6 Things to Remember When You Think You Have It All Wrong

It amazes me sometimes just how wrong about a person you can be. You could spend days, weeks, months, years even, lying to yourself; telling your heart and your soul that they’re the one for you, that they’re the best friend you’ve ever had, that their flaws are insignificant.

I started writing this article months ago when I was having a falling out with a very close friend of mine who I’ve had on and off strong feelings for since we were in high school. In the back of my mind, I’ve been nagging myself to revisit this and see if my perceptions have changed. Much to my surprise, whilst we are okay now, the things he said to me are still painfully true.

This boy, who I thought I knew like the back of my hand, who knows me inside and out and who’s been there for me and experienced the best and the worst sides of me (there’s many), made me see him in a completely different light and made me feel vulnerable as if there was a whole other side to him I had no idea about.

In a fight to have him realize that his actions affected people other then himself, he was adamant in his belief that relationships are based on perception instead of treatment. He warned me to be less concerned with his physical actions and instead be more concerned with what I really thought about him and the person he is. 

It took me weeks to really understand what he meant. For hours I cried to my friends wishing he would just realize that I needed to be validated and to have him tell me he cared about me and that he was sorry for the way he treated me. 

Eventually, my brain clicked. It was like I finally understood that maths question I’d spent hours pulling my hair out over. 

I’ve learnt a lot about myself in a very short period of time. More importantly, I’ve learnt a lot about my relationships with others.

When you think about it, every moment of every relationship you have: with your mum, dad, brother, sister, boyfriend, girlfriend – anyone, is spent evaluating the other persons character. Every interaction with them that you have either challenges or affirms what you already think of them. 

Maybe you take note that your Mum gets upset when you don’t call. You remind yourself that she is caring in a sometimes smothering way and that your love for her outweighs the anger and frustration you feel when she’s constantly nagging or checking up on you. 

Maybe you take note of the way your boyfriend squeezes your hand when you walk through a busy mall. You remind yourself that you love him because he’s protective. When you fight, you’ll ask yourself: Do I feel more anger and resentment now then the love and happiness I feel towards him outside of this argument? 

Essentially, the big question here is: What happens when one thing makes you question every single thought about someone you’ve ever had? 

In the course of life there’s a place for love, for peace, for friendship and for family. What’s worse, there’s a place for breakdowns, for heartache, for misery and for grief. There’s a place for relationships to blossom and there’s a dark, dark place for them to end.

It’s so important to me, as it should be to you, that I am in charge of the way I feel about someone. I’ve realized the hard way that I cannot live my life with a constant and debilitating need for validation from others. We are all selfish beings and no one should be more important to you, then you.  

So, when you’re feeling like you’re questioning yourself, or question someone else, consider this:

1. It’s okay to feel like you don’t have control over your relationships.

Because, at the end of the day, you don’t. You only have control over how you feel and what you think of somebody. 

2. Don’t make excuses for someone else’s behavior.

Ever. If you are constantly being told by others that they’ve heard this before, or you’re too lenient – listen to them!  

3. It’s okay to feel like your initial judgement of someone was wrong

People change and things go wrong, and that is absolutely okay. I’ve learnt over the years that there’s nothing wrong with losing a friend, no matter how close you two were. People mature and their needs and wants change and its okay that you no longer meet each others needs anymore. 

4.Don’t be angry at yourself for the way others treat you

Start by not letting them treat you poorly and stand up for yourself and what you believe in. 

5. Realise what you deserve 

This is so, so important. Actually take the time to think long and hard about what’s important to you and what you need from a relationship. And remember – not all your needs can be met by one single person. 

6. Be open to second chances, but don’t become a pushover

Look after yourself but don’t be too stubborn. People make mistakes and I’m sure you’d be upset if you hurt someone and they weren’t willing to give you another chance. In saying so, know when enough is enough and always put yourself first.

HOW I LEANRED TO BE OKAY WITH THE FACT I’VE NEVER HAD SEX AS A 20-SOMETHING

Okay disclaimer, I am just about to turn 20. Nonetheless, I’m willing to consider that I’m a 20-something. And a virgin.

To be honest, I don’t consider my virginity as definitive at all. In fact, I don’t really consider it anything other than a fact about me. I have blonde hair; I have blue eyes. I’ve never travelled outside of my home country; I’ve never eaten ribs. I’ve never had sex. So what?

Society seems to have formed this idea that being a virgin is bad and that it’s something to be ashamed of. But, when you stop and think about it, how does my experience, or lack thereof, affect anyone else?

