Delicately Fierce


"Lily, I love you..."

I glanced up curiously, already anticipating the eminent pang of the words to come.

"But just not in that way."

I forced a smile as it settled in. "It's okay. I was expecting that."

Top, Forever 21 (from best friend)// Skirt, Target ($5)// Flats, Target ($7)// Ring, c/o Modern Design


I struggled to muster what I wanted to say. Everything that had been on my mind those agonizing eight days. I wanted to hug him, knowing it hurt him to say that, but at the same time, I wanted to lecture him, just as I had joked about with my friends.

"Yeah, I told him I actually really liked him, and he was just like: 'I hate to do this...but I'll tell you in a few days.' At the time I was like, okay, whatever. But now I'm like: this is crap!"

I paused, sighing heavily. "Gah, I'm going to get friendzoned. But he is going to get like an hour-long lecture. You cannot text a girl good morning every day and not have it mean something. And if you ask a girl to a dance, you have to make it very clear that you're going as friends..."

Renditions of my impetuous rant sprung up regularly over what had supposed to have been just "a few days."


I couldn't find the words in the short few minutes he walked me home. I tried to lighten the air.

"I'll be okay, really," I assured him, "There's a difference between being fragile and delicate. I'm not fragile."

"That's good," He said slowly.

"And I may be delicate, but I am delicately fierce," I continued, borrowing the eloquent name of a fashion blog.

"Huh?" I had lost him.

"It's like..." I sighed, "I'm not sure how to say this...but basically, I'm a lot stronger than I seem on the outside."


"But hey, I was expecting your response to be so much more convoluted for having me wait over a week," I looked over expectantly.

He smiled wryly. "I tried writing a letter while I was in Chicago, but it got too confusing. And I thought you deserved to hear it in person."

"Oh?" I asked, curious, "What did it say? I want to see it."

"I tore it up and threw it away. It was too complicated."

"That's sad," I said, dejected, "Yeah, I might have to write you a letter because I'm not sure how to say what I want to tell you right now."

We stopped when we reached my driveway. "Hey, I better see you before you leave for college."

"You're seeing me right now," He smiled.

"No!" My laugh tasted slightly bitter, "You know what I mean."

I waved goodbye and headed inside.


After searching for a notebook and pen, I plopped down on the beige carpet. I started writing feverishly. I wrote everything I had ever wanted to say to him. 

How I had always been drawn to him for some inexplicable reason. How I told him so I could finally let go. How I was sorry that I made it hard on him after lamenting about friendzone stories together. How I hoped that for future girls, he would be more careful about walking the fine line. How I didn't regret anything--falling for him and spilling my soul. How I wanted him to know that I wasn't wounded--only slightly miffed. How terrified I was to tell him, but how empowering it was to do it anyway. How I knew that things would be different now, but that I prayed with all my heart that our friendship would last.

I didn't stop writing for two whole hours.


I can't help but feel a little dejected. I can't help but wonder if something like this will ever work out for me. But now that I no longer have to agonize about how he truly feels, I can throw my effort into the quickly-approaching, daunting task of college applications.

The art of brushing oneself off after a plummet is mastered through extensive experience. With each stumble, I learn where the road is uneven and how to regain my balance.

I don't regret a thing, because I am free now. From the emotionally-demanding cycle of uncertainty, from the constant, tiring, guessing game.

Tungsten Ring, c/o Modern Design, Inc.

This doesn't have to be a sad song (from "Little Black Dress" by Sara Bareilles). I can wallow in self-pity, or I can simply move on. I consciously choose the latter.

Everything happens for a reason. I don't regret growing closer to him, because if I hadn't, I wouldn't have auditioned for my city's youth orchestra. I wouldn't have rediscovered my inner nerd. I wouldn't have learned to live as if no one's judging. I wouldn't have appreciated music on the same level. I wouldn't be the person I am today. 

Some people are only placed in our lives for a few short hours. Others, a couple days. Some, a few memorable years. And even more few and far between--many exhilirating years of this crazy life. No matter how long or short, all of them leave imprints upon our hearts, our souls, our very being. 

Only time will tell what kind of friend he was meant to be. And only time will heal whatever scrapes and bruises I inadvertently gained in the process.


I don't feel sad. Simply placid. And perhaps a little empty, like the many boxes in which Modern Design packaged a ring they sent me.

It's a guy's ring, but it's slowly grown on me. Quick-arriving packages in the mail never fail to make me smile, and when the ring fit perfectly, I became fiercely protective of it. The braided design looks delicate, with the immaculate, cool-to-the-touch silver metal, but Tungsten is strong, with a melting point at 6192 degrees farenheit.

I want to be as strong as Tungsten. I may seem girly and innocent on the outside, but this ring is a reminder that I have been through blazing heats and many struggles and not only survived, but found a way to shine. It's a reminder that I am a union of contrasts. I am practical and ambitious. I am outgoing and quiet. I am trendy and hipster. I am a cynic and an idealist. 

I am delicately fierce, and I will be okay.


