- I used to bullet my days — it was my “style” on my old tumblr, runpineapplerun. So, why not go retro?
- Lady Fortuna has been good to me lately.
- Couchsurfing was fun, but hectic; it made me feel needy. But patience has its perks. Subleased a room until late July for $60 total. How do I even.
- Back to sleep, YAY!
- Always a weird feeling post-exams. I’m a little lost, I’ll admit.
- Amazing how stress alters a person. Had to find a job, work out a living situation, and ace exams. All three done. All stress gone. Amazing.
- And I can b r e a t h e. And s l o w d o w n.
- The best breakfast with Analiz, Chesney, Sean, and his squeeze Jane (who gets a lot of comparisons, but I just don’t see it). Inside joke: now the sound of mario coins will forever make me think of Satan.
- Content writing for Hampton Hammocks this summer. Can’t wait for mine.
- Books, hammocks, and bikes. You bet I’m excited.
- You can’t possibly imagine how badly I want to suit up and go see Gatsby. I was so tempted to invite people, only to realize the ones I thought of inviting weren’t fans of the book.
- Oh, and everybody who has been leaving the most incredibly heartwarming messages lately: thank you. I’d reply, but I want to keep them. I’ll be writing as usual again soon. The draft of the next post is shaping up to be about worry, the waste of an imagination. Happy stuff on the way too. Like, banana star.
- First night in a bed bigger than a twin in months. Er, that’s not entirely true, but close enough. Buonanotte, tumblr.
Sempre con Cuore,
Every creative person ever needs to see this.
careen into the wind
It’s nice to have you back, whipping about with life. It’s a wonder how we wound up in these wild waters.
The seas seem hopeless, right? I don’t have a car, a place to live, haven’t secured a job yet for the summer. Large payments to study abroad in Italy loom, threatening the dream. The storage unit’s time is up soon. Exams all crowd together at the end like waves. No idea of where I’ll be living next week, next month, even next year.
Far from hopeless. This is exciting. Just when we flirt with the idea of ruin, we realize just how much we have going for us.
“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails.”
I live through two bags, a lot of heart, and friends every which way. With all the odds stacked against me, I am still here — I’m still sailing. The waters of today are no more dangerous than yesterday.
I have persistence. I have heart. I have intensity as my best friend. I have a hundred people that would show up in a heartbeat. There’s somebody to cheer for, even fight for. I have awareness. I have dreams.
That’s enough to thrive, a short amount of time but a lot of life.
We see how the rising tide raises all the boats in the harbor, and with it, all the parts of life. Maybe they rise in chaos, but you can bet they’re rising to a greater opportunity.
This is the part where we rise up, living in heartstorm of the here and now.
(caught the image here)
Feel the Fear & Go
I’ll make this short and sweet: fear is awesome.
When everybody else runs away from something, or when you’re afraid of what’s on the other side, go toward the “problem.” As Randy Pausch said: “The brick walls are there for a reason. They’re not there to keep you out. They’re there to show you how badly you want something.”
What if you did that thing that scares the living daylights out of you? Is the worst case scenario absolute ruin? Not with effort and faith in yourself. With faith, ruin is not possible. Maybe that faith is in you, maybe that faith is in something higher; it doesn’t matter what you believe in as long as you trust yourself.
I’ve been embracing my fears instead of running from them and so much has happened as a result. Yeah, I’ve tripped up a few times (hell, I’m couchsurfing at the moment), but I’m still here and better for it. Seth Godin put it as this: “If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.”
I went to a Children & Young Adult Literature Symposium at the University of South Carolina and presented my conference paper about President Snow to the group (I was shaking). Then I went on a yoga day hike on Saturday (worried about how I would embarrass myself). I even woke up late and ran all the way across campus to catch the van in time. That experience turned out to be one of the best decisions in my college career. That was just this weekend.
Letting fear sit around in your head without any action on your part compounds it into paralyzing doubt. Doubt kills your dreams. It’s the belief that you’re not good enough that stops you from the life you deserve.
There’s a book I haven’t read because I’ve been chasing what scares the living hell out of me. The title goes: feel the fear and do it anyway.
So what are you waiting for? Lighten up about the possible failures, take a deep breath, and embrace whatever’s locking you up.
(caught the image here)
I love my life, everything about it, good and bad
Where the hell did this month come from?
I don’t know about you, but I have these moments throughout the course of my life where things make sense. They can be brief (twenty seconds perhaps) or long (days or weeks).
This entire month has felt that refreshing.
Let’s catch up.
