Love From Afar

Long distance relationships freaking suck.

If you know me personally or have been following my blog, you know I have a wonderful boyfriend named Lucas Miles. We love each other more than deep-fried Oreos, but even the strongest fall down sometimes. Which I’m very thankful for.

My last blogpost, “Count Your Blessings,” truly described my feelings on life. While my schedule is absolutely crazy and I’m pretty sure I should change my profile picture to a headless chicken, life really could not be better. I have a family that loves me, friends that support me and a boyfriend who gets a clause all to himself.

I’m writing today from a thought I had while perusing Instagram. When Lucas visited me in Disney, we had tons of experiences and adventures (go check out #adventuresoflatti!), and a lot of our friends and family would post comments saying “I love you guys,” or “You guys are perfect.” I totally believed we were perfect, but for the first time in forever, I’m figuring out that’s not true.

And that is a-okay.

Loving in a long-term, long-distance relationship is one of the most challenging and most rewarding things I’ve ever done. You push yourself and your partner in so many ways and learn so many things about each other. Every little thing is important; for example, I always start off our phone conversations with “How was your day?” While many others couples might do that, the connotation attached to ours is probably different. After not talking all day, and not seeing each other in days, weeks or months, I want to know every detail, from the sandwich he ate at lunch to the stupid idiot that he’s driving behind on the way to work. I’ve never been so frustrated, independent and vulnerable at the same time.

Couples on campus probably think I’m a cat lady because I look at their happy canoodling with such disdain, but it’s really just me being envious that they have the ability to hold each others’ hands. I’m lucky enough to see Lucas once a week or so, but compared to the 24/7 some of my friends get, it’s not a lot. And I shouldn’t even complain… I’m lucky Lucas is National Guard and not active duty Army. I really don’t know what I’d do if I saw him every now and then.

Long distance relationships have their pros, but a con that we’ve been dealing with lately (which is new – we’ve always fared well in the cons department) is the effect of long distance in the long term. It’s hard to have a meaningful relationship when the accumulated time you’ve spent together is a third of how long you’ve actually been dating. Between our busy schedules and own professional lives, distance easily creeps in. Fortunately, Lucas and I are very frank with each other, and when we have a problem, we fix it. We know what we have is rare and worth fighting for. We’ve discussed countless times the profound impact we’ve had on each other, and why nothing can tear us apart. From the beginning, it’s been us against the world. I just can’t wait for the day that “we” can become “one.”

Thanks for listening to my dramatic, romantic drabble. Have a magical Tuesday night.

Count Your Blessings

While writing a four page essay on my background in new media, I came across an article a wrote years ago for Sparknotes. This is how I was feeling exactly four years ago after my parents divorced.

Let’s start out plain and simple: my parents are divorced. They sprung the news on me over six months ago. I reacted like any teenager would: crying, screaming, yelling. The anger was directed primarily at my parents, but at the same time, some of it was directed toward myself—for acting so weak in a time of struggle, when I knew I was stronger than that.

I then went too far in the opposite direction, keeping my feelings boxed up inside for months, until I finally realized I was being too strong. Both consciously and unconsciously I had known my parents drifting apart, but I refused to let myself see it, convinced it was a rough patch and I just had to suck it up. A lot of good that did me: soon my world would completely change, all because of my parent’s broken promise to God.

In the months that followed, a lot of promises were made that weren’t going to be kept. “I’m notleaving. We won’t sell the house. You don’t have to meet him.” Guess what? She did leave, we’re selling the house, and I am now living half my life with him.

Though I know the divorce is something I couldn’t have prevented, I’m still bothered by the relationship struggles I now have. Not just with my parents, but with my classmates and my extended family. I’ve had to accept two total strangers into my life, without any say on my part. My family, on both sides, treats me in a noticeably different way, and school is something else entirely.

