part. I was so wrapped around his finger and he knew it that I was in so deep. I had so much love for him (I always will) but I was absolutely blinded by everything around me that I couldn’t even realize that he was in total control of me and I felt like I deserved it. Love had swallowed me whole.

I was in a relationship where I was anchored to and sinking down with somebody who was drowning. I was always there, at the drop of a hat. I genuinely wanted to be there for him and that feeling was definitely not being reciprocated anymore. My efforts were not being noticed, in fact, I was accused of not putting in any effort at all, when it was the complete opposite. I had been doing everything I could to keep it together and keep pushing it under the rug and denying my feelings. Don’t you ever deny your feelings. He would regularly self-diagnose me with codependency, that was pretty cool. In my mind, I thought that when you date or even become good friends with somebody for a long time, you aren’t necessarily being codependent but it sure is

On New Years Eve, he, myself and our friend Lisa had planned to go to a party at my friends Karly and Lexi’s house. It had been the plan for about a week or two. On the way up, he was being extremely difficult and not talking to me or answering any of my questions. It felt as though he definitely did not want to go. I was becoming frustrated, and then he would call me crazy for getting

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On January 12, we ended things and I desperately needed that. I knew it was time to let go, as much as I didn’t truly want to, for the first time I realized I deserved to be happy. For anything to even remotely get better, it absolutely needed to be done.

frustrated. I felt like I was speaking a foreign language. His face said literally nothing and he looked at me as if I had just asked him to walk on fucking water. I get really worked up about this shit. Anyways, I eventually tell him that Lisa and I are going to where we had originally planned and he could chill at home doing nothing and meet me at midnight. Midnight swings around and it’s like, 11:58. He comes in through the door and he’s unenthusiastic to see anybody or even be alive, for that matter. Clock hits midnight, dodges a kiss and laughs in my face because I’m being ridiculous for wanting a New Years kiss and he asks if we can leave. I’m like hold up, mother fucker. I’m absolutely livid. He leaves, I stay with my friends for a while longer and go back to his place with Lisa, because I was naive as hell, and wound up falling asleep. I wake up, he sees I’m awake and he ends up leaving his house unannounced to go run an errand or whatever, I’m sitting in his house with my friend like some lost puppy. When he got back, I dipped so hard. I was so annoyed and bothered. I was absolutely stunned for the way he had been treating me and my friend and I hadn’t talked to him for a week or two.

I have learned through my past that love sounds very different from the lips that preach them. I have learned that no matter what, nobody deserves to be treated like they are invisible. Nobody should be put down and mocked for being themselves. Nobody deserves that because that is emotional abuse. I will never again sit around and waste my precious divine energy trying to explain and be ashamed of things he thinks are wrong with me. You deserve the love that you would give to somebody else. Fault-finders are lurking around. Don’t let them sting you with their poison. This is my first major realization.

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I met Karly my freshman year of college at Kendall. She’s one of the craziest chicks I have ever met, but more importantly, she is one of the most wonderful friends, and she very much so helped me and supported me throughout my breakup. It wasn’t so much about me “getting through” my breakup, but I had been feeling really shitty about myself, as I had been in an emotionally abusive relationship for the past three years. Karlyn was the girl that would figuratively silly-slap my mind into remembering how cool of a girl I was. It’s not hard to feel good and appreciated when you walk into room, party, gathering — whatever it may be — and have your name chanted amongst all of your friends. Karlyn is the girl that’d start that. She would remind me that I was a cool girl and I didn’t need to be weighed down by the negativity of somebody else’s own insecurities. I spent most of my time at Karly and Lexi’s house on College Ave. It would be dishonest for me to say that I spent so much time there because, then, more than ever, I needed to surround myself with people. Especially the ones that genuinely liked me and wanted to be around me.

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After breakfast, Karly, Alexa Staton and I all went to my dad’s house since he was out of town with my step mom. When we got there, we immediately made and drank Bloody Mary’s and started listening to Wu-Tang. I remember there was a huge snowstorm that day and Alexa had to work. She called in her work trying to get out of her shift because “her car wouldn’t start.” I remember all of us quietly going back and forth trying to come up with a reasonable enough excuse for her to get out of having to go into work so she could continue to drink with us. She ended up going anyways (probably a good idea). After Alexa left, Karly and I just listened to music and made cheese and bean dip, drinking, drunk. I really should not have done this. By 4 o’clock PM, I had a mimosa, bloody Mary, a shot of läger and a beer. I’m barely 5’1” and weight 105 pounds. I am lit. I continue to add pointless snaps and seconds onto my Snapchat story, checking and watching when I saw his name pop up. For me, that was a way of rubbing the fun I was having in his face and showing him that I was happy and perfectly fine without him. I was perfectly fine without him, but

It was my first Valentine’s Day alone in five years and I didn’t realize how much I was dreading and repressing it until the day actually came. I woke up with a terrible hangover and a shit attitude on the 14th, after partying and spending the night at Karly and Lexi’s. We went to San Chez to get breakfast and I remember getting on Snapchat and immediately posting videos of mimosas and me and my girlfriends that morning. I remember checking religiously all day to see if he had seen it, and every time I saw his name show up, I felt great and powerful, and then I’d drink more. It was 10 o’clock AM. Before I continue with this book, I need to mention my poor decisions. They do not define who I am. There’s a lot of stupid shit I did this year, and a lot of it I look back on and I’m definitely not proud of it. Overall, I see my poor decisions as learning lessons and experiences. This story does not end well. There were no butterflies, rainbows, or meeting my future husband. I recall this story as My Valentine’s Day Shit Show.

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not yet. Looking back on that, I understand why I did it, but I also understand now that silence is always the best revenge. By 8 o’clock PM, we had taken two shots of Hennessey. Karly can handle her liquor pretty well, I cannot. She knew that I was drinking too fast, but Karly being Karly was ready to rage and let me do my thing. We were planning on going to a party downtown later on, so I figured I would take a shower and sober up. After I got out of the shower and did my make up and hair, I looked at my Snapchat in which saw he sent me a personal snap. My heart dropped to the pit of my stomach and out of my ass and the liquor hit me even harder. I opened it and it was a picture of him saying “Happy Valentine’s Day muhfukaz.” Obviously, I wasn’t the only one who had received it, so I didn’t respond. I decided it was a good idea to take another shot of Hennessey and a shot of Grey Goose, because when isn’t it a really well thought out idea to mix liquors? Right. So, I ignore his snap and I get another one. I have absolutely no concept of time after I got his first snap, and that was at about 9 o’clock.

