My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

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When you think about the person who has a big heart, who cares deeply and cares hard, it probably conjures up a lot of assumptions.

They cry at movies and get weepy at commercials (this Google Chrome spot has the ability to turn anyone and their second cousin’s best friend’s uncle into a blubbering hot mess) without concern if someone is looking. They care about strangers more than you thought possible, light up at the possibility of helping someone–even if they have nothing to give them in return–and feel things so strongly and so deeply, that those feelings often make their decisions for them.

They lead with their heart instead of their head.

You might mistake this person for being impulsive, for a ‘leap before they look’ kind of guy/gal. And in a way, you’re right. Because the head says ‘wait’ but the heart says ‘go’. And they’re not the kind that can ever sit still when their heart is telling them to run somewhere.

But painting them simply as someone who has too many feelings and too big of a heart, who doesn’t have enough of a head on their shoulders to really think things through isn’t giving them enough credit. It’s writing them off as someone who is just feelings. As if feelings aren’t valid or strong or worth noting.

The truth about the person who leads with their heart instead of their head that you’re probably too afraid to admit? They’re braver than you.

The person who leads with their heart instead of their head isn’t afraid of the possibility of failing. They’re too busy chasing, loving, and giving to worry about the repercussions that may come back to hurt them. They’re more concerned about doing what feels best to waste time weighing and outweighing options that may never even see the light of day.

They’re too busy loving, and in turn living, to unnecessarily linger on the possibility that something might be the wrong choice.

The truth about leading with your heart is that it’s the scarier choice. It’s the riskier option. More can go wrong when you leap instead of look, when you love instead of hold back, when you feel instead of giving into fear. It’s the bolder choice; the choice that leaves more open to come back and smack you with negativity and pain.

Which is why it is a choice that should be commended, not shamed.

So to those who lead with their hearts and not their heads, who are constantly giving without expectation of receiving, who unapologetically have those hearts on their sleeves for the world to take a piece of: I commend you. 

You are brave in a world that so often tries to make souls like yours afraid of what they’re feeling. You take risks in a world where doing just that is an act of rebellion. You put yourself out there when everything realistically is pointing at you to do exactly the opposite.

You remain loving in a world that is often so unkind.

Never apologize for being that person. Never make your love smaller to protect yourself. Never repress what you want to shout from the rooftops.

Because you are someone who leads with their heart and not their head, and that is brave.

And that is beautiful.

And the world needs more people

just

like

you.

A Lesson in Vulnerability

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Something I’ve been thinking about lately is toughness.

Being tough, being strong, being resilient, being scrappy, being brave, being stubborn, being unfazed and unrattled and unshakable and relentless.

Being confident.

All of these these things are synonyms in places, overlapping like a weird venn diagram of words and emotions and feelings. These are all good things to be and to have, and work as assets no matter who you are or what you do. Everyone is faced with criticism and critique, and everyone has to rise again from setbacks. That’s how life works.

It ebbs and flows.

But of all these tools in the spectrum of human emotion that help get you from valleys to peaks and back again, I don’t want to have a thick skin.

I don’t want things to bounce off of me.

I want to feel. 

Even if the feeling sucks. But that feeling? That feeling is a reminder that I’m human.

In some ways, thinking you’re not human — that you’re superhuman, and maybe even invincible — is helpful. It’s the adrenaline that pushes you through something scary and challenging, and makes you think you’re stronger than you are. Fire isn’t as scary if you don’t feel the flame. And whether you work or even just spend part of your life in a space that constantly requires you to be on your A+ game 24/7, a space that welcomes the critisim or opinion or viewpoints of others (whether good or bad) , you learn pretty quickly to let things bounce off you.

I work in a very digital world, a world of posts and Tweets and Insta-Snap-memories. I see and deal with a very different monster, one that I equal parts love and hate. We’re told to know better than to read the comments. People send nasty messages to complete strangers, either forgetting or ignoring the fact that there is another person and not just an anonymous computer screen on the other side of those words.

Outside of the realm of social media, we have the actual media that is constantly hitting us with news of tragedy, of heartbreak and loss and hatred and ignorance on a regular basis. The truth is, life is hard, often very messy at times. It’s not black and white, there is no staying in the lines. It would, in theory, be so much easier if you felt and reacted less.

Wouldn’t it?

I don’t necessarily think so.

