Category Archives: Uncategorized

Solo Travel

Since I was younger, I have fantasized over the idea of going to Barcelona, Spain. In fact, the specific year was 2006. Why this year?

Easy. It’s when The Cheetah Girls packed it all up in went to Spain, and for some reason to eight-year-old me, that just looked amazing.

(It still looks amazing!)

This past summer, I spent nearly 63 hours of my time devoted to earning my way to my dream through the great art of scooping ice cream. It took patience, a lot of time lacking immediate gratification, and several annoying conversations with some particularly unfriendly customers- but my dream was becoming a reality.

I had intended on staying in a hostel, but when I started at my new university, I met a really great girl named Maria, and she offered up her home and time to show me around la ciudad hermosa (the beautiful city)!…Im trying, okay?…haha.

So, when the time came, and I’d set enough money aside, I rushed to the internet and purchased my ticket.

In preparation of the trip, I’ve been watching novellas,  reading in Spanish, and listening to Spanish music in my free time.

I’ll admit, I definitely haven’t done it enough- however I’m starting to recognize major improvements in my comprehension and pronunciation. I had gotten to the point where language programs were no longer aiding my learning experience, but actually discouraging me.


…Anyways.

Being the renown procrastinator that I am, I delayed getting my passport for just a tad longer than what would have been convenient.

Instead of easily mailing my information to the office a short month in advance,  I was forced to take a solo trip to the Atlanta location due to waiting so late.

(Why am I like this?!)

For years I’ve wanted to test my independence and travel alone, but Atlanta was never one of my dream destinations. Also, neither was traveling to a place where I knew absolutely no one.

After a few mini-break downs, I came to the conclusion I was going to make the trip as fun as possible.

And I did!

I did several things:

  • Bikram Yoga
  • Visited the Georgia Aquarium
  • Saw The Belt-Line (a walking path they make a huge deal out of here).
  • Shopped and Dined in Ponce City Market
  • Walked (ALOT)
  • Found a Cute Coffee Shop (Its called ‘Dancing Goats’, I think that automatically makes it amazing).
  • Ate At Miss Pitty Patty’s Porch (And got a free coffee+desert for being pretty!).
  • Discovered I love alone time, but I’m definitely a family/people-person.
  • Got my very own passport (I feel accomplished- seriously).

Today is my last day in Atlanta, Georgia, though. Honestly, this city is fun, but I’m stoked to go home and see my family, friends and boyfriend before I head off to Spain. The people in my life mean so much to me, and I’m truly thankful to have that depth of connection with them.

Have you given consideration to the people in your life lately?

I’ve been thinking, and I’ve come to the conclusion that my alone time has made me reflect on and appreciate their presence even more.

This week, try taking an hour or two away from those in your life, and see where it puts you mentally. I dare you!

Watch- the time away will bring you closer. You’ll see.

Xoxo.

 

Show Me Something Natural

“Show me something natural, like ass with some stretch marks.” 

146 pounds.

Thats how much I weighed myself to be nearly four days ago.

When I stepped on the scale, my heart leapt into my throat. Everything in me wanted to jump on my bike and ride until somehow that number magically dropped to my usual fluctuating 135-140. Tears swelled in my eyes, and panic filled what I thought to be my newly inflated stomach.

As a little girl, I was classically trained in ballet- which also means I was classically trained to overanalyze my body and all of its imperfections.

I took a deep breath, then immediately ran to the bathroom to do just that- point out every piece of myself in which I craved to thin.

Are my arms jiggling more?

Is my butt not perky?

Oh my god, is my stomach poochy?

Images of those skinny wasted women, and big booty girls ran through my mind. Thats what a “10” is supposed to look like, right?

Not necessarily.

Not to say these women aren’t beautiful (believe me, they are, or else they wouldn’t appear so much on the social media).

But.

Its okay to fluctuate a little.

Looking at this situation rationally, I changed a lot of my habits in order to boost my grades during finals. Instead of sleeping a regular amount, I only got about 2 hours of rest a night. And rather then running around and hanging out with friends, I was sitting alone to study all day.

I know activity needs to be burned into your schedule, however, I realized I could not afford that time. If I wasn’t busy studying, I had to nap.