I was once seeing someone who I was very open and honest with about my virgin status. Looking back on it now, I probably should have flagged how hot under the belt this made him. Just to confirm, I am not a virgin for religious reasons, nor am I waiting for “the one” or anything like that. I’ve simply just never been in a position where sex was an opportunity.

When I was seeing said guy, he talked about sex (and us having sex) a lot. In the beginning, it made me really uncomfortable but I grew to kind of like it. He’d ask me what I think I’d like, where I wanted to lose it, who I wanted to lose it to. As a borderline twenty-something, you’d think I would have already thought about this. Well, plot twist – I hadn’t. He made me feel safe and he genuinely heard my concerns and fears. Part of me thought this was it.

We went on a few dates and surprise, surprise when he came over and we didn’t have sex, we never spoke again. Classic ghost and total f*cking dick if you ask me.

For a little while after, I began to question what virginity meant to me. I went through a stage of thinking I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t pretty enough, I wasn’t flirty enough. One of my friends even said I was a tease. That really shocked me considering I’ve only ever made out with one guy. How am I a tease if a) I have no desire and b) A guy only has to brush past me in a club to make me nervous and cower.

I went through another phase of deep self reflection. What did sleeping with someone mean to me? What did I think of myself? Why was I so scared to take off my clothes? Why have I never felt a desire to be with someone intimately?

What was it about intimacy that was defining me?

I talked about this with friends, and with my therapist a lot. I thanked my deep rooted ‘daddy issues’ for my inability to feel sexual attraction and my lack of positive male role models in shaping my views on relationships and in particular, sex.

I’d grew up only hearing stories of how drunk girls got at parties and how many guys they’d hooked up with. I saw photos of people from my school having sex at parties and sat as friends cried and cried over guys they’d slept with and never heard from again.

What I never heard was my friends talk about intimacy as love or passion or connection. I never heard them say how nice it was to stay the night with someone, to watch movies and feel warm in their embrace.

Never once has the idea of drunk sex or one night stands or friends with benefits ever appealed to me. And you know what, that’s fine by me.

Maybe I am waiting for the right person; someone I trust, someone I feel comfortable with. But for now, I’m just being a 20-something who happens to be a virgin, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

My advice to fellow virgin 20-somethings? Don’t let this define you. Honestly, it just isn’t worth it. And, if you’re that worried about it – fake it until you make it, hun (but try to prepare to avoid any awkwardness when your hymen breaks and you bleed all over your man who thought you were a total minx before him).

This post has been published on Elite Daily. See here.

6 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GEMINI’S BEFORE DATING ONE

Ah, tis the season of the Gemini.

Gemini’s are renowned for their gentle, affectionate and curious nature. As an air sign, Gemini are sociable, communicative and fun but can also be serious, thoughtful and reckless.

The only thing certain about the Gemini is that you never know what to expect. Gemini’s crave mental stimulation and variety and often struggle with routine and repetition in all aspects of life; work, relationships, travel, etc.

Gemini’s unique needs can make them almost unbearable to date. So I’ve put together a list of fundamental things you need to know about Gemini’s before you can develop a healthy relationship with them.

1. THEY HATE ROUTINE 
Gemini’s biggest pet peeve is routine. They certainly won’t settle for a boring, repetitious relationship. Be fun and mix it up! Go on non-traditional dates and surprise your Gemini man or woman. They will appreciate the thought and your relationship will benefit from variety. You will find it difficult to stay with a Gemini if you expect consistency in a relationship.

P.S: This counts for in the bedroom too – keep an open mind and be prepared to try all kinds of new things.

2. THEY AREN’T EXACTLY RELIABLE OR DEPENDABLE 
This doesn’t mean that they will intentionally let you down. Gemini’s are often blissfully unaware of how their actions affect others and sometimes only have eyes for themselves. As their partner, you must be independent, self-sufficient and very patient. From experience, most Gemini’s I know are aware that they’re not the most reliable people out and are very apologetic for it. Don’t make them feel bad but do help them work on it.

3. THEY CAN BE HARD TO TRUST 
If you have trust issues and are considering entering in a relationship with a Gemini, I want you to have a long and hard think about this. Gemini’s, whilst not un-loyal or dishonest are more often than not caught up in the moment. There’s a great chance that you will find yourself thinking ‘did he/she really mean that?’ The longer this happens, the more it will play on your mind. If you have trust issues from previous broken relationships or are generally a over-analytical person, remember that Gemini’s are very hard to read.