Boston, where I was reawakened. I went there for a leadership conference and came back with my optimism recharged and ready. I’ve questioned myself this semester, yet from presenter to presenter my soul was reaffirmed: I’m on the right track. It could spiral in a thousand different directions. Big things change as a result of our little decisions, sparks that we make every day. But as long as I remain true to figuring myself out and sharing as much as possible for people, I’ll be okay. I got to meet the incredible Cindy Grosso, of the Charleston School of Protocol. I met up with Cindy and her husband after the conference and we talked for what felt like a lifetime. I am imperfect, but in the best way, an original way. My skill at talking to people holds great significance, and as Cindy told me, I have a rare responsibility. It will be tested in the hardest of ways only to show me how great it is to live, to breathe, to communicate. While in Boston, I hung out around Long Wharf Harbor, ate cannoli at Mike’s Pastry and spoke Italian at Lucia’s. I got to have cheese fondue and wine at Harvard. I had more fun than I could possibly imagine. It’s still possible, you know, to love again. You just need to get back to that place of adventure and possibility, where surprises remind me what it’s all about: people.
At the end of our trip, somebody who carved me up from well over a year ago gave me a letter asking to be friends again. I gladly accepted and felt the overwhelming awe of closure, all it takes is opening to being okay again. Forgiveness is really an incredible thing.
Back from Boston, I’ve been couchsurfing and getting to know people on a far deeper level than just acquaintances. I don’t mean romantically and I don’t honestly like the word friendship (which has too many connotations of weakness for me to settle with, I guess). Just experiencing what a relationship is without romantic love, just love of somebody’s presence, love of caring about their existence, of being there for somebody. It’s as if caring was acknowledging somebody all along.
Study abroad finally confirmed for Italy. I’m headed out to Milan in September. My dream come true. I don’t know how I’ll afford it and it scares the shit out of me, but I’ll find a way. I have to, I can’t let a dream die because of paper. Paper gives me power, not weakness.
Then Holi Moli. Powdered ammunition in hand, just having fun. I must have danced or met every single person there. I loved it. Afterword, another person from my past said hello to my present, and what a present that was.
Tomorrow, I’m off to the University of South Carolina for a Children’s Literature symposium. Saturday, a yoga day hike. Sunday, hell, why not the world?
Yes, I am concerned about how this semester will turn out with grades, but if there’s anything I’ve learned from recent hardship: how I live my life is more important, and more critically, that I live this life with love — flaws, imperfections, mistakes and all. The more I put the phone down and live, the more I realize how it’s the experiences that make life LIFE. Just watching it go by isn’t nearly the same as being a participant. As one of my imagination professors put it: “the more intense life is, the more it sticks.”
I have a story to live and a world to change.
HOW AWESOME IS THIS?
(snagged the picture from the incredible Amber Rae, you really need to check her out).
For Transparency’s Sake
There’s something I’ve been wrestling with this semester, driving back to the Oscar Wilde quotation above.
There’s such a tension of identity between our online and our actual self, and it’s interesting to see how close or divided the two are.
I keep coming back to a particular realization: comparison is self-destructive. For instance, you might think I’ve got it all together, that I’m 24/7 inspirational and happy-go-lucky, but you don’t want my life. Simply put: it wouldn’t fit you, quite capable and unique on your own (1/7,000,000+). You don’t want the nights where I shake awake with night terrors because I feel like I’m not living up to the potential that everyone says I have. Great intelligence is also an outstanding burden; there are things I simply don’t want to know so I might enjoy the little sunspots of a day. Of course you want somebody’s life when all you see is the good, but don’t forget: just because you don’t see the trials on the surface doesn’t mean they’re not raging about underneath.
With social media, there are now dividing realities of self: the one which we promote (Oh, look at me; my life is awesome, online) and the real (where bad days, weeks, months, even years do indeed happen). I’m not saying it’s all bad, but there’s no way the image we project is all good; everybody has their rough moments, however long those might be.
There’s a pressure associated on Twitter and Facebook, too. Somedays I feel like I have to “keep up” my imagine online, when I really want someone to give me a hug. Perhaps it’s pride — you’re seen as weak if you’re genuine, pure, or sensitive online. On Tumblr, I think it’s perceived as okay to be sad and crazy. Really, it should be a-okay everywhere to express yourself, regardless of the emotion. Some say the internet isn’t a place for emotions or opinions, but I can’t stand that position. I’m not a robot. I’m a person with all the terrific and terrible parts about me.
