3 or Less: February 26, 2016

This week has been very soul-searchy for me. Two of my personality traits have been crossing hairs in the most unfortunate way. I am widely and easily fascinated on one hand and fiercely in need of a plan on the other. I want to know my steps 5 in advance, but that’s really hard to do when you’re not sure which direction you’re going.

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Things I do know for sure: Uggs and a cardigan will always be comfortable. Loving my lazy Friday OOTD. Instead of focusing on the future, I spent the morning working on the here and now. There’s something so grounding about tackling short-term projects. I may not know where I’ll be in a year from now, but I do know that my education portfolio is going to look amazing! Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

In addition to working on school projects, I took some time to do a little bit of redecorating. I want to fill my whole wall up with pictures and quotes; I love being surrounded by things that make me happy. (Honestly, it’s so illogical to decorate more when I’ll be moving out in a  few months, but here we are.)

“Do what you love” is a scary statement when you love so many things but life is a grand adventure and I intend to take full advantage of it.

 

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On Tee Shirts with Foxes on Them

Last night, after explaining the story behind my Perry the Platypus pillow pet, I told my housemates “I hope I always love silly stuff like this.” That offhand comment got me thinking about growing up and changing and the Great Unknown and I think I sorted out what I’m really scared of: I’m afraid that I’ll stop wearing tee shirts with foxes on them.

After years of not knowing who I was or who I wanted to be, I finally feel confident in my weirdness and I have a vision for my life. I finally feel good about where I am. I’m good at being a fledgling adult whose diet consists exclusively of Dr. Pepper, Mexican food, and whatever my sisters cook for me. I’m good at going to class and doodling Disney characters and writing hypothetical lesson plans. And I’m very good at wearing tee shirts with foxes on them.

I’m afraid that, as I move away from a college kid and into a full blown adult, I will lose my sense of me-ness. Everyone talks about growing up as settling down, which is lovely sentiment, but all I hear is stagnation and conformity. I don’t want to settle down because when you settle down, you stop playing with Legos and you stop walking on the edges of curbs like a tightrope and you stop getting excited about really weird sunglasses. And you stop wearing tee shirts with foxes on them.

I’m not so much afraid of the unknown; after graduation there’s a thousand and one different things that I could do and I’m sure that the right path will become apparent. But I’m afraid of losing myself in the process. Some people believe that we are constantly changing and becoming better but I’m not so sure about that. What if we’re just slowly loosing bits and pieces of ourselves, settling into a rut and leaving the more eccentric parts of us behind? What if growing up is just shaving off the parts of yourself that don’t fit into the mold of “adult”?

I never want to lose my eccentricities. I never want to settle. I want to be eighty eight years old riding Space Mountain at Disney World. I want to be that grandma with green hair. I want to be the crazy teacher who plays with her class at recess. And I want to never stop wearing tee shirts with foxes on them.

 

3 or Less: Feburary 5, 2016

This morning has been a luxurious exercise in slowing down. My only class was cancelled, replaced with a quick group assignment (that my partner I cleverly handled via email). I got to lazily drink my coffee and shower without rushing. I had time to do tidy up my room and do a load of laundry. After feeling meh for over a week, today’s slow pace was much needed.

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 presetIt’s a glorious thing to spend the morning in your robe and I’m embracing the pants-less life quite well. OOTD: Pink polka dot robe and slippers.

This past summer, I broke my lifelong habit of biting my nails. Since then, I’ve been celebrating this achievement by keeping my nails painted in my favorite colors. I replaced my chipped magenta with a sweet pale pink.

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This pressed juice y’all. It is easily my favorite drink in the whole world. Who knew ginger and lime could be so delicious!?! I can never find it in my regular grocery stores, so it’s always a special treat when I get my hands on some.

I’ve implied in other posts that I have the greatest Mama in the whole world, but now is the time to boast outright. She’s the queen of gifts, and last weekend when I went home, she had these great books waiting for me.

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The 52 Lists Project by Moorea Seal and Savor by Shauna Niequist, a journal and a devotion book. Oh they are both just so lovely! I spent some time in both of them this morning, reading and reflecting. I am so blessed to be able to have mornings like this to rejuvenate and refuel. It’s been the perfect little reset to go break out of the fog I’ve been in.