4. THEY LIVE IN THE MOMENT
This is great trait of the Gemini. They are always happy and fun loving people that everyone loves to be around. They’re often the life of the party and others have a natural gravitational pull to them. However, in a relationship this can be a huge problem. For those who are planners, you may find Gemini an absolute pain the a*s. A Gemini may feel pressured and become detached if they are pushed, especially in conversations about the future of your relationship. This shouldn’t be mistaken for them not caring, they honestly just haven’t considered it.

5. SEX DOESN’T MATTER AS MUCH TO THEM 
I mean, of course it matters but to a Gemini the actual sex isn’t as fun as the excitement that comes with it. Be playful and again – Gemini’s hate routine so never rest on your laurels!

6. THEY ARE DISTANT FROM THEIR EMOTIONS
Personally; I find this the hardest trait to deal with about Gemini’s. As a Libra, I am all about emotions however, Gemini’s are very complex making them hard to reach. This is a struggle even for them as they also have a deep need to be understood. If you’re prepared to listen (and I mean really listen) you’ll be able to gain really thoughtful insights into your Gemini man or woman. This will help build your emotional connection and will make you feel special because it’s you they’ve chosen to let their guard down to.

Gemini’s really are all over the place. However, if you’re willing to stick it out and overcome some of their small personality hurdles (c’mon, you’ve got your own too) they can make amazing friends and lovers.

This post has been published on Elite Daily. See here.

WHY HAVING FEELINGS FOR YOUR BEST FRIEND IS SO DAMN HARD

It’s the plot of almost every teen rom com known to man – the classic best friends turned lovers.

We are so obsessed with the idea because it’s almost magical to watch. To not only know someone inside and out and accept their flaws, accept your differences and love them unconditionally – but to do all of this BEFORE you’re in a relationship?

It seems crazy, almost unreasonable. But it happens and most people will argue that the relationships that started with two people loving each other as friends grow to be some of the most successful romantic and intimate relationships there are.

Now, I’m not speaking from experience. If there was a society for people who cower behind the “I don’t want to ruin our friendship” excuse, I would literally be President.

But after almost three years of hiding behind this very rationale I am starting to think that maybe the risk is worth it.

It’s a sticky situation at best. Are they into you or are they just super comfortable around you? Is this bond special and unique or shared with others? Are you over analysing their “subtle hints” or are you making them up?

A huge factor in deciding to come forward with your feelings often weighs on how you think they’re going to react.

In some cases, it’s obvious you are more then friends. Maybe you’ve kissed, maybe more. Maybe you spend your weekends cuddled up in bed watching Netflix. Here, it’s really a matter of who’s going to admit first that you are more than friends? (HINT: YOU! Take the plunge!)

In other cases, it’s far less obvious and far more risky. Do you feel more than friends but less than “more than friends?” Do you do things that you know are special and unique and meaningful but are confused because maybe to them it’s not the same?

It’s tough. There’s no denying that.

Cue fear of rejection.

For most, it’s not only the fear of rejection but fear for the friendship. Are you prepared to risk it all?

Most of us aren’t. For me – I think I would rather keep my close friend, even if it means missing out on being in a relationship with them.

When you look at it in the sense that pouring your heart out might cause discomfort and awkwardness in the friendship if the feelings aren’t mutual, it almost makes sense to keep quiet.

However, if you look at it again from a different angle – why settle for friends when you can have more? Why do yourself the injustice because you were afraid of a little awkwardness?

The more you consider it and weigh up the pros and cons, the easier it is to realise that the predicament that you’re in is very multifaceted.

Maybe you’re trying to protect yourself. Maybe you’re not ready to commit. Maybe, in your heart of hearts you know that they don’t feel the same way.

If you’re like me and you’re wondering whether or not it’s time to come clean, I want you to ask yourself this very important question:

What is a relationship going to provide you that your already close friendship doesn’t? 

Take away the idea of intimacy and think about yourself here. This person, if they are your best friend already brings out the best in you. They’ve most likely seen you through heartache, grief, anger, stress, everything. They have seen the best of you but they’ve also seen the worst of you. You trust them and you love them, – in your own way.

Ask yourself if you’re prepared to risk it all for a shot at love and remember, at a young and tender age, most relationships won’t last forever.

I suppose there is no right or wrong answer and that intuition is the key to success. Maybe you’ll be sitting there one night and you’ll feel it. You’ll feel it in your heart: to come clean or stay mum.

Until then, appreciate and cherish what you have. Take the time to get to know your potential partner on a deeper level – test the waters. Live in the moment and be in the moment. Don’t lose yourself over something that could be nothing.

Love, and be loved!

This post has been published on Thought Catalog. See here.

