*This short story holds a special place in my heart; it’s definitely one of my favorite ones that I’ve written, even though it’s only the second one I’ve published on here. Also, it’s a bit of a longer short story, so I recommend having a snack while you read.


Hi. My name is Loraly, and I’m twenty-nine, about to reach the wonderful, ripe age of thirty. I am an assistant for a style editor at a lifestyle magazine; I went to school for accounting, but the magazine was the first interview I landed. Every night, I go home to my eclectic studio apartment and am immediately greeted by my little golden retriever. I treasure Kory as a puppy, but I’m more excited for when he reaches his fullest height. I spend every Friday night either working on a new design or reading a book; I’m currently harboring through every book written by Kevin Kwan and am reading China Rich Girlfriend. That goes to say I have no weekend social life. Don’t get me wrong. I have friends, well, only one that I’m really close to. I think that pretty much covers the basics for my “exciting” adult life.

My adult life is kind of mundane and routine, but at least I’m happy, which can’t be said for my childhood. The years before college were some of the worst years of my life; honestly, sometimes I still wake up at midnight with tears streaming down my face because of nightmares. Over the first eighteen years of my life, I was controlled by my mother and the three guys she married (at different times, of course). I am a victim of emotional, verbal, and mental abuse, and most of the abuse occurred in the house I lived in. I will never call that place home; home should be a happy place, and that house was not it. There was physical abuse on occasion. One time, my mother purposely burned me with a hot pan because I started asking questions about the whereabouts of my father. There was another time when I was almost beaten to death; it started as a spanking and ended with me throwing up blood for half an hour. My mother refused to take me to the hospital. I received a whipping because I lied to my fourth grade teacher about having a dead brother so I could skip recess. I was isolated, ignored, bullied, talked down to, and talked about negatively– all by my mother. At the early age of nine, I fell into depression. Is that the right phrase? We’ll just say it is; I was never the greatest at literature and grammar and all that stuff. Anyway, there were many times I tried killing myself to escape the pain and torture of my life. I would literally do anything to simply escape. I even jumped off a bridge at one of the local parks and tried to drown myself, but an innocent bystander rescued me and recommended a therapist to talk to about everything. I didn’t go.

I didn’t fully overcome my depression until I was twenty-eight. All my life, I felt like I was in a dark hole that led to my inevitable doom. Even when I turned eighteen and was finally able to leave my mother’s grasp, I found it hard to truly enjoy life for an entire decade. I missed out on my childhood and my 20s, two vital periods of one’s life. Well, in my opinion, they’re vital. Even though my childhood was full of complete crap and still scars me to this day, I learned three things from it:
* Survival and self care
* Even the crappiest people in the world deserve respect, appreciation, and love
* Rachel Ray swears by EVOO (I watched her show every single day; it was both a resource and the only show I could watch for entertainment)

Now, one month away from being “old” (thirty), I had a brilliant idea. It’s 2016, which means it’s leap year, meaning there are twenty-nine days in February. My birthday is on March 1st. This will all make sense in a millisecond; I’m just really bad at explaining my ideas. Tomorrow is the start of February, and I have the idea of living each day of February as each year of the life I imagined for myself. In simpler terms, I’m going to relive each year of my life in one day… to the best of my ability. I did tons of research to be at least semi-accurate, but it still might not be completely accurate. I’m going to journal about each day, so we’ll see how well it goes.

DAY ONE: I probably should have said this when I was giving a back story of what led up to this moment, but I’m not going to go into full detail about every single day. Nobody has time for that, especially me. I do have a book to read, after all. Anyway, day one means year one, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do for this day. For starters, I generated a ton of saliva and drooled every time I spoke, which I tried to do in baby language. I honestly don’t know much about baby language, but I tried my best to talk like a baby. Everyone at work was annoyed and looked at me like I was possessed by an alien, but whatever. I don’t need their approval. It didn’t help that I crawled around for half the day before waddling on my feet like a penguin. It also didn’t help that I wore period underwear as a diaper and crapped in them and made my boss’ entire office stink. After work, I went to the park across the street from my job and climbed in the baby swing. Unfortunately, I got stuck. But now that I think about it, do kids who have only been alive for one year go swinging (?) at a park?