 

January 2016 Playlist

I’m an avid journal-er. I’m practically swimming in beautifully bound pages, some nearly full, others waiting for inspiration to strike. I’ve got journals for lists and journals for bad days and one journal filled with an extended letter to someone I haven’t met yet. I have a journal full of original songs lyrics and poems and doodles. I fully embrace the fact that I’m sappy and nostalgic and have no plans of changing my journaling ways.

I also have audio journals. For almost a year now, I’ve been cultivating monthly playlists. Each one is a snapshot of a chuck of time, a record of what I loved for those weeks. Cheesy pop, twangy country, old songs, new songs; like all the good things in life, there’s no rhyme or reason to them.

Here’s my Spotify playlist for this past month: January 2016

On Not Being Okay

I love that crick in your side you get from laughing too much and I love it when your face hurts from smiling all day and I love feeling so content that time seems to stop. I love those really really good days. And, more often than not, my days are really really good. Most days I’m giggling with my best friend and I’m doodling Disney characters and I’m scheming up some fantastic new dream.

But some days I’m not okay. Every now and then, my normal type-A-levels of stress and anxiety increase astronomically and find myself in a funk. Right now, my eye has been twitching nonstop for a week and I can’t quite muster up the gumption to go to a meeting that I really should go to. My hands jittery, my insides ache, and all I want to do is get in bed. I go from happy, bubbly me to a shaking ball of anxiety in an instant.

It sucks. It sucks to not be okay. It sucks to feel icky and lonely and bogged down. But that’s reality. Some days you aren’t okay.

There’s a silver lining to these junky days: I’m reminded how thankful I am for people who know how to love me. I’m surrounded by people who know to feed me and listen to me and let me be alone. I’m sure here in a few days, I’ll come out of this little funk I’m in and I’ll be back to laughing too loud in public places.

For now though, I’ll call my mom every three hours and watch movies that make me cry and eat the food my sister fixes for me.

Some days you aren’t okay. And that’s okay.

3 Or Less: January 29, 2016

Four years ago, sitting in my new dorm room the night before I started college,  I happened upon a little music video called “Thrift Shop”. I vividly remember cracking up at how ridiculous the video was and ravenously watching anything else created by the artist. I was hooked.

IMG_7212[1] For my 22nd birthday, my hero of a mom got me front row tickets to see Macklemore for the third time and it was an incredible night. How stinkin’ cute is my Mama?? We had a blast singing and dancing together. IMG_7203[1]

By the end of the show, we had been sprayed with water, covered in confetti, and had received a few high-fives. I was dead tired from jumping around so much and was feeling a little overwhelmed (Me + Crowds = Not a good mix), but Mama Deb suggested we take a peek at the alley behind the theater. Sure enough, a small crowd had congregated to wait for Ryan Lewis and Macklemore.

IMG_7204[1]Somehow we found ourselves among them, chatting with strangers in the cold for two hours. And then, before I really had time to process what was happening, I took the best/worst selfie of my life. I look insane, the lighting is horrible, and it’s kinda blurry, but it is oh-so perfect.

I started listening to Macklemore at such a pivotal time in my life. I was 18, just moved away from home for the first time, on the verge of discovering who I was. The Heist became the soundtrack of my growth. As I learned and cried and laughed, I always came back to those songs that articulated my emotions in a way that I never could. Now I’m 22, a semester away from graduation, a semester away from the unknown, and I’ve discovered this beautiful power in the nostalgia of music. There’s a wealth of emotions stored in his music and I find so much comfort in knowing that I’ll always have those songs, that soundtrack, that snippet of my life, to come home to.

On Staying

Two years ago, in the produce aisle of an Orlando Publix, I begged my mom to let me quit.

“I want to go home,” I sobbed. “I can’t do it, I don’t know anyone here, I’m not ready, it’s too hard.” Through tears, I gave every excuse I could think of; most of them valid.

I was over 500 miles away from the comfort of the familiar and the ease of routine. I felt like I had just jumped into an unfamiliar pool with my eyes closed and suddenly I forgot how to swim (which was quite literally the opposite of my job description). Who was I to leave my school, my family, and my friends, to work as a lifeguard at Walt Disney World? I was overwhelmed and unprepared and I wanted to quit before it even began.

“You can leave if you want,” my mom said, pulling me into her arms. “You can fly home with me tomorrow. But,” she looked me straight in the eye, “this is your dream.”

