Category Archives: Uncategorized

Starting over

I recovered this post from the Google Docs folder I have of bloggity draft ideas. I still feel this way, in a sense, and just wanted to share because hindsight is 20/20 and I don’t know what prevented me from posting it in the first place.

“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” -Benjamin Button

Why, at the end of a long day, did this quote stand out to me more than any other? Because it gave me hope. The idea of starting over gave me hope. Is it really that simple – just find the strength and you can live a life you’re proud of? I hadn’t seen it in that particular light, but that’s exactly what I’ve spent the last few months attempting: a clean start.

Cheesy song lyrics come to mind, but really, they’re all true. That’s the fine line we walk during pivotal moments of our lives – the line between maudlin and calm, between cheesy and meaningful. I feel fortunate to be able to recognize this moment in my life for what it is – an opportunity to start over and become the person I always wanted to be. It certainly hasn’t been easy and it definitely isn’t over, but in a short time I can already see some baby steps that resemble progress.

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#ThankfulFor Day Four: Democracy

Democracy

Occupy Wall Street

2011 has been a year that proved the worth of social media to many who had previously been doubtful of its utility. Why? It’s been instrumental in the orchestration of several people’s revolutions across the world, starting with Tunisia and more recently occupying our minds and Wall Street. These protests have made me thankful for a gift those of us who are fortunate enough to be born US citizens are entitled to from birth – democracy. Just the fact that we have the right to publicly criticize and protest our government is a privilege compared to the risk many have taken in other countries to express the same sentiments. Today, particularly, democracy rings true for me as I remember how exactly three years ago we elected someone president of this country who arguably would not have been considered a candidate a few decades ago. There is still more progress to be made – there always will be – but I am proud to see living proof of democracy leading our country today.

How do you feel about democracy in the US? Have you witnessed a different political climate elsewhere that made you more aware of our situation in the US?

Game changer

Game changer.

I hate that word, I really do. It’s a dirty word, a buzz word, a word I try not to use.

But that’s exactly the word I would use to describe this past weekend.

I’ve always been interested in blogging, and even stuck with it a while back. My tastes have changed in the last few months, along with many parts of myself I used to hold dear. I didn’t stick with blogging long-term because I felt like no one would care whether I posted.

But after this weekend, I see it differently. Seeing so many beautiful, intelligent, funny people rally around each other in support and happiness was amazing, and I realized that the community that has the potential to form is irreplaceable.

People who aren’t into it smirk or roll their eyes, but if they could witness the camaraderie and friendship forming before their very eyes this weekend, I believe they would think otherwise.

So here I am, admitting that I am back and I am working on finding a niche here, building a community for myself. I know this is a good thing for me, especially once I’ve put some work into and struck a balance.

Hold me accountable, please. And see you soon with a real recap of the summit.

Confessions and questions

Some confessions and questions I wanted to put out into the world:

  • I love blogging and I’m afraid I’ll never be good enough to make it something real because I don’t want to miss out on life by spending tons of time on the computer.
    How do you balance your life and the people who surround you with your online tribe and commitments?
  • I hate my writing voice. Okay, hate might be a strong word. But I like to think I’m a pretty friendly, conversational person when you know me – and yet my writing voice could not sound more stilted or stuffy.
    How do you change something about yourself when you don’t know where to begin or how to proceed?
  • I struggle every day to balance my social life with the fact that I am an introvert at heart. It’s a big step for me to admit it anywhere, because I feel like introverts get a bad rap, but it’s true. I am exhausted by overstimulation in social situations and function best when I have more one-on-one conversations and time to process.
    How do you balance what is deemed socially acceptable with what you think is best for yourself?
  • I’m attending the 20 Something Bloggers Summit next weekend and I’m very excited but also very nervous. I won’t know anyone there personally, and don’t devote as much time or energy to blogging as I’m assuming many people there will. The reason I bought a ticket and the reason I’m excited is because I’ve always been interested in blogging and I want to hear some of my favorite bloggers speak. If you’re going, let me know!
    What do you do in a situation where you won’t know anyone and feel like you might be the odd one out?

Enjoying the process

The idea popped into my head a few months ago. Walking as fast as my short legs could carry me down the street, I stopped short at the smell of fresh flowers blooming on a nearby tree. That led me to wonder how many other subtle beauties I was missing out on, simply by rushing from place to place without taking time to enjoy the process of getting there.

The last few months, as I’ve subtly (and, okay, not-so-subtly, at times) alluded to, have been full of transitions – some transitions were expected, others blindsided me. The more I think about it, though, the more I realize that life is a constantly shifting series of transitions. As soon as you are accustomed to one thing, another changes, and you begin to adjust again.

