My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

Living in the Almosts

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There is a place in which most accomplished-but-still-self-doubting people frequently exist. It’s a creeping place, the kind that gnaws at you and refuses to let you forget that you are not there. It’s the land of the people who are successful but aren’t quite sure how, who feel like they lucked into something they actually worked very hard for — the people who hold their breath because they think one false move will make it all go away.

I call it living in almosts.

It’s the feeling that what you’re doing, what you’ve done, who you are — everything about you is almost but not quite good enough. Almost but not quite exactly what anyone else is looking for in that moment, in that instance, in that circumstance. Whatever the goal — a job, a relationship, hell, even a strong-enough credit score to land an apartment — there is some sinking, nagging feeling that you overlooked something, that you said just one tiny thing wrong, that you didn’t do everything perfectly, and so because of that one small, hairline fracture, everything else will come tumbling down.

So you overanalyze. You microanalyze. You lay awake at night, trying to find the flaw, picking yourself and your attributes over, even though you know by now that there is nothing else to glean. There is no more. What you did is what you did, and what will happen, happens. You say this like a mantra. Que sera, sera. What is out of your control will happen whether or not you worry yourself to death over it.

Still, though, there is that fear.

I have always struggled with the concept of almost, but not quite. I think I fear it more than I do abject failure, honestly, because in that small space of the “what could have been,” there is an infinite amount of questioning. If you fail outright, if you are told no, if you cannot pass go and cannot collect $200, you know that is it. It’s done. That’s all there ever could have been, and it’s that much sooner that you can lick your wounds, eat your pint (or three) of Ben & Jerry’s, turn around and find another path. You can learn from your mistakes that much faster. But when it is an almost — when you are strung along and think that maybe this (whatever this is) could really be it, The One, the moment at which you finally achieve your dream, only to find out that no, now is not your time yet — it feels almost like a waste. Like you could have tried harder. Like you should have said something differently. Like you were so very close to having everything, if it weren’t for something you did to sabotage yourself somewhere along the line.

But the fact of the matter is, almost does not shift the blame onto you. Almost means you’re actually on the right path — there just might be a little more work to do. Almost is an arrow in the right direction, if you can find it. And you always can. Sometimes it just takes a step back from the gleaning, the obsession, the manic fixation. Sometimes you just have to let things be.

Because sometimes, it simply isn’t your time yet.

I know that’s a trite aphorism, and so much of life is equal parts timing and equal parts working very, very hard, but how much of each can you rely on? Simply, then, you work very, very hard, and then when timing is ready for you, it will let you know. But that feels like you’re leaving a lot up to chance. Which, honestly, you kind of are. But that’s how the world works sometimes. Not everything is meant to be in our control.

First, though, you have to believe you’re good enough as it is. Or you have to tell yourself, even if you don’t believe it yet. Because if you don’t, who else will?

And even if you’re not — if you’re not yet, you have to tell yourself, because eventually, you will be, in some capacity for some role or someone or some dream — then that’s fine. After all, nobody’s perfect. And getting everything right on every first try is never the case.

So fail, and fail a lot.

If there’s anything I’ve learned in my almost 32 years on this planet (woof, y’all. I turn 32 on Thursday) it is this: Fail spectacularly. Fail the most anyone has ever failed before. Get so close to something and let it slip out of your grasp by millimeters, because at least that means you reached as far as you possibly could — and maybe next time, you’ll be able to stretch a little further.

Maybe next time.

That little maybe is called hope.

And hope is what helps turn the almosts into reality.

Taking My Life Back

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**A very special guest post from one of the strongest, bravest, badass and most amazing people I know — my baby sister. Everyone has a story and hers has been filled with more fight than anyone should have to deal with. I hope this sheds some light on endometriosis, the challenges it presents and gives hope to anyone going through something similar. **

It’s been 7 years since I was diagnosed with endometriosis. 7 years since I was diagnosed with a disease that has no cure. Initially, I was relieved. It sounds strange, but after years of going to doctor after doctor, spending money I didn’t have, missing school & being told it was all in my head; after years of knowing something was wrong but being told I was just fine – I finally had an answer. Everything I was feeling all those years, was real. It had a name – I finally felt vindicated. And then, the reality set in. The reality that my life would never be the same, that this pain is permanent – there is no cure.

