Highs & Lows

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Before heading into 2020, I had high expectations for myself and what is to come this year. I laid out exactly what I wanted to accomplish this year, and during what month I felt I would be capable of completing it by. I spoke a little bit about this in New Year, New York, but as we near the last week of January, I am entering the reflection stage of how my new resolutions are panning out. I know I want to write something monthly that showcases the highs and lows of each month, but at this point, I am not sure how I can measure it all independently of any extraneous details. Details such as how my income and financial insecurities this month impacts my social life, and travels, whereas how a job and a regulated schedule impacts the exact same entities in different ways (one I don’t have enough money, the other is I don’t have enough time)

In a few months, would I say this month was the best or worst so far? I don’t think it is possible to really measure these highs and lows except for recognizing my input and what the output was of the year. While I think about this, I can’t stop thinking about high and low tides and how they can affect a sailing ship, just as much as a weathering storm. And while I crave another vacation, enjoy a photo from one this summer during low tide.

This month has been a month of learning for me. I am learning how to conduct professional relationships with freelance projects. I am learning new skills, and I am learning how to construct a routine that works for me — and that is simultaneously a  high and low. As I continue to work out the kinks, I find myself still searching for the means to get myself into a routine. I think not having a steady job limits the opportunities I have when it comes to feeling regulated. This week, the last week, I sat and outlined everything I want to do before the end, so we will see how well I can manifest a routine without a job.

This month, I celebrated my birthday, surrounded by friends and loved ones. I traveled upstate with my partner and explored a new city as well as explore more of New York City. I looked back on relationship anniversaries and reflected on personal growth and favorite trips from the past. These were all incredible highs for this month, but it was coupled with some real feelings of insecurity and worry.

Some other memories from this month, I finished Little Women and went to see the film (reviews to come!). I watched an excellent dog for two months and learned the great and not so great parts of having a dog in New York City. And while I learn how to sail this ship into 2020, I am excited to continue to grow this blog until I can input exactly what I can to gain an output of what I always wanted. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll see this linked with my Instagram page.

Learning to Live Purposefully

After writing my post on Monday, I started to really reflect on the time I spent on my phone. I wanted to know how much time I was spending on social media and how that was impacting my daily life or productivity. To do this, I notice Instagram has a new function that monitors your time spent on the app and will set a reminder notification for when you reach a particular time. I set it to 30 minutes because at the time I had averaged around 40 minutes –– 30 minutes goes by very quickly. 

And that makes me sad. Because I know there is so much more I could be doing with my time, so I am just trying to figure out how I make time and kick the habit.  I still tend to pick up my phone in the morning and scroll through social media, but there is a new voice in the back of my head telling me to be more purposeful with my time.

I feed into the idea and stigma that social media has its pitfalls and lacks its benefits, but at the same time, I worked at a start-up who employed over thirty people with generous salaries that were funded entirely by social media. I understand the power that comes with it because so many of us thrive off of it. I am following influencers who are trying to show positive, real stories. I see how they will post photos of them breaking down, unedited, and raw. They understand so many people look up to them and believe their lives are perfect based on what they put on social media, so they are more open.

I appreciate that. I try and do the same, and be honest while I write my blogs because I believe it’s okay to show weakness as you work to strengthen yourself. I am not someone who assumes everyone’s lives are exactly like their feed, especially since some of my proudest accomplishments are nowhere near my feeds; yet I still can’t get rid of social altogether. In the back of my mind, I eventually want to introduce this blog to the world through my friends and followers. There are a few of you that I have confided in, Hello, and there are some that want to read my account, but I have kept the URL private.

In the future, I know I will open up more. I know I will share this more freely and use social media to reach more and more people, but until then I made a list of things I would love to do daily that could only happen when I start living my life with a purpose.

