Ride the Wave

So, I’m sitting in the computer lab of my apartment complex typing this because I haven’t had internet for five days. (If I did, I’d hope that I’d have been back on the bandwagon of making regular posts.) Conveniently enough the computer lab is right next to the gym, so that all worked out. And I just happened to make a new friend. Well, anytime I have a connecting conversation with a stranger I tend to use the phrase “made a new friend.” But either way, positivity spread. It’s kind of rejuvenating sitting at a desk space being productive, though. And I brought goldfish, which probably the weird orb security camera above me disapproves of, but that just means Century Link should go ahead and fix my internet!

Today has been a day of days. This week marks a little more than a year since I’ve worked at my current job, which is crazy if you think about the past year. So much has changed, so much has happened in such a short span of time. How have all these months been so filled with friends and family and adventure? New experiences, repeats of favorite old experiences, memories, losses, growth. Change is inevitable, and most of the time it’s out of our control. Lately I’ve been reminding myself that because so many things are beyond my grasp of control. So the things that I can affect I just have to be very intentional about. In the meantime, I’m trying to remember to flow with the wave of life right now.

(Sunset on the way back from Mexico Beach last week.)

In other news my days have been filled with parks, happy hours, good phone conversations, family time, friend time, sunsets of cotton candy colored skies, walks and walks, puppies. Lots of puppy play times! Today a friend a few stores over brought over surprise egg rolls and fortune cookies. Last night I went and saw “Boyhood” and went to sushi with two of my cousins. Saturday my brother and I fiiiinally got to have a sibling dinner at Burrito Border, which hadn’t happened in quite sometime. While I was doing my cool down on the bike at the gym, Shelby and I reminisced over my time as house manager and VP in our sorority house. (And how somehow that turned into me being the person in charge of the internet, even after I graduated?) It’s funny to look back on all of those times now, and impossible not to laugh at the absurdity of being awoken in the middle of the night because someone wanted me to kill a bug in their room, or the buffet was leaking downstairs, or a girl locked herself out of her room and wanted me to call a locksmith. I’d like to think all these crazy circumstances were prep for something in this life, and I think they very well were.

(Meet Chief, one of my favorite puppies on the planet.)

Expect the unexpected. Life is full of surprises. Sometimes, beautiful ones. 

(Like these flowers waiting on my doorstep two weeks ago.)

 

Advertisements

Because you might need to read this today…

I know my blog has been a happy place for a while now, when I do make these fleeting posts. But, I know, life isn’t always a happy place. And that is precisely why I’m so grateful for these days, for these people, for this sunshine, to feel loved – by family, by friends, by new people who bring such light into life with just their refreshing presence. I feel like my appreciation for this time, for these days comes from the times when it wasn’t exactly there…and it’s not that the love wasn’t around me, but you can’t always feel it. It wasn’t an absence, it was more of an invisible barrier between me and all that positivity. And sometimes darkness creeps in, and it’s so much harder to see the light that’s peeping from under the cracks. It’s a battle to fight the inner demons that so badly want you to just give in. I know what those times are like when it’s hard to remember the days that have a light an airy weight in living, laughter that flows freely, and a clear mind. And oh those battles are so difficult to fight, but I’ve been thinking lately, (especially over the past few days with the loss of Robin Williams and the social media world abuzz with mental health discussions) about the feeling of exuberance that washes over me when the curtain is lifted and light shines again after times like those…

I guess I just didn’t want to keep letting these thoughts float around in my head without sharing them. How everyone is fighting their own battle each day, and you might not have any idea what those around you are dealing with on the inside, and they might not have an idea what you’re dealing with either…but you’re not alone. And there is hope. And there is light.

