Hopeless Romantic

Allow me to discuss with you some complex feelings.

I believe this has already been covered by me, but one thing you should know is that I am a hopeless romantic. Give me the whole fantasy, kissing in the rain, Darcy confessing his love to Elizabeth on the misty English moors, curtsies and petticoats and bouquets of wildflowers. Here. For. It.

Now that that’s off my chest let me explain how difficult it is to be a human person when your mental picture for the way life is supposed to play out is informed by books, and movies, and fairy tales. It’s a challenge because life has moments like the above, but it is not actually something out of a storybook.

So I want to go to bakeries in the morning and eat croissants whilst reading the newspaper or a novel. I want to sip coffee at a French cafe I want to sit in a library having intellectual and philosophical discussions with people. I want to go to balls and wear flowy dresses and live in a decently sized, but quaint home with creaky floorboards and locks with real keyholes.

Instead I wake up and watch YouTube. I go to a 9 to 5 and sit at a cubicle in an office and stare at a screen. I consider it a victory if I remember to set the delay on my coffee-maker the night before and certainly don’t have time to go to a bakery before work in the mornings. I will likely go my entire life without ever going to a ball and I almost never wear dresses unless I’m going to an important meeting.

The point being that because I want the first option some part of me never really feels fufilled with the way my life is, but it’s such an ordeal to simply BE, let alone add the kind of spice and intrigue I desire for my life. So I always feel a little bit melancholy. One, because I wish life was a little more whimsical. Two, because I wish I had the mental capacity/energy to variate from my routine a little and add some whimsy into my life. It shouldn’t be difficult, but it is.

I genuinely don’t know if this will resonate with literally anyone else out there in the world, but I REALLY wanted to articulate it. I’ve felt like this my whole life and I pray that one day I can add enough… I don’t know… pizzazz? into my life to balance out my hopeless-romantic tendencies with my realism.

Little Women

This post is brought to you by a text conversation with my best friend spurned by a Instagram story post by another friend. Ah the miracle of modern communication.

Which character from Little Women are You?

Meg March –  The oldest March sister. Responsible and kind, Meg mothers her younger sisters. She has a small weakness for luxury and leisure, but the greater part of her is gentle, loving, and morally vigorous.

Jo March –  the second-oldest March sister. wants to be a writer, has a temper and a quick tongue, a tomboy, and she reacts with impatience to the many limitations placed on women and girls. She hates romance in her real life, and wants nothing more than to hold her family together.

Beth March –  The third March daughter. Beth is very quiet and very virtuous, and she does nothing but try to please others. She adores music and plays the piano very well.

Amy March –  The youngest March girl. Amy is an artist who adores visual beauty and has a weakness for pretty possessions. She is given to pouting, fits of temper, and vanity; but she does attempt to improve herself

Character synopsis borrowed from Spark Notes.

Personally, I believe that we are all a little bit of all of them. It’s pretty clear that each girl represents stereotypes of women and no one person is actually a stereotype. It probably says a lot about you when you pick who you are. (And there’s also a lot to be said of book versus movie versions.)

Younger me identified with Jo, because I am writer and Beth because I am shy, and ultimately I still see those aspects a lot. However, I also see a lot of Amy’s ambition and Meg’s romanticism.

The new Little Women, directed by Greta Gerwig was incredible and the scene between Marmee and Jo in the attic is extraordinarily poignant. I believe that period pieces can speak as much to people today as modern settings. And since Little Women was one of the first “classic” novels I read, getting to see a new version adapted to the screen in 2019 was awesome.

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This blog post is kind of just a jumble of thoughts, but I felt inspired. I love this story and I have a lot of thoughts about it, which I only scratch the surface here… But I wanted to talk about it.

Women, even today, have to rail against being put into a box. We are not one characteristic. We contain multitudes. We, like Jo, have to fight for the acknowledgment of our work, our art, our contributions. We, like Meg, have to fight against the notion that you are either a strong independent feminist that doesn’t need a man, or you conform to the traditional marriage, family, concept that used to be women’s only option. (You can have both! Life isn’t black and white.) We, like Amy, want to be great, want to be acknowledge, want to be known. We, like Beth, take great care to hold on to our gentleness and kindness when the world is unkind to us.

