just 10 things

  1. WOODSON, TEXAS: I’m from this town of 296, where my dad is the superintendent of the one school, which my brother and I started going to in kindergarten; we both graduated from WHS – and I only had seven people in my class. My mom was my sixth grade teacher and still teaches there – and I teach there now, too. No, we didn’t ride horses to school (I don’t even own a pair of boots.), but yes, I love this safe and comfortable home.
  2. WRITING: I remember asking my parents to buy me a tablet to write stories in when I was so young that some of my peers couldn’t even write complete sentences yet. English was always my favorite class in school, and I created my school’s newspaper and started contributing to my county’s weekly paper. I went on to major in journalism and write for publications like Austin Home, New York Resident and Us Weekly and cover events such as SXSW and New York Fashion Week. See where I’m currently writing via my online portfolio!
  3. AUSTIN, TEXAS: I attended the University of Texas at Austin and can still hardly believe I graduated from such an esteemed school. Though I’m away from ATX right now, I’ll be back, because I love it all: Alamo Drafthouse, Cathedral of Junk, Spiderhouse, Greenbelt, The Domain, Kerby Lane, Toy Joy, SoCo, the Veloway – See a complete list of my faves here😉
  4. MOVIES: I’ve always said my favorites are “A Walk to Remember the Titans”, combining two that I love. My family and I loveee going to the theater (mainly for popcorn and previews, amiright?), and if a movie can freak me out (in a scary or mind-blowing way (like “Predestination”…WaTcH!), I love it even more.
  5. FASHION: I always joked that when I die, I want to be cremated and spread around a mall, because I can’t get enough of new trends, window displays, glossy magazines, fashion blogs, “Project Runway”, fashion boards on Pinterest and buying new accessories/outfits!
  6. TRAVEL: I am used to making 28-hour drives to different states and have visited over half of them – and maybe a third of the baseball parks in the U.S. The only places I’ve visited internationally are Cologne, Germany, and Playa del Carmen, Mexico (loved both…can’t wait to see morrre).
  7. CATS: I’ve probably owned about 75 cats, but right now, my husband and I are happily raising Catalina Crookshanks. I’ve also adopted a polar bear, and penguins = mine and Tommy’s spirit animals. Fourth fave animal = unicorn;)
  8. GLITTER: Everything is better with glitter (just look at this blog title and/or ask Ke$ha;)
  9. LOVE: I really really really do try to show love to all – why wouldn’t you? We’re all stuck on this rock together, so be nice/spread peace! Thankfully, it’s super easy to love my loved, because gawww, they’re amazing…like tooooo good to me.
  10. LIFE: Speaking of being on this rock together, remember that it’s all about balance and perspective and blooming where you’re planted and being the best you can be and breathing and finding your passion/sharing it with others and being you and laughing until you cry!
    • Balance: You will have amazing moments of triumph and happiness, as well as horrible moments of stress and sadness. Through it all, you can eat chocolate when you’re sad and happy and dream about the future while still making the most of the present. Everything in moderation, with your head on straight.
    • Perspective: When those sad moments occur, try try try to find the silver lining. Know that everyone deals with loss. And when you’re overjoyed, know that there’s a time for everything, and even good things must come to an end. ALSO, I say these mantras over and over, but I just decided to change this one to “bird’s-eye view”, so that they all start with “B”!
    • Bloom Where You’re Planted: How many times have I blogged about this? My high school English teacher drilled this into my brain, and now, I have it hung in my house and sneak it into my English lessons. You are where you are. Will you always be there? Probably not – since we’re always in a state of motion, with moves and career changes and marriage and etc. So wherever you are and wherever you end up, do your best in that very place.
      • ALSO, I’ve written a good deal about this state of motion: I used to say that life was all about waiting – We wait in lines and drive-thrus. We wait for our alarms to go off, our coffee to brew…for work to start and then be over…then wait until it’s time for dinner, bed and it all to start again.
      • Recently, however, I’ve been thinking that it’s all about change, too; my bff and I feel like we’re always…well…waiting for the next big thing! As we wait and move forward, we encounter these big life events, such as graduating college, finding a full-time gig, getting married, buying a house and having kids. I guess it isss exciting that there’s always something to look forward to…It just seems like the in-between (the “upside-down” I – and other “Stranger Things” fans – may call it) time is just…there – and this time of limbo just flies by!
      • So enjoy those little moments that do make you laugh until you cry, which can be filled with things as simple as going for a walk, stretching as you get out of bed, cuddling with your cat and this.
    • Be The  Best You Can Be: The Woodson ISD motto is a good one, and it’s simple (So why do we complicate things?): Be the best human you can be. Do your very best at every single thing you do. Period. Yay.

