Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Journal Day! V.4


There's been so many moments in life, both good and bad, that have a hand at shaping us into the person we are today.  When looking back at our lives as a whole, it can be hard to pinpoint exact instances where we've changed immensely or grown as people- often these are gradual changes that sneak up on us over time. It's only when we take a huge step back and really think about it, are we able to see all these sequences of events as separate pieces.  And sure, hundreds of different events play a part in bringing us into the present, but when you really break it down, there are definitely moments that stand out more than others.

So with that said -


Looking at all of the life you've lived so far, can you pinpoint one time frame or instance that you feel truly contributed to your growth as a person?  This may be a turning point, a positive or negative experience, a moment or collection of moments that stand out in your mind...something that changed you as a whole.

I'd always been someone who dated a lot, and throughout high school and college I had my fair share of boyfriends, although nothing terribly serious...until I met this one particular guy my sophomore year of college.  I met him at the shop I worked at and I felt an immediate attraction- I thought he was so handsome, funny, and unlike most guys I had been interested in before.  Up until that point you could say that I always dated "my type" - starting way back in junior high I usually found myself hanging out and dating boys who skateboarded, played music, and if they were into sports they weren't what my friends and I un-apologetically labeled as "meatheads."  This guy though was a far-cry from any of the skater boys I grew up with, the opposite of my friends in bands, and so incredibly different from most of the guys I spent my time with. I wasn't even sure why I liked him. But I did.

As time went on we started to hang out more; we'd joke around throughout our shifts at work, stay a little bit later helping each other straighten up the shelves, talk about our separate plans for the weekend.  Then one day he asked me out on a date.  I of course said yes, and the next couple of days went by in a blur as I found myself being swept away in excitement.

He picked me up on a Thursday night and I was greeted with a rose on the passenger seat when I got in the car. Back then I was blown away- none of my previous dates had shown this level of chivalry outside of the corsages at school dances their mothers had thoughtfully ordered. We headed out to eat Indian food, which I'd never had before. Conversation was light, easy. Afterward we went to get frozen yogurt (my favorite), and I'll never forget him watching me finish my cup of yogurt (my very small cup, mind you), and saying to me, "my god, you don't have to scrape out every last bit!" as I scooped up the last couple of vanilla flavored spoonfuls. And he wasn't joking. In my happiness with the evening I let this strange comment kind of drift away with a smile, and as he dropped me off at my house I floated inside, eager to share the details of the night with my girlfriends.

So yeah, it was a great night, minus the weird comment. And as time went on, we became a couple. And the rose on the front seat? That was only the start. This guy pulled out all the stops. Fancy dinners, weekends away, little gifts. I'd never, ever dated anyone who treated me this way...and I liked it. But soon comments like the one that night at the frozen yogurt shop started happening more regularly. Just little things, here and there, but they added up. We were so different, so I always made excuses for his odd remarks and sometimes unpredictable behavior.

As time went on we began to argue, he would yell, get very angry, and eventually we totally stopped getting along. In retrospect I can see parts of myself slowly start to change to suit him. I see myself backing down from arguing with him, starting to lose interest in the things I used to love. I don't really know how it happened- it's part embarrassing, part weird, part really surprising...but I let myself change because that's what I thought my boyfriend wanted.  I'd never done that before; in the past I'd always been a super-independent girl. I knew what I wanted and knew who I was. But somehow I'd let this guy into my head in the most negative way, and when we broke up a few months later for good, I didn't feel sad- I felt surprisingly free.

It's still a mystery to me how I let that happen. Luckily I only spent a few months with that jerk, and I suppose it was a blessing in disguise, because that winter taught me exactly what I shouldn't be doing.  And then of course exactly what I should be doing, too.

For those months spent with someone I allowed myself to change for- for that time I gave up as I pretty much morphed into some weakened version of myself, I'm grateful. I truly look at that relationship as a turning point in my life. It really showed me who I was, and I think I had to lose myself somewhere along the way to really find myself. Sure, certain things will always remind me of this bizarre time in my life- there are particular country songs that still give me the creeps, and every so often Autumn, Shirley and I will get a laugh quoting whats-his-name while eating frozen yogurt- but the best lingering memories from all of it are the life lessons I learned.

For a long time I felt foolish about letting that happen. I was perplexed at how me, Ms. Outgoing-Life-of-the-Party could ever allow some guy to change who I was. But now I just chalk it up to another one of those "growing up" experiences, and certainly an experience who shaped me into the girl I am today.  And later on, this newly re-self-assured girl would date a whole bunch of great guys who treated me just how I deserved to be treated...and then one special guy in particular who would eventually become my husband. I loved myself, and allowed myself to be loved. A pretty awesome ending if I do say so myself.