Often, telling someone else to grow a thicker skin is to excuse the actions of everyone around them. “People are awful, don’t let them get to you.” But of course awfulness is going to get to a person. Of course it will bug someone. That’s human nature. You can’t tell a person to not feel, just because it keeps the status quo intact.

And okay, sometimes people can be hypersensitive about some things, but they have the right to feel any which way they choose. You can’t tell them that a feeling is wrong. (You can tell them that the concepts on which they’re basing their feelings are misguided, but a feeling is different from its dogma, and feelings in and of themselves are not right or wrong. They are just feelings.) And excusing the actions of other people — that oh, people are just overwhelmingly shitty, grow a thicker skin, move on — is to excuse that shittiness and let it keep happening.

Sure, you can only control your own actions and not the actions of other people, but your actions can also include taking other people to task when their actions are bad. You don’t have to ignore, and you don’t have to roll over, and you don’t have to simply accept things as they are. You don’t have to grow a thicker skin.

You can and should be resilient. You should stand your ground as much as you can, and especially when it’s for things that are right. But don’t grow a thicker skin. Don’t teach yourself how to not feel.

Let things affect you. Let things get under your skin and crawl up your veins and sit uncomfortably with you until you do something about them. Call people out when they say mean things to you. Stand up for yourself, and for anyone else you see being bullied or put down.

We may mostly be grown ups, but we’re still not so far from the playground. And sometimes on the playground, you’d skin your knee and it would sting and you’d get gravel and grit in your scrape, and it would hurt.

But you would remember that sting and you would learn.

Sometimes it was your own damn fault. But sometimes it wasn’t. Just because somebody else pushed you over didn’t make that sting hurt any less. And sometimes, those scrapes left scars. Sometimes, those moments of vulnerability lead to lessons and breakthroughs. Those moments of weakness often tell us who we really are.

Be strong and confident and believe in yourself, and know when people say things, sometimes they mistakenly say the wrong things, or they do so just to get to you. By all means, be stubborn and be smart about the fact that the internet can be shitty, and people on the internet say shitty things, and it’s often smart to ignore these said shitty things.

But having that wisdom is different than having a thick skin.

Don’t confuse the two, whatever you do.

Don’t grow a thick skin, or at least keep parts of it vulnerable.

Feel. Be human. Be imperfect. Be alive.

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Costanza, I think you’re on to something here.

There are certain things in the life that get a bad rap (for whatever reason). If you didn’t want me to eat all of the samples, Costco, you wouldn’t be tempting me with all of that chicken nugget-jalopeno popper-pepperoni pizza-pigs in a blanket deliciousness. And yes, a good 99.999% of my wardrobe consists of leggings, which I wear to do all of the things (zippers and seams and zippers….regular pants are complicated, y’all).

Society seems to deem (hey, that rhymed!) these kinds of acts as “unacceptable”, but dammit sometimes a girl needs to stuff her face with bite-sized hot pocket-donut-quiche thingys while rocking her stretchy pants!!!

Here are a few more things you may wish you secretly could do IRL (without getting the evil side-eye).

  1. Replying to formal emails with the thumbs up emoji.
  2. Full-on cuddling with strangers’ dogs on the streets.
  3. Repeating outfits on the regular.
  4. Going raging Hulk-mode on your phone when Pandora/Spotify plays that one song you’ve begged it to never, ever, never ever play again. Ever. But somehow it always ends up on one of your stations right as you’ve run out of available skips.
  5. Triple texting.
  6. Desk-napping it up at work when you are really tired. Because that 8 cups of coffee can only do so much, y’all! *If my boss is reading this, I would never think of doing such a thing!!! I’d take it out to my car—much more comfortable. 
  7. On the off chance that you’re not wearing your stretchy pants, having the ability to unbutton your pants or loosen your belt at a restaurant after second breakfast. I want to be able to fully enjoy my food coma in comfort, thank you very much.
  8. Eating 1 2 bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch for breakfast.
  9. Openly admitting that you just don’t “get” Beyoncé.
  10. Publicly skipping and/or frolicking. There needs to be more frolicking.
  11. Saying “no” without needing to explain why.
  12. Car-karaokeing to this. On repeat.
  13. Dancing to this. On repeat.
  14. Kicking people in the back of the knees when they’re walking too slow in front of you. Totally JK, JK! But not really.
  15. Handing out demerits to rude people (shoutout to all the line-cutters, loud-talkers, anti-tippers, double-dippers, bullies and Cubs fans of the world).
  16. Eating 1 2 3 bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch for lunch.
  17. Picking that wedgie in public/whenever the hell it’s necessary.
  18. Actually being straightforward with people.
  19. Talking to yourself in public.
  20. Openly cringing people with bad breath.
  21. Implementing a citizen’s arrest on people who spoil the ending of that book you’re reading, movie you’ve been dying to see, or TV show finale you’ve got DVR’d.
  22. Being allowed to politely decline hugs. Because sometimes sweat and hairy arms/back happens and gross.
  23. Eating 1 2 3 4 bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch for dinner.
  24. Rocking that ‘black socks with sandals’ look because you do you, Bill!