P.S. – Happy six-year dating anniversary to my husband, Thomas Wayne Baze. ❤

End-of-the-Year Inspo

As a journalist – and, furthermore, as a journalist who would rather report on DIY trends and celebrity outfits rather than hard-hitting headlines – I’m fascinated by BuzzFeed. As a 20-something who needs something to do while Netflixing, I’m drawn in by the quizzes, click-bait titles and endless posts on relevant topics…but on a larger level, I just love what the site offers: real news stories (Only one of my journalism students says she keeps up with what’s happening in the world regularly, and she does this through BuzzFeed.)…entertainment galore (Anyone from anywhere at any age can find something they’ll enjoy here!)…and the added bonuses (Through movie quizzes, I’m introduced to new things to add to my must-watch list. Through lists of products, I come up with amazing Christmas gift ideas. And through posts like the following, I’m inspired…:)

"Life doesn't happen to you, it happens for you."

Who: Jim Carrey

What: Commencement speech at Maharishi University of Management

When: 2014

Why this speech was so inspirational: “And when I say, ‘Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you’, I really don’t know if that’s true. I’m just making a conscious choice to perceive challenges as something beneficial so that I can deal with them in the most productive way.”

How to apply this to life: The funny man is right; we don’t know the meaning of life or the purpose of living, but we’re in control of our thoughts and actions and lives, so actively view things positively, always strive to overcome, and remember that everyone is fighting a battle, & how we handle these challenges speaks volumes.

"This is water."

Who: David Foster Wallace

What: Commencement address at Kenyon College

When: 2005

Why this speech was so inspirational: A speech, book and YouTube video help listeners/readers/viewers understand that the ability of an old, wise fish to be aware of the water in which he swims is a metaphor for the conscious, self-aware, mindful existence Wallace is trying to encourage.

How to apply this to life: I’ve been obsessed with this for years, after stumbling upon the video, because awareness is key. Even if you don’t consider yourself “mindful”, and even if you don’t have a husband who made you read Nietzsche, you should always be thinking about who you are, where you are, what you should be doing, how you are doing and so on. These random check-ins will change your life (and I have a pretty little presentation I just made for my students on this, if you want me to send you a copy:).

"Just be Stevie Nicks."

Who: Tavi Gevinson

What: TED Talk – “A Teen Just Trying to Figure It Out

Why this talk was so inspirational: The talk is about what it means to be a feminist, a teenage girl, and the complex struggle of being both at the same time.

How to apply this to life: Again, even if you’re not a feminist or a teen or a female OR a Fleetwood Mac fan…Go research the chick, rent a hippie van, try on some fringe, and just go with it for a bit ;p

"It's okay that we're not perfect."

Who: Marina Abramović

What: TED Talk – “An Art Made of Trust, Vulnerability and Connection

When: 2015

Why this talk was so inspirational: This artist speaks a lot about her work and the public’s perception of her after experiencing it. This is just one stand-out quote that everyone needs to hear: “It’s okay that we’re not perfect. It’s okay that we all have problems. It’s okay to cry, to show emotions”.

How to apply this to life: Cry! Love yourself! Fully, 100 percent accept that no one is perfect. How boring would it be if we were all picture-perfect little robots?! It’s good to want a healthy dose of perfection and goodness, but be gentle with yourself, okay?

