Late nights are the types of nights filled with memories and tears and snuggles and smiles…but mostly, no sleep
I’m just happy I felt love again, if only for once more.
Now it’s over, and I’m finally ready to say goodbye.
I will always love you…
…in a goodbye kind of way.
In our own, special, goodbye kind of way that I loved so much.
That I will always love so much.
Tonight was the night I didn’t cry.
(Author’s Note: After a few weeks of sitting on this post, I decided to publish it. It originally was going to remain a draft forever, but I loved it too much.)
My dad sees everything in black and white.
I’m not sure I’m the same way.
I think there are shades of gray and pallets of color and blurred lines and fuzzy socks. I think there’s cookie dough that’s meant to be eaten and rules that are bound to be broken and nights that are meant for no sleep.
I think it’s this palette of gray that can make a bad decision seem reasonable and a good choice seem foolish.
I think that’s what love does to you.
If I were to tell you my life – and particularly, my love life - you would most likely tell me, “Chelsea, you’re wrong. You are flat-out, 100% wrong.”
Some people would even say I’m a terrible person.
But there’s a part of me that knows – a part of me that says maybe, just maybe – if you knew my story – if you really truly knew it and you knew the whole story – that you’d be on my side. That you would see a heartbroken, 21-year-old girl who doesn’t really know if she believes in good and love and hope amidst all the brokenness and shatters of glass.
That maybe you would see the girl who doesn’t see everything in black and white.
My dad and other black-and-white enthusiasts would say I should end this horribly twisted relationship I have in my life right now. That it’s not right, and that we’re not compatible for each other, and there’s a huge age difference, and he has a girlfriend, and…it’s just not right.
But somehow – amidst all of the completely illogical circumstances surrounding us – somehow, it just feels right.
And somehow, we’ve come to love each other.
Somehow, we’ve found that real, passionate, heart-racing, maddeningly frustrating, completely illogical type of love that makes you want to dance in the rain and play on a playground and hold each other’s face until your eyes fall asleep before the rest of your body does. The type of love that makes you want to memorize the scruff on his face and the brown in his eyes and the sound of his voice and the way he holds your hand and the way he looks at you. Because he loves you and you love him and it’s the first time you’ve felt this exhilarating type of love in the history of ever.
It’s the type of love that you would give everything to.
No, I mean everything.
And I almost did, but he loved me too much.
And despite what everyone says, despite what my friends say, despite what the strangers say…I love him. I love him, and I think I always will.
I love you, Nameless Man. I love you.
But this will never get published. Because we are a love that’s in color. And it’s not meant for the black and white.
“Sometimes I think life should be all peaches. Then I remember how much I love the rain.” – Chelsea
Love stories typically have good beginnings, but they’re known for their happy endings.
I don’t know that I have either.
Hell, I’m not even sure I fall into the love story genre.
I don’t know because my story hasn’t ended yet. Or at least, I hope it doesn’t end here. Otherwise that would be a terribly, terribly awkward ending.
Because this year – this year of turning 21, of getting my first real job, of making international headlines, of changing and evaporating friendships – it’s been a transition, and it’s been hard. I wish I could say it’s been magical instead.
But I don’t have much fairy dust left in my hands, and the wind seems to be blowing the rest away in puffs of glitter. I can’t seem to find my once-upon-a-time heart anymore – I’ve seemed to have misplaced it. And by far the worst of it all: the glass slippers no longer fit.
I’m growing out of the glass slippers, instead slipping on those pinchy, too-tight high heels that guarantee a post-wear limp and practically scream, “I’M NOT A GIRL ANYMORE!”
I’m losing the slippers, and I’m losing my innocence, and I’m becoming a woman instead.
I don’t know that I like it.
I’m expected to grow up now and hold myself together like a classy lady. To act like I can take on the world with sheer sassiness, confidence and that coming-of-age quirky independence. To handle all the hardships in life with grace and wisdom. And to make the right decisions. Always.
No one ever tells you just how hard that will be.