DAY TWO: Everything I did today was solely based on research because I don’t remember a thing about being two. I’m crying in every picture there is of me at this age. Following the research, I spoke in simpler sentences. My boss told me to get his coffee (per usual), and I responded with, “Hot or cold.” Going based off the usual stigma of the “terrible twos,” I was an absolute jerk to everyone. Monika, the main receptionist, showed me a picture of her newborn baby, and I said he looked like someone’s wrinkled sixth toe. It didn’t make sense, but it felt like an insult coming out of my mouth.

The only person I wasn’t completely mean to was Sam, short for Samuel. Sam is the only true friend I have, and we’ve been friends ever since the sixth grade. When I entered middle school, the two elementary schools in my hometown combined upon entrance into the middle school. We were taking a tour of the school, and while we were walking through the main hallway to get to the gym, I spotted Sam. I looked right into his beautiful green eyes and smiled like the shy weirdo I was (and kind of still am). His hair was a long, shoulder-length mess. He was wearing a tattered t-shirt that belonged to his older brother and a pair of worn jeans, which had a small rip on his back left pocket. On his feet were a pair of sneakers (that I would guess were from Walmart), and the soles were starting to come off. Sam waved back with a giant grin, and since that day, Sam and I have been friends. Well, up until high school graduation. When it came time for college, Sam went to a college five states away, and our friendship fell off. Then about five years ago, when I was walking through the mall on my twenty-fifth birthday to splurge on myself (I ended up not buying anything), I spotted Sam ordering a drink from Starbucks. I tried to turn away and act like I didn’t see him, but he called my name before I could take my second step. Long story short, after much internal debate, I also ordered a coffee, and Sam and I sat down and talked for hours. I found out he got a job as a writer for the dating advice portion of the magazine. Over the years, we rekindled the friendship we had years ago, and now he’s the closest friend I have.

Getting back on track, even though I wasn’t mean to Sam, I drove him crazy and spent the entire day copying him. Later that night, after a horrible day of being a grade A douche, I pretended to be scared of the dark and slept with a nightlight. I didn’t sleep well that night, but it was worth it.
DAY THREE: To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to do for the early years. When I woke up that morning, I brushed my teeth with a Hello Kitty electric toothbrush. Before and after work, instead of walking like a normal person my age, I rode around my apartment on a small, toddler-sized tricycle. It was actually quite a challenge, considering I wasn’t given the privilege of learning how to ride a bike when I was a kid. At work, I wrote everything with a crayon, which was quite difficult to read when it came time for completing my boss’ tasks. I also asked “why” a lot, which drove my boss nuts and almost got me fired.

DAY FOUR: I improved my speech today but was still almost fired because I didn’t obey anyone. When I did my research, it said children at the age of four were disobedient and didn’t listen because they start developing their own individuality and identity. Or something like that. Anyway, being disobedient didn’t work out in my favor, so that didn’t last long. Before the whole “Do as I say or you’ll never work in this town again” situation went down, I donated blood to the American Red Cross. It was the closest thing I could do to getting the necessary shots a child gets when he/she turns four. I made a ginormous mess at lunch, purposely of course, and ate three packs of animal crackers for an afternoon snack.
DAY FIVE: There wasn’t much I did today to imitate a five-year-old. I learned how to jump rope again, thanks to my neighbor. I knew how to when I was in third grade but forgot after years of not using a jump rope. Natalia, my neighbor’s ten-year-old daughter, played soccer with me; I am one hundred percent sure that little girl will be on the US women’s soccer team. She’s just too dang good. To continue my progress as a “child” and the process of learning how to ride a bike, I rode a bike with training wheels, which was still kind of difficult considering I’m a whopping 5’8″.