I have no idea when the second one came, but it wasn’t too long after the first. I hold down the button, waiting for his message to show up and it never did. There was a glitch in the app where it just never showed up and there was nothing I could do about it. Drunk and shitty, I snapped him back and said something along the lines of, “What? It didn’t show up.” The exact moment I pressed the send button was perfectly synchronized with the exact moment that I blacked the fuck out. I woke up the next morning, saw a trash can next to my bed and immediately started crying because I knew that something bad happened. I called Karly and she told me that I had tried calling him. Eight times, in fact, along with four text messages. She said I puked in the upstairs bathroom, went into the guest bathroom, puked twice in there and she made me a nice little bed and I passed out. About 30 minutes later, I went into my bathroom downstairs and she followed. I puked on three towels and then ended up in my bed, puking all over my sheets. It

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was really impressive. She cleaned everything up. The kitchen was immaculate, the bathrooms didn’t even smell like vomit. My bed was clean, the front door was locked and everything was taken care of. It was adorable. I was so grateful for all of that. I thanked her so many times and I will never forget she did that for me. She always has my back. That was a really shitty day and the next day wasn’t good either. I remember I went back to sleep until 4 o’clock PM when my dad and step mom had gotten home. My step mom, Jill, was making white bean chicken chili. I hadn’t eaten all day and I knew I had to get something in my stomach. I went upstairs to get some and my dad told me it wasn’t hot enough. I told him I was going to microwave it (like that’s a thing that you can do!) and he told me I was being an impatient brat. He walked away and I put my hands over my face and starting bawling. When he saw that, he knew it wasn’t because of him, but because I was having a hard time with everything. He gave me a hug and told me everything was going to be okay and we talked for a bit.

I was at the point where I was having mental breakdowns because of cold chili and that was something I couldn’t deal with anymore. I went to my doctor’s office and I explained to her that my anxiety and stress was affecting me. I wasn’t in control of my feelings. She prescribed me to Ativan, which is basically Xanax, but it last longer and it’s a much more steady and stabilized feeling in contrast to Xanax. It helped me a lot and I never really got reliant on it. It just made shit easier to deal with. February was shit and basically revolved around me trying to prove that I was fine without my ex. I didn’t handle February as maturely as I would now, but I definitely learned a lot about myself. I learned to surround myself with people who genuinely enjoyed my presence, and nothing less. I also rediscovered how cool of a fucking girl I am. I cannot change anything or anyone, and although I had known this, I begin to realize this in many different ways. I also learned, as Ritzy as it may be, do not fucking drink Hennessey, little girl.

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Lisa Tanner has been my best friend since high school. She and I are one of the same and we understand each other without even a word spoken. She had been with me throughout my entire relationship, in fact, she was friends with him before we had even met. She had seen a huge change in him, and even our entire relationship. She had seen him first-hand treat me badly and by the time we broke up, she was over it. At first, Lisa was very sympathetic. Not that she wasn’t sympathetic later on, but she was sick and tired of seeing me so sad. She was blunt about it and I needed that. I needed somebody to keep reminding me that I was better off without him dragging

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me down and she wasn’t going to lie to my face about the way she felt about it. Everybody needs somebody like that. In hindsight, I didn’t understand why I needed to be reminded for my departure. It wasn’t about getting sympathy or attention from others, by any means. I think it was a way for me to realize that the ones who were standing on the side and watching it happen were less blinded and hooked onto it than I was. They were the outsiders looking in, and I was so desperately trying to get into the shoes of the outsider.

Lisa would come over to Grand Rapids and surprise me and it was one of the best feelings. To know that somebody cares about me so much and genuinely wanted to hang out with me was a new mindset, a feeling that everybody should be familiar with, always. It’s never a good feeling to feel unwanted and unappreciated, I had been stuck in that for three years and I needed to get out. She would drive an hour and forty-five minutes on a random weekday, pick me up and then drive another 45 minutes out to Grand Haven just to walk around and decompress in nature.

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I love to be outside, especially in Michigan. I appreciate and love all things nature and it is where I feel I belong. I am very much an observer and I love to watch. I feel as though my best ideas and thoughts happen when I am in nature, as well as my method of decompressing. On March 3, Lisa came up to Grand Rapids to visit me. I was beyond stressed out mentally, physically, and emotionally and she knew that. When she got to Grand Rapids, we immediately and spontaneously went out to Grand Haven. It was snowy and cold, two things I really hate the shit out of, but it was necessary for me to go explore myself in nature. We walked along the frozen lake and beach, talking and laughing until we heard the

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cracking of the ice as we stepped on it. At one point, we wanted to go into a huge ice cave about 30 feet in front of us. The ice caves are incredible and if you’ve never seen them, I highly suggest it. It’s magical, in a way. Walking there was not as terrifying as walking back. On our steady walk back, the ice was violently cracking beneath our feet. I took another step and the loudest crack was heard. Lisa and I froze in place and looked at each other in hesitation and at the same time we whispered (as if that was going to help anything), “run.” We just started sprinting across the frozen lake, cracking and breaking behind us. Once we got onto the snow, we collapsed and started dying of laughter.

I remember both going home that night, listening to Modest Mouse in my room while I was doing my homework. It was the first night I had willingly sat in my room and worked on my homework until 3 am while Lisa fell asleep. I had felt so mentally, emotionally and physically drained with everything that was going on in my realm of shit and it had felt like the first time I was truly motivated to do anything. That felt damn good.

