To my future husband…

Dear Future Husband,

I have a lot to say to you. I broke up with a great guy for you. Literally days before Valentine’s Day, I realized that our relationship was not going down the path I want for my life and I decided to end things with him, because I wanted to hold out for the thing that’s perfect for me (and, hopefully, for you, too). I have high expectations for you. I have high expectations for myself, too. I work harder than I’ve ever worked in my life right now, in college, just so that I (and you, and our future children, hopefully) will have everything we need, and a lot of what we want from life.

I don’t have any crazy expectations, I just have a lot of “wish list” traits for the man who will become my husband someday. I want someone who is connected to God, and helps me to grow in my relationship with Him. I want that to be a central part of each of our lives, and a central part of our life together as a couple. I want to live in Florida, and I want you to enjoy the beach and Walt Disney World with me (that’s actually huge to me). I want to spend a lot of our weekends doing the little things like walking our future dog and cooking together. I want to laugh and love every day with you. I want you to treat me better than I think I deserve. I don’t necessarily expect, or need these things, but they’d be part of the ideal relationship for me.

I want you to think I’m beautiful and sweet. I want to think the same of you. I want to cry, laugh, grow, and just live with you, as a great couple who is completely sure of their relationship. And that’s why I gave up all my previous relationships: to find the one I was completely sure of. To wait for you. I hope you appreciate that. I hope I appreciate you the way you deserve to be appreciated, too. I know I will. I hope we live together until we get old and boring. I hope we rock in our rocking chairs on the front porch every night. I hope we never stop doing little things to make each other happy. I hope we never ever take one another for granted.

Most of all, I hope God grants me the chance to find you at the right time in the right way. I know that, if it is part of His plan for me to have a husband, it will be you. I will find you, or you will find me. Everything will end up the way it is meant to. I pray every day that I will be patient in finding you, and not look too hard. If it is meant to be, it will be.

All my love,

Your future wife

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My Completely Unnecessary Thoughts on Serial

By now, it seems everyone in the world has heard of the addictive podcast that launched in 2014 and has many listeners mourning its end last month. I count myself among the avid listeners. Although I got a late start listening, I caught up within a week of listening to my first episode, and impatiently awaited the last few episodes becoming available on Thursdays throughout November and December (not cool skipping Thanksgiving, SK, not cool). I loved it. I thought everything from the music to the narration was perfect. It was like being sucked into the most addictive drama on TV, only it’s a real story. Which just goes to show that the truth can be stranger than fiction sometimes (mostly).

I think my main problem with the show is also the thing that made me love it so much: I still don’t know what to think about Adnan or the case itself.  I think there is one thing I am sure of: from the get-go, the case was mishandled. From the police work to the courtroom behavior, it’s my opinion that Adnan did not always get fair treatment. And this was all before 9/11, so probably if the same case were to have come up a few years later, it would have been even more likely to result in jurors (and the media) being prejudiced against this young man. I’m not saying that that’s necessarily what happened, just that I think it’s possible, and that I think that humans, evolved as we may be, sometimes fall short when we try to be unbiased, no matter how hard we try.

It’s easy to pick someone on the show who seems seedy or suspicious and run with the idea that he or she must have done it. And I sort of think that’s what the cops did in this case, they took Adnan’s status in Hae’s life and decided that their breakup alone was enough to make him suspicious, and from that point on everything they turned up they automatically looked at with a tinted perspective (and not tinted in his favor). As I listened, I started wondering if, without letting my imagination run too wild, I could sort of keep an open mind about who may have committed the crime, and see where different trains of thought took me.

For example, there are some things I definitely find questionable about Don (this has already been discussed at length all over the internet).  For example, his work schedule was odd that day (which he used as his alibi), and the police decided his alibi (working) was legit, despite the fact that his supervisor at the job he claimed to be at was his mother. That is not to say that I don’t believe Don is innocent—I do! But this is the sort of thinking I allowed myself to submerge myself in to really explore the case from every possible angle.

