25 Is Tough

My birthday is in a few weeks, and honestly I could vomit. In all seriousness turning 25 is really kind of freaking me out. And the more I say it the more people seem to be rolling their eyes. But in more honesty, why do I feel like the only one not holding it together?

Looking around I see two very distinct groups of people: There are those who are securely in their second or third year of a career, and those who have packed a suite case to run around the world.

Then there is me. In the corner, scratching my hives because I should have been so much further by now. In my mind 25 was always a time where I would have paid in cash for a car, have my career down pat, probably published a book, and own at least four pairs of heels with red soles.

None of these things have happened. And I’m not really sure why…

Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly grateful for where I’m at. To have a business that lets me work with creative people, and people in my life who love me to my flawed core. To have a head over my roof and all the vegan chili a girl could need. I take none of this for granted.

But there is a part of me that wonders where the rest of it goes. Where do the big dreams go? How do we work them into our present life? And at the end of it all, do we float or do we sink?

When I was 12 I wanted to be a professional singer. I even recorded a demo in the local mall. I begged and pleaded to move across the country. The passion was as clear as a pimple. And the only thing stopping it from happening were my parents realistic mindsets. As an adult though, they aren’t the ones stopping you. Nothing is stopping you.

I hear that the days go faster as you get older, but most of the time it already feels like I’m waking up to the night. Life is a really cool thing, and we get some really great opportunities. It’s just the not being able to lay out all the options and stare at them meticulously for days on end to ensure you choose the correct one that scares me.

 

But really though. When do we get the book of answers?

I Am Irrational

They say the answer to living a happy life is finding your passion and making that your career. I don’t know which “they” people are referring to, and I am also not sure that this is the answer. Of course, if you can find your passion and successfully make a good standard of living over night all the power. But if you are in any way a normal human being this takes time, and life doesn’t wait for you to pay bills.

Personally, I think the secret to being happy comes from a different place. I believe it comes from the place of irrational thought.

My life has been made up of only irrational gestures. From ditching my college degree’s given field of work to move home to my childhood desk, to learning every Kings Of Leon song in hopes to impress a boy I was too awe-struck to speak too. Frankly the only difference from me and someone in an insane asylum is that white is not my color, so I would never wear a straight jacket. That, and I put my irrational thoughts into action.

It is in the most insane of moments I have learned we live in a field of hope. It is in the times that we fear the most, and others fear the most for us, that great things happen.

I decided to leave an incredibly well esteemed university that was a mere hour from my parental dwellings to treck into a land of dust storms and physically pressing winds. No, Texas Tech did not hold a candle to Baylor in academia, number of students who’s parents made in the millions, and dorm room space, but it did give me the opportunity to work an internship that turned into a job and realize my future all by the mere age of 21.

Another great instance in which I used irrational behavior to shape my life was in August, when I moved from a 400 square foot efficiency into a down town apartment. My mom was less than thrilled as I packed up boxes and checked my band account once last time. It made no sense in my mind why she was so worried, the remaining $2 balance in no way concerned me.

See, irrationality is great in both life changing, and life threatening experiences.

In neither sense was it understandable for me to make the moves I did, but in both the outcome was just. I wasn’t acting on irrational impulse in hopes to make something happen, I was doing it because inside I knew my life was changing for the better. Yes, I could have easily gotten into an apartment in which my rent check would have bounced, I’m sure both my parents were stashing their credit cards for the moment I came running. But I knew that by putting myself in a position of irrationality I would be forced to do more, and take one step closer to my passion.

Save

Where I Wasn’t 6 Months Ago

Here is the thing about life: I know nothing about life. But what I do know is that time moves on wether we like it or not. No human can physically stop in a moment, we can only remember to take moments as they come and capture a mental picture for those times that seem too good to be true.

The other thing I know about humans is that we are really good at focusing on the bad. when I look in the mirror every morning I am not saying how awesome my eyelashes are, or how not washing my hair but once a week has allowed it to grow into a frame fitting cut. No, I look at the fact that I could lose a few more pounds, and that my legs don’t have one of those odd gaps that might not actually exist.

So when I look back at where I was six months ago it is only fair to start thinking of all the things I have yet to accomplish. Like where is my million follower blog, and coinciding book deal? What about those 5 more clients I wanted to have? None of these things are sitting at the front of my silver platter.

Then I catch myself.

Sure, we are not where we want to be, but we have got to stop thinking that way. Not that I’m asking to neglect our condescending mentalities. Just simply put a spin on them. Like  the spin I put on the story of me crashing my car into a tree the day before senior year. It wasn’t a bad thing that little Susie was mangled into pieces. It was clearly meant to happen and invite the option for me to get the dream Jeep I always wanted. Of course that came a year after driving around a horrid bench seat Pontiac that was older than I. We simply can’t win them all.