Victories in Self-Awareness

I was scrolling through social media, you know, how you do. And one of my friends just recently started a new job in a new city and she’s been sharing about her experience. And I looked at her post and I started feeling this little pang of jealousy. I thought to myself, wow she’s so cool, like she worked really hard and it paid off and now she’s living in this cool city and doing what she loves and she has a cute little desk and cute little office supplies.

And then I realized all of a sudden, that I also did that.

I graduated college and less than six months later had accepted a new job in a huge metropolitan city, miles away from home. But for some reason that accomplishment doesn’t count for me. My brain immediately switches from: Hooray! Go me! To: OK what’s next. Now what? Which is so incredibly unfair on myself! And I am only just now developing the kind of self-awareness to recognize when I put myself down. I don’t celebrate my own accomplishments for very long ever! And that’s so unhealthy.

Like I said in my previous post, one of my resolutions this year is to give myself more grace. So I’m really proud of myself for catching this negative thought and turning into one of appreciation. Both me and my friend have jobs post-grad! We both stepped out of our comfort zones and moved to  new places. We both have desks and cute office supplies. We both are taking giant steps into our career path and future. We both are going to face hardships and new challenges and we’re both figuring it out as we go, just how EVERYONE is. Part of that journey for me is training my brain to celebrate my accomplishments for a longer period of time than just the initial instance. I’ve lived in Atlanta for seven months now. It’s still awesome that I moved here, that I had the courage to pick up and move from the state that I’d lived in for fifteen years and take a new job in a new city. I deserve to celebrate that and not just dismiss it as something in the past and now it’s time to look for the next big milestone or huge accomplishment. Your life isn’t just the big crazy changes , its the day to day victories! Those deserve to be recognized too.

We also need to remind ourselves how everyone has an internal experience too. You’ve heard this before, but social media is a highlight reel. No one is sharing their failures. (Although we should sometimes, we’re all human.) Celebrate your friends’ successes and support them through their failures. We’ve all had sleepless nights worrying about our futures and we’ve all had days where we feel like we’ve got it all figured out finally and are on cloud nine. That’s life, we’re figuring it out as we go.

My Goals for 2020

Hey what’s up hello! It’s a new year and like every other blogger on the planet I’m going to share my 2020 goals.

1.) Spend more time on creative pursuits.

I want to consciously and consistently dedicate time to working on independent creative projects. Since I started my full-time job the time I spend working on passion projects has steadily declined. I haven’t uploaded to YouTube in months, I never work on creative writing, etc. I want to start a podcast with a friend… The list goes on! There are so many things that I enjoy creating so this year I want to prioritize that. My original goal was an hour a day, but the first and the second have already passed without me dedicating any time… so… we’ll see! This blog post is a good start!

 

2.) Read more books.

I barely read at all last year and I feel so bad about it. I watch too much TV and YouTube and I want to read more! My stack of “to read” books is less of a stack and more of a mountain at this point so, time to turn off the TV and open a book. Plus, reading will help improve my writing as well, and as I mentioned above I want to spend more time writing as well.

 

3.) Save more money.

Already messing up this one two because I treated myself on my birthday to three video games from the Steam sale. However, my goal is to actually put aside money this year and stop spending anything extra on video games  and clothes. I am a terrible saver and I know its a really healthy habit to have so this year I’m making it a priority. I also want to start tithing to my church, but I can’t do that when I spend all my extra cash on extraneous stuff.

 

Those are the main three! A bonus goal is to just be kinder to myself, which I touched on in my Instagram post. I’m too hard on myself. I read a really awesome article in The Everygirl, one of my favorite websites, about always striving to have all your ducks in a row and the pursuit of perfection and it really resonated with me. This year I’m going to try to give myself grace and remind myself that I don’t have to have it all together.

Happy 2020! Let me know some of your goals if you have them! May your year be safe, happy and healthy!

Awe & Wonder

On Tuesday I went to an event that my church, Passion City, hosts monthly called The Grove. It’s an all-women worship service essentially and I’ve only been twice, but my experiences have been incredible. It’s Christmastime and this time of year is so special to me, I want to speak on something that I touch on briefly in my most recent Instagram post.

