no means no

I’ve always been very solid in my own mind of what I do and don’t want. I used to be pretty passive aggressive about how I communicated this to others, which led them to believe that I was flakey. I would commit to things I knew from the beginning that I didn’t want to do, then back out on it at the last minute with a lame excuse. Or I would just ignore texts or phone calls and pretend I never got them. I’m truly sorry if that every happened to you.

These days, however (and for quite awhile now) I am much more comfortable in my skin and in my own desires. And I share those much better. Now, if I don’t answer your call or text or if I cancel plans on you, it is actually legitimate. I really do have a cold right now that I would rather not pass on to the people I love who have to go to work every day, so I am not going to a Girl’s Night with my favorite girls in the world tonight. And that’s ok. When I didn’t call you back 3 weeks ago, it was because my phone was on the fritz.

Strangely, most people would rather accept my flakey side than my opinionated side. Somehow, it was easier for people to believe that I was inherently unreliable, rather than someone who knows her own mind.

Common answers when I say something along the lines of “I’d rather not”:

What you say: “Come on, it’ll be a lot more fun than watching Netflix!”

What I hear: I think you are boring and maybe a bit depressed.

What you say: “How would you know you don’t want to?”

What I hear: You are not intelligent enough to understand your own tastes.

What you say: “Pleeeeeeease??”

What I hear: I’m too insecure to do anything alone and I need you to come with me.

I understand that these are not usually people’s intentions, but I do not like when people try to convince me to do something that I know I don’t want to do. I do plenty of not boring things that most people don’t know about. I just happen to know who and what I am interested in and I am ok with that. I don’t like when people try to convince me to watch a movie I know I am not interested in. I don’t like when a boy tries to convince me to date him after I have turned him down. I don’t like when someone tells me that I will like sushi and disregards that I have tried it many times.

No means no isn’t just about rape, although that is a very important issue. It is also about people not respecting other people and the fact that we can all make up our own mind about things. So stop trying to convince me to do what you want to do with no regard for what I want to do. Chances are, I will make myself very clear about what I want and if I change my mind (which I am allowed to do) I will do so on my own and without your help.

Be free, little penguin.

philosophy for a happy life

If you have an extra 15 minutes today, you should watch this. It brought up a lot of thoughts in my head.

This 17 year old boy, Sam Berns, has the rare disease of progeria. He passed away Friday night, but he knew more about living a happy life than I think most of us do. His philosophy made me step back and think about my own life.

1. Be ok with what you ultimately can’t do, because there is so much that you CAN do. 

I grew up without a lot of money. And now I’m a poor college student. A lot of the time I think about how frustrating it is that I can’t always do what I want, whether it is traveling or buying new clothes or going out to eat or buying a million more books. Really, though, I can do so much that the things I can’t do don’t matter. I live in a beautiful state that I can explore more of. I know how to knit and sew and can make really great stuff. I can cook really well thanks to my mom’s good example. And live 10 minutes away from 3 (three!!) amazing libraries.

2. Surround yourself with people you want to be around.

It took me a long time to learn this one well. Now, I don’t spend time with people who bring me down. I would rather be alone. (Honestly, I’m great company and spend plenty of time with myself, so it’s not that big a deal.) I have incredible friends (here’s to you: Tiffani, Joey, Talana, Matt, everyone I work with at the Boy’s School… the list goes on!) I’ve learned the value of family. I want to be with them more than anyone. There is no one who loves me or supports me better. And there is no one else I would rather spend forever with than them.

3. Keep moving forward

Have a goal in mind. For me, currently, it’s finishing my undergrad, moving home, then getting my MSW. Those are driving forces that encourage me each day to keep working towards what I want. In addition, the gospel of Jesus Christ keeps me moving in the right direction and I will forever be grateful for everything good in my life because of it.

Obviously I’m not perfect at these things, and I have plenty of bad days. But overall I have never been happier.

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{happy ol me about a year ago in a shirt that I made. so crafty!}

Nostalgia

Last night, as I was driving home on the interstate from a night of babysitting, I found myself not wanting to get off at my usual exit, but to just keep going. And going and going and going… All the way to Los Angeles.

Maybe it was the kind of night it was. The snow was falling and it was foggy. It reminded me of driving on a snowy night listening to Sigur 3.

Maybe it was the time of year. I went to L.A. in February last year and had so much fun with friends and Disneyland.

Maybe it was the music I was listening to. It took me back to what my life was like one year ago.


Whatever it was, I didn’t want to stop. Then I remembered that I have commitments. Because I guess I’m a grown up or something.

