What I’m Grateful For

So many things happened in 2018. Shootings, wildfires, and many other tragic events. In the midst of all the chaos and catastrophe the world is facing right now, it’s the small things in life that make me the most thankful and make life enjoyable.

My horse who always waits for me at the end of the school day.

For my roommate, who deals with me screaming in confusion and frustration at Criminal Minds and who also deals with my annoying rants and constant requests for food.

Being able to go home after being away at boarding school and knowing it wasn’t destroyed by the California fires.

For my friends, who are always there for me even if I’m not the nicest friend at times.

Seeing my top three favorite bands in only three months.

And that all those bands have recently released new music.

Opening up my mail box and seeing my first college acceptance.

Getting a $20,000 annual scholarship for that accepted school.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Seeing my dog when I drive back home today, knowing that he’ll be wagging his tail and running towards me when I arrive.

Still being really close friends with the girls from my old school.

That my back fracture doesn’t affect me from riding.

In two months, I’ll be eighteen years old.

The stars that put me to sleep and the sun that wakes me up.

For broadway musicals, that it’s almost been one year since I’ve seen Hamilton.

For living so close to Disneyland and living on the beach.

For getting to learn something new every day.

For becoming a better version of myself every day.

For finally accepting myself for every physical quirk, every mental flaw and knowing that my days where I’m at rock bottom last temporarily. That when those days end, there are still so many things I can be thankful for.

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Making an Impact by Reducing It

I saw this tweet a few days ago and I think it is something we all need to be more concerned with.

And, it’s not just about climate change, it’s about everything involving the environment. We’ve done a lot of damage. When it comes to bettering our environment, it’s too late for preventative measures. We’re just playing catch up now.

Sometimes it’s hard to do the right thing. We’re so used to living the way that we do, it’s not always easy to put the planet first.

If you want to reduce your impact or help the planet but don’t know how, here are a few things you can try implementing into your routine:

Photo Credit: pinterest.com
  • Say no to plastic. The next time you eat out, tell your server you don’t need straws. Especially, if it’s fast food. There is no reason for you to take a lid and a straw for your drink. Buy glass bottles instead of plastic ones – they’re easier to recycle. If you’re planning on eating out, bring reusable containers to take left overs home.
  • Be mindful of product packaging. For example, buy bar soap instead of liquid soap. This can include shampoos and conditioners; there are plenty of eco-friendly options that don’t use plastic packaging. Don’t buy anything with excessive packaging. Cardboard or paper packages are the best options. Buy in bulk as much as you can.
  • Buy second hand. I understand that, from time to time, it’s nice to treat yourself to a new item and that’s fine. But, for the most part, you can find everything you need at thrift stores and you’ll save money too. There are also plenty of websites where you can buy used items (for those of you who like online shopping).
  • Keep it local. Shop at farmer’s markets and support local businesses. Buy produce that is in season. This reduces the distances that items need to be transported and causes less fuel emissions.
  • Don’t waste food. Shop for groceries using a list and only buy what you need. Don’t cook more food than you can eat. It is better to have no leftovers at all, but, if you do, try to actually eat them later.

If you’re looking for more ways to reduce your impact, do some research. There is so much information out there that can help us be better.

I’m not perfect. I try my best to be conscious of everything I do and the impact it will have, but I still have a lot of ways in which I could be better.

To some people, conservation might seem like a hopeless cause. But as long as we’re trying, if each day we do one more thing that reduces our impact, then, there is still hope.

Polaroids

On the center of the granite countertop of the mini bar in my grandparents’ house, a home I spent the majority of my childhood in, sits a single polaroid. In that polaroid is a picture of me as a little girl, food all over my face with my dog right in front of me.

That is the only photo I have from my childhood and I can barely remember the story behind the photo. Now, it makes me wonder how many memories I’m missing out on because I can’t remember. This is also because I have no photos to revamp my memory.

I have no photos of myself with long hair, with my parents, or pictures of my dogs. All I have are my memories; the ones blurred between the lines of trauma and bliss that was my childhood, the ones I desperately want to forget and remember all at once.

