Blogger Vanessa Labi's Advice on Breakups, College Love + Moping

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This Sacramento-based writer is taking the creative scene by storm. Vanessa uses her social media expertise as a digital engagement specialist at Creative California and moonlights as the music + fashion contributor at City Scout. As if she didn’t have enough on her plate, what with all the donuts and colorful tacos, she also her catalogues her outfits on her blog, BabesicleWhen she’s not on social media, she stays true to her moniker, the "Godmother of Funk," by tearing up the dance floor in one of any number of killer soles. For cuteness overload, you can follow her on Instagram @babesicle .

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
"I was 20 and I had broken up with a truly great guy who loved me so generously and selflessly. Even though we were in love, I knew he wasn’t the guy for me. I would find myself being so blatantly honest in my attempts to break up with him, telling him as much, but he would only bend over backward more to try to be the right fit. Breaking that off for both of our sakes was really difficult, and I remember crying for the better part of a day in my dorm room."

ADVICE SHE WOULD GIVE HER HEARTBROKEN SELF
"I would advise my 20 year old self to focus on my interests, goals and friendships. I’m someone who was focused on romantic relationships from a relatively young age, so in general, I wish I had spent less time on romantic relationships and more time on self-development throughout my young adult years. I have twin sisters who are 16 and they’re killing it in that department. One is writing a book and the other runs marathons. Hell yeah, right? I wish I’d focused on my relationship with myself like that. But the good news is that it’s never too late to invest in that relationship."

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HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
"My most recent heartbreak was a gradual one. My college boyfriend and I were together for the two years I spent at UCLA and then two more years after graduation. We were very close, passionate and supportive of one another, but during the last year of our relationship, it was pretty off and on. It was me who kept switching it off, but me who kept coming back. Toward the end of the relationship, I had moved to my hometown of Sacramento and he had moved to New York to pursue his band, and we were still hanging on to each other. We visited each other a few times before we realized that we needed to move on and be present in our current lives and where they had taken us, instead of occupying the comfort of the past. But because of the nature of our relationship, I had developed an unhealthy expectation that he would always be there, as a friend and a support system. The heartbreak hit when I realized that he had moved on for real, and that meant his friendship was completely gone too. It weirdly still hurts. It can be so hard to accept that your first true love is gone."

HOW SHE MENDS
"I love to work out, especially with dance because it’s one of my favorite things to do in general. I also remember going through a summer breakup with the aforementioned dude and attending an inspiring series of yoga classes that were all focused on the energy and renewal of summer. That really spoke to me and fed my need at that time to be independent. When you’re in the midst of a heartbreak, finding something that delivers a message that resonates and pushes you forward is really important."

"Talking to my best friend helps tremendously, too. She’s a total leading-lady-in-a-comedy archetype (think: Tina Fey in 30 Rock, Mindy in The Mindy Project, Lena in Girls). She deserves her own show. Not only is she hilarious, but we’ve been best friends for almost 15 years, so she knows my psyche, my habits, my soul, and – maybe most importantly – my history. It’s so comforting to talk to someone who knows your history; no backstory needed, just gush all your feelings out and they know exactly where you’re coming from. No filter, no judgement."

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HER BREAKUP VICE
"I guess you could say that my vice is that I can be sort of a depressive. An introverted depressive at that. A friend once told me that I remind him of Scarlett’s character in Lost in Translation. Which is to say that I’m susceptible to moping around in mesh underwear as I gaze through large windows. But I do have feelings with a capital “F”, so when I go through a breakup, I’m susceptible to isolating myself, feeling sorry for myself, and just letting those feelings fester and get the best of me. I conquer that tendency by forcing myself to go out with friends or by getting outdoors. Taking a break from negative feelings in terms of the physical space I occupy is very effective for me. It’s funny how the mind is so easily influenced by the body’s surroundings."

ON BEING FRIENDS WITH AN EX (OR TRYING TO, ANYWAY)
"There is definitely a “too soon” zone, and I recently found myself in one such zone. On a recent trip to New York, I was excited to visit with an ex from last year, thinking we would have a great time as friends since we had so much in common when it came to music and food. We both seemed happy with our current situations, so I assumed that it would be a natural meeting of two old friends, which we never really were. What I neglected to realize is that a year is pretty recent when you’re talking about a healing timeline. It was a really awkward visit. He was nice and took me to a café he thought I’d like, showed me his favorite kitschy bar and we ate 99 cent pizza. During the latter two outings, we were accompanied by his roommate, which eased the tension, but the time we spent alone was filled with a palpable awkward strain that, if it had a voice, would say, 'Why are you doing this to yourselves? You don’t know how to treat each other.'"

"Needless to say, it was a mistake, one that I was surprised I made. Aren’t we supposed to be a little wiser in our late twenties? Not sages by any means, but at least wise to obviously damaging traps that are sure to be a one way ticket to Bummersville? Usually, I would beat myself up for a misstep like that, but this time I chose right away to forgive myself. I guess we’re always learning. If wisdom hasn’t entirely arrived in my late twenties, I’ll settle for a readiness to forgive."

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HER PHILOSOPHY ON SOCIAL MEDIA
"I stay connected to leave the door open for friendship down the line. I’m not one to unfollow – my best friend unfriends my exes before I do! – but I don’t often creep either. Okay, at first, sure. It’s like the scab you can’t help but pick at. But once you hit a certain point, they just kind of fall off your radar."

HER BIGGEST LESSON ON LOVE
"That there’s so much love out there to be 'had,' and that a lot of that love is found within female friendships. I’m fortunate that most of my girlfriends are like me in that they haven’t gotten married yet. It’s nice to be at the same stage, to be able to relate."

HER FAVORITE SONG ON HEARTBREAK
"I’m a big fan of soul and early R&B, so there are quite a few wistful tunes on my playlists. But on a corny note, Sheryl Crow’s early hit, I Can’t Cry Anymore is really fun to belt out in a very hokey way."

WHAT KEEPS HER HEART OPEN
"My dad has observed that I love life. And also, on a separate occasion, that I love men. Ha! Even so, I feel emotional pain very acutely, and heartbreak is no joke. But at the core, I do love life and I think that’s reason enough to keep my heart open. There’s too much joy to share in this life to be closed off."

WHAT SHE’S LOOKING FORWARD TO
"I'm really excited to be in the process of redesigning my blog, which is long overdue. I’m also super stoked to have worked with Madewell recently on a shoot for TBD Fest, and I’ll be doing more festival essentials posts leading up to the festival. I’m also ready to move my blog more into a lifestyle direction rather than just fashion and outfits. Styling editorial shoots and working with talented photographers has been a recent highlight, as well!"

Photographed by Haley Titus.

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