In the past 7 years since being diagnosed, I’ve had 10 surgeries and I’ve tried every treatment available – medication, physical therapy, a year and a half of medically induced menopause, alternative therapy, you name it I’ve tried it. But to no avail. That’s the thing about endometriosis, the treatment options are, well, there aren’t many. And the ones that do exist, aren’t often successful in actually treating the disease.

Women with endometriosis are warriors, we’re fighters. We put our bodies through hell in hopes that we get just a little relief. We fight for an inch of normalcy, for an inch of our old lives, for less days spent in bed because the pain is so debilitating we can’t move. We fight. We fight in hopes that one day they will find a cure. We fight so that future generations will hopefully never have to endure what we endure. We’re fighters and we’re stronger than you think.

During my last surgery, they found that I also have adenomyosis, which is a sister disease of endo. Because the endometriosis went undetected all those years, it found a home inside of my uterus, among other organs. But unlike endometriosis on your ovaries, intestines or fallopian tubes, it can’t be removed surgically unless you remove the entire affected organ.

The past few years it’s gotten much worse – with pain so bad I’ve, on countless occasions, thrown up and passed out. I’ve felt the full effect this pain and this disease has on my body. It’s tired, I’m tired. I’ve been fighting for a long time and I just wish it would stop, I wish I could get just one day without pain.

I wish I was a normal 27 year old who’s able to go out with her friends, who’s able to work without fear of being fired because of the days missed due to this disease. I wish I could do the things I used to do, I wish my old life was still my own. I wish a lot of things. But mostly, I wish I wasn’t a 27 year old, getting a hysterectomy in a month to cure my adenomyosis, which is only a result of my endometriosis.

It’s not a choice I ever thought I’d have to make. It’s not a choice anyone should ever have to make. This disease has stolen days, weeks, years of my life. I’ve lost relationships, I’ve lost friendships, I’ve lost the chance at the life I planned, the life I wanted. It has taken enough from me – it’s time I take something back.

To all my girls out there, to all the endo warriors – keep fighting.

To Honor and Serve

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I was 18 the first time he left.

A freshman in college, I was buried three-feet deep in text books studying for finals when my dad called with the news that he was being deployed to Iraq. Growing up a daughter of a colonel in the Air Force, I guess I always knew in the back of my mind that one day this might happen.

But when it finally did, I wasn’t prepared for the tole it would take on not only me, but my mom, my sister and the rest of our family.

I heard someone once say that if you have a loved one in the military, you are in the military as well. I never fully understood that until I experienced what a deployment was really like.

Not hearing from my dad for days, sometimes weeks on end.

Having Skype calls with him, only for them to be cut short because of bombs or chaos going on in the background.

Trying to live a normal life back home, when all you could think was if you would ever be able to see, hug, or talk to your dad again.

To say that is was hard, would be an understatement. I’m a doer, and a fixer. But sitting 3,000 miles away in my dorm room, I felt completely useless.

War changes people. And rightfully so. Our soldiers over there see and do and experience things that no one should ever have to endure. When my dad came back, I could sense that he was different; he was the same old loving goofball, but he was reserved, cautious, quiet whenever I tried to talk to him about his time overseas.

Yesterday, I got a call I never thought I would get again. My dad, who was set to retire in only a year, was called up one last time, one final deployment. My dad will always be a military guy – honorable, dedicated and willing to put his life on the line to make our country a safer place. I couldn’t respect him any more, and I am so proud to be his daughter, but it doesn’t make the fact that he will once again, be put in harms way any easier.

