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I was fourteen when I met him

It took me four years to say, “I love you.” About six months later, we broke up. I was almost nineteen and I thought he was my soul mate. It was obviously devastating. I spent my spring break listening to sad songs, watching Dawson’s Creek, and crying a lot. By the time I reached the end, and Pacey almost let his pride get in the way of a happily-ever-after with Joey, I couldn’t cry anymore. I needed to get out of bed. 

I started to hang out with my friends again. I learned how to party, drink, smoke, and awkwardly flirt. I sang and danced more than I had all of high school. I made silly and even bad decisions that I can laugh about now; that I never would have made if we had stayed together. I learned to live in the moment, and I learned how to live for myself— not for an us, we, or a future— just me, here and now. After all, I am young. It took me nineteen years to figure that out. 

Fake it ’til you make it

This is the intro from a paper I wrote in my first official year of university. It was titled “Because Love Makes You Crazy.” Here I am, half a decade later, still feeling crazy, writing about love, and analyzing what it means. 

Without too many cliches about 2020, I will just say that it was a transformative year for many —including myself. And as they say, I hit rock bottom. Up to this point, I was fakin’ it ‘til I was makin’ it. I liked to think that I was perceived as someone who “had it together.” Sure, there were people close to me who had an idea, but no one —not even I— knew what I was really going through. (Yes, all the cliches!) Long story short, I quit my job because I had to protect my mental health. To be honest, I didn’t even realize that was what I was doing —that I was protecting myself. I literally had that realization in this moment

Without going into too much detail about the incident, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know what I needed. I was completely unaware of myself and I was just trying to make it stop. It felt like, now that I was weak, all the feelings I had suppressed for so long were taking the opportunity to surface. I just wanted it to stop. I was finally so desperate that I went to therapy. 

Being that I’m the daughter of a psychologist, it might be surprising to learn that it took me 26 years to go to therapy. I was never against it. I have actually always encouraged others to get the support they need and admired those who did. My psychologist mother tried subtle tactics to implant the idea into her stubborn daughter’s mind, but I just never followed through with it. 

Going to therapy

When I finally went, I started to take the steps that I needed —not only to remove myself from a toxic environment but to take my own advice and pursue the support I need without guilt. I deserve love and compassion from myself —without judgment— just as I would give it to others. I would say that I was good at saying “no,” that I was selfish and knew how to take time for myself, but now I realize that I was just avoidant and suppressing feelings that I thought were gone. I had the tools and the ideas (probably, thanks to my mother) but I didn’t know how to use them. I was so caught up in living life the way I assumed I was supposed to, that I never learned how to live for myself; how to truly love and care for me. 

So here I am, almost a year later, reading this reminder from a young me —who I now see had no idea how to live for herself, but was definitely on the right track. This is me getting back on track and reminding myself that it’s okay to feel. (Yes, more cliches!) This is the conclusion to the essay I wrote in university:

It took me nineteen years to learn how to love and how to live for myself. He didn’t make me crazy—he didn’t make me do anything. I was just feeling crazy, hateful, stupid, and ashamed. I wanted to blame him for everything because it made me feel justified. But now I know that I can be happy without him, that I can be happy with someone else, and that I can be happy on my own. We may not be in love anymore, but it will always be a precious memory.

Hey, hey! My name’s Yashia and I am the administrative assistant for the Minneapolis office, and will soon be doing admin for our billing team! I have always been passionate about advocacy and serving others. I love my job at Acacia because I get to do exactly that, while also being encouraged to advocate for myself – don’t forget about YOU! I love spending time with my little family (fiance plus my two pups), experimenting with fashion and beauty, and having meaningful conversations with the people I love. 

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