To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before: the Best Friends Who Got Away

We’ve all been there. The spoon in shaking hand, pint of ice cream slowly pooling out onto the floor, swollen eyes swiping through pictures of the two of you standing cheek-to-cheek. Breakups bring the pain of a phantom limb: hurting instead of healing after the attachment is gone. Eventually, we stop binge eating dairy and the obsession eases, healing slowly and licking our wounds. Despite how long it can take, time and trash talking heals all.

Except when it doesn’t.

Except when there aren’t sides to take or romantic feelings to urge away. Except when the loss you feel isn’t from a love interest, but something else.

No matter the suffering we endure at the end of a relationship, a friend break-up is inarguably worse.

I’m taking a page right out of Netflix’s original movie for this post, except Noah Centineo can’t make this heartbreak any easier.

Transitioning from one stage of life to another is sure to cause some casualties: from preschool hand-holding to middle school boy-band crazed, best friends are sometimes left behind in the era they originated from. Some friendships can’t sustain through the cattiness or drama high school introduces, falling prey to cruel rumors and hallway whispers. Some friendships were never meant to endure the long distance status that college forces upon them, slowly thinning from the space between. Some friends change so drastically neither side can relate to the other. Sometimes it’s our own actions that drive people away, refusing to admit it to ourselves because of pride.

Whether the friendship fizzled, faded, or fell out, both sides of the party feel the loss. People change and relationships do too, but it doesn’t mean it hurts less.

So this is to all the girls I’ve loved before: the friends that were lost in translation. We all need some humility from time to time, and I’m about to take an un-ladylike mouthful of this humble pie.

No matter what caused our matching bracelets to fray, or our car karaoke to become un-synced, that same thing caused those hard feelings towards one another to fade too. As apart of self-reflection and maturing, I admit that I will forever, and always, miss you in my life.

For some, lost friendships may be ancient history, and although we’ve all (more or less) stopped being haunted by the ghosts of best friends past, they still linger in our old Facebook albums and plague memories with their presence. Once we can get over the feelings of resentment brooding over the past, we can admit that having those friends in our life truly changed it for the better, no matter how they ended.

So scoop one out to those we’ve loved but lost; raise those spoons high loaded with the flavor of your choice. Don’t apologize for growing up or growing old, but do thank those who influenced who you are today.

Maybe even send them a message of good will. That is, before Laura Jean’s little sister does it for you.

Ben & Jerry’s, anyone?

Why We All Need a Good Mystery Novel Now & Then

Books are a habit-forming drug.” – Agatha Christie

I’m not sure what most college students are consuming for their drug of choice, but I always crave the same thing at the end of the day: a good mystery novel.

A repetitive daily routine with work and school can cause some mundanity, and to escape for a while, I find that getting to the end of a book (rather than a bottle) offers some refuge. However, no John Green novel will do.

Agatha Christie remains the author of my choice: offering up unexpected plots, twists in endings, and love-able characters all within a 20th century England setting. Try as I might to uncover the villain hiding in plain sight within her novels, I always draw the wrong conclusion. The anticipation and suspense of not knowing the next twist in plot is so aggravating that I can never seen to dog-ear the page or take a step back.

Mysteries and thriller books in general offer something that romance and teen angst stories lack: variation. Sappy love stories are too predictable, they’re certain to have an identifiable antagonist: the jealous ex or maniacal mean girl, but sometimes that hits too close to home. We crave a villain who doesn’t exist in our world, who’s crimes go beyond the daily horror we view on the news. For a novel to truly escape (and to sink your teeth into) I recommend mysteries.

Agatha Christie herself admitted: “Good advice is always certain to be ignored, but that’s no reason not to give it,” and with that being said, here are my top five recommendations:

Ten Little Indians – Agatha Christie

book

It’s only fair that we start with an a novel by my favorite author, and this is certainly a well-deserved classic. Possibly the most spine chilling tale concocted by Christie and an absolutely a long term favorite. Adapted by TV shows and movies, the original is an irreplaceable psychological mystery/thriller tale about strangers being stranded on a seemingly deserted estate. A must read for anyone. Also known as And Then There Were None.

Evil Under the Sun – Agatha Christie

evil under the sun

Another Christie novel (as she is my favorite) that deserves recognition. Evil Under the Sun incorporates the most shocking twist ending (second only to Ten Little Indians) that will fool practically anyone, especially me. The pretense of a relaxing vacation lures the much-loved detective, Hercule Piorot, to a sea side resort full of mysteries. The inclusion of a false body within the story only furthers my love of this less-known novel.

The Monogram Murders– Sophie Hannah

monogram murders

Boasting Christie’s name on the cover, this novel can be a bit deceiving as it’s actually written by Sophie Hannah. I was a little skeptical that no one could write Hercule Piorot besides his creator, but Hannah surprises us all with a shocking, complex, and addictive story that rivals even the works of Christie. This includes multiple murders, hysterics, superstitions, scandal, and a twisted ending that even I had to read twice to comprehend. Simply amazing.

