New Places, New Faces

The name of this blog is pretty irrelevant now. I graduated from my beloved Southern school and have moved back to the North for graduate school. But I still say y’all and have a bit of twang when I say “Oh, my goodness!” I’d say that might be charming. Maybe.

But where I am still isn’t home. It’s new. In fact, it’s the capital of the state. And man, it’s big. I’ve never lived somewhere this big. Sometimes, I have to drive 45 minutes to get somewhere. That’s crazy! (My small town self might be showing.) And this is hard. If you’ve read my past posts, you would know I have anxiety/depression. So it’s been a struggle. Making new friends, always using the GPS on my phone, and trying to figure out what one-way streets are. (I’ve almost died in the last month I’ve been here.)

But despite it all, I’ve been relatively happy. Emphasis on the relatively. I’ve had my bad days of course, and I’ve cried way too much. In the last four weeks, I have had a respiratory infection and the stomach flu. I’ve started a new job, new classes, and a new routine. That’s a lot of change for a girl who hates change. But I’ve promised myself I’m going to stay in control. Not necessarily of what happens, but how I react to it.

I’ve had fewer panic attacks. When I begin to get overwhelmed, I pray. I make sure my to-do lists are in order and updated. I let myself be upset for ten minutes, and then I breathe and do what I can to fix it. But I’ve also had days where I’m drowning in sobs, I feel like I can’t breathe, and I’m ready to quit and go home. But the good days are better than the bad. And the smiles mean more than the tears. I’m trying to stay positive and see the blessing in every moment. I just hope that I can keep it up.

Stick to your roots,

Southern Charm

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A Letter to the Boy Who Caught Me

I’m a runner. It’s a pretty big deal for me to stick with someone for longer than a few months. We do the fun part – the question game, staying up all night talking, and going on fun dates where we are too guarded to show our real selves. Then, as it gets deeper, I bolt. I’m not a fan of the investment. That risk of getting hurt is just too great. And so, on April 24th, I wrote a post: #commitment. I talked about this boy who was probably my soul mate. How I broke up with him. And how I wasn’t ready to fall. And so I ran. 

Well guess what ladies and gentleman. This boy, sorry, man, ran cross country for 13 years. And I have only ever run one 5K and it was so not fun. Needless to stay, he caught up to me pretty quickly.

So it is now almost two months later and I now call this human, “boyfriend.” And man, does it feel weird to say.

 

To the boy who caught me:

It really bothered me. A lot. Those days when you would text me to see how I was doing, the asking me how my finals were going, the kindhearted thoughts you would send my way because we were trying to stay friends. It really bothered me that you would never do things to make me not love you. And as I’m sitting here, I believe you must have had this all planned out, didn’t you?

It really bothered me then when you would go out of your way to give me the space I wanted. You understood. You wanted me to be happy – and only happy. And if that meant you were sad, so be it. And it really bothered me how you were always one text or phone call away if I needed something. AND MAN. It bothered me when I realized that I just couldn’t do this whole life thing without you.

And now I’m bothered that we can’t just do this whole life thing together hip-to-hip every second of every day.

Because, you sir, caught me. I told you I would run from day one. You knew that I was not in this for a ring. I was not about to hold hands with you on the playground. And you must have been pretty confident in yourself that you could change that or you’re just too stubborn for your own good (which leads me to say, why are we always saying that I’m the stubborn one between the two of us?).

And now. It thrills me that I’m done running. Or at least, I’m trying to be done running. (You know those days where you have to reassure me that it’s all going to be OK.) And although I am not prepared for you to be down on one knee at any point in the near future, I have made a wedding board on my Pinterest account. And although there better not be any babies in my belly until I’m married, I have been thinking about names for those little monsters.

I never thought I would meet someone who could change my mind. Someone who loved me enough to deal with the crazy. Someone who could show me that I am worthy of love and that I can be happy when someone gives it. I love laughing with you while we sit with your parents on your back patio. I love that you help my parents lift stuff. I love that we can go on mini road trips with my siblings and that I can comment on your sister’s Facebook without being creepy.

But it bothers me. It bothers me that two months from today we are going to be 10 hours apart from each other so we can chase our dreams. It bothers me that hard weeks of work won’t be ended with Netflix binges in your arms. It bothers me that I’ll be sending you Bitmoji  messages of “I love you” instead of drawing it on your hand. It bothers me that rather than you listening to my snores at night, you’ll be listening to the buzz of your computer when we fall asleep Skyping. And it bothers me that I’m writing this all in a blog post instead of really telling you how much you mean to me. Because let’s face it, I am the stubborn one. And I’ll hold in my feelings until you coax them out of me like the baby deer that I am.

But no matter how much it all bothers me, I love you that much more.

