Respect the road.

There is a road that I run all the time.

Since I’m currently training by myself, I get to decide where I run. I avoid this road as much as possible. But during cross country season, when I’m at the mercy of my coaches, most of our workouts involve the road in some way.

Going down is smooth sailing. Going up is hell.

photo credit: nelseverydaypainting.blogspot.com

The road is more like a hill, a giant, mile-plus long hill. It’s on a constant incline and, as you get closer to the top, it gets steeper.

At first, I absolutely loathed this road.

I always hated it in the beginning, because it turned even my best runs turn into something that made me feel like I was putting myself through torture.

The road is sometimes unforgiving. The more you climb, the weaker your legs feel, the more your lungs burn, the more you feel like your brain is about to explode.

I used to fight it. Each day, I felt like I was preparing for this great battle, in which only one victor would prevail: me or the hill.

But, eventually, I started to realize that it wasn’t really a battle of physicality; it was more so a battle of wit. I learned to work with the road instead of against it and things started to make more sense.

I learned to take advantage of even the tiniest bit of downhill, to take the straightest line possible. I started to read the road, to take note of how it felt when I ran a certain way.

To this day, I still don’t like running it. But, I’ve learned how to do it properly.

The road used to be some foreign, intimidating beast that I thought I would never be able to understand. Now, I realize that it was really just an old, wise mentor for me, my very own Mr. Miyagi. 

Last night, I was headed up the road on the bus and, as I looked out the window, I knew exactly what point we were at solely based on the glimpse I caught of the tops of the oak trees. It made me smile, seeing how far I’ve come.

The same miles of curving pavement that used to seem endless to me are now ingrained into my memory, including details down to which tree is positioned where on each corner.

The countless days of practice, all of the sweat-soaked t-shirts and aching muscles really did pay off, in so many more ways than for just my running.

If only I knew back then just how much I would come to understand the road and how much it would come to understand about me.

I wouldn’t have believed it three years ago.

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The painted ladies

On my way home today, I stopped to say hello to the mountains.

Image credit: allposters.com

But while I originally had pulled over to say hello to the mountains, I also got to say hello to the painted ladies – the butterflies.

There are hundreds of thousands of them, all passing through and I’m lucky enough to live along their migration path.

No one knows exactly why they choose to come here, but I’m happy they do.

I heard they are headed west. Maybe they’re chasing the sun.

So, as I sat alone outside my car, I blew kisses to the mountains, to thank them for being so magnificent.

Image credit: travelandleisure.com

I blew kisses to the butterflies as they flew by, to wish them good luck on their journey.

It’s days like these when I know I wouldn’t be able to live in a place where the sun seldom shines.

There wouldn’t be nearly enough mountains that compare to Ojai mountains and there definitely wouldn’t be enough painted ladies.

I hope they all reach their destinations.

And if they really are chasing the sun, I hope they catch it.

Mother, Mother

Photo Credit: countryliving.com

Mother, Mother,

Please don’t frown,

Nothing’s turning upside down.

Mother, Mother,

Open your eyes and see

That love is in everything.

Mother, Mother,

Please don’t cry.

It’s not too late to give love a try.

Mother, Mother,

Don’t be mad.

For I promise, it’s our love that’ll make you glad.

Mother, Mother,

If only you could see

That our love could fix anything.

Mother, Mother,

Don’t shut the door.

We know we’re not welcome anymore.

Mother, Mother

Please don’t be angry

Because it’s your anger that makes you scary

Mother, Mother,

Put that drink away.

We really wish that you would stay.

Mother, Mother,

Please don’t die,

Because if you do, it’ll make us cry.

Mother, Mother,

Why can’t you see

That life is better than it seems.

Mother, Mother,

We love you so,

More than you will ever know,

Mother, Mother,

Please don’t push us away,

Because it’s our love that makes us stay.

we make our own waves.

photo credit: images.fineartamerica.com

He told me this:
“I make my own waves.

I make my own waves when
I don’t need to.
I make myself angry when I don’t need to be!
And it’s not good for me,
not good for my health.

I see you do the same thing to yourself.
I think it’s something you inherited,
like it’s genetic, maybe. And I’m sorry.

It has taken me my whole life,
fifty-some years to realize that
I am the only one who can control how I feel,
that it is me, and not other people, who changes
the way I feel.

I see you do this to yourself,
you expect people to think the same way,
and to care and to try the same way that you do.

It’s taken me my whole life
to realize that, and I still
don’t know how to fix it.

If you could learn this now,
so early on in your life,
you’ll be so much better for it.

You’ll be just fine.”

I make my own waves too, sometimes.

