thank u, next

thank u, next

Before you get all excited and think this post is a love/hate letter to all my exes, let me set one thing straight: I’ve already wasted my precious time on these idiots; I’m sure as hell not wasting my precious blog space on them. Well. Ok, maybe a little blog space. We’re all here for the tea anyways, right? 🙃

Like I said in my last post, I’m due for a personal reflection here on the blog. So, I spent the majority of my Thanksgiving weekend reflecting on this year, proving to me that suburbia will literally drive me insane one day. Most of the emotions I felt fell somewhere between frustration and bitterness. Despite feeling angry with the world, I realized somewhere amidst the chaos in my head that I have a lot to be grateful for this year. I didn’t quite love or fully lose, but I made it out of numerous rough changes, enough to end up here writing this love letter to 2018.

My CEO has a saying that “growth and comfort do not coexist.” When I first heard it, I understood what she meant, but I definitely didn’t understand how it would feel. This year wasn’t the easiest or the hardest I’ve lived through, but it definitely was the most uncomfortable. I felt challenged and pushed in all directions of life whether it was at work, with friendships, in love, or in my personal pursuits. As a result, I’ve definitely grown into a different person.

Career

My work life had more ups and downs than El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure. Earlier in the year, I learned that the workplace is just an extended version of high school sometimes. Luckily for me, things worked out alright. Drama aside, I had four different managers and am ending the year with a new role and team. I’ve learned to adapt to change quickly, work more efficiently, and collaborate with different types of people.

My new role is in data and analytics. If you know anything about me, you’d find that hysterical considering I usually run away from anything related to numbers. Now, my day-to-day consists of deep diving in to media data. It’s challenging me to think differently and literally use a different part of my brain. More importantly, it’s challenging the direction I thought my career would head towards.

I still need to figure out where I want my career to go. I’ve come to accept that maybe it’s just a trial and error process. I have more time than I realize, so for now I’m happy to be moving in a new direction.

Friendships

You may remember from my birthday post that the friendship front was a bit rocky this year. It’s in your 20s when you really start seeing who your bridesmaids and best friends are, and who was just a temporary companion. This spring, many friendships were really put to the test. I’m happy to say that it seems like they’ve survived through the battles, but it saddens me that some will never be the same.

Student life makes friendships easy to maintain. Your problems are often shared, whether they’re regarding your friend group, boys, or something to do with school. You have a lot more control over your time as well. As an adult, you spend the majority of your day working. The little time and mental energy you have outside the office needs to be parsed between running errands, cooking, cleaning, the gym, dating, and socializing. Not only does this all make it harder to keep up with friends, it makes the time you spend together more precious and the topics you talk about a lot more serious. Sadly, two things can happen:

  1. If something negative happens, you’re more likely to brush it under the rug and avoid confrontation because you want to make the most of your time together. Things often pile up, and when they do it becomes very difficult to avoid.
  2. Certain friendships end up hitting a shallow end and you just can’t seem to find enough depth with them to talk about the more real issues in life.

After numerous fights, I’m proud of how much my friends and I have evolved respectively. I’m proud that we learned to respectfully disagree and can still maintain friendships. As for some others, you know what I have to say… thank u, next.

Love

Ahh. The tea you’ve been waiting for… Get comfortable because I decided to waste some blog space on this after all.

2018 was a busy year for the heart. Not only did I have some sort of hard or awkward conversation with every ex/ex-thing, EVERYONE decided to make undesired reappearances in my life. Talk about testing my patience… I also dated more than I ever have and more than I ever thought I would (by dated, I don’t mean boyfriend-girlfriend but just seeing people). Years ago, I was brutally hurt a few times which forced me to shut my heart out to others for a long, long time. I don’t think I’m fully healed from those wounds, so the fact I even allowed myself to feel anything for anyone is quite surprising and something I’m damn proud of.

I started the year reigniting an old flame at the worst time possible. He was someone I actually looked up to throughout the latter years of college. I was always curious what it would be like to actually be with him, but instead I found myself in the same spot I’ve always been: being someone’s crutch through a hard time. I don’t resent him but I have nothing that nice to say. The lesson here is the same one I learned in kindergarten: everyone, clean up after your own messes. 

Shortly after, there was the briefest of flings possible. It was such a brief fling that I’m not even sure if I could call it a fling. This guy was my picture perfect guy…on paper. In person… Well. He’s a nice guy so let’s leave this one as the classic lesson of the immense difference between on paper and in real life 😅.

And then something happened, triggering a pretty debilitating anxiety attack that turned into a mini panic attack. I hadn’t had one like that since March of 2016. Knowing that someone could cause me to have panic attack again made me terrified of ever getting involved with anyone ever. I crumbled completely and shut myself from the outside world.

