Tag Archives: but seriously

So very much.

Stacks of waffles with lots of syrup. Afternoons on the couch in your comfy pants, and you go ahead and press the “Play All Episodes” on the dvd menu because you don’t have anything else pressing that day. Asking for help and receiving it. The perfect shade of red lipstick that doesn’t make you look crazy or comical, but instead just works on your skin palette. A warm dog snoring on your feet and you want to move them because they are falling asleep but you don’t wanna wake him up. Gooey hot melted cheese on top of al dente pasta. When someone’s obnoxious ringtone goes off in a quiet place like the DMV or church and everyone tries to hold in laughs. Reading a bible verse or quote that sticks with you. A good haircut. Cups of coffee with the right ratio of sweetness. Sequins on everything. When the quiet person in the room gets up to sing karaoke and totally kills the high notes with finesse. Unexpected hand-written mail. Forehead kisses. Eggs and bacon. Books or movies that people told you were phenomenal, that actually live up to all the hype. A good stiff drink after a long day of stresses. Sunglasses that make you feel like a rockstar when you put them on. Making all the green lights when you really needed to be there on time. Dinner with family, even if it only lasts 15 minutes. Cinnamon toast. When the band finally takes the stage at a concert and plays that first perfect note, and you forget how much your feet hurt from waiting for them for 2 hours + soundcheck. Tall boots and patterned socks. Naps. When your stomach hurts from laughing and you can’t even remember what was so hilarious but you also can’t stop cackling. A good record on a Saturday night. Knowing when to say no and sticking to it. Old photographs that make you happy thinking about the memories, not sad that they are over. Adventures! Big headphones. Baby animals. Old friends that are on the same page even after years. New friends that click instantly. Coworkers that become friends. Even the friendships and relationships that are hard-won because they took a while to work out. Fires and s’mores. Novelty license plates. Little dates in the afternoon. Theme parks with short lines. Pretending you’re a mermaid in your bathtub even at 22 years old. Getting a second interview and doing that happy dance in your room by yourself. That really good first streeeetttchhhh in the morning when you first wake up. Hyping The Hobbit in 3D. Going to the museum and pretending the dinosaur skeletons are chasing you. Christmas music. Caramel apples. Taking the wisdom of your parents and it paying off. Singing at the top of your lungs. Acknowledging when people are nice and kind to you and telling them and appreciating them right then. Hugs. Walking to dinner. Phone calls from far away and phone calls from the next room over and conversations that you needed to have. Peanut Butter Goo Goo Clusters.

This week has been weirdly emotional. Connecticut was all over my twentysomething newsfeeds, and whatever was said, it was all still so polarizing. I have no words to write about it, no dramatic conclusion, no sweeping outpouring, except that life is small and short and so very often I forget to look around and appreciate it. I spend my time waiting on something to come, or a big career with bright lights, and I am so terribly ridiculously spoiled.  I am a little spec in this big world but I have so much to be thankful for and so much to love.

So very much.

Stay Hungry (I Think)

I think by now the salespeople at Anthropologie just know.

It’s so nice of them to ask me if they can help me or if I need a shopping bag, but when I’m scouring the sales racks for markdowns in my band shirt, thrift-store moccasins, and denim cutoffs that are fraying to no end, I simply think they have to be aware that I will not be purchasing anything priced above $20, so, in that case, my selection is narrowed to maybe 1 salt and pepper shaker and/or a pair of damaged earrings.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to still look at and try on all the pretty dresses, smell every single heaven-scented $75 candle, and caress the handcrafted kitchen collections as if I were Martha Stewart.

So that’s…something?

Every single book I read or blog I bookmark or movie I watch about people in their twenties seems so romantically tragic. Everyone’s broke-as-a-joke but still looks so put together, living in a rundown apartment with “charm” and quirks, working jobs that make no sense with their skillset or seem to “kill their dreams”, but through it all, writing their screenplays or songs or memoirs in hopes that one day they’ll be discovered and successful and their lives will come together and crescendo like a good last song on a decent indie record.

