Far Better Things Ahead

(Originally posted January 12th, 2014)
I think there are far better things ahead, but I’m not sure if I agree that they’re all better than what we leave behind.
2014 is going to be an exciting year with so many new chances to take, memories to create, more dumb, youthful decisions I’m sure will be made. But, as I look back on 2013, it’s not with a heavy heart. 2013 was an extremely difficult year where my best was not anywhere near what ‘best’ should be but… I survived. I learned. I made decisions that changed my life, my ideas of the world, my philosophies on being a college student.
Last year I packed up everything I owned and left for the south, determined to not come back. I jumped in the Red Cedar. I ate ungodly amounts of popcorn. I took chances. I lost some friends, gained some. I listened to probably way too much Florida Georgia Line. My grades were sub par. I let little things bother me too much. I decided to quit all my jobs and become a nanny. I decided to stay in the arctic that is Michigan. I made lots of up and down decisions. That was 2013, so now…
For this new year, I want to right the wrongs that I was so adamant about in the previous year. I want to better myself. I want to realize my potential and succumb to the desire to reach it. I want to be a better person for those around me, for myself.
So, everyone makes new year resolutions. Right? I’ll go to the gym, I’ll stop procrastinating, I’ll remember to pay my bills on time, I’ll stop drinking.
But I think, for a year as potentially demanding as any year has been yet with school and work and the potential of having a social life, the resolutions shouldn’t be just a “resolution” but a resolve to finally be real with ourselves. To stop brushing things under the rug and deal with them head on before another year passes by and we wish we had listened to the promises we made the year past.
This year, I promise, I really promise – to every single thing in life that you ever wanted to change, improve, apologize to. Remember those moments and promise to them this year will be a vast, dramatic improvement. Because you owe it to those good and bad memories, because they’ve made you what you are in this new beginning.
This year:

  • I’ll drink more water
  • I’ll stop listening when opinions can harm, not hurt
  • I’ll remember to call my family more
  • I’ll remember to call my friends more
  • I’ll apologize
  • I’ll stop being hard headed
  • I’ll go to the gym (I’m being serious!)
  • I’ll do more things that I’ve wanted to do instead of acting like they’re impossible
  • I’ll be more open to ideas
  • I’ll be more me than I’ve ever been
  • I’ll remember how much I like country and I won’t deny that all I want to do is have a beer and listen to Alan Jackson when people ask what my idea is of fun
  • I’ll try and work more on what fun means to me
  • I’ll stop swearing….. as much
  • I’ll get in my car and drive anywhere I want on any given weekend because I can and a vacation every now and again is beneficial
  • I’ll think from other’s perspective
  • I’ll speak up when I’m not okay with something, rather than letting it slide
  • I’ll stick up for myself
  • I’ll remember to say I love you
  • I’ll remember that you can’t always say sorry and have that be that – sometimes you need to work harder.
  • I’ll realize when things are a lost cause
  • I’ll be more understanding, less impatient, more appreciative, less closed off
  • I’ll eat chocolate because I love it
  • I will not attempt to go running because I will not have that. I will just not have that.
  • I’ll stop setting stupid, ridiculous goals that I’ll never achieve and instead appreciate what I did accomplish
  • I’ll write more
  • I’ll sing Erica more of my infamous songs I make up for her
  • I’ll appreciate my roommates and friends more
  • I’ll stop saying no when I’m afraid
  • I’ll make better grades
  • I’ll take all the opportunities that I can, because why not try?
  • I’ll stop being afraid of math and econ and statistics and biology
  • I’ll still be afraid of spiders
  • I’ll stop resisting the urge to say what I want, especially when I know it really matters – it’s worth it

So there’s what I’m proposing. It’s nothing hard to accomplish, but it will be an effort. I think it’s exciting, though, to venture out as a person with a new mindset. It’ll be amazing what little changes can do for a whole year. Looking forward to it.
x.

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I truly love…

(Originally posted September 25th, 2013)
Unapologetic people. The way people take their sharp intakes of breath when an unapologetic person speaks is the rarest form of art to me. Maybe it’s because it is so rare that when I meet someone like this I can’t help but idolize them for their sincerity because that lacks so much here in the world.
Not that I appreciate rude people, because I truly don’t. But people like Amy Poehler and Kristin Wiig, even Chelsea Handler, make it so easy for our generation to provide an outpouring of confident women.
So many women, and men, are so obsessively conscious of their actions. How they speak, what they do, who they’re pleasing. And, I think, it must get so tiring that need to restrict yourself every moment. And I know, because I’m sure I do it, too.
Then I see these people, the unapologetics, who just know who they are. And you laugh at their jokes and blush and think, “They’re so brave, I could never get away with that!”… sure, why couldn’t you?
My roommates are probably the prime example of women, in a realistic setting, that fit in with these unapologetics. I thought I was a handful until I met them. Crude from Chelsea Handler doesn’t compare with these girls, humor alone could promise them anything, and if we’re talking about first impressions these girls impress before even opening their mouths. Unapologetic in every movement.
Because, truly, that’s what the quote above means. SIlly, yeah. Amy and Kristin and Chelsea and my roommates, they’re silly. But there’s more to it than cracking a joke or being a little bizarre – truly believing in yourself and in your ‘silliness’ is so incredibly powerful that by merely walking into a room, you can silence any negativity that you, your self conscious sub conscious, could have brought on.

