the story behind the picture

warning: this is not the most articulate nor put together post I’ve written, but it is just too ridiculous not to publish. And I kinda like it the way it is, so. 

Most things aren’t what they seem. Especially on social media. I’ve written about this topic often and it’s something that I think needs to be brought up often. We live in an age where we text rather than call. We “like” a friend’s new life event rather than actually catching up and talking with them. We post relationship status updates like anyone really cares. We care too goddamn much about things that are not important. Like at all. Listen, I miss the days where our phones had real keyboards and social media was this new weird new thing that only weird people partook in. Or even when we had to press the 5 button three times to get the letter we needed to type out. Let’s go back even farther, I miss the days where we went to the store to develop the pictures we took on our disposable cameras because we were too young and couldn’t afford the new fancy digital cameras. THOSE were the best.

One time I lost my phone, ok not so much lost it. I left it at a bar the previous night before and couldn’t get it back until they opened later in the afternoon the next day. But let me tell you, I remember that day vividly, even without documenting it with pictures or staying in “the know” on my socials, or even knowing what time it was. I remember sitting at a table at a coffee shop and actually looking around. I didn’t feel that burning need to fumble around with my phone to keep busy, and sometimes I get jealous of that feeling. 

Anyway, what I’m trying to get at is real life is not our “social” life, and that social media is truly a whole lot of BS. I recently moved to a new city and I’ve been using social media more than I usually do, posting about places that I visit, mostly coffee shops that I go to write at. But the picture only shows so much, which really isn’t much. It’s really not that important to me, nor really to anyone else. But it is kinda fun documenting the places I go to, so, whatever. (You see the vicious cycle?) 

I want to tell you about the day I had today at a coffee shop I went to because honestly, it was just too ridiculous.

So, I get to this coffee shop that has awesome outdoor seating. It’s really nice out so I wanted to go somewhere where I could be outside. I’m really excited to find a picnic table off in the corner under some shade. The place isn’t really busy at all, but the sun is pretty hot so it’s nice to find some cover. My table is also under a large tree and next to some cool ivy and leaves along the fence. Anyways, I’m sitting here writing, sipping on an iced coffee. I soon realize that my ankles have become very itchy, so I pull my legs up and sit cross-legged. Then, I realize my back is getting itchy, I’m wearing a cropped top.  I am getting eaten alive by mosquitos. Why the hell are there mosquitos right now, I think. Stubborn and wanting to stay outside, I throw a light sweater that I brought on. I don’t want to leave this place, or move tables. This is literally the best table out of the sun. I continue to write, very aware of my itchy feet and ankles. After a while, I feel hungry and decide to order myself some food. When my food is brought out to my table I’m VERY happily surprised by the enormous size of my sandwich. If you know me, you understand.

This is when the story gets even better. I go to take a bite of my sandwich and I am quite literally swarmed by flies. At first, it’s just a few, maybe 3 or 4. But they are persistent bastards. Annoyed, I lay my napkin over the rest of my ginormous sandwich as I continue to casually take bites while writing. Soon more fly buddies surround me. I am swatting them away, trying to take bites of my sandwich realizing I’m getting crumbs all over my laptop keys from the swatting. There has got to be like 10 flies flying around me. I decide it’s best to close up my laptop and just finish my sandwich before I start to write again. Originally, I wanted to take my time eating and write at the same time. But these fucking flies, oh my God. I decide to lay a single salt and vinegar chip at the other end of the table hoping to allude some of them over there. Realizing this may not be enough incentive, I place my pickle spear next to the chip. They MUST want this, I think. It’s probably the most fragrant thing on my plate, anyway, I’m not a pickle person. I wait for a minute, taking bites of the quarter of my sandwich watching to see if the chip and pickle scam work. It does not. Maybe one or two flies are attracted to it, but it’s like the flies are talking to each other and inviting more of their friends over to me. I have flies landing on my fingers as I go in to take a bite. I’m looking around to see if any of the other tables are having the same issue. They are not. Granted, there are only a few other occupied tables and not all of them have food. I’m thankful that I’m tucked away in the corner so people don’t notice me flailing my arms and swearing at these goddamn flies.

Like I said, my sandwich is huge. It is cut up in 4 large sections and each section has 3 pieces of toast in it. AND, it’s pretty darn toasted. I try to eat it quickly, but the top of my mouth quickly gets completely cut up. I start to feel a bit helpless. I decide to Google how to ward off flies, and I found several suggestions. Most do not pertain to what I have available to me. However, I do find that flies don’t like certain essential oils such as eucalyptus and lavender. I usually carry peppermint oil in my purse, which I know is not eucalyptus, but I figure it’s close enough. Can’t find it. Damn. Ok, hmm, I do have some Purell. Thinking, ok, maybe they won’t like the alcohol scent, I give it a shot. I rub some into my hands, but no, I need to take measures further. I drop small gobs of it onto the thin napkin that is covering my sandwich. Then I squirt more into my hands and try to flick it around the table. Gah, I probably looked nuts.