The point is, sometimes I miss how it was a year ago. I miss a lot of things. And it’s ok that those things are over, I never thought they would last forever. But they sure were wonderful while they were happening. And I miss them sometimes. I miss feeling comfortable and content. I missed having companionship.

I came across this quote and it feels like it describes me perfectly right now.

“I am a lover without a lover. I am lovely and lonely and I belong deeply to myself.”

-Warsan Shire

 

It is not a bad place to be. I am very happy and comfortable and content. But in a different way. There is still a longing for the way things used to be that can never be again. And that is ok. Because I can look back on the times that were and be happy that they were then and miss them, while still being happy that this is now.

I am a person, so I am a complicated bundle of emotions. I embrace that.

growing up

For the past 6 years, I have happily lived in Utah. I haven’t wanted to go back home, besides the occasional visit. This past Christmas however, brought about a really big change for me. I really want to move back home.

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It’s taken me so long to finish school. And I still have a little bit left. I don’t regret this. It’s been an amazing journey with some pretty important stops along the way. I’ve learned a lot and I love who I am today. I’m a little bit better than I was a few months ago. And I am certainly a lot better than I was 6 years ago.

I’ve learned how to be more honest–with myself and with everyone around me. I still struggle a little bit. I don’t really like to be vulnerable and sometimes I hide myself a lot.

I’ve learned how to be stronger. I’ve dealt with a lot in the past few years and I’ve dealt with the majority of it on my own, sometimes by choice and sometimes because there isn’t always someone there to pick up the pieces. And I’ve learned how to be strong enough to let others lean on me when they need it.

I’ve learned how to be more independent and to take care of myself without relying on relationships. I don’t stay in relationships because I am scared to be alone. I’ve learned to love to be alone and to embrace this time with myself.

I’ve learned how to love myself with all my flaws and to look in the mirror and genuinely believe that I am worth everything good and that I am pretty awesome.

I’ve learned that I have shortcomings and it is ok to admit those and seek help.

I’ve learned that I have ADHD and I am not just stupid and lazy, but that I need a little bit of extra help focusing and being less impulsive. (And my grades have shot up, which is the best thing ever.)

I don’t think I would be who I am today without all my wonderful/difficult/tragic/incredible experiences. I have a long way to go and I am really excited for that.

I feel confident that the next part of my journey is going home to Florida. I want to be with my family a lot. I don’t know when it will be, but I do know it will be within the year (unless something drastic happens…) and I look forward to the next step.

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[there is some great person wandering around Provo leaving these messages on the sidewalks. i adore them.]

Violently Happy

Last night I was listening to some music in the shower.
I always listen to music in the shower.
 Ever since I lived with Heather and she taught me what a delight it is.
And I was so sore from running.
Sometimes I get carried away when I am running. 
After 3 miles it just starts feeling so good that I don’t stop and then the next day I regret having run for an hour and half. 
But the shower is so hot.
And the water pressure is just right.
And with a great soundtrack?
Bliss.
But I digress.
Last night I was listening to Florence and the Machine.
And there is this one song, 
The Dog Days Are Over
that always makes me stop and think.
“Happiness hit her like a bullet in the back.”
I love that.
I love the violence of the metaphor.
A bullet is so quick, so sudden, so devastating, and has such a profound impact, not just physically, but on one’s entire life.
You don’t get hit by a bullet and the next day go back to never having been hit by a bullet.
No.
It hits you and you feel it in your entire body.
And the result is lasting.
Now think about it in terms of happiness.
To be hit by happiness so suddenly, so violently, so consumingly.
And in the back?
So unexpectedly. 
I like to think that there are a few moments like this in life.
When you find the love of your life.
When you have a baby.
When you look at someone you love with your whole heart.
When you catch a glimpse into eternity and understand who you are and why you are here.

Hopeless//Hopeful

A few days ago, as one of the kids I work with left, my friend turned to me.
He told me through his tears,
“I helped raise him.”
I am blessed to be a part of a work where I help raise children.
And it is glorious.
The hard part is when the work that we do is not enough.
Sometimes it is.
Sometimes we watch them grow up and be incredible successful.
And we get to be a huge part of that.
Sometimes no matter what we do, it is not enough.
I wish that it was.
The hardest part of my job is not being able to help everyone.
I believe in what I am doing.
I believe that it works.
I have seen lives change.
But for the few that it seemingly does so little for?
It hurts too much to dwell on for too long.
It makes me feel powerless.
And hopeless.

But I have to trust that they will still be taken care of. 
I have to trust that the Lord has a plan and He knows what He is doing.
Because I do not always understand.
And I need to be hopeful.
Sometimes it is all I have.