Each episode, I kind of mentally compiled a list of key players that were brought up and how they contribute to the story as a whole. I know that Serial only gives listeners pieces of a bigger puzzle, and that there are many things the show does not cover. I know that Rabia has given fans a lot of additional information, and Reddit has been overflowing with additional theories and information for the past few months now.  But I tried my best to stick to the facts shared on the show and only read speculation posts to keep my thoughts flowing, and not get too swayed by anything that I thought was biased (and I know some of the stuff Rabia shares is totally objective, too, so I found her blog really interesting and supplementary to the podcast). That being said, I think sometimes people will come up with crazy, outlandish theories because they simply want to believe something about a person’s guilt or innocence, and a crazy, outlandish theory is the only type of theory that supports their belief.

At the end of all this listening and all this time pondering, I think I’ve come up with three possible scenarios. They certainly don’t account for everything, and I’m sure people on the internet will be quick to pick apart why my ideas are all wrong and tell me exactly why I’m a total idiot, but I’m hopeful that instead, we will be mature and use any discussion as a means to further explore the possibilities of the case, rather than to spread malice. I am not legally trained in any sense (I’m actually in pharmacy school, so basically the farthest thing from thinking like a lawyer).

Theory 1: Jay and Adnan were both members of a larger drug ring. This idea is not original, but I do have some specific thoughts on it I’d like to throw out there. I think the whole “Jay borrowing Adnan’s car to buy Stephanie a gift” thing seems, at best, sketchy. That whole line seems much more realistic if we consider that the two of them were doing something drug-related that morning when Adnan left school for a little while. I’m not sure exactly what to think about the drug stuff, because we only have what Jay says to go on. I can understand as a seventeen year old being afraid to tell cops about being involved in any sort of drug crimes, even though as someone older you can see clearly that it would be much preferable to say you were involved in something illegal like that rather than be prosecuted and penalized for first-degree murder.  This would put Adnan and Jay together mid-morning and running around not at a mall. Maybe Adnan mentioned something about wanting to kill Hae to Jay and maybe not, I’m not really going to speculate on that, because there’s no way to know who’s lying. But regardless, it means Adnan leaves the car and phone with Jay to handle drug-dealing business, which is something Adnan probably didn’t want to mention to the cops when they came knocking to talk to him. Hence the “I lent the car so that Jay could buy Stephanie a present” thing. What makes no sense is why Jay goes along with this. The cops figure out Jay deals weed anyway, so Jay could implicate Adnan in dealing with him and not really hurt himself at all. The only thing I can think of is someone higher up telling Jay to keep his mouth shut about Adnan’s involvement in drugs (someone who potentially threatens him or has influence over him in some other way).  So let’s just say, for the sake of this silly theory, that Jay and Adnan are dealers together, and Adnan kills Hae that afternoon and calls Jay for a ride/help (the ride thing doesn’t make sense since he has Hae’s car and ends up driving it for some time that afternoon—why not just call Jay and tell him to meet him at a certain time at the Park and Ride?).  This would kind of explain why Jay and Adnan were acquainted, but not considered close friends, if they were involved in the same ring of drug-dealing. It would also explain why Adnan chose to go to Jay rather than a closer friend. Jay was involved in illegal activities that Adnan frequently saw him commit and committed alongside him, therefore he saw them as “partners in crime”—just took the crime way further than simple marijuana dealing when he asked Jay to help him bury a body. There are rampant inconsistencies with this idea, and it’s not a very complicated theory, either. It doesn’t explain the motive, just elaborates a little more on some of the reasons Jay and Adnan both lied throughout the investigation, trial, and podcast.  I don’t know what to think about Stephanie, other than that I feel so sorry for the pain this case clearly caused her. I know many people wish she would speak about her experience, and I respect her decision not to. I can’t imagine what she must have gone through, and as just a young woman in high school.  Her story might clear up some things, and would likely either contradict or corroborate Jay’s story. It would at least be nice to know if, as Jay says he showed up to her house that night to give her a gift, he actually gave her a gift or not. If he didn’t show up with a gift, I think that pretty much guarantees Jay and Adnan weren’t at the mall that morning. Maybe they were driving around scoping out a place to bury a body, in which case the first-degree thing becomes really important. Maybe they were just smoking a little weed before Adnan went back to school, or doing a little business. Regardless, I think Adnan and Jay being both involved in dealing at least explains some of the inconsistencies if you believe Adnan is guilty. It means basically nothing if you believe he’s innocent, just that he must have been pretty sneaky to drive around and deal while keeping his snooping mother from finding out.