I’ve yet to have my first boyfriend, first kiss, or even my first date. I’ve got fewer expectations than ever of being whisked away by Prince Charming, especially considering the emotional rollercoaster I’m currently riding. My friends are hard to hold onto, and sometimes I hardly want to come to school. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not suicidal or depressed, just an average tenth grader in the middle of the High School Hierarchy trying to deal with big changes in my life. Because of the divorce, I’m putting extra pressure on myself to enter into a new relationship. But constantly dealing with the fallout of the divorce—on top of school, sports, and extra-curriculars—means I have hardly any time to deal with my feelings, much less someone else’s.

In a perfect world, I would be focused on studying for the SATs next year, deciding which college to attend, and figuring out what I want to do for the rest of my life. In the real world, I’m lucky to know what I’m doing for lunch tomorrow. I hardly know what I’m feeling, or what I want to feel. The divorce has made me vulnerable and mistrustful; I constantly suspect people of having ulterior motives.

The way that a divorce hurts a child unfolds over time. You feel empty at first, then angry, then sad and lonely. Your outlook can be affected in every way, from how you feel about getting up in the morning to the way you perceive your religion.

So here’s a call to the children who have to go through the home swaps, open houses, meeting your parents’ new significant others, and all the other life changes. All of us are on a journey, and together we can get through it. We’re still broken, we’re still hurt, and we’re still going to have to head back out to the battlefield of everyday life. Here’s to all the casualties.

That’s a lot, right? Kind of heavy stuff for a fifteen/sixteen year old! But as I read it, I can’t believe how much has changed and how infinitely God has blessed me.

Though I know the divorce is something I couldn’t have prevented, I’m still bothered by the relationship struggles I now have. Not just with my parents, but with my classmates and my extended family. I’ve had to accept two total strangers into my life, without any say on my part. My family, on both sides, treats me in a noticeably different way, and school is something else entirely.

I’ll admit, I had a harder time that year. My family and I went through a cataclysmic change of environment in a series of months, and it was a new life everyone had to get used to. Those two “total strangers” have been supporting and loving me for four years now, and making both of my parents happier than I’ve seen them in 20 years. My extended family was probably tip-toeing around me because they didn’t know how I was taking the divorce. But there’s nothing bad about that at all, and my two new extended families love me like I’m one of their own. I’ve only gained love, not lost it.

I’ve yet to have my first boyfriend, first kiss, or even my first date. I’ve got fewer expectations than ever of being whisked away by Prince Charming, especially considering the emotional rollercoaster I’m currently riding. My friends are hard to hold onto, and sometimes I hardly want to come to school. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not suicidal or depressed, just an average tenth grader in the middle of the High School Hierarchy trying to deal with big changes in my life. Because of the divorce, I’m putting extra pressure on myself to enter into a new relationship. But constantly dealing with the fallout of the divorce—on top of school, sports, and extra-curriculars—means I have hardly any time to deal with my feelings, much less someone else’s.

Well kid, if I told you you’d have to wait another year for that kiss, you’d probably write another angsty post like this. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, I didn’t have my first kiss until I was 17. Which is not embarrassing at all. I loved this paragraph because looking at how blessed I am in my relationship now, I can’t help but think I was being a little dramatic. Especially the “I’m not suicidal or depressed,” section. There are kids that age actually dealing with crap like that, and it hurts my heart that I would have taken it so lightly. Lucas Miles didn’t sweep me off my feet. He bought me new shoes and flew me to a nightclub in Paris and danced with me under the Eiffel Tower (even though he hates dancing). Everyone is so right when they say love comes when you’re not looking for it. And something about friends I’ve learned: they come and they go. Most of the people in high school are friends because you kind of have to be. It makes life a whole lot easier to have a place to sit at lunch, someone to partner up with in class or call for the homework when you forget. But through college, the College Program and Lucas, I’ve met an incredible group of people I know I’ll walk in Heaven with.  The bonds go deeper, the love is stronger and our personalities mesh in all the right ways.

In a perfect world, I would be focused on studying for the SATs next year, deciding which college to attend, and figuring out what I want to do for the rest of my life. In the real world, I’m lucky to know what I’m doing for lunch tomorrow. I hardly know what I’m feeling, or what I want to feel. The divorce has made me vulnerable and mistrustful; I constantly suspect people of having ulterior motives.