"I am. I am. I am."
Who: Sylvia Plath

What: The Bell Jar

Why this book was so inspirational: We know this read is a bit dark, but…“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart; I am, I am, I am.”

How to apply this to life: As mentioned, be you. Check in on you. Love you. Listen to you. Breathe. Smile. BE. LIVE.

"When you're ready to wake up, you're going to wake up."
Who: Alan Watts

What: The Real You

When: 1915 

Why this quote was so inspirational: He was a philosopher for a reason, with his inspiration to stop feeling sorry for yourself and make some kind of change.

How to apply this to life: …Stop feeling sorry for yourself and make some kind of change!

"Everything is amazing right now and nobody is happy."
Who: Louis CK

What: low-key rant on Conan

Why this rant was so inspirational: If you really listen to it, it should give you a different perspective on a few things, including your desire to whine about long flights.

How to apply this to life: Life. Is. Amazing. Yes, bad things happen. Sure, there will be days when everything goes wrong. And – unfortunately – there will be moments when you’d rather sit in traffic for eternity rather than deal with loss, sadness and pain. It’s all about balance and perspective, though. Will the sun still come out tomorrow? Do you still have all your memories and talents and goals? Are you blooming where you are planted?

The Upside Down

I feel like recently and regularly, my blog posts are combinations of all my recent thoughts/Instagram posts; I’m a very introspective person, and when I don’t have money for a therapist or time for yoga, I get my feelings out through inspirational social media images…and then recap all of that here.

My initial reaction for starting this particular post would be to lead with this: It’s been a weird year, to say the least.

…but – on the other hand – I could ask, “Has it?”

I mean…what makes something “weird”, especially a time in life? Sure, moving and starting a new career and and getting married and all that jazz have been out of the ordinary, compared to my past few years, but moving in general and teaching students period…Not so strange. These things happen every single day.

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So, this leads me to think that it’s just me; I’m weird for thinking it’s weird (getting a little meta, I know). I’m probably overthinking and overreacting and should just go with the flow.

BUT…

(bear with me)

What even isss going with the flow? We’re all here, to live life, on this rock, and we get to choose how/where/with whom we spend that time. And I like to think I soak it all in as much as possible…but I’d also love to say I’m a carefree person…yet I schedule and freak out and plan out possible and impossible scenarios – just in case.

I feel like I should segue now into what my high school English teacher used to tell me: Whatever you’re going through is real, for you, right now. Freaking out about a high school boyfriend or a new job or a bad day may seem selfish, since there are actual problems in the world…but those bigger, worse problems don’t necessarily affect us daily…while at-home, real-life situations do…which is why freaking out makes sense (to an extent).

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Ugh, okay, done – How exhausting!

Let’s move on………

Here are current things I’m stressing/worrying about and why I should/shouldn’t (feel free to offer up any advice at any point;)…

#1: I’m tired.

#2: I don’t get to write enough.

#3: This is reminding me of a previous/similar blog, where I had to remind people that I’m not just being a whiny baby.

#4: I’m not the best teacher in the world.

#5: I’m not the best wife in the world.

#6: I’m a teacher and a wife (wutttt).

#7: I care far too much about what others think of me.

#8: I constantly struggle with kismet, and if I should just make bigger decisions and move again, because I’m not sure if I should live here or in Austin or in New York or beyond.

#9: When I’m not sure what to do with my time, I automatically think, “It’s time for a new IG post/blog!” … though only, like, four people will read this … though, that’s okay, since it makes ME feel better … ???

#10: I think I care too much about “ME” (yet I struggle with self-love…but we all do, to a certain point…Right?!).

I think, inside of us all, there’s a hippie, a free spirit who would love to get carried away by the wind and the music in his/her head and just live life – traveling and exploring and reading and looking at the stars and learning new things.

In reality, though, there are bills and responsibilities. We get tied down by commitments and relationships and fear – which is good and bad.