Keep to Your Roots,

Southern Charm

Feelings

Do you know the exercises that we did when we were little where a teacher would show you a face and you responded with which feeling it displayed? It was commonly happy, sad, angry, confused, and afraid. In school, we are constantly taught to recognize others emotions and how we are supposed to respond to them. But why am I 22 years old, able to recognize others emotions, help them when they are in need, but I couldn’t tell you my own feelings and I can’t seem to help myself? (Man, I need to go to therapy.)

I am in this class. I’ve spoken about it before. Diversity and Advocacy in Education. Our final project is due in five days (eep) in which case I have to submit an art journal that expresses my emotions about race, gender and class but also bullying, shame, and vulnerability. Let me just share with you what my vulnerability page looks like: It is a brick wall from top to bottom with a hole smashed through. An arm pokes out holding out a heart that is beaten and broken. This is what vulnerability looks like to me and as of now, I am in my fortress and that hole has not been broken through yet.

We are taught that being vulnerable means expressing our thoughts and feelings with someone else. However, all I can do is sit in frustration (that’s a feeling!) because I’m too confused (there’s another one!) about what my feelings even are. Just like elementary school, I can tell someone when I am happy, sad, angry, confused, and scared. But what is it when all I want to do is laugh while I’m crying? What is it when I am so angry that I scare myself? What is it when I’m sitting on the kitchen floor, staring at an open refrigerator trying to decide if I am hungry? What is it when I’m driving in my car trying to decide if it’s worth driving off that bridge?

AND IF I CANNOT FIND WORDS, HOW IN THE HELL DO I TELL SOMEONE.

Therefore, I turn the feelings off. I pack them up in boxes, put them in the back of the closet, close the doors, lock the key, throw that key off a cliff, weld the lock, and move out of the house.

I am a cold person. I keep a straight-face. I am classified as uptight, determined, and unfeeling. That might be because no one knows that it’s me writing this. Looking at my posts, there are a lot of feelings. But no one can know about them. That causes expectations. Expectations to tell people I’m having a bad day or even a good day. Expectations to smile when I see someone I know. Expectations to share. I like being on my own and I want it to stay that way.

I am that 13 year-old emo kid. I just wear adult clothes now.

Keep to your roots,

Southern Charm

 

Graduating to More School

I’m going to be walking across the stage in a mere eleven days to receive a diploma from one of the best universities in the Southeast. I have spent four years here and they have been filled with love, laughter, tears, and sadness. More importantly though, the girl who is walking across the stage in eleven days is not the girl who was high school valedictorian four years ago. This place has changed me – mostly for the better, I hope. However, as I listen to stories of people going on to adult jobs and adult lives, as my Facebook feed fills up with engagements and wedding photos, I am apartment hunting for a place to live as I go on to yet another university.

It doesn’t seem real. I don’t feel this joy of graduation. I don’t feel like I’m moving forward, at least not much. I’m moving to a new city, sure. I’m going to have another line on my resume, of course. But is my life really going to change that much? I’m still going to be carrying a backpack with me as I walk down an early-twenties populated street. I’m still going to be spending my nights sitting in bed reading or writing a paper. I’m still going to be filling my grocery basket with Ramen and Capri Sun (I might still be in elementary school).

But at the same time… I’m going to miss this place. My friends are the most brilliant humans I have ever met. They are caring creatures who can demolish food like no one I have ever seen. They have great taste in beer and I owe my six-pack to them because of how much they make me laugh. (Albeit, that six-pack is hiding under the Ramen and Capri Sun.) How can I be excited when L will be in New York, C will be in Virginia, and N will be God knows where (Lord, please help him find a job.)? As excited as I am for them, I am dreading the day we all say “see you later” but “see you later” will mean Skyping and expensive plane tickets.

There are so many feelings that go into graduating from college. It’s the most bittersweet experience. Every time I walk out of a final I want to click my heels while I wipe tears from my eyes. My professors have been mentors since day one. My classrooms have been dungeons and funhouses. My library has been my bedroom for several all-nighters that I just don’t quite make through. The Quad has been my playground and the soccer fields have been my body’s demise. How can I find these things when I move to the city? How can I move to a state where football is below basketball on priority lists? And more so, what does a chemistry degree mean when I am trying to file my taxes?

I am not ready for this next step but in eleven days, I’m being pushed down the stairs.

Keep to your roots,

Southern Charm

#Commitment

Do you remember when we were little? When we spoke of growing up, we played house, and just couldn’t wait to find our soulmates so we could have our happily ever after? Do you remember how the real grown ups would look at us meaningfully saying, “Stay young while you can.” I remember and I wish I could go back to being eight years old when commitment meant sharing the cookies my mom would pack in my lunchbox with the cute boy that sat next to me.

I might have met my soul mate. A month ago. And a few days ago I ran.

