It was summer 2016 and I was working at a healthcare non-profit.
To make things concise, I absolutely hated working there.
I had struggled because although I highly supported the cause, the workplace structure and professionalism in the organization was something that was problematic. Everyone was abandoning the place like a sinking ship as things became more and more difficult with changing management.
I was constantly disrespected, overworked, and one hundred percent underpaid. I was treated terribly and kept a running list of things that were not HR-approved (can I also mention that there was no HR to keep the place professional and drama-free?). There was age discrimination, sexism, racism, discrimination in general, among many other things. But I persisted because I needed to pay my rent and tuition for the summer.
But that wasn’t the thing that was going to distract me today.
“Isn’t your ex-boyfriend interning at the hospital?” Cora said, as my train of thought was completely broken. The two of us hadn’t talked since he had completely disappeared off the face of the Earth while he was in Mexico and before that, it was a disastrous relationship. It was a constant cycle that we were stuck in and it was hard to quit.
You would think that an ex-boyfriend would stay that…an ex. But not with me and Bernie. I had a soft spot for him and it was not only totally embarrassing but it always blew up in my face in catastrophic ways, even though he was always unscathed.
“Yes,” I responded, as I continued typing at the computer.
“And you two haven’t talked? You know you’re going to end up together, he’s your person,” Cora added. “It’s inevitable.”
I sighed, slumping in the spinning desk chair. This seemed to be the consensus between everyone that I knew.
“You know, someone told me that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” Janet interjected, as I hoped that no other coworkers would butt their heads into my personal life.
“But if you think it’s different, go for it. You’re young,” she added, with a wink.
Chrissey: I’m not going on Tinder, Matthew.
Matthew: Chrissey…there’s hot guys and it’s like shopping in a catalog. I’ll swipe for you.
Chrissey: I’m like, kind of seeing Raf, remember?
Matthew: The one with the roommate that crock pots?
Chrissey: Yeah, I’m actually going to see him tonight after work, so it’s all totally fine.
Matthew: What about Bernie? Isn’t he interning at the hospital?
Chrissey: OH MY GOD
Raf and I were sitting on his couch when he turned and looked at me. I’m not going to lie, I could have totally melted in that moment. Who needed my ex, right?
“What exactly are your career goals? Like, pharmacy school, right?” He asked, as he casually put his hand on my shoulder. I decided that since he was super cute, I would let it slide.
“I don’t know, I really love the labs I do and I for sure want to work in healthcare but I have no idea what I want to do,” I responded. It was like I knew what my intentions were but couldn’t find what it was exactly that I wanted to do.
“I’m working this *schwag job right now but it’s whatever. I don’t really know what it is that I want to do, though.”
schwag- low quality, low grade. Usually used by frat boys to describe marijuana
I don’t know why I didn’t see that as a red flag in that moment (probably because he was super handsome), but I took a sip of my water and paused.
“Do you know what it is I really want to do?” I asked Rafael, expectantly.
“NOT THAT. Inappropriate. What I really want to do is start a blog!” I was incredibly, super excited. I knew that my face lit up, as soon as I started describing it to him. I had this vision in my mind, and it felt like the pieces were coming together.
“I want to write about fashion, life, beauty, and everything in-between! But not in a perfect, flawless kind of a way, but a chilling at brunch kind of way.”
“YOU WANT TO START A BLOG?” He said, looking at me. He started laughing uproariously as if he was watching a Will Ferrell movie. He laughed and laughed until our eyes met for a moment and he realized that I was one hundred percent serious about this.
“I’m serious,” I responded, icily.
“But do you see all those other bloggers? They’re white, they’re attractive, and they’re tall,” he said, pointing out that I was ethnic and short.
“Um, am I not attractive?” I said, raising an eyebrow, giving him a look.
“You are, we both know you’re super hot, BUT you’re not conventionally attractive, and that’s what people go for. Tall, blonde, white.”
“I think that’s racist, and I think that when you blog, you showcase your viewpoints and your ideas.”
“Yeah but let’s face it–you don’t have the look.”
“There’s other bloggers out there!” I argued.
“White, blonde female. Sorry babe.”
I sat on my bed, watching movies and deciding to ignore my latest dating mishap. I couldn’t get over how rude af Rafael was and also how everyone in Chicago was conspiring to remind me that my ex-boyfriend was interning down the street from my apartment. I could survive without either of them and was getting increasingly annoyed that the universe conspired to remind me how single I was.
