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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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Who run the world?

The 5 women who have inspired me.. whoa. That’s a really long list to narrow down. Lately, there have been some heavy influences from some amazing women, luckily, I’m able to call the majority of them my friends. Oh, I didn’t put my Mom on this list, mostly because I would turn into a pile of tears and keel over sobbing. She’s pretty freaking great and I love her a whole bunch.

I’m going to start off by talking about two of these women because not only do they know each other, but they do incredible things for people.

alexis_meg

Meg Fagundes.

Meg, sassy as ever.

Meg, sassy as ever.

THIS WOMAN. Okay, so Meg’s been through it and back, and is one of the people that I’m so grateful to know. We met at the Fourth Estate Leadership Summit last summer when my friend and I introduced ourselves on the dance floor the last night of the conference. She’s an MFT who is working toward her doctorate and who works with inmates and juvenile sex offenders. I’ve never felt so welcome, so accepted and excited to know someone. We kept in touch afterward and lucky for me, she lives in San Diego which is only a couple of hours away. She has invited me into her house, trusted me to keep her kid and cat children safe for a couple weeks while she was out of the country and has allowed me to use her as my go-to yoga resource. She is incredibly open about her struggles and her life, and you’ll feel like a better person just because you know her. If it sounds like I’m gushing, it’s because I am.

Meg, I know you’re going to read this, and I can’t even put into words how happy I am to consider you family. You’ve made me laugh/cry, you’ve inspired the courage I needed to get back into the yoga studio time and time again, you’ve made me cry in public countless times and you excepted me for who I am from day one. haha, I’m crying in public as I type this, I shouldn’t even be surprised. You’ve inspire me so much, and you’ve supported me through so much this past year whether you knew it or not. Thank you for letting me be a part of your journey, just as much as you are a part of mine. You are one of the most honest, caring, open, accepting, loving, hilarious, generous, cultured, well-read, silly, dorky, appreciative, driven, diligent, and well-respected humans I know. I love you foreverrrrr, and I promise to bring cookies every time I come visit.

Meg’s TEDxWomen talk: http://youtu.be/81hy3AZjkr4

Alexis Jones.

alexis

Alexis, she really is that girl.

This fantastic woman created I AM THAT GIRL, which is pretty much the coolest non-profit geared to making sure that women and girls know their worth. She’s incredibly well spoken, caring and genuine. Her book, I AM THAT GIRL, is also part of the reason she’s on this list. If there is any book I recommend to women of all ages, it’s this one. It’s not a self-help book, it’s not an inspirational book, it’s a book that will knock you on your ass while firing up the drive to go out, kick ass at life and take names. She spoke on the same panel as Meg did at the summit I attended… along with Sophia Bush, Yael Cohen of FUCK CANCER. I sat near the front of the room, but off to the side, thankfully. I ended up quietly crying throughout the entire thing. These women who aren’t much older than me sat there and told me that no matter what, I am just fine the way I am and that I can do whatever the hell I wanted. It was the talk the best friends and sisters have when times are hard. Talk about an inspirational panel. When I found out that she was also writing book, I made sure to hunt it down within two days of it hitting shelves. I have her words tattooed on my arm because her words are powerful. They shocked and spoke to me as I read the very first sentence of her book. I am so grateful that I was able to cross paths with her, even if we didn’t actually get to meet each other at that event. It’s the little things you say and the small gestures that matter, and I hope she knows just how much she’s hit home with the girls and women who have read that book.

Oh, and that TEDx talk that Meg spoke at? Guess who hosted? Yeah, Alexis. I know, right? How cool are my friends.

IATG_shoutout

This happened too, I still can’t get over it.

Okay, now on the rest… let’s hope I can stop crying in this Starbucks. haha, who am I kidding.

Jaclyn Mullen.

jaclyn

Talk about a self-made powerhouse. I met J at a day long seminar called Women Empowered that Stephanie (read about her a little later) invited me to. She has become a one woman marketing machine and is really really good at what she does. Not only does she work with her own clients, but she’s a jet-setter who hosts small seminars all over LA and around the world. At the event, she retweeted something I posted and I introduced myself later that day. We exchanged information and made sure to stay in contact. She has become one of my biggest supports and cheerleaders as I work toward starting my own business and building the life I want doing what I love. To say that I’m excited to see her on Saturday is an understatement, and there aren’t enough good things I can say about her. I am so happy she’s in my corner and that I decided to say hi to her that day, she’s been a game changer.