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I'm moving back to having you guys link up in the comments - I did love using inlinkz, but realized that if I was to re-format my blog I'd lose all of your links! So instead, just go ahead and post your link in the comments, along with a little excerpt from your journaling! Can't wait  to read them. :)

37 comments:

  1. wow...you were eating frozen YOGURT! that's so ridiculous! i've dated those types of guys and i'm still amazed at how lucky i am to have ended up with such a wonderful husband (who lets me eat whatever i want :)
    Smoking Crayolas Blogspot

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  2. I really enjoyed reading this post. I can honestly relate to your experience and it certainly affected me as well. I don't talk about it often, but I may just post about it. Thank you for sharing :)

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  3. I love this post. It's so much fun when boys treat you like this but I feel like it never lasts. It's a weird mind game that happens when you start to change for someone else. xo, rv

    http://aneclecticheap.blogspot.com/

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  4. What a great post!! Ahh...I love the journal days!

    Here is mine :)

    http://kj-xx.blogspot.com/2011/09/journal-day-v4.html

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  5. Other than specifics (the yogurt thing), I'd think that I'd written this.

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  6. Ok fair enough. Thank you for sharing your post it is so awesome... :) :) Here is mine: http://www.eastpath.net/?p=686

    About my relationship with religion :)

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  7. I l o v e this! I'm pretty sure every girl can relate to this story somehow! :)

    I blogged about gaining my (much needed) independence!

    http://elizabethhaleytyson.blogspot.com/2011/09/journal-day.html

    xo Haley

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  8. I love these Dani. :)
    Here is my post about how I decided to become a journalist.
    http://theheartofthecityblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/journal-day-part-4.html

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  9. Thank you for sharing this. I had an experience similar to this in college. It was so bad that my friends told me I was transforming in to a female version of my boyfriend. I changed the way I dressed, my hobbies, even my career goals. Fortunately, I came to my senses before I completely lost myself, but I was in this relationship for two years! Wish I'd realized what was happening as quickly as you did. Thanks again for sharing.

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  10. Danielle, I love this! I know exactly which moment I want to write about. However, I don't post very personal things on my blog any more since its becoming more for my home business (baking). Could I email you the response?

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  11. this was an amazing post! thanks for sharing it... i dated a guy like this once. it was a rebound after a two year long rollercoaster with another boy. looking back though, it taught me a lot about what i would & would not accept in a relationship. i don't necessarily regret any of my relationships because i know that they all taught me something & everything i learned about myself & about relationships helped me to become a good wife to an amazing man.

    i love this prompt! i'll be back with a link to my post soonish.

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  12. I love Journal Day! Here is my post about making a tough choice:

    http://saturdayswithmaggy.blogspot.com/2011/09/journal-day-haircut-can-change-your.html

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  13. Love your prompts danielle and this is a truly inspiring post.

    Here is mine:

    http://sweetandlovelyblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/prompts-from-sometimes-sweet.html

    xoxoxo
    Melanie

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  14. another great inspiring journal day! :) My entry is all about me living in India for a year on placement from uni....

    http://ktpland.blogspot.com/2011/09/journal-day-looking-at-all-of-life.html

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  15. Love this topic. I don't know if I will have time to today, but I'd like to write a bit about when my mom passed away my senior year of high school... I will post the day when I do! Hopefully tomorrow!

    And wow, I've never dated a guy like that, but I do know people who have, and they always ask themselves the same thing. I agree though, it just got you to where you are today. And you are blessed for it :)

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  16. My turning point was my 2nd year of college when I finally sought help for my depression and anxiety. I have been suffering from anxiety since I was a small child and over the years it really started to affect me. When I finally found strength within myself that is when I started to see that light. I have been on medication for 6 months and in another 6 months I plan to be completely medication free. This was a significant turning point. I still have so much to learn about myself and others, but I know I have already come such a long ways.

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  17. Here's mine!

    http://www.blackandblondeone.com/2011/09/journal-day.html

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  18. Love the prompt, but i can't think of anything right now. I'll think on it today and hopefully have a post later. The only thing I can think of immediately is my attempt at suicide at the age of 15, but that's a bit obvious.

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  19. such a great post!

    i blogged before i saw this today and my post is kind of about how i am just now feeling like i'm really figuring things out. :)

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  20. Because of men like that, I am thankful everyday for the man I have by my side.

    Here is my journal:

    http://whookiesandpies.blogspot.com/2011/09/journal-day.html

    hope you read.