So that’s…real life?

Unfortunately, no one ever actually managed to print the manual on making it through life when you feel like a kid and an adult at once and every single person over the age of 30 that I seem to inquire about their twenties always takes a deep breath or lets out a nervous laugh and says, “oh, you could never pay me to be 22 again.”

So that’s…hopeful?

I wish I could stop writing about my twenties. I wish I could have more useful knowledge than the cheapest parking downtown or the best songs to put on a playlist, but I’m just not there yet. I’m not a Norman Rockwell painting of life experience, but I am, in fact, hungry.

And aren’t I supposed to “stay hungry”?

Staying hungry was always an expression that evaded me. It seemed dumb and worn out and lame- as if hungering would do anything useful. It seemed to sit right next to “starving artist” and I had no patience for that, considering I actually enjoy food and eating, and everyone that I knew that considered themselves “artists” seemed to spend more time complaining about world poverty while ordering overpriced coffee than making actual art.

But I think I’m supposed to be very hungry at 22 right now – whether it’s the hunger for a better job, hunger for figuring out who the heck I’m supposed to be or simply hungering for better plans on a Saturday night. I think the constant dissatisfaction that my twentysomething generation seems to ramble on about, whether it be privileged upper-middle-class bloggers (oh hi!) or blue-collar beer-drinking barstool rants, can be put to good use. Sure, dissatisfaction can breed apathy, but what if it bred “do better” instead? Or at the very least, what if it bred just a little bit of action?

Staying hungry can drive you to something, right? Staying hungry can mean waking up in the middle of the night and sacrificing sleep to write down some semblance of a great idea that actually sounds put together, right? Staying hungry can mean staying late, even at a job you’re not in love with yet to go above and beyond, right? Staying hungry can mean investing your time in real face-to-face relationships instead of online videos and shopping bags, right? Staying hungry can mean having an overwhelming sense of confidence in yourself and your life, even when you’re working for tips or an unpaid internship, right? Staying hungry can literally mean spending too much of your paycheck on concert tickets because you want to work in music and adore it and subsequently convincing yourself the next week that Ramen and toast and coffee is an acceptable diet, right?

And on a totally related note and story that I wish I was making up – my macbook charger literally just died completely while writing this post. So don’t worry, I’ll go ahead and prioritize technology and kiss the rest of my bank account goodbye when I swipe my debit card at the Apple store in the next few days.

But hey, at least I’ll be…hungry?

We Met In A Baggage Claim

I’m very hesitant to write about anything super-personal on the internet.

LOL, JK.

Well, false. I actually share my neuroses and anxieties with y’all all the time, internet, and I wax poetic about my quirks and problems and shortcomings, but I am hesitant to write about anything personal that involves someone else, because then I’m that girl. I’m that girl, airing my relationships for everyone to see, whether the intended party signed up for their name to be strewn across a webpage or not.

But.

I mean, I tried this time.

You see, there’s this little buzz in the back of my head that’s been itching to write about this for a while. Nothing overwhelming, not even the beginning of the whole story, but still something. So, here goes.

The Chicago airport is not where I expected anything significant to happen.

The Chicago airport was supposed to be a stop that didn’t matter, literally, a go-between and maybe a few minutes of me reading an InStyle with an overpriced latte while instagramming a photo of my shoes out of boredom.

But, it was significant.

We met at a baggage claim, which I think describes us maybe better than anything else could. A place that was full of people, full of distraction, and full of constant change. You’re not supposed to spend a long time at a baggage claim, you know. Just grab your bags and move on. By all intents and purposes, we shouldn’t have met. We should have just kept walking across the terminal to our respective locations. I mean, I know we were headed to the same place and probably would have run into each other anyway, but there’s something about suitcase carrier 5 that seemed to change things.

So, we met amidst so many ridiculous things.