He’s wonderful – smart, sweet, good-looking, and I can talk to him for hours. I can also sit with him in silence for hours. I love how I fit in his arms and I shared with him things about me in that short month that I hadn’t shared with people I had known in years. And he continued to care about me despite my feeling like a defective human being. He teaches me about life and history and ethics and movies and baseball. He listens to me talk to him about chemistry and education and football and my favorite Netflix shows.

But I’m only 22. I have so much more I want to do with my life. I graduate in two weeks from college and am going to graduate school. I don’t want a boy distracting me while I learn how I can change the world. But part of me wants a boy there to support me when I feel like I’ll never be able to do just that. But what if he leaves the moment when I need him? And then I regret ever needing him in the first place. He called me this morning, demanding answers.

“I thought we were so good. I know it wasn’t very long but I didn’t think this would end. There was nothing wrong. What is it that you don’t want? What did I do? Give me something more than ‘I just can’t do this.'”

Oh, how I wish I could. I sat there thinking about all of the lies I could tell him to make him hate me. I don’t actually like you. It was all a game. I’m actually in love with someone else. My parents don’t think you’re good for me. I don’t trust you. I don’t think you’re going to make me happy two months from now. There was so much I could say to make it easier for him. But I couldn’t lie to him. I promised I never would. So all I could do was tell him that relationships scare me. And I am not ready to face that fear yet.

Why are we so ready to find our husbands when we are eight years old but then the moment I turn eighteen, I am terrified that my husband will enter my life because I know I will never be able to accept it. It’s all too hard. I can’t trust him. I can’t make the commitment. I just am not ready. And man, it sucks. But tonight, I go to sleep alone. My phone will be turned off because I know no one will contact me. And I’m oddly comfortable with it. And I think that might be what worries me most.

Keep to your roots,

Southern Charm

Body Issues

This semester, I have been in this course – Diversity and Advocacy in Education. It’s a brilliant class. I have grown so much because there is a lot of “feelings” talk which is something that I don’t do on my own time. The semester started with discussion of Brene Brown and the genius that she is. If you don’t know her, go listen to one of these Ted Talks of hers: Here and Here.

Each week for this class we talk about different aspects of society, specifically those with problems. This has been race, gender, sexuality, or disability to name a few. However, this week is Body Issues. If you have read any of my previous blog posts (specifically this one or this one), you know that I am not prepared for this. I am sitting at work now and not able to focus because I cannot stop thinking about how I do not want to share.

I don’t look like I have an eating disorder. I used to be considered the purge subtype of Anorexia Nervosa because I was so underweight. But now, I look like your typical college student so I have been redefined as a bulimic now that I weigh more than 120 pounds. I’ve gained some insulation and there’s still some definition in my muscles from all of the sports I played in high school. But you’d never think that I spent time throwing up in a bathroom as a part of my daily routine. I think that might be why I’m worried. I’m worried that I’ll open up about this and people just won’t believe me. Of course the first thoughts in my head are “She’s too fat to have an eating disorder.” My inner thoughts are controlled by terrible people obviously.

I also know that having an eating disorder is a problem. I am so ill because of it. You would think that after all of the health problems I have gained from this condition, it would be motivation enough to quit. And it’s better. So much better. It’s not even a weekly thing anymore. But it happens. And I feel weak, and guilty, and all-around pathetic. And how in the world am I supposed to talk about this in a class? Especially when I know for a fact there is a girl sitting two seats over from me who has recovered. And I’m still struggling.

It’s all very hard. Life is so hard. And not just for myself, I know it is for everyone. And maybe I am a weakling for not handling it the right way. I really probably am. And I’m trying to be better. But they call it body issues for a reason, right? It’s an issue. And sometimes I cry because I think it always will be.

If you are ever considering beginning an eating disorder, I pray and beg and plead that you never do. It’s a dark road and I know I’m on a one way track to hurting myself and possibly even dying. Get out now before it’s too late because it’s a difficult climb back to health. If you are struggling with me on this journey, I pray that we make it.

 

Keep to your roots,

Southern Charm

“Bisexual Tendencies”

So I get out of the shower today to a string of text messages from my best friend (biff) who is currently living in France.

“Hey are you busy?”

“Heeeeeeeey”

“I’m gonna spam you”

which then turned into…

“I need to gossip. And you’re the only one I can gossip to about this!”

“For the love of all things holy”

“I’m drunk and I need you”

It’s safe to say that I was a little concerned. Especially because biff is not the type of person to ever say the words “I need you”. It’s funny how we found each other – two people who are terrible at communicating have been best friends for 17 years.

Anyways, turns out. There’s this girl who biff has a crush on and it’s totally cool – we’ve known biff was bisexual for years now. However, it’s so difficult to tell whether this girl is flirting with biff because she gets touchy when she has alcohol or if she is also into the lady regions.