DAY SIX: Somewhere online, I read it was common for kids to start sharing things when they turn six. Since I live alone (not counting Kory), I went to lunch with Sam and shared an appetizer with him. I would’ve shared my pecan and tuna salad with him, but Sam’s allergic to nuts. Over a year ago, it became sort of a tradition for Sam and I to have lunch (and occasionally brunch) together on Saturdays. Even though we worked together, we only saw each other in passing and occasionally at lunch, but Sam was limited to thirty minutes while I got a whole hour. Saturday lunches were a time for Sam and I to hang out and catch up; I always looked forward to it, especially when I’m having a bad week. Sam knows exactly how to lift my spirits and encourage me when I’m feeling down. After Sam and I parted ways, I went back to my apartment and read Green Eggs & Ham to Kory; he was the only one around and surprisingly listened.
DAY SEVEN: Today was the big day, and I was kind of freaking out. After church, I asked Natalia to teach me how to ride a bike (the kind without training wheels), and after three hours of me constantly falling down, I finally got it down. It was such a rite of passage, and even though I missed out on learning as a child, I was happy I still learned. I also went to the indoor pool at a gym down the street (which was a big deal because I hate going to the gym) and learned how to swim. Another rite of passage checked off my list. For the sake of it, I also did the hokey pokey quite a few times, which proved to be a little difficult at first because I kind of forgot it.
DAY EIGHT: According to my research, kids start to enjoy dressing up and dive deeper into the exploration of identity when they turn eight. Therefore, I went to work dressed as a princess. I wore a plastic tiara I bought from Claire’s and a bridesmaid dress from the one wedding I took part in. I also applied an unhealthy amount of glitter on every bit of exposed skin. It literally looked like a glittery fairy threw up all over me. It was kind of a hilarious hot mess. However, the moment Sam saw me, he abruptly stopped what he was doing, and we had a brief conversation; his eyes were dilated the entire time. During my lunch break, I went to one of the coffee shops around the corner and read Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren. When 5 o’clock struck and it was time to leave work, I went to the only dance studio in town and took a dance class with a bunch of second and third graders. To anyone passing, it more than likely looked ridiculous, but I was an eight-year-old child. When I was eight, my desire to learn how to dance started developing and hasn’t diminished since, so I finally decided to learn how to dance. Let me tell you, it is not easy.

DAY NINE: There are two things I distinctly remember about the fourth grade: learning the 50 states of the USA and recorder karate. Therefore, I relearned the 50 states and their capitals via a song I found on YouTube. Now I can’t get them out of my head, and I’m pretty sure me singing it at work all day drove people crazy. Early in the morning, I rummaged through my closet and found my plastic recorder sitting in the back. I found some songs online and learned how to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” all over again. During my research, I found one website that said kids start to develop friend groups when they turn nine. Instead of going on lunch at my usual time, I waited for Sam to go and went with him; he’s the closest thing I have to a friend group. He knows that I’m reliving my life over the course of twenty-nine days, so he was totally cool with it and let me join him at a bistro around the corner. However, I wasn’t prepared to meet his friends. There was Jonnie, a fifty something man who likes to show off pictures of his seven cats. Then there’s Marcus, who is super built because he never let himself go after his football career went down the drain. Lastly, there’s Axel; he’s a couple of years older than me and tried to say and do anything to impress me, but I showed no interest. It was weird at first, but we all eventually settled into great conversation, which led to a bunch of laughter.
DAY TEN: I wasn’t quite sure what to do today. All I wanted was a sleepover to celebrate my tenth birthday, and since I wasn’t able to have that almost two decades ago, I had a sleepover with Natalia, an actual ten-year-old. We stayed up watching different movies and ordered pizza and played with her massive Bratz doll collection and went swimming for a little while in her backyard. We couldn’t stay up late since we both had work and school the next day, so we forced ourselves to go to sleep at 2am.

DAY ELEVEN: This is the year I got braces, and I hated it. My mother made me get them for cosmetic purposes; I thought I looked really good with my gap, but she hated it. To stay on track, I guess, I wore my metal retainer all day. Some of the people at work laughed at me, and there were moments I wanted to ball in a corner and cry. It was literally a repeat of middle school. Somewhere online I read there’s a significant increase in the difficulty of the curriculum kids learn. Therefore, I took on a ton of extra work. I took care of my boss’ laundry and did work for some of the other assistants and interns.
DAY TWELVE: Today was a similar situation to yesterday, except I didn’t take on any extra work. The other interns and assistants were kind of disappointed but oh well. I even continued to wear my retainer. I would’ve given more blood to kind of represent getting my fourth and seventh grade shots (I kind of forgot about the fourth grade one on day nine), but decided against it because I’m not sure if that’s healthy or not. Either way, I’m not a huge fan of blood nor needles. At least I can say I did it. Anyway, the only thing that changed from yesterday was I talked with a squeaky voice. I tried my best to sound like I was going through puberty.
DAY THIRTEEN: Halfway through the day I took my retainer out since halfway through eighth grade I got my braces off. It was such a relieving experience. I missed my eighth grade trip to Chicago, so instead of going to brunch, Sam and I had a Chicago style deep dish pizza at a new restaurant for dinner. It was the most delicious pizza I’ve had in a while, and for the first time ever, I didn’t argue with Sam when he offered to pay.