The post begins with me saying, there’s a certain sense of anonymity that you feel in a crowded room. I want to expand on that, because I don’t think I gave justice to the statement in my post, (partially because I don’t really know if people read long Instagram posts, and this is a blog so I have the liberty to wax poetic here.)

I’ve noticed at my church, because it is so large, I as a person with anxiety am less afraid to worship with reckless abandon. In smaller settings which have been my church environment for most of my life it can feel a little odd to completely submit in worship. We are human beings and imperfect and thus subject to feelings of insecurity, fear of what others think of us. I know Jesus would want me to fall on my knees or raise my hands or sing at the top of my lungs whenever the mood strikes, but social norms, decorum, etc., I will admit have definitely stopped me in the past. At my church now though, because it is crowded, because I know almost no one, I don’t feel this way. I can do what I want. I’ve been more brave than ever at Passion.

Tuesday night at the Grove I was surrounded by strangers, I had just met a new friend that evening. But I found myself singing at the top of my lungs, bouncing up and down, throwing my hands in the air, relatively fearlessly (or as fearlessly as I can.) I think a lot of women there that night probably felt the same way. The atmosphere created at The Grove feels safe, feels free — and thus it’s easier for us to let down our guards be ourselves submit to Jesus in the moment.

I’ll admit when I first went to that church I was so overwhelmed. It’s huge! There are so many people and that can be intimidating and a little bit scary. (Especially for someone with social anxiety, who generally does not love crowded places.) I love my home church because I know everyone’s name and everyone knows mine. I miss small churches a lot! (And one of my New Years Resolutions is to try a couple small local churches here in Atlanta.) But I’ve also come to really enjoy the crowded-ness of Passion because of that anonymity that it provides. I think it makes it a little bit easier sometimes to submit because well, one, a lot of people around you are doing it too, and two,  being surrounded by hundreds of people all uniquely encountering Jesus in their own way is something other-worldly. It’s a taste of Heaven. It’s a spiritual experience. It’s freedom.

I don’t know if mere words can do this feeling justice. I don’t know if my words come across as fearful or like I’m hiding or being disingenuous. I hope not. I do think it’s something you need to experience for yourself. And I don’t know if it would happen the first time you have an experience like this.

Passion City is starting to feel like home in the same way my home church does. Even though the environments are drastically different. I think that comes from God’s presence. Church is special. And Jesus is there whether two or three people are gathered in His Name, or whether 2,000 or 3,000 are gathered in His Name.

Big Life Changes

Hey, it’s been a while huh?

So big news! I graduated college! That’s a pretty big deal!

Honestly, college was the longest, wildest, most life-changing experience I’ve ever been through. These past three and a half years deeply changed me as a person. I learned so much about myself and my role in the… universe? For me, college showed me what I was passionate about and how I could use my talents for my life and career. It taught me about how I relate to other people and how to handle my anxieties and still function as a semi-normal person. I could talk about all of that, but honestly, just watch this video. (It’s long, but I had a lot to say.)

Anyways! I’m home for now, with my parents and little sister, and I’ve started my job hunt! I’m really excited to see where my career search leads. I’m at a very exciting period of my life, but also a bit of a scary one; mainly, because there’s really no way of knowing what my future looks like right now. I’m a perfectionist and a bit of a control-freak, so not knowing what’s ahead can be really scary. However, I’m really excited for my future, for finding the right role, finding my own place, (getting a cat!) For now, I’m trying to live in the moment, take a little bit of a break, and take things as they come.

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Summer Internships

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This summer I’ve had the opportunity to participate in not one, but two internships, based locally in my hometown. I am incredibly lucky to be blessed with the network I have, without which I wouldn’t have either opportunity.

I love both of my internships because they are both directly related to the career that I want to pursue post-graduation, social media management. Not only that, but they are local, (which means no paying for an expensive apartment in an unfamiliar city) and I am getting real-life applicable experience in my chosen field.

Working every day is also a new experience and I have had a very busy summer, but it’s really awesome to see what having a real job is going to be like.

If you want to see what I’ve been up to you can check out @cityofstuartFL @cityofstuart on Twitter and Instagram respectively and @unitedwaymartin on both Twitter and Instagram!

