Friday, December 19, 2014

New Years are Weird

Some things never change as the years pass. One thing that is always funny to me is how people begin the New Year. Often times people make too many promises to themselves before going into January that they believe will lead them to a "better life." That's fine and dandy, and I do admire that. There's nothing wrong with striving to be better. But, you should do so everyday. Not just on Mondays, and not just on January 1. Why wait out the whole year to do something deserving for yourself, when you have a fresh start each morning?

In retrospect, it scares the hell out of me that another year has slipped through my fingers. I never even made a New Year's Resolution... I'm still thinking. Don't get the wrong idea, I won't make one this year, either. I've been turned off the idea since I've proven time and time again my addiction to diet soda is bigger than myself.

Resolutions can be fun. It presents you with a challenge, and sometimes the opportunity to work out an internal conflict. However, they are not for me, and never have been. Put simply, I am the biggest loser of resolutions. I simply can't keep them.

One year, I swore up and down, left to right, and on every grave in the state of New York that I would speak like a lady all year. No cursing. No exaggeration, five seconds after the ball dropped, I went to hug my mom and she spilled champagne all over my lap.

"What the fuck," I complained.

So much for that. Now that that's soiled I can just sail away with my sailor's mouth for 364 more days until I can try again.

If resolutions are your forte, power to you. However, there are a few rules to keep in mind:

1. Be realistic- stick with one goal to seriously work with throughout the year. "Get a promotion," "Gather the courage to finally ask for a raise." It is highly unlikely that you're going to "never eat Taco Bell as long as you live," "never drink another soda in your life," or "go to the gym three times a day, five days a week." (However, if this was your resolution, maybe wait until February when everyone who has this resolution cancels their membership. It'll be less crowded.)
2. Be fair to yourself- this is why I say pick one! It is easy for an unfulfilled goal to lead to disappointment, having ten may get messy. There can only be one Taylor Swift.
**3. If you're going to set any kind of resolution, don't start making a years worth of mistakes at midnight! The urban myth that "the new year resolution" kicks in as soon as you wake up is full of shit. Behave yourself. 

At the end of the year, I like to reflect on the year passed, and make some goals (not resolutions) for the future. My goals could be considered more of bucket list items that I hope to achieve within the year. The difference is a longer deadline, and it's not something I have to work on everyday.

A few promises for 2015...
-I will still drink enough diet soda to potentially harm my health 40 years down the road, but I'll worry about that if and when that time comes
-I will curse at my leisure. I'm a journalist, it will happen. A lot. Besides, I always wanted to be a sailor.
-I will not work out five days a week. If I go to the gym twice in a week, it's a miracle.
-I will still steal my sister's close every time the opportunity prevents itself (Sorry, Al.)
-I will still date losers, bad boys, and rednecks my mom won't approve of.

-Publish more articles
-Get a paid reporting internship for the summer
-Stay in Tampa for more than two weeks when I'm not in school (make a home base).
-Talk more when it's important, and less when it's not.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Secret Romantic

I did everything I possibly could to save the remnants of a relationship that was never there. Anyone who knows me will say I'm not much of a dater. I'm not yet sure whether this is an entirely conscious choice: my heart building shields of steel around its perimeter to defend itself from its past muddy history, or simply an unconscious rebellion against societal beliefs, which are dangerously skewed. However, when I have my heart set, I never stop fighting for what it wants. No matter how impossible it may seem in our day: with rap music encouraging promiscuous behavior and shaming monogamous relationships, I wholeheartedly believe in the sanctity of love. Love is a beautiful and rare thing, which is why when it exists, the feeling should be appreciated, cherished. At the same time, love should be easy. This is something that cannot be forced and cannot be feigned. I never understood the concept of "couples therapy." You are willing to spend thousands of dollars to talk to a stranger about your frustrations how another person isn't loving you the right way? Isn't it cheaper to accept the fact that maybe, just maybe, you were never right for each other in the first place?

I don't date often. Not so much that I don't enjoy dating, I do. More often than not, it just doesn't go as planned for me and my heart is left battered. I'm not much of a dater, but I'm a closeted hopeless romantic. I say closeted, because in the society we were raised in, yes, it's seemingly embarrassing. I don't utter the word often. Yes, I have a wild spirit, but I have a calm heart. If I promise it to you, it's yours and only yours, until circumstance demands otherwise.

I wonder: why is it in our society that the idea of romance is so off-putting? The simple act of proving you care for another person in ways greater than 140 characters? Gross!

Surprises are my favorite. I don't know how I know this on a count of I have never been surprised, but I imagine it would be great. Just once to not have a set plan, just go out on a whim, and have someone tell me they'll pick me up in five minutes, and we'll figure it out from there. That will probably never happen. This is a high paced world we're living in. People want to know that their time won't be wasted. They want to know where they're going, they want a signed and notarized contract from Google maps on where the place is, they want to know how long they can expect to be there, who else will be in proximity. Everything is pre-determined. God forbid something wonderful happened. Something spontaneous. Let your guard down. Allow yourself to live, and deviate from the plan you so eloquently developed for yourself. Everyone has a plan for themselves, what are the chances the numbers in your plan systematically match up with another person's plan? Let it go.

 I get it, though. This world is tough. Barriers are built, steel walls with alligator-filled moats surround your heart to protect the chance that God forbid you fall in love and something beautiful happens. Why do we do this? We want promises. We fear the unknown, and we fear rejection. If you never jump, you can never fall. In the same breath, if you never fall, you can never heal.

Another thing I never understood is why people let a day dictate when they're going to show love for someone they love? I don't want your flowers on Valentine's day. I want them on February 1st, or November 10. I don't want to be waiting in the doorway, tapping my foot with my hand out. I don't want to expect anything. Don't buy me gifts for Christmas that I needed in October. Be nice, because you want to, not because the florist told you to, and you couldn't pass up a 2-for-1 deal getting flowers for your mother and me in one shot.

What can we do to bring it back?:

  • First things first, stop playing games. If you have feelings for someone, let them know. Don't analyze how long you should wait before texting back, how often you should be busy, etc. Text back when you open the message, and see them as often as you're free. 
  • Drop the plans. Instead of "do you want to hang out?" and "what do you want to do?," try "I'll pick you up in ten minutes for dinner." 
  • Drop the notion that everything is about money. Not everyone is after your below-average pay check. Get over yourself. Go for a walk on the beach, go hiking, rent a movie, it's simply about being together.
  • Forget dates. Yes, I said that. Giving flowers on Valentine's day is super cheesy. Try giving flowers when it's least expected or when you feel someone needs them. The gesture will go better appreciated. 
  • If there's a problem, talk about it. People can't read minds, therefore aren't going to always understand when and why you're upset. Life is too short to leave words unsaid, the only person you're harming is yourself. Holding grudges causes wrinkles. Open up, and let things go [within reason]. 
  • Relationships are a mutual effort. If one person is pulling all of the weight and making all of the sacrifices, there is an unbalance that needs to be worked out, in order to avoid tension later on. 
  • Relationships should be easy. If you often spend a lot of time fighting, making it feel like a chore to talk to one another, it's time to cut the line. Enough of this notion that you "invested so much time," blah, blah, blah. If you're more miserable than you are happy, it might be time to throw in the towel. You'll start to breathe easier. 
  • Stop the crazy. Trust is essential. No snooping. 
  • Be loyal. Face reality. Cheating on your significant other will not turn you into Leonardo Dicaprio, or Kim Kardashian. Cheating makes you an asshole. That's a fact. 
  • Break down those walls, let the alligators loose and fill in that moat. Open up your heart. It could be as simple as that.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Falling in Love With Beautiful Little Nothings

I never wanted to be one of those kids who took things for granted. My mom, dad, Nanny and pop pop have always reminded me to be grateful for the small things in life. I’ve grown to appreciate that those beautiful little nothings mean everything in the long run. Those are the things you’ll remember ten years from now. Those little nothings are the basis of all your future stories. Open your eyes wider to those nothings and learn to love them now, rather than ten years from now.