WHAT IT ACTUALLY FEELS LIKE TO BE GHOSTED

I remember scrawling through Elite Daily one afternoon at work, skipping the endless number of posts about ‘ghosting’. I skipped them for two reasons. The first, I didn’t really know or care about what it was. The second, I knew it was dating related and seeing as I wasn’t dating, nor never had dated, I saw no relevance.

A few weeks later, I jokingly downloaded Tinder in the company of a friend. Not thinking anything of it, we swiped our lives away laughing when we came across people we went to school with and crudely messaging our matches.

A few days passed and I found myself almost addicted to swiping, I loved getting matches. I found it so complimentary.

I didn’t speak to many of my matches. I refused to be the one who messaged first (admittedly though, I did once or twice). I even felt potential in one match, except he lived about 45 minutes away. This match was short lived as my next sparked even more interest.

We spoke, I’d say, everyday for a week or two before upgrading to texting. At first I was a little eery and wasn’t sure how I felt when he made sexual innuendos – mainly due to my virgin status but also due to the fact that this was a total stranger.

We talked and talked and talked. I felt really wanted. He always messaged me first and I felt like I never had to try. He wasn’t shy in admitting his attraction to me despite the fact we were yet to meet.

Part of me thought this was too good to be true. An even bigger part of me wishes now that I’d followed my instinct.

Don’t get me wrong, he is a really nice guy. He took me out on Valentine’s Day – a total gentleman. He denied the offer to come in, knowing I was pretty nervous. The second time we met up we sat under the stars laughing at each other and bitching about assignments and work. I didn’t want to admit it, but when he got closer, when he touched me, I had a couple of butterflies.

We drove home and this time he came inside. By this stage, we’d been talking for a couple of months. I was a lot more comfortable talking about sex and we’d established that we were both interested and that I was ready to try. Albeit, I was still a nervous wreck.

We watched TV and waited for my Nan to go to bed. He sat close to me, touching me and playing with my hair. As a natural response to nerves, I got quite guarded and he started to back off, leaving soon after.

I’d been out with this person twice, and we had both been very open about our physical attraction to each other. Neither of us was looking for a relationship and happily agreed on hanging out, maybe fooling around and genuinely just seeing where things went. Yet, we hadn’t even kissed.

I asked him if he was disappointed nothing had happened that night. I even apologised as if I’d made a mistake. He denied, but almost a month later, we’ve hardly spoken since.

So, I’ll tell you; being ghosted feels like shit. It’s almost embarrassing, not knowing what to tell your friends when they ask if you’re still seeing him, when they ask how things are going. What are you supposed to say?

Part of me can really understand now why those of broken relationships find it hard to trust. Even on the smallest of scales like this, it makes you realise how little you can really know about someone. Even more, it makes you realise how draining it can be to open up to someone, move on, open up to someone else, move on, and so on.

Don’t get me wrong, the actual act of the ghost has in no way affected me to the extent that it seems. Like many will say in a petty argument ‘it’s the moral that counts.‘ The hard part isn’t not talking to someone, it’s going over things they’ve said and wondering if they really meant it. It’s the confusion and it’s having no closure. It’s realising that some guys do just want sex. Even more, it’s realising that some girls are actually willing to be used like that.

The good thing about it? Realising that you are so much better then that.

This post has been published on Thought Catalog. See here.

5 THINGS DEATH TAUGHT ME ABOUT GRIEF

No child ever wants to see their parent/s cry. Almost a year ago now, my Mum’s tears woke me up early on a Tuesday morning. Not knowing what to expect, I crept down the stairs to find the rest of my family huddled around the dining table. Everyone was crying.

My Mum’s best friend, my unofficial Aunty had tragically lost her son in a car accident during the night.

I hardly saw my Mum for that entire week. She never left her best friend’s side. This was the second son she had lost to tragedy. We were still grieving the first.

We went as a family to the home one night. In the car Mum said to me, “Prepare yourself. This is a very sad house.”

You could feel the energy as you entered the street. It was almost as if the entire neighbourhood was in mourning. In the front room were twenty or more young men sitting around in a circle, his Mum in the middle.

Some were laughing, others were crying. A few sat in silence with their heads hung low and their arms crossed in front of them.

I remember looking sideways at my Mum wondering how anyone in this house could be laughing. Shouldn’t everyone be inconsolable?

It’s only now that I can look back and appreciate that the laughter and the shared memories are far more painful than any tears could ever be. Sitting and talking with a Mother who had just lost her second son was something I will never forget.

I learnt a lot about grieving in the coming weeks; lessons that can only be learnt through experience.