Six months ago I wasn’t able to get through a full day without crying. I also wasn’t nine months out of a life changing break up. Six months ago I wasn’t able to go into a bar without getting crazy eyes and fearing my survival. Now I can drink a whole drink with ease. I wasn’t able to confidently smile at a stranger, or hold a conversation with someone I hadn’t known for at least 10 years.

You would have never caught me stepping foot onto the grounds of ACL, let alone running to retrieve passes. Six months ago I wouldn’t have put down my computer for even the most perfect pair of Manolo Blahnik’s, and now I can spend an entire day (minus a few hours before others wake) only mildly panicking that I will miss something.

But most of all, 180 days ago I would have never been able to tell you just how lucky I am. How taking six months to open my eyes would inevitably shed light on this thing I call life. Where in times I used to think I had no one to relate too I had these people who have been there all along. I wouldn’t have been sitting at a brunch table laughing to tears, so full of love I couldn’t even manage to eat the brunch food. I wouldn’t have understood that I am so much more than myself. I am my family. My friends. Those who have stolen my heart and don’t even know it.

We are all so much more than the things we have or have not accomplished and we so rarely understand that. When you surround yourself with the right people, and the right work, you begin to understand yourself. But until then we will think of the negative in a bad way, when really it is the best thing that ever happened to us.

And I think  that is pretty awesome.

 

I Choose Neither

Perhaps my number one talent in life is watching TV. For a long time I kept my talent under wraps. People tend to get jealous of those who have an innate ability to keep their eyes pointed in one direction for hours at a time. For me TV is more than just a way to pass the time. It is a life lived from the comfort of my couch (or bed as this mornings work regime has it).

With each new show comes a new adventure. I take time is immerse myself in the latest shows, and breathe in the characters story lines. My latest obsession, and a rather long winded one, has been captivated in How I Met Your Mother. Not to ruin anything for those who have not seen it, and to join the masses on this statement, but I absolutely HATED the ending. And here is why:

For me the journey of HIMYM was a very real one. As those around Ted grew into lives of marriage and career changes he grew into nothing. Time after time he was left with a crushed spirit and no understanding of why life wouldn’t present his better half. He did everything right, yet was the only one who seemed to always get it wrong.

But that is just the thing about life, we don’t get the opportunity to chose. We can’t pull our careers or our love lives out of the closet like a winter coat or a yellow umbrella. We must roll with the punches and take things as they come. We can notice the good, but we can’t shield ourselves from any of the bad either.

We don’t get to decide which of our ex’s will get married before us, or how many of them wont decide they want us back. We can’t get up each morning and tell our bosses they can’t yell at us today. We can however, go through our entire lives only to think we made the wrong choice, or we can let life guide us to the right ones.

In the end I think HIMYM taught me that we don’t actually get to chose. Not at all. Not even a little bit.

Save

Things I Didn’t Know

Dear Me,

You should probably know that soccer just isn’t your thing, and that’s okay. Really, athletic ability isn’t in the cards at all. From a young age you will impress people with your words, not your footing. Stick to that, it might be worth something in the long run. At least worth enough to keep your Aquatic Science lab partners on the edge of their seats for each installment of your novel staring that lanky, salad finger boy you can’t get over.

Speaking of outlandish things, like writing multiple full length novels instead of doing homework or drinking, don’t feel bad about loving too hard. Don’t ever give up on it either. I can’t say you will one day find an amazing man that conquers all the ones who came before. We aren’t there yet. But I can say that you really do learn a lot from all of cupids missed arrows. Respect yourself along the way, and understand the difference in the feeling of lust, and the feeling of giving in too quickly. Though above all else, know that your heart is big, and that is beautiful.

Also, know that you are beautiful. No matter how large your body becomes, and how short/black your hair ended up. You are beautiful from the inside out. And, after high school you actually become pretty decent looking (so you have that to look forward to). You will even get kissed by the guy of your dreams. Don’t be disappointed when it isn’t super awesome… We all have to learn some time.

Remember the scale is not your friend. And watching the pounds drop is not a hobby you should punish yourself with. Understand that life is more than a number. And be thankful that you are lucky to have true friends who will pick you up when you are too weak to do it on your own.

Dance often, and dance free. Not just with your feet, but with all you have. Life is far too short to take it for granted. Being uptight won’t get you anywhere good. Don’t push yourself above the limit, but play gracefully with the line.