I say that I’m grateful all of the time, but when asked on the spot to pinpoint those very things, I’m dumbfounded. The truth is, there are far too many things that I am grateful for to simply put in a single list. I am grateful everyday that I wake up, thankful for another day. It wasn’t always this way. Anyone who knows me probably knows by now that I suffer from depression. It comes and goes as it pleases and more often than not overstays its welcome each and every time. When these demons are with me, I fold. You remember when as a kid you used to see how many times you can fold a piece of paper, before it wouldn’t go anymore? That’s kind of like life with depression is like. Each day, another thing becomes a little less enjoyable to you. All of the things that used to excite you become “eh,” until you fold into nothing. You can’t bend anymore. Numb.

Each time I come out of a bout of depression, I have a new found appreciation for life, and I fall in love with it all over again. I appreciate each day I have where my brain is clear of these demons and I take advantage of feeling alive and well. I used to love to tell my nanny that I was bored. Each time she would tell me, “you’re too young to be bored.” I never understood what she meant. I didn’t know boredom had an age limit. What I think she meant was that there is so much in this life that I haven’t seen or experienced yet, how can I possibly be bored? As usual, she was right. I am never bored. I am always exploring. That’s what we all came to do.

The more I thought about it, the more I was at a loss. There’s so many, but when someone is looking for an immediate response, all I could seem to mutter was, “uhhh... Family.” The more I thought on it, the more I realized I am grateful for so many small things that make up the bigger picture of my life:

-Although my circle is small, it is tight. I have a strong bond with every one of my friends and family members. Although we are often far apart, we find ways to manage to talk every day.

-My mom doesn’t get mad when I call her eight times in a day, to tell her every thought that popped into my head for the day. Distance makes the heart grow patient, I guess?

-I can always count on my dad to answer the phone mid-day, when I just need someone to listen to me rant about my day.

-My sister is patient with me when I ask her a thousand silly questions about the way life works. It’s a mutual understanding that older sisters are supposed to show the younger ones the ropes.

-Having friends who feel comfortable enough to walk in my room without knocking.

-Having friends who refer to your mother as “mom.”

-Having friends who come to your house and walk to the refrigerator, before saying anything else.

-Being a “human sponge,” I soak up every lesson that people have experienced around me, learning from their mistakes, and growing by observation.

-Every bad person who has waltzed through my life. I hold no grudges, however I am thankful for all that you taught me about patience, forgiveness, and life. Only few, but you have all helped me grow tremendously.

-The feeling you get on rainy days, where you feel like it’s perfectly acceptable to stay in your pajamas all day and have a movie marathon with your dog.

-No matter how long I am away at school, my dog is always excited to see me when I come back home.

-Being a writer and being able to sympathize and connect with all different kinds of people on a deeper level.

-As a writer, feeling every emotion ten times stronger than anyone else. -All of the opportunities I have gotten through my school. Including: interning with CollegeFashionista, USA TODAY College, and Tampa Tribune, meeting my friends, and getting to travel to Memphis for a leadership program.

-The ability to see/ hear. As a writer, this is so essential for me, and something I think many people take for granted.

-Good health so I can bike, hike, run and box as I please.

-All of my english teachers who have helped me better my craft throughout the year.

-Support. When someone tells me that they read something I’ve written whether it be a blog, poem, or an article- it means the world to me, because I bleed into everything I write.

-Being free. I have a wandering soul. I am lucky to have the freedom to study whatever I want, wherever I want. After school, I have the freedom to pursue any career I want and settle down in any state that I’d like, with whomever I choose. This is perhaps what I’m most grateful for.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Love more, not less. Love fully, not conditionally.

I’ve been thinking about love a lot lately. Although I may appear to have a tough exterior, I am a total sucker for love. I think it’s a beautiful thing that the world seems to be lacking right now, and I am fascinated by the concept. What do I mean by “concept?” Love is one of those terms that there is no set definition, you can define it however you please. What is considered love to you, may not feel like love at all to the person next to you. Each person has their own set definition, each relationship has its own definition, and each person has their own philosophy when it comes to love.

Anyone who knows me knows that I swim in the beautiful words of Tyler Knott Greggson. Never before have I read anything quite like his poems. He has an incredible knack for making big things out of little nothings, and finding hope in what may seem to some like the darkest places. While he does receive criticism for always writing on love, he stands true to his belief: this world needs more love. Love more, not less. Love fully, not conditionally. I am always interested to see how love changes over generations, over years, and witnessing its different forms within different people.

After writing about the love between my Nanny and Pop Pop for Creative Writing, and a bad experience I had when love went awry for my Feature Writing class, I got to thinking about my own philosophy on love. I thought, if i’m still single, it must not be very good. But, after giving it some thought, I reconsidered. It just means that I’m not willing to settle for a love, just because I may be lonely. I’m abundant with love, it’s all around me.

It was the wise words of Marco from Starting Over Again that solidified my philosophy on love: “I can never unlove you. I’ll just love you in a different way now.” I think this is beautiful and so absolutely true. So many people when a relationship ends, tries to convince themselves that they hate the other person. When in reality, if you’ve felt love for them once, you will always feel love for them, it will just take different form.

For me, I have felt what I consider real love for a man twice in my life. Although they may not be in my life now as much as they used to be and things didn’t work out like we had planned, that doesn’t change how I feel about them. I fell in love, because they were great people, who I enjoyed being around. Just because things did not go to plan, doesn’t mean they’re not still great people. Just because things didn’t work out doesn’t mean I hate them. I will always wish them the best and I will always hope they have happiness in their lives and do great things. My love has just taken a different form.

When I fall in love, I fall in love wholeheartedly and purely. My love is pure, I want nothing in return from you. I don’t ask that you give me gifts, you give me surprises or anything of that manner. I don’t even ask that you love me in the same way that I love you. My love doesn’t come with terms and conditions. You can’t help who you fall in love with.

What is your philosophy?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Beast

The scenario has grown all too familiar. I start to feel strange, almost out-of-body. I don't want to write, do I even like to write? I question. I don't want to go to class, why did I choose them this semester? I always chose the wrong ones, I blamed myself. I don't want to get out of bed. Why would I? The room is cold, my blankets are warm, and right now I'm wrapped tight like a cocoon, and as far as I'm concerned no negativity will bleed through this blanket. That may be because it's already all inside my head.

"The beast is back," I warn myself. My dukes are up, and once again I'm ready to fight. I've had my fists up on three separate occasions now, this routine has become a part of me.

As much as I try to fight it, and as much as I am confident that at certain times I can "beat the beast," I am also confident this is a darkness I will be plagued with my entire life. They try to tell you that your depression is not you, and you are not your depression, but they're wrong. Depression is me, and I am my depression. I have accepted that. I cannot recall of a time where I was not fighting the beast, so I'm convinced he's always lived inside of me.