Mock Day, I want to devote my time to:

Journaling my thoughts

Reading a new book weekly

Learning new skill

Walking and exercising daily

Cooking something yummy 

Blogging as much as I can

Practicing more creative work

 

It isn’t a long list, but ideally, between the time I wake up and the time I go to sleep, I would have done everything on this list. Sometimes it may not be realistic, but I am going to try my best to reintroduce each item to my daily activities because I know that they are habits I need to form. When I lived in London, I was able to journal every day for three months, get out of the flat and explore the city, cook food for myself and my roommate, learned how to use a film camera, and blogged daily –– and I was always with friends and excelling at my studies. I know it is possible.  

At times I have done a combination of all these tasks in a day, but never all together. I partially wonder if my time scrolling inhibits all of them being done. Could my thirty minutes in the morning when I wake up go to reading a chapter or journaling? Yes. Could I wake up at 6:00am instead of 7:00am and get out and walk a loop in Central Park? I should. Are there classes online that I have signed up for, paid for even, that are news skills I would love to have? You better believe it. It will take practice, and I know that, but I don’t need to watch Netflix all night, or I could write posts, exercise, and cook while I watch the latest episode of Big Little Lies. There are little changes to be made to make a tremendous impact on my mental health, liveliness, and happiness.

There is so much I want to do, but I want to know what some activities you would do daily if time weren’t an issue? Leave a comment and let’s try and hold each other accountable! 

 

 

Learning from Friendship

One morning while my stomach growled and my boyfriend slept, I stayed tucked in under the duvet and scrolled on Instagram like I do most every morning. It’s a trait I wished I didn’t have, an addiction maybe. It’s like my thumb mindlessly goes to the folder on my phone and selects the app that I numbingly scroll through for an hour, looking at the photos my friends posted while I was asleep.

Something I realized during those mornings is that my friendships span time zones. That means I’m never without a new post from someone, but also that means I don’t see my friends very often. Some of the people I consider best friends are here in NY, while others live in different states, countries, and continents. Social media makes it so there is always something to see, like, and comment on because my friends are updating their feed. But, if you look at mine, I’m barren.

I last posted in January, and before that was October, and before that was August of 2018. You would see that its cold in New York, that I love pumpkins, and I moved to the city nearly two years ago, but then again last time I posted was in January so for anyone else that follows me, but doesn’t speak to me on a regular basis, they may have no idea where I am at the moment.

I used to post weekly when I lived in London. That was the one time I was consistently updating social media with photos. I loved refreshing my page with my travels and adventures, yet here I am in August 2019 knowing that I’ve gone on three cross-country trips, traveled to 11 different states, to two different countries, and graduated from my Master’s degree. Could you even tell that from the look of my Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or Twitter? No. All incredible feats and adventures, yet all I show are a few photos of my time.  

I’m okay with that, most days. I’m okay with adding the photos I have taken to my photo wall in my apartment; growing the memories for myself as opposed to showcasing it across social media. My partner took the leap in February to get rid of all his social media; deactivating and deleting everything. Sometimes it feels freeing for him, the societal pressure lifted, the popularity contest of likes is eliminated, and people stalking are gone, but sometimes he misses out on the things his family and friends share; the people he cares about the most. Sometimes I feel inclined to show him what is going on with all of them, but at the same time, I wonder if the solitude is what he needs.

However, it’s those people, the ones who tag us on social media when they post a photo of us or find a meme that reminds them of us, that has me keeping my account dormant. When I look at the photos I am tagged in on Instagram, I see the photos my friends posted with me in them. Some were from the day we took them, others flashbacks and appreciation posts. They commemorated our accomplishments, fun times, birthdays, and life-changing events. There were posed photos, candids, and selfies. There were shots taken in Naples, Florence, Boulder, London, New York, and more. There were in dorm rooms, at sorority events, concerts, sports games, and plane rides. 

Seeing all of that made me think of friendship and the connections we share with other humans. It made me think about the memories I have with others and how people impact our daily lives. It’s rare that I go a day without talking to a friend or two. My phone gives me this untethered, but a tethered connection with people all over the world. Reading these heart-warming captions about how much these people appreciate me does a lot for a person’s self-esteem. I feel lucky that people from elementary school and middle school still appreciate me as much as my most recent college and grad school friends do. It’s nice knowing you can from these core relationships at such a young age.

