Press On

A week ago, I moved away.

After eighteen years living with my parents, I was able to experience what it’s really like to live on my own, going to college! Sure, I’m only living forty-five minutes from home, but my statement remains! I made it!

Five years ago, I was contemplating my own existence. I didn’t feel important at all. I felt alone, and scared. I had one friend, maybe. I was afraid. I was angry. My parents believed that I’d be lucky to graduate high school. I don’t blame them… I was pretty messed up.

Yesterday, I walked down the hallway with a friend I met at the university I’m going to, and he said, “I’m glad you’re here, man.”

It gets better. I promise.

For the Broken

For the Heartbroken: You will heal. The pain will pass. You will go on. Time will continue to fly by, and before you know it, you’ll be looking back, wondering how you got through. Hold on. Never let go. Find those who love you. Surround yourself with their love. Don’t run away. The pain makes you human. It will make you strong.

For the Afraid: The future is a daunting thing. I know. But it will come, and you will take it as it comes. Hang in there. You will overcome. You are strong enough. Now, sit back, accept that you don’t know what’s going to happen, and watch a movie.

For the Angry: Peace will come. You have been betrayed. You have been hurt. You have been thrown for a loop, as we all have, and you’re angry. Take a breath. Find the strength to forgive. You don’t have to do it today, or tomorrow, or next week. But find the strength.

For the Lost: You will find the light. The light is always there. Nothing is worth losing the light. Find what brings you the light. Hold onto it. Never let go. Whether it’s family, friends, religion, education, anything. Find it. Never let go.

For the Lonely: There is someone out there just as lonely as you. They need someone just as much as you do. Go to a get-together. Take the chance that maybe you’ll meet someone. Don’t limit your social life to Facebook and Instagram. It’s worth so much more than that. Someone out there needs you just as much as you need them.

For the Depressed: Hold on. The pain will pass. If you need medication, take it. You may be suffering from a chemical imbalance, and it cannot be cured with willpower. But someday, it will pass. Just hang on.

You are loved.

I promise.

TT

Surviving Social Media

Every day, I get on some form of social media, and see goals. Relationship Goals, Friendship Goals, Family Goals, Fitness Goals. It’s always followed by a picture of someone doing something that everyone wants to do, in relation to the goal previously stated.

This can annoy me at times, but for the most part, it just makes me sad.

The people I frequently see posting these “goals” are the ones who have struggled with low self-esteem. They’re the ones I’ve spoken with about their eating disorders, or depression, or self-harm, or any other number of issues relating to the self-esteem struggles they’ve had. Why is this? They’re setting goals, aren’t they?

I think it goes deeper than that.

With Social Media, we’re constantly bombarded with extraordinary ideals. Pictures of flawless, scantily clad women, and shirtless men whose abs you could grate cheese on. Pictures of groups of friends, out having a blast together. Pictures of boyfriends, girlfriends, happy families, playful pets, every good aspect of people’s lives. In seeing all these, we forget that these people are having their own struggles, because we’re constantly seeing the good things. The people who post the bad things on Facebook are the ones who usually get unfriended, right?

So while we’re sitting on our phone, with no plans, no one texting us, struggling through school, work, or any other trials we may be experiencing, we’re watching everyone else’s perfect lives fly by. That doesn’t sound super healthy to me.

Maybe we should minimize Facebook and call someone. Maybe we should delete Instagram and take some pictures that really matter, instead of letting everyone know what kind of sandwich we’re having for lunch. Maybe we should stop tweeting and go for a walk, where we might hear the real kind.

Social Media is a blessing to the world. It was created with good intentions: for people to stay connected. I have a best friend in Nevada who I can still talk to every day, here in Utah, and a cousin in Florida that I easily connect with on a weekly basis because of the technology we have been given, but too much time on Social Media can intensify the feelings of loneliness everyone already experiences from time to time.

So let’s set some goals. Real goals. Goals to go out and make one person smile today. Goals to swim twenty laps. Goals to reconnect with an old friend. Goals to sit down and have a family dinner. Those kind of goals are the kind you don’t need to post on Facebook or Instagram. They’re the kind that actually mean something.

The goals we see would be wonderful, wouldn’t they? To be twenty pounds lighter, to be in the perfect relationship, to travel with world with your best friends. I’d love it. Maybe we’ll get there someday. But in the meantime, let’s be here.

Take a look at what you have. If you have one good friend, that’s something to be thankful for. If you’re in college, and you have a hot meal tonight, trust me, that’s something to be thankful for. There are beautiful things all around us. Maybe if we could look up from our screens every once in a while, we could appreciate them.