My first bout of depression was when I was eight years old. The beast consumed me for two weeks, before I could shake my wrists from his blood clotting grip. Eleven years later, onto my most recent bout, lasted nine months, and was no doubt the scariest time of my entire life. I was convinced that I had become the beast. I wanted my life back. I wanted my mind back. I wanted the sound of my laugh back. I wanted the light back.

This is part of the reason I am so proud to have the waves tattooed on me. It serves as a constant reminder that the waves will come, and they will go, but they will be ever-present. A threat lurking in the shadows, waiting to make a return. Will this be the time they finally take me out? Send me tumbling back to shore, with no chance of coming up for air? Maybe, but I'll be ready to put up the fight of my life upon every single return. And that's why I can't dwell on the beast. I love the fight. It presents a challenge on my strength, and I have the opportunity to prove myself to the bastard every single time.

I've said it before, and I will say it again without shame, I owe my life to my best friends for having incredible levels of patience with me as I found myself again. My mom is an angel. No matter how many times I start to fall, she is always there with open arms, ready and willing to push me back up. She ensures I never sink or hit the ground, and I am (sometimes) thankful for that.

"I guess life is a bit like the roulette wheel- we all take our chances and it seems like most everyone lands on a bad place sooner or later."

So I got dealt a shitty hand. I can't dwell on that, because I can't trade them in, nor would I want to. This is my life, and I can't take it for granted, because I had to fight like hell for it.

For now, welcome back beast, this time you're not allowed to over-stay your welcome.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dear Mom

It seems a tradition in our family is to have designated "sister days." These given days are exactly what they sound like, you dedicate the whole day to bonding with your sister, and no one else. Due to the fact that we live on opposite sides of the country, my sister and I thought it would be a good way to ensure that we never felt neglected when we get to visit each other. However, our mother and her sister stole our tradition and decided to expand from sister day to "two weeks with my sister." They went to France. My sister stayed working too many hours in California, and I stayed in Florida, attending class 8 hours every other day. They win.

The only other time my mom went on an international vacation, I was ten. I cried every day, because she took my sister, and I was stuck home with my dad. Every body knows that moms just "get" you better.

You never realize how much you talk to someone, until you don't talk to them. However, this time I didn't cry (maybe once). Just kidding. In an effort to grow up and become independent, I wrote her a blurb of all the funny things I had to tell her while she was gone.

Two weeks apart and my life becomes a sitcom waiting to be picked up by Tina Fey.

Besides the blurbs, I had time to reflect on how important she really is to me, and basically essential for my day-to-day life.

Dear Mom,

I’ve often heard people say, “you don’t know what you got til it’s gone,” but these two weeks you were on vacation, I definitely felt the void. Who authorized you to go to France, and leave me here?

You are the reason I am a writer today. You are the reason I spend hours on end researching, typing and cramping, rewriting and reworking articles. You are the reason I work so hard. You are the reason I am so in love with what I do everyday. Although you are the reason I am a writer, I somehow find myself at a loss for words, when I’m asked to describe what you mean to me.

You are my motivation, role model, mother, and mainly my best friend.

Mom, I’m in awe of you everyday. Your humor and “laugh at life attitude” automatically makes me feel safe when I’m around you. Your cackley laugh is so loud that I can hear it up the stairs, even when my door is shut, and it's contagious. You are the only person who knows how to make me feel better when I am upset. Your determination to get what you want when you want it, inspired Alex and I to do the same in our lives.

I couldn’t be more grateful for the stubborn Italian sass passed down from nanny to you to me.

You have saved my life countless times. When no one else had the patience to understand, you always did. From my eighth grade “boy who cried wolf” mid-life crisis, where I couldn’t decide what to do with my life, and you told me to pick up a pen. From my two week bouts of depression, where I couldn’t find a reason to get out of my bed, you gave me the hope. To my eight month bout of depression, you never gave up on me.

There is not a day that has passed that I am not grateful to have you in my life. Sometimes while walking around campus, I thank God you pushed me so hard during the application process, even though I swore I was too stupid to settle in school. When I see other people’s parents I feel so lucky I have you, and I feel sad for them that they don’t.

Thank you for accepting all of my phone calls, even though sometimes they can be up to eight per day. Thank you for constantly motivating me to run after my dreams, even though I quit the track team (twice). Thank you for still loving me when I ask you, "this or that" and when you say "this," I always pick "that." Thank you for loving me, even though at times I make that an extremely difficult task.

If and when they invent an award for the most patient mother dealing with a stubborn child, you will win for sure.

Thank you for never losing faith in me. I hope I continue to make you proud, and less stressed. But, we'll see how that goes.

Mom, please stop going on vacation without me.



Monday, September 8, 2014


Today in creative writing, our prompt was to write about the negatives. Whether it be in a single person, or all of your pet peeves wrapped up into one horrendous person. I've never realized how fun, and how liberating it was to smother someone's flaws in ink, to serve as a constant reminder and warning to yourself for future reference.

Also, the people who ask you never to write about them are often the most fun to write about:

You're welcome.

Sorry, I don't keep promises, my fingers are stitched crossed.

You never call,
like I wish you would
only complain,
and come home late,
like a fool usually would.

You never surprise me,
like I hoped that you would
only make excuses,
and other plans
that never include me.

You never dress up,
only mess up
no shirt or suit,
or even clothes that fit you.

You never drink coffee,
and ask me how my day has been
only a beer,
paired with a belch,
poised as a reply.

You never read the paper,
or a book with more than three chapters
only the backs of the box
that house your video game obsession.

You’ve never met my friends,
I don’t think I’d let you.
You’ve never met my dad,
I don’t think he’d like you.

I never loved you,
like you wish that I would have,
like I told you
I could have.

Involuntary Disconnect

This week, I learned a very important life lesson, against my own will.

I’ve been wanting to conduct a social experiment for awhile now, where I surgically remove my cell phone from my retinas, and occasionally, my asshole, in order to reconnect with my surroundings. To be fully present.

Of course, excuses are abundant, and sometimes motivation is not. However, sometimes fate happens, and gives you the kick in the ass you need to get things done, and push your boundaries.

This weekend, my phone suffered a tragic accident at the Dallas Bull, and had no chance of revival. I’d like to say there was a cool story behind it, like it flew out of my hand while I was riding the mechanical bull, but it didn’t, just dropped. I only have a purple bruise to show for the mechanical bull, but that’s another story that I’ll save for another life.

In the slow motion replay of my phone gracefully proving that gravity exists, I thought I would be distraught not having my phone. I was never disconnected, I always had my shield to protect me from small talk and awkward encounters. Now, i’d have to talk about the weather and make eye contact? What the hell kind of torture was my fate offering?

Instead of being angry about lacking the means for communication, I am more aware. I am in a sense liberated. No one is bothering me to ask where I am, or what I’m doing. No one is harassing me that I missed a deadline, or I forgot to call them back, or meet them for lunch. Instead, I am getting e-mails, and hand written notes left on my desk, or people knocking on my door, and I love it.

On the way to class, I was able to breathe a little easier. I looked around and was amazed by how robotic our strides appeared. I saw about 50 people, each walking different directions, headed to different classes, but all walking the same pose. Eyes down, walking crooked lines, many into my path (ugh! No really, it’s fine. I love it.) Many apologized, but some gave me death eyes, passing the blame of the traffic bump on me. I accept.