Every post-break up relationship I had been in had turned out to be a disaster and I had gone on plenty of terrible dates. From the super cocky med student that followed me twenty blocks to the MIT algorithmic trader that told me he slept with a fifteen-year-old when he taught computer science after graduation, they had all been a failure.
“Is there something wrong with me?” I asked, as I evaluated my choices. Maybe everyone was right, maybe Bernie was my destiny. After all, he was only one text away. Or two blocks away.
I pulled out my phone, as just as I was about to give in and send a message, a notification popped up saying that I needed to get more La Croix.
I decided to go to Target, and pulled on a floral romper and did my makeup. Even though I didn’t feel happy, I thought that looking cute would make me feel extra good.
I took a quick selfie before I headed off to Target. It was a nice, breezy walk as I suddenly stopped.
It couldn’t be.
A tall, lanky figure walked out of the hospital, a few steps in front of me. A tall, lanky, Latino figure that I dated for two years before he spontaneously dumped and threw me on the cold, hard ground and into a ditch. I stood there, frozen, as he nonchalantly walked down the street.
“It’s okay, you have on a romper and you look bomb af right now, just walk past him.” I told myself, as I took a deep breath and walked faster. I walked past him, and nothing. He didn’t even stop me on the street.
“What the hell?,” I thought to myself, as I turned around. He walked over to the frozen lemonade stand, and that’s when I noticed the girl. I hovered around the bush and peeked over at them.
“Okay, you are going to walk right past them, get a frozen lemonade, and look bomb as fuck,” I told myself, as I inched closer. I ordered my lemonade, my heart pounding, as I was about to handle months of simmering. I turned to face my ex-boyfriend, only to see some other guy and the girl. I stood there, in shock, as I realized that I had completely mistaken some random guy for Bernie.
My dumb ass.
I stood there, frozen and shocked, as the couple walked away and my phone buzzed. I looked up to see Jason, a med student that I had texted a little bit a few months ago, as my hair perfectly blew in the wind as he said “Hey,” and I pretended to care what he was catching me up on.
That whole doppelganger frozen lemonade scenario wasn’t worth that moment, although the frozen lemonade was kind of worth it.
I continued my trek to Target, and walked down the street. As I looked around and saw everyone walking by, I couldn’t help but wonder what they were thinking of. I listened to music on my phone and continued down the street, until I reached my sanctuary.
I walked around Target, and headed home, only to stop at Starbucks. I distinctly remember that day that I ordered a lime refresher mixed with a green tea, but they ran out of lime. So, I had to get a Passion fruit one, which reminded me of the time that I tricked Bernie into drinking one because I told him it was fruit punch. I walked down the street, passing various restaurants that we had gone to and the aforementioned hospital.
Maybe the universe was trying to tell me something, and maybe there was a reason everyone kept mentioning him. Was there something I was missing?
I walked back to my apartment, and made myself a kale salad, and as I ate my kale salad, and sat on my bed I began to question everything. I thought about what I was studying in school, I thought about my terrible job that made me terribly unhappy, and I thought about how everyone would probably mention Bernie every day for the rest of my life. Was I just going to be his ex-girlfriend for the rest of my life? Was I going to forever be stuck with the stigma of my former relationship?
And then suddenly, I got a message that would change my life.
A former lab partner messaged me asking me what I had been up to, and told me about a position at a scientific marketing agency that he was working at. Long story short, he told me all about the position and I was fascinated. I wanted in.
He told me to write my cover letter and to submit a resume and I did exactly that. I stayed up until late in the morning, about 1:23 am, and freaked out about this exciting new opportunity. I submitted my materials and suddenly had this overwhelming gut feeling that I wanted to tell someone about it.
I grabbed my phone, scrolled down, and saw his name in my contacts. I started to write up a text message, and then put my phone down. This wasn’t how things were going to go and this wasn’t my destiny.
I started to think about who I could tell and who I could share this excitement with. It was late, and I decided in that moment that I was going to do it. I was going to blog.
I hurried over to WordPress, registered my domain, and typed up my very first blog post. And as you all know, the rest is history.
There isn’t a day that I regret making that decision on that day. Sometimes, I wonder what would have happened if I had made the wrong choice, but I know my destiny wasn’t to get back in that relationship. It was to start this blog and to build something absolutely amazing. And that decision, although it seemed like a small one at the time, has utterly changed my life.
I am so grateful that I have the chance to do all of this and to share my thoughts with you all each and every day. That I have a phenomenal site that chronicles and records all of these life experiences and adventures, and most of all that I have had the opportunity to meet and talk with you all. I couldn’t have done it without you, and I am so, so grateful.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
Thank you guys for everything! I am so grateful for you all!