DAY FOURTEEN: This was a big day. Not only was it Valentine’s Day, but it was also the day that represented the horrible start of four years of high school. I finally took off the sports bra I had been wearing the past thirteen days because I finally got boobs my freshman year of high school. It was also the year I had a crush on someone I knew I couldn’t have, so I spent my afternoon watching anything with Ashton Kutcher in it. To my surprise, Sam sent me flowers for Valentine’s Day. It’s not like us to exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t return the flowers, especially since I didn’t want another argument about how I don’t accept his gifts because I thinnk they’re “too much,” which they are.
DAY FIFTEEN: This was the worst year of high school for me. My high school had required CTE classes students had to take for the final three years. I ended up getting stuck with criminal justice, but I wanted fashion design. Therefore, I took one of those sewing classes at JoAnn’s to kind of symbolize my want for taking a fashion design CTE. I also took personal finance in high school, which I was really excited about because I thought I would learn the financial fundamentals of adulthood but ended up learning nothing. To make up for it, Sam made sure his lunch lined up with mine. He explained the financial basics to me, and I wrote down every word he said.
DAY SIXTEEN: This is written super late because there was a lot I had to squeeze in before and after work. Every teenager dreams of getting his/her license as soon as he/she reaches sixteen, but I wasn’t given that privilege. I had to wait an entire year to get my license. Following the dream of getting my license on my sixteenth birthday, I decided to renew my license and update my picture (it’s the best I could do). When I turned sixteen, I was forced to get a job and started helping my mother pay her water bill, so I got a job at Wendy’s. Honestly, Wendy’s wasn’t a horrible job, especially since their food is better than McDonald’s… which now that I think about it, that has nothing to do with the actual work. Anyway, in honor of that time period, I got a son of a baconator from Wendy’s during my lunch break. After work, I went to our local community center and tutored a few high school juniors for the upcoming ACT. Lastly, I celebrated the highly anticipated “sweet sixteen” the way I wanted. When it came time for my sixteenth birthday, my mother took control on her own accord; she was vicariously living through me, and I didn’t like it at all. My mother decided to throw a surprise party at one of her favorite restaurants, which is a restaurant that always gives me food poisoning. Then I got a passionate lecture about not being grateful and wasting money and all this other stuff; the “conversation” (as she likes to call it) ended with me in tears. It honestly wouldn’t have been that bad if she had just listened to what I wanted. All I wanted to do was watch a movie and go to the store, which is exactly what I did today with Sam. We went to an outlet mall a couple of towns over, and I bought a few things I thought would make both me and my closet look good. Yeah, that makes sense. Then we went to see How to Be Single, and Sam actually paid attention to it, which was kind of surprising.
DAY SEVENTEEN: When I turned seventeen, I switched from Wendy’s to Walmart; in honor of that, I wore a navy blue shirt and khaki capris all day. I was a senior when I was seventeen, which meant college applications. I went to college and got a degree in something I’m not one hundred percent passionate about; it’s only something I’ve shown interest in on more than a few occasions. Today, I decided to go back to school, and before work, I applied to the Savannah College of Art and Design to study fashion. Even though I was technically eighteen when I graduated high school, I included its activity today and filled one of the conference rooms at work with some of my colleagues and resaid my salutatorian speech.