If you tallied them up, I think I’ve made more wrong decisions than right ones this year. I’ll be the first one to admit, my story – and this chapter – has a lot of mistakes. It has a lot of torn-out pages, crossed-out words, scribbles, scratches, bruises and tears.
It has a broken heart.
I’ve been that dumb girl – the girl who’s fallen for the wrong guy. The girl who’s believed that the illogical could maybe…probably…surely be sensible. The girl who’s hoped and prayed and waited around for months…for nothing. The girl who’s been naive and vulnerable and hopeful and stupid. The girl who’s fallen in love, and the girl who’s been hurt.
The girl who’s let herself believe in fairytales and glass slippers.
I’ll never be that girl again.
I’m not allowing myself to be that girl again. I’m a woman now. I have my high heels and I’ve given up my slippers and I don’t believe in fairytales anymore.
Those stories are simply words for me to tell my children.
I had a summer that changed my life once.
It was a lovely thing, wrapped in that airless, buoyant kind of hope that only a college girl would be dreamy enough to dream.
When I think back on it, I think of roses and summer nights and fireworks and rain.
And then – somewhere beneath that swarmy fog of happy memories – I dig deep enough to remember the depth of that summer. The hard nights spent alone in my bed. The 2 a.m. wake up calls that became a little too unhealthy. The spontaneous late-night roadtrip to West Jefferson with a wonderful, beautiful friend – just to get away. The hours spent alone in a coffee shop trying to write through the tears. And more than anything else that summer, the overwhelming, overriding feeling of aloneliness.
Yes, I’m aware it’s not a word, but somehow, it just feels right.
In the midst of aloneliness – in the thick of it – you begin to discover a side of yourself you never wished existed. A dark side. A side that’s so hard to escape, it makes you forget pieces of yourself.
Sometimes people say it’s hard to forget the bad things in life – the people who do you wrong, the hurt that has left scars so deep you don’t think they can ever really heal. I was one of those people once.
I was one of those people just two weeks ago.
But sometimes – sometimes, you can surprise yourself. Sometimes you’re stronger than you think and stronger than you believe. Sometimes all it takes is a diet coke, a long-lost friend, and a good heart-to-heart before you realize you want the tears to stop and the flowers to return and another iced coffee with extra sugar because you’re 21 and you’re allowed to do that.
Sometimes it takes time, and sometimes it takes effort. Sometimes it takes remembering the roses and summer nights and fireworks and rain instead of the tears.
Sometimes it takes choosing to live in Beauty, rather than the aloneliness.
I’m choosing to live in Beauty.
It’s not the most coveted neighborhood in town. You won’t find fancy houses lining the street or children playing kickball at the neighbor’s or pets running in the yard.
On second thought, you might find a stray cat or two roaming around the place.
It’s called Tent City.
This not-so-dreamy neighborhood sits right in the heart of Columbus, tightly sandwiched between the bustling highway and the Olentangy River, and while it can’t be located on a map, it’s a place that many people call home.
Robert Fears is one of those people.
He’s lived in his home within the borders of Tent City for 9 months among dozens of other homeless people. He survives each day with the help of a hand-crafted tent, a mattress, some food scrapings, a radio, a stray cat and ultimately – the community of people around him.
See the entire Broke in Columbus project.
In today’s technology-driven world, dating has become fraught with matchmaking sites and social media apps.
Apps like Tinder claim to make more than two million matches each day while sites like Match.com say their users go on a collective six million dates per year.
Yet amidst all the digital love, traditional romance hasn’t completely died out. Not yet, anyways.
Even if you’ve never met them before, Eva Hyder and Andrew Nielsen are Our Mutual Friend.
No seriously, Our Mutual Friend is the name of their band.
Our Mutual Friend, or OMF, is a Columbus-based acoustic duo that has experienced plenty of ups and downs in the two years since they decided to drop everything in the name of music. They are just two of the many struggling grass-roots musicians who consider themselves “broke” in Columbus.
This is their story.