My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

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Brave

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The Oxford dictionary primarily defines ‘brave’ as the following: Ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage. I would also add to this definition: attempting to wear white at an Italian restaurant, grocery shopping on an empty stomach, and listening to Hanson in public (YOU CAN’T NOT DANCE AND EPICALLY KAROKE WHEN LISTENING TO HANSON, Y’ALL!!! It’s literally physically impossible.)

But back to my good friend Oxford. According to its definition, me thinks that there are two primary parts, two very crucial ingredients to being brave – the ability to endure, and courage. I might add that when one is brave, two of these qualities have to co-exist, and they are both of equal importance.

IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND BRAVERY, ONE MUST FIRST UNDERSTAND ITS OPPOSITE – FEAR.

Fear. That dirty, four-letter word. It’s a creeper, a prohibitor. It is an enemy, and a cruel one at that. Most people don’t like to get to know their enemies, but I am of the opinion that one must not only know their enemies, but also understand them.

Like a lot people, two of my biggest fears are that of rejection and failure. Which makes sense, because they are supposedly two of the most contemporary and greatest fears humans tend to face (alongside spiders, and running out of Oreos, and spiders, and tornadoes, and spiders and did I mention spiders?) Okay. Maybe these things are just what I tend to fear on the regular, but you get the idea.

Search “overcoming fear” on the Googles, Pinterests and other areas of the inter-webs and you are bound to be hit with a kajillion quotes (I love a good cliché, but for all intents and purposes, I will spare you).  The most profound thing I have learned about fear in my almost 31 years of life is that there really is no escaping it.

BUT KNOWING THAT FEAR IS INESCAPABLE IS EXACTLY WHY BRAVERY IS A NECESSITY IN LIFE.

Fear is the thing that paralyzes, while bravery is the thing that frees. Fear is the thing that chooses mediocre, while bravery is the thing that takes the risk of chance, a chance that could bring greatness or defeat. Fear always leads to regret, while bravery leads to knowing.

Bravery requires endurance because it requires persistence and perseverance  – that thing that keeps you going after the proverbial fat lady has sung and the show is over. Bravery requires courage – first you must make the choice to be at the show, and then to get up and rock out with your bad self too.

When I think of all the people in my life who have been brave and who continue to be brave, I realize that bravery means many different things in many different situations.

Sometimes bravery means being the person who stands out in the crowd, who speaks up, and who must be a voice, either the voice they need to hear, or a voice for others. Sometimes bravery means having the prudence to pause, to sit in silence and to just be okay.

Sometimes bravery means putting up the fight of your life, and fighting till the very end. Sometimes bravery means raising up that white flag, accepting defeat, and finding the will to move on from that defeat without resentment or regret.

Sometimes bravery means to search for the things and the people who make you feel alive; to take risks, to be a long shot and an outlier. Sometimes bravery means to be grateful and content and satisfied with the state of your right here and right now.

BUT BRAVERY, WHATEVER IT IS SOME OF THE TIME, TO BE AUTHENTIC, TO BE ABLE TO ENDURE, TO BE AN ACT OF COURAGE, MUST ALSO BE AN ACT OF LOVE.

Whether of a thing or of a person or of a place, bravery must be manifested through this love. And to be brave you must accept that the great love of anything may result in heartbreak and pain and disappointment. To be brave, you must be willing to risk the possibility of a terrifying ending.

To be brave is to be alive and to live in such a way that the world knows you are afraid, but you love more than you fear.

Bravery rocks, kids!

Almost as much a plate full of Oreos. 😉

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Some things are more important than being “cool”

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Let’s face it, guys.

I’m probably the coolest uncool person in the history of ever. The fact that I just used the phrase “history of ever” only exemplifies that point. Over the years I have come to accept and love my weirdness, my uniqueness, my utter lack of anything and everything cool, however I didn’t always feel that way. I don’t know about you, but my middle and high school years were chock-full of awkward. There was also this sense of pressure to fit in, to be accepted, to feel included.  I spent so much time and energy trying to fit into this ideal, this image of what I was supposed to be in order to be “cool.”

It.was.exhausting.