What I noticed: the sky is extremely blue today, which will later blend into a cotton candy sky that tempts me to go buy actual cotton candy. But, I’m on a diet, and you can’t bite the sky. More flowers were planted on campus for this semester. Not all of the palm trees are brown and dying a slow death. The fashion on campus is really diverse, and really inspiring. I never realized how nice everyone dressed. (The conceited part of my brain only really cares about my own closet, but I can appreciate it.) No one actually wants to talk to me to my face without minor stutters, losing their train of thought, or breaking eye contact. That’s fine with me. For once I can proudly say, “It’s not me, it’s you,” and mean it.

I’m more attentive to the smaller things, that often get overlooked when my eyes are inside my screen, rather than in my head. I like not having to answer, “what’s up?” three to five times a day. I live a very simple life, the answer is more often than not, “not much,” or “laying on my couch with Netflix and cookies.” Instead, I am making eye contact and small talk. I am persistent with people making conversation with me, because they can’t text me, and I’m glad for that.

Although my screen is shattered, I have fifteen unread text messages and two missed calls. I can’t see who they’re from, but I have a very strong feeling I’m not missing much. (no offense if you sent me a message, I’m very bummed I can’t see your text.)

It’s been three days, and my new phone isn’t supposed to come for another week.

For right now, I’m enjoying the silence and gaining my eyes and a little bit of my sanity back. I’m re-exploring my surroundings. I was so connected, that this little bit of disconnect feels like a welcome relief. This involuntary lesson was nice, but next time, hopefully it will be as a result of my own devices (no pun intended.)

I encourage you to take a break and look around, or maybe talk to me for the time being. Our campus is really pretty, and I really like having conversations about anything besides the weather or politics.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Behind each work of art there’s a tortured soul, or a broken heart. Behind every tattoo there’s a story. When I get a work of art permanently printed on my body, I am not ashamed of that story, and I want to share it with the world.
I have always been fascinated with the idea of waves as a metaphor for life. Life is hard, and there’s no doubt about that. I think we will always be in the water. When things are good, we float, and the waves pass through us without much thought or struggle. On the other-hand, when things are bad, life sends us tumbling back to shore. With the waves over our head, we often find it difficult to get our head back above the water to catch our breath. The waves keep coming. They show no mercy.

I’ve been in the water for nearly my whole life. The waves will comes, and they will be rough. I find myself in an awkward tumble back to shore. Only in this scenario, the waves keep coming, and they do not break. I’m somersaulting underwater back to shore, and I cannot catch my breath. I fear I’ll lose my bathing suit, but that’s the least of my concerns. I fear I can only hold my breath for a little bit longer. The fight gets harder, and the breaths more desperate with each passing second.

Then, with no rhyme or reason, the waters calm. I cough up the water that threatened to drown my lungs, still tasting the salt, which will always remind me of the inevitable. They’ll be back.

I’m no Olympic swimmer, but I’ll be damned, if I give into the tides without putting up the fight of my life.

I think the waves on my foot serve as a beautiful reminder of the fight. Even though the cycle will never fully disappear, it reminds me that the waters will calm again. Now, when the waves linger over my head like a bad nightmare, I get ready to swim like hell and ride that wave back to shore, before it takes me in itself. These waves are a part of me. They will never subside, but as time goes on, I’m teaching myself how to float, to drift over these demons.

Often times people don’t know how to help a loved one struggling with their inner demons. If you have never dealt with depression yourself, it makes sense that you don’t understand. One can never truly empathize, until they experience the situation first-hand. The first thing you need to know is that the age-old words of wisdom including “just cheer up,” “get over it,” and “time heals all wounds” don’t apply here.

Depression is not something one can control and depression is not something you can explain. You can have it all, or you can have nothing at all. Depression doesn’t discriminate. Your whole body shuts down, and your mind is working against you. As a result, your whole world collapses, and you can’t even imagine how to pick up the pieces.

Happiness is only a conscious choice when your body physically has the ability to be happy. Sometimes, you’re in a fight against yourself, and sometimes, that’s the worst battle of all.

Sometimes the only thing you can do for someone struggling from depression is to be there for them. Even if they’re not willing or able to talk, stay on the phone, sit in the room, and keep your arm around them. Just having someone there makes the load a whole lot easier. Loving someone may not be enough to pull someone out of their depression, but it’s important that you do it anyway.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Addiction is an Unreliable Bitch

"What fascinates me about addiction and obsessive behavior is that people would choose an altered state of consciousness that's toxic and ostensibly destroys most aspects of your normal life, because for a brief moment you feel okay."-Moby
Addiction is an unreliable bitch, and that's just a fact of life. Often times, people are quick to put down those suffering from addiction, like it's something they can control. Be gentle with your tongue before you go pointing fingers, and look inward, because we're all addicted to something, some of us may be addicted to a few things. And we all think it's harmless.
Drugs: caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, weed, pills, exercising, even something as seemingly innocent as love. Once you get it, you get high off the attention, and only crave more. Love, arguably is the worst of them all- the gateway drug.
 In dealing with addiction, you're at the mercy of your own mind. That sage wisdom to "just snap out of it," doesn't work too well here, if ever. You're your own worst enemy, and no one can unravel you from the ropes you're entangled in, except yourself.

Something I've been blessed with this year is an abundance of empathy. Although I don't think I have ever lacked the quality, but just suffering from a lack of logic. Many people I have loved, and still do, have become monsters at the hands of addiction. I never quite understood why, so I foolishly blamed it on their own choices.
Loser. Get a grip. Get your life together. How sad.
These are things we all may have thought at some point or another about someone we know, or maybe even about ourselves.

I hope I'm not being misunderstood. I am no psychologist, but I am a professional thinker, which I often attribute to being one of my fatal flaws.

From what I understand, and have witnessed in relation to addiction, there are three thing which I believe to contribute to the root of addiction:

1. Safety- This is where the "Unreliable Bitch" part comes into play. Those suffering from some form of addiction whether is be alcohol, drugs, or the most potent-love, use it is as their safety net. In general, people do not want to deal with unpleasant things. If you have something that helps you to forget about life for a little while, whether it be minutes, hours, or days- you will probably welcome that thing with open arms. Whatever it is, it helps you deal with reality, which at times can be unbearably painful. Except, what is disguised as comfort to you, may be disguised as a disgrace to other people. While your addiction comforts you, it repels people away from you. You keep your addiction close, and people at a distance. The addiction serves as a wall that temporarily blocks out all things unpleasant, while potentially blocking out wonderful things as well. If you were truly happy, you wouldn't need an artificial drug to bring you to life. Rock bottom is a dark place, but only gets darker when you coat it with chemicals.

Addiction is rooted out of fear of having open eyes to the world in front of you. Whatever your scared of, dealing with it will be the most empowering feeling in the world. If you can get over your deepest fears, you can surely handle any challenge that comes your way. And you can. You just need to take the first step.

The fear of falling often blocks people from stepping out of their comfort zone. If you never leave your comfort zone, you are going to be stuck in that box forever. The only opportunities that will come to you will be other people's left overs. If you fall, get back up. If you fail, try again. If you loved, and got your heartbroken, love again.

Take a deep breath, and deal with your reality. Let down the walls, and let people in. If your scared, ask for help. If you're scared, you know you're alive.

2. Desperation- This is a fast paced world, and it's common for people to feel lonely. Everyone has their own routine, and sometimes you just don't feel as appreciated as you would like to. People may not be as comfortable with words as you wish they were, and attention may be divided.