Theory 2: Jay is caught up in a much more serious drug dealing ring than implied by him to the police, with some sort of drug lord over him who either forces Jay to commit the murder or commits the murder himself and then forces Jay to cover it up.  That would explain why Jay goes to the police at all, and keeps changing his story (perhaps he was getting all sorts of crazy conflicting information from the person above him throughout the whole ordeal). My thoughts are: if Jay got his so-called “buddy” (even if they aren’t close, I still think Jay and Adnan were considered friendly to one another prior to this) put into prison for the rest of his life (many, many years when you’re talking about someone who’s only seventeen years old) and you know full well that he did nothing wrong, you must be a sick person. I know someone “looking nice” is not proof of anything, but hey, if people want to say that about Adnan I think it’s fair to say it for Jay too. He just doesn’t look like someone who would do that sort of thing to a friend. People make mistakes when they’re young and all that, but at eighteen you’re capable of knowing what your testimony is going to do to someone in Adnan’s position.  If Jay hadn’t come to the police, I think it’s likely that no one ever would have been tried in the case, and it would have been considered an unsolved murder. I’m sure there would have been suspicions about Adnan, but really what was the state’s case without Jay? I doubt they would have had enough evidence to even get an indictment without Jay.  So, again, my thoughts are either Adnan did it and Jay knows and feels like it’s his moral responsibility to turn him in and do everything in his power to get him locked up (including possibly making up stuff????) or Jay knows who did do it and is under intense heat to be sure that person does not get caught. In that case, Jay gets so freaked out that a fingerprint or hair may have been left behind that could be matched to the real murderer, and he decides that it’s safer to point the cops in a totally different direction (basically to distract them) rather than let them spend hours trying to figure out who did it, in which case the cops probably never would have gathered significant evidence against anyone and the case would have been dropped eventually.  The only reason I think it’s most likely the person in this case who did it and would be making Jay cover for him/her would be some sort of drug overlord is that I can’t imagine who else in Jay’s world would wield that type of power over him, or fear (unless Adnan did it and really is threatening him, in which case I’d think Jay would keep his mouth shut out of fear?).

Theory 3: The infamous serial killer theory, but not the one you heard on the podcast.  I completely understand why the Innocence Project is going through with the DNA testing against the serial killer they mentioned on Serial. That said, I think it’s unlikely that the DNA will match that serial killer. I think it’s much more likely that the young girl who was raped and strangled a year before Hae was strangled by the same person as Hae.  This man apparently had a penchant for young girls, and although there was no evidence of rape, there’s also no reason this man had to have raped her. She could have put up such a valiant fight against the man that he decided to off her before sexually assaulting her because he was exhausted and did not think getting his jollies was worth the risk of her getting away at some point and telling the police of the incident.  This theory has been discussed to some extent on Reddit, but I think it’s a real possibility that should be at least explored by people with the power to make a real difference.