Closed Casket– Sophie Hannah

closed casket

Again written as a tribute to Christie, this Hercule Piorot story by Hannah incorporates everything I love about Christie’s writing itself: a shocking ending, extravagant characters, our loved detective, and, of course, a bloody murder. This is Hannah’s second novel that continues some aspects and references to The Monogram Murders. 

You, A Novel – Caroline Hepnes

you

This is my latest find recommended by a close friend (thank you, Erin), and a little out of the traditional mystery genre. You is a suspenseful thriller from a first person perspective of Joe, a serial stalker, as he finds his next victims. Not recommended for those who mind some shivers down their spine. Follow it up with Kepnes adjacent novels: Hidden Bodies and Providence.

 

I recommend most with tea, a comfy armchair, and a heavy blanket to hide underneath if need be.

Honesty- the Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

After officially having (1) blog post published, I wanted to define my reasonings behind starting a blog in the first place. The largest motivating factor that comes to mind when I reflect (besides the opportunity of immense fame and fortune, of course) is honesty; something my life is lacking when it comes to the public eye.

It seems that almost every Instagram account I follow these days boasts pictures of luxurious vacations and romanticized relationships, all of which I fall prey to posting as well (although my occasional weekend visits to Cincinnati aren’t exactly five-star worthy). Hopping onto the bandwagon of a portraying a glorified persona on social media was easy: most everyone else I knew was doing it. I never really classified my public, VSCO-filtered, life to be dishonest, but it certainly wasn’t telling the whole story. Feed obsession and ‘aesthetic’ started deciding which photos I would share, and pictures that showed my life in less-than-ideal lighting were automatically discarded. It wasn’t just happening on social media either.

Often times, to anyone except the closest of friends, we try and portray our emotions, relationships, and experiences through a rose gold lens. I’ll admit that I, too, do this to the greatest extent, and have admitted it to myself many times. Social media and the version of ourselves that we chose to portray to society are often times untruthful. In some cases, like job interviews, you may not want to share mental health issues, relationship quarrels, or controversial opinions, but locking those things away from everyone only causes harm in the long run.

I’m here to translate what is seen through social media into something a little more honest. My Instagram and resume may stay blemish free, but I don’t want my entire self-image to be constricted by this idea of perfection. So here I am: scars, blemishes, and all, to reveal sides of myself not often expressed. Even if a picture is worth 1,000 words, I’m hoping that in writing this blog I can even the scale of how my life is viewed by an outsider: The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Living Outside of the Campus Bubble

Struggling up a flight of horribly carpeted floors, dragging Ikea box after Ikea box into my modest four-walled room, this August brought along a new rush of emotions (and possibly heat stroke). This is my first year living in off-campus housing and the tiny adult in me is cheering.

The key that unlocks the front door to my peeling yellow house has also opened a different doorway as well, one less in need of oiling. Every freshman in college likes to believe that once they pass through the entrance of their dorm building, they shed their glorified high school skin and enter into maturity. The reality is, we wear that thickened skin like a safety blanket as we herd ourselves around campus that first year. We never knew just how much we would miss our homecoming court nominee of a best friend or our hormonally-imbalanced football star of an ex-boyfriend, (yes, my life was like the stereotypical teenage movie portrayal of high school). It wasn’t until sophomore year that I truly shed some of those skin layers, embracing as much independence as one could living in a campus dorm. Following this pattern of growth, junior year has brought change and a newfound sense of freedom: one that comes with accountability.

No longer do I have the option to rely on communal bathrooms, cleaning services, or dinning halls, and I discover myself thriving in the independence. Often I find myself wiping my bathroom with Clorox wipes with pride and writing memos (memos!) to remind myself to bring the trash bins to the curb on trash day. I now send pictures of my home-cooked meals to my family, boasting about the chicken stir fry that I’ve eaten for five days in a row, when in High school I could barely make Kraft Mac & Cheese.

I now have my own room which offers invaluable self-reflection and decompression time at the end of the day. My closet is color-coded, floors are vacuumed, and almost always; my bed is made (except for those early morning meetings). I’m not forced to spend every waking moment in the presence of someone else, but I often find myself wandering into a friend’s room with my blanket and a bag of Skinny Pop when in need of some camaraderie.

As only a junior in college, I’m still nowhere close to living on my own. I still call my mom when I have questions about which spices she uses on her famous potatoes, text my dad about stock market scenarios, and communicate constantly within our family group message (mostly about what my seven-year-old cat is up to), but it seems more independent than it has before. Maybe this can be attributed to my growing self-awareness while away at college, but I finally feel myself shedding my old habits and moving forward with my life as a young adult.

Living with eight girls in our own house is, at times, stressful and sound-proof inducing, but it’s brought a new layer of skin that I have just begun to get used to: maturity.