A cry for help. Testing the water to see if someone reaches out with a life raft. Does someone care enough to stop you? Sure they do.

No matter what your situation may be, you will always have so many people who love and care about you. Open your eyes and your heart and accept their love.

If people are not reaching out to you, reach out to them. Before you go searching for validation in something artificial, look for validation inside yourself. You deserve to have happiness and you deserve to have love.

Most importantly, if you love someone who isn't treating you right, don't be scared to walk away. Being mistreated or under appreciated is something no one should ever get used to. Forced love is not love. Never settle for anyone and never lower your expectations just because the person that you love cannot meet them. Sometimes we fall in love with the idea of a person. This idea skews the reality of who they really are, ignoring their flaws, and putting them on a pedestal of our false expectations. Kick them off the pedestal, and one day your prince or princess will come along and take their rightful seat.

3. Control- Life is hectic. And that's fair, because it's that way for everyone. Don't think it is discriminating against you, giving you all of the world's problems. Many people search to control things like alcohol or food just to say they have total control over one aspect of their life. But, no. Life will not have that. Strict control often spirals desperately out of control, and you will not have hold of the reigns for very long.

Accept things for what they are. Do not over-react to things you cannot control. You cannot control other people's actions, the weather, the traffic, etc. Breathe. Accept it for what it is, and move past it.

This life will be full of bumps and curves, and that is the only guarantee you are promised. Roll with the punches, and adjust safely and accordingly.

If I misunderstood before, I apologize, but feel grateful that I have a better understanding now. Before you jump to conclusions and judgments, it is essential that you search to gain a deeper understanding of what may lye on the surface.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Love is the Driving Force for Everything in This World

In the past year, I lost the two people I was most scared to lose. I think terrified is a more accurate description.

Growing up, I never lost anyone close to me. Goldfish, sure. Distant cousins, maybe. But it never really hit me. I was never close enough to the loss that it affected my everyday life.

I always sympathized with friends who lost family members, because as I said, “I couldn’t imagine.”

It all happened in such a short amount of time. My world became a tornado. I never stopped spinning. My first loss was our childhood dog. I remembered coming home from pre-school and having her jump at my feet. I’ve never felt more excitement over anything. When it was time to put her out of her misery, although my mom warned me it would be painful, I re-assured her I needed to be there. Man’s best friend. She was there for me my whole life, she needed me now. I pet the spot behind her ear that always made her feel at ease, and she looked into my eyes as she laid her head to rest. I never thought I could feel more pain in my life. Boy was I wrong.

I remember crying to my therapist,

“My pop pop is very sick,” I said.

“He’s going in for open heart surgery. He’s the brave one, I’m not sure if I can handle it. I told him since I can’t be there, that he should think of me if he gets scared, and I will be right there holding his hand.”

The best phone call I have ever received was letting me know my pop pop made it through the surgery. 80 years old. What a fighter. The downside, was it was a downwards spiral from here. My pop pop lost his pep, he slowly gave up the fight, and the weight seemed to be melting off of him.

I’ve been calling everyday, and I would talk to him until he would decide that he would rather watch Judge Judy.

“Nobody seems to want me to go,” I said. “To visit, I mean. And, I’m not sure I would want to see him like this.”

“Well, would you be okay if you never saw him again?” the therapist asked me.

I spit the word, “no!” back at her before she even finished asking what I hope no one would ever ask. I booked my flight to Florida as soon as I got home. In this situation, sure it will be the hardest pain you’ve ever experienced in your life, but you need to experience it. My pop pop has been there for me for every bump I have ever experienced in my short 16 years of life, and I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to be there for him.

I sat by his bed for three days. The nurses would rub my back, and suggest I get some rest in my own bed. I was reluctant to leave his side, and a little bit pissed that they would even suggest it. We all held hands, and we all cried. We didn’t need to speak, because all of the words we needed to say, were silently spoken.

The nurses told us it wouldn’t be long, and said that we should tell him that it was okay to let go. I juggled the possibility in my mind of doing so, but somehow it didn’t seem right. But, I knew for his sake, it would be what was best.

I squeezed his hand and slowly spoke, “Pop, don’t be scared. I will take care of mom and nanny. I promise you. I love you and I miss you already.”

That night, I stayed up until 3:30 sitting next to my pop pop. “You should get some sleep sweetie,” said the nurse. I was too tired to argue.

7:03 June 30 was the worst wake up call I have ever gotten in my entire life.

“It’s time” my mom said.

We crowded around my pop pops bed arm in arm as he took his final breaths. We were all there as he received his wings, and made his way up to the pearly gates.

I spent a lot of time alone. Writing, reading, walking, and listening to music. I refused to think about it, because once I did, it was real, and he was gone.

My nanny woke me up one morning and told me she loved me. She believed that she was dying, and she didn’t want to fight anymore.

“You have to. You have to promise me,” I panicked.

I hugged her tight.

My nanny was a fighter. But, to the people who say you can’t die of a broken heart, I beg to differ. My nanny couldn’t see life without my pop pop. After 60 years of marriage, she was ready to follow him into the next phase of life.

Just shy of a year after I said good-bye to my pop pop, I said good-bye to my nanny.

Even though we were in different states, I feel the void everyday. When I achieve something great in my career or at school, I jump to the phone, and get an empty line. When I need advice, I hear my nanny’s voice, and see her wagging her finger at me. When I feel depressed, I hear her saying that I’m a young girl, and I shouldn’t feel sorry for myself. “Enjoy this life,” she always told me.

They say it gets easier, but it doesn’t. It’s been two years, and I haven’t stopped spinning. It’s been two years, and I haven’t sat down and really cried. Until now.

In short, what I’ve learned from my Nanny and Pop Pop:
-Life is too short not to enjoy every second of it
-Even if you think no one is on your side, your family always is.
-Cherish the people in your life.
-Cherish little moments.
-It may hurt, do it anyway
-Don’t have enemies- people have enough going on in their life, you don’t need to make it any harder for them.
-Tell the people that you love that you love them.
-Don’t speak with an ugly tongue. If you don’t like somebody, mind your business, but you still have to be nice.
-Love is the driving force for everything in this world. You’re either searching for it, fighting to keep it, or following it. Love with all of your heart whether it be endeavors you embark upon or people you encounter.
-There’s nothing more beautiful in this world than two people so deeply in love, that they couldn’t bear to see life without the other.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


I’m fascinated by the concept of waves. I believe it is a beautiful metaphor to capture the essence of life.

We will always be in the water. When things are good, we float. The waves are light and seemingly pass right through us. However, in the blink of an eye, those gentle waters can get rough. You can be floating for years, and one wave comes along that is just too tall to drift over. That wave will crash over your head, and send you tumbling back to shore. But, even though you may get taken out time after time, the waters will calm again. You need to jump up, shake it off, and swim back out.

Last year, a family friend tragically took her own life. Although I did not know her well, I ached for her. I knew all too well the cycle that she was trapped in. She couldn't catch a break long enough to catch her breath, and get back to shore. She got caught in the waves, and kept on tumbling.

She gave up the fight, and they pulled her back home.

Within minutes of hearing the news, words poured out of me,   

“She was a beauty,
but she lived her life in the ocean.

The waves passed through her,
disabling her to see
the beauty lingering within her soul.

Multiple times she screamed in the face of the darkness,
"you can't win!"
And the waves pulled her under,
crashing over her head.