I can, of course, remember my outfit and remember my hair color and style at the time, but I don’t remember the first thing you said– only that it made me laugh, and that you continued to make me laugh and distract me from important things. So everything else – people, appointments, cups of coffee – got half of my attention that weekend and even though that might usually cause me anxiety, I thought nothing of it. I’m always all-talk, but you could keep up and you could play along with all my puns and singalongs. We compared things in common and made far too many of the same references and got mad when we agreed too much.

Because, let’s face it, the whole thing was somewhat sickeningly adorable, and you and I were much too cool for that sort of thing. We were both chasing after being independent and renegades and maybe one of us was wearing a ridiculous graphic t-shirt that said “Free Spirit” and taking it a little too close to heart, but still. We were not the sort of people to read Nora Ephron books and believe them, to let romantic comedy plot lines become reality or to take stock in a one-time meeting.

We were supposed to be moving on. Getting on the next plane. Taking our suitcases with us, not opening them and unpacking our lives and talking about important things and agreeing so much.

So, we met in a baggage claim, and I still don’t know what to do about it all.

And now, a couple months and a couple thousand miles later, when you look at me and sing, “we found love in a baggage claim” to the tune of Rihanna’s “We Found Love (In A Hopeless Place)” like you always do, I’ll still roll my eyes, but hey, maybe one day I’ll end up writing it all down and it’ll seem less crazy and less cryptic.

But, probably not.

19 Days And Nothing Is Normal Anymore

19 days and nothing is normal anymore.

It seems a novelty to write about why I haven’t written in a while, so I’ll try and keep it short, and hey, I might even throw in a few pictures!

19 days without writing, 19 days with little to no downtime, 19 days of too little sleep. 19 days of jokes and stories that don’t make sense to anyone who’s not here working at camp with me. 19 days in a new town in a new state. 19 days that have felt like 6 months. 19 days and I am a dot com now!!!! (check the browser bar above!) 19 days of growing up and feeling so much like a kid at the same time. 19 days of brand new relationships. 19 days that I never could have predicted in, like, 19 million years.

My head always has this little buzz inside of it lately. Every single day is a blur as well as a lull and at some point, usually a Maroon 5 song (no shame) or Lumineers song or Aretha Franklin song that’s stuck in my brain and won’t stop playing. My hours are off, my schedule is off, and the only consistent thing seems to be the attachment of my phone to my hand and face.

I’m working from 7am-11pm every single day and my energy is so spent, but I’m not complaining. It’s exhausting and it’s hard and I tend to have a little freakout of stress every single day, but it’s worth it. Gone are the days of making huge plans and long hours of lazy television marathons in bed, and here are the days of quick ideas and constant problem-solving and barely having time to throw my enormous mane of hair into a style before I’m needed and expected to have some semblance of my thoughts together.

I’ve never done this before. You see, I’m a novice in the field of actually being busy and booked all day, every day. Sure, I’ve watched nearly all the romantic comedies and coming-of-age movies where the young twentysomething girl is wearing a polished Anthropologie-knockoff-outfit, holding several binders of important files and precariously balancing full Starbucks cups as she rushes through the bustling city to her challenging 9-to-5 and important boss, but my current version of said portrayal is a lot messier.

You know how they tell you to make goal lists and things you want to accomplish? This summer I’m shredding those lists and setting fire to the idea. Because right now, I live my life 5 minutes at a time, and can’t plan more than that, and I’m gritting my teeth to learn that it is actually okay. It’s actually OKAY to let go and pry my fingers away from holding onto my control-freak-mantra of where I’m headed in life. Sure, it is important to dream and have an idea of where you see your pretty face 5 years from now and yadda yadda yadda, but at this point there’s no telling and simply no time to do so.

Right now I’m hardly the sweeping-conversationalist and meticulous-playlist-maker obsessive-planner that I have been for so long.  Who am I?

