Over You

I had a long drive ahead of me to Beverly Hills. I hate listening to the radio on long drives but I also had to delete all of my applications so I could have enough space for Pokemon Go. That meant without Pandora I had to default to good old Youtube. I searched a few songs I was liking at the moment when suddenly in the “Suggested For You” sidebar a song I hadn’t listened to or thought of in years popped up.

Not a big deal, right? NO. It was a big deal because it was a BUS (Break Up Song). BUS definition: A song or set of lyrics that help you cope during the end of a relationship.

I clicked it, knowingly, and suddenly my car became a time machine filled with clouds and memories that I had long forgotten. ALL the feels came back. I felt the heavy sadness that outlined my life from “that time”. And it was kind of neat. It was neat in the sense that I knew I was listening to this song and feeling these things but not from being in it but apart from it and simply observing it.

In the fog of sad memories and feelings of self-pity there was a mightier and small but fierce cry within that was triumphant. Almost like that voice was saying “I knew you could do it. You’ve come so far. This no longer affects you. You can be grateful for every experience.” So with a renewed sense of empowerment, I started thinking of all the other BUS Songs and I couldn’t stop. I had a BUS party by myself for the whole rest of the ride.

And as I enjoyed the BUS songs from my past, I realized a few things…

I wrote about each period of life having its own magic. I believe break ups are no exception. In fact, I think the magic is even stronger during a break up. Here’s why.

When you’re broken up you’re suddenly faced with the reality of who you are. You get to make up the rules. You’re presented with an opportunity to recreate your life without someone to guide/shape/influence your decisions. You’re suddenly back at the wheel and you decide which course you take. If that’s not empowering AF I don’t know what else to say.

Once the significant other is gone you quickly realize the importance of friendship, mentorship, family. It’s true, with break ups you lose a significant support system and best friend. But when that’s taken away, your eyes become open to the people around you who have always and will always love you and support you. You can and will start to begin investing in meaningful relationships that aren’t romantic but will help you in different areas of your life. You also realize how awesome your BFFs are… I remember my first break up. My friends brought me Coldstone’s and we sat in the backyard and mourned. At that time the big BUS song was “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie. And “A Little Too Late” by JoJo. And also “Tattoo” by Jordin Sparks. I’m telling you, once I start I can’t stop =]

And if you need a little extra encouragement (other than from your BFFS) ask people who have gone through it before! You might gain an amazing mentor or friend by just asking for their story. Break ups, although sucky, can ironically help you connect with others.

If all else fails, turn to the songs. Artists have a way of pulling at your feelings in the most perfect way. Throw yourselves in the songs and get lost. It’s okay because you know you’ll be okay in a little bit of time and someday you’ll be able to hear these songs and just remember but not be pulled back in emotionally.

The thing is, there’s no cure for break ups. No magical thing you can drink to forget or not feel the pain. But what I want to leave you with is that you will get to that point. For me, hearing the BUS – “Over You” by Ingrid Michaelson – a few years later and on my way to Beverly Hills, I was finally at that point. And it was glorious. You’ll get there too. Just keep becoming more you, keep creating meaningful relationships and stories for your life and you will be just fine. Allow yourself to be sad. Enjoy the sadness because it will pass. William Shakespeare said so. “This too shall pass.”

Always rooting for you!

Andi

 

 

Solo Trips

I just got back from Seattle late last night.  My dad picked me up from the Airport and so kindly asked me if I wanted In N Out as my first meal back from Seattle. So cute!! But the truth was, I didn’t need a burger because I had just eaten a Zippy’s Giant Burger right before zipping to the Seattle Tacoma Airport in my giant pick up truck.  I was able to do that because I was traveling solo and at that moment I wanted a big, giant, juicy burger.  And when you travel solo, you do what you want.  Also, burgers are my passion and first love.

So that brings me to the topic of solo travel.  It’s a highly discussed, sometimes even commonly debated subject.  When really all it is is preference.  I’ll just share my experience of being sleepless, single, and solo in Seattle.