Persunmall Lust list

Oh, online shopping...I've noticed that most people either love it or avoid it completely. But if you're on that online shopping grind, I want to share some of my favorite pieces from chic online shop called Persunmall! My favorite part was that they often offered multiple colors of various items--don't like that blue? Well, they've got it in red! Don't like the color scheme of that scarf? Don't worry, they've got multiple other options! Happy browsing about (:

Also, hold up for a couple hours. I have an update I know you lovelies have been dying to hear.

Beach Bohemian




Ahh, I sigh with wistfulness for the beach. My heart yearns to hear the crashing white waves, feel the warm sand between my toes, inhale the salty ocean air. And what better than a cool skirt to billow in the whispering wind, a lovely crop top to feel the tickling breeze?

Simply Sweet




Do you see the bustling school campus? Can you envision the sparkling chandeliers, the winding staricases? Can you hear the whoosh of passing cars? This is my favorite look--I have a soft spot for dust pink, gold accents, and brown oxfords. I could see this look everywhere--from school to a fancy gathering to shopping.

Dreamland




The tall grass dances in the soft breeze as horses neigh in the background. The prarie is open, beckoning for you to prance through the fields, twirling to the inner rhythms of the earth.

We all yearn to be somewhere else sometimes--far from the burdens of everyday life, free from the petty problems of modern society. The lulling seas, the vast praries--they are my dreamlands, the destinations I long to surround me in my sleep.

Red

Dress, Target ($7)// Necklace, c/o eFoxcity// Belt, Forever 21 ($3)

Hello my lovelies! Well, this is scheduled to go live when I'm off leadershipping at a three-day conference on a local college campus. I've never scheduled a post to be published, so I thought now was just the time. I will be sure to catch up on comment-replying as soon as I return!

I gained a new skilled photographer last week: my very best friend Gabrielle! She and I went on a photo-taking adventure at a cute little park to cheer her up since she had just broken up with her boyfriend of one year. Something about photoshoots always makes people feel better, and we had a lovely time striking poses and angling tediously to get the perfect shot. I think these are senior-picture worthy, so I thought I'd share my favorites.

Enjoy the photos while I detail what I was so vague about in my last post.



Let me first set the scene: it is 5:56 pm right now, Wednesday, July 17th. I told you yesterday that there was something I'd been meaning to do, but I'd been avoiding it since I was afraid of falling. Absolutely terrified of messing things up. Well I just did it.

I told my best guy friend that I had feelings for him.

Relationships can be messy things, and I've always been able to avoid them. I jokingly refer to myself as a "man repeller," something I do consciously, or inadvertently. Things like that have just really never worked out for me--I like a guy, he's just interested in being friends. Or a guy is really into me, and I just think he's annoying or creepy.

Sigh.



I had been agonizing over whether I should tell him how I feel because he's also one of the closest friends I've ever had. And that would lead us into murky waters--did I really want to risk losing a friendship that means so much to me?

But I believe that the strongest of friendships can survive a little battering.

I knew that if I kept quiet, I would regret it much more than if I bared my soul and made things uncomfortable. I looked to my favorite artists for inspiration. In a Glamour interview, Sara Bareilles said that vulnerability is one of the most precious gifts you can give. And in Taylor Swift's Speak Now prologue, she said, "I think the words you stop yourself from saying are the ones that will haunt you the longest."




I practiced countless times what I exactly I would say, though I knew in the back of my mind that it probably wouldn't come out that way. If people had observed me, I would've seemed like a crazy lady, speaking intently to myself.

"There's something I've been meaning to bring up for awhile, but...I've been avoiding it because it could make things rather...uncomfortable...but I have a feeling I'll regret--no--I have a feeling that if I don't say this, I'll regret it way more than if I do say this and make things...uncomfortable...so YOLO, I guess. It's become my life's anthem."

I had this minutes-long spiel all planned out in my head. I was like an actor, meticulously practicing a monologue for the role of a lifetime.



It didn't come out the way I had planned, but I've come to learn that it's part of life. My eloquent script became painfully pause-filled as I struggled to remember the words I had been aching to say.

"I should probably bring up something I've been avoiding for awhile..."

I stopped abruptly, forgetting the words I had so carefully rehearsed; they sounded so foreign, so unreal, so disgenuous. But I had to forge ahead. It was a gauntlet of dismembered sentences turned into awkward phrases as I plunged, terrified, into the murky waters I had avoided for so long.



I eventually spit it all out. I hope he got the idea--there were so many more things I wish I could've said. How I had always felt there was something between us...but perhaps I'm delusional. How I know that I send mixed signals--because the cynic in me never fails to relentlessly battle the hopeless romantic and hopeless idealist. How I know dating would be impractical even if he did feel the same--he's headed off to college in a month and I have a long road of college apps ahead that requires total focus. There was so much, much more.

When I arrived at a long pause, he stood up abruptly from the quaint park bench overlooking the pretty blue lake. He patted my head sympathetically.

"Let's go," he said.

I hopped up curiously and followed him towards the dusty gravel path encircling the clear water.