A few years ago when I was doing a series on the blog called “Spend Less, Give More” spotlighting my favorite give-back organizations, I featured one called To Write Love On Her Arms. (You can see my original post, here.)  There’s a shirt my parents gifted me with the following quote from Jamie Tworkowski,

 

This past week I’d seen the quote from Rob Bell on Twitter: “It is as if the smallest amount of light is infinitely more powerful than massive amounts of dark.” which just instantly resonated with me, and I’ve thought about these words each day since then. When I get to my dark place my coping mechanisms for life usually have to do with writing, reading, prayer, music, and movies. Art. Creating. But what else I’ve found? Big changes happened to my life when I started letting people in. When I started saying yes, when I embraced who I was and I met people who not only accepted me for myself, but appreciate what makes me, me. Coffee, putt-putt, scary movies that make me squeal in the theatre, hanging out with a friendly acquaintance that could turn into a great friend, phone conversations that make you feel love despite distance, spontaneity…openness, that vulnerability can be so so worth it in this life. We do need other people, and when we find the right people, man it’s like more lights turn on in the world.

I guess what I’m getting at here, is that if I felt on my heart strings that I needed to put these words into the universe, than there was probably a reason for that. Depression isn’t something to be ashamed of, or kept secret, or to write-off. You know how you can scroll through someone’s instagram and it’s all happy pretty stuff? (Here I’ll point out my own: flowers, sunsets, icecream, smiles, puppies, music festivals,…all the good stuff.) But in between all the really great little moments that make life so darn beautiful – the soulful conversations, the forehead kisses, the friendly “good morning, how are you?”s from people that you encounter each day, the joy that comes with singing along to your favorite song with the windows rolled down and a breeze on a summer day, a chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven, a text message that puts a smile on your face, bear hugs, hand written mail, tired lungs and legs from a long run outside, laughing ’til your stomach hurts, cotton candy colored skies…in-between all of these absolutely wonderful things can be some really rough times. Days when your friends feel far away, or you don’t feel like getting out of bed, or listening to your favorite song, or really doing much of anything…They might not show up the way the good stuff does on our social media networks, but there’s no avoiding that the twisty-thought days are there.

So I guess I’m saying, don’t be afraid to talk about it, don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed about it, and don’t be afraid to ask for help (resources)…Sending so much love and hugs into the universe right now…

National Hopeline Network: 1.800.SUICIDE (784-2433)

National Suicide Prevention Line: 1.800.273.TALK (273-8255)

 

Words for Thought

(Sunset over Doak Campbell taken Monday night – too beautiful to capture correctly.)

I stumbled across this quote on Tumblr this morning, and it so eloquently words thoughts I’ve tried to express for years. Word to the wise: don’t allow toxic people to consume you and the happiness in your life. It’s ok to let go.

“Not all toxic people are cruel and uncaring. Some of them love us dearly. Many of them have good intentions. Most are toxic to our being simply because their needs and way of existing in the world force us to compromise ourselves and our happiness. They aren’t inherently bad people, but they aren’t the right people for us. And as hard as it is, we have to let them go. Life is hard enough without being around people who bring you down, and as much as you care, you can’t destroy yourself for the sake of someone else. You have to make your wellbeing a priority. Whether that means breaking up with someone you care about, loving a family member from a distance, letting go of a friend, or removing yourself from a situation that feels painful — you have every right to leave and create a safer space for yourself.”

Daniell Koepke

Throwback: The Weekend my Peter Pan Heart Turned a Year Older

I’ve been slacking on the updates, I know so I thought I’d do a little throwback to my birthday weekend. For the first time in a long, long time my birthday didn’t fall on the same weekend as Thanksgiving so I decided to make the most of it and roadtrip to Athens! The Cherry Blow Dry bar in Tallahassee was having a grand opening special, so that Friday I decided to get my first blow out. OhMyGoodness all the people who rave about them on Twitter aren’t lying. It’s fabulous to feel like…put together for a snippet of time.

The drive to Georgia that afternoon was just what I needed. There’s something healing about those country roads, even if you’re not broken.