I wonder what will happen in the future, with Adnan’s appeal this year. If it is unsuccessful, my understanding is that his last hope for potential exoneration will be over. In this case, if he did it, I really hope he will come forward. I know it would bring closure to many, many people, the most important of which are Hae’s friends and family members. It would not be costing him anything if he had no chance of getting out at that point. If he did not commit the murder, I hope that he gets exonerated. Either way, I hope that justice is served. It is sad that it seems like thus far justice has been completely absent from this case, for all involved in it. The fact that the population of  listeners is very legitimately split on their belief regarding guilt or innocence just goes to show that realistically he never should have been sentenced.  I would have to vote not guilty just because of that pesky “reasonable doubt” thing. But clearly some people are 100% convinced of his guilt, and to those people I’d like to ask what theory they utilize to explain away all the inconsistencies and confusing parts of the case. Maybe deep down I think he’s guilty, but that he shouldn’t have been convicted based on the evidence at trial (I’m not hiding my true feelings from you about the case, I’m just genuinely not sure what they are).  Feel free to chime in if you have anything to share or add!

More soon!

Twentysomething

10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Turned 20

There are so many things I wish I had known before I grew up. I think most things that we learn throughout our early adulthood are universal {that is to say, everyone individually must learn them}.  But I think there are some things that need to be constantly reinforced by the people around us for them to really sink in. So, without further ado, here you go: the top 10 things I wish I had known before I turned 20.

 