Above all else, never forget to be your true self. To life with all you have, and dream bigger than the sun. Never forget how it feels to chase a goal, and how it feels to give up on one. Let yourself be strong willed and passionate. Don’t take for granted the nights spent crying on the floor. But always, always lift yourself back up with a little more than you did the time before.

 

Yours Truly,

Me

My Nephew, The Autistic

Screen shot 2014-09-23 at 12.51.53 PM

I don’t remember the day I found out my nephew was diagnosed with autism. I remember they day I found out I had high cholesterol, because in the back of my mind the fear was already set that this meant my life would spiral into a land of tofu and mock chicken.

But I don’t remember the day my nephew was diagnosed with autism. Perhaps because I am a terrible aunt. Or perhaps because I didn’t really understand what it meant to be autistic.

I do however, remember the first time I realized autism made my nephew different. see, for a long time I thought he was babied to a point of no return. Being the first grand and great grandchild it made sense he was allowed to eat messy food in places us mere first generationers would have never been thought to go. And to jump on beds we only wished to touch with bare feet. But it boiled my blood to watch my family spoon feed a three-year-old through tangible and mental means.

Then there was this day that changed my mind.

My sister and I brought my nephew to our childhood neighborhood hay ride during christmas time. As most of these functions go, we waited in an astronomical line for a not so spectacular ride. As our time slowly approached and the hay ride began to fill, it was clear we were not going to make this go around.

Being the first kid to not enter a ride of any sort is a tough pill to swallow, though for my nephew it seemed different. As the disappointment dust settled for the other four and five-year-olds his only grew stronger.

“The train is NEVER going to come back.”

“We will get on the next one.”

“It will never come back.”

I looked at my sister as she began to ration with my nephew.

“THE TRAIN IS NEVER COMING BACK.”

Most children were upset that they did not make the previous ride, but he was not. His concern lay in the thought that this ride would never return.

The words quietly repeating as we stood still. A change in pitch, a change in fear, he knew all too well in his mind that train was never coming back. And though I knew all too well that was not correct, he continued to let the thought consume him.

As I looked around it became clear that it was consuming others as well. Not because grown adults were now in fear that a trailer hitched to a 2000 truck would never return, but in their eyes they could not understand why this kid didn’t get it. Why their children, who look exactly the same on the outside as my nephew, seemed to have come to terms with the situation and this little blonde headed boy just wasn’t.

I watched as they shot condescending looks in my sisters direction. And I watched as my sister who once went screaming down the street after her puppy pug which had escaped her grasp calmly comforted her child without a thought of anything else.

It was the first time I realized my nephew was autistic and the first time I was confronted with my own viewpoints head on. I looked at those parents and realized just how I had come across all these years before. Not understanding, and not caring to try. It was the first time I realized just what a blessing this skinny, toe-headed boy who thought V-necks were broken shirts was to our lives. It was the first time I truly understood what unconditional love felt like.

I boarded the hay ride with tears in my eyes, and refrained from singing carols  along with the rest of the passengers, as Brayden said he didn’t enjoy the noise. And that was okay.

Things People Tell Me

fccfe13d7518ad05907019329ac732ce

One of my most favorite things to tell people is that “Everything happens for a reason.” May it be because I truly believe it, or simply because it is an easy way to divert having a drawn out conversation, I do not know. But I do know, because I truly believe it.

I think everyone is put in your life for a reason, and taken out all the same. I think I didn’t become a professional horseback rider because my non-existant “Frog” butt would have looked horrendous in riding pants. I believe my apartment complex allowed me to lie about my income so I could sit on my Ikea-made balcony table and chair writing you this very blog. And perhaps a little bit because they believed in me more than I did myself.

So it is not lost that I indeed take this justification to great lengths. I use the notion of everything happening for a reason as my stance on life, business, and the pursuit of happiness. (Do we know what that means exactly? No. But none the less.)

Bringing this to the business side of things, as I listen in triumph to a high school band tooting their horns in the background (this is an actual things happening in actual time and I had to share), there have been three sound words of advice that summed up my entire year-and-a-half of work being justified as happening for a reason.

 

“Trust your instincts, in the end they are always right.” -Meredith, Austin Beauty Guide

A little story for you all. When first starting out in Austin I decided it was best to say yes to every single job that came my way. They were presented to me for a reason after all, right? WRONG. There was one instance where I can be very sure that my goal was to learn how to say no, and it wouldn’t have happened without the help of Meredith.