To be honest, I wasn’t alone for the first half.  I went with my mom. We spent some great mother daughter time shopping and catching up with friends and family we had in that area. But then, she up and left me to go to New York and meet her college friends. That started my solo-dolo time.  If you look at my Facebook pictures I look like the happiest camper but in actuality moments before I was about to be “alone” I was guilt tripping my mom the entire way to drop her off at the “LINK” or subway that went directly to the airport.  I claimed that she was abandoning me all alone in a big city and that I didn’t know where to eat dinner that night and that bad things could happen to me.

The next day I woke up early, went downstairs to work out and while I was on the treadmill I was watching The Morning Show and Anna Kendrick was on there.  They were reading her tweets aloud and one of them said “Oh God. I just realized I’m stuck with me my whole life.” It was like a lightbulb went off in my head.  That was exactly what I had decided to allocate this alone time to doing…recognizing the fact that I was stuck with ME my whole life and to get used to and start to like being with me.

 

Excited and with a new gusto of eagerness to implement self-love, I set out into the world of Seattle with my headphones on.  I took a bus up to Capitol Hill which is the cutest little part of town filled with thrift stores and coffee shops.  It also smells faintly of marijuana and sunscreen. After browsing for a while I decided to rent a bicycle for an hour.  What I didn’t realize at the time was that I rented a bicycle at a place called Capitol HILL.  It was very hilly. I was extremely out of shape.  They also make you wear these bright green helmets and I just looked like such an alone, sad, out of breath tourist who was sweaty and lost.  After about 15 minutes I was desperately searching for the closest station to drop off the bike.

From there I took the LINK to Georgetown to meet a mentor and friend who had just moved out there to take on a new corporate job.  We had lunch and laughed over ginger beers.  From there I went to the Pike Place Fish Market and bought smoked salmon for my dad.  I then proceeded to run towards the pier to catch a 5:30pm ferry to Bainbridge Island.  I made it on at 5:25pm and sat with commuters who were coming home from work in Seattle.  One of them was so kind enough to drop me off at the main street where I walked and popped into a few stores just as they were closing.  It started to get more and more chilly.  Bainbridge Island is a small, quaint little island with a population of less than $25,0o0.  Also, fun fact Snoop Dogg will be performing there April 18th if you wanted to go.  I walked along a small pathway along the harbor and passed a few places that were all flipping the Open sign to Closed.  Just as I contemplated heading back to the ferry I stumbled upon a very alive, happening spot.  I opened the door and headed to the bar and squeezed between an older couple and two ladies.  After ordering a Springtini and a few raw oysters, a girl asked me if the seat next to me was taken.  We hit it off! She was traveling alone as well from North Carolina.  We talked about Southeast Asia as she’ll be taking a solo trip there in the summer and I had done the same thing about two years ago.  It was so nice and couldn’t have been planned that we met there and talked and talked about travel.

I politely excused myself and left after a while because I wanted to make the 8:55pm ferry and she wasn’t sure how long she was going to stay.  I walked fast back to the ferry because it was FREEZING.  The ride back was gorgeous and Seattle’s skyline all lit up was a sight to see.  I met up again with the girl I had met at Harbour Public House, lovingly referred to as the Harbour Pub, and we split an Uber back to each of our prospective hotels.

The next day was my last day in Washington and I wanted to make it count.  I booked a car at Enterprise.  Unfortunately, if I wanted to drop off the car at the airport it would be an additional $100.  But when I went in I asked again if there was any way.  The manager overheard and said, well if you take one of these pick up trucks you can do it and we’ll waive the fee.  I was floored! It has always been my dream to drive a pick up truck so I shook my head eagerly.  They asked me if I wanted black or gray, I said black duh.  When they handed me the keys and “Riptide” by Vance Joy was playing on the stereo I was SO excited.  I packed in my luggage, got behind the wheel and went on the road for about 60-70 miles North on the 5.  It was super easy to get to Skagit Valley from where I was and it was the best feeling.  The tulip fields were crowded with humans and selfie sticks.  I was quite honestly disappointed with the whole thing but the sights themselves redeemed my annoyance.  Although it wasn’t the calm, peaceful, and serene experience I had imagined it was still the most breathtaking and stunningly beautiful sight.  After meandering around rows and rows of tulips I jumped back in the pick up truck and headed to the airport.  Something about having 50+ miles to go really helps to clear your mind.