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It seems like many of my posts trail in to the whole “life is short, so live it well” thing…and it’s true…but I’m too tired to write on that. I’m too confused to discuss the make money vs. be happy debate. And I’m too inexperienced to blab on about why we’re here and what we should be doing.

All I know is this: I’m in control of my life. I make my own decisions. If the majority of me wants to work hard at a job that helps to pay the bills and helps to feed my online shopping obsession, then that’s what I’ll do. If part of me needs to escape now and then, and just talk with friends around a fire or roadtrip to the beach or hide in a fort with my best friend, then I’ll do that, too.

I’m one person, trying her best to be happy and to make others happy. Sure, I fail, and at times, I upset people and get super stressed and get into fights and freak out. But then I breathe, refocus, get up, dust myself off, and keep on trucking…because I have/need/want to do so.

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So I write to remind myself to be the best I can be: the best wife and teacher and friend and daughter and work-outer and sister and employee and customer and blogger and human…because…why not?

P.S. – Have you watched “Stranger Things” yet? You should! I stole my title from there, since “the upside down” is this alternate reality…kind of like the one in my head; when I get into those funks of “what is life” and “am I doing enough” and “stop being so whiny…but care a little more, too”, I’ve decided to refer to that as The Upside Down – a place where I may think too much but where I always come out better and more driven…so visit it, if you dare or if only to realize that you should love you!

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Tap Your Heels Together

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Every time I visit home (which I’m about to do again, for Homecoming2014), I’m filled with every emotion imaginable, as my head races down memory lane, while still caught up in the goodness of my current state.

As animals, we have anchors tied to certain places, so whether home to you is where you live now, where you grew up, your best friend’s house, a tree house or your office cubicle, it’s still that place where your heart rests and where heart swells.

Of course, I believe my home(s) are the best, filled with my loved ones, my hand-picked decor, my comfort and my memories.

To paint a picture of where I’m coming from, imagine living in a fun and active city, where hiking trails, unique bars/restaurants and exuberant festivals fill my time and space. When I need to escape, though, I head back to my hometown, where less than 300 people reside, surrounded only by blue skies and open fields – not skyscrapers, traffic lights or honking cabs/buses.

That alone sounds nice, right? It’s awesome that I get to enjoy the best of both worlds (like Sex & the City and Andy Griffith), but it goes so much deeper…

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My story began in Woodson, Texas, meaning that even though I’ve gone on to attend UT and cover NYFW and even though my K-12 years are short compared to the rest of my life, with kids and careers, it shaped me.

The most people I ever sat in a classroom with – 13 – yet I went on to sit with 250 kids in my first college class.

The shortest distance I had to travel just to buy milk and eggs – 20 miles – yet I went on trips to Boston, LA, Orlando and Germany.

The amount of people I had to choose from in the boyfriend/best friend arenas – not many – yet I’m still friends with people I met when I was one and keep up with all of my exes, since I’ve known them about that long, too!

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I love that I live in Austin now and am using my journalism degree and adopted a cat and can walk/bike to parks, grocery stores, malls and food trucks. And I love having people over to my apartment I work hard for, to create new memories with friends and laughter and family and love.

When I scan my brain for times full of those four things, I do think of Woodson, too…driving the drag with friends – even though we didn’t have licenses yet – with the music blaring and the windows down…playing games and watching home videos with my family in the living room where first words were spoken and first steps were taken…

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The moral of this story is that life is kind of cool, and I’m SO thankful for every moment, basketball game, tear, kiss, vacation (thank YOU:)…This is all short and doesn’t matter in the big picture, oddly/sadly/truthfully, but in our own little worlds, it’s fun to see where we came from, where we’re going and where we call HOM<3.

 

 

 

Seven Little & Light Life Lessons

If you’re looking for tips on how to find The One, career advice or details on the latest diet craze, you’re out of luck, because these little life hacks are fluffier things I have come to realize.

