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10 thousand years.. will give you such a crick in the neck.

One year, two months and three days ago. I know, it still hurts and it’s still hard to go home knowing that your grandma isn’t there. I’ll start by telling you this, it gets a little easier, but you’re still going to miss her a hell of a lot, even 11 years later. 
 
Today though, you need to understand what is about to happen. Right now, you’re heading to Knott’s Berry Farm for a fun day with a couple good friends. You’re going to ride a roller coaster with loops for the first time and your best friend is going to give you advice that help save your life later on. She’s going to look at you dead in the eye and say “When we go into the loop, close your eyes. You won’t freak out about being upside down, you’ll feel like you’re flying and it’ll be awesome.”
When you leave the park that night, you’ll be laughing and happy and you’ll have memories to last a lifetime. Brace yourself because the ride home is going to change your life. 
That Jeep Wrangler you saran wrapped a couple months earlier for your best friend’s birthday is about to look a lot different. You’re going to get into a horrific car accident. You’re going to get hit in the carpool lane, teeter for a while, spin a couple times and flip. You’re going to end up in the middle land of the 91, some strangers are going to cut you and the other two girls out of the car and make sure you’re okay. I promise you’ll walk away from it with only a few more stitches and some oil from the freeway in your wrist that the ER doctor couldn’t get out. 
I’ll show you pictures of the car after the fact, just so the nausea will subside:
This accident will change you. You’ll be fearful of cars and going too far from home. You’re going to pull away from everything you know and you’re going to quit the track team for a couple days. You’re going to develop insane anxiety that you don’t know if you’ll ever overcome and you’re going to hate, absolutely HATE being in the car for a very, very long time. Freeways will always be worse than they once were, and big intersections will terrify you in ways that are hard to comprehend. 
 
It’s okay to be scared, I promise. You’re going to make it and you’re going to do some really cool things in the next few years. 
 
You’re going to start college a week or so after the car accident. You’ll be walking with a crutch and your wrist will be all wrapped up, but you’ll manage to get around the campus just fine. You’ll join the track team and you’re going to have the hugest crush on one of your teammates… those feelings are going to linger for a long time, and you’re not going to act on it. You two are going to be good friends for a while though, and you’re going to transfer to your university at the same time too. You’re going to be amazing at shot put and discus, but guess what? Just like with basketball, you’re going to get hurt and you’re not going to be able to do all the things you want to do because your back is going to be shot. You’re going to transfer to the school that you’ve wanted to go to since junior year and love it. You’re going to become an RA and you’re going to make great friends. You’re going to call that same guy you had that crazy crush on when you find out that your old teammate passed away, and you’re going to go to the funeral together. 
 
You’re going to be insecure about a lot of things, and, as I write this, that one thing you hope will have changed by now will not have changed – I know, stupid right? You’re going to finally find a doctor who cares about your voice and who will listen to you when you tell her all the things that are “off” and she will help you find out what’s up with your body… your body will still frustrate you, but at least you’ll know why and how to combat it. 
 
You’re going to have some TERRIBLE bosses. You’re going to become so stressed out that you lose 15 pounds. You’re going to cry a hell of a lot because of all this, but it’ll get better. Because of that job, you’re going to cross a lot off your Bucket List, starting when you turn 27. You’re going to go to a lot of concerts, you’re going to travel, you’re going to get tattoos and laugh, loudly. You’re going to find confidence in the weirdest places, one of them being a Bikram yoga studio. You’re going to do incredible things that you never thought you’d be able to. 
 
Don’t tread too lightly, regardless of your fears. Stay true to what you know is right and you’ll get to where you want to be, just not on the schedule you want it to be on. People are going to badger you constantly about driving and you’re going to get very angry about it. Do the best you can, keep trying and the anxiety and fear will slowly subside. The part that is going to be hard to get a better grasp on is being in control, not being able to control the people around you is going to drive you crazy. Keep trying though, okay? Even when you think the mountain is insurmountable, keep pushing. Trust yourself because it’ll happen. You’ll still struggle with it at 28, but you’ll be a couple steps away from getting there, not miles away like you’ll feel like. Keep thinking that being in a car and driving is a normal thing, everyone isn’t trying to kill you, and you’ll make more progress than you realize. You’re also going to become a champ at navigating public transportation in just about every city – some people are going to think it’s weird, but you’re going to love it. Especially riding the subway in New York City and DC – yeah, you go to both of those places.
 