Not only that, but I slowly lost who I really was. I listened to the ‘it’ music–because that’s what everyone was listening to, I wore the ‘in’ clothes–because you wouldn’t dare come to school dressed in anything but, and I laughed at all the wrong jokes.

It’s not unusual to feel pressure to conform to what society (or your peers) deems “cool.”A construct developed out of the sheer need/want to fit in, to feel like they are a part of something, included and liked. And don’t think that just because the hallways of high school are long behind us that this need to fit in suddenly disappears. Everyday we are constantly bombarded with messages, telling us what we should wear, how we should eat, the cars we should drive, even the kinds of toilet paper we should use.

This noise can be overwhelming, and it can be hard to ignore sometimes for sure, but I think that one of the coolest things you can do, the epitome of cool, is being who you are, listening to your own voice and rocking your uniqueness, your weirdness. Life is way too short to not be who you are, to hide your passions, your talents, your true you.

Here are just some of the things that are more important than being “cool”:

1. Falling head-over-heels, collision-with-the-ground in love with someone.

2. Being vulnerable, even if it’s terrifying and makes your stomach do somersaults.

3. Choosing that bag of **Doritos over that bag of kale chips. **When deciding between kale chips and literally anything else, choose anything else. Always.

4. Busting a move and ugly dancing in the middle of the room, even when no one else is.

5. Choosing to stay in on a Friday/Saturday night to read your favorite book instead. Again.

6. Wearing that 80’s hair band t-shirt because you actually like the band, not just because it’s ironic.

7. Cheering for that baseball/football/hockey/basketball team because you actually like them, not just because everyone else is/does.

8. Volunteering your time to something bigger than you.

9. Apologizing to people you have hurt.

10. Forgiving those who have hurt you.

11. Having a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie marathon.

12. Adopting a ‘Don’t Give A Flying Fuck About What Anyone Else Thinks About You’ mentality.

13. Giving every single ‘Flying Fuck’ known to mankind.

14. Learning all the words to Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

15. Disconnecting from the interwebs/smart phones/social media every so often.

16. Wearing what makes you happy, comfortable, and confident.

17. Attempting to understand the perspectives of people whose values, beliefs and opinions are different than yours.

18. Respecting the values, beliefs and opinions that are different than yours, but not being afraid to standup for what you believe in.

19. Dad jokes. Just all of the dad jokes.

20. Puns. Just all of the puns.

21. Going on an adventure with no real plan.

22. Trusting again after losing faith in someone or something.

23. Going to a movie theater by yourself.

24. Going to dinner by yourself.

25. Approaching life with a sense of humor.

26. And a sense of wonder, excitement, and hope.

27. Liking stereotypically “cool” things.

28. Liking stereotypically “uncool” things.

29. Liking whatever the hell makes you happy.

30. Being unapologetically yourself.

I may be the coolest uncool person in the history of ever, but you know what?

That’s pretty damn cool.

I think it was my favorite doctor who said it best:

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24 Socially Unacceptable Things You Wish You Could Do IRL

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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?

These Moments

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Our lives are made up of a series of moments.

If you’re lucky, you’ll get to have thousands,

even millions of them.

 

There will be funny moments, sad moments,

moments you’ll want to forget.

Moments of anger, moments of passion,

moments spent deeply rooted in love.

 

There will be moments that alter you,

completely dwarf you,

moments that show you just how beautiful it is to exist.

 

You’ll even have default moments.

Moments that fall through the cracks.

Moments where you’re doing something so mundane,

you don’t even realize it is one.

 

Then there are the big moments.

Your goosebumps moments.

The moments that leave a blue hickey on your life’s neck.

These are the moments that crack you open and leave you wanting more.

These are the moments you’ll want to keep safe.

Hold on to.

 

This right here, this is a moment.

A tiny pinprick in eternity that is only yours to create.

 

Here’s to the magic you create.

 

Here’s to your moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is It Too Late Now to Say I’m…Not Sorry?

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The thing about El Taco Veloz, one of the most kickass taco places in Denver and probably the world, is that though they have some of the most kickass tacos known to mankind, they also have a not so kickass restroom setup.