  1. Be adventurous: I’ve never had caviar or done stand-up paddle boarding, so I’m going to do those things in the upcoming months, because I can and should! What are some adventures on your bucket list?
  2. You should move regularly: Yes, I transfer to new apartments frequently, because I get bored, but what I really mean here is that physical activity is one of the most important things. I never realized how valuable a built-in athletic period was in my life, and now, it can be a struggle, but even if you’re just stretching two or three times a week (but I’d prefer you do more;), your body will thank you.
  3. Know your passions: We have one short life, and we should fill it with people, careers and hobbies that please us. So indulge in that one Netflix show, go back to school to fulfill your dream and get all wrapped up in things that make you happy AND can pay the bills.
  4. Know your weaknesses: First off, you should know this just so you’ll be prepared in interviews, but more importantly, it’s good to keep personal perspective, to know what makes you human, where to ask for help and how to build yourself up.
  5. Have patience: All of life is waiting – in line for groceries, for your alarm to go off, to find an SO, for your favorite month/holiday/day of the week – so learn to deal with all of this, as well as the rest of the odd/not-always-perf curveballs of life.
  6. Love yourself: You’re going to have a bad time if you’re always upset at/disgusted with why-oh-you. Sure, you may wish your bottom teeth were straighter or that you had a Kardashian booty or that your could paint like Picasso, but you’re you, and that.is.awesome.
  7. Cherish your loved ones: If you are having trouble with any of the above, at least you have at least one person who gets you and cheers you up…so tell me about those lovely people, because I love to brag about mine!
This covers numbers one and seven, and we can talk about these lovely people, too;)

This covers numbers one and seven, and we can talk about these lovely people, too;)

A long piece of #inspiration and #motivation to help you #live #life

~by the lovely and wise Catherine Schwenkler~

here’s to the dreamers

and to the twenty-somethings

who set out into the world

to use their skills and passion

who lie awake o’ nights

so much to do — where to start?

here’s to feeling overwhelmed,

because they care

getting up every morning

and doing it all over again

trying things out and trying again

here’s to being open to possibilities

here’s to thinking outside the box

here’s to tossing OUT the box.

here’s to living authentically

happily

messily, with lots of twists

arriving in places that aren’t even in the realm of our imagination right now

let’s be idealistic thirty – forty fifty- and ninety- somethings together!

forealz.

forealz.

The piece below was written by Marina Keegan ’12 

The best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us, and they are set for repetition as we grow up and move to New York and away from New York and wish we did or didn’t live in New York. I plan on having parties when I’m 30. I plan on having fun when I’m old. Any notion of THE BEST years comes from clichéd “should haves…” “if I’d…” “wish I’d…”

We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There’s this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious as we lay alone after a party, or pack up our books when we give in and go out – that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it’s too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement.

What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.

We’re in this together. Let’s make something happen to this world.

...wherever I may be...

…wherever I may be…

In 1997, Glamour magazine published a story titled “30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.” The list, written by Pamela Redmond Satran, was so popular that women started emailing it around, misattributing it to various female luminaries including Maya Angelou and Hillary Clinton. Noting what a phenomenon it had become, the editors of Glamour created a book around it, featuring essays from (mostly) famous women on each of the items on the list. The book, released today, includes meditations from Katie Couric on work and love, Portia de Rossi on accepting your body, and one from the list’s original author, who is also a Huffington Post blogger, on how to live alone.

By 30, you should have …

1. One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come.

2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.

3. Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.

4. A purse, a suitcase, and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.

5. A youth you’re content to move beyond.

6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.

7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age — and some money set aside to help fund it.

8. An email address, a voice mailbox, and a bank account — all of which nobody has access to but you.

9. A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded.

10. One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.

11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra.

12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.

13. The belief that you deserve it.

14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.

15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship, and all those other facets of life that do get better.

(so far, so good!!!)
By 30, you should know …

1. How to fall in love without losing yourself.

2. How you feel about having kids.

3. How to quit a job, break up with a man, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.

4. When to try harder and when to walk away.

5. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.