You’re going to become your own worst enemy for a long time. You’re going to be emotionally and verbally abusive to yourself and you’re going to suffer quietly but eventually you’re going to become better and be kinder to yourself. You’re going to refuse to be bitter about the cards you’ve been handed and start creating your own deck. Keep taking those baby steps forward, it’ll be so worth it. You’re going to gain and lose friends that you thought would be there forever, but you’re going to feel a great weight lifted when you move on. It sucks, you know this already, but it’ll feel so much better once you realize how much further you’ve gotten because you don’t have people constantly doubting you.
 
Keep going. Keep moving forward. Despite your doubts, you’re going to make it through the hard times and you’re going to have a blast.
 
Don’t give up on yourself, okay? You’re only 18, and it’s super cliche, but you’ve got the whole world ahead of you. Go adventure.
 
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Oakley.

I remember reading that thing about people coming into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime when I was in middle school. It made so much sense to me each time I saw my friendships change, grow or drift away.
Brittany’s prompt was specific for today’s date, and it was to write about your best friend. I’ve been excited to write this post since the prompts were posted because I was going to spotlight three of my best girlfriends because they’re all equally great.

The last 72 hours changed my mind. The best friend of a lifetime left me today. My heart is in a billion pieces and I don’t want to go home. I couldn’t have asked for a better friend, confidant or sidekick. 11 years of the best friendship anyone could ask for.

She gave my grandma everything she’d wanted in two short months, she was my mom’s companion while I was in school and she’s been my best friend all along.

I can’t thank this beautiful creature enough. She saved me time and time again, she licked years of tears away, she celebrated when we did and she always made sure we were safe at home. This beautiful dog had the best life and she got to do so many things. She got to be the Grand Marshall of a parade, swim, she won a costume contest, she was a two time cancer survivor, and she had the biggest heart ever.

Our season together may be over, but Oakley came into our life at the best possible time and for the absolute best reason. She’s imprinted on my heart for a lifetime and, no matter the pain, I can’t imagine having lived life without her. I sat with her the last couple days and thanked her for choosing us, thanked her for loving us and for being the best dog that we could have ever asked for.

Good night, my sweet girl. I love you. Say hi to Grandma for me.

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“These are five of my favorite things..”

Self care is insanely important and it’s something that a lot of us avoid, intentionally or not. Brittany’s prompt for this is to talk about five things that we can prioritize and treat ourselves with. This was harder than I imagined it would be. 

1. Go to yoga. 

I have been telling myself to get off my ass and I go to my Bikram studio for a couple months, I mean, I’m paying for it anyway.. but I haven’t been able to step foot inside. The last time I went, I thought I had eaten enough during the day, but apparently I hadn’t and ended up dry heaving and laying on the tile floor of the women’s locker room pounding a coconut water and snacks. Today will be different, I have all my stuff with me and I’m prepared. I’m hydrated, well-fed and excited to sweat out the last few months.. I won’t be surprised if I end up crying at some point, luckily, tears and sweat look a lot alike. 

BetterNotEasier 

2. Cook.

My sanctuary is a well-stocked kitchen. When I eat well, I feel a lot better about life, so it’s a good thing that I’m a good cook. I grew up in the kitchen learning and helping my mom, my grandma and my aunts. I’ve laughed there, cried there, and talked about life’s greatest mysteries while eating cold spaghetti sandwiches over the sink… To say it’s my happy place is an understatement. The more I’m in the kitchen, the healthier I eat and the better I feel. Makes sense, right? Of course it does. 

3. Did I mention yoga?

Before I could afford a subscription to the bikram studio near me, I started doing yoga in my backyard. I knew it would help my back/hips by strengthening my core and I figured since it was summer at the time that I could help my ever-deficient Vitamin D levels by being outside. I didn’t think it would change me the way that it has. My body shape changed, my outlook changed, my breathing changed, my stress level changed, my posture had changed and I felt more comfortable in my body than I ever had. I sound like a hack when I gush about how much I love and need my practice, whether in the backyard or in the studio, but I do. I need it and I need to make sure that I don’t just say I do yoga to make myself feel better for not being as dedicated. My body needs it so that I can stand up straight. I have to make a better commitment to myself.