I am lucky my hometown friends still ask when I am coming home next or want to travel with me elsewhere. I am lucky that my college friends are inspiring and are continually encouraged me. I am lucky that I live in such a small but huge city that constantly introduces me to people of all backgrounds and interests. I meet people that matter to me and they are constantly impacting my life for the better, but I am also learning from those who help me grow as a person.

Some of my friends make me grow for all good reasons. They are my cheerleaders; the ones who encourage my dreams and are there for the nightmares. There is so much I could say to thank those who have impacted my life for the better, because I know that are the reasons why I feel connected and loved. But this post is about the “friends” that teach me about friendship and what I could do to be a better person; not just a friend, but as a daughter, girlfriend, sister, and stranger to the people I pass on the street.

I encountered a situation the other night that helped me realize that I have grown with my ideas and knowing what is good for me. Sometimes friends can let us down. Sometimes their words and their actions can belittle us into thinking we are worth less than what we are. They can blow us off, ignore our calls, and never see how their actions can hurt. I try my best to never be that friend, I try to engage with my friends anyway that I can. I like writing them letters when I can’t see them, I like FaceTiming instead of texting, and giving in ways money could never provide.

I listen to these friends, the ones who cancel on plans last minute, rant about others, and fuel the anger in their emotions, and try to learn from them. I see how they act and treat others, and I try to do my best to listen and talk kindness back into their lives. I try to encourage through my experiences and remind them that we can change what we choose to change. I think I do it because I have had people in my life who have impacted me in a positive way and left me as open to opportunities as growing points. I listen to them and hear the negative speech and wonder “why would you just give up?” 

I know I forget to text back sometimes, I know I forget birthdays and anniversaries, and I know that I have let people down in the past. I know I can act like those who speak negatively, the “friends” that I want to learn from. Sometimes when life is hard, all you want to do is rant to someone, someone who wouldn’t judge and knows what you are going through. I guess I write these posts, or journal entries, to do the same; to get out my thoughts about something, but something I have been trying to do recently is to find the positives in negative times and try to follow up negativity with something that makes me happy.

I think about the people who feel lonely and don’t want to be alone, but feel like they have no other choice but to be alone. It saddens me to think there are people who don’t feel supported or loved. It worries me that there could be someone I know, talking so negatively about someone who doesn’t deserve those words and judgment. We worry so much about our image, the one we put out in the world whether we say we do or don’t. We are aware of the implications that come with putting ourself out there and feeling the pressure of a bully saying they don’t like it.

I want more people to be cheerleaders. I want more people to donate their time to something that helps those that are struggling. I want more people to hug one another and help each other through difficult times because I don’t want anyone to feel like they are alone. If you are reading this, and feel like you could use someone to talk to, please feel free to contact me here, I will always try my best to be there for you, even if you feel like no one can be.

 

Dating Today

Our society has boomed since the embrace of the technology era. Relationships are still work like I am sure they were before everything was at our fingertips. I don’t believe one generation’s dating times are better than another, but because I only have the knowledge of my own, I don’t want to create an opinion over when it was the easiest to date. Older generations had different struggles with relationships, that we experience in our own ways now, and I am praying for future generations.

We are so plugged in that many forget to step away from the screen throughout the day. I am a bit of a classic chaser myself. I’ll send love letters just as I send birthday cards as opposed to birthday Facebook posts. I would much rather Facetime or speak on the phone instead of text all day to get to know someone. I actually prefer long walks on the beach over going to the movies.

We can reach people on dating apps where before you met people through, well, interacting outside of our phones. We live in a world now that you can know a lot about the person before you even hear it from them through social media dumpster diving. We really can’t hide much if it is out there. You see what everyone is up to through the lens they want you to see it. There is no in between when it comes to boasting or dramatizing lives. You do it, or you don’t, but still, people judge regardless.