Whats messed up, though, is how dramatically a five-pound jump for ONE WEEK had me doubting my beauty, even though I’m still at an extremely healthy weight for my height (5’8″).

Its okay to naturally change body weights.

Besides, stretch marks kind of look like lightning.

If I have lightning in my hips, you know my moves are fire.

via GIPHY

Xoxo.

(also, this song is great. enjoy).

I Was Right

Currently, I’m sitting in my university’s library bouncing to the tune of none other than The Arctic Monkey’s “Why’d You Only Call Me You’re High.”

“Now it’s three in the morning,
And I’m trying to change your mind,
Left you multiple missed calls
And to my message you reply.
Why’d you only call me when you’re high?
High
Why’d you only call me when you’re high?”

I can’t help but think of what the person on the other side of the line is feeling. Why are you calling? What do you need? Are you so messed up that somehow your mind wandered to  me even though it never traveled so far when you were sober?

These lyrics, in the the most twisted way bring me so much pleasure. I can’t help but smile, and it’s horrible.

Dark.

Malicious.

Wrong.

Delightful.

We all go through it:

That moment in the middle of the night, where your phone lights up with an old name that you’ve managed to shove away from your precious heart. But somethings different this time: Rather than searching for a glimpse of the future with this person somewhere between the lies and promises, you find a deep and gratifying sense of triumph.


You’ve made it.

And you did it- even though they said you never would.

You’re over it.

You’ve moved on.

…And you were right.

You’ve found the happiness they said they couldn’t give you due to its lack of existence.

Oh really?

 

 

Xoxo.

Constants

The time of year is approaching where Walmarts around the nation will be newly supplied with freshman-dorm necessities and back-to-school check-lists. But along with these lists and uncomfortable futons, this time of year brings on a shift in everyone’s life.

For some reason, I’ve always held a grudge with Autumn. Whether it’s because I have to watch my friends leave for school, throw on an unflattering sweater, or readjust to a new schedule, I always seem to blame it on the time of year.

This particular round, though, I may be facing some crazy changes myself. I’m incredibly excited, but along with this I’m also quite nervous. From transferring to a new university, to traveling alone, there are many things in stock. But, just like any other year that I go through this, I’m reminding myself of the constants in my life.

My constants?

Well, these are the nouns (people, places, or things, for those of you who don’t remember) in my life that always stay put and help me remain grounded.

My constants include my family, God, my close friends, and the ocean.

While the ocean may seem like such an obscure constant, let me tell you:

There is no where else in this world that I can go, be silent, and soak up such an untouchable amount of joy.

Truthfully, I find that it’s almost a cleansing experience.

Hand Shells

“Get yourself grounded and you can navigate even the stormiest roads in peace.”
Steve Goodier

So, throughout all of the upcoming alterations in my life (which hopefully includes a sum total of zero futons) I will hold my constants near.

Sitting Still

Growing up, I’ve never understood how people sat still. How they just allowed every thought in their mind to trip over the barriers placed up by their busy minds. How they could allow their minds to be anything but busy.

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!” -Marcus Garvey

While sure, this quote sounds courageous, I’m not quite sure if my worn mind can fall for it. “…none but ourselves can free our minds!…” Bah!

My worn mind, though?

Let me explain.

Nearly two weeks ago, I took one of the wisest steps I’ve taken in the three years I’ve noticeably faced issues with anxiety and depression: I decided I was done feeling enslaved.

Sure, after time spent learning and studying from online resources I found ways to cope and get along in my day-to-day activities, but things were becoming much too difficult on my own.

I was simply mastering the art of distraction.

Personally, when I’m more stressed than usual, a huge indicator that my issues are worsening is what I do with my life and where my time is spent. If I’m constantly busying myself, and only home long enough to sleep, more often that not I’m trying to escape any chance of sitting still long enough for my thoughts to consume me. I’m busying my mind.

“‘Amusement’ is appealing because we don’t have to think; it spares us the fear and anxiety that might otherwise prey on our thoughts.” -John Ortberg

My so-called “enslaved” mind craved the emancipation that Marcus Garvey’s quote mentions. Why couldn’t I just deal with it and set myself free? I figured if I kept myself amused, and away from my thoughts, I was fixing the issue.