Being a quote unquote “military brat” forces you to grow up fast. You end up making a lot of sacrifices, and are dealt hands that can be tricky to navigate sometimes. But it also makes you appreciate life a little more, love a little harder, be gracious and thankful for the time you have and the people in your life.

The next six months will be one of those tricky navigational times, but I have to believe that what he is doing has a purpose, that he is going to do a lot of good for a lot of people, that he knows what he’s doing and will come home safe.

Faith is a powerful thing, and in situations like this, it’s the only thing.

 

 

 

 

 

To Walk Without Fear

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It was a little after five o’clock on a warm July afternoon.

I had just wrapped up work for the day and was making the long walk across the campus to my car, a routine I had grown to really look forward to for the last two-ish or so months I had been with Regis. It was the perfect way to unwind after a long day; just me, my music and the beautiful Colorado sky scape.

I never, ever had a reason to feel uneasy or unsafe, and didn’t think anything of it when a stranger stopped me halfway through my walk to say hi.

He was standing by his bike at the foot of a cross bridge, and introduced himself as Father Woody, someone I had heard about in the short time I had been at Regis who headed up the service projects and outreach services here at the University. I was honestly honored to meet the man I had read so much about, the man who had done so much good for the community.

As I approached, he smiled and said, “Wait just a second, miss. You’re gonna have to give me a hug first if you want to cross this bridge.” I laughed it off as a joke, and continued walking. He proceeded to move to the middle of the path, saying in a much firmer tone, “You must have not heard me correctly; you need to give me a hug.”

Do you ever get this uneasy, pit-in-your-stomach feeling?  A feeling that shoots a message to your brain that something just isn’t right?

What happened next was somewhat of a blur. The man grabbed my arm with such speed and force that I was stunned. Maybe it was adrenaline, or fear, or a distinct feeling that I needed to get out of there and get out of there ASAP, but I pulled away and ran to my car, not without hearing him exclaim first, “You gave me a GD woody!”

The weird thing was, I got home that night and really didn’t think it was that big of deal. I remember calling my sister and telling her what had happened, the shock and anger in her voice is still something I won’t ever forget.  It wasn’t until that very next morning when I saw the man again on campus, this time riding his bike through the first floor of my office, the look he gave me and the “Hey sweetheart” that escaped his voice that I realized what had happened was something much bigger.

After I came forward, and gave my statement to the Denver Police later that afternoon, over 30 other women reported having this man say crude and awful things to them around campus on multiple occasions.

I never thought something like this would ever happen to me. And when it did, I didn’t want to admit that maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t as bulletproof as I thought. The strong, independent part of me wanted to brush what had happened under the rug. I didn’t want pity. I didn’t want sympathy. But when I started talking to others who had come forward after I did, thanking me for sharing my story, and being brave, and giving them the courage to share theirs as well, I realized the power that is telling your truth.

Unfortunately the path to justice wasn’t a short one.

For three years, his case dragged out. For three years, I felt this uneasiness, this fear, this constant need to look over my shoulder when I was alone. For three years, I’ve had to appear in court, rehashing that night over and over again and to no avail.

But a few days ago, that all changed. This past Tuesday,  I stood in front of the court and the jury, and gave my testimony one last time. I told my story (as scared as I was – just so much nervous sweating, y’all), not only for myself, but for the hundreds and maybe even thousands of other women who have had their safety compromised, who were disrespected, abused and hurt.

To those reading this that have gone through something similar, who may feel like they can’t or shouldn’t tell anyone because of shame or guilt or the antiquated stigma that comes along with being a victim, I want to let those people know that you are not alone. And that I love you. And that I am here if you need to talk or a hug or need a cheerleader to standby your side.

Don’t ever, EVER be ashamed or afraid to speak up, to share your experiences and take a stand for what is right. You never know who else you could be helping.

I hope one day we won’t have to have these difficult conversations. But until then, I urge you to keep talking and creating these important dialogues.