Online dating, take it or leave it, we’ve all at least thought about it and formed an opinion on it. I am sure some more than most would admit to it, but we are curious if you can really find love through it. The guys I have come across and had feelings for in the past have been a fifty-fifty split between apps and in personal encounters. I am not going to knack online dating. It comes with ease for sure. When I was living in a new large city you can run into endless opportunities for possibly finding love, I know several who have.

What I loved most was just meeting people—meeting people through the people I matched with mostly. I aimed to use dating apps in the past not to find love, but find answers. I hate to admit that I most likely exploited human attraction to find more in the world. I never let it progress if there wasn’t a deeper connection with the men, but I knew I wasn’t on there to find love which is why I avoid journeying that way again.

I like the idea of mutual friends or even casual encounters with strangers the most when broadly looking at the men I have been attracted to. I don’t mind receiving friend requests on Facebook from men simply because I put my humility on the line and introduced myself to strangers, you know like in the olden days. Obviously, there was something common that brought us together, but human interaction is something I thrive on more than our messaging.

I have struggled in the past with just talking to a phone and reading the words others write. I cannot remember a time that I didn’t do that though… Maybe my elementary school boyfriend? I think back to my middle school crushes and even then I remember staying up late sending nonsense with my T9 keyboard. Everything has lived through technology. I guess I could thank the era for bringing me together with the men I have crushed on, but it really never showed me, love, like physically being with someone.

I have made friendships with some of the men from dating apps that probably should have only ever been friends. I think the constraints around the dreaded friend zone are silly because relationships aren’t confined by a romantic interest or not. I would rather show them their part of my life is important to me and I will strengthen it where I can, but to pretend feelings are there when they may have never existed fails to be worth it for me.

Right now, I don’t see myself trying to find love like I have in the past. I go through stages where I am all about it, or I am trying to hide from it, and right now I am not sure where I fall in terms of love. If there is anything to take from dating today it has to be, you need to love yourself first. That is where dating today leaves me—with a relationship with myself because I deserve my love.

Love will find you when you least expect it, I fully have felt that, but you need to be ready when it does. Loving yourself starts today with you.

30 July 2016

Two months ago, I added an event to the calendar on my phone. I wanted to be reminded of the plan I dreamt up to execute this morning. Earlier this week, I deleted the reminder. 

I envisioned waking up and rolling over to my phone. I would squint at the bright light so that I could spell out Good morning baby and adorn it with a red heart to symbolize the love I felt towards him the second I woke up.

I would then click over to Instagram to create a new post. I’d scroll to the beginning of my camera roll and find the year-old picture of us. The photo would be faded to match my silly aesthetic, but in my opinion, the smile on my face radiated enough vibrancy to capture the feelings I was developing towards him that day.

I could caption it with a thousand words or I could let the photo speak for itself, but I knew I above all wanted to remind him that I see you. Today and all days since this day in 2016, I have seen you.

A year ago, I noticed him for the first time. I purposefully put myself standing beside him all night and for the past year, I stood taller knowing he was the one who held my heart with such delicacy from that moment on. This morning I am hunched over writing this in a hotel room feeling rather nostalgic and somber about our past.

I did not wake up to sweet texts and sent none of my own, today, and all days for nearly two months. During the relationship, it felt like I’d blink and a whole month would pass, now each day weighs heavy as they collect in months apart.

I kept the love we shared between us. I was less than vocal on social media during our relationship because I did not seek the audience’s approval. I was so incredibly happy to be caring for something bigger than myself.

I had no intention to post the photo for it to be “liked” by my peers. I intended to show him that this day in the past made quite honestly the biggest turn around on my well-being thus far. Today, a year ago, I took my first steps in a new direction that would lead me towards unforgettable love. All I currently have is a hole in my heart where we used to take up residency, but I am trying to strengthen myself by filling it on my own with memories of caring about who we were.