The seven stages of grief absolutely exist
Shock, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression and finally acceptance. They come in waves, and there is no acceptable time frame in which one can pass through them. You might be stuck in one stage for weeks, months, even years or you might get through two or three and find yourself back at square one but they are absolutely true and absolutely real.

Funerals are scheduled grieving. Accept and embrace that.
Don’t hold back. Cry as hard and as loud as you need too. Don’t be afraid of your makeup running (in fact, probably don’t wear any). Wear sunglasses if it makes you more comfortable. Let it all out. Every single person there in that room is feeling the same pain, maybe more, maybe less.

Don’t be ashamed if you deal with grief in a non conventional way
Not everyone grieves in the same way. Don’t let others intimidate you into justifying your emotions. In no way do tears or sadness measure pain. Find what works for you. Read, draw, paint, ride, run, swim, make things or break things. Do what you need to help you get through your loss.

Don’t be confused if you find yourself grieving over past losses
This one caught me the most off guard. I found myself in all sorts remembering past grieving experiences; the death of my dog, my parents divorce, broken friendships. At times I couldn’t decide what I was crying hardest over. But, like everything in life, it happened for a reason.

It made me realise the most important lesson of all;

I (and you,) will probably grieve your whole life
It might not be every day, or every week or even every month but there will be times and there will be things that remind you of what you have lost. It could be a photo, a song, somebodies laugh or it might come to you in a passing thought. Sometimes you might brush it off. Others you might feel more deeply. Either is okay. Grief is real and you can live comfortably with grief.

That isn’t to say that grief will consume your life. In the beginning it’s normal to feel as if you can never move past this, like you will never again experience happiness. This isn’t true. I am a big believer in time heals all wounds. Don’t be afraid to seek help and don’t be ashamed of what you are feeling.

Loss and death are some of the hardest challenges life throws at us but with a little help and a lot of faith you too, just like I’ve learnt to, can move on.

This post has been published on Thought Catalog. See here.

Why I Prefer to be Laughed At, and Not With

I absolutely love to be laughed at. To me, there aren’t many better feelings than being the butt of a joke. I love being surrounded by friends who are in stitches because of something stupid I’ve said or done. Being the reason my friends are happy and enjoying themselves completely outweighs any embarrassment or regret.

I have a very long list of things that I’ve said and done that baffle even me. Don’t get me wrong, I am a smart girl but boy have I had my fair share of blonde moments.

Just to name a few;

1. When I was in the 9th grade, I asked if Madagascar was a real place.
2. When I was in the 10th grade, I asked if the Samoa (the island) was 5 hours by plane or by car from Australia.
3. Just recently on holiday with a group of friends, I asked if stars were rocks.
4. 5 minutes later, I VERY confidently said the Sun was a rock.
5. The next day as a test I was asked what a star was. In a laughing kind of f*ck you attitude I replied ‘a meteorite.’
6. I once mistook the Southern Cross for the Union Jack on the Australian flag.
7. I thought the popular saying ‘polar opposites’ was pronounced ‘bipolar opposites’

Almost every time I say ridiculous things like this at least one person asks under their breath how I can be so clueless.

I never get upset or angry or annoyed that my friends laugh at me. In a way I love to be the centre of attention and I am always congratulated on how well I take it.

On holiday, one of my friends said to me, ‘Madi, it’s the way you say everything with such confidence that makes it ten times funnier. It’s the way you genuinely believe some of the things you say. Better yet, you take it so well. Not once have I ever heard you talk back when we’re laughing at the stupid things you say.’

I was really taken back when he said this, I actually thanked him and told him I genuinely do not care at all if people are laughing at me, mainly because I know I am ridiculous sometimes.

The next few days I thought really hard about what he said and it’s what inspired me to write about it because i realised the only way we should live life is with buckets of confidence.

Having confidence I truly believe it the key success.

Confidently greeting someone you’ve never met before absolutely increases your chances of becoming friends. Being confident that you will do well in an exam will help you study better. Walking into a job interview with confidence will set a far better impression than if you walk in slouched and nervous.

Being confident enough to not take offense when my friends roast me for their own entertainment has taught me that there is much more to life than worrying about what others think of me. Too long have I been nervous and anxious about what that girl from school or that guy from work think of me.

Words truly cannot describe how happy it makes me to see my friends, the people I love, happy. If it takes pointing out my flaws or taking the micky out of me to put a smile on someone’s face who might otherwise not want to smile then that is a very small price I will ALWAYS be willing to pay.

This post has been published on Thought Catalog. See here.