Three weeks later, my coworkers convinced me to download Hinge and go on five first dates with five strangers in five days. In case you didn’t know, I really dislike dating apps, so this took ample amounts of wine for me to agree to do. The goal of it was to turn my sour look on dating into a comedic and fun one. They were hoping the first date experiences would render a great blog post on how bad the creatures of New York really are. The joke is on me because I ended up cancelling the social experiment early and seeing the first guy I met for almost 6 months.

I was honestly skeptical at first but quickly found myself incredibly comfortable around him, maybe more comfortable than I ever was with my longest relationship. He was the first person since that ex that had all the same quirks I loved but not the same flaws (THANK GOD). I truly have never found someone so similar to myself in the way I think, look at the world, and process emotions. Sadly, I didn’t fully let him in; I didn’t want any of my baggage to pop my first happy little bubble in a long time.

Looking back, I wish I had taken the plunge and opened up more. There was a lot of potential for us to become something great, but we never reached it. Maybe it was due to the timing, the fact we both wanted to be selfish, or how our we lived in our heads instead of the moment and buried all our secrets. Maybe we never got there because it just wasn’t in the stars for us. Who knows. What I do know is it was the first time in four years that I felt hopeful again.

For so long, I felt hard to love, never enough, and easily disposed of because I had always been left broken and with no explanation. But this time, I didn’t leave feeling worthless and unlovable. Instead, I felt extremely proud and confident in myself. It was the first breakup I received any slight bit of closure from, AND it was the first time I actually saw my self worth and understood what I really deserve. For that feeling and lesson alone, I’m so fucking grateful.

Even though I’ve only ever had my heart toyed with and abused in the past, I’m done living confined in my own pain. I’m done settling for almost, because almost is never enough. I have so much love to give, and one day I’m going to give the world to someone who not only fights for me but also gives me the world back. For now, I’m back to my old mindset and laughing to myself because these fools have no clue what they let go of 😏…

So. What’s Next?

Last but certainly not least, let’s chat about what’s been happening offline and outside the office. I feel like this year drained me of all my energy. I spent the majority of my free time on my fat ass, and I am OVER IT. As of this month, I’ve been kickstarting all my 2019 goals.

In terms of my blog, this was a better year. I pushed myself to write more and photograph more. I’m obviously not quite where I want to be with my work, but I’m very happy with the effort I’m putting in again. I fell out of love with blogging because I pressured myself to be “successful” which caused me to forget that I started Bouge & Rouge as a creative outlet, not for money or fame. It was time to reset myself and remember my roots. I’m not doing blogmas again, but I can’t wait to pick up the pace more as the year ends!

In terms of health, I’m planning on snowboarding all season, strengthening my weak lower back with some weekly yoga, restarting my workout routine, and continuing my healthier diet. I’m watching what I eat so I don’t exacerbate my stomach issues, and I’m decreasing stress levels and screen time to try and lower my migraine frequency. In terms of mental health, I restarted therapy this month so I could address my severe anxiety issues, bipolar mood swings, and attention disorder. I’ve also cut a lot of shitty people out of my life because… well this one’s self-explanatory  👀.

In terms of traveling, my best friend from middle school and I booked a trip to Morocco, a place that’s been #1 on both of our bucket lists for a long time. On top of that, I’m thinking about planning a possible trip to the Amalfi Coast in 2019 as well. As for the rest of the year, I’m doing a staycation in December so I can explore more of New York City and enjoy some me time.

In terms of “extracurriculars,” I’m involved in something incredibly exciting with a non-profit organization that focuses on a cause that I’m passionate about: aiding the survivors of human trafficking. I started a mixed media class to rediscover my love for art and want to take more dance classes to relive my college dance days. I’m also determined to revive my French and Chinese skills before the end of January and be a better chef. Instead of watching mindless TV, I’m making an effort to read more books and tune into the news daily. Furthermore, I am attempting to save more money, buy less fast fashion, and actually use up the millions of eyeshadow palettes and perfumes I buy. And if that all doesn’t sound like enough, my friend and I are starting a YouTube channel together in December. Stay tuned for that 😉!

 

2018 definitely taught me love, patience, and pain. I learned that every external loss is often an internal gain. I learned that I’m a lot more fearless than I thought, but also a lot more sensitive than I often realize meaning I need to take care of myself more. Most importantly, I learned to finally see myself in the right light and stop blaming myself for other people’s shortcomings. You can’t change people or what happened. You can only change yourself.

I don’t know how happy I am right now, but I’m not unhappy. Sometimes adapting just takes time. But even if I’m not in the most comfortable place in my life, in the words of Ariana Grande, I turned out amazing  😎 and for that I’ll say (to everything this year):

thank u, next.

 

 

 

 

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Erica Huang

Based in New York City, Erica Huang is the creator and voice behind Bouge & Rouge. This blog is a playground of her thoughts where she invites you to join her on her journey through her 20s. Erica shares her lifestyle, fashion and beauty tips, adventures, and personal thoughts with the goal of inspiring others to always persevere and be unapologetically yourself.

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