And to the incredible men out there who are champions, who are kind, and respectful, who are challenging the status quo and working to help educate and raise an even better generation (I’m fortunate to have so many in my life), I thank you. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

 

 

On the outside looking in

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I was talking to a friend today, who reminded me that to every life being lived is someone else peering in on it, imagining what it’s like, what it feels like, what it would be like to live that life instead. Maybe that’s why we’re so fixated on social media, because it’s an easily accessible form of peeking, of voyeurism, of looking in on the people who live their lives on full display. We make brands and careers and lives off of it, as crazy as that is.

We give into it. We feed on it. We perpetuate it.

Were you to tell me even three years ago that I would have the life I do now, I wouldn’t believe you. But here I am, almost 7 years to the day that I moved to Denver, CO loving every minute, every second of it.  I’ve carved out a little niche of my own in this beautiful place I am fortunate to call home, however the crazy trajectory it took to get here, the sacrifices I made to make it happen, the low budget I have to stick to and the many, many hours I work. (Because I do work a lot, and I work hard, and I love what I do. You have to if you wind up working 15 hour days. If not, what are you doing it for, no?)

The other day I went hiking with a friend, and we grabbed beers at one of the thousands (just a little bit of an exaggeration) of local breweries, and had some of the most ahhhmazing street tacos of muh life. It was a great Tuesday, a Tuesday that reminded me of how truly lucky I was. I snapped of photo to share on Instagram, and received a comment from a friend that went something like,”OMG you have the best life!”

While his comment had some nuggets of truth – I do have an incredible life and try really hard not to take it for granted – he was also just seeing a very small glimpse into my every day, a pixelated moment of joy that I chose to capture and share with the world. The truth is, not all moments are like that. I try to be as transparent as I can when I’m on social media, because I think it’s incredibly important to be real, to be honest, to present yourself online as you would irl. But life is hard. And messy. And confusing as all get out. And a lot of times, those hard, messy and confusing moments don’t get shared.

I often look back on the things I’ve posted and wonder who that girl is, that girl who is having so much fun and doesn’t have a care in the world and doesn’t worry about how ridiculous she looks  – that girl knows what she wants, and she knows she wants to live a “fuck yes” life.

Which is not to say that that girl is not me. She’s deep down in there, somewhere. She is the part of me who rocks her Harry Potter socks, is the first to break the ice with a ridiculous dad joke and gets up at 5am to catch that mountain sunrise. She’s also the kind of girl who would much rather curl up on the chair with a good book and/or ponder the use of commas than go out to a party. She’s the girl who sometimes cares too much about what people think about her, who has insecurities and worries and fears just like anybody else. And though there is nothing photogenic about that no matter which angles or filters you use, that girl doesn’t have such a bad life, either.

It’s so important to take a step back sometimes – especially in the age of all things social media – and remember that those pixels, the pretty sheen and bits of people’s lives that seem so perfect are not real. Or if they are, they only mean something because our society takes very arbitrary things and makes them out to mean something — and that person only comes out in single frames.

The only person who can and should be living your life is you, and no one else. Create moments for the sake of creating moments. And maybe unplug every once in a while. It’s surprising how much you actually miss when you’re trying to capture life for everyone else.

18 Things in 2018

 

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This is normally my favorite post of the year. Because despite my best efforts, I learn things every year and it’s fun to record them.

And for some reason every year, I learn exactly the same amount of things as the year itself. Weird, no? I don’t know why or how it happens, but I’m rolling with it.

Without further ado, here is my list of 18 things I learned in 2018:

