I had an epiphany of sorts last week while packing my one bedroom apartment for my upcoming move, and watching Pretty in Pink for the 1,546th time. Like most people, I have always been caught up in the idea of finding happiness. If I get the perfect date to prom I will be happy; If I leave my small town I will be happy; If I get a college education and a decent paying job I will be happy; If I have a husband and children I will be happy; If I have a great apartment I will be happy; If I reach my goal weight I will be happy. I must do X,Y,Z to be happy!
As I packed up what is left of my memories of the first 33 years of life, and contemplated why Andie would ever choose Blane over Duckie, I realized something that never occurred to me before — happiness has always been within me. This might not be groundbreaking for some, but I have spent so much time focusing on worry, stress, and heartbreak that I hadn’t really allowed myself to see the beauty in the little things until very recently. It’s still hard for me to admit that I suffer from depression and anxiety. I don’t think I ever realized how badly I was suffering until I wasn’t suffering anymore. I thought those feelings were normal; that if I couldn’t have exactly what I wanted, and control every aspect of my life, I would never be happy. Think about that for a minute. It was, and still is, exhausting.
I realize finding happiness within yourself is not a new concept; I’ve seen the inspirational quotes on Tumblr. But it didn’t really resonate with me until I looked back over all my memories, both painful and happy, and realized that if I don’t enjoy life, moment by moment, I am going to miss it. Life doesn’t start when you attain every goal you ever laid out for yourself, it starts when you’re born. Unfortunately, I wasn’t born into a very happy time for my family and I think on some level that burden always sat with me. Once we get over *this* life struggle, things will be happy. But life struggles never really cease. It’s the moments in-between, or the unexpected joys that come from those struggles, that make up our happiness.
It’s my baby book that nobody ever filled out;
It’s the first CD I ever owned;
It’s embarrassing pictures of my friends from middle school;
It’s that time, “I Got Absolutely Pissed” in London in 1994;
It’s the fortune at the bottom of this Bazooka Joe wrapper that I found pertinent at the time;
It’s this family Christmas when we all had really bad hair but were all still together;
It’s a day that brought America together;
It’s the memories from my first wedding;
It’s a random sombrero;
It’s an undeveloped water camera from our trip to Belize;
It’s this last birthday card I ever received from my grandmother;
It’s this pack of condoms from 2004 that, for whatever reason, were never necessary;
It’s all the days we spent together on the beach before she passed away;
It’s whatever I was doing in this picture;
It’s my new extended family;
It’s so many other moments in life that seemed minute at the time but still bring a smile to my face. Now that I realize that, I want to slow down this life and enjoy every god-damn second of it. I am so lucky to have such carrying, forgiving people in my life, hobbies that a love, a stable job, and so many other wonderful things I may not even realize in this moment. I hope I can maintain this outlook for as long as humanly possible.
I’ve been wanting to blog about female friendship for a while now, but I’ve always had trouble articulating exactly how I felt on the topic. Yesterday I read a tweet from @SassyMarmalade that helped me realize what it is I wanted to convey. She said, “When a girl says that she’s not good at being friends with other girls…you should probably listen to her.” I have no idea what the tweet was in reference to, but the root of it is; there are women out there who attempt to separate themselves from the rest of their gender by making generalized statements about not being friends with other women. I think my frustration comes from two things a) I suspect these women say this to make themselves seem superior to other women and/or more appealing to the male sex and b) if that really is the case then they’re missing out on forming relationships with some really wonderful human beings. I would not trade, or belittle, my female friendships for the world.
Furthermore, why would someone intentionally ostracize an entire gender – particularly their own? What makes one woman different from the other women they claim to have nothing in common with? Do they think they’re the only one who likes to drink whiskey or watch organized sports? I mean, have you been on Twitter lately? Different is the new normal. And if said person contends they don’t get along with other women because they’re dramatic, or emotional, or crazy hormonally-imbalanced human life forms, isn’t this just buying into a stereotype?
