I've shared a lot in this column.

I've fired some people up and made some enemies; I've heard a lot of praise and made a few new friends.

Those who faithfully read this column know a lot about me, maybe too much. I met a guy a little while back who, through the power of Google, looked up every blessed past article I wrote and proceeded to read every last one of them - I'm estimating there are around 200 - and he would then be like, "Remember the time you found your Barbies in your mom's basement and you hugged your stuffed animals?"

Ok, I get that you're interested in knowing more about me, but that's a little much. So that was that.


But I put myself out there.

It's something I choose to do because if anyone finds solace in anything I write, I feel like I'm contributing positively to the world and that's one of my top priorities in life. I've always wanted to help people and make things better instead of worse. Look at the positive instead of the negative.

And it's cathartic for me, too. It helps me when I receive messages or people stop me and say that they can relate to something I've written. Camaraderie. It's a nice thing to know you aren't alone.

One subject I never really touch, other than to make fun of people on Facebook for oversharing their drama, is relationships.

I've never been one for falling in love.

I've always viewed falling in love as a losing game.

The risk of getting hurt just seemed to outweigh the chance at bliss.

But recently, I took that risk.

And here I found out love is pretty awesome.

There is nothing I enjoy more than to smile and laugh at all times in life - it's honestly what dictates what I do on a daily basis - and here I found myself with perma-grin.

It was like high-fiving a unicorn every day. It blew my mind like when that little girl says, "What about infinity TIMES infinity" in that AT&T commercial (insert head exploding sound effect here) AT&T: It's not complicated.

And it wasn't complicated and that's what was great about it. I fell asleep smiling, I woke up smiling - most days, there were days the alarm went off way too early where I may have winced a few times before cracking my first smile of the day - but my face was a whole sack of smiles nonetheless.

I hope everyone has felt that feeling at some time in life, because it's all kinds of wonderful.

But, without getting into details, because, come on, we're close, but we're not that tight, I'm sad to report that sack of smiles recently came crashing to the ground. There are fragments of smiles here and there, but for now, I'm just picking up the pieces.

This is what my guard was for. This is what I protected myself from for so long.

It's like that guy in the Wax Vac commerical. He's happy doing his morning routine, cleaning his ears with a Q-Tip and out of nowhere, "OW!" He goes too deep and that amazing feeling of ear cleanliness is suddenly catapulted into pain.


Ow is right.

Hurt that comes when you least expect is brutal, but it won't destroy you.

I don't really even want to be writing about this, but it's something I'm certain we've all been through it so maybe some of you can relate and maybe that will make you feel better which will, in turn, make me feel better.

It feels like someone put my heart in my NutriBullet blender and pureed it into soup. My insides just feel like painful soup. Like everything is mush, but mush with like little needles and spikes and thorns and boogie lice stuck to it. I'm filled with boogie lice, shrapnel soup which is far from delicious and about the worst feeling in the world to be filled up with.

But I'm already sick of feeling like this - I really miss smiling incessantly- so I'm going to give myself advice and maybe some of you can find value in it, too.

One of my recent projects around the house was chalkboard painting a small cupboard in my kitchen for the purpose of creating a to-do list, so here's what should be on it:

Blame game over

I will stop worrying about what I did or didn't do wrong. All I can be is the best version of me. I cannot control how someone else thinks or feels or the decisions they make. I do not have that kind of power. I need to reside in my own brain and stop trying to figure out what happened in his.

Self-esteem smackdown

No more drop-kicking my self-esteem. I'm a hoot and a half to hang out with, I'm not bad to look at, I never sweat the small stuff, I don't argue over nonsense and I'm all kinds of talented in many different ways. I'm not perfect, no one is, but I do everything I can and more for people in a heartbeat and those aren't bad qualities to have. So beating myself down is silly. Come on. I am kind of a catch. I've got all my teeth, I get dressed in the morning and hold down two jobs, still manage to keep a nice household and property and, most importantly, I'm nice to people and love having fun.

Stop dwelling and telling

No more going over the story to every friend that gets wind of my single status (thank goodness I never put that kind of thing on Facebook - because, you know, this is much more private to publish it in the newspaper). I'm really tired of explaining it. That's living in the past. It's done and over and hey, how was your day, because I'm not dwelling and I'm not telling. Let's go get a drink and make fun of stuff.

I'm self-sustaining

Last time I checked, I have air in my lungs, two legs to walk on, two arms to carry things with and a complete brain full of all kinds of fun ideas and knowledge. I've never needed a significant other to survive. I've always been very independent. Companionship is wonderful, but it's not something I need to keep my vital organs kicking.

Stop hating

The last thing I want to do is hate anyone for any reason. I think hate is a wasted emotion. My favorite thing about myself is my ability to be kind to people and to do things for them. Sometimes I get burned and regret being taken advantage of, but in the end, being a good person is not something I'm willing to compromise on or apologize for and nothing will ever destroy that.

So I can't beam lasers of hate at anyone in my past, especially someone I loved at one point. Nor should I hammer in how bad I feel to lay guilt on him. I want us both to be happy, it just won't be with each other. Guilt is mean. I don't want to be mean to him. My first instinct is to displace my anger, but that is insane. I only hope the best for anyone who has ever played a significant role in my life. That's all I want for all of us.

Carry on and let go

I have things to do. Dreams to chase. Happiness to bask in. I want to take more pictures with my horsehead mask and climb a mountain.

Sure, this hurts. Everyone has had their heart go through a meat grinder at least once in life, but it's not the end of my world, your world or anyone else's world. I've never looked back at any relationship and had it feel as bad as it does initially, so that is assurance that this too shall pass.

And although I miss him, you won't find me listening to Adele's "Someone Like You" while staring longingly at a picture of him while sitting in front of a window during a rainstorm. I hate that song and no one prints photos out anymore.

I'm just going to continue to be me because, although I'm back on the market - wink, wink, tell your sons, brothers, uncles - my happiness is not reliant on another person. That's crazy. Someone can compliment your life and complete you like a puzzle and be happy with you, but when they go away, they don't take it with them.

My own happiness is mine. I create it. My life is born from my thoughts that I turn into reality and I'm going to keep them positive and strive to keep that driving force alive that will make all my dreams come true. Is someone going to be sititng shotgun and riding along with me on my journey? I'm just going to leave that one up to fate for now.

(Jenna Wasakoski, a News-Item editor, is a graduate of Von Lee School of Aesthetics and is certified as a professional makeup artist.)