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2012 was a big year for me. I lived in Switzerland for half of it, and Milledgeville for the other half, both halves making a whole that has humbled me. I went through two major break ups with serious boyfriends, and at least six solid heartbreaks after them. (Most of which are my own damn fault.)

I am committed to a relationship with myself right now, so most of these heartbreaks hurt for long enough until I can force one of my supportive friends to drive me to Chick-fil-A on 441 just so I can get a cookies and cream Milkshake and then allow me to sing “Call me maybe” at the top of lungs on the way home. After that, what’s-his-name is old news. Then that night, I am catching up with a girlfriend over Tequila shots and Gorgey (an abbrev. for “gorgeous”) McGradstudent walks up to introduce himself, and the cycle begins all over again.

I had never really experienced “dating” because I had a boyfriend for so long. So when I realized I was capable of social interaction with the opposite gender, it became my new hobby.

In Switzerland, I behaved. I was somewhat normal. In Milledgeville (Milly), I was a shitshow. No matter what I did, I could not get my act together. People were mad at me, and I didn’t understand why. People loved me, and I didn’t comprehend that either. I was just going about my business, trying to find my purpose in life but I always seemed to find myself in a pool of trouble. I cared about everyone and somehow, that was what got me in hot water most of the time. It’s not that I was self-absorbed when I came back to Milly, it’s that I was just a mess.

And a mess of a girl creates a mess of boy drama. One night, I got smashed and fell for who I thought the love of my life was in a club in Lausanne (mostly because he was British), and no amount of alcohol or flirting has been quite as intoxicating since then. I never met that guy when I was sober and I wonder if I would feel the same. After that I seemed to ruin it with guys when I would fall asleep in their bathroom after catching a ride home with their roommate, or texting too much or not texting enough, or thinking too much about what someone else said about the whole thing. And the worst: playing “the game” when it should not be played.

“The game” is all about playing your cards right. The world of American flirting is all about luck and timing. It’s a lot like gambling. Or the Hunger Games. What happens is you act like you don’t like a guy, which is really easy if you don’t actually like him, then he flirts with you and BOOM–you’re flirting! Now it’s up to the girl to not mess it up, which is actually really difficult. Then you go to girls night in and everyone talks about how cute your new boy toy is, and you totally agree on the outside, when in reality you are thinking “oh shit, I haven’t even thought about him all week…or heard from him…I wonder if he is alive…or maybe he just doesn’t remember how cute I am…” “The game” is not fun.

And I usually lose at the game. So do most girls. And it really sucks for our self esteem. But our livers have definitely grown in size.

And whenever I totally screw up with a guy to the point that he thinks that I am certifiable and I have to send a “Sorry I ruined your life” text, I think back to my friend Catalina who always gave the advice, “You are young, you can make mistakes like this.”

So even through the messiness, these experiences are too good to pass up for a good story. Thank you 2012 for teaching me how to throw away self-conciousness and embrace life. Ladies: Our 2013 resolution needs to be that we all grow another set of balls and carry on with our passions and our shitshows, because in the long run, you don’t want to regret sitting on the sidelines when you could be hitting home runs in the game.

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