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  • I do not do

    2 months before walking down the aisle

    2 years after saying “yes I will marry you”

    12 years after saying “yes, I’ll be your girlfriend”

    I said “We can’t get married”

    I loved you more than I loved myself
    I thought that you loved me that way too
    I grieved hard the next year believing you didn’t love me
    I realized you loved me the way you knew how.
    You loved how I treated you, how I made you feel, how I helped you grow.
    I thought that was love.

    2 weeks spent packing up the apartment we lived in together

    2 hours spent moving boxes with my best friend and dad

    2 eyes I had never seen before while you watched as I left.

    I reflected and admitted that I didn’t know who I was;
    tried new things and spent time with new friends,
    started up old things and spent time with old friends.
    I spent time by myself, with my old self and new, learning who I was.

    3 weeks after moving out you crossed a set boundary

    3 times I had to practice staying strong and upholding it

    3 months you didn’t pay rent on lease you chose to keep and refuse to take my name off

    I grieved, I cried.
    I felt stupid and ashamed
    I felt taken advantage of and small
    You didn’t get what you wanted. I didn’t give in.

    4 months into 29 years of life

    4 months into a new relationship

    12 months after saying “we can’t get married”

    I love myself more than anything else
    I am loved the way I deserve to be loved
    I’ve grieved that I have accepted less. I’ve learned that all of me is loveable.
    I’ve grieved that I learned that it was okay to accept less.

    2 times a month I see a therapist; I’m learning to trust myself

    2 months from now I will have lived on my own in a new city for a year.

    12 years from now I don’t know where I’ll be but I will forever be grateful for the things I learned along the way.

    I said “we can’t get married” and I changed my world.

    Crystal Frances

    Voting starts June 17, 2024 12:00am

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  • Done Differently

    Unmasked

    I have been creating perfect days my entire life
    They weren’t perfect for me
    But what I thought perfect should be

    I’ve been creating a life
    One I thought I wanted
    One I thought I was supposed to have

    My perfect day would look like it does on tv
    I have lived those days
    Those days are not me

    So many times I have had the perfect day
    Shopping with the girls, brunch at a nice restaurant, tanning by the pool
    These things have left me drained, exhausted, confused

    So many times I have created the perfect experience
    To be let down
    To not feel the way they seem

    I’ve had my days
    In comfy clothes, dim lights, friends each doing their favorite thing
    Cooking safe foods together, napping, making sure were hydrated
    Watching things we’ve seen a million times; doing things we’ve done a million and one
    Laughing and giggling and crying and sitting in silence

    I have left those days feeling so at peace
    So rejuvenated
    So myself

    I have also left those days feeling wrong
    It is not what being social is meant to look like
    It doesn’t match the script that is in my head

    I am learning to live life
    The one I didn’t know that I wanted
    The one that I am supposed to have

    I will continue to create perfect days, for the rest of my life.
    perfect for me.
    I define what perfect should be.

    Crystal Frances

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    • Crystal, your powerful poem beautifully captures the journey of self-discovery and redefining what “perfect” means to you. Embrace the life you truly want and continue creating perfect days that reflect your authentic self. You define what perfection should be. Keep shining!

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    • Crystal, I really appreciate that poem about your perfect day. It’s inspirational and hopeful, and a very good job well done. Thank you for accepting my friend request It’s an honor to meet you-God Bless ♥

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  • A New Day

    The excitement you feel at new years. Is arbitrary. It’s created. We decided that completing 365 days is an accomplishment. A time to celebrate, to reflect, to dream.

    We begin to think about all the possibilities of a new year. The places we may go, people we may meet, people we may become.

    We create the feeling of being new, fresh, opportunities await.

    But what if we celebrated like this every week. Everyday. We feel the same accomplishment and pride and joy for living another day. We feel the excitement and dream about the possibilities that tomorrow holds.