  1. Giving feels better than getting. After the craziness of the past year, I spent a lot of time putting my energy into giving back. I have a pretty damn good life when all is said and done, but there are many people out there – families, young children – who are struggling to put food on the table, to find a safe place to sleep, to simply make it through the day. The world can be an ugly place, but it’s made all the brighter when we help one another out. Giving back is the shit, y’all.
  2. Cut anything that’s not working for you anymore out of your life. Yeah, it’ll hurt for a minute but then it’ll rock and you’ll be all, oh wow, this rocks! And I’m a big fan of things rocking.
  3. Fear not! If there’s anything I’ve learned this year, it’s that the best experiences in life often come as a result of doing what you were scared of, of looking fear directly in the eyes and doing the damned thing anyway. Whether that be climbing that fucking mountain, opening your heart again after being hurt or simply saying yes out of a habit of saying no, you’ll only regret the moments you missed out on due to that pesky fear.
  4. Do what you really want to do. A few days ago I submitted the final draft of a second novel I’ve been working on for publication. It’s different than anything I’ve done before, and to be honest, it’s a little terrifying putting myself out there like that. It’s a risk, but you know what? It’s been a crazy and awesome and crazy awesome experience and sometimes you just have to go for it, ya know?
  5. It doesn’t take that much effort to feel close to people. This year I’ve been texting and IMing and Facebooking and Instagramming and group messaging my ass off and it’s made me feel closer to friends all over the country and the world. I’ve made it a point to stay connected to those in my life who matter most, no matter how far away they may be.
  6. Chocolate is great. Eat a lot of it. And often.
  7. Timing is nothing and everything. I’ve learned this year that despite my best efforts, you can’t really control what happens in life  – we’re all just figuring things out as we go. It’s both the good and bad part about it. The best and the only thing we can really do is focus on the right here and right now. Our tomorrows really aren’t guaranteed which is why you have to do the things and be with the people and see the places that make your heart say “Fuck yes!” Don’t wait for the perfect moment. Do it right meow!
  8. Take a break from the news. And while this year proved that if you didn’t check the news for half an hour, you’d miss something, for fuck’s sake, give yourself a break and just MISS SOMETHING. Go pet a dog or wrap a scarf around your cat. Go fly a kite like you’re those bratty kids in Mary Poppins. You can catch up later. Or not. Sometimes it’s okay to play the ignorant card.
  9. Did I mention chocolate?
  10. Go ahead and tell yourself you’re awesome. Do it daily. It’s cliché because it works. Trust me, I know because I’m so awesome, y’all.
  11. Stop putting off what you’ve been wanting to do. I may be speaking more to myself here, but that trip you’ve said you were going to take for the past  5 10 years? GO! Like, YESTERDAY!
  12. Turning 30 isn’t that big of deal. In fact, 30 is abso-fucking-lutely the new 20. My twenties were a time of still trying to figure out who I was, navigating work and relationships and adulting and….well, to be honest, I’m still trying to do that. The difference is now, I own all of that. And I’m okay with it. And I’m slowly making my way there.
  13. You’re gonna have to kiss a lot of frogs to find that prince. A LOT. But it just makes for good practice, right? RIGHT?! Your person is out there, and will more often than not come into your life when you least expect it.
  14. Go ahead and get bangs. What’s the big deal, amiright ladies? Even if you hate them, they’ll grow. You only live once, yo. I liked mine at least 60% of the time, which is more than I like most things.
  15. Except chocolate.
  16. Show up. For your friends, for your family, for your co-workers and dry cleaners and neighborhood Dunkin Donuts worker (shout out to John!). Be there for people. One small moment of compassion can spark a shift in someone, redirecting the course of their day, maybe even their life.
  17. Nothing is ever perfect, but who gives a fuck? Not me. I have no fucks left to give, y’all, and I’ve never felt stronger. This year has given me PERSPECTIVE. In 2018, I let go of having the perfect *fill in the blank with your own stuff* and, even though we’re living in an actual nation-wide nightmare, I personally feel confident and badass in between panic attacks. Bring it, 2019.
  18. Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. 

 

There’s a lot of talk about how 2019 is going to be worse, but I don’t believe that. I believe we all learned all kinds of (real) lessons this year and we’ll use them in the year ahead to stand up for what we believe in.

I think we’re ultimately gonna be okay, guys. I hope you all have the most kickass rest of the year.