Which brings me to this rant of the land of spectrums. I love love love that society is moving towards being more open. But can we just discuss that it is so incredibly difficult to understand whether someone is bisexual or just has “bisexual tendencies?” I am not condemning them whatsoever – hell, I definitely get my fair share of lady crushes. However, I love the men. But I also enjoy making out with biff every now and then. It’s a confusing world we live in. I feel so terrible that biff has to worry about whether kissing this girl is going to scare the living bejesus out of her. How does one ask someone if it’s cool to kiss them? You don’t want to worry about ruining a friendship.

Yes, I know. “If they were a true friend, it shouldn’t matter and they should just take the compliment and move on.” But that’s not how it always goes. Especially when you’re living in France and your choice of American friends is pretty small. But basically, does anyone have any advice on how to approach this? The girl knows that biff is bisexual. And this girl holds her hand and cuddles but it hasn’t gone further than that. How does one tell if it’s just normal girl touchy-feely crap or if it’s more than that? Can she just ask her straight out or is that coming on too strong?

End rant. All is cool.

Stick to your roots,

Southern Charm

Growing Pains

It’s been a year and a half since I’ve been on this thing. And let me tell you, a year and a half has changed a lot. I’m freaking graduating in four months. What?

Since Fall 2014, I’ve been heartbroken, failed some tests, ruined friendships, and yelled. A lot. But I’ve also been in love, aced some classes, made some new friends, and smiled. A lot more.

I’m not even sure what I want to say right now. Words are becoming harder and harder to come by. As I’ve become more of an adult (adult?), I should have more to say. I should have some great wisdom to leave for the world. All I got is this. GROWING UP BLOWS.

Did you know how taxes work? Because I have learned. Do you know the downsides of loans? Debt. Did you know that debt does, indeed, blow? It does.

I have no words. I have no wisdom. I do know that as someone who is still suffering from depression and anxiety and an eating disorder, I have survived the last year and a half. Sometimes it has been hell. But I am surviving. And let me tell you, it has been survival.

And completely worth it.

So keep on, my friends. Keep waking up too early in the morning. Keep crying into that pillow of yours. Keep having the scary moments of life. Because sometimes, you get those great moments. The ones we live for. The ones we survive for. The ones that remind us what we will be losing if we give up too early in the game. I will if you will.

Keep on.

Keep to your roots,

Southern Charm

Bad Day

You know how you just have those days where you want to do nothing but curl up in a ball in bed all day? Especially if there’s a show on Netflix to binge watch but not really pay attention to. I’m having one of those days except instead, I am dressed up and in meetings all day. I’m supposed to be listening and giving pitches but all I can do is sit, stare at the wall, and mumble some assertions.

Everything just seems to be falling apart piece by piece. My grades are dropping and so is my attitude. All I can do is just keep breathing, going through the motions, and just keep my fingers crossed I can make it through each hour. I’ve tried laughing, crying, shouting, eating, and currently on the verge of drinking. However, I haven’t had a drink in over a month and trying to keep that up. I don’t need alcohol to run my life. I am stronger than that.

But am I?

Last night I was picking out my outfit for the day and nothing would fit. Ladies and gentlemen, this girl has grown an ass in the last few months. And my first thoughts? They weren’t try on different clothes, they weren’t eat healthier, they weren’t go to the gym. No, they were “It would be so easy to just go throw up right now.” I was appalled by my reaction. I thought I was done with that but apparently deep down, I just want to keep taking the easy way out. Even though I’ve basically destroyed my body with the side effects of bulimia.

My job is becoming more and more pointless. My department keeps getting smaller and smaller with fewer and fewer responsibilities. My programming is disappearing. They’ve hired someone to micromanage the employees. One of my partners just quit today. I’m starting to think I might need to be the next one to jump ship. But then what would I do? I would have no income, no connections, and what kind of worker does that make me look like? Life is hard people. Life is so freaking hard and I feel like I”m drowning.

25+ apps to make your everyday life easier

I need to download basically all of these.

TED Blog

Favorite_appsAt our small, fast-moving nonprofit company, everyone does a couple of jobs — and productivity apps help us manage roles that shift between coding, writing/designing and running a full-scale conference twice a year. We asked the TED staff what apps they can’t live without. And beyond the classics—Instagram, Google Maps, Spotify, Uber, Seamless—we found some great apps that might help you too. (A star denotes that the app is free, or at least has a free version.)

 

For random life stuff…

Dark Sky
A weather app with startling accuracy, its interface tells you things like: “Light rain starting in 22 minutes.” It also shows you beautiful weather maps that let you play local-news weather expert. “It’s like a wizard,” says our CTO, Gavin Hall. “If this app were available in the 1600s, it would have been burned at the stake for witchcraft.”

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