When I walked out of work this afternoon, there was a limousine out front, which kind of took me by surprise but didn’t halt my walking. However, the driver of the limo called my name. The driver, whose name is Brian (really sweet, by the way; we talked all about his wife and three kids), said the limo was for me. He eased my skepticism and constantly told me it was safe to get in and that he wasn’t going to kidnap me nor kill me nor rape me nor sell me; nothing of that sort was going to happen, according to Brian. He took me to a salon a couple of blocks from my job; I honestly could’ve walked there. There was no one inside the salon except a spunky girl with green hair, who I later found out was named Rochelle. Without any sort of explanation, she put her hands on my shoulders and gently guided me to the seat she was standing by earlier. Rochelle did my hair and light makeup before telling me to change into what was in the bathroom. When I walked into the dingy, one-toilet bathroom, there was a beautiful navy blue dress waiting opposite the toilet. It had a sweetheart neckline and was sleeveless without one single rhinestone or speck of glitter. It was very simple and elegant, and I loved it (I still do). There were also a pair of simple silver heels to go with it. After I finished changing, I tried to pay Rochelle for everything, but she said it was free of charge, which made the whole situation weirder. Brian ushered me out of the salon before I could make a fuss about not paying, which I totally would’ve. Not even ten minutes later, we pulled up outside of my old high school gym. Brian walked me inside and when I saw the balloons and DJ and notorious red punch, my mouth hit the floor; I was very flabbergasted and very confused. Then Sam walked out a set of double doors wearing a black tuxedo with a black bow tie. I remember him briskly walking towards me and saying, “You look absolutely beautiful. Like, mind blowing.”
“Thanks,” I replied, “what is all of this?”
“Well I know that you’ve pretty much been reliving your life,” he explained, “and you weren’t able to go to prom because of your mom and her third husband. Since you were stuck at Walmart and missed out, I recreated prom for you.” I was stunned silent. “It’s just me and you.” Sam is so sweet and incredible; I still can’t believe he did that for me. We spent most of the night dancing and talking and drinking the widely known red punch. Just the two of us. It was amazing.

DAY EIGHTEEN: This was the time of freedom. Of course, I was stressed out of my freaking mind because of college, but I was away from the woman who birthed me and couldn’t have been happier. I did most of the stuff I wanted to when I was eighteen, but there were still a couple of things that I still wanted to do and didn’t get the chance. Before work, I went to the gas station and bought a lottery ticket and a pack of cigarettes. I feel like those are rites of passage that I missed out on. I don’t even smoke; I just bought the cigarettes because I can. There’s a homeless man named Eathan who stays about a block away from where I work. He’s the least creepiest homeless person I know. Anyway, I gave him the cigarettes, and the grateful smile on his face made my heart happy.
DAY NINETEEN: By this year in my life, I still hadn’t gone to a concert. The closest venue to my university was fifty miles away, and even then, the only people who played the venue were artists trying to recreate their careers and get their name back out there. I told Sam about this when we reconnected. In commemoration of when I was nineteen and dreamed of going to my first concert, Sam surprised me with tickets to Adele’s concert later this year. AAAAHHHHH!!!!!! I’m so freaking excited and still kind of shocked. I don’t know if I expressed to Sam how much it means to me, but I’m sure hoping I did. After completing my first year of college, I for sure wanted to go back during the fall semester with a ton of confidence, like enough confidence to walk around in shorts and slightly showy shirts. I didn’t do it then, but I did it today. Of course, when I showed up to work in a crop top and shorts that left little to the imagination, my boss threatened to fire me for breaking dress code.
DAY TWENTY: This was the year I studied abroad in Paris, France, and I remember it like it was yesterday. Yeah, I was a bit of a loner, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying it. That was probably the best thing I did that year, so in honor of that wonderful time of exploring a foreign place and potentially getting robbed and/or kidnapped, I ate a crêpe. One thing I wanted to do to celebrate not technically being a teenager anymore was sky dive, but I chickened out ten miles away from the place. I didn’t chicken out today. I jumped out of a freaking airplane. I loved it. It was such a freeing feeling; I honestly wished I was a bird afterwards and imagined life as a bird for a solid three hours. When we landed, the guy strapped to my back said I was “glowing with happiness.” After today, I’m for sure risking my life and jumping out of an airplane again. It was beyond incredible.
DAY TWENTY-ONE: Today was kind of tricky since it was Sunday, and I was trying to buy alcohol. No, I don’t drink it, but I think it’s another rite of passage to be able to buy alcohol when you turn twenty-one. Somehow, I managed to buy tequila and gave it to Eathan. Was that my brightest idea considering his love for alcohol is the reason he’s homeless in the first place? We’ll see. One thing I totally wanted to do when I turned twenty-one was drink a margarita. I also wanted to try beer, but a margarita was at the top of my list. With the amazing help of Sam, I was able to drink a virgin margarita at some underground, hole-in-the-wall bar.