You are the most powerful when you are you.
I love that.

x.

I’ve been back…

(Originally posted September 23rd, 2013)
For a while now.
Michigan hasn’t changed since I left in May and came back in July, but I did. And that’s good, for how often we feel threatened and worried by change.
When I left for Mississippi, I was unlike myself in every way possible. The two months I spent back home was like a therapy I had never thought would revive me the way it did, and although I was sad to leave once I decided to come back to State, it just seemed that I had finally reached the time that I felt good again – like myself.
When we come to college, we leave everything behind. Family, friends, rituals, work, ideals, goals, likes, dislikes, they all seem to change. Which is good and it’s fine, but it becomes wild to think that you’re still barely an adult and you’ve changed so much. To some, the process is nothing. But, to me, it was everything.
I was so annoyed with myself for my second year of college because I didn’t understand why I wasn’t being myself. Why I was always upset or why I couldn’t get motivated or why I had no interest in anything anymore. I am an ambitious person, usually driven and full of desire for what I can achieve. I didn’t talk about it with anyone, and didn’t feel that it was abnormal.
Now, looking back, I want to talk about it. I want it to be known that this “sophomore slump” happens, even if it’s freshman through senior year. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

When I left Michigan, I never planned on coming back. Everything that I disliked I thought resonated within this campus and within this major, never considering that maybe my feeling could change if I had some support. And I did feel better when I left, instantaneously. But what I felt better about was having my family around me; my support system.
After taking my first month to relax and try and sort out what my next step would be because, as many of you know, I decided to move without giving it a second thought, I finally realized what I was missing.

I wasn’t supporting myself.

I disliked myself so much that I had driven me, my biggest supporter and advocate and friend and therapist, into a hole. And what’s bizarre is that this happens to college students ALL THE TIME.

I had never realized that depression affects close to 30% of college students so intensely that they find it “difficult to function”, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. I felt alone in everything I was experiencing, scared, and not willing to speak up about it.
Every morning was a struggle to leave not only my bed, but my room. I could wake up and go right back to sleep on the couch. My body ached, I hated going to class. If I ate, it was something hastily prepared. And when I ate, I ate so much. Homework made me want to cry, conversations drained me, and I’ve never worn sweatpants so often in my whole life.
This was my life, for an entire school year. And looking back, I can’t believe that was me. But that feeling affects you so intensely, you don’t really realize it’s happening, and that’s scary.
I couldn’t tell you why I felt like this. Maybe my family moving, maybe because it was winter for what seemed like forever, maybe because I tried to go vegetarian for a week (I’m just kidding). But, whatever caused it, really took its toll.
Now, entering my junior year of college, I’m feeling much more alive. Yes, it’s hard to have family living half a country away. I hate missing these years with my younger brothers. I miss my parents. I’m so fortunate to have family here up north, and these are the things I think of whenever college gets too weird and lonely. I have great roommates and a major I’ve been going after since I was a kid. And, yeah, sometimes I’ll feel those old things again. But, this time, I’m not afraid to say no, that that’s not me.

I’m not embarrassed of those feelings and I’m not embarrassed to share. I would like to express to anyone who does feel these things to remember your support system, be it your family or your friends, and share with them your feelings. Remember who you are and what you love, who you love, and what you loved so much you decided to come to college for it.
I couldn’t imagine not living in Mississippi for the summer. Being back where family is everything reminded me that, no matter how much may change or classes I don’t excel in or how stressed out I am, my family and my friends will always be there. And I, no matter how much I may try, will never treat myself like that again. There’s so much more going on in life and it should be really, truly, fully, lived.

x.

The Aftermath: Part II

(Originally posted June 11th, 2013)
Uggggghhhhhhhhh, getting your nails done is GRODY. I honestly try so hard to be girly and get into those things, but I think I could go another seven years without sinking my feet into that alien blue water. I kind of lost it a little with the dude, which is embarrassing enough that I argued with a nail technician, but the fact that I was so angry that I almost demanded a refund was pretty ugly. I’m going to blame it on my lack of sleep and the fact that I watched 4 hours worth of Gossip Girl to pass the time. The nails really don’t look as good as they should, and I know many of my friends will read this and think “That’s Cait, if it doesn’t look exactly like she wants it she won’t be happy” while rolling their eyes, but you know what, I’m going to post them a picture and they’ll see.