"I hate to do this, but I'll tell you in a few days," he said cryptically.

I sighed. Perhaps it is better to be heartless sometimes.


It's as if a huge weight were lifted off my chest now that I've professed my inner emotions. But I can't help but agonize over his response. We chatted cheerfully as we strolled back in the scorching afternoon heat to his car.

It was as if nothing ever happened.

I cringe as I replay the scenes in my head. Did I sound desperate? Did I seem clingy? Did he even understand my convoluted ramble?

Now, it is all out of my hands. What's done is done. The prospects don't look favorable for me, but I don't regret spilling my soul. And as much as I wish I could have expressed my feelings more articulately, I feel a strange sense of accomplishment for conquering my fears. For overcoming the consuming angst. For being completely honest, even though it left me in a vulnerable position. For being brave.


We must not wallow in the past but live in the present--and look upon the future with with gratitude and hope. No matter what happens, I am strong; my fading scars are testaments of previous battles--fought perhaps not with grace but with tenacity and spirit. If heartache is on the approaching horizon, so be it. I've long since learned that time will eventually heal those wounds.

And perhaps once the dust settles, a beautiful friendship, stronger and healthier, will emerge.

On the Road: Vanderbilt University


You know when you find a dress comfortable enough to wear on a college visit that it was meant to be. 

I picked up this pretty piece at Target a few weeks ago, and I've been in love ever since. I have this odd habit of dressing up even if I don't leave the house--I like to think it makes me more productive...though I'm not exactly sure how well that works hehe. But I'm not ashamed to admit that I've spent several summer days lounging around *cough* working intently in this comfy dress.

Dress, Target ($17)// Shoes, China ($6)// Bow, Rire (giveaway) Whoa, only three pieces?! That must be a record or something!

I was definitely pleased with my Vanderbilt visit. The campus was quite scenic, so I proceeded to drag my poor mother off to take photos when the PreVU program was finished. I love a good play on words too--it's perfect because PreVU sounds like preview, but VU also stands for Vanderbilt University!

I was just tickled pink.

There's also something about actually being on campus that helps you decide if the school is for you. I could definitely see myself there. They fed us (very, very, very good food). What else could you ask for?

Haha, but really. The atmosphere can make such a big impression, and Vandy's left a good one on me.





On a more serious note, though, they have a strong engineering program. And as this girl, torn over all the possibilities, could use strong premed, prelaw, engineering (too many others!) programs to satisfy my many interests, the school is a good fit. 

Take a look at the photos below--I felt like I was at the White House!





Now time for my philosophical tidbit of the week. You know me--I love finding deep meanings in seemingly mundane situations, and something just clicked as I was teaching my brother how to swim.

I felt slightly self-conscious as I plunged into the cool, blue water. The familiar smell of chlorine was nostalgic, yes. But it had been much too long since I had last stepped foot into a pool. Could I still remember to swim?


I've never been much good at swimming--my form is strangely reminiscent of a frog's. The last time I went swimming was summer gym class before freshman year. But I learned that swimming is a skill much like biking--it's something you don't forget easily.

"Teach me!" My brother splashed the water eagerly.

I complied, unbegrudgingly. "Okay George. See, all you have to do is put your feet a shoulder length apart, bend your knees slightly, and push yourself to start."

I demonstrated. He followed my instructions with a strange concentration on his face, bending his knees, then pushing off. But soon, he was flailing wildly, splashing the water, and back kon his feet again.



"It's okay George," I said encouragingly, "I got you!"

But few more tries proved futile.

"It's just I'm afraid to fall," He told me earnestly.

"Well you can't be afraid to fall if you want to swim!" I exclaimed, though with a touch of sympathy.



I proceeded to take a break from my sisterly duties, attemping to swim a few consecutive laps across the small pool.

"Teach me!" My brother pestered me as I arrived back in the shallow end.

"I have been teaching you! I can't swim for you--you have to learn it yourself!" I told him impatiently, though as sincerely as possible.

Then something hit me.


Has your fear of falling kept you from doing something great? Has it prevented you from growing as a person? From telling someone something you've been aching to say?

It happens to us all. Some more than others. But to fill that void, that emptiness, to ease the aches and burdens, we must put ourself out there. Push off the stability of the concrete pool floor, leap past the safety of the starting line. We must be vulnerable. We must be determined. We must be fearless.

We may fall, but there is always someone to catch us. And with each plummet, we become more masterful at brushing ourselves off gracefully. It's the learned art of life.

Don't let the fear of falling hold you back.

Sometimes I think these posts are more pertinent to my life than yours. Sometimes I feel like I'm preaching to myself, almost as a reassurance or pep talk. I hate to be vague, but there are many things that I need to do that I've been avoiding. I'm terrified. But I need to let go of the confines of familiarity, bare my soul, and fly. I need to be brave.

Until then, my friends. I pray that I'll have an inspiring story to share for next time. Have a beautiful week!

@imperfectidealist

© imperfect idealist. Design by Fearne.