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I remember laying in my bed after school on a Thursday afternoon, sulking and feeling bad for myself and my loneliness. I remember sitting up and literally shaking my head saying, “Fuck this.” It was one of the first moments I actually recognized that I was the one letting myself be sad and sorry. I recall texting Lauren something like, ‘Yo girl whatchu up to? I wanna get crazy.” She texted me back and she was on the same page as I was. I had not hung out with Lauren yet, one on one. We would always go to Look-Out Park at lunch with Karly after our Visual Rhetoric class, but we hadn’t hung out outside of school. I remember her telling me her brother had Poptarts. You see, I had never eaten Poptarts before, so naturally I was skeptical. She told me that she was the best Poptart spirit guide and that everything would be okay. Of course, she didn’t pressure me into eating

Poptarts, this was my own decision. I recall getting the fuck out of bed on a Thursday and driving to her house. We hung out for a while, trying to make plans and figure out what we could do with all these Poptarts. We decided to go out to Grand Haven to meet her friend Mick and go watch the sunset. When we got to her moms house, I started laughing uncontrollably. Not because anything particularly was funny, but purely because I was happy, but also laughing about the fact that I was laughing, and that ended up becoming a chain reaction of laughing because I didn’t understand why I was laughing. It was such a weird experience, but I didn’t hate it. Lauren started laughing too, probably because she thought I was bat shit insane laughing on her porch in a rocking chair.

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When we got to Rosy Mound, it was literally the best and most gorgeous sunset I had ever seen in my entire life. I started taking a bunch of pictures and Lauren tried convincing me that they weren’t going to do any justice. I understood, but believe me, this was not just any ordinary sunset. It was beautiful and they are still, to this day, some of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken. I was absolutely elated, playing in the sand and laughing like a little bitch. Hahaha. I remember we were all sitting on Rosy Mound in a circle. Mick hadn’t eaten any Poptarts, but she did have a brownie. I remember Lauren getting a text from a friend that was literally exactly what she had just said. I remember her freaking out and saying, ‘woah, that’s really weird..” Not ten seconds later, she got another text from the same person saying, “That was

really weird.” It tripped us all out, even brownie Mick. After that, Mick looked at her phone and she had said, “What? Why is my phone dead?” I remember looking at my phone after she said that and MY phone wasn’t turned on. I started getting chills down my spine, imagining some crazy theory in my head that we were all basically going to die. I remember looking at Mick for answers, which was funny to me. “What is happening, Mick?” I said panicking. “I don’t even know. Solar flares! Solar flares have been fucking everybody’s shit up. I’ll bet you it’s that.” Even if that wasn’t true, which I knew at the time, I allowed myself to believe it. Not to mention the fact that I was tripping on Poptarts for the first time, so I tried my hardest to keep it realistic and be aware that it was the Poptarts. That consoled me a bit. We went

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back to her mom’s house that night and Lauren and I were coming down. Lauren’s friend Chelsea came over after she had gotten out of work and we were all laying in her bed. I remember saying to everybody, “What if when people meet other people that they want to be friends with, instead of it being an unspoken mutual understanding that they want to continue to hang out, what if people pushed the other person’s forehead with their palm and said, ‘I accept you in my life.’” As I write this, it’s not as funny as it was in person, but that’s usually how it goes. We all passed out and drove back to Grand Rapids when we woke up. It was the most fun and new of an experience I had in many months.

cute. You should go dance with her.” He replied with, “I thought we shared some looks earlier. She’s cute.” I was dancing up by the turn table and he came up to me and asked me if I wanted to kiss him. Being with Molly that night, she’s always down for something unexpected. We started making out and I pulled away and he said smiling, “That was wonderful.” We started dancing together and then Lauren gave me the nod of approval from across the room. I remember we all went to go explore the warehouse and we found the coolest loft above a ladder on the top floor. Stephen was charming with his big, brown, curly hair and charismatic personality. I feel like I have a pretty good instinct when it comes to reading people, and he seemed like a genuine and nice guy. We began to get very close and hang out a lot during April and the next few months and I really enjoyed his presence and the time we spent together. He was fun and always up for adventure. I admire his attitude and his care for others. It felt good to be appreciated and genuinely admired by somebody that I felt the same way about too. It was a new feeling; a really good feeling. If I learned anything this month, it was to be with someone who gives a fuck about you. Do not chase people who won’t even look at you unless they have a motive to seek your company.

On April 23rd, Lauren invited me to a warehouse party that her brother had told her about. I met her at her brother’s house and I was introduced to her older brother, Stephen. We shared some heavy eye contact that night and it was apparent that we both found each other attractive. When we got to the party, we met Molly. We danced all night and I told Lauren that I thought her brother was really cute. She passed the word on while I went to do my own thing. She told him something along the lines of, “Hey, my friend thinks you’re pretty

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005

In May, my mother, Lauren and myself took a trip to Chicago for my mom’s birthday. My step dad, Mark, lives in Chicago and he and my mom have a long distance marriage. They are absolutely the loveliest couple, and I learn from them that’s what love should be about. One time I was walking driving down main street in my home town and I saw the two of them holding hands, skipping, looking at each other and laughing. I didn’t honk or try to get their attention. To them, they were the only two people in the entire world. Nothing is nicer and greater than seeing my mama happy. She deserves the absolute best and I am sure that’s what she has found.

May was a lot of fun. I had just finished my third year at Kendall College of Art and Design and it was finally time where I could go home and escape the shit of everything. I learned a lot this month. I learned that escape is a terrible word to use at the therapists office. I learned that the word ‘experiences’ is important, much more than ‘escape,’ but regardless, everybody should experience new things. This is how I learn. I learned that sometimes people do things that don’t typically mean they are that kind of a person. I learned that family is the most important factor in your life. If you are blessed to have a wonderful mother or father, you are lucky. My mom is the most wonderful woman I have ever met. She loves with all her heart and she taught me to love with all my heart. My mom wishes she could give me and my three siblings everything we need, and she apologizes for it often. I always think, “what a silly thing to be sorry for.” I realize that people can be sorry for whatever they want to be sorry for. I always remind my mother that I am appreciative of what she gives me and how much she loves me. My mom would do anything for me and her family and I am very proud to be able to take those wonderful qualities that she taught me and use them in my own life.