    We truly, deep down try to embrace the feelings of new years each and every day. We reflect on the day, what went wrong and released it. What went right and how we can foster more of that. Appreciate the places we went that day while dreaming of the places we’ll go tomorrow.

    We create how we feel. How we process. We can’t control the outside influences but we can work to control how we process and react. We can celebrate each and every day and the possibilities that a new day holds.

    This year I want to celebrate the new day.

    Good morning, happy new day!
    Good night, wishing you an amazing tomorrow!

    Crystal Frances

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    • Aww Crystal, I love your message! I think it’s a great idea to celebrate each and every single day. With that mentality, you will truly be unstoppable. Thank you for sharing and thank you for being part of The Unsealed family. <3 Lauren

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    • Absolutely Amazing, Powerful, Proper, True. ♥

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  • Growing up with migraine

    I grew up with migraine, it was like another member of the family. Always there, sometimes quiet, sometimes not but, always pretty need.

    I spent my childhood in waiting rooms; chiropractors, neurologists, nutritionists all for my 4 year old brother who was getting daily attacks. As a child there were times this was fun. I would get to miss school to come to the neurologist in Manhattan. I got to know the man at the pizzeria next to the chiropractor so well that he let me put on whatever I wanted on the TV while my little brother was next door getting adjustments on his spine. As a child there were also many times this made me mad and annoyed at my brother. When we had to leave a party or family function because of his attacks, when we didn’t have chocolate in the house because he was on an elimination diet, when I was put in charge of taking care of him when we were are friends houses and their parents didn’t know what to do.

    When I wasn’t in waiting rooms I could be found on the other side of a dark bedroom door wishing my mom could come play with me or help me with my homework. Or waiting on the outside of the bathroom or at the top of the stairs while my mother vomit from one of her episodic attacks. I was never allowed to wear perfume because it could trigger an attack for my mom.

    When headaches became part of my daily life I didn’t think anything of it. When my vision blurred, I broke out in sweat and it felt like a knife was stabbing behind my eye I didn’t panic, I knew what it was. As I began my career as an occupational therapist my anxiety and depression worsened and I began mental health therapy for this. I casually mentioned my daily pain and my therapist seemed shocked. This was the first time I realized not everyone gets headaches, it’s not part of everyone’s life.

    It had always been part of mine and I genuinely didn’t realize it wasn’t part of everyone’s. When these attacks began to worsen and increase in frequency I visited my PCP and asked if I should see a neurologist. Her response “no, you’re young, here’s this medication”. A medication I later found out can make attacks worse when I finally saw a migraine specialist. My good friend a fellow warrior pressed me and advocated to me and after months of the attacks becoming more severe I finally began my journey on living with chronic migraine and not letting it control me.

    Crystal Mulligan

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    • You are so strong. It may not have been fair for you growing up but you had to live with such a painful condition that hardly fazed you. Thank you for sharing

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    • Wow Crystal, that’s a deep story and I’m sorry you deal with this. I wish your PCP was more mindful of the medication you were taking and was willing to send you to a doctor who could help you better. I know it must be hard to manage something that you can’t control. I’m glad you don’t let it affect your daily life and I wish you happiness, health…read more

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  • Crystal Mulligan responded to a letter in topic Women’s Empowerment 11 months ago

    Alicia, thank you for sharing. I too had this experience. I was in a relationship for 12 years, one that I felt like if I kept trying and trying it would be what I wanted. It would be the perfect relationship. Or not perfect, but it would work. We would work. Ending something you have been working on for so long is so difficult. Admitting that you were wrong is so hard. But, it’s so empowering. I love the analogy we are living our fairytail!