It’s not as bad as the one in my favorite Starbucks around the corner from my apartment. The one that has the automatic light that seems to always turn off right in the middle of doing your thing. Or automatic flusher that has a mind of its own. Or the automatic sink that makes you perform a song and dance number in order for it to work. (Note to all establishments: automatic is not always the best way. Just Saying.)

But, El Taco Veloz does only have one toilet for both men and women which is kind of a major drawback.

And apparently, a very unreliable lock.

Y’all, I had to go. I couldn’t wait. Two #2’s (pun intended) with extra hot sauce and it was time to make a very necessary trip.

Against probably my better judgement, I rushed into the shady bathroom. The first thing I noticed was that there weren’t any seat covers (gross-level 10) and decided that the countless wall sits during JV track practice had prepared me well for this very moment.

So I did what many women have done before me and many will continue to do long after I am gone…I squatted. That’s right.

And it was during that not-so-lady-like hover above the El Taco Veloz toilet that I heard a knock at the door.

Seeing that I was midstream and knowing full well that I did indeed twist the little button on the knob, I knew I didn’t really need to say anything because the door would not open for the person on the other end.

And of course, it was at that very moment, mid-hover, that the door flew open and a kind-looking, middle-aged gentleman, with wisdom and shock etched into his face, walked in.

“Whoops! So sorry!” were the exact words that came out of my mouth as I gave up my hover and planted my bare buns on the taco toilet seat in an effort to recover any amount of pride I had left.
Yes.
I had just apologized to the man that walked in on me mid-stream.

As I walked out of the restroom, once the dust had settled, and the man had repeatedly told me, “I didn’t see anything! I’m so sorry. I swear I didn’t see anything!” (which only reassured in my mind that he did, in fact, see something) I wondered why my initial reaction was to apologize.

And why my initial reaction in ANY situation, is ALWAYS to apologize.

In this instance, I suppose it was okay. I should’ve said something when he knocked. So I’ll let myself slide on this one.

But the other day, I apologized to my couch because I accidentally ran into it.

The thing is, I’m always saying sorry.

I’m the first to apologize in an argument even if I’m not the one at fault.

I’m always the first to concede…even to my own problems.

I could be crying from the worry and stress of a new job (and just the overwhelming weight of life sometimes) and then tell the person comforting me, usually my sister, or best friends, or mom, that I’m sorry that I’m sad.

And being the sage that they all are, they’ll tell me, “Don’t be sorry for how you feel.”

Because that’s exactly what I do. I feel sorry for feeling.
For being upset or hurt or worried or scared or even proud.
And that’s just ludicrous, I tell you! Ludicrous! (Not the rapper.)

So I’m done.

I’m done saying sorry for feeling the way I feel.

For conceding when and where I don’t have to.

There’s a reason I have those feelings and they shouldn’t just be “sorry’d” away.

Instead of being sorry, I’m going to start being sure.

Sure of my abilities. Sure of my gut instinct. Sure of my purpose.

Just sure of myself.

I’m going to stop sorrying away my problems, but instead face them.

Confront them.

DO something about them.

And maybe next time I’ll double-check the lock on the bathroom door.

29 in 29

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The questioning, the learning, the mistakes, the discovery and frustrations—It has been a wild ride so far, guys!

But many, many life lessons later, I can wholeheartedly say I have never felt more comfortable being who I am today.I wake up excited to get my breakfast on! Well, that, and to experience what each day has to offer: to continue to learn something new, to be inspired, and to experience the awe that this amazing life has to give.

Today, I turn the big 2-9. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that one!

So in celebration of this last year as I come close to bowing out of my 20’s, here are 29 Life Lessons that I’ve learned:

1. Learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Risks are where magic sparks, y’all.

2. Laugh. Play. Be … Love, love, love!

3. Be patient with yourself. All the quirks, the uncertainties, the aspects that make you different; they’ll come together, support you, and may even become your biggest asset.

4. No matter how many times you may think it’s okay to eat ice cream for breakfast, it is. It always is.

5. Most things that seem impossible actually aren’t. If you’d asked me three years ago if I thought I would be living in one of the greatest cities, doing something I love, surrounded by the best group of friends a girl could ever ask for, I’d probably LOL in your face. Sometimes taking a chance, a giant leap of faith and just going for it, despite whatever fears or apprehension you may have is the best and only thing to do. Always keep going after your dreams and don’t limit yourself.