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Lauren and I took the train to Chicago at 5’o’clock in the morning on May 21. I am a cranky-ass disoriented, irrational bitch in the morning, so it was in my best interest to just sleep the whole way there. We arrived around 10 or 11 and met with my mom at the train station. We took a cab to our hotel, the same hotel we stayed at Thanksgiving of ‘14. It had been my second time to Chicago and I loved every minute of it. I knew my way around (somewhat)

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and it was so much fun. My mom and I craved donuts the entire time we were there and we started to use the term ‘don don’ for donut. I never want to forget that because it was really funny throughout the whole trip but as I write it down, it’s pointless to my story. But that is okay because this book is for me to look back on and reminisce on memories that are easily forgotten. My mom and Mark took Lauren and I shopping and out to dinner every night, along with a really awesome and interesting architectural boat tour of the entire city. I had realized how cool it was to be in art school. Many people can diss it and not take it seriously, but it was cool and has been cool to relearn and hear about things I had learned in previous art history classes. We stayed in Chicago for two days and then set off on another journey,

Chilicothe, Illinois, for my first music festival, Summer Camp Music Festival, which was four to five hours south of the city. Lauren and I didn’t pay for a ticket, we had been planning on sneaking in and we didn’t really know how it was going to go. When we arrived at the festival, my mom and step dad dropped us off and Stephen met us out front to help us bring our things in and help sneak us in. We walked to the entrance and Lauren just went for it and hopped the fence. She fell, hard, and we didn’t hear or see her after an employee asked us to please not do that. Lauren escaped and Stephen and I were trying to find a way to get me over the fence where nobody could see. It was a piece of cake. He literally just lifted me and got me over the fence and we all somehow met. For some reason, it was too easy.

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We got there around 2 o’clock PM and there wasn’t much happening yet. Lauren and I were chilling out and setting up camp before we got too crazy. Around 5 o’clock, Molly brought Poptarts things got saucy, quickly. I don’t really know what I was thinking taking both at the same time. It was probably one of the stupidest decisions I had made, but it was still an interesting experience. Within an hour, I was feeling it, but it wasn’t like Rosy Mound. I was feeling a little overwhelmed, something that does not mix well with Poptarts. If I remember correctly, we had all been rushing around trying to get to certain venues, and I think that is what made the Poptarts take a sour turn. I don’t have much of a recollection of the next few hours, which isn’t good. I remember getting pizza because I hadn’t eaten all day and Lauren saw on my face that

I wasn’t doing well. We went back to the campground and I saw that my ex had texted me. I had to cut off communication around late March and it was not easy. The text was so long that I had to press an arrow to read it entirely. He had apologized for everything, expressing his emotions for the first time in forever. In some ways, it felt nice to see that he had realized his mistakes, but it was definitely not the right time, as I was eating Poptarts. It was hard for me to shake it off and I thought about it all night to the point where it was affecting me greatly. I remember letting it go for that moment and went to go back to listen to the music. Candy flipping is never a good idea. Don’t do it. I don’t know what I was thinking when I took both drugs. I suppose the atmosphere felt like a whole other reality where you don’t have to worry

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about the real world. I felt invisible and it ended terribly. I remember crying in the crowd while listening to music and Stephen put his arm around me and asked me what was wrong. I told him my ex texted me and it was really overwhelming for me to read it. He understood and told me to try to enjoy the night because I wasn’t in the right mindset to be dealing with it right now. I knew he was right, but I couldn’t help but feel totally and completely overwhelmed and anxious. I started to have a panic attack and my trip was officially shit. I went back to the campground to try to sleep and y’all know how that goes with Poptarts. I couldn’t sleep, instead I felt disgusting. I felt weak, my back ached terribly, my stomach was unsettled and my anxiety was terrible. I was crying to the point where I threw up, many times. I was dehydrated and hadn’t eaten very much that day. I remember crying in the tent, tripping hard and that was the moment I had realized I would never eat Poptarts again. I had a good trip, I had a bad trip. I didn’t want to take it again. It was purely about experience to me and believe me, I had gotten mine.

To end the story on a light note, I woke up Sunday morning, the 23rd, and opened my fanny pack to a pocket full of Flavor Blasted Goldfish. Laughing for the first time that day, I remembered right as I was starting to feel the Poptarts the night before I thought it would be a good idea to pack my fanny pack with gold fish and that future me would be really appreciative of present me for doing that. I got a good laugh out of that. I am not proud of my decision. It doesn’t define who I am either. To me, it was an experience that I had always wanted to try. I was given my opportunities and now I have no desire to do it again. It was definitely an interesting experience for my first music festival and despite everything, I had a great time. Overall, after returning home, I was feeling exhausted. The after-festival depression is real. I spent the next few days thinking about the texts that my ex had sent me. My ex and I maintain a good friendship now, but I told him that I was in no position to be getting into anything with anybody. That was the first time I had realized that and I needed

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to stay true to what my gut was trying to tell me. I knew in my heart that I was not stable. I was relying on others to be happy, but I don’t think it was as severe as that. I am the type of person who thrives around others and I love to be around people. That, though, got very skewed when I was dating my ex. He made me feel as though I was reliant on other people entirely and I couldn’t make myself happy. Maybe there is some truth to that, but looking back, it felt like more of an insecure attack on me than trying to help me become a better person. He realized that in the lengthy text he sent me. He knew he fucked up, and hard. The rest of May was full of emotion and contemplation. This was the true beginning of me sticking up for myself and following what I know will benefit me. After having a couple months to mull over things, I realized that I cannot please everybody. I learned that it isn’t selfish to put yourself first sometimes because it’s really easy to try to help others instead of focusing and working on yourself. I needed to work and focus on myself.

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June was both absolutely wonderful and completely disorienting. A lot of crazy shit happened, but it was ultimately the month with the most real-world learning experiences.

