Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.

My fellow blogger Breanna asked me write up a piece about falling in love/marriage in college for her blog, I wrote it without thinking about those it could affect. I selfishly wrote it for myself because I'm learning how to own every mistake, every lie and every feeling I have hurt because without recognizing those behaviors I'm not allowing myself to grow. I'm finding out with every personal story you tell there will always be someone else's side you didn't ask for - someone else's memory you don't have access to and because we live in the age of social media once someone catches wind of a story they don't recall or agree can create a negative impact.

I have lied.
I have grown.
I have stepped on peoples feelings without caring.
I have matured.
I have moved on. 

I told MY story about learning what love was, about watching love destroy some of the strongest women I know then watching love put them back together. I was naive. Naive to think I could guest post on someone else's blog and not expand on my thoughts. Here goes nothing.

To the boys I have loved, you have given me pieces of yourselves that I still carry with me -

TO THE ONE WHO LEFT: I was 13, wet behind the ears and graduating from a catholic middle school. I could feel the anticipation and nervousness - not because I was waiting for my name to be called but because I couldn't stop staring at the doors hoping you'd walk through them. The joy I felt when I watched you walk in with this swagger while listening to kids whisper about your "pimp suit" can't be described. I didn't care what those kids said. I loved you, I loved that you cared enough to show up when it mattered, to prove everyone who said you wouldn't wrong. I loved that you were going to start being 'dad' and not just Ralph. I loved you because you showed up for my 8th grade graduation and made me feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I learned to hate you with every big event you missed. Every ceremony, soccer game, prom, high school graduation, college graduation, my first heartbreak and finding my forever. You missed every event and my heart broke a little more each time. I don't think of you much anymore but I hope you're doing well. A small piece of me hopes you've created a family with someone else and learned from your mistakes. And if you did, I hope you made it to every practice big or small, every game win or lose and I hope you never missed the events that mattered.

I hope you find what you're looking for.
lease don't come back.

TO THE ONE I HURT: I am writing this to say thank you, thank you because I am who I am today because of you. While this isn't a letter asking you to forgive me, its a letter to help you understand that while we didn't mean to hurt each other we did. And perhaps no matter how right we were for each other during our time we were always a little wrong. I look back on our time together and I can see where we went so wrong and I am so sorry for that. I just want to go back and wipe those ugly moments from your memory. I want you to see me only as I should have been treating you, with compassion and respect. I'm not that person anymore and I want to say I'm sorry. Sorry is such a hard word to say, and not because I don't want to admit that I'm wrong. (Im wrong. A lot actually) It feels insufficient. It feels like I'm trying to make excuses for something by slapping an overused word over the emotion and hoping thats enough - its not. I truly am sorry. I'm sorry I allowed myself to drag the end out farther than it should've gone. I'm sorry the fights became more excessive and the insults we hurled at each other couldn't be taken back. I'm sorry I never had the courage to say 'this isn't working'. Im sorry I spent so much time blaming you for things I never looked in the mirror to place some of the blame on myself. I realize now that we can't change people to fit who we think they should be. The only person I can change is myself. I could never hate you but I hated the person you were with me and I hated who I was with you. When I tell poeple I want you to be happy, I mean it. It took some time but I realized we were simply not right for each other - and no matter how much we fought and screamed 'I love you' after those god awful fights nothing would change that. You deserve to be with someone who makes you feel good about who you are. There are still good things that I take out of our love, because there was so much I learned - about love, about me, about us. I hope you learned, too. I hope you that you can look back and see things about us that make you smile, how fun and carefree we could be even if we weren't soulmates. I will always care for you and I hope you know something doesn't have to last forever to have value.

TO THE ONE WHO STAYED"It is said that you cannot find happiness in another person, that true contentment is something we must endeavor to find ourselves. But with you, all that careful logic falls away, until I am positively convinced that only you could make happy, and nothing else ever will." - Beau Talpin

I fell in love with you years ago but more importantly I fell in love with myself through your eyes. You saw me and in turn I began to see myself. I'm crying writing this because my love for you is so deep it hurts. It's waking up every morning and just looking at you because I can't believe you're mine. It's sitting on our kitchen stool watching you cook and realizing how lucky I am to be living our best life together. But most of all its those quiet moments on the couch, in the bed or even in the car just reflecting on how much you saved me. You gave me love when I could barely love myself, you gave me calm when there was a fire raging inside of me. You held my hand when it felt like the world was falling apart. I came into our relationship with my baggage piled high, and my battle scars showing proudly but instead of running away from me you unloaded my baggage and helped me carry it. You told me my battle scars were beautiful and every day you taught me what love should be. We're only a couple of chapter into our life together and I have a feeling this will be the best book ever written. I love you and I am so thankful I have you in this lifetime.