It’s cool to see what working in local government is like, with my internship with the City.  I get to experience working on the monthly newsletter, see what goes into press releases and witness news interviews live, from behind the camera.

For my other internship, I get to see what public relations for a nonprofit is like. I’ve gotten to work hands on with exploring the analytics for all of our social media accounts, compare them to other nonprofit businesses and work on increasing engagement and following. I’ve had the opportunity to learn how to better write for the PR world which is different from news writing, which is new, but still very similar to the background I’m familiar with.

I’m incredibly grateful for these experiences and I am eager to keep learning as much as I can before the summer is over and I head into my final semester as a journalism student at UF.

Top 5 Favorite Starbucks Orders

I’m sitting in Starbucks and I wanted to do a bit of a less formal more fun blog post because why not?

So here are my top five favorite Starbucks orders. (In no particular order.)

*Disclaimer I like black coffee, or just generally less-sweet coffee so keep in mind that you can always order these the normal way or even add cream, sugar, syrup, etc.

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  1. Pike’s Place – I love a medium roast coffee. Sure the blonde roast has more caffeine and the dark roast changes on a regular basis, but I can always rely on good old Pike for that caffeine dose that I need.
  2. Americano – When I first started drinking coffee I was intimidated to order an Americano, I don’t know why it just seemed like on an elite level of coffee that I wasn’t qualified for or something, but Americanos are stinking amazing. (It’s literally just espresso and water, but so good.)
  3. Vanilla Soy Latte with one pump of vanilla – If I’m feeling especially sweet I’ll order this hot beverage. It’s literally so delicious, like drinking a liquid sugar cookie.
  4. Iced Coffee with soy milk and one pump of vanilla – Again back to my obsession with vanilla. I don’t get iced coffee a lot, I prefer hot black coffee, but one of my roommates turned me onto this delicious beverage and it was too good to not make it one of my new faves.
  5. Iced Coffee with light milk – for a less sugary iced beverage I turn to just plain old iced coffee and milk. I can sometimes drink it black, but I prefer at least a little bit of milk, this coffee beverage is perfect for a hot summer day.

So there you have it. Not super varied, I stick to what I like. And you can never go wrong with plain old black coffee. Let me know if you try any of these or what some of your faves are!

Being Kind

This semester has been a doozy and it isn’t even halfway over yet. I’ve learned a lot of lessons so far and I decided today to impart one of them onto my loyal blog readers (hi mom!)

Lesson One: Be Kind to Yourself.

Chances are you are your own worst critic. I know for sure that I am.

I am so quick to not give myself credit for anything.

For example, in my head, I had planned to write this blog post on Wednesday and publish it then. However, Wednesday turned out to be far busier than I expected and I didn’t have time. So, I was getting mad at myself for already messing up a brand new schedule and I thought, “well now there’s no sense in posting anything I’ll just wait until Friday.” And that thought could’ve stopped there. But then I thought, “no that’s dumb, be nice to yourself, it’s okay that you didn’t post anything, you can still write now.”

And that may seem like a frivolous example, but it’s just a small instance of something that I do all the time. I beat myself up over small mistakes and slip ups and then don’t allow myself room to recognize that I’m human, and most importantly that the schedule in my head is only in my head and it’s okay to deviate from it.

Everyone moves at their own pace. Just because you perceive yourself as further behind your peers doesn’t mean that you actually are. Or even if you are you’re moving at your pace, for you. There are people that move slower than that, and people that move faster. The point is to focus on your own personal growth and not constantly compare yourself to others. And believe me, I know how hard this is. I constantly look at my fellow students here at UF and go: “Wow they’re doing so much with their lives and I’m just sitting here.” But if you look at your own life, and the small goals you accomplish every day and delight in those, and give yourself credit for those you’ll feel much better.

Focus on the here and now. Don’t look five years into the future and be upset that you’re not there yet. Future You is very very proud of Past You. And you will get there. (Even if it takes making little baby steps every day.) But if you constantly get upset at not seeing progress now it will make it so much harder to get to that Future You(™) and you’ll spend so much time as Present You being sad and anxious and unmotivated.

I’m learning every day to delight in small successes and it feels so much better than beating myself up about small failures. Because at the end of the day it is both the successes and the failures that make us who we are, so why not focus on the positive parts of you rather than the negative?