Sadly, though, in the process of distracting myself long enough see a blurry glimpse of freedom, I was missing simple experiences like moments spent at home with my family, opportunities to read, or even write here on this blog.

In reality, my slave had been screaming so loudly that it wasn’t able to hear anything else. Not even the nagging sense that something isn’t -wasn’t- right.

So for the first time, I confronted my screaming slave and made it quiet long enough to hear the opinion of a doctor.

After this quick interaction, and a brutally honest discussion on my spiraling feelings and thoughts, I was suggested to start on a simple medication that would level some hormones in my brain to make everything a little more doable.

Throughout the appointment, my nervous mind was growing more and more excited. “Tina,” my Dr., was so reassuring. I wasn’t crazy, or abnormal in her eyes! In fact, I reminded her of her daughter who has the same medication.

Mental health is nothing you should have to rely on yourself to cure. You shouldn’t try and “free” yourself, and especially not through distraction.

So how do I feel now?

Well, it’s been two weeks of taking a regular dose of my meds, and I can honestly say I’ve never felt so relieved. When I come home from work at night, I don’t spend hours sitting up in bed thinking of whatever might plague me that night. Instead, I close my eyes and I’m quickly carried off. Peacefully.

Freely.

My mind doesn’t feel tethered to my emotions any more. Instead, I choose what I want to focus on and think about.

Now I get it: How people just sit there.

Because now, I’m able to sit still, too.

DSC_1315

Character Development

To some degree, I hold the belief that people are simply characters in a story. It’s not as if there is any sort of plot, or climax, or even a catalyst to said story. In fact: some of us are just floating. A few, it seems, lack any depth what-so-ever. But, sometimes, these little characters are blessed with the hideously raw experience of growth.

What am I talking about when I say, “Growth”?

Well, to explain, I’d start with the idea that maybe we aren’t all contributing to the same story. Perhaps, we as humans, are feeding into multiple happy endings. Or, more realistically, dreadful let downs, depending on the POV (point of view).

Being the type of person to love easily, my heart has been let down countless times. In some moments, these disappointments lead to the hollowing sense that the particular novel of my time spent with someone left my character with the rotten bit of the ending. But, really, this isn’t the case. Rather, my character has seen and felt more than most. Truthfully, my Author has simply given me depth: Something that has to happen for a character to be likable.

Though it hurt, and I’ve spiraled in the most cliche way possible, my persona has been developed and pushed further than it ever has before.

It has grown.
IMG_3019

*I* have grown. 

Romans 1:2-7

Valentines Day

Between exploring a local farmer’s market (and getting a stone-sculpted arrow), grossing him out with my choice in ethnic foods, tea-tasting, grocery hunting, sharing simple conversation, and finally being able to spill the beans on what we did for the other as Valentines, I’m pretty sure I had the best weekend.

IMG_9031
Yeah- I think we’re pretty cute, too.
Might be a blurry shot, but he definitely adds quality.
Might be a blurry shot, but he definitely adds quality.
Sunday drives are a favorite of mine.
Sunday drives are a favorite of mine.
Gorgeous roses, chocolate, a sweet card, and pretty jewelry! What a guy!
Gorgeous roses, chocolate, a sweet card, and pretty jewelry! What a guy!

Karen and Phil

While Karen and Phil might’ve met on Match.com, I happened to meet them on the beach while they were laying out (thawing, probably- it was a little breezy)!

After a few moments of telling them a few stories of my adventures over-seas, I learned that Phil had been all over! Russia, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Figi, India, Japan, Tokyo, and Germany are only a small handful of the places he’s been! Sydney, Australia however, he said, tops the rest of those places.

“It’s almost like a cross between Seattle and San Francisco.”

How neat!

Out of curiosity, I asked Karen about her travels! While she was relaying the places she’d been, I stopped her at a place I’ve been crazy-interested in lately– Chile. Something she found most memorable there, along the coast, were these huge walruses and clumps of “Madusa-like” seaweed covering the beaches.

Amazing!

Surprisingly, they haven’t had the chance to travel the world together yet (aside from Disney). But, I asked, and they definitely agree sharing memories around the world (besides Epcot) would be a joy!

Phil and Karen
Karen and Phil