Which brings me to being picked up by my dad and offered In N Out.  I know that was a really long winded story but the thing is traveling alone is what you make it.  Some people love it, swear by it, and will do it for the rest of their lives.  I’m actually not one of those people.  I love to do it and I love that I put myself out there to try it, but I’ll be the first to admit that it can be challenging, awkward, and lonely at the same time.  Traveling alone CAN mean riding a bicycle up hill in a green helmet, tripping in your brand new Birkenstocks every 30 seconds, and asking Chinese couples to take your picture in front of flowers.  However, traveling alone is something I will cherish for a long, long time as well.  The goal of learning and loving to be with myself, for the rest of my life, was also accomplished.  Rihanna once said “The minute you learn to love yourself, you will not want to be anyone else.”  That was another lightbulb, I learned to love myself and I stopped wanting to be anyone else.

 

 

 

 

Your Voice is Powerful

Today was another one of those amazing Sundays.

I went to Boomers with some of my favorite kids, we got soaked in the boat ride, we dried off by going go kart racing several times, we spun around and around on dizzying rides. I laughed and screamed, ate overpriced pizza and drank a lemonade sprite.

On my way to the bathroom with the group, something caught my eye and I saw a group of three young boys, probably around the age of 11 or 12 on the driving games at the arcade.  They were horsing around and two of the kids were pushing one kid in particular.  I didn’t think much about it.  Moments later we were about to get in line for laser tag and I saw the same trio sitting on the couches and that one kid in particular was definitely being pushed around and the two boys on each side of him started to mess with his face, squeezing and poking as he sat solemn and silent.  I was infuriated with a rage I didn’t even know I had.  I backed up into the air hockey table observing with unspeakable anger boiling up.  Someone behind me shoved me off, they obviously were playing the game but I was too bothered to notice or look behind.  Their shove positioned me right in front of the boys.

“Does he want you to be touching him like that.” My tone was stone cold.  I surprised even myself.

The two boys quickly dropped their hands, turned a little red and kept repeating “I’m sorry.”

“I don’t think it’s right to treat people like that.”

At that point, one of the youngest girls we were with came up to me and asked me to go with her to the bathroom.  I went with her and as I walked away I never felt so empowered!

That was not easy for me.  Even if I notice something that’s wrong, I usually don’t say anything.  I’m one of the most self conscious people I know.  And usually so many things stop me from using my voice.  “Someone else more brave will deal with this.” “Maybe they are brothers and this is how they always act.” “What if they laugh at me.” This was one of the first moments in my life where I used my voice, despite the voices in my head, and it was the most empowering moment OF MY LIFE.  I wanted to live my life like this.  Not afraid to step into the awkward moments and say what’s on my mind.

Later, I saw them in the same line for laser tag no longer pushing each other but standing there and talking.  I saw the boy who had been pushed earlier several times this day. What struck me was I saw his eyes for the first time.  Earlier, his head was always down and eyes always glued to the floor.  This time, he made eye contact with me and had a hint of a smile on his face.

“There is nothing more genuine than breaking away from the chorus to learn the sound of your own voice.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Scarcity Mentality

I’m realizing more and more I write about the MOST vulnerable topics.

Today, I want to write about something I’ve been working through recently.  And by recently I definitely mean since I was 5 years old until last week.

When I was small, I met a girl who became my closest person.  She was everything that I wasn’t.  Which from a healthy standpoint, would be great.  Two friends who complement each other.  But from the scarcity mentality, it was not so great.  She was Type A, I was Type B.  She was an A student, I was a B student.  She was on the dance team, I was in band.  I know this sounds reminiscent of a Taylor Swift song but the point is I always, always compared myself with her.  Being an only child, she was basically my sister.  And I felt I always fell short.