QOTD: What are some of the socially unacceptable things you secretly with you could do IRL?

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Ugh.

I’m getting old, guys.

Like, ‘in bed by 9 o’clock, gets hurt while playing kickball, can’t remember if I ate lunch so I eat second lunch’ old.

Okay, I’m not getting that old, but for some reason my perspective about life has dramatically started to change within the last year or so.

I’m inching ever so slightly to the 30 year mark (the new 20) and while for the most part I still feel and look my age, I definitely have my moments where I can’t help but feel like I’ve tripped, fallen and rolled over that damn hill. Despite my incessant complaining however, I’m glad I’m in the place in life that I am. It may have taken me a while to get here, but I finally have learned to embrace the things I want, and don’t want. The things I like, and don’t like. Life is way too short to worry about things that aren’t worth worrying about.

Ya dig?

Here are just 15 signs that you literally don’t give a f@*& now that you’re almost 30.

1. When people invite you to social outings that you don’t want to go to, you don’t come up with any particular excuse. You just say, “No.” And it feels glorious.

2. When you experienced a friend getting engaged for the first time, you were like, “OMFG WEDDINGS YASSS LOVE!!!” But now when it happens, you’re just like, “Aw. I’m so happy for you. Brb. I need to order a pizza.”

3. Forever 21 is a young man’s game. If a retail store stresses you out and only carries clothes that seem to be made for American Girl dolls, you’re donzo.

4. You’ve started referring to high school students as “children” or “youths.”

5. You don’t make any attempts to hide your hangovers anymore. They happen so easily (like, 2-3 beers easily) that you don’t even fight them. You just let them take over your soul.

6. Your weight fluctuates more than Chandler’s. And it’s whatever.

7. In your opinion, looking like you showered is the same thing as actually showering.

8. “Does anyone have any Pepto?” is something you frequently utter during dinner with your friends.

9. Brunch has become more about the quality of the bacon than about the deals you can get on bottomless mimosas.

10. Nope. Scratch that. It’s still all about the mimosas.

11. When someone tries to start a political discussion at a party, you just look at them like:

cinderella

12. Dressing uncomfortably is awkward for tweens. These days, you’re all about wearing your favorite t-shirt during a night out.

13. You’re less concerned with how good you look for work today and more concerned with how long you can hit the snooze button before you have to crawl drag yourself kicking and screaming out of your bedroom cave.

14. Life is stressful these days. So if you need a good cry while riding public transportation, you’re damn well certain you’ll make it happen.

15. Joining a gym is for recent college grads. You’d prefer to just live in a 4th-floor walk up and leave the house every once in a while.

Or, I mean, you could just join a debilitating kickball team.

QOTD: What are some things that you just don’t give a f@*& about now that you’ve reached a certain age?

Give Me What’s Real

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Give me what’s real.

Messy hair.

Mismatched socks.

That scar on your left leg

and the fact that you can never remember where you put your keys.

Poems scribbled down on bar tabs

and rainstorms pouring down while the sun is still shining.

Give me what’s real.

What’s tarnished,

what’s unedited and undone.

The conversations that happen past midnight,

when your eyes are heavy and your walls are torn down.

That’s where you find life.

That’s where you find perfect.

The unedited and undone.

Give me what’s real.

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Well hey, guys!

What’s shaking?

How are thangs?

What’s new and good?