As they tried and tried,
she cried, and cried
because, no one could understand what it was like
to live in a cycle of waves merely half alive.

She had a laugh louder than life,
but when the waves emerged,
her strength didn't suffice.

The wave washed over her,
and she forgot how to swim.”   

If there is only one thing you need to know about life to be able to navigate the waters a little bit easier, I’d say it would be that life does not come with flotation devices. Overtime you begin to learn the time of the tides. They will crash. They will take you out. You will be sent back to shore, but you will get up again. When you see the wave come in, be prepared to duck under it, or get ready to ride it.

Rest in peace, angel. I hope you found the peace you were so desperately searching for.

Monday, July 14, 2014


At this point in our lives, I feel we are all at a crossroads. We’re at that age where we are still considered by some as too young to make any life-altering decisions, yet still old enough to know better.

The crossroad lays in the path of expectations set by others in society, and the path we’ve imagined for ourselves.

Do you do what is expected of you, in that order? Or do you risk taking the untraditional route to pave your own path? What if the cement you choose doesn’t set well? The only possibility to know the end results of each set path is in prediction. I think knowing indefinitely would take all of the fun out of the journey.

We’re at that age where we should be working to help pay for school, to make a living, and ultimately, stop begging our parents for money. Whether we choose to live at school, on our own, or with our parents is still up to us. We’re at that age where if our hearts are filled with wanderlust, it’s still ok to grab a backpack and a passport, and get lost. It’s not crazy to want to spend two weeks wandering around Rome, as it would be if you had a family. It’s ok to stay in your pajamas one day until two in the afternoon, and pretend like the real world isn’t waiting outside your bedroom door.

Before college, I struggled a lot. I knew what I wanted to do, but it seemed like everyone else I knew had a different vision for me. They wanted me to make a lot of money and they wanted me to live in a big house. I thought that was great in theory, but there’s a few flaws. First, I don’t care how much money I’m making, if I don’t get up and love what I’m doing. If I’m not passionate about it, it’s not worth it. Why would I work crazy hours to make money I would never have the time to enjoy?

I felt guilty that I didn’t fit the mold my parents had envisioned for me. No bends, twists, turns, or practice would have me fit that mold. I am not a science or math person, and I don’t understand equations or statistics. For me, I create the world in a way I understand. Whether I like it or not, words pour out of me. I describe situations to make them feel relatable for people. Words are my photographs. Words are my equations. Words help me form this crazy world into a formula I can understand. I am a writer by nature. If I am lucky enough to get to paint with prose for the rest of my life, I will be rich with passion and love for every endeavor I embark upon. I love what I do, and that is enough an explanation for me.

Now in the middle of college, the next question we get bombarded with is, “what’s next?” It’s terrifying. Society seems to want the name of the company that will hire you out of college, the social security number of your future husband, the receipts for all of the debt you need to start making payments on, and where you are going to live.

Currently I have three addresses: my mom’s house, my dad’s house, and my dorm at school. I have no idea where I am going to be living next year. Do I want to stay with one of my parents? Aren’t I a little old? I want to plant my own roots, to have a city in any state that I can call my home. I don’t know where that will be, and I’m working to accept the fact that I will have to figure it out when the time comes.

I’m not going to pretend like I’m an expert on something I’m not. Since we’re being honest, I’m terrified of the future. We grew up with the belief that “perfection” is the ultimate goal. Therefore, I’m scared of lack. I want a successful career, I want a love that lasts until the day I die, and I want a house with a big yard where I can plant my roots with my family, and run barefoot through the grass. Being organized helps me in every aspect of my life, but you cannot create a vision board for every course of your life.

Something that has always inspired me to take chances is my mother. She got a job out of high school, but when she was 40, she decided she wanted to do something more fulfilling. She went to college to study for a job she had always dreamed of doing. With determination and a lot of hours spent studying, she got her degree, and the job she wanted. My mother is the perfect example of even if you get what you love wrong the first time, you can always reverse and change directions.

I’m scared my plan will not go so according to plan. But, i’d rather be known as the girl who fell, than the girl who never jumped.

Be scared. Take chances. Change directions. Take the wrong job. Create your path, and take your time paving it.  Have fear, but jump anyway.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

This Small Town's Dead, and She's Never Felt More Alive

  I wanted more. And that’s why I left. I wanted more for me, for my family, and for my future family. I didn’t want to be trapped under the small town curse. You get comfortable and you never leave. The comfort is nice, but merely serves as a walker. As we begin to grow as people- in spirit and in mind, we outgrow the barriers of small town life. We need something more. We need something more stimulating in order to feel alive.   
      I wanted more than nights spent home alone dreaming, while everyone was out and about with the rest of the town: drinking, smoking, breaking curfew, while breaking the law. I wanted more than holding my breath walking through the gates on my way to school, to avoid the pot clouds getting tangled up in my lungs. I wanted more than sharing one guy between every desperate girl in town, who just wanted someone to love her, to validate her existence. I wanted more than experiencing heartbreak after heartbreak after caring for those deemed “unlovable,” just because they’re scared to get close to people. I wanted a real life. I wanted experiences and I wanted all of them.   
     I was terrified. Terrified of getting comfortable in the cushioned walls that small town life promises and provides to its inhabitants. I was terrified of getting comfortable with being average. I didn’t want to become another person who raises a family in a house surrounded by a white fence and guarded by a small yappy dog. I didn’t want to graduate from school, to go on to work a 9-5 job that makes me dread waking up in the morning. I have dreams and I want to live them and stop dreaming them. My dreams are sometimes bigger than myself, so it was no surprise that they began to ooze outside of the boundaries of this washed up town.   
    Whether it was maturity or just a change of heart, i’ve learned to stop competing and to stop arguing. Small towns can get catty. If someone manages to find a one-way ticket out, we get jealous. If someone is doing better than we are, we feel insecure. It’s human nature. However, i’ve given up the fight. I’ve given up caring if people liked me or what I was wearing, or how my family was living. It’s exhausting. I’ve given up being hurt if I was left out of a plan. There’s always next time and there’s other things I can do tonight. I’ve given up being hurt over guys who I shouldn’t have paid attention to in the first place. Whether you look at it as a fault or not, I attract to broken souls, because I can relate. Not being able to make up your mind and not wanting to get close to someone, I get it. But, nurturing a broken soul with no nurturing in return gets old real fast, and i’m too old and my time is way too valuable to be playing games with people who don’t know what they want. I’m over the arguing. The possibility for a fight no longer excites me, but exhausts me. I like to steer clear whenever possible. I’ve learned the best way to win an argument is not to respond at all. The most important thing that I realized is: life is not a competition. It doesn’t matter if you have achieved something in x amount of time, and I haven’t yet. It’s not a race. I want to experience everything, but it doesn’t have to be right now. It was important for me to realize to stop measuring my success by the level of other people’s successes. Just because I accomplished something doesn’t make me better than you. We’re all on the same playing field. The only person i’m competing with nowadays is myself. I just want to be better than the person I was yesterday, everyday. Just like I want good things for myself and my family, I want good things for you and your family too. It’s not a competition: I wish you all well. I enjoy rooting for others and watching them succeed before my eyes.   
       Remember: this life is short. Go after what you want. Chase it with both hands. Nothing in this world is too far out of reach as long as you’re willing to work hard for it. If you’re not happy where you are, change it. This life is full of possibilities, you just need to wipe the crust out of your eyes and start looking. I’m rooting for you.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Happiness is a Subjective Term

