As some of you know, I'm from the Emerald Coast... but as most of you also know, I'm currently living in the smallest town known to mankind (not really but let me exaggerate just this once) which is Oxford, MS.
Every time I go home to Destin lately, I come back to Oxford with a new mental outlook, kind of like I have an "ah ha" moment or an epifpany than anything else.
Since I've lived in Oxford, I try to go home always for the 4th of July. But my home isn't really a home anymore. Too many changes and family stuff to even call it a home.
If anything it was more my fault for trying to escape Oxford and trying to be happy for once in Destin. But like I said in my T.O.D.A.Y. post, you create your own form of happiness and you should never avoid your problems... even if you have zero friends in Oxford because you realize all your old friends suck and choose to go with an ex when technically you have known these friends way longer (end of rant 1.).
Listen to me carefully and closely when I say there is no more loyalty among friends, I'll go even as far to say that there is no loyalty among families (I only say that from personal experience with my own extended family). Everyone is truly either way too self-absorbed or too focused on their own self-betterment. They could care less for you. You honestly become a bother and to put it frank, a pain in their ass.
I left Oxford Thursday June 30th with an open heart. I was going to Destin going to stay the night at one of my close friends house and then the rest of the time I was going to stay in PCB with another friend.
Here's the thing y'all. If you don't know me, I'm an extreme planner.
I like to know where I'm staying, when I'm staying. I want you to know the time I get there, when I leave to get there because I don't want any room for error. Especially when I don't have "family" to relay on anymore when I go to Destin and when it's also a 7.5 hour drive.
I made plans with my good friend since Memorial Day weekend. I asked if I could stay for a night which was no problem, not an issue (rant 2. that ended up hurting my feelings even more). I re-ask the Monday before leaving Oxford on Thursday if it's okay to stay, because I don't, truly want to be a bother to anyone. I let people bother me all the time and I don't say or do anything about it, but I hate to be a bother or an inconvenience to people. I could tell there was hesitation from the start with me staying.
Learn this lesson, when people want to help you, truly help you in any situation, they will do it right away.
They won't put you on the back burner and make you wait and not respond to you. Honesty is better than hesitation. People respect honesty. People do not respect and get their feelings hurt when there's doubt. So I took the hesitation as a sign and I made a back up plan for the night. which I indeed had to use. Because two hours out of Destin I get a text saying "do you mind staying with so and so. and you probably won't see be tonight because I have $-1.00 in my account"
No joke or lies when I tell you how infuriated, frustrated and really upset that made me. If you didn't want me to stay just say "no" especially when I gave the opportunity and chance to say no to. Secondly, you don't need money to see friends, especially if a friend is offering to take you somewhere. But I respected the ultimate decision and moved on. Even though I was extremely butt hurt. I just wanted to see my friend!
Here's another lesson, people never assume you're smarter than what you are.
Which that's a good thing. Let them think you're stupid. And for some reason I always get underestimated because on the outside I carry myself as a gentle, soft spoken person who doesn't really speak, I just listen and observe.
You're best tactic in life y'all is to speak less than you know. There no room for error there and never speak from anger or frustration. Let things simmer before responding because you don't want to loose a friendship over being angry or friends being in a honeymoon stage of a relationship.
Friday went like a blur, I did my own thing, went to the the beach, did a little shopping at the Commons until it was time to go to Panama City Beach.
I only ended up staying in PCB for a night... instead of the remainder of the weekend like I had intended on.
I kid you not, that by this point none of my bags were unpacked all my hanging clothes remained in my car I just wanted to get my happy little butt in my car and drive back to Oxford. There's only so much negative emotion/pain/hurt someone can take and at this point I was already almost maxed out.
I'd think to myself,
"Why is all of this happening to me? Was I not supposed to come here...? If I had known this I would have just remained in Oxford. Or heck, in 30A or Niceville with a sweet friend who did let me stay."
But I know that everything happens for a reason and the little obstacles we face or not in vein and for our own good and learning purposes.