Have you ever lost your $2000 Mac Book and then four days later it gets returned to you? Ha, well, I have. On Thursday, June 4th, I was in Grand Rapids, MI and driving eastbound back home to Brighton, MI. The night before, I had kept reminding myself to not forget my computer at my friend’s house. When I woke up that morning, I packed my car and left. When I got back to my mom’s house, I started unpacking my car and later that night I had realized that it was not with me. Naturally, I started freaking out and I called the police and filed a police report (I’ll soon feel completely embarrassed about doing this) for a stolen laptop. I was calling pawnshops giving them

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my serial number and asking them to keep an eye out, but no luck. By Friday, I had to come to terms with the fact that I was never going to see my computer again and that basically I was fucked. Because of the earring I had lost and had to let go of, it was another way for me to practice letting go. It is not an easy task, but some things you cannot live to beat yourself up over. Nobody died, I was safe, this was a material object. Life would go on. I would have to put all of my time into making all of my work again thus far. It was not a good feeling, but I had to learn my lesson.

top of my car when I was packing it – drove 48 fucking miles going 80 MPH on the highway – and this couple had been so kindly trying to find me all weekend until they stumbled upon a sheet of paper in my red sleeve case that had Kendall College of Art and Design on it. I called them immediately after that, totally stunned, and told me they had almost gotten¬ hit by a semi going back to get it and they checked it out and it everything was fine. It was fine. Not a scratch, crack, dent, nothing. I had to literally take a moment to process everything that had just happened. Like, I had already come to terms that I had to let it go and accept that I’d never see my laptop again. I couldn’t believe it. It was literally the coolest thing that has ever happened to me (aside from passing a kidney stone on the morning/day/evening of my prom night and then still going to prom because I was not missing that shit).

On Monday morning, as I’m eating my muffin, I get a phone call from Kendall College of Art and Design saying that a couple had found a computer in a red sleeve case on the side of the highway right by the Portland, MI exit. Mind you, Portland is literally 48 miles outside of Grand Rapids, and somehow, my mindless ass left it on

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That same month, my dad and I had both lost our jobs within a week of each other. I had been living with my dad for two years in Grand Rapids, and because of this, he had to put his house on the market, meaning I had to scramble and find a place to live in Grand Rapids. A lot of shit had been on my plate, not to mention my health insurance (those ruthless bastards) took my medicine away from me that I had been taking since I was seven years old, cold turkey, and without a cause. It was later found out it was because my doctor had written my prescription for 31 pills instead of 30. And nobody would help me figure it out or look into it for two weeks. I would call

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every day, and they wouldn’t help me at all. Go figure. Health insurance companies actually helping. It affected me tremendously and I felt so completely disoriented for two weeks. I had been working at Oh My Lolli! since my senior year of high school. It was the best job I had so far. I made batches of lollipops ten times everyday from start to finish. Being a creative and hands on learner, I never complained a day in my life going into work. We did field trips at Oh My Lolli! where children would come in with their group and watch us make a batch of lollipops and see the entire process. I was scheduled to work at 4:00 PM. A week before this, as I was pulling a

batch of candy off (this is the most important part of the process and requires all of your attention and more), my boss had vaguely asked me if I could switch shifts with my coworker and come in at 11 o’clock AM instead of 4 o’clock PM. I asked him if he could remind me later, since my head was in the middle of something else that was important and this was something that wasn’t going to occur until a week later. He never reminded me or mentioned it again, and I had woken up a week later to a text from my boss saying, “What the fuck. I am very disappointed in you. Don’t even bother showing up.” Me, being anxiety-ridden, woke up, got dressed and

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got in there within five minutes. He was livid, something he was really good at doing, and bitched me out. I tried explaining to him the miscommunication, but ultimately, it was my own fault I suppose. I went back in on Monday and tried talking to him, explaining that I had never once been late in my entire job at Oh My Lolli!, not once. He knew that, but insisted he didn’t want to be a “pushover.” I explained to him my medication situation, my dad’s work situation, my living situation, and my overall mental state at the time. I had told him that there was no excuse for my failure to show up, but I had asked him to please keep in mind what had been happening to me within a matter of two weeks.

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I didn’t get my job back, and quite honestly, it was probably the best thing that could have happened to me because so many wonderful opportunities have come out of it. I left that candy shop thanking my boss for the opportunity to work at Oh My Lolli!. I thanked him for his time that day and, with my head high, I shook his hand and walked out. I learned at that very moment, whether or not something works out for you, always leave in a mature manner because that person will always look back and respect you for how you handled yourself in a shitty situation. He texted me afterwards and told me that if I ever needed a letter of recommendation, he would write one for me and speak highly of me. It was a shock for me

to be fired. My boss and I had a really good relationship and I worked very hard for him for five years. I had my fair share of shitty jobs, but this one taught me passion. I went above and beyond to make things nice there, not because I had to, but because I genuinely wanted to. Because I cared about the business. This was another lesson and practice in letting go.

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July was my month of personal cleansing. It was about me, and nobody else. It needed to be this way because I was too involved in trying to make things better for everybody else, it was necessary for me to help myself first. I made the decision to go to my dad’s new cottage in Grayling, MI.

Not only had my dad been still mourning the loss of his job, his house and his god damn dignity, he had just bought a cottage in Grayling for him and my step mom to eventually retire to, which, naturally financially scared him. My dad is a smart man and he’s really good at his job. I knew everything would work out, but it was hard to see him going through this. It was also nice because I had someone to talk to about it. We bonded a lot that month. It was a beautiful cottage with brick floors, antique knick knacks and taxidermy. The old owners were getting older and decided to go to a nursing home, so they left all of their furniture with the house. The atmosphere was truly relaxing and that was exactly what I needed after the month I had just had.

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At the cottage, I spend a majority of my time doing two things in particular. Kayaking and drinking beer because America. There was very little service, so using my phone became something I simply just couldn’t do. It was a good break from everything. I kayaked for six hours, everyday. It was my time of peace and quiet. I loved letting myself get lost and paddle for hours. I would listen to the birds and the animals and it was so lovely. I felt very overwhelmed with losing my job, my mind was in desperate need of a vacation. I used that time to make realizations and create a plan to get another job when I got home. I spent needed time with my dad’s side of the family. Looking back on it, I’m really happy I decided to go because I wasn’t going to. I felt that I had way too much to worry about and I didn’t deserve to enjoy myself. Instead of allowing myself to believe that, I told myself that I deserved to go. Every morning when I would get up to go kayaking, taking deep breaths of the crisp air reassured me that my decision was necessary. I allowed myself to let go of the sadness and anxiety and enjoy the present. After kayaking, I would sit in the shallow water and let the minnows nibble at my toes. It was pure bliss.