I’m frequent sips of coffee. I’m little tiny moments of catching my breath before I’m back to teaching 8 kids that need my attention and exhaust all my brainpower. I’m high-fives when they excel and I’m concerned questions when they are stuck. I’m a constant brainstorming session of activities and strategies to make camp better. I’m the alarm clock that gets set minutes later each day to try and catch up.

But, even with everything, I’m not totally disconnected. Because, oh lord, more than ever before, I am constant little text messages and too-long phone calls and hours on skype to stay in touch. I’m verbose emails and gchats and Facebook posts and instagrams in a different time zone. I’m songs sent on Spotify when there’s no time to talk and we have to use lyrics instead, and I’m a paragraph of heartfelt I-miss-you’s and call-me-later’s. I’m long pauses when I know neither of us want to hang up but we’re out of words. I’m letters in the mail and voicemails that ramble.

I’m exhausted but also exhausting every single form of communication possible.

And while I’m grateful for this job and for this change of scenery and for all these moments, I just wonder if it is ever going to feel normal; so tired and burned out but so happy, as well as constant connection with those I love, but so disconnected at the same time. Maybe I should give up on finding normalcy in my 20s altogether?

Or maybe I simply need to wear that earlier-mentioned polished Anthropologie-knockoff-outfit while balancing Starbucks cups and everything will make sense. Maybe that’s what’s truly missing.

You And I And Our Lists

I worry that we are all just little collections of likes and dislikes, with detailed lists of each. We carry around these lists of our favorite and least-favorite things close to our chests, waiting to run into someone new and to share them to see if we have any in common. We quote movies and post song lyrics and claim ownership of hometowns– tightening our first around the things that we like, the things that we consume, the things that seemed to build us. It’s all just silly words and melodies and names and images, but it’s everything to us in a way. What we like is what we’re told to talk about, to pursue, and to share.

But it’s so small. Knowing a top 5 list is so miniscule.

Top 5 favorite movies. Top 5 favorite tv shows. Top 5 favorite bands. Top 5 favorite sports teams. Top 5 favorite books. Top 5 favorite sandwiches. Top 5 favorite websites. Top 5 favorite vacation spots. Top 5 favorite top-5-list topics.

It’s perfect when someone else’s 5 is the same as yours– you get a moment of swelling joy in thinking, “Yes! You get it! You understand me!” but that’s so cheap. Liking and disliking, comparing and sharing, it’s all so exhausting and so structured.

Because you can know someone’s favorite tv shows for years but never get the inner workings of their soul.

And I know that sentence doesn’t sound profound at all, but in a society of meticulously-placed tweets and highly-edited information released exclusively, it’s so frustrating to feel real camaraderie anymore. Not just “we-commented-on-the-same-blog-post” friendships, but the kind that cuts deep and knows.

The kind that not only knows that you take two splendas in your coffee, but that you tear up when you see elderly couples holding hands because it makes you feel a longing for a romance that society has told you doesn’t exist anymore.

Or the kind that knows you can’t miss NBC’s Thursday Night comedy lineup, but also that the thought of your direction in life is terrifying.

After almost 22 years, I’m nearly an open book, and the ink is still very wet. I’m eager to share anything that’s not appropriate for “dinner table conversation”, even as we are seated at the dinner table. I want to talk about the hard things that aren’t comfortable yet. I want to tell jokes that would make our predecessors blush. I want to chat regarding the failed relationships we’re supposed to act like aren’t proper discussion topics but are all we are aching to speak up about. I want us to talk about hurts and confusion and pain. I want us to talk about awkward kisses and embarrassing stories we swore to never bring up again. I want us to talk about anxieties that cut us down and overwhelming pride that make us seem almost too confident. I want us to brag obnoxiously and I want us to mope listlessly. I want us to talk about faith and love, and where we’ve lost both. I want us to talk about childhood dreams that never came true, as well as the small victories we never saw coming.