But the thing about waves, is that even though they can be destructive, they can also be spectacular.

So, I think that it’s okay to make waves in our lives, but we have to decide which kind they will be.

 

Inspired

I always go to the movies purely for entertainment. I’ve never gone to a movie where I’ve left inspired about my future.

But after watching On the Basis of Sex on Saturday, I couldn’t wait to be a lawyer.

The movie was based off the life of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She was the top of her class at both Harvard’s and Columbia’s law schools, but she wasn’t allowed to practice law in New York City solely on the basis that she was a woman during this time.

The story followed her through her first case following a male who wanted a care giver tax deduction, but the law stated that only women or widowed men could be care givers.

This case was the spark that started a series of changes in laws contributing to giving women their rights, many cases won by RBG herself.

Photo Credit: Rottentomatoes.com

Ginsberg went from a lawyer fighting sex-based discrimination against people who wouldn’t listen to being a Supreme Court justice with a 96-3 vote from Congress.

If that’s not inspirational for a young female and aspiring lawyer, then I don’t know what is.

Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. I would make up cases and make my family act as the other lawyers and defendants. I went to a mock trial program at UCLA over the summer and most of my daydreams lately have been about excelling in law school.

I’m pretty sure I’m more excited for law school than I am for college.

Watching that movie made me excited for my future, excited to live in NYC, and excited practice law and work on influential cases.

So, thank you RBG. I hope to follow in your footsteps on the path you’ve helped create.

a thank you letter

I want to say thank you to my body.

Photo Credit: thisiscolossal.com, Raija Jokinen

I’m thankful for my feet and for all of the blisters and calluses they’ve endured, simply because they’ve kept me grounded.

I’m thankful for my legs, because even though sometimes I think they are too short, they are strong. My legs have carried me across miles, mountains, and everything in between.

I’m thankful for my stomach, my back. I am thankful for my chest, because it protects my lungs and my heart.

I’m thankful for my arms, no matter how much I hate the way they look in tank tops, because they help me lift myself back up.

I’m thankful for my shoulders, the same ones that I used to think were too broad and boyish, for always keeping my head up.

And lastly, I’m thankful for my head. Although it isn’t always level, it houses my brain and all of the thoughts that are constantly buzzing around in it.

We spend too much time hating our bodies. It is easier to find things we don’t like about ourselves than it is to find things we do like. We can’t control the way we look, but we can control how we feel about ourselves.

And even though it’s hard sometimes, I think we should all try to thank our bodies every once in a while.

We need to be kinder to ourselves, kinder to our bodies. We deserve that.

My body isn’t perfect, but it has gotten me this far. And I’m so thankful for that.

New Year, Improved Me

I started off 2018 with so many resolutions. I was going to lose weight and gain abs, keep straight A’s, save up all my money to go traveling, and I fulfilled none of those resolutions.

Because, whenever I make New Year’s resolutions, I make them so they’re far beyond my reach in such a small time. When I make huge goals, I get disappointed when I don’t reach them in a short time, so I end up quitting along the way.

So, in 2019, I won’t make grand wishes for myself. I’ll make small ones and I’ll keep adding to those small ones until I get the results I want.

Photo Credit: vox.com

I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions, but I do have small goals for myself I hope to continue through the year:

Write in my diary. I started writing in a journal at the beginning of 12th grade when I was feeling down, but I suddenly stopped when life got better. I don’t want to stop. I want to write about everything that excites, depresses, or even angers me. But I don’t expect to write in it every day because I get busy or just tend to forget, but I hope to grab my journal and write anything and everything whenever I remember.

Eat healthier. This doesn’t mean I’m gonna completely cut out junk food from my life. I’m still gonna eat my favorite candy and journalism snacks and stop at In-N-Out when I leave LAX. But I’ll also add more vegetables to my plate and avoid gluten when I can. I’ll add better foods to my diet without necessarily taking away all the bad ones.

Dedicate a little more time to playing guitar and piano.

Be more inclusive with my friends.

Work out more. Not full work outs at the gym, but small ones before bed. Sit ups, stretches, squats, etc. all while watching Netflix or talking over the phone with my friends.

Live life in the moment. I want to go to concerts and dance and sing my heart out in the back instead of hoping to be at the front for that one Instagram photo just to prove I was there. Laugh in the moment instead of worrying about the potentially inexistent consequences of the future. Wear the outfit I thought was cute though I don’t necessarily think I look cute in it. Find people who want to be with me instead of waiting on those who don’t. And live.

2019 isn’t a new year for a new me, but it is a new year for an improved me and that’s what I hope to do.