Much love to everyone. Except you, 2018. You can show yourself out.

xoxo

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When I was younger, I remember my mom and dad telling me over and over to enjoy the little moments, the here and nows, because life has this weird way of going into hyperdrive with every passing year. I never really got it back then; but as I look back on the last few weeks, months and years, their words ring truer than ever.

Life moves damn fast.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about that lately; the things I’ve done, experiences I’ve had, adventures taken and the incredible people I’ve met along the way. I’ve also realized that there is so much that I have yet to do and see and accomplish. And all of that comes by sticking a giant middle finger up to fear and taking big risks. Someone wise recently told me that life begins outside of your comfort zone and he couldn’t have been more on point with that. It was a reminder, and the kick in the ass I needed to get back to doing just that.

Here are 20 little things I’ve learned that life is way too short for:

1. Not petting just all of the doggos. *But always ask first.

2. For loose ends, for feelings that were never acted upon and gestures that were never taken.

3. Not asking for a raise because you’re afraid of being denied. At the very least, you’ll learn what you need to work on so that you get one the next time around. Or it will give you confirmation to take your talent and drive and skills where you will be given that opportunity to grow.

4. Not applying for that job because you’re afraid you’re not qualified enough. Speaking from personal experience, you’re probably not giving yourself enough credit. You are a fucking rockstar. And you’ll never know what could happen unless you try. So try! Reach out. If nothing else, they’ll know who you are and remember you. That first impression is priceless.

5. Not introducing yourself to people you admire because you think they’re above you. They’re not, and they were once where you are now. They remember that.

6. Wearing heels when you want to wear flats.

7. Wearing flats when you want to wear sneakers.

8. Living for the weekend. There are seven days of the week, seven opportunities to see that show and go to that dive bar and stay up until the wee hours with your best friends, laughing until it hurts.

9. Letting the actions of other people dictate your own happiness. FOMO is a real, 21st century phenomenon. Just because it’s real doesn’t mean it’s not bullshit. Live your life offline. Photo-worthy opportunities will arise naturally because of that.

10. Not telling people how you feel, whether it’s that you love them, or that you have a great idea, or that you feel used or alone or scared or happy. Express yourself, at every chance you can. The people who care about those feelings are the ones to keep around.

11. Worrying about those five pounds. Nobody but you knows they exist.

12. Not standing up for yourself.

13. And your work.

14. And what you believe in.

15. And what you deserve.

16. Holding onto a grudge. There is great power in forgiveness, in others and yourself. You never know what’s going on with someone behind closed doors. Practice kindness and show compassion. The world could use more of that.

17. Beating yourself up for a mistake. Apologize once, and then work to make it better, but also remember to forgive yourself for being — of all things you might have the audacity to be — human.

18. Not watching cheesy movies or listening to catchy pop songs because you think you should have better taste than that. Netflix is full of fluffy rom-coms that do nothing but provide joy. Thinking you’re above a little lowest common denominator happiness just means you’re denying yourself potential happiness. It doesn’t make you any more high brow than anyone else.

19. Filling your life with so much unnecessary stuff just because it was cool or hip or you wanted it in that moment. You can’t take your mounds of stuff with you. Stuff doesn’t mean anything in the long run. You can’t put a price on the memories you make and the experiences you have. Sometimes practicing impulse control is only getting us ready and excited for the stuff that’s really worth it.

20. Not eating dessert. Like I said, you can’t take it with you, and that includes whatever jiggle you earned from eating that really delicious cookie. Or donut. Or cookie-flavored donut. Life will be sweeter for it.

Life moves damn fast.

So take the damn chance. Get on that plane, send that person an ‘I’m sorry’, tell them that you love them, that you’re IN love with them. Drive all night to see someone in the morning. I don’t care if it makes you vulnerable, if it exposes you. Expose yourself. Open the hell up.

Let life fill you with hurt, with happiness; let it weather you, let it teach you. Let it inspire you, let it break you down and build you up. You are here to risk your heart. And create moments and experiences and do things that equate to living a “F*CK YES!” life.

Please don’t ever forget that.

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