  What is happiness? I think it’s something we tend to ponder when we are lacking. Happiness, like many other things in life, is a subjective term. It has a different definition for each person. For some, happiness means seeing others happy and making a difference in someones life. For others, happiness is based on having, such as having a steady job and a steady boyfriend or girlfriend. This definition scares me. Why? These things are temporary. Does that mean without these you will be miserable? I want a happiness so strong that I can feel comfortable with everything, but still have the same amount of comfort if I lost all of my possessions. In this day and age, it appears that many of us, including I are often guilty of basing happiness on material items. New technology, new shoes, and the latest handbag: we want it all. Like Oscar Wilde once said, “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”   My fear has always been the unknown. I don’t like surprises, I need to know what’s going to happen so I can plan accordingly. I’m scared of things that leave and change, that’s why i’m reluctant to get attached to people, because what if they up and leave? As time goes on, i’m realizing that is not how life works, and i’m working on it. You have to be willing to loosen the reins that you think you have on life, so you can experience all that it has to offer. Just because some people leave, that doesn’t mean that all of them will.You have to be willing to fall. Sometimes that fall will make you all the more stronger.  
 I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I have been trying to focus on not allowing materialistic items to determine my happiness.I decided to compile a list of simple things that make me happy throughout the day.      

-The ability to walk and explore new places. My curiosity will keep me traveling and exploring as long as my legs keep moving.      

-The stillness of the morning air      

-The smell of fresh flowers and fresh cut grass      

-Having time off from school and work to read a book      

-New journals and the possibilities for the fresh pages     

-When I get home from school and my dog is excited to see me      

-Blasting country music      

-Long drives on a Sunday      

-Small country towns and the sense of community that’s established there.     

-The sense of clarity you get after you write.      


-Eating healthy      

-Ability to see and hear


What makes you happy? Is it something that's around long-term?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

15 Things I learned Freshman Year in College

Freshman year is an exciting time in every young adults life. It's your first time being away from home, and you're starting to learn all those lessons your parents tried to teach you, only now you're learning the hard way. On your own. As freshman year is coming to a close in the next few weeks, I started to ponder over what this year has taught me, and how it helped me grow into a semi-more mature woman. I came up with a list of 15 things I've learned through first-hand experience, or witnessing it through someone else this past year.
1. You don't have to be best friends with your roommate, and you don't have to hangout with her, but you do have to respect each other. Otherwise, you're in for an unbearable semester. If things really aren't working out, there's always the option of doing a roommate swap.
2. Your friends from first semester may not be your friends during the second semester. That's okay. People evolve, interests change. Move on.
3. Don't be scared to do things alone. If you're constantly waiting for somebody to be ready, or find someone who wants to go somewhere with you, you're going to be waiting and wasting a lot of time. Go to events that interest you by yourself. It's a great way to get involved on campus, and a great way to meet new people who share the same interests as you.
4. A good rule of thumb: it's probably not a good idea to drink and or smoke on a weekday.
5. You become like the people you hangout with most: choose wisely.
6. Don't try to drink as much as the bad boy you've just fallen for: he won't be impressed, and you will just end up looking really stupid.
7. Don't settle! So many people feel pressured to get in a relationship when they first get to college, that they end up settling for less than they deserve. Be patient: you will find someone who treats you well, and someone who actually sets goals for themselves. (Rule of thumb: the guy you met at the bar probably isn't boyfriend material. What would your mom think?) Do not keep going back to someone who doesn't treat you well, just because it's what is familiar. There's plenty of people in college, there's bound to be a handful of gentlemen somewhere on campus.
8. Be unavailable. A good way to spark someone's interest is for you not to be available to them all the time. Cliché, but true, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Don't be scared to say, "I'm busy," or "I have other plans."
9. Don't be scared to say no. You don't have to go somewhere or do something you don't really want to, just because "everyone else is going." Staying in can be refreshing sometimes. A simple "no thanks" will do.
10. Show interest in other peoples day- no one wants to hear how stressed you are about school, or how tired you are. We're all stressed, and we're all tired. This is college. Ask other people questions. People like to talk about themselves, and they will start to avoid you if they think that they can't talk to you, and think that you only want to talk about yourself all of the time.
11. Go to class! This one seems obvious, but especially if you go to school where the weather is warm, it's necessary to state. People will try to get you to skip class to head to the beach, or lay out by the pool. If it's raining, it may be tempting to skip class, because you've gotten spoiled with nice weather 24/7. However, attendance is mandatory in most classes. At some schools, you will get denied credit for the class after you miss two class days.
12. Budget is not just important, but essential. Know how much you have to spend at the beginning of the semester, and allot yourself a weekly budget for food and entertainment. Take into consideration any necessary payments you have to make. If you spend all of your money in the first few weeks, you will be very unhappy staying in for the rest of the semester, while all of your friends go out and have fun.
13. Appreciate your parents- they are the reason that you're here. Although they may have been extremely annoying during senior year, and the application process, deep down you are grateful that they pushed you so hard, so you could have a good life. They are the ones that send you care packages, eager to receive an excited phone call when you open a box from home with your favorite candy and study snacks. They may be paying your tuition bill, and you know that if you're ever in need of anything they're only one phone call away.
14. The most important lesson I learned during college: stay hydrated and eat before class! If you're dehydrated, and hungry and the weather is hot, it is very likely that you will pass out in class. Although people may say it is not embarrassing, it is embarrassing when you faint in class and a table breaks your fall. (For the record, this one didn't happen to me. It happened to a friend )
15. Freshman 15 is most definitely a thing, but don't let it dictate too much of your time. Eat well and work out often, but still take time to enjoy pizza with friends. Enjoy your freshman year!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