6. The names of the secretary of state, your great-grandmothers, and the best tailor in town.

7. How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.

8. Where to go — be it your best friend’s kitchen table or a yoga mat — when your soul needs soothing.

9. That you can’t change the length of your legs, the width of your hips, or the nature of your parents.

10. That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over.

11. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.

12. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs, or not flossing for very long.

13. Who you can trust, who you can’t, and why you shouldn’t take it personally.

14. Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.

15. Why they say life begins at 30

(know I should at least work on #9, ha)

ExACTLY

ExACTLY

And finally, a great Thought Catalog piece.

I know I talk crap on being a twentysomething but I’m only half-kidding. In actuality, there’s no age I’d rather be. (Besides maybe seven years old because they don’t do anything besides eat ice cream and poop themselves. That sounds like an ideal life to be completely honest.)

Being in your twenties is all about discovering which things hurt you and what makes you feel good. You go in blindly, practically pricking yourself with a dull blade, and then you walk out with tougher skin. One day you’ll stop pricking yourself altogether. Maybe. I don’t know. How would I? I’m just a twentysomething, remember?

This is what your twenties are for — to feel and see as much as you can, to take advantage of not being tied down to anything and anyone and to go balls to the wall with everything that you do. You’re a raw nerve. You hate getting upset over little things, about being constantly unraveled by ignored text messages, parents, grades, and friends, but you have to remember something: you don’t know yourself entirely yet. Before the age of 20, you were mostly under your parents care, a reflection of what was going on around you. You didn’t have the option to make your own choices. You were merely living the life someone set out for you.  Being in your twenties allows you to start carving out the life you want for yourself. Everything is on your terms now which seems daunting but is actually liberating. For the first time in your life you’re the boss.

It’s important to talk about why your twenties are great because it seems like we spend so much of our time wanting to be somewhere else other than where we are. Think about it. Why the hell are we in such a hurry to live some boring grown up adult life that we saw at a Crate & Barrel? Because once we do get there, we’re stuck for a long time. The novelty’s going to wear off, we’re going to get married and have babies, and everything will be amazing but don’t think for a second that you won’t be nostalgic for this time. Don’t think for a second that you’re not going to miss those nights you spent putting on your make up, changing five million times, drinking wine, smoking cigarettes out your apartment window, and going to some silly party, a party that feels like all the others you’ve been to but still has the right to feel special. You will miss all of this. This is a luxury. It’s going to leave us eventually so you better freaking enjoy it. You better enjoy every lame ass party, every awkward kiss, every 5 AM hangover, every drug experience, every crappy apartment, because one day it will all be gone and you’ll just be left with the pictures and the bruises and nothing else. Youth is fu**ing magic. Don’t you get it? Look at your skin! Touch it. Look at your smooth legs and stomach. Grab it. When you’re older, you’ll want all of this again so bad. You’ll possibly spend so much money to get some semblance of it back. Now it’s yours for free.

We’re not stuck. Even if it feels like we are, it’s not true. We’re the opposite of stuck. As twentysomethings, we’re constantly moving — apartments, relationship, cities, jobs. Anything is possible. People are ready for you. They want to hear what you have to say. They look at you and are curious about what words are going to come out of your mouth. You’re the new generation. What do you have to say? Don’t bite your tongue. One day you’ll be pushed aside for a younger “fresher” perspective so you better get it out now. Make a mark. Make a stain. Make something.

I want to remember the fear, I want to remember the promise, I want to remember the nights I wanted to curl up in a ball, I want to remember the people I’m not supposed to remember, I want to remember not knowing myself, I want to remember the moment I started to feel safe and like this life I’m leading is really mine. I’m going to be scared, I’m going to bruise my knees and not know how they got there, I’m going to try to fruitlessly forge a connection with someone who won’t ever get it, I’m going to lose the person that means the most to me and find my way back to them. I’m going to be a twentysomething because that’s what I am and all I know how to be.  And you should too. You should love every single moment of this hot mess of a decade. Chances are you’ll miss it before you even get to say “I’m 30.”