We don’t only like shopping, or gossiping about boys, or planning weddings, or whatever it is that makes one woman think they’re better than the rest. We have depth. We like fashion and politics and sports and science and all sorts of other non-stereotypical things. We’re even allowed to vote now!
In truth, have I encountered women that I can’t stand to be around? — By Gods yes. But I’d argue that there are, most likely, just as many men. And get this; I have great guy friends too! Sometimes I want to have a burger, and a beer, and watch a football game and – shocker; so do LOTS of other women. What I’m saying is, God dammit, stop making generalized statements about our own kind! There are beautiful, intelligent, talented, diverse women out there just waiting to prove you wrong. They can probably beat you at arm wrestling too.
This weekend as the second part of my personal yoga journey I set out with my friend Dave of J. David Photography to capture some yoga poses in nature. For our first photo shoot together we ventured to the Virginia side of Great Falls Park early(ish) Sunday morning – though probably not as early as Dave would have liked. It should be noted that if you’re attempting any sort of alone time/meditation/peace, it cannot be accomplished in Great Falls after 11:00AM on a weekend. In an attempt to avoid as many people as possible we hiked a couple miles just north of the overlook area, which is much less populated. The foliage on this April weekend was not as green and lush as either of us had hoped, but the weather was spectacular.
The shoot itself proved challenging for me. This was my first attempt at yoga on uneven ground in any formal capacity and I wasn’t nearly as capable as my ego would have liked. It’s also less than peaceful to have a camera in your face while trying to hold a pose – as you can tell by my apparent scowl in most of the pictures. My modeling career obviously would have been short lived. It was a bit frustrating until I became comfortable with my surroundings and reminded myself that yoga isn’t about perfection. Here are a few of my favorite shots and poses from the shoot.
I call this one Tree on a tree. I was literally standing on a fallen tree branch. WHY AM I SO SERIOUS!?
Side Plank – Dave did some pretty cool black-n-white/lightening effect with this one, (that’s the technical term). It’s one of my favorites.
Meditation – Ok, so I’m fake meditating for the photo, but how peaceful do these surroundings look?
Warrior One Overlooking the Falls. I’m channeling The Seven.
Wild Thing — You make my heart sing.
Dancer Facing the Falls — One of my favorite yoga poses.
Tri-pod Headstand Variation – How can you not smile when your crotch is in someone’s face? #TWSS
Side Crow – I love, love, love any pose that challenges arm strength.
Twisting Down Dog — Twisting out the margaritas from Saturday.
Headstand Pike – It’s a really fun pose to practice and great for the abs!
As you can tell from the progression of the photos, once I started to have fun with it I felt more at ease with the process. Still, there were a few positions that I can do on a mat that I had difficultly holding for a camera, such as Hummingbird or any handstand variation really. I do have some pretty gnarly bruises from my multiple attempts though — so that’s something. Hopefully, if we venture out again I will have had time to work on these more challenging poses. And maybe we can find some flat ground to work with!
All in all, I am happy with the results and I had a great time challenging myself. Thanks again to Dave for his patience and awesome photography skills. I can’t wait to see how he does at my Mom’s wedding next month.
Peace, love, and #alltheinversions,
My first guest post on Nerdysomething!
GUEST POST by Ms. Robin West – Lover of all things blonde, pint-sized, and witty.
Let me start by saying, I’m not really a nerd in the typical sense. Wikipedia, (where I get all my facts), defines nerd as, “a person, typically described as being overly intellectual, obsessive, or socially impaired. They may spend inordinate amounts of time on unpopular, obscure, or non-mainstream activities, which are generally either highly technical or relating to topics of fiction or fantasy, to the exclusion of more mainstream activities.”
I am not socially impaired, nor do I play video games or relate to anything “highly technical.” Actually, that terminology scares me. What I can relate to is that I obsess, a lot. When I stumble upon something I really like it consumes me entirely for as long as it can hold my attention. Depending how well written the content, the obsession could be days…
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