Rather than looking at the changes and transitions with disdain, as my routine-loving-self used to, I am making a conscious effort to change my outlook to something more positive. Rather than hating how much time I spend on my own, I remind myself to enjoy this solitude and make the most of it now. I’m certain there will be moments in the future when I’d give anything to have a night to myself or some peace and quiet, both of which I have an abundance of right now. Rather than longing for the pre-planned, linear schedule school provided me with for countless years, I am working to appreciate the uncertainty of my future and see it as a big, beautiful ball of potential that I can push in any number of directions.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to parade my newfound attitude around like it’s a fool-proof plan. I still have many many moments of uncertainty and discomfort, but I am (oh-so-slowly) learning to lean into those times instead of avoiding them. When I embrace the awkward moments, I find I learn more about myself and am forced to grow in a way that I never was when I played it safe. They aren’t called growing pains for nothing – growing can be a painful, grueling process, but the rewards of fresh perspective and happiness make the pain worth it for me most days.

Packing and its metaphors for life

I really, really hate packing. Always have, for as long as I can remember. I barely thought about packing for my first year of college until the week I left. I didn’t start packing for study abroad until the day before I boarded my plane. Now as I sit in my room with clothes strewn about and stacks of books and stuff everywhere, I circle back to those moments with a question in mind:

Why? Why the resistance to packing, to getting organized (something I usually love) and moving forward?

Well, for starters, there’s the physical and emotional baggage that comes with packing. I never really thought about it until today, how often I try to avoid my past. They don’t call it baggage for nothing – many times I stuff things from my past deep down and carry them with me, bearing their unresolved and unacknowledged weight for so long I forget what life is like without them.

Packing brings all of that to the surface. There’s that scarf he bought me that I put in the back of the closet when we broke up – now I’m forced to take it out, examine both the scarf and my feelings, and pack it up properly. There’s the card she wrote me before we drifted apart – now I read the words and feel strange, like I’m eavesdropping on a conversation.

I avoid packing just like I avoid conflict and sadness – they’re painful to address and even though it’s childish, I always hope if I ignore them long enough they’ll disappear. It never works, and instead adds to the ever-growing pile of things I’ll “deal with later.” Then the pile gets so big it topples over and I have no choice but to deal, because I’m learning there’s never a good time to deal with anything. It’s easier to face life head on, pains and all, instead of dodging one bullet and getting pummeled by a semi-automatic later on.

This isn’t to say I’ve given up my childish ways. Clearly I haven’t – you should see my room right now. It’s so symbolic of all the emotional baggage I have yet to work through. But I feel like this connection of emotional and literal baggage is a step in the right direction. Acknowledging (and not hating) where I am (literally and figuratively) is the first step, and making a game plan from there is the next one.

So this is me, taking a deep breath and acknowledging where I’m at – lots to go through and deal with – and hoping that soon I’ll know how to proceed from here.

And just like that, spring is here

This winter was a tough one.

I felt pretty good going into the second semester of my senior year. I thought I had it all figured out, I had done everything right and this semester would be about coasting. Then my boyfriend – yup, the one I thought I’d be with forever – broke my heart, and everything changed.

There is a tree outside the window of my bathroom. Every morning since August I’ve looked out the window to see what the weather is like, how I should dress for the day. Throughout this breakup process, I’ve found symbolic significance in things that wouldn’t have mattered to me a few months ago.

We broke up in the winter, and as people outside my window huddled up and braced themselves against the biting winds, I curled up inside myself and braced myself for another wave of pain, tears, fear. I was in a dark place, but I took small comfort in knowing I could cover it up with disdain for the awful winter weather.
One particularly difficult morning when I was looking out the window I took a good look at the tree and told myself that by the time that tree was blooming, I would feel better. It was a promise I made with myself and even though I didn’t fully believe it, I tried my best so I had something to hope for.

This is the coldest spring Wisconsin has had in years, some have called it an extended winter. This morning I looked out the window and noticed the buds on the tree had finally unfurled to reveal ripe new leaves. Spring, like so many other things recently, has taken on a more personal meaning. Spring means rebirth, healing, blooming. While I certainly won’t say I’m all better now – the void I’m trying to fill is five years deep, I know it’s going to take a while to feel “all better” – I am healing.

This winter was a tough one.

My perspective on nearly everything changed – friendship, family, relationships, pride, my self. I didn’t believe anyone when they told me time was the only thing that would help. But they were right – well, half right, anyway.

Time has helped a whole lot, but I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without my support system. My friends and family have carried me through this in a way I never knew was possible. If I ever doubted their love before, there’s no way I could after these last few months. It took the loss of my core relationship, the one I had come to define myself through, to make me realize how many other fantastic people I’m fortunate to have in my life.

Spring is here, and I am so glad.