The most vivid example I can give is our closets.  Her closet was COLOR coordinated at age 13! I remember enviously eyeing her gorgeous clothing and feeling super inadequate.  My closet didn’t even have clothes.  Not because I was poor, well that’s another story truthfully, but because I moved all my clothes out of it and put a sleeping bag, a lamp, and pillows in it.  Think Lane in Gilmore Girls meets Harry Potter pre-Hogwarts.  I transformed my closet into a mini room where I felt I could reflect and journal.  Which is kind of cool, actually.  I now believe that those are the things that make me different and who I am.  But back in the day, man, her closet was all I wanted in life!

Comparison has been the one crippling weakness that has worn me down over and over again.  In a conversation with a friend, I realized what we do when we compare. We compare, we glorify what the other person has, and then you end up condemning ourselves because we feel like we’ll never be that, never have that.

A lot of us, perhaps, live our lives feeling the lack of what we are not.  This is what I want to call The Scarcity Mentality.  The scarcity mentality, is a mindset in which you focus on your lack & inflate other people’s strengths to the point where you feel like you can’t measure up.  The scarcity mentality holds you back from living fully and applying your own personal strengths and gifts.

The scarcity mentality can also include feeling like there’s not enough to go around, like someone else’s success means your failure.  Or when someone else is highlighted you feel diminished.  I’m not proud to have felt this way, but I’ve felt this way for a long, long time.  I’m learning to break out of it and hoping that if this resonates for you it can help you too.

The truth is that we have ABUNDANCE if we would only realize it.  Abundance in so many ways and things and truths but we’ve become blind to the abundance because of our stubborn fixation on our lack.

Let’s talk for a moment about Christmas.  That is where my scarcity mentality kicks into full gear.  If I hear the word “potluck” one more time… I just can’t cook well! Potlucks are my worst nightmare.  Once, I contemplated on bringing just beer and candy to a Christmas party because I can’t even.  And then when other people cook well I’m just like well that will never be me because I can’t even cook toast properly at this point in my life.  Do you get what I’m saying? I’m exaggerating, by the way, I can cook toast.

Wrapping gifts? Same deal. And with the people who CAN wrap gifts, I’m just thinking like… “Them.  Those are the ones that are going to make it in life.”

Christmas Comparison, is a thing. And something to be mindful of…especially for those who are prone to the scarcity mentality.  Switch to the abundance mentality.  I’ve learned that the more you can feel confident in your strengths, the more you can appreciate and celebrate others freely without condemning yourself!

~Comparison is the thief of joy~

You Are Loved

Feeling loved.

Not because it’s my birthday.  Not because 83 people wished me happy birthday on Facebook.  Not because 65 people just liked my latest Instagram post, but to those of you who did…thank you, that did make me feel good. I am just feeling loved because for one of the first times I’m letting love in.

I’ve heard from some people that when they talk to me it’s like all of a sudden I’m not there.  I’ve heard before that all of a sudden it feels that I put up a wall and suddenly they are shut out.  I know exactly what they are talking about.  It’s almost an out of body thing where I know it’s happening but I can’t do anything about it.  Can’t keep the gates open long enough because the self-conscious or negative thoughts just come flooding in and social anxiety forces me to excuse myself as I withdraw to emerge later after a little alone time.

The idea that I am loved should not come to me as a surprise.  But for some reason, my whole life I feel like I’ve had this desire to SHOW that I am loved rather than to stop and accept it for what it is: I am so loved. It’s almost that the perception that I was loved was more important to me than just knowing.

Today’s breakthrough was loud and clear.  I am loved.  You are loved.  And it has nothing to do with me, it just is what it is.