I feel like it’s been forever and a day since we’ve chatted! Probably because it has. Granted most of that is my fault. Okay, all of that is my fault. Life has been super crazy applesauce lately, but the best kind of super crazy applesauce (think chunky with a hint of cinnamon). My blog has fallen by the wayside as a result, and it’s high time that I changed that. Since it has been a hot minute since we’ve chatted, I decided we should make like Mike Myers ala Linda Richman and cawwfee tawwk it out, catch up on all things life.

Grab your favorite cup ‘o joe, a few package of Oreos and a comfy seat. It’s Cawwfee Tawwk time!

If we were having coffee today, I would tell you that I am LOVING my job. Like, unbelievably, positively, still-can’t-wrap-my-head-around-the-fact-that-I-got-so-lucky love. Sometimes things happen in your life when you least expect them, when you most need them. This is perfect example, y’all. I wake up everyday excited to go into the office, almost annoyingly so. I can confidently say that I’ve never experienced that before. It’s weird and strange and beautiful all at the same time. I get to do something different everyday, working with people who inspire me, push me, and make me snort laugh on the regular. I really couldn’t ask for more, and am excited to see where this new and exciting journey takes me next.

For anyone who is going through a career change, or is struggling to find that ‘dream’ job, hang in there. I’ve been in your shoes on more than one occasion, and while it does suck in the moment, it does get better. I promise. Hold onto that hope, fight like hell and don’t ever, ever diminish those dreams of yours. Go after them full force.

If we were having coffee today, I would tell you that it is coming up on my four year moversary. Four years since I decided to take one giant leap of faith, pack up my little Bug and drive across the country. Four years that I have called Colorado home. Four years that have given me endless adventures, joy, tacos, laughter, tacos, fun, tacos, incredibly amazing friendships and did I mention tacos? I am continually falling more and more in love with this beautiful state, for the countless moments that take my breath away, and for that I will truly and forever be grateful.

If we were having coffee today, I would tell you that I am still very much single and ready to Pringle. And I’ve finally come to the realization that that’s okay. You hear that, grandma?! It’s okay!! As a late-twenty-something, almost thirty-something adulting adult, there is this sort of stigma and pressure, a pressure to have an SO, settle down, get married and start a family with a bunch of kiddos. Like, yesterday. Do I want that? Absolutely, I do! But do I think that there is a set time that this all should take place? A deadline that has to be met? Not in the slightest. I’m incredibly excited for all of this happen, and am looking forward to when I find that person, my person, who wants to do all of these things with me, a person who matches my crazy awesomeness. But in the meantime, I am okay. Okay with being single. Okay with waiting for that reach for the stars, laugh until it hurts, best friend and partner-in-crime kind of love. Whenever that may happen. And you should be too.

If we were having coffee today, I would tell you that life as of late has been, in general, pretty kickass. Sure, there have been some ups and downs, some bumps in the road (including one that completely destroyed by car’s oil pan–and bank account) and some unexpected twists and turns.  It’s those very things however, the challenges and struggles and moments of questioning that, as cliche as it sounds (and it’s very, very cliche), make you stronger, wiser and ready to tackle anything. They are also the things that make you appreciate the good, the great, the wonderful–everything that makes your soul smile with abandon.

If we were having coffee today, I would tell you that there is so much to look forward to (for me, it’s a long list full of road trips, family/friend visits, half-marathons, baseball games, summer nights spent with great friends, hikes, camping trips, and the biggest butter burger and frozen custard you can imagine from bae aka Culver’s I’m planning on picking up for din-din tonight—among other things), so much to hope for, some much to believe in. Sometimes the little things–grabbing beers with a friend, summer nights spent at the ballpark, a good book, belly laugh and a hug from someone you love–these little things actually mean the world. It’s so easy to get caught up in the stresses of work, the worries and problems clouding our minds that we forget to take in every minute, every second of these little blessings.

If we were having coffee today, I would tell you (in my best Linda Richman voice) to do something this week that you’ve been putting off, something that you’ve been afraid of, something that excites you, something that you will thank me for later.

In the form of tacos, preferably.

QOTD: What would you tell me if we were having coffee today?

Be the voice

 

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Hey guys!

First of all, I want to apologize for my extreme lack of postage lately. Life has been the capital of Busy-town, and my blogging has fallen by the wayside as a result. I will for surely update you all on what’s been going on (the good, the great and the best) soon, but today I wanted to talk about something a little bit more on the serious side.