I was given a heart of pure compassion. I have borne the weight of others and have been driven by empathy throughout my days, but it felt like he was given to me so I could understand how to be grateful for what was literally sitting at my feet. His love for me felt as if it knew no bounds. My knowledge of love, relationships, and affection grew because of him, but so did heartbreak.

He may have turned away from me a few weeks after I set the reminder for today, but his absence is a daily reminder of how thankful I try to remain while knowing I have felt a love like that in my lifetime.

If you meet someone and feel internally drawn by their presence, don’t let them pass you on. We may have been strangers connected by mutual friends, but I regret nothing by asking to take a photo with him that day.

I knew then I did not want to forget that man, and if my memory failed me one day in the future, then I would have a photo that would speak for itself.

 

 

 

Woman Behind the Words

We all do it—live that is. I mean sure eventually life happens and then ends, but that isn’t what I am blogging about. If there is a blog space after the end, then I am sure you can follow-up on my eternal life there, but until then, here is where I rewind and unwind on my times in this life.

I view the past rather simply: we are built from it, but it does not necessarily define us in our present and future lives. We achieve different goals, overcome obstacles, and transition, if you will, into the person we destined to develop into. I recognize my past, as well as the past of others, to see the person we became because of it, but it isn’t a tool used to judge another.

I have grown, bloomed, and flourished in my days. I am not adorned with perfection, I recognize that my stem has thorns scattered throughout its leaves. There are rough patches that we feel we need to protect from others. We are guarded creatures, afraid of pain and fear that could be derived from complete openness and having someone else abuse the trust.

I learned a very valuable lesson in life, relationships whether they be romantic, platonic, friends, or family relations deserve vulnerability. Distancing ourselves from others can lead to painful moments of feeling lonely and unsure if anyone is truly there for your wellbeing. Understand what is okay to be shared and thrive in relationships that are filled with trust.

I have been there. I am a pusher I tend to distance myself when it comes to dealing with difficult times. It, in turn, leads me to rarely ask for help, but when I do I hope the person recognizes how much I need it if I asked. That isn’t always the case though. Sometimes you fall and feel lost because you need some help, but cannot find it.

I believe you never have to do anything alone if you do not want to. I am consistently evolving into a woman who aspires to share her heart with as many souls that I can because I have become someone who so many have felt inclined to open up to. I encourage you all to write me, reach out to me, and develop a relationship with the woman behind the words.

Time provides for perspective on the past. It really is quite a troubling and complex concept that we have a love-hate relationship with. Either you want time to slow in moments that take your breath away, or you stare in disbelief at how slow a microwave minute actually is.

I find myself setting short-term and long-term goals for myself. I collect dates and reflect back as years past and notice what has changed. I rewind, if you will, and see how I gain a new understanding of where my life is now.

When life happens it is really easy to get wrapped up at the moment, and that is where I need to unwind. You can encounter life changes at any moment during any day. There really isn’t any standard on how to prepare for life, you just kinda have to get through them. As lackluster as that sounds, there are definitely lessons to be learned and tips that can be shared.

My life lessons and tips won’t perfectly match for everyone, but I feel the stories behind it all are worth sharing. I aim to write my thoughts out and dive deeper into myself in the hopes that someone somewhere can relate and feel supported while they encounter life.

I have an expensive piece of paper focusing on mental health and another on societies, and I am pursuing a more prestigious piece of paper, but equally as expensive, that will allow me to combine more disciplines and produce creative outlets from my findings. I have traded sandy beaches, for mountain ranges, and now cityscapes and skyscrapers are my surroundings. I travel and broaden myself by experiencing new cultures whenever I can. I date and get serious with the ones that truly impact my life. I am careful to fall fast but have changed by my past experiences with falling in love.

I venture through life and dabble with vegan/vegetarian/whateverelsegoodfoodismadeoutof from time to time. Everything will find a place on my blog like it does in my life. I end up just writing it all out in a dairy, so an online one isn’t so far out from my norm. I welcome you all to come along and share in all of my trials and tribulations throughout my years.