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  • Crystal Mulligan responded to a letter in topic Magical Moments 11 months ago

    Thank you for being so open about your magic! I loved reading about your journey. We don’t harness the innate powers we each have nearly enough. I am so happy that you didn’t allow the years of growing up in a society which demonizes things that seem out of the ordinary instead of embracing. Our everyday magic exists and we choose to not see it, not use it, not harness it. Thank you for using your gifts! Your energy is healing, keep spreading your light! Merry Part

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  • Crystal Mulligan responded to a letter in topic Mental Health 11 months ago

    Thanks for sharing Alicia. This is such an important thing to practice and I needed this reminder. It’s sooo important to practice this during the good times too! When you don’t “need” it. Then it becomes habit and when you’re feeling down you have this tool that is so easily tangible. This reminder to practice gratitude was something that I truly needed. I appreciate you.

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  • Hi Lauren! Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. Boundaries and saying no are something I am always working towards. It gets easier and easier every time I set them. Always a work in progress!

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  • Part of My Story

    Dear Stranger,

    While I never knew your name, I always felt I knew you. I always felt like there was something you had to teach me. I think of our encounters fondly and often. You see when I moved into my apartment I wanted a sense of community. I wanted to know my neighbors, in typical New York fashion they didn’t seem to want to know me. That is until I ran into you.

    I would see you in the courtyard and quickly walk past, having been jaded and used to this as a routine with other passing by neighbors. Yet you were different. You would smile and I would smile back.

    I would often see you in the early morning when I was leaving for work, it was always just us in the courtyard. I had begun to think you were a figment of my imagination, a spirit of some sort that only I could see. Sometimes my imagination goes a little wild. I pictured that you were someone here to guide me, teach me, tell me something. Maybe you had lived in the apartment and tended to this garden years before and now in your afterlife continue to do so. Or was this farmland at some point where you raised horses and chickens? That was until I saw you conversing with another neighbor of ours. One who gave me a tip on parallel parking that at the time I was very insulted by him giving me. Now I must admit I use it and think of him nearly every time I parallel park. So either we were collectively experiencing your ghost or you were real. Wait, was he a ghost too?

    One of the first times we actually spoke was a beautiful spring morning. I saw you looking up at the sky. I was curious but said nothing. You stopped me; “I just love looking up through the trees, the way the sun moves through the branches is just beautiful.” I stopped and looked up with you, briefly, and moved about my day.

    We had a few interactions after this one. You would comment on the beautiful weather or the way the moon lights up the sky. You would hold the door for me as I walked in from work. I once helped carry some cases of water. You, me and, parking guy would stand on the stoop and talk about how packages were being taken again. Neighborly things.

    From you I learned to stop, to slow down. To look around at nature. There is so much beauty surrounding us and in so many different ways. I often stop and look up through the trees. You really do get a different perspective. The moon does light the sky so beautifully, and in a different way in each phase. This spring I noticed the first flowers peeking up from the grass, long before I ever would have years ago. I saw them grow over the weeks, something I never have seen but has always been in front of me.

    From you I learned that what you’re looking for will find you if you just remain open. The community I wanted and relationships I was seeking was there all along. I had closed myself off and missed opportunities to interact with you because I had been rejected by others. I imagine you have been rejected so many times before, even by me. You taught me to be the person you want to meet.
    We never even exchanged names yet you’ve impacted my life so profoundly. It makes me think about every interaction I have. How you are a part of stories you don’t even realize you are. Over the years of living there we may have exchanged 100 words. Yet in those interactions and 100 words I have learned so much. You have completely changed the way in which I view the world around me.

    This morning I stopped and looked up through the tree. The cherry blossoms are starting to fall, the branches some bare and some donned with the prettiest pink flowers, illuminated by the sunlight. I stood there thinking there’s some type of metaphor here about the balance between death and life or quality vs quantity. Or maybe that’s just my imagination trying to work again. Either way it made me smile. As the sunlight came through the branches and warmed my face the thought of you and our interactions warmed my heart.