4. Gardening

Last summer, my mom and I started an edible container garden in our backyard. Tending to that, growing new things brings out the wonder in me. I noticed that we had carrot sprouts this morning and proceeded to happy dance around the backyard while I was doing laundry. The more I can grow and learn about, the better I can cook. Lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, herbs galore. It’s our baby farm and I love it. When I care for it, it cares for me, so I need to make sure that I do a better job watering, weeding and trimming things back when it’s needed. 

5. Writing

The timing of this challenge could not have been better. I needed something to encourage me to write more, to explore more and to feel more confident in my own words so that I can further pursue my dream jobs. The more I write, the calmer I feel, so it seems that writing is yet another form of therapy for me. I have great friends who write a lot, and I never thought I would be among them, but here I am. I’m proud of that, and grateful for their encouragement as well as the CGG empire.

Despite my insecurities, I like who I am and who I’m becoming… the more I take care of myself, the more I grow, so I have to keep fighting towards the life I want. 

Expectations

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My momma told me….

Today’s post is getting up a little later than I had planned, but oh well, at least it’s there. There was a brief discussion on this topic late last night in CGG and I thought today would be a good day to write about it myself.

Things you wish your mother would have told you about body image

Yuck. Already, just ugh. I don’t want to write about this, but luckily, my mom is pretty rad and we talked about some of it the other day after Brittany posted the prompts, and well, I’m doing it.

1. My idea of beauty will be ever changing

I wish I had understood this concept a lot earlier. I’ve only realized it the last year or so when I started seeing how cruel we can be to ourselves and each other. As I’ve gotten older, and stronger, I realize that beauty isn’t something that one person can truly define. It’s a collection of things, of intangible, wonderful, driving things. I can tell you what it isn’t. Beauty isn’t a thigh gap. It isn’t perfectly shaped and sculpted eyebrows.

Beauty doesn’t give a shit about the clothes you wear because it finds a way to show itself by the light in your eyes.. there’s nothing you can do about it.

2. Varicose and Spider Veins run in our family and they’re awful

I think I always knew that I had a predisposition for these things, but it never really sunk in. Varicose and spider veins can plague someone for different reasons. They both can come from injury, standing for long periods of time, and about a million other reasons. I posted about being lumpy before (here and here) but this is a different kind of thing. Varicose veins can be painful and they’re part of the reason I don’t like wearing shorts. They’re weird and lumpy and really really veiny. Spider veins look kind of cool, but like, not really. They’re red, purpley things. Sometimes they look like spiders, or their webs, or sometimes they just leave nasty coloring around your ankles that makes you self conscious. I’ve been debating whether or not I should look into getting the varicose ones removed, the procedure has changed a lot in the last 15 years, and it’s not supposed to be as crazy and painful as it used to be, so who knows… I have to figure if it’s really worth it first.. Spoiler alert: it probably isnt.

3. Shopping is not nearly as fun as they make it seem on TV. 

Getting new clothes is never really something I look forward to because the process of going to 23847942 stores and trying on 238746709325892470 things until I’m red and sweaty is roughly 0% appealing at any given time. Granted, sometimes you luck out and you try something that surprises you (like I did at Old Navy a week ago!) but that is RARELY the case. US sizing is so odd. It’s just a bunch of arbitrary numbers that are supposed to make sense, but they really don’t. I wish we used more of a UK/European way of sizing clothing, and you know, like, just used the actual measurements of something because then it would be consistent and shopping wouldn’t be such a bitch all the time. I mean, it probably still would be, but I think a lot of the stress would disappear. 

 

Anyway, I’m off to have dinner with my psuedo grandpa on his birthday and enjoy the start of my weekend.. Here’s to writing more and enjoying the weekend. xo.

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My fashionistas!

I decided to lighten it up a bit and choose the prompt about your fashion icons. I’m not huge into celebrity culture, and I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy, so this one took me a bit to figure out before it dawned on me.