When I got back to Brighton, I had plans to go to the Rolling Stones concert in Detroit at Comerica Park with my very good friend Val Johnson. I was really excited about this because I had always wanted to see them in concert but never really thought I’d ever get to. Given this opportunity, I was very appreciative because Val payed for my ticket as an early birthday present. These tickets were not cheap. It was such a cool experience to be able to go see the Rolling Stones live in concert. I remember I was not 21 yet, but my sister gave me her ID to use for the concert. I was really skeptical to use it at first, mainly because I look like a 12 year old boy. I ordered my first beer, illegally, and successfully. For whatever reason, I was excited to buy a $10 Miller Light. I bought two and enjoyed myself very much. It was a beautiful night. The sunset was gorgeous as I smoked my cigarette. They played an amazing show and it was hands down the best and most entertaining concert I had ever gone to. It was a very cool experience that I will never forget.

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The unique thing about Rosy’s Boutique is that they give 10% of every purchase to 1 of 6 charities they’re linked with. I used my own hand lettering, something I was starting to realize I’m pretty good at. It took me a couple days to finish them, as it was the first time I had ever done any chalkboards. They absolutely loved them and paid me a pretty penny for doing them. They hired me and we started developing the website. I was hired as their graphic and web designer, along with being their creative lead. I was incredibly proud of myself for walking in there and having confidence in my talents. My style fit exactly what they were looking for and I already had passion to make Rosy’s the best it could be. Losing my job at Oh My Lolli! was a good thing at this point. I was using my creative talents and putting effort in getting a job in my field – and I did it.

After getting down to business and really trying to figure out how I was going to make money for the short rest of the summer, I came up with the idea to go around main street downtown in Brighton to ask the stores if they need anybody to do their chalkboards. In 2014, a new store came on the block called Rosy’s Boutique. I remember telling them a long time ago that I was a graphic design major and Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids and they were interested in seeing my work. I never really followed up with them and I felt like now was a really good opportunity. I went in there with my iPad and some of my work. They loved it and told me they would get in touch with me. I offered that I would do their chalkboards and if they liked them, they’d pay me, and if they didn’t like them they wouldn’t have to. They agreed and I went and did what I do best.

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relationship with anybody until I was stable with myself. I didn’t want to get to attached to anybody because I knew, for my sake, it wasn’t healthy for me. I had to be on my own and I knew this because I hadn’t been really on my own ever. Charlie was Lisa’s fling, but ended up being a real fuck. Seth painted his toe nails so I’m pretty sure he was gay but I loved him. He made my birthday great from the get-go by getting me a bunch of small shots for my birthday, along with a BUZZ BALL. I stayed pretty coherent the entire night. I drank a lot, but paced myself because I am a little damn girl who gets drunk and quickly. Overall, it was an awesome experience and I was really excited about everybody who got to celebrate it with me.

August is always an exciting month for me, especially this year because it was finally my 21st birthday. Not that I drink a lot, because I don’t – I physically can’t because I’m so small. It was awesome, though, because now I could go out with all of my friends who were 21 (basically all of them) and that was something I was always a little bummed about missing out on. I went to Stella’s in Grand Rapids with my very best friend Lisa. We met up with Lauren, who got her sisters ID and used it for the night. At her house, Seth and Charlie joined us. Seth and Charlie are Stephen’s really good friends. Stephen was planning on going with us, but he had been arrested the night before and sat in jail for two weeks. For some reason, I wasn’t too bummed out about that because I had been realizing that I wasn’t stable to be in a

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He told my mom it was “his gf’s birthday” and he was in Kalamazoo celebrating. My mom, pretending to be me like some kind of identity thief, told the landlord to have a good time with his “grand father” (gf). Hahaha. When we got there, we didn’t get to look inside because he wasn’t there, but we leased it immediately because she had a really good feeling about it. I moved in on August 20th and so far it has been wonderful. My dad lost his job and, although it set me back a lot, I had been wanting to get out and live on my own, but I wouldn’t have the help of my parents due to the fact that I was already living for free. This was a blessing in disguise.

In August, it was time to find my ass a place to live for the upcoming school year. I had been living with my dad in Grand Rapids, but now that he had to sell the house, it was my responsibility to find myself a house. My wonderful mother searched and searched on Craigslist. My original plan was to get a studio, but everything was full. After searching and searching and many dreaded trips across state with my mom to look for house, my mom found a really nice house on Cherry. We woke up one morning to look at it. My mom had been pretending to be me on her email the whole time without my knowledge, so the landlord was incredibly skeptical. We went to Grand Rapids to look at the house and the landlord wasn’t there.

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I moved into my new house on Cherry at the end of August and completely settled in by the beginning of September. I hadn’t seen my house before I signed the lease, so I had finally seen it on August 16th. I was blessed with an awesome room with six windows and beautiful wood floors. I made it simply my heaven and I got extremely lucky with an awesome roommate, as well. It was a blessing in disguise. I have decorated my room just how I always do: Colorful, eccentric, comfortable. I love being in my room and I’ve always loved to decorate, especially my own space. I call my room my tree house. Ever since I was little, I have always wanted a tree house. My dream was (an still kind of is) to have an art studio up in the trees. There is something I find so freeing about being in nature and I

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explore whenever the adventure arises. This time of the year, I begin to really crack down and explore who I am as a designer. At this point, I am motivated to get there and determination is on my mind. It isn’t until October, though, that I really begin to explore my talents and give new ideas, processes, techniques and concepts a try. I truly begin to find my niche and really immerse myself in my artwork.