I experienced something a few days ago, something that had never happened to me before, something that is still sitting pretty heavy on my heart, my mind and everything in between. Wednesday night as I walking to my car after work, I was assaulted by an older gentleman. I still cringe slightly when I hear the word assault because in my mind, what actually happened doesn’t warrant that extreme of a title. There are many, many people out there who have gone through far worse, and I honestly am just grateful that wasn’t the case for me.

The details of my story aren’t really what’s important–I was stopped by an older gentleman on a bike who claimed he was someone else, someone whom most people in and around my place of work know of and trust. The man made crude and sexual remarks towards me, grabbed my arm and tried to pull me towards him, preventing me from continuing to my car. I was able to get away without being physically harmed, only a bit shaken and a hell of a lot confused.

I remember getting into my car just moments after it had happened, trying to process the events that occurred mere minutes before. I know that I felt uncomfortable and more than a little creeped out, but I didn’t feel like it was a big deal. I didn’t get hurt. I’ve had strange people say strange things to me before and didn’t think anything of it. There was no reason to harbor on it or mention it to anyone, right?

Wrong.

Oh so very wrong.

It’s funny how your brain tries to protect itself when it feels threatened. It starts to rationalize the what’s, the why’s and the how’s. It creates scenarios, some of which may not even have happened, in order to calm the worries and fears. It wasn’t until I went into work the next day, when I saw the man again as I was walking into my office building, and saw the way he looked at me that I began to get this funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. My instincts–which are usually always spot on—well, they finally got their act together and helped persuade me to tell someone what had happened the night before. At this point, I still thought it wasn’t that big of a deal, and I hadn’t the slightest of clue as to the events that would unfold next.

I walked down to our safety department where I gave a statement and filed an official police report. It was a bit like watching a movie from above; I’ve seen this happen on Law & Order too many times to count, I’ve read about and listened to reports via the news about incidents just like this happening all of the time. Happening all of the time, just not to me. I have never felt like I had a reason to be afraid. Not in the slightest bit. Maybe that was just me being naive, but the fact that I was never fearful of doing something as simple as walking outside by myself at 5 o’clock in the afternoon gave me a sort of solace.

Over the course of the rest of the day, more and more people slowly started coming forward, expressing their own encounters with this man, how he had made them uncomfortable, scared, nervous. They gave personal accounts of witnessing him become enraged with anger, yelling and screaming and potentially putting the lives of the people around him, and himself, in danger.

My “not that big of a deal” had turned into quite the deal.

The truth is, the truth that I didn’t allow myself to believe, was that it was a big deal all along.

Every 107 seconds, an American is assaulted, including that of sexual and physical variety. Should it be that way? Absolutely not! Is there any one thing or person or reason to blame? Again, that’s a hard no. One of the things that was really brought to the forefront of my mind during all of this was that terrible things like this can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. It was just an ordinary late-afternoon on a Wednesday. I was in what I had thought was a very safe place (a place I still is very safe). And things like this just don’t happen to me.

It’s incredibley sad.

But that’s just the world we live in right now.

Do I have hope that this will all change? Of course I do. I have to have that hope. I think we all do.

But I also have to be realistic. And until things start to change, we all have to be aware of the potential risks. I’m not talking about living in a continuous state of fear, not at all. In fact, I refuse to live my life on fear’s terms. What I am saying is to acknowledge that danger is an equal opportunist. Be smart. Know your surroundings, who you are with and always, always report anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, uneasy or unsure.

If I hadn’t spoken up and told someone, the ending of this story could have ended in a whole other way. Perhaps the dozens of other people were also brave enough to stand up and share their stories following me wouldn’t have. Perhaps this man would have continued to hurt others. And perhaps this man wouldn’t have gotten the help he so deeply needs.

Sometimes all it takes is one person. One person start a conversation, to build an awareness, to stand up and be the voice that so desperately needs to be heard.

You should never be ashamed, or scared, or worry that you will become a burden to others.

Each and every story matters.

I am happy to report that the man in question was arrested last night. My hope is that he does get the help he needs, and will not be able to hurt anyone ever again.

If you are a victim of assault, I encourage you to talk about it with someone.  Find somebody.  If it is recent/ongoing, call the police.  If it is something in your past, then find a counselor or call a hotline like the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1.800.656.HOPE.

You don’t have to go through this alone. You shouldn’t go through this alone.

 

 

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