    Sincerely and warmly,

    A Grateful Former Neighbor

    Crystal Mulligan

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    • Crystal, as a former/native New Yorker I believe you are one of the few who have learned to slow down in New York instead of speed up. But you are right, it is so important. I used to rollerblade to Central park and go to that area that looks over the central park boathouse and nearby fountain. For 20 minutes or so, I would stand there on my…read more

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  • Because of you: A letter from the future

    Dear Past Me

    “I want to tell you not to get lost in the petty things”- okay actually you know I just couldn’t resist finishing that with a Taylor Swift lyric but, girl you did do a really good job not getting lost in the petty things. I’m writing to you because I wanted to thank you for doing all the heavy lifting. I know it wasn’t easy-it gets really easy though. I know there were times when you doubted yourself, when you hesitated, when you didn’t trust your instincts. I know this letter finds you at a time where you feel a little lost, I want you to know you’re doing everything right and it works out. You’re learning to embrace the lost feeling and appreciate the journey. I think that may be the biggest thing you have left to learn-keep going. I take the lessons you learned with me every day and am grateful that you created me.
    I know you don’t really know me yet, so let me tell you what all your hard work does and who you’re becoming. I am a recovering people pleaser- don’t roll your eyes at me- I am you, remember? Dude, I know that it is so hard to admit because it feels wrong. You have always been a strong hyper-independent woman- how could you possibly be a “people pleaser”? You can be and are both of those things. You’re kind, loving, empathetic, caring, patient, and love to build connections but, you got lost in that. You were so focused on connecting with others- you forgot to connect with yourself. I don’t do that anymore because of you.
    I don’t take responsibility to regulate others emotions, I don’t excuse behaviors because I empathize with them, I make myself my first priority when making all decsions and best of all I don’t feel any guilt when I do this. Actually quite the opposite, I am very proud. I won’t lie. It does get rocky for you and some people in your life can’t handle this change. It may feel really hard but, those are the people who were taking advantage of your people pleasing abilities. As your therapist says “they smell it on you” and you’re good for people and make their life better so when you start to prioritize yourself those relationships shift. Now I only allow people in my life who love me for who I am not for what I do for them and that has cultivated an incredible community around me.
    The relationships in my life are flourishing. I am surrounded by people who also prioritize themselves and understand that it is the least selfish thing you can do. They have their own passions, hobbies, creative endeavors, music tastes, book tastes etc. I know that I don’t have to love all of those things to love them and that they will still love me regardless. I am able to share the things I love with them, without fear of any judgment. They will listen to me talk about Taylor Swift and how I “share my fire” in dance class and encourage me- not because they love it too but because they love me and support me.
    I believe people when they show me who they are. I especially believe them when they tell me who they are *coughs clearing throat*. Not naming names on who wouldn’t listen but, now I know when someone tells you five times by the second date that they’re an asshole don’t argue, they’re an asshole. That person was generous; most people don’t come out and tell you. I let people’s actions show me who they are; I listen, observe and react accordingly. I see things as they are in the moment, not for what they have the potential to be.
    I don’t stifle myself to better fit in. It’s good that not everyone likes me. The most important person in the world loves me, is proud of me, finds me hilarious, we go on adventures, visit all the coffee shops, try new hobbies, reminds me I am safe and doing okay. It’s you; you’re the most important person in the world. I am because of you and I will always protect you.
    So again I want to say thank you. Thank you for doing so much for me, because of you I am living life wholeheartedly. You learned the importance of living for yourself- and just by being you, you have changed the world. You embrace your fear, you are vulnerable, you are not afraid of failure, you share your story. Living this authentically catches on.

    Love Always,
    Future me

    PS: I know I kept things very vague but, you’re still writing the story I’m not going to give away the ending!

    Crystal Mulligan

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    • Crystal – I love your growth. I once had a job where these co-worker tried to get me to do all their work, and I said no. Because if I did their work, I wouldn’t have time to do my own work well, and build my own career. Then, someone new came in the department and they ask her to do the same. And she wanted them to like her – so she did it.…read more

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      • Hi Lauren! Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. Boundaries and saying no are something I am always working towards. It gets easier and easier every time I set them. Always a work in progress!

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