My grandpa’s love was my favorite kind of love.  My being born made him a grandpa and he was thrilled just about ME.  That’s a fun kind of love to have for 25 years.  Starting from 13 years old, when my grandpa saw me with my full set of braces, pig tails, and harry potter glasses he said “Ah, it’s Miss California!”.  Talk about not only a completely false statement but also a complete confidence booster.  I was excellent, in my youth, at collecting Honorable Mentions.  I’ve gotten about 8 to 10 of them and my grandpa showed up at the ceremonies and cheered me on when my name was called.  Didn’t matter that the fact that I got honorable mention meant I simply showed up on the date the competition was held.

I lost my grandpa a few weeks ago.  I was able to reflect on the time we shared and just realized how much this one man loved me.  And at the end of the day, that is all that matters.  Don’t wait until the end, to realize how much someone loved you.  Don’t wait until a break up to realize how much that person loved you.  Don’t wait until the end of your life to realize you were so dang loved.  Don’t wait until becoming “perfect” to accept the love. That one is huge.  For me sometimes I fall in the trap of “WHENIME” WHEN I’M Skinnier, WHEN I’M 1st place and not honorable mention.  When I’M More Like Her.  When I’M More secure.  Please stop talking when you start doing “WHENIME”. There’s no such thing. You are Loved and fully worthy of being loved.  Let that love in!

 

You are loved.

You are loved.

You are loved.

Love,

Andi

 

 

Noticing

My dad woke up early today to take my car to get the oil changed.  Not a problem but then towards 12:30pm I was at work and started to realize I was really hungry but didn’t have my car because my dad had it.  He said he would come by and I could drive him to my mom and then come back to work.

I didn’t realize but as I walked out of work I was one: hangry, two: ashamed that my dad had to do errands for me (but he truly did it out of the kindness of his heart I didn’t demand that he do it) and three: in such a work mode I hated to be pulled from work at that moment.

As we drove all these feelings kept building and I was the rudest.  I was on my phone.  I didn’t listen to anything my dad was saying about how he got the best deal.  I was a brat and said things like “I didn’t ask you to do this!” As we got to the food place, my dad sensed my mood and said it’s fine I’ll pay for your food and then go wait for mom somewhere else.

I exclaimed, “No! You already did my oil change for me you cannot pay for me too I feel like I’m four years old!” and I was half laughing but also so serious.  And the thing is too, I never thought I was the kind of person who was the “I have to get back to the office” kind of person.  It scared me a little.  At Champagne French Bakery, I ordered but not how I usually order…I sort of barked at the person behind the counter and said “What’s vegetarian here?” And he told me everything with a leaf next to it is vegetarian.  I saw no leaves.  I chose something and sat down and scowled next to my dad.  I bought him a Diet Coke to make ME feel better.  My mom joined us and I continued to scowl.  In the span of 10 minutes I got up and checked on my food three times, glaring at the workers each time I went in.  In that exact one moment I knew that I was living a lesson.  If you haven’t seen About Time you absolutely must.  It is the best movie I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

Pretty much the movie and the quotes came rushing to me full force and I couldn’t help but smile inwardly even though outside I was this scowling high heeled no funny business baby adult lady.

Tim: And so he told me his secret formula for happiness. Part one of the two part plan was that I should just get on with ordinary life, living it day by day, like anyone else.

Tim: But then came part two of Dad’s plan. He told me to live every day again almost exactly the same. The first time with all the tensions and worries that stop us noticing how sweet the world can be, but the second time noticing. Okay, Dad. Let’s give it a go.

Tim: And in the end I think I’ve learned the final lesson from my travels in time; and I’ve even gone one step further than my father did: The truth is I now don’t travel back at all, not even for the day, I just try to live every day as if I’ve deliberately come back to this one day, to enjoy it, as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life.