I’m scared that it’s easier for me just to run down my list, day after day and year after year. I like jalapenos, I like The Beatles, I like long text message conversations, and I like turquoise jewelry. I don’t like waiting in lines, I don’t like silences, I don’t like Two & A Half Men, and I don’t like humidity. But where does this get us? Sure, we can sustain conversation and keep up appearances for a long time, but sooner or later there’s going to be that moment where I want to tell you all about near-mental breakdowns and we won’t have made it there yet.

So, yes, I will cling to my favorite things and I will tell you about them in full. I will gladly repeat banter we heard in a scene or learn chords in a song. I will quote and recommend and discuss your favorites and my favorites and resurrect a shrine of our top 5s, displayed as perfectly as possible. But, I hope that maybe together, when we’re ready, we can let go of our lists. We’ll slowly release our grip and smooth out all the wrinkles in the paper from where we’ve held on so tight and we’ll put them all somewhere safe. And then, with our hands free and our usual topics taken care of, we can really talk.

And if in that moment you can’t think of the words to say, don’t worry. I’ll go first.

At 21

At 21, I wonder if I’m supposed to start thinking about advanced skincare. When do I start using wrinkle cream? Should I be concerned about taking vitamins? Are free-radicals ruining my later years of Facetime with the grandkids on our iPhone 7S 17G smartphones?

At 21, the fashion world and I are at a standstill. I want to still buy young clothes, but I’m supposed to be looking at professional attire as well, for the career that I am waiting to come true completely.  Where is the middle ground between my usual uniform of denim cutoffs, leopard print, and 1970s jewelry versus nice heels-and-blouse-and-skirt-that-have-actually-been-ironed-with-a-real-iron-and-not-just-a-hair-straightener for the working world? Am I too old for some trends? Do I shop at Forever21 or Chicos?

At 21, half of everyone I know tells me that I’m such a baby age-wise and I have so much time to figure my life out and the other half sees me as an old mature graduate and reminds me that their generation has access to technology and resources even faster than I did. This causes confusion and lots of nervous laughter.

At 21, I am finally beginning to accept myself and all my quirks. I’ve gone through the rough awkward years of middle school and the dazed years of high school and even the happy 24/7 years of college, and I think I know a few of my personal strengths by now. My waist size and body type don’t stress me out as much as they used to, I know, for the most part, what looks good on me, and I’ve embraced my big hair wholeheartedly. I don’t have a lisp anymore, I don’t rely on music as my only conversation topic anymore, and I can take a compliment and just say “Thank You” without freaking out about it or over-thinking. When I look in the mirror, I can actually calmly smile at my reflection.

At 21, I know how to do some important life-skill things. I know how to jump start a car battery, how to make at least 10 different edible dishes (most of them breakfast, but let’s be honest, breakfast is the best), how to actually use the internet to find answers to questions and not just funny cat pictures, how to write a cover letter, how to blow dry my hair and have it come out somewhat decent, how to make coffee, how to put together an outfit, how to be on time, and how to pack a suitcase.

At 21, I still need to work on being specific with my calendar and schedule, having a conversation that’s not completely all about my fears of being a post grad in this economy, changing a flat tire, painting my nails without smearing the polish everywhere, answering questions in a job interview without wanting every answer I give to be funny, locating things on a map and not just relying on a GPS to do it for me, and how to do something productive with my Saturdays instead of the usual routine of pretending my floor is lava and my bed is the only safe place that I won’t get burned.

At 21, I should have more sense. I should probably stand up straighter, tell the whole truth when I am asked, stop texting boys that are careless with my heart and don’t even appreciate my finely-worded puns, read more books, stop waiting so long to get my hair cut, trust Jesus more, wear sensible shoes, and floss every other day.

At 21, I listen to Jack White’s song “Freedom At 21” and pretend it is all about me and feel 300% cooler and more rockstar because of it. Judge me.