Guess what 15-year-old Katti? You got through the SATs, you’re a Junior in college with a 4.0 and you have a plan for the rest of your life with a person you love. And you aren’t cynical at all. Paranoid of strangers and still afraid to go places alone, but not cynical. Oh but actually the lunch thing is on point.

The way that a divorce hurts a child unfolds over time. You feel empty at first, then angry, then sad and lonely. Your outlook can be affected in every way, from how you feel about getting up in the morning to the way you perceive your religion.

You did feel that way, and that was a healthy way to grieve. Your outlook was affected, but for the better. You grew in so many ways. You learned how strong you could be when it was necessary. You learned how important family is, and how important a promise to God is. You learned how to love God and others in a purer way. You look at life with excitement, joy and happiness. You have your bad days, but you’ve learned so much in four years. You’ve learned how to take care of yourself and take care of others. Running away from your problems isn’t the right choice. Family comes first and they’re (usually) right. Always look for the best in people.

You grew strong and you grew wise. And I’m so glad you didn’t grow up.

The Countdown Continues

Less than two weeks remain until my great adventure in the Happiest Place on Earth, and I’m feeling a lot of mixed emotions. Actually, this is kind of heavy… so strap in!

When I got my acceptance letter, I was knee-deep in clubs, organizations, classes, and friends. Literally. When I got the acceptance email, I was next up to present my status report at our PRSSA meeting. Though I was shaking with excitement, a few voices immediately asked what I was going to do about the rest of my year, one of those voices being my own.

Because I was so busy, I didn’t have time to comprehend exactly what I was getting myself into, how I would do it, and how it would affect me and the people in my life. First and foremost: my love, Lucas.

Lucas has been nothing but supportive of my decision to go to Florida. When I received my acceptance, he was the first person I called. With our luck, he had class for three hours at that exact time and couldn’t call back. Well, the initial excitement turned into nervousness when I saw his name and ringtone buzz on my phone. We’ve been in a successful long-distance relationship for over a year, and each day I find something new about him to love. With that being said, we can’t wait to spend summers together. We live close(ish) to each other when we’re home. Last year I spent my entire summer at college orientating the new freshman, and he was overseas. We were really looking forward to spending the summer together and finally feeling like a normal couple. My acceptance email brought that fantasy crashing down though: the program I was awarded was Spring Advantage (February 2015-August 2015). Nervousness seeped into every cell I had when I picked up the phone to talk to him (all the while, I’m still at this PRSSA meeting). I’m not going to lie, it was a hard conversation. Being part of the DCP was something I had yearned for for years, but with Lucas in my life, my priorities had changed. He was the most important thing to me, and the biggest factor that affected my decision. Being the perfect boyfriend he was, he ended the phone call with an ultimatum: “Either you do the Disney College Program, or we break up.” In every instance and every way, he puts my needs and wants before his own and never ceases to amaze me.

While that story is all well and good, it’s not where it ends. This decision was not easy for us. We’ve had our moments of serious discussions about the impact of the program on various aspects of our lives. There’ve been good and bad days with the DCP in our minds, and I don’t think every day will be perfect again until I’m back home. I’m going to decline sharing more on this, because ultimately, it is between Lucas and I, and there are a few things we would like to keep private. I just want everyone to know how perfect he is being, and that I appreciate and cling to his support more than he’ll ever know. He truly is the most amazing man out there. 🙂