Anyway, forget the nail salon. I’m missing the city life a little these days and to go get my nails done felt like I’d be reconnected in a way. Wasn’t like that at all, but you try to do what you can with what you have.

Living in a small, beachside town is cool. It’s not AWESOME! But it’s cool. I can go to the beach whenever, I can kayak, I can ride a bike. I lost my cat the other day though and intuition tells me that the alligators around the waterways behind our neighborhood might have, uh, yeah. So there’s the good and then the alligators, but I guess you’ll have that anywhere.

I’m definitely not accustomed to this lifestyle. Everyone here knows everyone, and they know how you’re connected to everyone, and then everyone will know that everyone knows you and how you’re connected and your connections dwindle with how many people know your connections but they don’t really know you. If that made any sense? I guess I’m used to knowing SO many people and not really caring too much about who they know or the past twenty years of their life, but it’s a new experience to and interesting. I’ve never been asked who my parents are so many times in my life. Where I come from, that’s a bad thing. You know, get busted at a party, “WHO ARE YOUR PARENTS?!?!??” Here, it’s just casual when you’re at a restaurant and someone’s curious about your background, like, “Oh, who are your parents? Like the Hattiesburg McKeon’s? Lydia, weren’t they friends of your cousins?”.
It’s such a different way than I’m used to. I’ve never been somewhere where you could say one insignificant comment and two weeks later someone you barely know repeats it back to you, “Oh yeah, Dave told me you said that!”.
I like it, the familiarity. It’s taking some getting used to, but I like it.
I miss everyone, that I can say. I’m always thinking about how awesome it would be to live here but to have everyone here, too. I think when I was moving, my mind was so set on the LEAVING, that I forgot who I would be missing. So there, everyone, as sappy as this is I do miss it. I miss knowing I could do anything at my point in time and have fun. I miss the laid back nights and the conversations, I miss the spontaneous trips and the music. Hell, I even miss some of the bars at MSU. Okay, no, I’m not at that point yet.

I don’t have too much to say right now. I have some cool articles that I’ve read and I want to talk about those. I’ve made some cool food that made me consider food blogging (I’m bored). I’ve made money and haven’t bought myself a Michael Kors watch yet (my biggest desire). But I’m sure I’ll have more to say as the summer goes on.

For now, I’m going to go grill myself some eggplant and mushrooms. Don’t be fooled, we’re also having fried chicken and okra. Duh.

Until next time, which I hope is sooner,

x.

Hello?

(Originally posted June 11th, 2013)
Did you forget about me? Average height, horribly grown out brown hair and a penchant for sarcasm?

Well, hey, here I am. I’m sitting in a chair with some guy picking at my toenails while I contemplate what color I want him to slap on there while he speaks in another language to someone else and I know, I just KNOW, they know my last pedicure was when I turned 13. Also I don’t think he’s hysterically laughing at my random ticks and cries. When I tried to explain how ticklish I am he gave me one of those “I-Know-I’m-Supposed-To-Laugh-But-I-Want-To-Drown-You-In-Your-Own-Pedicure-Water” smiles. Which, you know, whatever. I get that.

So, my adventure has begun. And when I say adventure I really do mean that because this has become the experience I had never expected. (My legs are being massaged now and if I kick him I’m pretty sure I’ll be cut short) (ow this hurts a lot) I got down to the coast of somewhere beautiful around the seventh of May after my mother’s flight was delayed and I picked her up around midnight from the airport to begin our journey southward. My car is still packed and I can’t find half of my things and I’ve been here for a month, but if you’re surprised by this we must obviously not know each other. (Okay embarrassing I just kicked him in the crotch, this isn’t a joke, I’m blushing)
My first week here was dedicated to crafting my grandparents fiftieth anniversary surprise party, which went very well. I almost forgot that I was here to actually live and the process of finding a job didn’t worry me too much. But then, you know, money started dwindling and I had one of those panic attack moments of “Cait you’re about to be really seriously broke” and then I got my game face on.

I landed a job waitressing and met a group of really great people. Honestly, I’m not just saying that, they’re great. And then I snatched another job waitressing, by the beach, where I get to wear shorts. Can’t say it bothers me having a scenic view while I clean the marinara sauce from a table. But, anyway, that’s where I am.
Life has been good and I’ve been spending a lot of my free time with my little brothers. It’s funny how when I was younger you wouldn’t catch me dead spending time with them. But now, after being away and also probably my growth in maturity and age, I will literally take them to do just about anything they want. (I think he’s mad because I asked for some extra coats. Listen dude, no one asked you to sign up for this)

Okay wait this is to be continued, manicure time. (Don’t judge me)