her split ends and she was popular, so.. Logic. Ever since then, I can sit and pick my split ends for hours. I decided that, after 4 years of trying to grow my hair out, I needed to just cut it. I chopped off about two inches and rocked a lob (long bob). Along with cutting my hair, I decided a new color was in order. I dyed my hair silver, and to be completely honest, it was a slate gray/blue for like, three days. It took me a minute to get used to and I honestly left the salon in a little bit of shock. I knew it would fade quickly, so by the time I got home, I was so happy. It faded within a month, but I loved it and I rocked the shit out of that color. It was a good and new little change. Sometimes doing little things like that can be

In September, for the first time in my entire life, I was not a blonde anymore. I decided it was time for a change. I have a terrible habit of picking my split ends. I’ve done it since I was in 7th grade because Carley Iver’s picked

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good. I don’t think I’ve ever met a girl that didn’t die a little inside when they chopped their hair off, but I had been mentally preparing myself for a few months. I knew I needed to just cut the shit out of it in order for it to grow. Sometimes that’s just the way life works.

and I hadn’t gone for a while and we wanted to watch the sunset and go for a nature walk. The day was beautiful and the shots I captured are some that I am very proud of and cherish. In life, you must remember to immerse yourself in what you love most. For me, nature is my outlet. I thrive outside and I crave adventure. I am, at heart, a homebody, but I love a temporary escape from everything. Being out in nature not only calms me, but it also sparks my creative juices. I am inspired by what nature has to give and it is something I would be lost without if it wasn’t accessible. It is important to find what makes you truly at peace. Don’t be afraid to do things you’re afraid of doing. As cliché as it sounds, it’s well worth doing the things you’re scared of than living life questioning what it could have/would have been like. Do you.

Lisa came up to visit me today and it was lovely. We set off to our favorite destination: Grand Haven. Although I didn’t talk about it much previously, Lisa and I went to Grand Haven many times this summer to spend with Stephen and Charlie. We had a thing going on with them and the four of us would always go camping in Grand Haven nearly every other weekend in the summer. Lisa

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In my publication design class, we were assigned to do a magazine dissection. We had to go and buy a welldesigned magazine and a poorly-designed magazine in our opinion. I found this really cool magazine called The DJ Broadcast Collection, which was a pretentious music festival magazine with really beautiful photography and type. For my poorly designed magazine, I chose American Scientific Mind which was a health, insights and brain magazine. I remember in the early stages of my process, I was thinking of what to name it. I had come up with cheesy names like “The Black and White of What’s Read All Over” and “Guts and Glory.” I remember one evening I was sitting on my porch swing enjoying a beer thinking about the two magazines and the perfect name to give to my publication. I began by connecting the comparisons between the two titles of the magazines. I

came up with Dopamine because in the brain, dopamine is released when good music comes on or when you’re around music, perhaps at a music festival. The idea just kind of clicked for me for the first time. I gained a deeper understanding of concepting that day. It’s a really good feeling when you begin to understand and realize your purpose in what you love to do. Sometimes, concepting is really hard for me. Other times, like this one, it just clicks. For me, the rest of this year was me learning and exploring which paths to pursue in my career.

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October was not particularly eventful, although I did start to really start to focus on my school and figuring out what I need to do in order to become a better graphic designer and really start to figure out who I am as one. Whenever I ask myself that question, it can be hard for me to answer it. The more I think about it, the more I begin to break down and dissect what my strongest and my weakest areas of design are. I like to think, especially recently, that I have something special with hand lettering and typography. I thoroughly enjoy exploring my own penmanship and what I can do with it. I had always gotten compliments on my handwriting, but it wasn’t until this semester in my publication class that my professor, Karen, complimented my handwriting and it felt like a very genuine compliment. To me, it was her telling me to continue to peruse in that direction, because not everybody has that niche.

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In art school, I’ve learned that all of the students are talented in some way, obviously, or else none of us would be there. When you hear a compliment from your peers, to me, it isn’t as powerful as when a professor compliments you. I started to begin trying to narrow down what it is exactly that I want to do in my career as a graphic designer. I’m especially interested in publication and I really love doing it. I feel a passion in me for it, and although I know that I’m not completely there, I strive to make my work with all of my heart and passion. It would be a waste of my time to write or design something that I can’t somehow relate myself to. This book, in particular, is about me and my year. As I write it, I think about how I don’t really care if what I have to say is relevant to anybody else. The idea behind this book is a way to build and retain memory. It is a way for me to look back later on in life and remember what happened this year. I got this idea around this time. I decided that from now on, at the end of every year, I was going to take a day to just write about the events of that year.

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As for Halloween, I wasn’t really planning on doing anything special. It was last minute that I tied a costume together. Courtney Love. I figured I could look like her if I tried. It was particularly an awesome costume because as the night goes on, you progressively look worse and worse. I’d also get an excuse to get hammered and act a fool. What would Courtney Love do? For some reason. I hadn’t been feeling the entire party scene. It was nice to be around all of my friends, but in hindsight, my bed sounded so much fucking nicer. So I did exactly that.

That’s kind of where I’m at now. I would much rather relax and be on my own than exhaust myself even more than I am at this point in my life. As fun as partying might be, it gets exhausting. I’m really happy I’ve realized that now in my life because I’ve already grown up a lot knowing that. I find pleasure in the little things in life and sometimes relaxing in your bed is exactly what you need. Even though I pulled off a bad ass Courtney Love and played the part for a while, I was happier in my little tree house.

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November is never a good time for me. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but I have never really liked November except for my nephew’s birthday. That’s the only exception. I don’t even like Thanksgiving that much because ham is the shit and I don’t even like turkey. I think I get irritated around this time of the year because of the change in weather. I have never been a cold-weathered person and I don’t think I ever will. Sure, I love to snowboard and the winter is beautiful. There are wonderful things about it. But I only like to look at it. I don’t like to feel it, dress for it, drive in it, deal with it. It’s a pain in my ass. I feel like Redd Foreman when it comes to the winter. A lot of shit happened in November. I don’t even know where to begin. I had a very bizarre week and a half before Thanksgiving. It honestly felt like someone had me in voodoo doll form and just kept doing weird shit in spite of me. It was a bullshit week.