After a long night of fretting over a meeting that started as a simple marketing pitch and turned into coffee with a man who wanted me to build a company for him from the ground up, run it all, and make profit, which I had at that point still unsuccessfully done myself, I had no where to turn. There I was, 22 and freaking out. Not because I didn’t want to make money and he was presenting money (kind of), but because for some reason this business didn’t sit well with my aspirations. Not that it was some S&M shop or anything like that.

So I literally asked every person I know what to do. Fearing making the wrong decision would send my career spiraling into a fatal demise. It wasn’t until Meredith let me in on her little secret that it all made sense. She told me that no matter how powerful someone is, if you are true to the purpose of your business they wont have a hold on your success. And she was right.

 

“I do every aspect of my business in the most difficult way possible, but I’m okay with that.” -Tim, Mitscoots Socks

Listen, I linked this guys website because he is too legit to quit. Tim was one of my first interviews back in Austin when I was working for an online magazine as an intern. He has this company called Mitscoots that gives a pair of socks to the homeless every time someone buys one. But even more than that, he employs the homeless community of Austin to package the socks, and he only manufactures in the US.

Listening to him speak, my brain immediately went into over drive. He is a marketing gold mine, but a business disaster. His words (kind of), not mine. Pretty much, he explained to me that along the way he had been told time-and-time again that the way he was structuring his business had huge faults. Like helping people wasn’t a strong enough tactic to succeed?

But that’s the thing with Tim. I have watched, from a stalker-esque distance, as Mitscoots went from passing out one box of socks a month to passing out thousands. Tim is one of those people who is so true to his heart you kind of question if he has two. Or maybe three with all the heart truth he radiates.

 

“Stay neutral.” -Emma, Sirens Salon

If I have to peg a single moment in my career thus far as being one that happened for a reason it is the moment I met Emma. Sitting in a dim corner of my very first Austin event with her brightly colored dress and over the top heels, I thought to myself as she handed me her business card and assured me to call her for marketing work “What have I gotten myself into?”

I often times still ask that very question when thinking of her, but more so now because I literally would be lost without her and my Sirens family. And her husband and his work family.  And all the other families she has introduced me to along the way. I could gush about Emma all day (as creepy as I don’t care that that sounds) but the true lesson she has taught me is to stay neutral.

It was evident early on in this town that moving home didn’t only mean moving back to my high school room, but it meant moving back in high school. Everyone knows everyone and everyones business is stirred into one big pot. I remember too well the pain from getting a pre-teen phone call that someone was talking shit about me. The buried anger you carry around when you see her in the hall. How can you be so nice to everyones face and then say those things about my green spiral behind my back? Obviously you got a new spiral, but the stink still stung.

Emma has taught me to stay neutral. To follow my dreams of having clients that I can call family, but remembering that some times even with family the answer is to nod your head politely, hug them with all your might, and walk away. Then call your mom and dish the dirt, right?

 

Is everyone seeing the common thread here? Perhaps it is the secret to life, or just the secret to everything happening for a reason… but either way, if you stay true to yourself, your purpose, and your heart things are going to work out in the way they should. And that my friends, is the only way it seems fit.

Side note: the band director just got really mad at some of the music kids. That is all.

Girl Talk, Because I said So

crazy

My life is one big overbearing opinion. So it only makes sense that I have a mouth full when it comes to relationships. I have spent a life learning hard lessons and watching my friends be left broken hearted only to say once more “Screw him! All boys suck. You will find way better anyways.”

We contradict ourselves in adjacent sentences and still our friends believe us. Even we believe us. It is outrageous.

But the thing about girls, is that we are actually all the same. Ladies rolling your eyes at me because you “are the only girl who doesn’t care about love,” stop. Your fooling no one.

We are hyper compulsive creatures and it’s about time we own up to it. Who ever said being crazy is a bad thing? Like when did it become a bad thing to give a shit? All we want is love. All we want is the one thing people work their whole lives to find. So sue us if we want it now.

Don’t get me wrong any potential mates I might encounter… I’m not going to sneak into your window at night and stare while you breather. We aren’t psychopaths. Well, most of us aren’t anyways. We simply care. It’s the way we were built.

See, the truth is I only know these things because for years I tried to not be this girl. I was always the one saying she wanted to live alone in a flat with an avocado tree while in my mind I was writing vows upon first introduction. I walked through life shielding my heart from the outside world because I didn’t want to be where I had seen so many others. In a ditch of failed hope.