DAY TWENTY-TWO: After I finished college, I did anything and everything I wanted to (that doesn’t mean I was genuinely happy with the way my life was going). There honestly isn’t much else for me to do; I kind of accomplished everything I wanted to get from this experiment and then some. However, I must finish this task, even if it’s kind of pointless at this point. Anyway, when I was twenty-two, I had no freaking idea what I wanted to do with my life. Like, no idea. I ended up living in Germany for a year because why not? That was such a great time; it’s another trip I for sure will never forget. For dinner, I got German food at a restaurant around town in remembrance of that time.
DAY TWENTY-THREE: I got my job at the magazine when I was twenty-three and wanted to make a drastic change to symbolize a new era, but I dismissed the idea when I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do. This morning I woke up and new exactly what I wanted to do. After an unusually boring day at work, I went to the hair salon and cut my hair. It used to go past my bust; now, it’s at shoulder length, and I have bangs. I went from looking like child Loraly to a more mature, adultier but not elderly Loraly.
DAY TWENTY-FOUR: To be honest, this year wasn’t the greatest. I tried a pescatarian diet for an entire year, from the day I turned twenty-four to the day I turned twenty-five (which is honestly the same day, just different years). I genuinely hate myself for doing that; I lost weight that didn’t need to be lost. My doctor said I was severely underweight, and I had to go to a bunch of doctor’s appointments to pretty much make sure I wasn’t anorexic. Yeah, it wasn’t good. To make matters worse, during all of this, I started craving a relationship; I was ready to settle down with someone (at least I thought I was), so I joined Tinder. I only went on three dates and haven’t seen any of those guys since. I couldn’t act like that year didn’t happen, so while I ate my popcorn shrimp from Captain D’s, I messaged my three Tinder dates. Jackson, a guy a couple of years younger than me with a Justin Bieber haircut and tattoo above his eyebrow, ended up getting married a year after our Tinder date. The same can’t be said for Donovan, a guy with my exact birthday and disturbingly black contacts; he’s still on Tinder looking for hookups. Lastly, there’s Davie. He definitely had the most potential out of the three guys; his only flaw was that he was married. Davie didn’t even bother taking off his ring when he took me to dinner. I messaged him but didn’t get a response, so I waited. Two hours passed, and I started doing some Internet digging. Well, I don’t know how to put this lightly. Davie died; he was shot outside of his apartment complex.

DAY TWENTY-FIVE: Sam and I reconnected when I had just turned twenty-five, so I put him in charge of the day’s task to commemorate this year of my life. Of course, we couldn’t do anything at work because we’re on two different spectrums where that’s concerned. After work, we went to a Thai restaurant for dinner. Then we went to see an Indie movie; as expected, Sam ate all the popcorn. He bought it for us to share (like he usually does when we go to the movies together), but five minutes into the movie, I reached my hand into the bucket and felt nothing. To make up for it, he bought me a milkshake afterwards (like he usually does when he feels bad for eating all the popcorn after promising he won’t eat all the popcorn).

DAY TWENTY-SIX: When I was twenty-six, I almost died. I was in a car accident that wasn’t my fault. At the time, I had a Mini Cooper named Lill; she was a beauty. One night, I was going straight through a green light when it was my turn, and a large 18-wheeler sped through the red light and hit me on the driver’s side. My tailbone was shattered. There’s a large scar from my ankle to just above my knee on the left side of my left leg; I was told a large piece of metal was stuck in it. My lungs were filling with blood. Those were just the major injuries. There were tons of bruises and scratches and blood gushing from my nose. I was not a pretty site; I’ve seen pictures. One thing that made it better was Sam visiting me everyday until I was released. In fact, he was the only person who visited me. Since I can’t recreate a car crash or make that not happen, I decided to just go to the doctor for a check up. Fortunately, everything is good, including my weight.
DAY TWENTY-SEVEN: I’ve always had recurring nightmares revolving around my childhood, but they became more frequent and got worse when I turned twenty-seven. At times, the car crash would replay in my dreams, and I wouldn’t make it sometimes. That’s when I decided it was time to get some help and went to therapy. Best. Decision. Ever. My therapist was an elderly lady named Miss Patsy, and she helped me through so much. She listened and guided me in the direction I needed to be going to overcome my depression and conquer the annoying nightmares and conflicting thoughts. I decided to visit her today. She retired last year, so I went to her house. We talked for what felt like hours, but there was definitely more dialogue than monologue. I told her what I was doing, and she called me brave. She said rehashing the past takes some people to a dark place and sometimes they don’t come out. Miss Patsy, like any other elderly person, has so much wisdom; I could listen to her talk for hours.

