Monday, May 27, 2013

Regret (verb): To think of with a sense of loss

I never used to believe in regrets.  I always believed that something good could come out of something bad.  I truly believed you should never regret anything because it can only make you stronger.

But recently, I've had a change of heart.  Going to grad school at Alabama...that's my biggest regret.

Sure, I got to experience a beautiful campus, amazing campus life, and a campus full of history and tradition.  But at what cost?  I risked so much coming here, and although I didn't lose it all, I lost something I fought so hard for for so many years - my happiness.

When I left Florida, I was in a fairly new relationship.  We had only been dating for six months when I moved.  Things were great.  I was in love for the first time in my life, and I felt like I had found the one I was meant to be with for the rest of my life.  Now, 10 months later, we're still together, and I'm so grateful for that because I know he didn't have to stay with me.  But honestly, our relationship is tough.  In a long distance relationship, you rely solely on verbal communication.  And at times, it puts a lot of strain on the relationship.  You fight more often, you run out of things to talk about, and you begin to feel distant.  I've grown so jealous and insecure in this relationship, and I've never been that kind of person before.  It's put unnecessary strain on our relationship, and it's certainly caused a lot of fights. This past year has gotten the best of us, and I almost feel like my relationship is a daily battle.  Some days, I wonder if we're going to make it.

I've struggled with my happiness from the moment I left Fort Myers.  The first few days I was in Alabama I cried every moment I was awake.  It was torture.  Over time I cried a little less, but every now and then, I break down.  I still hurt every day because I feel like I left something something great for something terrible.  I took a gamble, and it backfired.  Each day it hurts to be here, and it's a battle to get up in the morning and work hard.

I'm 68 days away from graduating, and it seriously cannot come soon enough.  I believe in living in the present and enjoying each moment, but right now, I wouldn't mind time speeding up a little.  I'm ready to have my master's degree and move back to Florida.

I don't regret much.  In fact, I can only think of one or two things that I regret.  Every hardship I've experience, every heartache, and every low point in my life has only made me stronger.  Maybe six months from now I'll have that same outlook on this experience.  But right now, I regret coming here.

I'm ready for the worst year of my life to be over.  I'm ready to take the "long distance" out of my relationship.  But mostly, I'm ready to be happy again.  I'm ready to smile and laugh and enjoy life...and really mean it.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tuscaloosa vs. Westboro Baptist Church

Today I had the opportunity to witness a protest by one of the most hateful groups in the United States.  I’m talking about the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC).  You probably know them for picketing the funerals of fallen soldiers and for signs such as “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” 

Here’s a little bit of background on the WBC.  The church is located in Topeka, Kansas and is considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (and by most people around the country).  Fred Phelps established the church in 1995 and members of the church primarily consist of the Phelps family.  According to their website, they “adhere to the teachings of the Bible, preach against all forms of sin, and insist that the sovereignty of God and the doctrines of grace be taught and expounded publicly to all men.”

But let’s be honest.  They preach hate.

The Westboro Baptist Church posted on their site a few weeks ago that they would be holding a protest at The University of Alabama on May 18th from 12-12:30pm.  Their reason?  To remind UA of the wrath of God that visited us two years ago…referring to the EF4 tornado that devastated Tuscaloosa on April 27, 2011.  Their website claims that the storm was God’s punishment for the growing acceptance of gay marriage in the nation.

So what was the protest like?  Well, not what I expected.  I expected a lot of yelling and hateful speech, but it wasn’t like that at all.  On one side of the street you had 15 or so members of the Westboro Baptist Church holding their hateful signs and walking around in their little taped off area.  On the other side were counter-protesters and members of the Tuscaloosa community holding signs that promoted love and acceptance while chanting phrases such as “Love Not Hate.”  And up and down the streets, you had motorcyclists revving their engines drowning out any words that came out of the WBC members’ mouths.

Don’t get me wrong.  The protest was still incredibly hateful, and being in their presence was absolutely sickening.  The more I watched them and read their signs, the angrier I became.  When I realized there wasn’t one child, but three or four children, protesting with them, I became disgusted.  How could someone bring children out to protest and hold signs that say “Bloody Obama” and “God H8s Gay Marriage”?  

I couldn't believe the amount of hate I was witnessing, but I truly believe the love from the counter protesters overshadowed most, if not all, of the hate.

But the more I stood out there, the more I realized that these people are bat shit crazy.  They’ll protest anything and come up with some reason why it “makes sense.”  The WBC is one of the most hateful groups in America…hands down.

In the battle between Tuscaloosa vs. the Westboro Baptist Church, I think it's pretty safe to say that the winner is....Tuscaloosa.

(For more pictures from the event, feel free to check out my Photobucket album here.)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Thanks for Always Calling Me Beautiful

You know that you’re not my first boyfriend…but you also know that all of my other relationships were so long ago (like “6 years before we started dating” long ago).  I don’t remember the dynamic of those relationships or much about them at all.  What I do know is that you’re different than all of the other guys I’ve dated.  Not just because you’re the only man I’ve ever loved…but because you always call me beautiful.

Most guys don’t notice when their girlfriend gets a hair cut or when they wear a new shade of lipstick.  Most guys don’t notice when their girlfriend buys a new outfit or when she starts a new workout routine.  Most guys don’t notice when their girlfriend loses a pound.  But you do.  After a month (or more) of being apart, you notice when I’ve lost weight (even just a pound).  You notice when my clothes fit differently.  You notice things that most guys wouldn’t, and it truly means the world to me.

When I tell you that I’m on a new medication, the first thing you do is look it up online.  If I’m interested in starting a new diet plan or workout routine, you look up that stuff too.  You want the best for me, and you genuinely care about making sure I’m healthy. 

You’ve never once called me ugly.  I could send you a picture of my hair up in a towel or with a piece of candy sticking out of my mouth…moments when I look truly hideous.  And what you do say?  You’ll say, “oh wow” or “you’re so weird.”  But you always end it by telling me I’m cute.

When I greet you at the airport (or when you greet me), the first thing you do is tell me how good I look.  You tell me that I’ve lost weight and that I look beautiful.  It doesn’t matter if I’ve been awake since 4am or if I’ve spent 3.5 hours in a car, 3 hours in an airport, and 2 hours on a plane.  You always tell me I’m beautiful.

I’ve never had someone make me feel as good as you have.  In our 15 months of dating, you’ve never called me ugly.  You’ve never called me fat.  You’ve always been supportive of me wanting to lose weight.  You’ve been supportive in my journey to be healthier and in my journey to try and run a 5k.  You support all of my goals and dreams…no matter how crazy they may be.  And you always build up my confidence.

Thank you for being the man of my dreams, the love of my life, and for always telling me that I’m beautiful I love you, Alex.  I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have you by my side.