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This was the weekend of the 2000’s party that Mara Gericke and Alex Walsh were hosting at their house. Lisa took work off to come up and she so badly wanted to party, she insisted to start drinking as early as like, 3 o’clock. Knowing myself, this was a very bad idea. I said, “At least wait for 5 o’clock. If I start drinking at 3, I’m going to be out for the count at 8. This is a bad idea.” I don’t know why the fuck I said 5 o’clock either. As if two hours later was any better. Well, we started drinking Ciroc in fuckin’ style at 5 o’clock and I paced myself. Lisa just wanted to turn the hell up and I was hesitant in doing so. These nights usually end in vomit. We walked to the party around 8 o’clock, drunk, chanting “Ciroc out with your cock out” down the city sidewalk. Lauren and Taylor came along with us. When

we got there, I invited Stephen, good ol’ Steeze. When he got there, I was belligerent and just like I presumed, I was pukey. He didn’t see me like that, but we definitely hugged and saw each other. I passed out right after and Lisa is helping me in the bathroom and comforting me. I remember waking up in the morning and Lauren and Taylor were gone. Lisa and I went to Mayan Buzz, where Taylor works. I asked Taylor where she went and she said her and Stephen went back to our house and they slept in the same bed. At first, it was weird but I thought whatever. When I turned the corner, Lisa shot me a look that didn’t need to be deciphered. The look was pure uncomfort she thought it was really weird that she had taken him home. I started to realize that it was just an unspoken rule for friends to not do that to each other. Well, I end up talking to her and politely and maturely expressing

my feelings about it, explaining my stance and why it’s weird for me. She was understanding and I asked her if she would just refrain from inviting over, as that would make me feel uncomfortable. Well, a night or two later she invites him over and I’m incredibly uncomfortable. I leave after I see them making out on the couch and I’m irritated as fuck. Not only am I irritated about that, but literally everything else was fucking screwy and awful that week and I’m getting annoyed and frustrated because I feel like I have zero control with anything. The next day, I come home and I don’t talk to her because I know that if I say anything, it’s going to bite my ass later on and fuck me. This girl texts me and tells me that if I have anything to say to her, to say it to her face. I take a moment and respond, maturely and composed, and I get the response, “Whatever. When you’re ready to grow up and have an

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adult conversation, let me know.” I’m like, mother fucker. I am not dealing with this. Next day rolls around, she’s yelling at me in my own room telling me that I’m being immature and verbally attacking the shit out of me for no reason. I had to keep my composure and it was not easy. I had to be the bigger person, though.

my head, I knew I’d find it funny later, but I was literally in an adrenaline-rushed mindset. Fuck. So, I get to the UICA, and they tell me the fifth floor. I get to the fifth floor in a frantic and there’s nothing there. I go down to the front desk in tears like, absolutely anxiety-ridden and overwhelmed. They find out it’s at the Federal Building, which is literally right next door from KCAD. I’m about to kill somebody at this point. This chick that told me it was at the UICA is the same sassy ass girl who told Joan the day before that her student couldn’t scan her boot on the scanner (?). I walked into the Federal Building to the elevator doors opening and a very agitated Joan. I am very clearly overwhelmed and I told her that girl who told her student she couldn’t scan her boot told me reviews were at the UICA. Joan was fucking pissed and you could tell the anger shifted from me to her a little bit. I did, though, tell Joan on the elevator ride up, “Look, I’m totally embarrassed right now. Even though that girl told me the wrong location, I should have known in advance where I was going. I am so sorry and this is not at all who I am. Thank you for giving me another opportunity though.” She looked at me, you could see

During this same week, while I’m stressing the fuck out over deadlines and work I have to get done, I had gotten an email for Junior Review. I woke up Friday morning at 10 o’clock to get all of my things ready at KCAD for the review at 1 o’clock and I saw Joan. She told me that she was my reviewer. I get everything ready and it’s 1 o’clock. I’m on the fourth floor of Kendall and some chick tells me it’s at the UICA. Mind you, the UICA is like, four blocks down from KCAD. This is not good. I am sprinting faster than I ever thought I could. Paper is flailing in my hands and I make it from the fourth floor of KCAD at 1:00 to the UICA at 1:03. While running, I’m not only having a major panic attack, but I’m literally dry heaving. DRY heaving down the fucking sidewalk. In

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the frustration and impatience in her eyes but she also laughed with/at me, so that’s always a bonus. She at least shared a laugh with me (although this was totally not funny). I think she knew I knew that I had fucked up. She looked at me, told me to go into the bathroom and be in the review room in two minutes. I took a couple breaths and got my shit together and did my best at the review, for what it’s worth. My review went really well. I thought I was going to have my ass torn apart by Joan because I really did not want to let her down. I was excited to show her my work and this was not a good start on my part. It went really well and her feedback, as always, was very helpful and constructive.

it the same way she would, we are two different people. Taylor, I think, began to realize she was in the wrong for everything. She called me over Thanksgiving break, apologizing for everything and telling me she wasn’t going to mess with him. I learned at a very young age to not give people your time of day if they no longer benefit you. Fortunately, I really like Taylor and I find a lot of wonderful things about her. She’s an awesome roommate but there are now times where I feel skeptical and hesitant with her trust. I am fortunate to have learned that lesson because I see too often people waste their time with others that treat them poorly and with no regard to their feelings. I felt that way during this entire ordeal. I felt as though Taylor didn’t have my feelings in consideration and that really hurt me because I am the type of person to always regard everybody else’s feelings. If something is hurtful or if something I do or say could potentially offend somebody else, I refrain from doing those things. Spend time with people who give a fuck about you. Don’t waste your time letting people who are insecure let you down.

I got home and talked to Taylor, simply asking her to not have him over. She agreed and then the next day he was over again. Lauren came over and got involved because at this point, she was really upset about everything. She basically set it straight and Taylor thought I was acting irrational and “not the way she would handle it.” Lauren came back by saying that I have been mature about it this whole time and of course I wouldn’t handle

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COLLEEN BRUCE PUBLICATION DESIGN

The Uneventful Life of a Confused Person  
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