I obviously was not done learning.
One thing I had to learn this trip is "choices" we all have the power to make choices in life. To go left or right, up or down. Each thing we choose has its own repercussions, advantages and disadvantages. The second lesson is to be okay in your own skin.
Saturday afternoon I went back to 30A had an amazing dinner at Local Catch with a friend and ran into an old friend/neighbor from elementary school. Finally thought my trip can only go up from here!
Oh Universe, how you have a way of showing yourself and making us stronger individuals by presenting us with yet again another choice.
I got a text from someone I knew back in Mississippi saying to come there for the 4th. Well, by this point I had no idea what we... I, was going to be doing for the 4th... it was looking like I'd be spending it alone as well and that was not okay in my book, I didn't have to travel 7.5 hours to be alone on the 4th. So after much thought and debating I took this person up on the offer to go to Starkville Sunday-Monday. Definitely thinking there's no way it could get any worse or even if it does I'm only an hour and a half outside of Oxford. I can go home anytime.
Sunday was nice. It was an extremely relaxing night. It was fun. Like a fun I hadn't had in a while. But remember, if the story stopped there, I wouldn't have learned the second most important lesson which is being okay with who you are.
I don't think I had felt as bad as I felt July 4th as I did on Spring Break. At least words were exchanged on Spring Break, "that I wasn't good enough." In this scenario I just had to assume based on the actions and little words that weren't spoken.
We all decided to go and spend the 4th at the pool in some apartment complex in Starkville. The first place was Heaven 12 (turns out I had a friend that lived there and had no idea until late Monday night).
Thankfully, I'm a confidenet person and I do like to talk to people and I think I'm really easy to talk to and to get to know so I started engaging in small talk with the girls in the group.
They were all very sweet and kind. I got pulled aside by one of them and we just hit it off. She was so incredibly sweet making me feel completely okay with leaving Destin and going some place where I didn't know a single person in that group except for the one who invited me (by the way completely ignored me the whole time). It kinda was like "why the hell did I leave my friends for this?" scenario. I get told that I'm in the most judgmental group ever (when it comes to appearance) which kinda took me aback for a few seconds because I've learned over time to not judge others.
I will tell you this right now, I'm not a size 1-4 I have curves. I have the typical Spanish body but for some time now I have been struggling with my weight (I used to be a certain size, a size that I've been my whole life that I loved and was extremely comfortable and confident in) because of a hereditary health issue. My mom had thyroid cancer around my age and for two years now my hormones have been a little irregular causing me to gain some weight (I'm not an whale by any means but still not used to how I look either) and making it extremely hard and a slow frustrating process to loose the weight.
If the person I was with was kinda ashamed, imagine how I felt knowing how I used to look like. When I heard that I was being judged by my appearance it took everything I had to not want to get up, leave and just head back. But I stayed. Probably making a complete fool of myself. The 3rd lessons is sometimes people are placed into your life as a mirror for yourself or for their own-self.
Obviously what I'm doing at the gym isn't enough. Even though I have been busting my butt.
I'm thankful for all these experiences because I have come back to Oxford with a new mental outlook. I was already guarded before and now I am even more. But I will not allow myself to feel defeated by this trip.
I know who I am.
I am Nathalie Barreto.
I am okay with who I am.
I don't want to be around those who are getting judged by having me there nor by those who judge based on appearance than just getting to know who I am as a person and an individual.
Lesson 5, Never allow for someone to make you feel inferior to the rest, or second best.
You are always and will be first best no matter what.
I hope you all had a memorable July 4th weekend, mine surely was. But I know next year I will look back on this experience and laugh. Because by then I will be even more confident in my OWN skin.
Lesson 6, you can change your appearance all you want to, but what's more important is who you are and how you carry yourself.
It takes a lot of self-acknowledgement, self-awareness and self-love to truly love who you are no matter what obstacles have come your way or how people view you. As long as you view yourself with the highest respect and esteem, to hell with rest of them.
You are amazing and you lack nothing.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.