Isn’t it interesting that we get the most scared when we are the closest to achieving our dreams? As we teeter on the edge of all we’ve ever wanted, the reality of realizing our dreams becomes too much. And sure, working for Disney is a silly dream and one that’s not particularly unique to me, but the lesson I learned that night is universal: When we choose to stay instead of run, when we say yes even though we’re terrified, when we wipe our tears and dig in our heals, we inch closer to the person God has called us to be. I believe that our hopes and dreams are God-given, to be realized for His glory. When we make those leaps of faith, however big or small they may seem, we are learning to rely not on self, but on God.

I didn’t quit. And got homesick, and I messed up, and my social anxiety was through the roof, and I didn’t know what I was doing and it was hard. But I stayed and that made all the difference.Castle1

3 Or Less: January 25, 2016

I had my first test of the new semester this morning, so naturally, instead of waking up early to study some more or to exercise & get the blood flowing to my brain (#science), I woke up early to drink coffee and to listen to my favorite podcast. The She Didn’t Text Back Podcast is crass and rude and hysterical and the perfect thing to listen to at 7:54 a.m. (That statement is also #science).

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetIn a lot of ways, I’m not a morning person, but there is just something so undeniably great about having plenty of time to do your makeup and sip that life-sustaining juice that is coffee. And it’s an added bonus when your mug is stinkin’ adorable.  Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

In keeping with the lazy Monday theme, today’s OOTD featured a tee shirt proclaiming my general feelings (Ok, but first coffee) and yoga pants for the ultimate test-taking comfort.

I’ve been trying for literally years to practice yoga Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetconsistently. As much as I love it and can recognize the positive impact it has on my health and happiness, I just can never seem to make it a part of my daily routine. And then I feel all negative about that and so very un-yogi like, perpetuating my distance from my practice. But today’s a new day and I’m celebrating making it to the mat! A nice stretch to start the week off right. Now to tackle that paper I’ve been putting off…

 

3 or Less: January 22, 2016

It’s been a rainy, dreary day here in Tennessee, the kind that makes you want to skip your  classes and just stay tucked up in bed. Thank goodness for coffee and rain boots.

Processed with VSCOcam with acg presetRainy day = Simplicity. Black jeans, loose tee and my go-to jacket for the OOTD.

The only logical thing to do after class on a gross Friday morning is to reflect and reminisce. For Christmas, I received the most lovely set of paperback journals. Each has a theme and simple little prompts to get the words flowing. A Dr. Pepper in my sparkly cup, some Beatles music, and making a list of tiny pleasures I want to enjoy more; what could be better?

Processed with VSCOcam with acg presetI’m generally a pretty introspective, nostalgic person, but this week I’ve been feeling particularly reflective. Two years ago, I left school to work at Walt Disney World for a semester. This week has been a mess of emotions remembering that time and it seemed fitting to take a look through my scrapbook this morning. So many sweet memories.

Processed with VSCOcam with acg presetSleepy, simple Friday mornings are easily one of my favorite things. No rushing, no stress. Even the nasty weather can’t spoil this glorious morning.

 

On Failure

I failed.
I missed-it-by-miles, should-be-ashamed, utterly and completely failed.
Last year, I nailed NaNoWriMo, easily crushing 50,000 words in 30 days.
But this year was a whole different beast. The first few days of November were jam packed with school stress and I quickly fell behind my daily word count goal. I’d chip away at it, trying desperately to catch back up, but I just had too much going on.
Then panic set in. I couldn’t stop now; I’d told all my friends I was doing it. What would people think if I didn’t achieve my goal? The dreaded F word clouded my thoughts. I would be a FAILURE.
I stopped writing a week and half into NaNo and, shockingly, nothing happened. The world didn’t stop turning simply because I failed to complete a self-imposed challenge. No planes fell out of the sky, babies didn’t all of a sudden start crying when they saw me.
And, most surprising of all, I felt GOOD. I was bummed because I enjoyed getting to spew creative word vomit for hours at a time and because I genuinely love a good challenge, but I was relieved. I quit literally mid-sentence and was happy about it.
This happiness came by way of a realization: There’s no shame in failure!
It sucks, it’s a bummer, it’s lame, but it’s life. We can’t do everything and some days we can’t do anything. But on those blissful days when we CAN do something, we enjoy them even more, because we’ve felt the sting of failure.
It’s what drives us forward. It’s what makes us want to be better. Failure festers, and feeds ambition.
I failed.
But I failed with pride and with lessons learned.
And next year, I’ll try again.