Which is all this is. Hope. Girls hope with their whole hearts, and they get crushed with them too. I know no guy will read this and think “man, she is right.” They save those thoughts for sex encouraging articles. But I do hope girls can read it and realize they are just fine. That what they want to do is the right thing.

you can only regret the things you didn’t try. Not that I’m saying try to call a guy who isn’t answering you 40 times in a row…. That indeed, will cause regret. But don’t be ashamed of liking someone. Don’t be embarrassed if they don’t like you back. If you have a hunch he is fading away don’t claw him down, but also don’t hesitate to throw the “Hey, I might be crazy, but something seems weird” text.

And just remember, one day you will find someone who thinks those compulsive feelings are cute. Better yet, he even want to make sure they stay around forever. That’s right ladies, the nice guy isn’t the only one who wins in the end. The crazy girl does too.

Not Every Day

f193db5ea0b74980c1f4df478e06acda

Not every day can be a good day.

Two weeks ago I moved into an apartment worthy of a queen. Okay, so the bedroom walls don’t actually extend to the ceiling, but if I put my trash bags outside my door and open it 15 minutes later they are gone. So it only seems fair that Queen Elizabeth would be proud.

I was proud too. Proud that I had worked hard enough to sign my life away to a suffocating rent. Proud that my parents had instilled in me the drive to make my dreams a reality. Proud that I could finally invite people over to a place where my loads of serving dishes fit and could be utilized.

Though of course, as life would have it, before I had even hung the last of my floating shelves, the world decided to ground me. I lost a client, lost an outrageously expensive cord from stupid Time Warner Cable, and all-in-all lost my mind.

This is the thing about life. It’s really good at making you sweat. It likes to tell you just how great you are, then reverse the action and show you every last inch of bad. There are times life will hold you tight, and times it will kick you when you’re down. Life is like that girl on the playground who can be your best friend until you make eyes are her man. Then you better hope her nails are filed down because girls about to claw your eyes out.

Going into business for myself has been a slow process of making friends with that girl. The first time she attacked me I bawled like a little baby to my mom. Same with the second, third, forth and fifth. It wasn’t until I could separate myself from her prissy stance and attitude filled finger shakes that I saw her purpose.

Life isn’t here to beat you, it’s here to make you stronger. To teach you to cherish the good, and fight through the bad. If everything was easy we would have nothing to look forward to. Life is just really good at amplifying the not so easy.

To survive we must look up, keep our head on straight, and remember that nothing is forever. Not even the bad.

Fears Grand Finale

Screen shot 2014-07-17 at 11.42.49 PM

Lately it seems the topic of every discussion has circled around the concept of fear. Fear of failing, fear of loving, fear of taking a chance. Much like everything else in my life it came at the perfect, and most frustrating, time.

We all fear. I fear my bank account every morning, and each flight I take as it enters cloud coverage. I fear my nephew being made fun of for a mental disability he didn’t chose, and fear what I will say to the first kid who makes him cry. I fear these things because I am human, as we all are.

Waiting to board my flight I watched Jim Carey’s 2014 commencement speech. I have  an unhealthy obsessed with graduation talks. Hearing his words reminded me just why I’ve spent many nights awake until the wee hours listening to J.K Rowling and Ellen Degeneres speak to universities I never attended.

He spoke of how his father could have been a great comedian, but instead he chose the safety net. He took a desk job, and when Carey was 12 his father lost that safe job and the family struggled to make ends meet.

There is struggle in every path, I get that. But the more I watch college graduates wide scale dreams turn into 40-hour-a-week gigs I can’t help but think something has to be done.

I am in no means someone who has broken this mold. I fear on a daily basis, and the only reason I don’t have a conventional job is because no one would hire me. But thank faith they didn’t. Thank faith that I work from home, or an airplane, and have time to write these thoughts down.

The truth is I talk a lot and never truly say what I feel. In grade school I wrote a novel and let two of my friends read it. Every Aquatic Science class I would bring them another chapter filled with a love story I could only wish would come true staring the boy I sat next to. Ever class they left asking for the next bundle of pages. From that point on I knew what my soul wanted. I knew my goal was to write. The only problem was I feared no one would want to read.

In the faith of breaking fear I’m here to say it: I want to write. I want to share my experience with others. And I want to speak. Speak to college students about breaking their own fears and living a life of love. Love for those around them, love for what they do, and love for their own being. To show them that losing a job offer only means they were not at the right place, and that their path is better than the things that don’t stick in their lives. That if you ask your dreams will come, maybe not in the manner you hope, but in the order in which you are meant to have them.

I want to live a life of love and not fear. I want to be 23 and embrace the fact that I don’t know everything, but I know enough to make a change. So here I am universe, all 5 foot 2 of me. I am crazy and irrelevant, but I believe in having the world at my fingertips and am ready to change it for the good.