I don’t know if you’ll fully understand this blog post without watching About Time.  But the point is, I…happiness seeker smiley quote-loving Andi… slip. I get in these foul moods where I’m a wrecking ball of anger and sadness.  It like seeps onto people and effects the atmosphere.  I focus on things like work and getting $ over cherishing time with people who love me.  I can be ungrateful, selfish, and unkind.  Just the absolute worst.  But the pivotal thing is to just realize.  Just realize that life comes with tension and uncomfortable moods and circumstances, and that’s the beauty of life.  You have to live it, but live it appreciating.  Appreciating every little thing.  Breathe.  Several times a day, just breathe.  Things aren’t as bad as they appear.  They never are as scary as you imagine.  Scary things will happen…

Tim: There’s a song by Baz Luhrmann called Sunscreen. He says worrying about the future is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life will always be things that never crossed your worried mind.

But I assure you, you have everything within you to face whatever life is throwing at you.  Breathe it out.  Live with all those little things.  Tim has an ability to live things twice.  And we only get to once.  But when you’re living, live the second time. “The first time with all the tensions and worries that stop us noticing how sweet the world can be, but the second time noticing.”

Afraid of Getting Close

If you were to ask me what I write about and why. It’s usually because thoughts strike me (typically while driving) that fascinate me and captivate me for the next few days that I have to write it down. A thought struck me recently, but I totally did NOT want to write about it.  I’ve been waiting for another topic to come by for the past 3 weeks so I could write about THAT. But it doesn’t work that way. I have to write about this before moving onto anything else so here it goes.

I’m so utterly afraid of being in a relationship.

Have you seen the movie Penelope? It’s a movie where a girl has a snout for a nose and her mom makes it a goal to have her get married but every single guy who sees her runs out the window in horror. Can you imagine living like that? Or experiencing that? Like at all? I’m deathly afraid of experiencing that.  That flat out rejection. The feeling like YOU are horrifying.

I have this, but its not outward its inward.  Or rather, its under.  Have you seen the movie Inside Out by Disney? That movie is so cute, like uber cute.  But I was thinking that for my life the little characters would be a little more serious.  In place of joy I would have like a grayish colored “Shame” character running the show in my mind.  Little memory orbs of shame have formed in my mind ever since I can remember.  As a single adult I deal with them by myself.  Which means that I store them out of sight and out of mind.  In neat little boxes underneath the bed, underneath the table.  I literally feel like when you are in a relationship its like inviting someone to your home and they immediately lift up the tablecloth and point “WHAT’S THAT?” Or…

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Horrifying.  But that’s the thing, I think that my fear of being in a relationship has been mistaken for fierce independence.  People will tell me that I’m independent all the time, which makes me beam inside, but I can’t help but wonder how well they know me.  If they looked deeper they might see that I’m literally just too afraid of getting close.  I’m so busy hiding and covering my shame that I don’t let anyone in.

I’m simply terrified. And for once, I have no “solutions” or words of advice! Just wanted a space to write it out just to see if anyone else related or if this could help just in the sense that you’re not alone.

JK LOL. So sorry if you haven’t watched the movie Penelope and you were planning to.  The key here is the same exact key that is in the movie Penelope.  There comes a point when she gets the opportunity to get rid of the snout and break the curse and this is the conversation between her and her mother

Penelope: But I don’t want a whole new me, mother!
Jessica Wilhern: Sweetheart please, please.
Penelope: I like myself the way I am!

You have to like who you are how you are.  Snout or no snout, little boxes of shame or HUGE boxes of shame.  My friend told me this the other day, “You have to love yourself first, because that’s going to attract the right person for you”.  If you haven’t gotten this part yet, coffee meets bagel isn’t going to help you. Liking yourself the way you are, with all of your insecurities and weird little tendencies comes before.

“To love is to be vulnerable” – C.S. Lewis

What’s Wrong With Me?

The other day my dad, in response to a question I asked him, said, “Oh, do you feel like you have to keep up with Kim?”

I was like, “Dad, you mean keeping up with the Kardashians?”

He said, “No, Jean Kim. Your best friend, you know she’s getting married.”

Jean, my beautiful 25 year old best friend is getting married in 2016! That is absolutely insane but in a good way.  I’m so happy for her! Her and her fiancee are the absolute couple, the details I’ll save for my MOH speech.  But the fact that my dad knew I was thinking about keeping up with the timing of my best friend & peers is what I want to touch upon.