  1. Many girls are inherently mean and catty. Nothing you do or say is going to change that. A lot of girls, especially in high school, I think, have a problem with other girls, regardless of whether or not they’ve actually done anything to deserve unkindness.  It took me a long time to realize {and, to be honest, I’m still realizing} that girls aren’t mean because of something I did, but rather because something is wrong with them. Maybe they’re jealous, or maybe they’re just confused about their lives. Either way, it doesn’t excuse their behavior, but it makes life so much easier when you let go of anger that other people feel towards you.
  2. Boys are boys. You deserve a man. You can’t change a person you’re dating, and I think we’re taught as young women today to chase after the boys who seem to need a strong female influence to make them “right” or “whole.” But come on—do you really need another person who needs you to do stuff for them? These are your formative years, and you don’t need some dude leaning on you to take care of him and make him whole.  Boys can’t help bugging you to let them copy your homework or asking to borrow a few bucks to pay for their movie tickets. And guess what the scariest part is?  Some guys never get much more mature than they are in high school {I’m looking at you, ex-boyfriend}.  But a lot grow up fast when they get to college, and become more interesting, kinder, and much better boyfriend material.  If I wish I’d had one piece of advice in my younger years, it would be: don’t bother dating anyone seriously in high school. Go out with a few guys just to experience dating and not be unprepared for a relationship someday, but focus on your friends. You don’t even know who you are yet.
  3. The mean girls really are just jealous. One of the hardest parts of my post-high school experiences with the people I had gone to high school with happened a couple years after I graduated. An ex-boyfriend texted to ask if a horrible rumor he had heard about me was true {it wasn’t}.  I told him that, but underneath my calm words, I was pissed. Who would say something like that? He wouldn’t tell me who said it {asshole}, but he did imply that it was one of the girls in high school we had always joked about for being jealous of me. I was nothing to be jealous of in high school. I was head-over-heels for a guy who treated me like crap, completely unaware of the fact that I deserved more. I was okay-looking, but going through the many awkward parts of growing up.  So I couldn’t understand why someone would envy me, especially not enough to make up some cruel lie about me.  But then I realized, people probably didn’t see all the hard parts of my life {because I choose not to display that on Facebook and Twitter, duh}, and maybe they thought my life was better than it really felt to me. To those “haters” I say: thanks for making me realize that I’m someone wonderful and special enough to make others jealous. But making up rumors {especially two years post-high school} is pathetic, and you need a life, come on.
  4. The first time you love someone will change your life, but might not last, and that’s okay. Your first love is going to feel big and earth-shattering. It’s probably going to change the way you look at every other man you ever date.  But it probably isn’t going to make you happy for the rest of your life, because you’re in such a formative, transitional period of your life.  You’re going to grow up and start to become interested in lots of other things, and people often grow apart as they get older. Maybe if you don’t start dating until you’re finishing up high school you’ve sort of figured out who you are {if you’re lucky—I still had a lot of growing up to do}. But if you start dating a person at fourteen or fifteen, you probably still have a lot of growing up and changing to do. Somehow, friendships withstand our personal changes better than relationships usually do.
  5. There are far better things ahead than any you leave behind. I wouldn’t say I had a particularly terrible high school experience, but I also can’t imagine wanting to go back to any of my reunions. Our generation doesn’t need that stuff: we see everyone on Facebook and we know what their college boyfriend looks like.  I don’t need to fly across the country to see them in ten years, because I honestly just don’t care that much. My college friends became my family to me. They saw me at my worst, and they loved me anyway. I met someone who made me forget all the losers I dated before him.  I fell in love like I was fifteen again, only this time, the guy treated me like a princess, and I didn’t want to break up.  If someone would have told me what was lying ahead for me when I was feeling my worst in high school, barely able to force myself to go to school because of the catty drama or the jerk I was dating, I would have felt so much better. But part of the beauty of life is the sheer mystery of what lies ahead, so just trust me when I say, there is always something better than whatever’s going on right now waiting for you, you just have to keep going and get to it.
  6. You won’t stay friends with everyone, and that’s a good thing. High school graduation is a great time to drop all the toxic friendships and relationships you’ve entered into.  Give yourself space for new friends. The person you are when you’re entering college is a lot more like the person you’re going to be for the rest of your life {although I assure you there will still be a lot of growth ahead for you}. You’re supposed to ditch the friends who talk behind your back. You’re supposed to let go of all the people who make you unhappy. You get to replace them with people who make you laugh and take you out for ice cream when you’ve had the worst day.
  7. Roommates are not the devil, and having one is not as difficult as everyone would have you believe. Some of my favorite friendships have been with roommates.  They are different than other relationships in some ways, but especially once you aren’t sharing a bedroom anymore {so basically any year after freshman year} having a roommate or two is really fun. They live with you, so you can ask them to hang out anytime, and if they’re people you’re genuinely friends with, you can ask them to watch a movie or go do something if you get lonely.  They’re just comforting to have around, and mine always provided entertainment and good conversation.  My college experience was unique because I had a serious relationship. My roommate also had a serious boyfriend, and our two boyfriends were roommates, so we spent a lot of time together, both at our place and at his. It honestly made us closer, and we’re still best friends.  She helped me get through all the tough parts of college, because she knew both me and my boyfriend so well.  And I was able to do the same for her.  Our third roommate hung out with us just as much, but got to bring along random guys. We both lived vicariously through her wild dating stories. I can’t imagine having any other two roommates, honestly.
  8. There will come a time when you have money troubles and you will have to ask your parents for help. I know, I know, nobody wants to ask their parents for money. For me, it was so stressful having to ask my dad for a check to help me eat and pay for my textbooks that I would practically make myself sick for it. But the more I talked to my friends, the more I realized that everyone had been through a similar time, and their parents had helped them as best they could. College is a transition period, you’re not financially independent, but you’re not living under your parents’ roof anymore, either {which means they aren’t paying your way}.  I recommend getting a part-time job. It’s not too hard juggling a job with school {I’m expected to do it in grad school}, and it makes a huge difference in being able to do fun things like go out to dinner or splurge on a dress for a fraternity formal or function. 
  9. You will make mistakes and regret them the next day, and later they will be the best stories you have from your youth. No real description needed here. Go places, meet people, have fun, and only regret things for a short amount of time before moving on and letting go.
  10. Never give up. There are going to be times {for the rest of our lives} where things feel difficult. There is probably never going to be a day from now until I die where I don’t feel a moment of fear or hesitation, or at least frustration with something I have to do.  That is called life.  Don’t give up, though, because there’s so much amazingness to experience if you’re willing to hang on, push through, and find it.  You can do it, and having a strong, supporting group of friends/family helps so much. 

 

“Celebrate we will, ‘cause life is short but sweet for certain”