When I arrived, Kaylynn and went to get dinner at Taco Stand. It’s this little mexican restaurant that’s super random, but really delicious. And it worked well for our pre-going out meal the last time I’d been in town. (Under much better circumstances this time, not in a state of turmoil over pending transitions in my life – though there were still plenty of transitions to come.) Afterwards we went next door and hung out with her neighbor Brady and his younger brother Drew. We jammed out to some Billy Joel (I’m not even kidding – how reminiscent of sophomore year of college is that?!) and some country music while we played Cards Against Humanity (my first time!) Later on we went downtown, which just turned into an epic evening, even if it started raining on us. We bar hopped, we celebrated one of their friends finding out he was having a baby, and of course birthday celebrating ensued. We rode UGA’s version of Night Nole, and there was a group celebrating a guy’s birthday and the bus broke out in song and also football chants. I love spirit like that. We laughed, and drank, and ran around town talking and dancing. It was one of those nights where we stayed up til 5am. When we got home there was a random kid’s debit card with us? Who the heck knows. The next morning started off kind of rough when I poured Kaylynn’s chemical solution in my eye and freaked out I might go blind. But it’s nothing a little Bojangle’s breakfast couldn’t remedy. We took the dogs out to play in the parking lot, and the poor neighbor’s dog accidentally knocked it’s tooth out on the curb! See what I mean about the types of ridiculousness that automatically ensue?  Later on we tailgated, and made delicious mixed coffee drinks and mingled and played corn hole. Then we borrowed the neighbor’s student ID, and I went to my first UGA football game. That was a totally fun experience. Then we went downtown and stayed up late into the night again.

It was a weekend that was full of my favorite things. I love meeting new people, but feeling instantly connected – like you’ve known each other forever. I love walking in groups on city sidewalks, and I love laughing til my stomach hurts. I love great conversation, the kind where you can say “oh my gosh! You too?!” rambling on about vinyl, film, running, and all aspects of life. These are the kind of times that make me feel totally alive. It’s the most simple, purest way to inject love into life. It was one of the most fun birthdays I’ve ever had.

IMG_0691
This was my hair post blow-out. Thanks, Cherry Dry Bar!

IMG_0687

Love those Georgia roads.

IMG_0779

Classic: The Taco Stand.

IMG_5716

The Blue Moon sampler pack my dad gave me!

IMG_5724

Story of our lives. (Big/Little pic.)

IMG_0698

This is Drew! Pretty sure I took this when we went back to Sand Bar after we temporarily lost the group. (Brady went to get pizza by himself!)

IMG_0699

It was a Snapchat filled weekend.

IMG_0778

Bojangles!

IMG_0781

Beautiful fall foilage.

IMG_5764

Perfection: getting to hangout with my little AND my grandlittle in the same day. Happy heart.

IMG_0785

IMG_5763

Family line photo.

IMG_5767

Bob – love this kid!

IMG_0716

Kay got me a cookie cake!

IMG_5761

Tailgate randomness with the dogs.

IMG_0720

Brady and I at the game.

IMG_0729

Me, Kay, and Drew at the game.

IMG_0783

IMG_0749

Another Snapchat.

IMG_0777

Group photo!

IMG_0754

IMG_0755

Snapchat snapchat snapchat.

IMG_0760

Kaylynn showed me the magic of a curling wand.

IMG_0775

And to close it out, the gorgeous sunset on my drive back to Florida.

It turns out, this year my birthday happens to be the week before Thanksgiving once again! We’ll just have to wait and see what kind of shenanigans we can get into then, but this was a fabulous start to kick off 26!

Whole Foods: Where Shopping Really IS a Pleasure

20131009-214047.jpg
Today was the grand opening of Whole Foods Market in Tallahassee. I met up with my friend Larry (after my morning run – which in hindsight was good after all the free carb samples ;)) in the parking lot across the street around 8:30. We joined the line that wrapped throughout the parking lot, for the opening at 9am. It was a chilly 63 degrees this morning and a hazy, cloudy sky made it look like it was about 7am instead of 9, but it felt wonderful to get a break from the humidity. We mingled with the woman standing in front of us (and her adorable son playing with a plastic ambulance.) Everyone was in great spirits, and they were even handing out baked goods throughout the line! We were 400 and 401 in line.