A few years ago, I remember seeing an article about menswear for women and how the concept wasn’t new, it was almost a revival. There was a spread of clothes that were modeled after what Katharine Hepburn would have worn, one after Diane Keaton and a few other women. That was what I wanted. They’re beautiful, strong women who don’t give a shit about what people think about their clothing. They could be both glamorous and functional, both breathtaking and forceful. Just look at them, they’re stunning. Neither were/are afraid to show their true selves, their wit and their intelligence. They didn’t let social norms guide their fashion choices and I think it’s the coolest. 

Then, there’s Melissa McCarthy. I love this woman. I want to be her friend, I’d totally babysit her kids for free and I just want to go do fun things with her because I feel like she’s probably the most normal person who just happens to be hilarious AND GORGEOUS. Seeing someone who looks like me being celebrated on the cover of magazines and in movies and TV shows blows my mind. I can’t say enough awesome things about her. I know she has a clothing line in the works, and I’m really really hoping that it’s going to be accessible and affordable. I just want to hug her and say thank you for making it known that women are different shapes and yet still awesome. Can anyone hook a girl up?!

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So many things!!

I haven’t gotten a chance to write at all, no matter how much I want to. I’ve been tired, overjoyed and everything in between.

Since my last entry, I’ve interviewed at two different jobs, got a job offer, accepted the job offer, turned 28, started working again, committed to going back to Bikram regularly, budgeted, started planning a trip to Chicago and another to Toronto – both a few months from now.

I’m really liking how 28 is treating me so far. All the things that I’ve learned the past year and a half are finally paying off and my general well-being is so much better. I have friends who are supportive, caring, and who genuinely want me to be happy and to succeed. My workplace has a better environment than I ever could have imagined, and after feeling like damaged goods for a long time, I finally feel like I’ve found a place where I’ll be able to grow and flourish. I’ve consciously made an effort to allow myself to open up to certain people and to give more people a chance.

To my own surprise, I feel a lot better about life in general. I like this feeling, I really hope it continues.

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27.

There is less than three weeks until I turn 28.

I won’t lie and say that 27 was easy, it was anything but that. To put it lightly, 27 was:
– scary.
– an adventure.
– hilarious.
– terrifying.
– sleep deprived.
– the worst.
– not so bad.
– a learning experience.
– stupid.
– funny.
– stressful.
– enlightening.
– annoying.
– eye opening.
– frustrating.
Most of all, it was a year for me to grow. It has been my year to figure some shit out, to explore, to experience, to learn, to get rid of the things (and in some cases, people) that made me feel awful, and it’s been the year where I’ve really learned what I like about life, myself and those that I choose to spend time with.

It hasn’t been my favorite, but it’s been a hell of a roller coaster. My birthday is May 1, but the real roller coaster started in January of 2013. Here’s a quick run down of the last 15 months:

January 2013: got fired on my Tia’s birthday from the place I worked at for almost 3 years for reasons that baffle me still.
February/March (it all blends together): went to a lot of basketball games, had fun at the LBSU men’s basketball end of season banquet, and was removed from a bridal party for reasons that still don’t make sense.
April: finalized all my plans and bought all other necessary things for my NYC/Euro-adventure. Panicked about the trip. Went to Jewels of the Night and had an interesting time, but it was fun nonetheless. Switched from android to iPhone.
May: turned 27, had a nice dinner with family, prepped for the trip. Got scared about the trip, wondered if it was even a good idea anymore, worried about money, stressed so much I caused spasms in back that we’re so debilitating it hurt to breathe, and then I flew to New York City on the red eye out of Long Beach on my Mom’s birthday. Spent four amazing days with The City. Went to The Great Googa Mooga festival in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Saw my friend Kristin and my old teammate Roy. Explored with my German housemates. Got blisters. Lots of them. Flew to Venice, Italy and arrived to a happy Jen and Scott who housed me for a week and showed me parts of the world that I continually long for. Saw and tasted Parma, Bassano del Grappa, Marostica, Vicenza, Verona and Venice before flying into Alicante, Spain on May 30. Surprised my friend Elissa for her hen night. Made amazing international friends, saw people I hadn’t seen in 15+ years, laughed, had awkward conversations, used more Spanish in two days than I had in 15+ years of bilingual-ness, ate, and drank amazing things.
June: saw Elissa marry the most excellent man, danced, ate, laughed, drank (a lot – hey, it was a wedding), fell in love with rosé, went shopping, hugged and loved the family I felt like I lost for what felt like forever. Panicked over inaccessible internet and train tickets, stopped sleeping well. Took a train up the coast of Spain from Alicante to Barcelona. Freaked out due to exhaustion, being alone in a new city, and a fiasco involving my phone not working, the keys to the place I was staying and communication that wasn’t working. Met my new hosts, talked about Vampire Weekend over dinner. Explored nearly all of Barcelona on foot, took a bunch of pictures, realized I was okay on my own, fell in love with speaking Spanish and in turn lost my thought that “I wasn’t good enough to use the language.” Bought a second suitcase, packed and flew back to NYC after 4 days in Barcelona. Ate/drank the most delicious burger and beer in T5 of JFK while waiting for my flight. Got home to Long Beach late and was hungry (I know, right?)… Went to IHOP and devoured an omelette. I missed American breakfast. Slept off my jet lag, came down with a serious case of wanderlust and discovered Bikram yoga and the amazing benefits of it.
July: relay for life. Andy and Tori got married!
August: went to Invisible Children’s Fourth Estate Summit, met amazing people, realized that I needed to work somewhere or do something I loved. Figured out what I’m scared of overnight. Reconnected with the best gal pal a girl could ask for in Andrea, net Thomas, (Andrea and my 18 year old boyfriend at 4E), met someone I looked up to and established a great friendship and semi-mentor. Got a job supporting video games via social media. Loved the social media side, hated the hours (graveyard), the dead-end-ness of the job and the content and attitude of the games and the customers.
September: renewed my season tickets for LBSU men’s basketball, worked, understood how offensive some people are in the gaming industry, started job hunting again, became better friends with an old coworker from the bookstore.
October: slept 10 hours over the course of week, had a migraine the majority of the month, went to Artisinal LA and had a blast, met The Fancy Boyz and made fast friends with them and other bakers. Realized that the money I had put away to help me start my baking project was still there and it was there for me to use to build my dream. Slept, worked. Realized that just because you’ve been friends with someone for a long time, you’re not exactly obligated to stay friends with them when your life goes different directions or your belief sets don’t really match up.
November: basketball season!, homecoming, spent more time with friends, went to San Diego and realized how awesome Meg and Jake are, slept, worked,
December: slept, worked, looked for jobs, did yoga in my backyard, went to basketball games, Christmas, realized that missed enjoyable holiday celebrations, my friend Scott passed away.
January 2014: worked, slept, went to basketball games, went to San Francisco for Scott’s funeral and was lackey enough to have one of my best friends go with me, had incredible amounts of fun on the first roadtrip I have taken since the car accident in 2004, sent a really dumb text message to the wrong person and inadvertently found out where I stood with them, was let go from work, job hunted full time.
February: more basketball, met one of the dad’s of a player when he was trying to upgrade his ticket and I had extra, had fun, did yoga, looked for jobs, didn’t get a job because they thought the reason I was fired a year ago was weird, was reaaaalllllyyy mad/pissed/frustrated/annoyed that place was still haunting me.
March: basketball! Went to the Veronica Mars PaleyFest panel and then went to opening day of the VM movie the next day with Latoya, laughed a lot, watched more basketball, left for two weeks in San Diego house sitting and hanging out with Sabrina, Meg’s daughter.
April: reconnected with basketball teammates from high school over great food in San Diego, came home from SD, saw my cousin, his wife and their daughter while they were in town for a Disneyland trip, had a promising interview and hung out with Latoya, all in a matter of a week.

In the next few weeks, I’m going to a graduation party, a bridal shower, Artisinal LA, applying for my DBA for my baking project and getting the ball rolling for the job I WANT while searching for one that I need to pay my bills. Then I turn 28 and open myself up for even more adventure, travel excursions, fun and whatever else might come my way. I’m looking forward to this year a whole bunch. I hope it’s as good to me as this last one has been.