Even though I've been scribbling short stories and creating characters in my head since I could hold a crayon, I kind of consider the beginning of my "real" writing to be when I started keeping a journal in middle school. It wasn't unlike this blog, except that Jess and my first ever Internet friend, Susie, were the only people allowed to read it*. I used it to document every encounter I had with my first (mostly unrequited) passionate "likelike" interest, picking apart his words until they no longer contained any meaning whatsoever, then would write volumes about how frustrated and scorned I was. The practice was melodramatic at worst, invigorating at best-- even when the cheesy writing seemed worthy of a canceled daytime soap opera, I always came away from those journal entries feeling energized and empowered. I was able to trap all my angst into a page. I could come back and observe my old feelings from afar, but they were permanently put away where they couldn't torment me anymore. It was all very emo-- just like this paragraph explaining it-- but writing gave me a way to deal with my emoness then, and has also provided me with the opportunity to still feel connected to my fourteen-year-old self to this day. She was tempestuous and tightly-wound, but she meant well. And she's who I want to write books for.
Fourteen-Year-Old Hayley didn't feel like a lot of people understood her, but I think, at nineteen, that I still get it. Anyway, I'm telling you this in an attempt to clear up any inquiries as to why I so frequently harp on eighth grade. I realize that most of my readers and youtube subscribers are around that same age, and I care more about their opinions than anybody else's. That being said, fourteen-year-old girls, there's one important message that I need to drive home before I can continue with the point of this blog post.
Boys do not lead to happiness. Some people can spend eternity with their high school sweethearts, but most people don't find true love before they're fully-formed, independent individuals. I've had plenty of miserable experiences with boys in the past, because neither of us were emotionally ready for healthy relationships yet. I'm not the same person I was a year ago, and I'll probably be a lot different next February, because I'm young, too. And wouldn't it suck if you met the perfect person now and ended up scaring him away, because you haven't had enough practice?
I truly understand how lonely you are, and I understand how appealing it is to dream that, tomorrow, a boy will appear who completely adores and appreciates you. Someday that will really happen, but both parties have to be ready. And, truth be told, you're probably close to being ready, but boys mature slowly, so he isn't. Until then, try to be patient, and don't allow your feelings to be hurt if you're not asked to a dance or nobody gives you a Valentine. The girls carrying boxes of chocolate around in two weeks will probably feel just as awkward as you do.
So remember that, okay? I've been hesitant to write this necessary post because I was worried that you guys would conclude that my overall happiness with life is due to my new relationship, when really, the fact that this relationship works is due to the fact that I've become a happy person. It sounds lame and preachy, but I can now confirm that you'll never share true love until you love yourself. I should know.**
THAT being said, I've been modest and reserved and cautious and all that other ladylike crap long enough. Without exaggeration, without naivety, without doubt... I'm in love. And, despite what I would have told you a month ago, I've never been in love with anyone else. I've felt deeply about people before, but this oxymoronic feeling of unsettling comfort is totally unique, totally baffling, and totally consuming. Gag-worthy cliches that used to make me roll my eyes keep escaping my mouth, until I find myself saying things like, "I've never been so sure about anything." Because I haven't. It's just surreal.
This man*** (yeah, that title is incontestable and official) finds little ways to blow my mind a little bit more every single day. He is so brilliant, so talented, and so gifted, but he works harder than anybody. I've never met another confident person who is still so consistently searching for ways to improve himself. He's masculine-- it's my job to call him out on the occasions when he's being insensitive or arrogant-- but he really strives to understand people, and he's incredibly caring and observant. I've never before heard somebody end a discussion with, "Okay, you're probably right," without being sarcastic or sounding pathetic, but that's the sort of person he is. He can be strong and gentle at the same time.
And our dynamic is fantastic. Our senses of humor are just in sync, in a way that you can't fake. We don't need to explain to each other why things are funny, and we laugh so much together. The only time we've come close to an argument, we immediately saw and took each other's sides, then spent the rest of the afternoon apologizing, only feeling hurt at the idea of hurting each other. We both choose connecting with people in small groups over parties, and we both need time to just be alone. We're both very immersed in the internet culture, so we can fluently talk about things like BlogTV and editing videos, but our online worlds don't always intersect, so we still have our own space, even within the internet microcosm. He's a male songwriter and I'm a female Family Guy fan, but I'm able to maintain my femininity and feel like a girl, because we balance each other out.
He thinks so highly of me, too! He respects me and looks up to me and thinks I'm smarter than he is. I don't buy that last one at ALL, because I find myself gaping in awe at his intelligence on a regular basis, but our admiration is very mutual. Honestly, the most attractive person I could have ever dreamt up (black hair and dark blue eyes? Like, does that even happen?!) thinks I'm the prettiest girl alive. It's kind of insane. And if you even knew HALF of the romantic gestures he's pulled in such a short time, you'd be calling for the Hollywood movie rights. I looked down at my cell phone the other day to see that he'd changed the message on my screen to read, "I love you, Hayley." He drove a ridiculous and outrageous distance to visit me at school this weekend, then insisted upon buying me food (good, right?) and leaving me with his high school cross country sweatshirt so I can parade his name around like a sixteen-year-old, and surreptitiously smell my sleeve to get me through the day. I know.
Anyway, he joked last night, asking when I was going to blog my heart out about how great he is. (When I received my early Valentine's present in the mail today, after I nearly cried from the thoughtfulness and price and sweetness, he added, "What else does a guy have to do to earn a blog post?") I outlined my qualms about sending the wrong message about happiness to some of my readers, and he said, "One, read their comments. They clearly want to know. And two, you're spinning this the wrong way. Think like a writer. You can write about what we talked about. About all the crap and loneliness you put up with, and how things come around, and how you learn skills that you can use for your 'good one.'"
I told you he was smart.
Chipotle burritos this year: 4
Nail color: "Far East Fuchsia," Maybelline (Discontinued)
*This excludes the few purchasers of Red, who have had the misfortune of reading an embarrassing excerpt from my middle school journal, immortalized in print.
***I've now revealed the identity of The Situation on both twitter and youtube, but I'm going to continue to blog about him under a nickname. He matters so much that, when I choose to dip into my personal life like I am now, I still want to keep some distance between Reality and Blog World. I'm more than happy to call him by his real name other places online, but we'll keep him The Situation here. (Like how John Green calls his wife, Sarah, the Yeti.)