Stephanie Rudat

I love women who laugh.

I love women who laugh.

I randomly started following her on Twitter after seeing her posts retweeted by another account… fast forward to a year-ish later when I got the meet her. I was on Twitter while at Fourth Estate and I saw that Stephanie posted that she was there as well – I knoooow, three of these women all came into my life the same weekend… I can’t deal with it either. We tweeted each other a couple times until we were able to figure out a good time to sneak out of the main hall and meet up. I remember standing there trying so hard not to fangirl all over the place. I love strong, outspoken women, especially when they use their voices for justice and to help others. Stephanie is key in that. She’s not afraid to speak about the causes and organizations she’s involved with. We talked for nearly a half hour and I realized that I had just met one of the coolest, most daring women ever. She’s been a catalyst for different organizations, she’s super supportive of those around her and she’s not afraid to speak out against injustice all over the world. She’s freaking great.

I’m running out of words to express how amazing all of these women are… I still have one more!

Brittany Gibbons.

fierceness, embodied.

fierceness, embodied.

I have always ALWAYS had issues when it comes to body image and how I view myself. It’s gotten a hell of a lot better the last couple years, but it’s still such a journey. I am so grateful to be a part of a HUGE community of women that have been brought together by this woman via Facebook. The amount of acceptance and similarities between all of us in that group is staggering and in our tiny little internet world, Brittany is our fearless leader. She’s been a source of inspiration for countless women (and I’m sure guys too) because she’s a bad ass. She’s not afraid to have fun, to talk about the weird stuff, to express how hard she loves and is a fantastic writer. In reading through her website I’ve taken a few steps forward on my rough journey of self-acceptance. I bought a bikini for the first time ever and wore it this summer. Twice. That’s the first time I’ve worn a bathing suit in a decade. I’ve learned that no matter what you look like, what size you wear, what color your hair is or where you work, you’re worthy of love, respect – from yourself and others, and you’re worthy of great things. I can’t thank her enough and I really hope that I’ll be able to go to the grown up summer camp that she hosts so I can hug her and say thank you.

Brittany’s TEDxBGSU talk: http://youtu.be/81hy3AZjkr4

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I could go on and on about these five courageous woman, but I can’t today. I’m out of words and I don’t want to ugly cry in public. I love you all so much, thank you a million for all the advice, support and comfort you’ve given me. I am forever indebted to you all.

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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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If beauty didn’t matter, I would…

Sports broadcasting, in a heart beat. 

Crystina Poncher! Go Beach!

As I read through the different prompts that Brittany posted for this month’s Write Your Face Off, I knew the answer to this one without a question and knew it had to be my first real entry.

The idea that a woman can know and understand the world of sports is still incredibly foreign to a lot of people, and if, for some reason they should be on TV talking about it, they should basically be runway models. I was an athlete. I lived and breathed the different sports I played, and to think that I am not worthy enough to talk about them, intelligently because I am a regular woman is beyond my realm of thinking.

When you’re a young girl who plays basketball, or soccer, or runs track, who do you look up to? What happens when you’re watching a football or basketball game and your sideline reporters are gorgeous, pencil thin women who can (sometimes) hold their own with the material, but when you look in the mirror and you don’t see the same type of person that’s on tv? What happens to that dream? It’s pushed aside. It becomes an afterthought. Maybe radio or a columnist… but really, why would they take you seriously? 

I may not like Erin Andrews’ voice, but I have nothing against her… I just wish I could have her job. Yes, I will continue to watch her and other women (like the awesome Long Beach State alum Crystina Poncher) interview the players and coaches and give analysis, but it’s always with a tinge of envy. Not in a cruel way, but because I know that dream of mine was fleeting and won’t come to fruition.

Luckily, I have a few more dreams.. and I am in the process of pursuing a couple of them because they don’t rely on the social constructs of what women should look like… it’s pretty rad.