Photo Credit: theverge.com

It’s terrifying that I have such a clear memory of the smallest details nowadays, but I can’t even remember the details of my parents’ faces. The little things in life that were defining aspects of my day to day life as a kid are blurred images in my mind today.

All I would have are these photos, but I don’t even have those.

Now, I have an abundance of videos and photos piling up in my Snapchat memories and phones new and old holding numbers of concert videos that I barely look at anymore. Videos that I refuse to give up, in case I want to look back on them and smile. I have photo albums filled with developed photos, polaroids from prom and random nights with friends, lining the shelves of the desk in my dorm room.

Some people say you need to live in the moment, to put your phone away and let your mind keep the images. But, I can’t. I don’t take photos and shaky videos to post them on my social media; I take them so I can hold on to the memories forever in the literal palm of my hand.

I have no photos from my childhood. Not a single one. Not in a photo album, on my phone, but I wish I did. As much as I try to forget everything from my life before I was ten, I wish the memories weren’t becoming just memories. I wish I could hold on to a photograph and relive the moment all over again.

But, that’s why I take photos all the time through the lens of three different cameras. So in thirty years, I can look back with a clear image and not just rely on the one in my head.

A Letter to My Favorite Band

Photo Credit: CelebMix.com

 

Dear All Time Low,

I know it’s cheesy when fans say you saved their lives, but here’s a fan saying it once more.

You saved my life.

Figuratively. Never once in my life have I contemplated ending it all, but what I mean is that your band has made all the rock bottom moments easier to go through.

I’m supposed to be the one who has it easy. The girl from a well off, supportive family who wants me to succeed. The one with no financial issues, boy drama, or grief. If only that had always been the case in my life.

But, because of it, that’s all I’m allowed to be. The girl who has it easy and who shouldn’t be sad, because what do I have to be sad about? That’s why I don’t tell my friends anything, because I’m supposed to be the happy one.

But, that’s why I feel saved by you and your music. When I put my earphones in at the end of the day, the layers of thick skin I put on to build a barricade around myself falls down. I’m finally myself; every flawed, fragile, and delicate piece of myself free to be the real me when I listen to “Missing You” or “Therapy”.

It’s not just the music, though. It’s the community you’ve created for me and every single fan you have. I’m thankful for the concerts you perform, because I would’ve never been able to meet girls there who I’ve spilled more secrets to than the friends I’ve had for years now because I felt so safe.

Thank you for making me feel safe.

When I met you guys July 7th, 2017, I didn’t say everything I wanted to. Partly because I only had thirty seconds with you guys and partly because I was too shocked about the fact that I was finally meeting my favorite people in this world to even formulate a sentence beyond a simple “thank you”.

So, here’s the truth.

Thank you for making such amazing music. Songs that inspired me to learn guitar, lyrics that I want to get tattooed when I’m older, and music that will always stay on my playlist no matter how many times I change the music I listen to.

Thank you for being there through it all. When my parents died, when I went to boarding school for the first time, when my school burned down, and when I felt abandoned and alone in this rapidly changing world; the one thing that has remained constant in my life is your music.

Thank you for creating the best fan base in the world. The ones that held me up, literally, when I went crowdsurfing for the first time during your set at Warped Tour and for the ones I screamed and cried with when “Therapy” was performed.

Thank you for making every moment obsessing over your band the best moments of my life.

I’ve written many letters throughout the years to many different people, but I didn’t know how to begin or end this one. The reason is that no words could truly explain the  impact you’ve had on me, my happiness, and my life.

“It’s just a band” most people say, but you’re not just a band.

You’re my band.

My favorite band and even in thirty years, when my music taste is completely different from what it is now, you’ll still be my favorite band.

So, I’ll end this letter the way I started it.

Thank you All Time Low…

You saved my life.

My Tuesday Run

Image from redbirdhills.com

In cross county, my coaches always remind us that the sport has as much to do with mental strength as it does physical strength.

With that in mind, I’d like to invite you to come running with me – for the mental part, at least.

Here’s what a few miles look like inside of my head.