20131009-213931.jpg

20131009-214004.jpg

When I was little, I hated (hated) when we had to go grocery shopping. Everything about it just felt like a torturous experience. Now, I’m excited about it. I’d been anticipating this opening (and that of Trader Joe’s even closer to my house, on Friday.) It literally felt like a food playground in there today. I’ve never sampled so many different kinds of cheeses in my life. I watched an older man (with a cool old fashioned hat) eat a pie sample like a shot. We ran into old friends. We saw our line mate.

20131009-214114.jpg

The hot bar has insane amount of different kinds of food. Now I know where to go when I want chinese but don’t want to order like five cartons. There are bacon, smoked gouda hushpuppies! (Right next to delicious mac and cheese, and what I’m sure are equally good collard greens.) My favorite beer, of all time, in a six pack ON SALE! (Bell’s Oberon.) BOGO on gelato. Pumpkin mousse! Macaroons! My Van’s power grain protein waffles! Not to mention the pub style roast beef sandwiches, a million kinds of meat and fish and fruit. Just everything.

20131009-214022.jpg

After eyeing the hush puppies, my mind was made up when someone recommended them to me. There’s a bar with beer on tap, cocktails, and appetizers! We talked to the bar tender for a bit. (Yeah, I was the person carrying around a six pack at 930 in the morning.) I mean, this is a good place to meet new friends, haha. You know the guy who makes the awesome hard candy at Lofty Pursuits? They sell it packaged there! And he was doing a sample table today. I’m so excited for him. That means even more exposure for his awesome craft.

20131009-214035.jpg

There was a jazz band playing at the front of the store. Seriously, I’m not kidding. Could it have gotten any cooler? And we got free reusable bags filled with all kinds of samples. And when we walked in they gave us free ground coffee!

20131009-213948.jpg

Larry got this awesome tall mason jar (I think his was filled with sweet tea,) this morning and I was thinking about it today so after I met Ethan and Megan at Decent Pizza I went back for a second time to get one for myself. Mine’s filled with what I’m sure I’ll enjoy of the “Backyard Brew” iced coffee. Fun fact? You can take the jar back to the coffee bar for a $1 refill! As I perused the aisles I overheard employees talking about how different Tallahassee customers are (as compared to another part of Florida,) and how friendly everyone was today. They were excited and surprised by how so many people wanted to engage in conversation. There were a lot of police officers on site inside and outside the store, I’m guessing for crowd control (and necessary traffic control.) One of the cops who works on game days by the stadium was there and I kept ending up in the same section as him and a friend and they joked about me following them.

20131009-214106.jpg

By the time I got to the register with my gelato and iced coffee, I was greeted by a very pleasant cashier and bagger. We talked about it being my second time there that day and about the jars. And did you know that for each reusable bag you use they donate 10 cents (either you get it refunded back to you, or you can give it to a local or world charity!) They found an old receipt from The Fresh Market in my bag and joked about how I couldn’t shop there anymore. And then we talked about how the opening went and everything.

I know this is a scattered entry, but I just had to write it down somewhere. It might sound silly, but I had today off of work and that can be positive and negative. I need a chance to recharge my batteries, but sometimes when I have an empty house and a stretch of day ahead of me without distraction, all the thoughts that flood my mind can be overwhelming. This morning on my run an old friend screamed my name from traffic, and it was the extra motivation I needed to finish that run. Combined with going to dinner with my brother and his girlfriend (and a good interaction with someone working at the pizza place,) and wandering around grocery shopping with a friend (and a visit to my safe haven – the library, downtown) I really needed today. It just turned all my negative energy I felt looming, around. Like it spit it back out as positive instead.

I’m sure I’m a chatty cathy and sometimes I talk too much but I think my most favorite thing is good customer service experiences. It says so much, about an organization, the establishment, the people, and it can do wonders for someones day (and I can tell you personally – that it can affect both sides.) I needed to find some peace today, and I did – I took an afternoon walk in this gorgeous cool temperature we have floating around Tallahassee right now, and the sun finally peaked out for a bit!