6. Confidence comes from within. This is a really tough concept to understand when you’re younger, since it always feels like we’re waiting on other people to continuously boost our confidence levels and tell us we’re on the right track. But the most confident people are confident not just because others believe in them, but because they believe in themselves.

7. If you don’t even try, you’ll never have a chance at succeeding. I used to be one of those people who didn’t want to try anything new because I was afraid I’d fail at it. This fear held me back for a long time in all areas of my life, including my career and my relationships. Luckily, after a lot of soul searching, I realized that this was no way to live. No way, no how sista! Yes, trying new things is scary as hell. And yes, you might actually fail at times. But you also might succeed, or at least learn something important along the way. The risk is worth it.

8. Experiences are way more important than stuff. I’ll be forever grateful to my parents who were always focused on giving me memories and experiences rather than just a bunch of crap I didn’t need.

9. Read everything you can get your hands on. Sci-Fi books. Fiction. Poetry and motivational books. There are SO many good books out there, and they will all change you if you let them.

10. Being “cool” sucks. You should never stop doing or liking something just because you think others will judge you and think it’s uncool. Set your own standard of cool!

11. Love is a battlefield. But one that is worth fighting for. Always.

12. Failure doesn’t mean the world is going to explode. Part of the reason I used to be so scared of trying new things is that I was so incredibly afraid of failure. I really thought if I didn’t succeed, the world would end. I now know that’s (obviously) not the case, but it doesn’t mean that failure doesn’t feel like all of the worst at times. But can you imagine a life with no failure?! How boring that would be?

13. You will never learn how to successfully fold a fitted sheet. It’s best to just accept defeat now.

14. Be silly. Be kind. Be unapologetically you.

15. You will struggle to define many things in your life, but in time you will realize that the real meaning of life is in the journey, not in the definitions or the explanations.

16. Dream big. Don’t let your own or others’ limitations hold you back from going after what you really want. Following your dreams is scary, but living a life full of regrets is even scarier. Dream big and hustle hard. There’s really no other way to live.

17. Invest in a few good friends, they will always be your backbone and the ones you go to through thick and thin, and who will make your every days just a little (or a lot) more bright. To all of my friends (you know who you are), a million times thank you!

18. At times you will wonder why bad things are happening to you, quit wondering and start enjoying the little things in life, when you get your answers, you will understand that these bad times were shaping you into the person you should be. You have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.

19. If nothing is going your way, put in some Hanson and rock out with your bad self.

20. You will struggle to let go of someone, but you will realize that holding on is worse. Either way you have to learn how to let go of things that are not meant for you.

21. Something will always scare you, even the things you wished for. Don’t let fear cripple you from living the life you wanted. Let fear walk with you until it finds its own way.

22. It’s okay to say no. Except when it’s the answer to the question, “Would you like dessert?”

23. It’s OK to be guarded, but don’t deny or run away from love just because you’ve been hurt in the past. We all have. And it is scary to put yourself out there after that happens. But I promise you: you will never regret taking a chance on love.

24. The Brewers will probably, most likely, definitely not be going to the World Series anytime soon, so sit back, relax, and enjoy being a part of something that’s bigger than you. Everyone goes through a growth spurt, even the major leaguers.

25. No matter how much progress you make, there will always be someone who thinks you are not good enough. Live to prove things to yourself, not others.

26. Forgiving someone is not weakness; holding onto hate is.

27. You may not always get what you want in life, but sometimes this could be a blessing and a sign to steer yourself in another direction better than the one you were on.

28. Yoga pants aren’t just a fashion trend, they’re a way of life.

29. And last but certainly not least, don’t give up. Ever. Someone once said it’s always the last key on the key ring that opens the door. It may take a few tries (or more than a few), but you’ll get there. I pinky-swear.