TT

This is me.

Hey, everybody!

Before we begin, let’s establish one important piece of information: I haven’t created this blog for a huge reason. I’m not traveling the world, I’m not a fashionista, (far from one, actually,) I’m not an amazing cook, I don’t do things that could change lives. I’m just a kid named Tanner from Utah who likes to sing and works in sales. That’s it.

I’ve created this blog more for myself than anything. It will be something of a public journal. Anyone who follows me here will get to see me slowly transform to whoever I’m going to be a year, two years, six years from now. Maybe someone out there will be able to relate to my experiences. Maybe not. Time will tell.

As previously stated, my name is Tanner. At the time I’ve published this post, I am eighteen years of age and counting quickly. I’ve just graduated high school, and I’m heading off to college next month. I’ve received a theatrical scholarship to a university, and I will be studying English and Musical Theatre. Not practical, I’m well aware, but I hope to someday be a professor of English. The Musical Theatre came to be as a result of a happenstance scholarship that was offered to me. Up until several months ago, I never would have imagined I’d be studying theatre. Maybe I’ll be in a Broadway show or two. We’ll see. I love to write poetry, as well as fiction, and I’m sure a poetry page will pop up here sometime or another, as I compete in poetry slams frequently. I’m your average dude. I like video games, action movies, and hanging out with friends. I have a job in sales, which has benefited me greatly in the past month or so. I encourage everyone to give sales a shot. It’s worth it. I live at my parents house now, but in less than a month, I’ll be moving away for college. I have an older sister (20), two younger brothers (15 and 11), and three younger sisters (All 6. Yeah, they’re triplets. No big deal.) I love them all, and can’t imagine life without them.

So there’s a little bit about me.

For my first post, I want to outline some of the best lessons I learned my senior year. I’ll try to be brief with every one, but it was a lot to learn in one year.

One: Snag any opportunity you have. They don’t come often. An opportunity for a better job, a chance to meet new friend, a chance to see an old friend, an exciting romantic encounter, none of it happens ‘just because’. Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor, as Cinderella so aptly quotes in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Don’t judge the theatre kid.

Two: True friends are hard to come by. This year, I’ve endured several damaging betrayals from who I then considered my closest friends. I found it amazing how quickly someone else’s false words could change how my friends viewed me, despite the years and years of friendship that had preceded the incident, and in complete disregard for what I had done for those friends. I started my Senior Year with no more than three friends. Through the course of the year, I became acquainted with dozens, if not hundreds, of others, and many of which, I considered to be close friends of mine. Now, going into college, I’m back to having three close friends, but not the same ones I began the year with. These three friends have stood by me no matter what mistakes I’ve made, and no matter what rumors resounded through the hallways of the school or invaded the conversations of my peers, and no matter who has tried to come between us. If you find a true friend, hold on. Hold on with everything you’ve got. Because, in the end, they might be the only thing left to hold on to.

Three: Nothing is ever hopeless, no matter how bleak the circumstance may seem! Things can ALWAYS be turned around, but it will probably take some effort. Things don’t usually work themselves out on their own. However, sometimes, waiting is where the effort comes into play.

Four: You don’t have to do everything alone. Use your assets. If you need someone to talk to, call your friend. I can almost assure you, it will strengthen your friendship, as well as both of your spirits. It’s okay to not be okay. You don’t have to always be strong. You don’t need to pretend that you’re completely okay. Anyone who says that “faking it ’till you make it” works is full of crap. Don’t bury the problem. Don’t “get over” the problem. Look the problem in the eye and say, “Why is this hurting me?” You are bigger than the problem. Even though the problem hurts, it won’t always hurt. Pain passes. But while you’re there, you can reach out to someone. It’s okay to need help. It’s okay to find a counselor. It doesn’t make you weak. It makes you brave, to admit that something is wrong. You don’t have to be alone. You are only ever as alone as you will yourself to be.

Five: Not being able to let go does not represent weakness. Whether it’s letting go of a romantic relationship, or a friendship, or a family member, feeling the pain of the loss still, six months after the initial trauma, only means that you felt the relationship extremely deeply. That is a gift. That is something to be proud of. Though the pain of the other person finding a new source of that relationship may be too much to bear, you can rest assured in knowing that what you felt, and what you still feel, is the most real thing that humanity has to offer, and that is love.

I learned so much this senior year, and I’ll be sure to post more about it in the future, but for now, I’m going to sign off. I look forward to seeing where this blog could go!

TT