At 21, I actually carry a big-girl purse every day with a planner and Advil and chapstick and bobby pins in it. I am learning to be prepared. I wear a watch that’s not digital and I try and keep the dirt out from under my fingernails and my polish unchipped.

At 21, I need to be told that I’m doing okay. I need to be told that life isn’t a race towards success. I need approval from my peers, and it hurts sometimes when I don’t get it. I need to be needed but I have a tendency to flake out on plans. I need direction but I also need to feel like I’m making my own life decisions. I need a hug, and I need you to give one to me even if I don’t ask for it. I need to sleep more. I need to eat more vegetables. I need those really cute boots I saw in the magazine, but I am going to tell myself that I don’t need them…at least until they go on sale.

At 21, I am frustrated when people get down on my generation for being so connected to our phones, too apathetic, not interested in politics, careless, needy, spoiled, obnoxious, MTV-driven, lazy, obsessed with the Kardashians, and entitled, even if sometimes I know that it is absolutely true, and that I am all of those things at times.

At 21, I am adjusting to, well, my life. That is, at least until 22 comes along, then all of this falls to pieces again.

I Used To Be So Reassured (+ Time Travel!)

Hi, internet. I’m still unemployed for those of you wondering (all 3 of you) and I don’t say that to make you feel sorry for me, just to keep you informed and because well, it’s part of this story.

You see, when you’re unemployed, you have a whole lot of free time on your hands. During my large block of free time today, after filling out applications and googling pictures of puppies (because that is another essential task), I decided to go back and clean up some of my old blogs, seeing as I’ve had quite a few. I was going through old entries from several blogs ago (oh yes, I was one of those special breeds of the internet generation that had a blog in middle school and high school…and God bless your heart if you read them and are still deciding to read my words now) and I found this:

April 1, 2008: “There’s a few future plans I have planned out and heard more on lately, but overall, I’m just trusting God and putting it all in his hands. I hardly know everything, but what do I know? I’ve got a list of books to read and a set of records and box sets of LPs that Olivia is letting me borrow that I can’t even believe I am actually hearing and that amaze me. There’s also a graduation date to look forward to. And larger than that, I’ve got an intense passion for music that overwhelms me sometimes, a family and group of friends that I run out of fantastic adjectives for, and a desire to serve in some way. I know that those will be there no matter where I’m living or what I’m doing years from now, and actually, yes, that’s very reassuring.”

I wrote it almost exactly 4 years ago, about to graduate high school. The “box sets of LPs” were the Live 1975-85 Boxset and I was juuuust beginning to listen to Bruce Springsteen. I was 17, I was idealistic, and I was so reassured.

I’m definitely not the same girl I was then. I look different in nearly every way and I sound different too. I drink a lot more coffee than I used to four years ago and since then, I’ve also touched Bruce Springsteen’s guitar while he was playing it. In comparison to four years ago, I’ve picked up a ukulele and guitar, fortunately, and unfortunately, I read less books. I am, for all intents and purposes, better than I was four years ago, more educated than I was four years ago, and older than I was four years ago (duh) but that peace and reassurance about the future and about my life that I had four years ago? I’d give anything to have those back, instead of this post-grad anxiety.

I have been obsessed with the idea of time travel for years. No, really.  REALLY OBSESSED. Back to the Future was my Dad’s favorite movie and was on repeat growing up. Marty McFly stole my heart at a young age with his orange vest and guitar solo. Today I look into buying a used DeLorean on Ebay maybe once a month, and don’t even get me started on my adoration for Doctor Who and how I wish for the Tardis. Heck, I even loved Stargate and Battlestar Galactica for their crazy timeline drama. So, all this geekery and obsession leads me to love discussions about flux capacitors and what it might look like to go back into the past.  I talk about time travel with no qualms at all. However, reading something I wrote and craving to be able to write it again, to go back there when I thought I’d come so far, baffles me more than any space-time continuum.

Is it too weird to think that you should take advice from…yourself?