College isn't easy

College is not easy. A new environment: new people, no parents, and for many of us, being away from home for the first time. Once again we are the little fish, wandering around a big sea, still trying to get the hang of how to swim. We're vulnerable, but, we're not the only ones. Being on your own for the first time can be scary. It's easy to get lost. Being lost can lead us to searching for validation from the new people we meet on campus. However, it is ultimately up to you to decide how you feel about yourself.
If when you look in the mirror, your thoughts are clogged by what others have said about you, you have let them win. You allowed other people to have power over you, in determining how you feel about yourself. It's time to silence those voices, and gain back the power.
I'll admit, college has not been easy for me. I'm away from home for the first time, and on top of that, I am really shy. The first few months on campus led to me searching for validation from my peers, something I have never cared to do before. Silly things: do I fit in here? Is my skirt cute? Am I eating too much, too often? Do you like my haircut? Those first few months, I was under a lot of stress, mainly stress I put on myself, in an attempt to strive for unattainable perfection.
I wasn't taking care of my body, and I didn't care. Chemicals, on top of strict dieting, and excessive exercising. I would settle for a few pieces of fruit per day, while trying to maintain my schedule of kickboxing 3-4 times a week. Barely giving myself enough fuel to get through the day, it got harder and harder to complete an hour kickboxing routine.
I pleaded ignorance when my family asked how I could have possibly lost almost 30 pounds in just a few months. Dropped in a new world full of uncertainties, I had "control" over one thing, and it spiraled desperately out of control.
I was never fat, I have always been an athlete- soccer, basketball, track, kickboxing, and cycling. However, I was always striving to be better. I always believed if I was more tone, I would feel so much happier.
Almost 30 pounds lighter, I was anything but. Not only was I weak physically, but, emotionally as well. My spirit was destroyed, and I was tired all of the time. I didn't have the energy to go out with my friends and frankly, I was embarrassed to. I didn't have the energy or motivation to do anything that I loved to do. Writing and working out was placed on the back-burner. Filled with anxiety, sadness, and fatigue, I spent the first six weeks back at school in my bed trying to regain my strength. There's no feeling quite as bad as watching fun things happening all around you, but not being able to par-take. My days consisted of: waking up, wishing for a nap, and going to class as an empty shell. I would eat lunch and dinner in my room, because I was exhausted, and out of excuses, tired of getting defensive, because people judged my eating habits.
At one point, I considered switching schools and moving closer to home. I told myself I wasn't ready to be on my own quite yet.  I had just turned 18. Reality is, no matter what school you're at, your brain is coming with you.
I knew I had to take initiative if I wanted to feel better again. Being as stubborn as I am, I had to admit I was having a hard time, and that I could use a hand. Slowly, I began to let down walls, and open up to my friends and family. I shouldn't have been shocked that they weren't shocked, or immediately ready to run fast in the opposite direction. I am beyond lucky to have the strongest most patient friends and family, that anybody could ever ask for.
My friends and family have been patient with me as I relearn to love myself, and find the enthusiasm I once had for the things that I loved most.
One thing I've learned this past year is that no matter what it is, your family will never let you go through anything alone. I've never been more grateful and sorry for anything at the same time.
From this point on...
I promise to...keep what other people think and say about me as being none of my concern.
I promise to...accept and embrace my flaws in all their glory.
I promise to...take care of my body.
I promise to...say something if i'm feeling unhappy, or lost.
I promise others who may be feeling down, or get a blurry reflection when they look in the mirror.
I promise to...go easy on myself.
What do you promise? 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A mothers job

I read an article today, that is still lingering in the back of my mind, even hours after having finished reading. The author is an adult woman, recalling the decision to undergo liposuction surgery when she was 18 years old. This decision was encouraged by her mother, who told her daughter at ten years old, that she had thunder thighs. It's a word I have heard before to describe myself, but never from my mother. I cringed. 

A mothers job is to teach her daughter to feel beautiful in the skin that she's in. Little girls are supposed to grow up believing that they are beautiful princesses, because that's what they are. 

A mothers job is to instill confidence in her daughter. Teach her to accept her flaws, and live in spite of them. 

A mothers job is to teach her daughter to love herself, because if she can't, then who will?

She continued, admitting that she started dieting at 12 years old. She started to binge, and purge, hoping that she would lose enough weight to raise concern in someone. Or maybe feel accepted by her mother? 

At 12 years old, kids should be outside. Riding bikes, playing with dolls, or jumping rope. Not standing in front of the mirror pinching sections of their stomach, holding their thighs up to see if they jiggle, or concerning themselves with how many calories are in the slice of pizza that they had for lunch. 

At 18, she decided to take her mothers offer to pay for her liposuction surgery. What she expected was a swan-like transformation. After the surgery, she would be thin, and she would feel comfortable in her new body. What she got, was more disappointment. She still felt ashamed of her body post-surgery and she felt ashamed of her decision to get surgery in the first place. 

In my opinion, no 18 year old needs liposuction. No 18 year old should be thinking about liposuction. But rather spending time at the mall, enjoying pizza with friends, or planning to see a movie on Friday night. 

After reading the article, I felt overwhelmed with sadness. Sad that a mother could criticize her daughter to the point where she would become involved in extreme dieting, bingeing and purging, and consider surgery at such a young age. I felt sad to think of such a young girl preoccupied with petty things like weight, appearance, and calories when her time should be consumed by dolls, jump ropes, and time with friends. No one should have to feel alone at that age. In reality, none of us are alone in the situation, because we all feel it. Every body you meet is dealing with insecurities. The only difference being, some people have learned better than others to acknowledge their flaws, and live in spite of them. 

Whenever I read an article, I try to relate it back to my own life the best I can. Like I said, i've heard the word 'thunder thighs' used to describe myself many times. I've heard my legs compared to tree trunks, man legs, every other big object you could imagine. Never from my mother. But, from mean kids at school. Those words stay with you. 

I would come home to my mom upset. She would bring me in front of the mirror and say, 
"Look at yourself. Tell me one thing you see that is ugly." 
Like a mother does, she named off some positive qualities I possessed, while I pondered my ugliness. This act made me feel dumb. 
"I don't know, my legs?" 
"You gave them the power." She told me. 
"You let the mean kids at school dictate how you feel about yourself." 
This angered me even more. I didn't like the idea of letting other people control how I thought about myself.

Remember: Not everyone was brought up with the same level of confidence as you. Encourage each other. If you could make someone else feel good during the course of the day, you had a productive day. Life is hard enough already, there is no reason to make it harder for any body. 

My mother taught me that true beauty lies within the heart and soul. I could never thank her enough for taking the time to instill confidence in both my sister in I. I could never thank her enough for having patience with us, as we learned to accept our flaws, and live in spite of them. These are lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life, and teach to my own daughters someday. 

To Katie: (the author): 
I hope you've learned to look beyond the reflection in the mirror. I hope you've learned that that reflection does not dictate your worth, and you've realized the true beauty that you are. I'm sorry that you went through all of those years not knowing that. 

The article i'm discussing can be found here:

Friday, February 21, 2014

Submission Provides Clarity and Protection for the Weak

Why submit? Whether it be to the authority of someone who is of a
 higher ranking than we are, or rather believes that they are, or submitting to the 
monsters lurking inside ourselves. Why submit? 
It’s easier, sure. When there is constantly someone else telling us what to do, 
we don’t have to think too much. It’s easier not to put up a fight.
 If we don’t fight, we don’t have to spend time coming up with an argument, 
or proof as to why they’re wrong. 
I’m not talking about breaking the law, or disobeying your boss. That will only
 lead to trouble, and I am not advocating that at all. I’m talking about the 
outsiders who try to control your life. The people you have no real reason 
for keeping in your life because, they only harvest negativity, but the people you 
can’t seem to rid yourself of.
The reality is, we don’t want to fight. We are lazy. We want the easiest way out. 
No one wants to deal with unpleasantness. Sad? Lonely? 
Brokenhearted? Angry? Who wants to deal with that? 
In a world with thousands of distractions at the tips of our fingers,
 why would we want to deal with our problems, 
when we could just pretend as if they don’t exist? 
Real clarity has become so overrated. Nowadays we can find it at the bottom
 of the bottle, or in the bed of a stranger. This is the world we live in, this is 
what we have submitted to. 
My advice to you: Stop taking criticism from people. People who try to live your life
 for you, do so because they can’t comfortably navigate their own. 
Fight. It’s what differentiates you from everybody else today. Put down your 
 phone, and live. If you want something, get it. In the words of 
Shim Moore from the Sick Puppies, “Fear is the dumbest thing we’ve 
created in our minds. It stands in the way of everything, and achieves nothing.”
 Fear is a hazardous chemical that alters your perception of reality. 
Everything is achievable, you just have to be willing to fight hard enough. 
Forget fear because, it only aides you in becoming what you’re scared of.  Send out positive vibes, and positive things will come into your life. 
When a new opportunity approaches, embrace it with open arms. 
Even if it’s negative, don’t be scared, you may need the lesson. 
Live for yourself, and pay no mind to what other people say. 
This life is yours, and yours alone. It’s time to start living it.