Yesterday was the day that I packed up my little apartment in Maine. The twinkle lights went in the box full of house things that I will leave in Boston and the plants took the front seat of my car, soaking up all the sunshine and simply along for the ride. Moving takes awhile but I love the process of throwing away things that I no longer need and consolidating my worldly possessions into one tiny Jetta.
Leaving Maine and this summer, I feel relieved and older. The experience shoved me into adulthood, complete with bills, difficult humans and decision making like what to make for dinner. Mistakes were made daily but I can see the progress achieved and I am thankful.
Another wonderful life adventure is complete. Another is about to begin but I am learning, ever so gradually, to look up and enjoy this wild ride because life is a gift with its faces, colors and hurdles.
I plan to enjoy every minute of it.
Guys. Senior year of college is looming on the horizon and my anxiety levels are through the roof. My internet queue is overwhelmed with web searches involving law school, survival tactics and ways to become a millionaire before thirty (I’ve had luck with the first two searches but I’ll let you know if I find any for the third). Looking back, I realized I did what I do every year: fill my schedule and pretend that I don’t need time to breathe. Every. Single. Year.
I’m currently sitting in a Starbucks, enjoying my last few days of anonymity. I’m in denial that I need to be packing up my apartment and instead have been making lists to make myself feel like I’m doing something productive. The only things making me feel somewhat prepared for this next year is the fact that I finally bought an umbrella, rain jacket and rain boots for Pensacola’s tsunami-like storms. So at least in that matter, I will look like I have my life together.
The truth is, it’s my senior year and I don’t have anything anymore together than I did freshman year. Except maybe my eating habits–I gave up on soda and never looked back. I’m terrified of my new roommates and how much money I may have to spend on books. I’m terrified of the fact that I ran for Student Body Vice-President and WON. *Insert nervous laugh here* Just to clarify, I wasn’t supposed to win. At least in my mind, I wasn’t supposed to. I’m terrified of the fact that half the campus will notice when I trip on the carpet on my way to class (every day) and see the sweat beads forming on my forehead when I can’t find my new assigned seat.
People have told me, “Don’t get a big head about your new position. Stay humble. Stay you.” The truth is, I know I will come out of this position 100% more humble than I went in. Think about it. People watching your every move, knowing, talking about your mistakes and shortcomings. How could you be proud of that? All I can think of is all the horrific scenarios that could result. Maybe you think I’m just being silly and yes, I probably am. But-pray for me. When you see a girl trip up the stairs, pray for me because it was probably me. When you see a girl spill her coffee all over her existence, pray for me because it was probably me.
*Awkward rant over*
When I think of Maine, I think of windy summers and foggy mornings. I think of lobster traps on the side of the road and evenings spent watching the tide bump the buoys toward shore. I think of log cabins with pine cones scattered in the yard and yellow rain jackets accompanied by smiling faces. I think of the college town with its wonderful library and donut shops. I think of the lighthouse trips and the clouds that moved faster than your feet, catching you in a rainstorm before you could help it. I think of how welcomed I felt by the northern accents and state pride. I think of weekend trips with a redheaded boy and movie nights by the twinkly lights hanging in my kitchen. I think of the names of towns that I can’t pronounce but can describe in detail for you. I think of the ladies who invited me into their homes for conversation and company, making me, a perfect stranger, feel welcome. I think of trusting people who aren’t afraid to fight for the state they believe in, despite party lines.
When I think of Maine, I think of a summer that forced me to grow up. I think of an experience that made me face my character head on. I think of the real pain of being disappointed in myself and realizing that others saw it too. I think of my imperfections and my intense desire for a second chance. I think of mornings spent with loud music, drowning out the inevitable failures on my part that I knew were coming. I think of long phone calls, hearing only my voice trying to rationalize the ridiculous. I think of typed entries on this screen, only to be deleted because they were too honest.
The truth about my summer in Maine: it wasn’t perfect like my Instagram described. It was filled with lighthouses, lobster and rain storms. It was also filled with conflict and words I wish I could take back. I learned ugly truths about my character but I also learned how to forgive myself and give second chances, even though no one else will. I learned that it is okay to ask for forgiveness, tasting humility, and I learned that my pride isn’t as valuable as my heart would lead me to believe.
Ask me more about Maine sometime and I will tell you about the lessons it taught me, the lobster it fed me and the love it showed me.
This summer, I’ve been working outside. When it starts raining, that’s the call for me to head home. You would be amazed at how quickly I can get home and into my favorite ripped jeans and long sleeved shirt. I open the windows so I can smell the damp rain smell combined with my evening coffee smell. Gilmore Girls is playing and I debate going back into the rain so I can have tomato soup for dinner.
Rainy days always bring me here. To talk to you and share my thoughts that come as quickly as the rain hitting the pavement. I want to share my fears, my failures and my Monday victories with you. I want to share my voice and in return, hear yours.
Today I listened to some coworkers comparing women actresses and their beauty. It made me sad to hear talented women being compared simply by how well they did their makeup that day. Beauty is held to this perfect standard today: body shape, tan lines, long hair. You & I, we are so much more than that. Let’s stop judging each other that way-none of us will ever know each other’s true beauty. Maybe we won’t understand her way of thinking or why she chooses to dress that way but we are all held to this standard of beauty as women. We can come together with the mutual knowledge that none of us will ever live up to this world’s standard of perfect. The real beauty of all of this: We don’t have to.
Think of it like this–life is like a big ocean, full of waves, storms and the calmest of days. Each of us were built to weather these storms and we weren’t built the same way. We don’t look alike and maybe some of us don’t sail as smoothly as others. But we survive, each of us in our own way. We survive on tomato soup nights, emptying our hearts on paper, and trips to the library. Maybe my picture of survival looks different from yours-in fact, I’m sure it does because we are different. Your way is beautiful, so is mine, so is hers.
Hey you. Find your voice. Find what you survive on and THRIVE.
You are so so beautiful.
The rain is pouring outside my apartment window in Maine and just like that, I can feel the ideas pouring into my head as well. It’s not that I have been lacking ideas for this space, I simply haven’t had the time or energy to spill them out this last year. Looking back to the last time I wrote here, I can’t help but think of how much has changed for me-and so much of it for the good. I won’t go into details but year Twenty One was a whirlwind filled with goodness that I do not and will never deserve.
I am learning to find the joy in simple things. The redheaded boy whose socks don’t match his yellow shorts; the chai tea I’ve made for the third night in a row; the endless emails chock full of information that keep going back and forth, giving me a purpose.
Two letters sit on my kitchen table. One to the redheaded boy with the funny socks, his address one that I know by heart and the other to my baby sister, one in whose heart I wish I had invested more in. My baby sister-ten years separate us, the gap being as big as the Grand Canyon most days. She’s athletic, lanky, taller than me. She is kind and helpful, always. I wish I could tell you everything about her but I can’t. Three years of college and the absentmindedness of my high school days when I lived at home leave us detached. I regret it, I do.
So, I wrote her a letter. It won’t fix nearly as much as I wish it would but it is a start. That’s the advice I have for you today, reader. Repair the flawed relationships in your life at a time when they only need some glue, not an endless roll of duct tape. Don’t push them to the back of your mind where they will sit in disrepair. In a perfect world, these relationships would be fixed with a single cup of coffee and a letter. It is hard to face the fact that you were the cause of the brokenness and that you were at fault. It is hard to dig deep and stare it in the face of the culprit-your face. Friend, it is worth it. You’ll cry and you’ll ask for their forgiveness and maybe, just maybe you will forgive yourself.
I hope you do and I hope you are still at the point where you only need a mild form of super glue. I will, however, be pulling out the duct tape.
Don’t forget to…
wake up early to watch the sunrise and pray.
give yourself a little extra time and take a different road to work.
turn your music up loud whenever you get the chance.
read that book you got from the library.
give your family spontaneous hugs just because you felt an extra burst of love for them.
open your favorite cookbook and try a new recipe.
bake your favorite pie and take it to your neighbors.
drive around your neighborhood and look at the different houses, trees and fences.
excuse yourself from social media and give yourself some time alone.
journal about the littlest things in your day.
say ‘I love you’.
drink more water than coffee.
write a letter to someone you haven’t seen in awhile. It means so much more than a text.
pray for people, even if you don’t know what they need prayer for.
Be conscious of the smaller details. Sometimes they mean the most.
Travelling this summer was a unique experience. Seeing twelve different states and experiencing each of them from the perspective of the people that lived there was amazing. I stayed in homes where the hosts would tell me they had lived in that same house all their lives, never having even left the state. For me, having lived in four countries in my short life, that was a novelty. The longest I have ever lived anywhere is Kansas City-and I love it here. I love taking shortcuts to places because I know the city well enough and I love Saturday mornings at the River City Market. Coffee shops on every corner and local stores & names get more buzz than the mainstream brands. People are proud to be from Kansas City. And I am too.
I was an extra on a movie set last night and was talking to the other actors about the different places we have lived. We all came to one conclusion: Nothing beats Kansas City.