I don’t know what the average age is of people are getting married now. I don’t know what the average length of people staying at their jobs is.  I don’t know if it’s better to follow passion or a paycheck.  It is all very personal and very unique to each individual pursuing their own version of happiness and satisfaction.  I do know though that is so easy to look around and see what everyone else is doing and it can cause us to sometimes operate from a place of “what’s wrong with me? (WWWM)”

It’s the adult form of peer pressure.  For example, if everyone around you is getting married, thoughts of “What’s wrong with me that I’m so single” come and then you start to ask your grandma if she knows any single boys in Southern California.  It could be anything, there are several triggers in daily life that you must be aware of.  I remember my commute to work one morning I was listening to Kevin & Bean on KROQ.  The topic was about living at home.  Kevin & Bean were not very nice about the people who shared that they were living at home.  They proudly boasted that they were making it out on their own in their twenties and that it was hard times but they made it.  I laughed and like that boy in the youtube video on his first day of school my laugh turned into a sob.

As someone who was living at home, I was slightly embarrassed.  I felt like they were talking about me and I was starting to get those WWWM thoughts.  But the truth is, nothing is wrong with me.  I wouldn’t trade these moments of living at home for a nice private studio on Laguna Beach.  My favorite part of my day is when I open the garage and see my yellow labrador run up to me and give me kisses and strut in circles around me.  I love watching Fresh Off the Boat on Tuesdays as a family. Just yesterday, I cried with laughter when my mom and I put on facial masks and scared my dad. But let me tell you, the day I put my car in park at work after listening to Kevin & Bean I was very close to having a stranger craigslist roommate the very same night.  Kevin and Bean do not know me, they were not talking about me, but their conversation affected me personally and I almost changed a big part of my life because of the minute and a half they had of my time.

The purpose of this post is to be mindful of all the things in this world that are inadvertently pointing at “what’s wrong with you” and to shut it down quick.  Nothing is wrong with you.  Paths look different.  Journeys are unique and not one size fits all.  You know who you are and what you love and what you’re about.  Don’t rush into marriage, don’t rush into signing a lease, don’t rush into anything because you think that’s what you SHOULD be doing.

One of my all time, most favorite things my dad has said to me EVER is this: “You don’t do something because other people think it’s the right thing to do. You do things because you think it’s the right thing to do.”

You are exactly where you need to be. And nothing, NOTHING is wrong with you.

how to know what is or isn’t working

“In order to know what is or isn’t working, you should conduct tests. Don’t assume!”
I was at a Fundraising training today when suddenly this slide popped up and for some reason I found it to be extremely profound on how to live my life right now.
Conduct tests! Don’t know if it will work? Try it! You’re young, why not now? If you’re like me, you know what it feels like to be paralyzed with fear that you don’t even make a decision.  Maybe great opportunities come up for you and you are so busy wondering if it’s “right” to take the opportunity that you miss it.  Or you focus so much on making “no wrong decisions”, which is great and important, but you cannot always make the right decisions.  As much as you try, you will make mistakes. We’re human and that’s how we’re wired. And if you didn’t make ANY mistakes in  your life it’ll eventually catch up to you, as highlighted in How I Met Your Mother.
Lily: Okay, yes, it’s a mistake. I know it’s a mistake. But there are certain things in life where you know it’s a mistake but you don’t really know it’s a mistake because the only way to really know it’s a mistake is to make the mistake, and look back, and say, “Yep. That was a mistake.” So, really, the bigger mistake would be to not make the mistake, because then you go your whole life not really knowing if something is a mistake or not. And, damn it, I’ve made no mistakes! I’ve done all of this– my life, my relationship, my career– mistake-free. Does any of this make sense to you?
Failure can be a great indicator of what is successful. I don’t get why we’re so afraid of failure.  Failure determines what works and what doesn’t work. In the fundraising training, they were explaining that a coworker suggested sending mail in a bigger, invitation style envelope instead of a standard, regular envelope.  They didn’t know if that would work so they tried. It ended up that the bigger, invitation style envelope failed miserably. Which is great! Because now they knew that the standard business envelope works.  Do the same thing with your life. Trial & Error your twenty somethings.
What really matters is that we make decisions.  And that we don’t just let life happen to us. My dear friend Tae told me this when I expressed that I feel so uncertain and so afraid of making the wrong choices with love, career, life.  She said “You know, you have to make the wrong decisions. Some of your decisions have to be wrong so you can learn from it.  Making a decision is more important than making a wrong decision.”
So remember what the powerpoint slide said: “In order to know what is or isn’t working, you should conduct tests. Don’t assume!”
Basically this is saying what every mother has told us when we were presented with something new and sort of strange for dinner. “You won’t know until you try it!”