Don’t be envious of somebody’s life; you have no idea what devils they wrestle with on a daily basis. Sure, the glory of somebody shines bright, but you can’t underestimate the war they went through to get there. Shut off the comparison engine. Trying to be somebody else won’t do your potential any good, and you’ll always be frustrated because life is very real and people are all unique, entirely their own.
We reduce it down to “be yourself,” but really: be vulnerable, be transparent. Be entirely you, good or bad. You’ll figure out who gives a damn, and most importantly, the more transparent you are, the more you come to understand who you really are.
Live your life. Pursue your own dreams. Be transparent as can be.
I’ve always been a fan of the Phoenix, its ability for instant rebirth — even Hydra, growing back twice as strong with every head-rolling setback. For the longest time, I convinced myself that I had their rate of recovery, instantaneous and better, no matter the turn.
But as this semester’s progressed, I’ve learned that healing takes time, as much as I fought against it. Something inside me rejected the idea at the outset. When I lost people, I fought to get them back. When I lost opportunities, I persisted. I saw my life as an effort to align myself with the phoenix, the hydra, seemingly unfazed from harm. It’s a tenacity I’m proud of, but it’s also a strength that can simply run me into the ground… which it accomplished last fall, but it was a lesson I needed to learn, to breathe and pause, to live right here.
January was rough, I’ll admit. The worst part about losing somebody is when you see their reflection in the little everyday objects. Something as small as an offhand phrase would tip me. I thought it was so ridiculous, somebody having such emotional control over me, yet it still affected me. Sometimes it still does, as a weed cracks through concrete, but even though people leave, their impressions don’t.
February was a roller-coaster. Fast. Violent ups and downs. Just as midterms struck, so did a nightmare of a dental infection. Dreams died, and it took some time to recover from Google’s rejection. Slowly, despite the speed at which February flew by, I got better. Diving into every day with such intensity seemed to do the trick. As if our past is meant to force us into a state of “now-ness” to recognize that it is indeed a present to have a present at all.
The side-effect of life’s low-points is how you start to see again. You’re shaken awaken, eyes-wide, noticing everything in a slow-motion-before-the-accident way. And what I’ve really noticed is how incredible my friends are. Nights are filled with inspirational conversations with my roommate Caleb. Without a car, I’ve been picked up from a host of people I didn’t expect to offer. Relationships have been strengthened over car rides, over yielding my stronghold on my independence. Over and over, my friends have been there for me this semester, through loss, through pain, through surgery, through recovery, with every step.
And if you’re reading this right now, thank you. I really needed it, all of it. I’m taken aback by how awesome people are, how we’re generally good despite the rough edges. We can get so overwhelmingly busy, but when friends need it most, show up. Caroline was busy as ever post-surgery, but still made me soup. Taylor had Africa to prep for, but still managed to make my day. The people that come toward you on the toughest of days deserve your attention the most. Embrace them.
Loss is the greatest reminder to live now, to appreciate now. Despite how awful it can make us feel initially, loss teaches us about the beauty of those around us, and how we better stop and smell the roses before they’re gone, too. You don’t want everything to go perfectly forever, because you’ll forget what it feels like to lose someone, a dangerous feeling to forget. So if you are going to heal, heal here, heal in this moment. Soak up all the time you need. Remember how incredible it is to be here and to have these moments and have these emotions and have these friends. There’s nothing better.
Healing takes time because life wants to give you a chance to show you who is willing to still love you at your worst, when things are their roughest. The hardest part in life is the climb, but when you find friends beside you, you realize that any mountain can be climbed, any moment can be recovered from, any hardship can be turned into stronger scar tissue.
Remember, Hydra’s wounds always came back with two heads, not just one. Recover with others and you’ll recover better. I know I have — I can’t possibly express how much they mean to me, but the best thing I can do is continuously try to appreciate them anyway.
Cheers, as today is worth celebrating.
(image found here)
I got this “Table Topics” box in after-Christmas clearance, basically its a zillion little cards that are intended to help people spark up conversations at parties, and all of them in this box are related to happiness. I’ve been in a bit of a mildly depressed, unmotivated rut lately so I’ve been wanting to do this forever, and now that it’s spring break I finally have the time!
Reblog this (or indicate that you’d like a question in some other way, but I’d appreciate if you reblog because then I can get more people to ask) and I’ll send you a question from the box.
I really really look forward to seeing some answers, I’ve been in need of some inspiration lately!
(PS- I’m about to leave for work so give me some time but I promise I’ll ask everyone a question as soon as I can)