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  21. I too dated a lot in HS and I too met and dated a guy like this....we started just before I turned 18. He started out like this too, a comment here and there, and angry outburst here or there. I stayed with him 5 years before leaving, only a shell of my former self. It got worse...a lot worse, extremely absusive and leaving took a year of planning my out. That changed me forever, while I lost so much while with him, the courage and strength it took to leave showed me what I was really made of. I was still smart and independent and strong. I am happily married now to the best man on Earth and there is no way I could appreciate how awesome he is without having walked in those shoes.

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  22. I love Journal Day! This is my first one to participate in but thank you for coming up with a more purposeful reason to write.

    Here is my attempt: http://misskateside.blogspot.com/

    "Mom's are the glue to every family, especially mine. Being threatened to have this person taken from your life, is really hard."

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  23. Again, thank you so much for inspiring me to post my story<3

    http://srslyliz.com/a-story-with-no-happy-ending

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  24. you are a fantastic writer. i love how open and honest you are. :) can definitely relate to this one.
    why did it take me so long to find your blog??

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  25. Amazingly written, Danielle. Thank you for being so honest, I really enjoyed reading this. And how wonderful that so many positive things came out of a negative situation. <33

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  26. Danielle, one of my major life changing choices was the result of a relationship, but I wrote about another one too on my blog. Thanks for doing these journal days... I love to write and I am excited to have this opportunity for self-reflection that I might not otherwise take. <3 much love!

    Brooke

    http://fromunderhisfeathers.blogspot.com/2011/09/journal-day-v4.html

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  27. This was strange to read because it sounded almost exactly like the past year...
    Dated some guy I thought was great because we could get along, turns out we're opposites not in a good way (9 months went by...) he said he didn't know what to do with me basically, he made me depressed in a relationship for quite a few weeks and when he dumped me, I felt relieved...

    Now I know not what to go for and what kind of person I want later in life :) (lots of time for that, I'm still young!)

    Thanks for sharing

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  28. I really love this series, thanks Danielle. I think I may have dated that guy as well.

    Here is mine: http://mundanecstasy.com/?p=428

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  29. http://taraophotos.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/journal-day/

    Here's mine, I love these prompts lady! They help me with my little "blogger's block" I keep getting.

    Tara O.

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  30. What a great post! I love reading what you have to say! What's "Journal Day"? ...I haven't heard. Somebody fill me in! Anyway,my blog is at chimerabellem (dot) tumblr (dot) com

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  31. I know how weirdly things can end up in relationships but I've luckily I've never experienced such estrangement. Thanks for the heads up and motivating me to stay myself. I hope I remember this post when I find myself in a relationship with someone like the guy you described and to give me the courage to butt in when my friends are in similar situations. Thanks again.

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  32. This is such a great post, and so relatable for most girls I'm sure :)

    I know I'm a bit late linking up, but here's mine!

    http://life-outdoor.blogspot.com/2011/10/journal-day.html

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  33. I've just stumbled upon your blog today and I love it!! :) Do you still do the Journal Days? How frequently?

    http://terinaleah27.blogspot.com/

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  34. I stumbled upon this part of your blog and I absolutely love it. I am also quite new to your blog. I have been looking for something like this so I could get back into my writing. I hope that another one comes soon!

    <3 Jenn
    jenn-mcclure.blogspot.com

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  35. You have put EXCATLY what I am feeling into words!!

    My ex recently told me he was seeing someone recently. Although we broke up 10 months ago, but continued to have "a friends with benefits relationship", I wasn't upset or angry as I thought I would be.

    Why? because of everything you just said! We argued alot. If we got into a debate, it would turn into an argument and I would feel myself backing down and feel myself turning into a weak version of myself, who isn't like that.

    I put it down to he was my first boyfriend who treated me like shit. Like you said, I put it down to a growing up experience (although I'm 21), it's something I have now experienced and know not to do again.

    He is seeing someone as I have gone down the "I want to be alone right now, have fun with my friends" route and I'm OK with that and reading this has made me realise it even more.

    It's winter break so I get to recharge my batteries so when I come back to University and see my ex, I know everything will be OK!

    You're a very talented writer and I've just found your blog and I love it so much already!

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  36. It is wonderful that you and many others have admitted to having this kind of a relationship. It is also wonderful that you got away from the abusive a**hole!

    I thank you for sharing & showing other women how easy it is to get swept away and how important it is to GET AWAY from those kind of people.

    Bless you all.

    Thanks for helping each other grow up safely & in healthy ways by sharing the lessons you've learned.

    I haven't written anything on this topic... yet... If I do I'll return and share the link. I just had to thank you for opening yourself up like this so others may be spared your hurt.

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