Mile 1:
Don’t start too fast, just get warmed up.
It’s hot today, but not as bad as it usually is. The gravel crunches beneath my shoes. We reach a little bit of downhill.
I hear my coach’s voice: “Let gravity do the work.”
Get your breathing back. Drop your arms. Shake it out.
The road in front of us curves up a long hill. It’s steep.
Slow it down. What hurts worse, lungs or legs? Legs. I can breathe still.
My calves tighten the farther up we climb. I count my steps between each exhale. We’re running in 4/4 time. I inhale on the 1st beat, exhale through 2, 3, 4.

Mile 2:
Sweat drips down my forehead. I wipe it off with my shirt.
Take it easy now.
My breathing is steady – that’s good. My left calf hurts more than my right. The opposite of yesterday.
This hill is a bitch. Settle in, we’ll be here for a while.
It hurts.

Mile 3:
Keep your arms down. Breathe.
The road settles and is flat for a while.
You’re not tired, it just hurts.

Mile 4:
What hurts worse, lungs or legs? Both. You’re not tired, you just can’t breathe. There’s a difference.
The next two miles are steady uphill.
Use your arms! The harder you work the faster you’ll be done.

Mile 5:
This hill is a BITCH.
My ragged breathing is louder than my shoes on the pavement. Sweat covers my whole body. My arms ache from pumping and the muscles in my legs feel like they’re made of both cement and water at the same time. My mouth is so dry that when I touch my tongue to the roof of my mouth it sticks.
Eyes up, on the road. So close. I feel awful.
I can’t breathe. The smell of wood chips in the orchard makes me want to puke. Push.
Everything hurts.

The Finish:
I jog past the green gate the marking the end of the road, the end of the run. My left foot leaves the pavement and lands on grass and the right follows.
Don’t sit down. Breathe.
As I walk back and forth beneath the oak trees, my lungs start to settle down. The tension in my legs slowly fades, first easing up in my quads and then from my calves.
My breathing returns to normal. I’m not hurting anymore.
I just ran five miles.
I feel good.

 

Bucketlist

There’s so many things to do when life is so short, but here’s a list of thirty things I want to do at some point in my life.

  1. Study abroad.
  2. Go train-hopping through Europe.
  3. Sing on stage during “Time Bomb” with All Time Low.
  4. Volunteer at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand.
  5. Snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef.
  6. Cliff dive.
  7. Go skydiving.
  8. Write a song.
  9. Solve a mystery.
  10. Go to a college football game.
  11. See Phantom of the Opera.
  12. Get my driver’s license.
  13. Jump four feet on a horse.
  14. Start a meme.
  15. Go to Tomorrowland/Nocturnal Wonderland.
  16. Go on an African Safari.
  17. Get a tattoo.
  18. Fall in love.
  19. Graduate from law school.
  20. Go down a black diamond slope snowboarding (successfully).
  21. Go to a masquerade ball.
  22. Live in New York City.
  23. Learn a third language.
  24. Go on a road trip across the country.
  25. Sit on someone’s shoulders during a concert.
  26. Become flexible.
  27. Learn how to ice skate.
  28. Get a dog.
  29. Write a book.
  30. Do karaoke in public.
Photo Credit: dazesummit.com

My Little Journal

So many things I can’t say out loud.

So many things I want no one to know, but I want everyone to know at the same time. I want to scream them out into the void and have someone find my words and listen. A complete stranger, one who won’t judge me, though, I wouldn’t really care if they did.

I have so many things I want to write out. Emotions, frustrations… life. But, I can’t formulate the words to say to the people I want to listen, nor can I figure out how to write them on here.

So, I bought a journal. A small, leather journal that I write all my thoughts into.

I tried journaling a number of times in the past, but it only lasted two days maximum. Now, I can’t put my journal down. I write and write, sometimes words of gibberish, but they fill pages of my thoughts, pouring out of the pencil and onto the lined pages.

Now, I make sure to grab my journal and pen every night before I go to bed and I write. I write until my fingers feel numb and the lead wears down.

I guess it feels nice having an outlet to express myself. One that feels like I’m talking to many, when, in reality, I’m the only one who gets to read it. It makes me feel safe and exposed all at once, a type of feeling I never thought would be so rejuvenating.

Photo Credit: Favim.com