Stop Performing

And by performing, we mean acting. Stop the Act.

Yesterday, I suddenly had the letters ‘id’ come to me and I wrote it out. ID… Identity. Did I know who I was? I think that I did. I knew who I was growing up.  I was that girl who wore the free t-shirt she got at Chinese School Summer Camp and because she had the best memories associated with that shirt she wore it everyday.  I was the girl who wore messy pigtails and had missing teeth.  I eventually got braces and glasses and I remember never being prouder to sport them.  I was the girl who spent not one moment on her appearances because frankly she could care less. There was adventure to be had.  She was loved, she had friends, food, and family what else was there to care about?

This was me at 10 loving life.

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I posted about the Power of 7 Years a little over a year ago.  In 7 years a lot can change.  I read once that in 7 years every cell of your body changes! I have noticed that in the course of my life every 7 years that pass I am a completely different individual.  7 years later after this photograph was taken I was 17 and getting ready for my first party EVER. Not like a birthday party either, like this was a high school party (you know what I mean??) This was a huge deal because I only dreamed of parties as a 11-16 year old.  Literally though, my friends (not to put you on blast, friends) would plot how we could talk to boys for hours without ever having any verbal communication unrelated to homework with one until we were 18.  While we had the whole world because we had each other, boys treated us as if we were invisible.  Which was honestly probably the best thing that happened to us.

Anyways, right before this party I was in front of my best friend’s parent’s master bedroom mirror with all this new makeup. While I had started wearing eyeliner when I was in 8th grade and I had my makeup done once for a bat mitzvah, I never had a full face before this moment.  I vividly remember doing my makeup however I felt like, and there were talented friends to copy and creativity was flowing. The final product was a very different looking girl.

What I didn’t know though was that this moment would cause the next 7 years to be completely dependent and addicted to ‘this look’. I felt trapped once I got to college.  I subconsciously made that decision that I really like my face with all this make up on… so I kept it on. All the time. While inside I was still the braces-wearing, smiling, free child on the outside I was this wanna be hot girl with not a clue how to keep up those appearances.  It sucked. It was not worth it.  If I’m honest with myself, this caused a lot of anxiety and self image problems. While awkward stages are a common thing, I must stress that the point when you’re coming out of it is a very critical time.  You want to make sure that you remain YOU and not turn into someone you don’t even recognize.  I’ve been seeing articles of “What Would You Tell Yourself as a Freshmen in College Again” and boy would I tell myself a few things.  First off, you don’t need to go impressing other people. What’s the most important piece of advice as you enter college and adulthood? Be 100% authentically true to yourself.  You’re perfect just the way you are.  The game of trying to be someone else is a very tiring act.

And as all these thoughts came flooding to my mind about identity and my personal crisis as an 18 year old, I thought to myself, “Okay. For 7 solid years I did battle with this external/internal struggle but hey this doesn’t have to be my future. I know what it’s like to be that free, smiling girl who is grounded and knows who she is.  I was that for 17 years of my life.  Here’s to the next 7 years of freedom and being myself again.  Here’s to the undoing of the 7 years of pretending to be someone I’m not.”