I’m sitting there just hoping it works. The hand flicking did momentarily ward some flies away. Ok, awesome, I’m so clever, I think.

Well, that was a very short lived thought. The flies are back almost immediately. I sit there, STILL with the first quarter of my sandwich in hand, on the verge of a frustration outburst. I dig back into my purse to see what else I have. I find my EOS peppermint lip balm, you know the sphere-shaped kind. I twist it open and lay it next to my sandwich. Nope. A fly lands right next to it. I put it back. Then almost too excitedly, I find an empty container that held these tea tree chewing sticks (toothpicks.) I think, YES, I found my answer. Tea tree has a strong scent. This seems to work, kinda. The flies don’t like landing on it, but they still manage to fly over it and onto my Purell saturated napkin which is still covering my sandwich. I also find some lotion I took from a hotel that seems to have a lavender scent. I rub that on my hands, on my napkin, and a little on the outside of my plate before I leave it open with a little squeezed out next to my sandwich.

I have done my best. I’m sitting here surrounded by random items from my purse, hands reeking of Purell and lavender with a tore up mouth and itchy feet.

Holy hell. I give up and let it just be. I try to eat my sandwich quickly, and just let the flies swarm me. I watch as they mock me while landing in the puddles of Purell happily.

Eventually, I take my last bite. I pick up the chip and pickle at the end of the table and put them back on my plate. I’m pretty sure I let out a loud “alright, that’s done,” get up and put my dish away into the dish tub outside.

I wipe all the crumbs away from me, and just like that the flies disappear. I sit there and write for probably another hour, unbothered by any more flies. By hour 2 though, my ankles have become increasingly itchier. Even though I am in a good rhythm with my writing, I decide it is just time to leave.

And that’s that. If you only saw the nice happy picture I took and posted on my Instagram, you would never have known everything that went behind it.

And that is social media, folks.

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Transparency, baby. Texas is HOT

I’m sitting on the front patio of a coffee shop because every spot inside is taken. Upon sitting down, I can already feel the perspiration above my upper lip start to accumulate. I’ve already had enough coffee this morning, and the small sips I take of the cold brew I just ordered are making my foot shake more than usual.

Never would I thought that I would be living in Texas. Never. In fact, if you asked me in high school, Texas would probably be the last place I ever would have seen myself. Texas is historically the reddest state, and I never thought I’d want to take on the constant heat. But, here I am, sweating my ass off in my jeans at this coffee shop. And you know what? I’m perfectly content. To my fellow wanderers, you know the life of adjusting to new scenery. With it comes excitement for new beginnings along with the slight terror of it all.

I gotta say, I was pretty damn nervous to make this move. Typically in my past experience, the first month of adjusting to a new state, a new home, is rough as hell. I won’t get into the details of it all because it touches a little too personal on my being and honestly my pride, but getting through the first month is a feat.

Pushing through my own comforts and boundaries has been what makes my wandering spirit happy. It also has shown me that I need to set aside more time to be with myself and to recharge. Just because you ask for change doesn’t mean you need to excel in it every second of every day. It’s a balance, and over the years I have become very in tune with myself and can feel quickly when I start to lose my grasp on my emotions. Resetting, for me, is a necessity or else my anxiety skyrockets and takes over.

I have one of those calendar things where it tells you new wisdom-full things every day. There’s a page that I always think about. Without completely butchering the quote from some great monk that said it, I’ll paraphrase: living in the past causes depression, living in the future causes anxiety. It’s in the moment, the present, that you want to be. There you will find the joy and happiness you’re looking for.

So, as difficult as it may be sometimes, I’m finding myself in the moment. I’m understanding what works for me and (trying) to push away what anyone else’s perceived thoughts are about me. Like, right now I could worry about my sweat running down my arm and leaving deodorant streaks on my black shirt, but you know what, it’s cooling me off so I kind of like it.

A whole new definition of “bug-eyed”

I was on the last leg of my walk with Boomer, my roommate’s dog, when a bug flew straight into my eyeball. So much in there that it might, in fact, still be in there. I felt it get sucked in from the wind tunnel the brim of my hat created and flew directly into the inner corner of my eye. I could feel it. It was cold which immediately shot goosebumps down my body. With my eye watering profusely, I bent over like I got shot. Bicycles are flying past me as I grip Boomer’s leash so he doesn’t clothesline anyone. I dig my finger into my eye but am unable to see through my phone camera to see if it is still in there, doing whatever a bug that just flew into eye juices does—biting at my cornea, laying eggs so near my brain, or defecating from pure fright. It was overwhelming going through the possibilities this bug was doing to me, assuming it didn’t get obliterated from the force of impact.

It’s then that I had a come to Jesus moment, minus the Jesus. A pure coincidence of fate can happen and alter everything. Unlike a car crash or elephant crossing, this tiny subtle realization hit me almost as hard as the bug did.  At any moment a bug can tunnel vision itself into my eyehole, burry itself behind my eye, and lay eggs for me to birth within weeks. My life may have changed its complete course due to this bug. I could be that thumbnail of a video on your Snapchat home screen, “girl’s eye engulfed by larva.” Ugh. It makes me shutter writing this with only 70% confidence that the bug is no longer in my eye.

So, you know what I’m going to do now? I’m going to live life like the bug is still in there, defecating, and counting down my days until the birth of its thousands of babies. I’m going to do exactly and only what I want. I’m going to buy myself ice cream even though I was just at the ice cream shop yesterday. I’m going to let my worries go because it could only be a short time until my time as a regular two-eyed girl comes to a close.

What Matters: The long ride after the longest ride.

This is a new segment of my blog. It’s called What Matters.

Millennials are supposedly the loneliest generation. We have the luxury of connecting with each other in more ways than what has been possible in the past. With the emerging of the internet and social media, we can connect with humans across the world from us, instantaneously. So, why are we so lonely?

We live in a society where no one talks about their real life. Maybe it’s from the stigma and shame of vulnerability. We think no one wants to know how we are really feeling, so we respond with “I’m good, how are you?” 

We choose to show how we want to be seen by posting our active moments, our adventurous selves, and our beautiful faces on social media. We cover our blemishes, our scars, with filters. Even those not participating in the social media world put filters on themselves and what they share with others. Nobody gets that close to anyone. What we give are the good looking framed pieces of our lives. 

So, this segment is meant to shed light on the real moments of life. On the moments that we don’t talk about, the moments that we don’t think anybody cares about. Really, the moments that we are scared to share. Because life is not all good. We forget that we all lose our cool sometimes. This is not meant to be a pity party, or me venting, but to show pivotal moments in my life that are real, are ugly, and even embarrassing. Because I am not just the filtered cropped pictures on my socials, and neither are you. If we share ourselves with each other more, really become transparent with one another, we may realize that we are more relatable with each other than we thought. From there, maybe we can beat the loneliness that consumes our generation.

Every moment in our life matters. Our feelings matter. The small things matter.

So, I want to share my moments. Because they mean something to me. I might leave out the backstory. I might leave it vague. But, I aim to share some small parts of my story, my life, that would normally get shoved under the rug and never spoken about. 

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THE LONG RIDE AFTER THE LONGEST RIDE

Sitting there, after ripping my own heart out just hours ago, I hold a carnation given to me by a stranger. I feel every bump of the shuttle ride. I shift around my backpack on my lap and stare at a spot on the floor.  I feel eyes on me by the people sitting across from me. I know they can tell I’ve been crying. I let it stain my face. I don’t care. I sit there with a broken heart and a shattered frame of mind, flower in hand. When I get home I put the flower in a glass of water. The next morning it starts to show signs of wilting. The next day even more so. I let it sit on my kitchen table until it bends low below the rim of the glass, dead in a puddle of water.

Living in the moment

I find my fists clenched when I think about my future, what it looks like, playing out scenarios in my head. It’s when I feel my fingernails dig into the inside of my hands that I realize I am trying hard to grasp onto something that is not, and may not ever be real. Holding onto this pretentious reality does give me the feeling of hope, and I keep my fists clenched. I think I want it, I like the feeling of it. I feel a part of this far off reality, and  I am doing all I can to stay in it. But soon, I notice the hold in my thighs, the curl of my toes, and the clench of my jaw. I begin to feel my tense muscles ease as I become aware of them.  I let out a breath as all my muscles relax and I sink back into the bed I am lying on, the fan vibrates the wood floor, the heating unit hums with the music that is playing softly from my speaker across the room. I lie in my real reality as my daydreams fade out of my mind like smoke. As it clears, doubt stands before me, even as I close my eyes. He stands there like a brick wall, tall and strong. It’s when I try to shove him away that I notice he is more like rubber, strong and sturdy, he sways slightly but bounces back into his place. Hope and doubt live in the same room, and I feel like I need to get out of there. It’s in the corner of my eye where I see a way out, away from doubt, away from hope. They both present me with questions that I don’t know how to answer. It’s in that corner that I find the truth, or what I think it should be. I walk around doubt and make sure I don’t raise my gaze too high in fear I’ll catch a glimpse of hope and get lost in it like a plane in the clouds. Walking forward toward what is, now, is the only thing left I can think of doing.  I find the place where I can live far enough away from the two that I almost forget they’re there. It’s in the now, that’s where I choose to be.

Perspective is the new happiness

A prompt. I’m always looking for one, hoping to stumble upon something that will get my ass moving in a particular direction. A prompt to do something, make a move, think a certain way. I could call it inspiration, but that word itself is daunting and often is seen as aloof when the lack of inspiration is what is causing the distraught disposition. So, a prompt is something more obtainable, less threatening.

Give me a word, I’ll expand on that.

Give me a feeling, I can expand on that too.

Maybe through a prompt, I can find, feel really, the inspiration that I want.

I want something to prompt my writing, I want something to prompt my motivation to workout, to eat healthily, to find a new mindset, essentially, to be happy. Because I’m finding happiness comes and it goes. It’s something I have to be mindful about. Because when I find myself not doing so hot, or letting my emotions get the best of me, I realize that I let my happiness run away from me. And that’s ok, sometimes I need to feel things other than happy to get a real grasp on my reality in order to live in a perspective that shows me what’s real, where I need to go, and how I should handle certain things. Because even though I can try to constantly be happy, life has its own agenda that sometimes does not match mine. When that happens, I realize happiness is not what I need to hold onto, but rather perspective. Just like happiness, perspective changes—it comes and goes and has different forms. It is what shows me new happiness, it helps me feel different, good. Good or bad, it definitely presents both, and in that perspective, I can realize that happiness doesn’t have to be stable. Realizing that happiness shifts makes the downs and the emotional rollercoasters easier to handle. Easier to navigate around.

I’m hard on myself, I know this. I constantly feel like I should be doing more, which boosts up my stress levels and I find anxiety is the only hand I’m holding.

I talk a lot of talk, preach a lot of preach, and struggle daily trying to hold myself up to my words. I find myself in a catch-22 often, or at least I feel that way.

Perspective. That’s one word that I really do think makes the entire difference. It’s what makes things important. It’s what makes things make sense. It directs happiness and shows you where you place your joy. In search of the perspective that I need, I often find myself aware of the lack of such a view and find myself grasping onto what I believe is true without realizing the possibility of an alternate reality. This is where we find ourselves getting taken out at the kneecaps, where our breath gets beat out of us, and we feel like we’re in a well with walls 1000 feet high. We get stuck in something that seems perpetual and we take it as so. Our ignorance keeps us from seeing past the walls that we put up. Our misery keeps us there, whispering sweet nothings into our ears until we feel that where we are is where we belong. It’s not until a passerby comes along to get some water that we realize there was a bucket and rope hanging right above us, we just had to look up.

Move that foot

I get these urges to change everything. It’s like an energy runs up my body from my toes. My feet start to move and once they do I’m gone. When I make a decision, I MAKE a decision. In college, when I would lie in my bed cozy in warm sheets contemplating whether or not I should make it into class, it’d take just a split second where I’d think, “nope!” turn onto my belly and let my face fall back asleep into my pillow. No regret, my mind was set and I’d fall asleep HARD. When I decided to quit a job, it was something I let tumble in my brain for a while, but the actual decision of it came quick and resolute. Like super resolute. A hefty raise, provided housing, and altered hours couldn’t get me to stay once I told myself I was done. When I decided to move across the country, I thought about it for about three seconds, then told my family I was leaving in a month. When I decided to follow my heart, there was literally nothing that could sway me. I make spontaneous decisions and I pronounce them as my new law. I’ve often wondered if this characteristic of myself is something I should worry more about, but then I decide, naw it was what I wanted and I don’t feel bad about it. I am where I am and I’m happy for it all. For the most part…

Decisions are big. You put one foot ahead of the other sometimes not knowing where your next step will take you, but still, you take that step. Thoughtfully planned and intentional, or impulsive and uncharted, decisions show that you know what you want, but more importantly, that you care enough about what you want to do something about it. Doing something. That is huge. Whether it be a verdict on an ankle sock, or a moving across the country type, celebrate each accord as their own.

Fight for what you want. You know what you want. You do. If you don’t think you do, well then you’re just scared, scared, or scared. Make decisions. Tell your significant other where the fuck you want to eat. YOU KNOW.

Being true to yourself is really where it stems. We make up excuses. And damn, they’re usually pretty good. But they are what they are. Excuses hide your intentions. 

Love yourself enough to make the choice to decide. Love yourself enough to leap to that rock you’ve been staring at above you. Love yourself enough to run towards what you want. Love yourself enough to walk away from what is not good enough. If it doesn’t give you butterflies, leave. Love yourself so you can give love. It starts with a kick in the ass, water thrown at your face, a slap in the face, a kiss, a laugh, a good song, a view bigger than you, and a conversation with a crazy stranger. It starts with something that inspires you to make a goddamn move. Make the damn move and follow the urge in your gut. It’s probably right, and worse comes to worst, it’s wrong. But at least you did something. Doing nothing is a waste of your time, and it’s a waste of my time. And I hate my time wasted.