My parents divorced when I was 16, and 4 years later I still try my hardest to abide to the 50/50 custody we all agreed on. Obviously, things come up and it can’t be a perfect system, but I try to do the best I can. Juggling two family who want me full-time, along with my adopted family (Lucas’) who also want me full time does end up taking a toll. I’ve always wanted to please everyone, even if it hurts me. And for the past 4 years, I feel like I’ve been doing that. Every time I turn around or make a decision, I feel like I’m hurting someone. I’ll be honest, I’m a young girl in love, so I spend most of my time around Lucas and his family. But then that takes away from my mom or my dad, who haven’t gotten to see me at all in a week or more. And then when I try to visit them, I miss Lucas so then I’m miserable. It’s a never-ending circle and it’s really, really hard. Lucas and I fantasize about getting married and starting our own life daily, and one thing I’m so excited for is to finally have my own life with someone I love. I think that’s another reason I’m excited to go to Disney. No one is going to tell me what to do there. Their reach can’t touch me 1000 miles away, living my own life, paying my own bills. I just wish Lucas could experience it with me, and move down with me. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to be away from my best friend for seven months until now. I’ve laughed with him, I’ve cried with him; I’ve spent the best of my life with him, and a little of the worst. I know it’s going to be the hardest goodbye I ever say. And I know it’s not a fatal goodbye; it’s a “see-you-later.” But it really just hit me that I’m less than 10 days away from leaving everything I’ve known for so long and I’m scared.

Maybe the DayQuil I’ve been taking to rid me of a horrible cold is kicking in or maybe I’m over-emotional, or maybe it’s both. Disney is going to be amazing and I can’t wait to make fantastic memories with everyone I’ve already met, but I know I’m leaving a lot behind too. I refuse to see it as leaving behind though. They’re all coming with me, they’ll be in my mind and in my heart. And I wear Lucas’ dogtags every day to remind me just how lucky and blessed by God I am.

So now for the happy part… I GO TO DISNEY IN NINE DAYS! I’ve been waiting for months to get the countdown to single-digits and it’s finally here! I actually have a lot more to pack and I’m getting nervous about housing (my roommates and I were all split up:'(, but we’re still doing a gift exchange and going to dinner and being best friends!!) and my role (I’m in entertainment so lots of people will be seeing me, and I don’t want to mess up!), but I think I’ll be fine once I get into the groove. Keep up with me via this blog and my YouTube Channel!

If you’re still here, I congratulate you. This blog just acted as a therapist for me this last hour, and it felt damn good to get all those feelings out. Cheers 🙂

Guest Writer!

My boyfriend, Lucas, wrote an extremely inspiring poem I’d like to share with all of you! Unfortunately, he does not have a blog. But I wanted his work to be shown! I didn’t edit or touch anything; merely copied it off the paper he gave me! Enjoy his amazing words!

Do not think cutting out my tongue will silence my breath

For the pounding in my chest will scream until death

Gouging my eyes will not prevent my sight

For my vision will be seen by all who choose to fight

Only a fool would choose to deafen my ear

For my battle cry will be for all to hear

Crippling my hands would not deter me to write

For my actions will inscribe themselves in history’s plight

Breaking my legs would only epitomize my cause

For I stand firm that is a soldier’s clause

A bullet could not stop my heart from beating

For I’m embodied in others never fleeting

You are mistaken to simply decapitate my head

For the ideas inside will not die, but spread

Updatey-Watey

Hello!

So it’s been a super busy time over here. This semester I took 18 credits (6 classes) while being the Director of Philanthropy of my school’s Public Relations Student Society of America, attending bi-weekly Senate meetings for the Student Government Association, mentoring two mentees every week, meeting with a professional mentor, heading a fundraiser, working with a PR client and copyediting for my professor! Just a normal week. Still, I am able to find time to craft for the hell of it, binge watch Netflix or on lots of yummy candy and most importantly, spend as much time as I can with my amazing, wonderful, sexy and awesome boyfriend.

Some exciting news: I was accepted into the Disney College Program, lasting from February 2015 to August 2015! It was a snap decision to apply, but is something I’ve always wanted and cannot wait to begin my amazing journey. I’ll be documenting my adventures daily on my YouTube channel, feel free to follow along!

Some more exciting news: My boyfriend Lucas and I just celebrated our year anniversary. While it may not be too important to you, it means everything to me… as does Lucas! We fall more and more in love each day and I can’t wait to spend more time with him. I just wanted you all to know that 🙂

Thanks so much for following me, it means so much! Have a wonderful, wonderful night!