2016 came off to a bad start. In 2015, I developed an online relationship with a male I met off Tinder. In the beginning of the year I decided to book a flight to go meet this male believing that he might be my perfect other half. Days after booking my flight, I found out that I was catfished through a confession from the catfisher himself. I immediately took action before I was blocked and contacted a handful of girls notifying them that they were being catfished.
This is what brought me onto the MTV show Catfish. My ultimate goals were to finally confront this inhumane human being that was breaking the hearts of hundreds of girls and using them for his own pleasure, getting him to quit catfishing and to come clean. In the beginning, I was ashamed of myself. I was ashamed for allowing this to happen to me and to all of those hundreds of girls.
I should have been smarter and more careful. But you know what? There were positives outcomes that came with this experience and life learning lessons. Firstly, I was not alone in this. I made amazing new friends from the show that I still talk to today. Together, we emotionally supported one another and we were able to get through this together. Together, we confronted this individual and stood up for ourselves, for each other, and for all of the hundreds of girls that he caused damage to. Secondly, I was able to see a whole other world that I have not seen before. I was able to escape the boundaries of the city that I was confined to and travel to the West Coast and Mid West for the first time ever. Honestly, I have never seen a beautiful side of the states before. I was always traveling on East Coast or heading to Europe. I immediately fell in love with the West Coast and the lifestyle which appears to be the total opposite of the East Coast lifestyle. Thirdly, this experience has opened the doors for me to other beneficial opportunities involving the entertainment industry. I would have never guessed how much my heart loves working in filming. Fourthly and last I was able to learn a valuable lesson. I was able to learn that we all need to be careful when it comes to online dating and to never send out intimate photos or videos of yourself because you never who you are really talking to and who will get theirs hands on your photos or videos.
My catfish experience was a tough experience, but that was not the only experience that allowed me learn a lot about myself and help me really discover myself. For some time, I had a desire to travel to California. This past summer, I was finally able to travel to Los Angeles, California with my brother and one of my bestfriends. It was an unforgettable trip. Not only was I able to touch a Palm tree for the first time ever (I have an obsession with Palm trees now thanks to California), but I was able to wander around through a desert for the very first time. It was an adventure waiting to unwind from reuniting with friends I made from Catfish to going to Laguna Beach to going to Universal Studios. I immediately fell in love with Los Angeles and I am pretty sure that Los Angeles will be where I want to live in the future.
My. Bestfriend. Was. Gone. Forever.
Immediately, I bursted out into tears. I lost one of my bestfriends to suicide while I was away. I questioned myself, why, why, why, why. I asked myself how I could have allowed myself for this to happen. I blamed myself. I felt that I lost a huge part of me. Someone that I had endless fun nights with, supported me, was there for me, was gone. He was no longer in this world with me. I ended up arriving back in New York City, just in time for his funeral. Looking back at it, I now believe he is in a better place now, where he is finally happy and feels free. Now, I tell myself that I tried to do everything I was capable of doing to help him even though he pushed me away and that today he would not want to see me crying. He would love to see me happy. I look back at those memories with him and cherish them forever. He and our memories are unforgettable.
My third experience deals with college. I was supposed to graduate in May of 2016. I was upset with myself for not being able to finish all my courses within four years. I held a huge grudge against myself for a long period of time. But now in December of 2016 I can proudly say that I am no longer a college student. I have finally completed my Bachelor's of Business Administration degree in Visual Merchandising. I am now a grown working woman and no longer the lost teenager I was when entering the fashion industry. I now plan on attending graduate school in the fall of 2017.
Looking back, 2016 was a heck of a year, but you know what? It wasn't that bad, I guess. I don't know what 2017 has in store for me or you. But I can say one thing, 2017 will be a good heck of year for both of us. I look into the coming year with optimism and you should too.