DAY TWENTY-EIGHT: A couple of years ago, I wanted to get an “unconventional” ear piercing (pretty much one that’s not on my lobe) but chickened out because I was scared. Like, peed my pants scared. Today, I sucked it up, and after church, I went to the only tattoo shop that was open and got an industrial piercing. Was I still scared to the point where I thought I was going to poop myself? Absolutely. Luckily, nothing came out of me besides a small scream and a couple of tears.
DAY TWENTY-NINE: I can’t believe it’s already the last day. This month flew by, but in the best way possible. I’m very happy I decided to do this; I didn’t realize it was something I needed to do until I did it. Anyway, last year, I adopted Kory, so in my beautiful dog’s honor, I went to the mall after work and got his face on a blanket. I’m literally snuggling with it as I write this. This February was such a wonderful month of self discovery and definitely displayed some bravery and confidence. I feel like I’m entering my thirtieth birthday tomorrow as a new person.



MARCH 1ST (aka day thirty)
I for sure wasn’t planning on journaling today, but the most amazing, life changing thing happened; it’s too exciting not to share. For me, it was just an ordinary Tuesday. I woke up, ate a bagel, got ready for work, and went to work. Sam came up to my desk while I was on my way to lunch and asked if I would go to his place after work and teach him how to make my strawberry crème stuffed croissants. He said there was girl he was trying to impress, and I agreed because I’m always down for helping a friend when needed, especially if it’s to impress a potential future Mrs. Sam. Work continued as usual; my colleagues were relieved I was done reliving my life. I went to Sam’s condo after going to the grocery store and getting the ingredients; Sam said he already had the strawberries, so I didn’t have to worry about that. I was just hoping they were the right kind. When we got cooking, I put Sam in charging of slicing the strawberries and stuffing the croissants; I had so much confidence he couldn’t mess that up. After we finished, Sam said I could have one, and I remember exactly what happened next.
“Ow,” Sam said when he bit into his croissant.
“What do you mean ‘ow?’ You had one job,” I responded before taking a bite into my croissant.
Sam playfully rolled his eyes. “Can you just give me a paper towel?”
I turned to get a paper towel, and when I turned back around to give it to him, Sam was down on one knee with a shiny, ovular ring in his hand. I remember hearing my heartbeat; it was beating so loud and fast. “What’s going on?”
Sam cleared his throat (very dramatically, might I add). “I didn’t really think about what I was going to say. I hope I don’t screw this up.” He was mumbling to himself. “I know this might seem very sudden, but I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. We’ve been friends for so long, but in my head, we were so much more. During that time we were a part, you were the only girl on my mind. I know we’ve never dated, but I think you know more about me than I know about myself. One thing I do know about myself is I love the way I smile when you walk in the room. I love cuddling with you and watching movies with you. I love whenever we meet up on Saturdays; it’s the only thing that gets me through the week. I love talking to you and cooking with you and simply being with you. You’re the light to my dark, the milk to my Oreo, the fry to my milkshake. You’re it for me. I’m so madly in love with you; sometimes I don’t know what to do with myself besides think about how much I love the most beautiful girl in the universe. Loraly Adams, will you please help me off my knee by marrying me?’

I’m pretty sure I stood there for a solid five minutes with my mouth hanging open. I was so shocked and literally couldn’t believe that everything Sam said made so much sense. I think I knew all along that Sam was the only person for me; he was the only one I didn’t fight away, and I let him into my little world. “Absolutely,” I replied with a small smile before helping Sam off his knee and kissing him. He was my first kiss, and it still surprises me that I’m the one who initiated it. It was so magical; I could literally feel my heart turning into sappy goo the longer we stayed in each other’s arms with our lips together. “I love you too,” I said when I pulled back to breathe. Sam literally took my breath away.
“Happy birthday Loraly. I can’t wait to call you my wife,” Sam said before going in for round two.

It’s crazy how far I’ve come in life. I was trapped in such a horrible, negative, lonely, dark place in my life. Escaping didn’t seem possible, but here I am engaged to my best friend, the most amazing man in the galaxy.

I was trapped in a place of darkness and found my way out. I couldn’t be happier.


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