 

 

Adulting 101

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Y’all, I am about to turn the big 2-9 which means I have been “adulting” for a good 10ish+ years or so. I say “adulting” because I would, for the most part consider myself an adequate at best adulting adult. I pay my own bills, live on my own, know how to change the oil in my car, and know how to make a mean lasagna. Impressive, I know.

Through every stage of life, right up until these formidable adulting years, we dream of becoming an adult.

We can’t wait until we can slam back Lemon Drop shots on our 21st, until we can eat ice cream for dinner (or breakfast, no judging), until we can live on our own, until we can get married and have kids. We can’t wait until we have say over our lives.

We wait, wait, wait for that moment. And then wait some more.

But then one day, we wake up on a random Tuesday morning and holy hell, we’re there.

Adulthood.

After all of those years of waiting and hoping and dreaming, we finally made it, guys!

But what no one ever tells you growing up is that once you’re there, a full-fledged adult, you are instantly thrust into a world that is unfamiliar, complicated and so damn confusing. Sure, you can have as many of those Lemon Drop shots, shots, shots as you or your liver see fit, you can stay up to all hours of the night binge watching House of Cards, you can have ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and walk around your OWN apartment in your underwear in you want.

But you also have to actually start doing adulty things, things that you never really had to worry about before. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spend a good majority of my early 20’s wondering what a 401K was, avoiding doing my laundry like it was the plague and considering a bowl (or three) of Frosted Flakes as a 5-star gourmet meal.  But with age, comes wisdom (and better hair choices), and I can confidently say that I’ve become a better adulting adult.

Here are just a few ways that you can tell that you’re doing this adulting thing pretty alright:

1. You’re Excited To Go Home…To Do Nothing

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of barhopping with my girls, but most days, all that’s keeping me going is the thought of going home, curling up in bed and re-binging Parks and Recreation on Netflix all by myself, and I’m perfectly content with that.

2. You’re Becoming More Responsible With Your Money

When I got my tax refund, the first thing I did was pay off some of my student loans, deposit money into my savings account, and pay off my credit card bill (damn you, Christmas 2015). I couldn’t believe it. The worst part was that it actually made me happy. Who knew being responsible could bring so much joy. I also found out about Credit Card Insider recently, which is a really helpful resource for understanding how credit cards and credit scores work.

3. Dating Is No Longer A Pastime

I can’t numerate the amount of times I’ve watched movies where an older female character complains about how she “hates dating” and couldn’t bother with “starting over with someone new” and just wanted to “skip to being an actual relationship”. Whenever I heard this, I would hardcore roll my eyes and call them liars because dating is way too much fun! You meet so many new and different people and get to have loads of exciting fun with all of them and usually end up eating just all of the delicious food. But the older I’m getting, the less I’m looking for someone new to add to my rotation and the more I’m realizing that time spent working toward something of actual substance may be a better idea.

4. You’re Selective With Your Choosing Of Friends

Who you’re dating is important, but the people you’re friends with is just as important, maybe even more so. They say it’s hard to make friends in your adult years and I think that’s because the older you are the easier it is to detect “frenemies”, or people who aren’t genuine about their hopes that you’re happy and progress in life. Ain’t nobody got time for that! #byeFelicia

5. You Can’t Stand Younger People

Thoughts such as “Was I THAT obnoxious?” and “Where are these children’s parents?” cross my mind quite frequently when in the presence of teenagers. But seriously, kids nowadays are the absolute worst – who raised them?!

6. You Take Care Of Your Body

Whether that means cutting back on your fast food intake, actually making it to the gym more than once a year in January, or even not getting black-out drunk three times a week and giving your poor liver a rest, you’re realizing that starting to take care of your body is probably a good investment.

7. You Have Actual Plans For Your Future

I was all over the place trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life during high school, college, and even a year “in the real world”. But now, I not only have a clear-cut idea as to how I envision my life, but more importantly, I’m taking practical steps in making these dreams my reality. Adulting is all about realizing how important this really is.

The truth is, we’re all just figuring this thing out as we go along. You can read as many “How-To” books and talk to as many people as you’d like, but the best advice I could ever give you is to try, to fail, and fail hard. But learn from your mistakes, dust yourself off, and get back in the game.

And if all else fails, remember that ice cream for breakfast is never a bad decision.

 

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