Multiple lessons from today: appreciate the little things.
Be nice to everyone.
Go check out Whole Foods when you get a chance!
Take even a minute to step outside, turn your face towards the sky, feel the sunshine and the cool breeze and savor it for a moment.

20131009-215224.jpg

Georgia Roads Bring Us Home

Passing somewhere through the middle of Georgia, after we finally found a rest stop. Bonnaroovians padded slowly down the same sidewalks, sleepy eyed and dazed after days of adventures. I watched a dark haired boy reach his tanned hand through the bars shielding the vending machine, attempting to retrieve some kind of snack. The moms dragging their toddlers across the slick restroom floors, didn’t know how odd it seemed to be using a bathroom with lights and flushing, and running water in the sink. We’d grown accustomed to the plastic box life of portapotties, and keeping a roll of toilet paper in your backpack, and following the path to a dusty street in early morning light. This early morning light was different. We were still alive with possibility, but sleep was battling for my brain waves and all my thoughts started to get hazy in the struggle to resist. I may have nodded off for a few minutes. I may have surrendered to the dreamy thoughts, not ready for all our beautiful moments to start the transformation into memories, a distance that can’t be crossed once it’s been created. I could only think of this land, a paradise carved out from the rest of the world where worries can’t reach you, and every stranger is a new friend to be made. The stories of these gorgeous people, and their journeys and their exquisite passion for life resounded in my ears lulling me to sleep. When I awake, my dreams weren’t real dreams, they were revisited thoughts of the same things I was pondering before I took that snooze. My mind is littered with the sensation of wet grass beneath your feet, moonlight bathing an open field in a soft glow, and the ease that accompanies life and the people you entwine yours with when you are absolutely, positively yourself. Love in its purest form because there’s no space for anything else.

The Magical Land of Bonnaroo

I’ve been attempting a text post for Bonnaroo, and it is just so hard. There are too many words, and simultaneously – not enough. I can tell you this: Bonnaroo is like Neverland. My Neverland. It is this complete judgement free zone, and no one cares about anything. Worries? They got dropped off somewhere on the interstate. Anxiety? Poof. Self-conciousness? Yeah, right. You’re on the middle of a 700 acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee where the temperatures near 100 and the sun blazes down on you, no one cares what you look like. The happiness will radiate out of every inch of your skin. There are miles of glowing happy people, all coming together for an ultimate common bond – the music. Ever since I can remember, (like seriously elementary school you guys,) I have felt like I was born in the wrong decade. My own parents, my best friend’s parents, have all agreed that somehow I ended up here, but I was made for another time. Well, it turns out that even though it’s 2013, even though we live in this crazy land of technology and nonsense, and stupid boxed in desk jobs – there’s this place carved out from the rest of the world. A mecca for the flower children. Once we arrived, I never wanted to leave. Who cares that you camp in a tent for four days? That you don’t take conventional showers? Um, no one because we’re all on the same page. Honestly this was the most blissful state of mind I’d reached since my study abroad stint five years ago. And this is different because then? There were things I was trying to escape still, things that I was happy to have a freakin’ ocean and continents between, but now? I am happy with life, I am content, my heart is full and bam it overflowed. To share this experience with one of my oldest friends of life? Priceless. The memories we made, the music we jammed out to, the strangers who became friends? They’re all irreplaceable moments that I turn over in my mind hundreds of instances a day. I felt like I had, “found my people” you know? Now, the withdrawals are real. We got back to Tallahassee early Monday morning, after driving through the night post Tom Petty show, and the pangs haven’t dissipated. I just wanna throw a bag in the car, and runaway and be a gypsy hippie. Plus, sleepovers are one of my favorite things (up there with grocery shopping with boys,) and I miss my adventure partner. This was definitely one of the best life decisions we could’ve made!

So now, is the perfect time as any to share a few photos with y’all and eventually even if they’re a mess I’ll just post the texty entries, so you can see my words, hear my thoughts: