Saturday, December 31, 2011

Welcoming 2012

It's been so long since I've posted. Yikes. For months now, part of me has been going "post, post, post!" (in a chant, just like that), but, fantastic procrastinator that I am, that's all that's been happening. Suddenly, we're heading full-speed, jumping in feet first, right into 2012 and I keep having these feelings like "ack! I'm not ready!!".

There is no doubt in my mind that 2012 is going to be a big year. I graduate high school, start college, leave my family, turn 18, and hopefully continue to grow and change as a person. I'm excited, I really am, but as I grow more and more, I realize that change can be really hard for me. I'm definitely a creature of habit, and I like my routines, but something about the thought of things changing just...jumbles me up inside, if that makes sense.

Lately, the "starting college" part has been freaking me out. A lot. All during break, I rushed to get applications in (I'm still not done) because I don't feel like I'm ready. I've been accepted to my dream school, but it's a private school and I'm really having a hard time with that aspect of it. My family isn't monetarily rich and as much as I want and would love to go to my first choice, I'm not sure that I'm ready to start my adult life in debt. That being said, I'm also struggling to commit to UNC or UNC-A, which are my fallbacks. UNC is scaring me off because of its size and UNC-A just doesn't feel right.

I know, that no matter what, as long as I listen to my instincts and follow my gut, that everything will work out exactly as it needs to. I'm in the running for a full-tuition scholarship, after already having received a generous scholarship, from my dream school; I should find out in this month! Keep your fingers crossed for me, please. (: I'm hoping FAFSA will help some and like I said...I know it will work out.

I haven't sat down and done my list of resolutions yet, but that's next on the hit parade (just kidding, it's probably not likely to happen). One of them will be getting this blog back up and going though. I have these great days, or inspirational days, and just...need to type, need to share; when I bottle all of that stuff up, words just like...start jumping out of my head--not kidding. (: When I start college, this will probably turn into a way to chronicle my adventures and keep my family and friends updated. ...I can't wait.

Next This coming weekend (!), Mom, Maylen and I are headed to a camp sesh with some old homeschool friends and I'm so excited. I'm out that Monday, so even in spite of homework, I'm ditching and going with, for the first time in agesss. It's in a cabin, with heat and electricity, which is definitely my idea of hardcore camping. ;) I've suddenly had a bunch of opportunities pop up for the weekend--going to a debate tournament with my best friend, a campaign 101 seminar, a trip to see a local barn, etc.)--but I've stayed firm. It's like the universe is throwing all of these possibilities at me to help me see just how much I need this weekend. It's a chance to get away, de-stress, hang out with a bunch of friends...and then get all the homework that I didn't get done over the weekend finished up on Monday. I went to the library today to return a book...and walked out with about five. I feel like I'm packing for the beach.

So excited, so ready.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Personal Responsibility

I've been trying to come up with a new post for a while...and it just hasn't been flowing. And when I say "it", I mean pretty much anything creative.

Lately, since about spring break up until the point school ended (about two weeks ago), I've been dealing with some health issues. This was a big one for me--a big stopper. I'm not confident enough to talk about it specifically, but this problem was a doozy. It inhibited me in nearly every aspect of my life, to the point where I felt like I couldn't ever hold a job. I felt limited everywhere I turned. But I digress--this is a story for another day.

The point is, now that that's taken care of, I feel like I can begin to focus on other aspects of my life. As I know I've blogged about, a big priority on my list of what I want to focus on next is reclaiming my body. Christa channels her journey to feeling beautiful (in God Loves Ugly) through her rounds with eating disorders and other self-destructive behaviors. My goal is to never dig my hole that deep. So here I am, pouring dirt back in. I'm taking responsibility for myself...or trying to, anyway. I realized I couldn't talk about feeling beautiful, if I didn't feel beautiful. For the most part, most days, I feel pretty good about myself (this fading perm is really doing a number though, geeeeez.), but I can't talk about it if I'm not actively doing something to make it so that I have more and more good days and less and less of the "other kind".

Tonight, I started small: I started drawing the blueprint for my "dream" house that I cobbled together from plans I found on the internet; my "ingredients", if you will. This, I suppose, got my creative mind a-workin'  and I started writing again! Before I knew it, I was 600 words deep and, at the moment, this shows no signs of slowing up. I even reached the point where I had enough to share it with my beautiful best friend (who is going through a fantastic journey of her own). I know that writing resolves some inner turmoil, some inner tornado that makes me crabby and leads to more not-good days if it's not calmed.

On the workout side: I've been failing. Another, probably bigger, aspect of my new personal responsibility plan. I started running when school first got out and lawd, could I tell a difference, even within the first few days! I ran for three weeks and then last week, just...fell off the wagon. I didn't feel like going one day and so I caved. I'd run every day that week and so I gave myself a day of rest. A day turned into two, three, four and now we're on like, day five. This sucks. I can't seem to make myself get back out there and pound some pavement. So after about two days zero-running, I figured I needed to do something, so I did a dance game we got on the Wii and some other workouts, actually targeting areas on my body that running doesn't. Mom and I have also started taking the dogs for walks at night. Starting small. (:

Our French exchange student comes tomorrow! She flies in at 12:30 in the morning, so we're headed down to the big city early for some quality time with the cousins. (:


Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Years Resolutions - #1

So four months and 14 days into the new year, I'm making good on my first resolution: loose weight (more accurately: loose fat).

For those of you who don't know (I don't seem to be very good at telling people this), yesterday was my birthday. I got an Amazon gift card from one of my dearest friends and for one of the first times ever: I spent it!
       Little side note: I am a hoarder. I absolutely hoard money; spending it on anything is like pulling teeth for me - I stress out, worry, etc. It's gotten better, but still kinda ridiculous.

I bought Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. I'm not even going to lie: I'm pretty much terrified. I did a lot of research and looked at several different programs, including DVDs and games for our Wii, but all signs drew me to this.

I've never really done a program like this before. I fell into riding, almost on accident it seemed, so it wasn't a conscious decision. I ran with my dad for a little while (meaning <two months), but then I got shin splints and decided I hated it. Any attempt other than those two, which really stick out to me, have been half-hearted, on-my-own, work-out-when-I-don't-have-anything-else-to-do type things.

This is a commitment. It's a commitment to myself and to my body. I got it because I decided that I really need something that will absolutely kick me in the butt/shins/wherever I need it to in order to get me going.

I decided that I'm tired of this. I'm tired of feeling out of shape and gross and whatever other emotion I feel when I look at my body. I don't want to have to look at pictures of myself and end up comparing myself to the other people in the photograph. So, I figured if I'm going to learn how to swim, why not start in the deep end?

The sucky part about this is that it's not as scheduled like classes or something and I don't have someone else depending on me/doing it with me. Still, next year is my senior year and I want it to be the best yet. It probably won't be my favorite year class-wise, but I want to take it head-on and feeling confident. I want to save up some money this summer so that I can go out and buy a bunch of new clothes right before school starts, so we'll see where that goes.

I'm legitimately excited for this. I want to see how it turns out and if I can actually follow through with it.  Plus, who doesn't want to look like Jillian Michaels? She's a total badass. ;)

I'll probably be posting a lot more over the next 30 days with my progress and such. Stay tuned--if it really works, maybe I'll even be confident enough to post pictures!


Monday, February 14, 2011

A smile confuses an approaching frown. ~ Author Unknown

I am always amazed by how quickly things can change (things meaning events, moods, life in general) and this weekend has been no exception. Thankfully, this has been a change for the better.
I had a bit of a rough week last week with things like slipping back into some negative patterns but, like anything, there were some high points: I got my copy of The Prince of Tides back, worked out three times and began writing again (I definitely don't have a plot of any kind in mind...but it's nice to just write).

On Friday, I was having a horrible day. I'd gotten into a fight with an off/on friend (one that was about five months in process), had a few little things go wrong and was just feeling generally depressed by the time 1am rolled around. Last week, like I mentioned up there^^, I was also dealing with some of the icky, nasty, I hate myself/hate my body, blahblahblah grossness and on Friday it all just coalesced into a complete breakdown.
My emotions were churning, tears were flowing and I was exhausted to the point of collapsing. I was in that mood where I needed to go to bed, but something in me just kept pushing, kept me from just shutting off my computer and heading off. I was talking to one of my best friends, Jamie (one thing you'll notice about me: I have at least 4 best friends at any given point in time. What can I say? I'm blessed with incredible friends. :)) and she made a very valid point, as I was in the middle of a big, 'ol, blubbery meltdown. She said: "Anyway, I'm proud of you. and tomorrow will be a new day. tomorrow will be better. go sleep.

It's hard to believe sometimes, no matter what you're trying to believe in. It can be hard to conjure up the faith to have confidence in whatever it is that you're trying to believe in. Right then, I was pretty sure she was crazy for claiming that the next day could possibly even be any better. Right then, I couldn't fathom any place outside of the nice little hole I'd dug for myself. Nevertheless, I took her advice and went to bed. 

Saturday morning, I was up bright and early (I'm a total night owl, but it also depresses me to sleep in...I take a lot of naps. :D). We had a guy with a Bobcat come out (at around 7am...who knew that hour still showed up on the weekends?) and knock down the hedge of poison ivy, privet and dead trees that separated our backyard from our neighbors. I don't have any "before" pictures, unfortunately, but what does this image look like to you?:
I see a Carolina sky. I see fresh dirt, waiting for a garden/whatever goodies decide to make their home there. I see a fresh start.
This image definitely represents how I felt on Saturday. It was the internal calm after the storm. It was my fresh start.

Later that day, two more of my best friends, Amanda and Melinda, and I all went prom dress shopping, also with Melinda's mom, whom we all absolutely adore.
It was great to have a girls day out and while I think Melinda actually settled on a dress, Amanda and I just had fun dressing up. This was the first dress I really loved:

It's an absolutely beautiful dress, but I think it's staying at that store. (:
Nevertheless, I felt incredible in it, which was such a 180 from the night before. 

We visited a few more stores and then spent easily an hour and a half at Dillard's trying on the most ridiculous dresses. It was great to just have a good time together. We've all been friends, sometimes intermittently, since freshman year (Amanda and I have known each other since preschool and she and Melinda met in middle school, but freshman year was the entrance of "BAM") and hanging out together felt like old times. What more could I ask for? The last hurrah for the day was when we found this dress: 

I felt like an absolute princess in it and the three of us actually spent a few minutes sniffing back tears. (There were other people in the dressing rooms and I'm sure it was quite the sight to see a girl in a wedding dress jumping around going "I'm going to cry!" ;)). 

After our expedition, we came back to my house, shared pictures and stories from the day with my parents and little sister, made pizza and then headed out to Walmart. (Well, our trip started at Bi-Lo...then became IGA and we finally ended up at Walmart.) 
We were absolute nuts and I don't remember the last time I've laughed so hard. When we finally came back to my house, bearing sparkling grape soda and flowers for my mama, I was completely happy. The three of us crashed on my foldout couch and fell asleep to Across the Universe. 

It was almost funny, in a not quite way, waking up on Sunday morning and realizing how far from Friday it was--absolute opposite ends of the spectrum. It breaks my heart to hear about suicide victims because if one day could have completely changed me like it did this weekend, who knows when their one day would have been? 

I'm a big believer in the "fake it 'til you make it" sentiment (which is where the title come into play) and this weekend was definitely a lesson in the whole "if you can't fake it, just keep your head up" idea. I don't think I have a profound lesson/story/idea/whatever this post, I just wanted to share my experiences and reflect on how important it is to just keep smiling.

Tomorrow will be better. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Briannen and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Friday was INSANE, especially for my school. For those who aren't friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter or whatever, you might not realize that last week was midterm week. I was thinking about this earlier and realized that I can't remember midterms from other years (and I barely even remember exams). This year, that came to an end: enter Junior Year. Yipes.

Midterms were the stuff of nightmares for children and last night/today I'm dragging so much that I keep having to adjust my typos and make sure I spell things right (pretty rare for me, honestly; English is definitely my strong suit...math/science...not so much). My study strategy since freshman year has seemed to be: pay attention in class, glance over notes and/or fill out a study guide and then wing it during the test. Probably not such a good idea, huh?

Anyway, this blog is not about midterms, but just know that I (actually!) studied (well...somewhat) and did okay (although I'm taking advantage of a retake on Monday for Biology. Grr.) and that Friday was the last day of them: Finishing up one in Algebra 2 and taking the Biology exam.

While we were in Algebra, someone stepped out to go to the bathroom and was immediately ushered back into the classroom by a uniformed policeman standing in the to a giant German Shepard. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. After a little while, we paraded down the hall to stand against the lockers while (I'm assuming) the dog searched our classroom. We were later allowed to go back and the entire class was in a complete uproar. Some people were upset, others were outright angry and some just didn't care.

Long story short, the dog and the team of policemen spent 3 hours searching our school/classrooms, people, bags, etc. I know that it was absolutely terrifying for the several people who got pulled into the office in order to be searched, but an amazing conversation in Family got me back to what I needed to focus on.

We had an amazing group conversation about what the police were doing there, why they were there and what we could/would/should do about it (conclusion: let the police do their jobs and be as cooperative as possible). Dixon was upfront, honest and welcomed our thoughts and ideas and this led to a completely open conversation. Some people ranted and vented and the rest of us just sat there and let them get their emotions out. I'm sure I'm dramatizing this a little bit (after all folks, I am a writer), but affluent details or not, it was nice to be in a place where we weren't afraid to express our emotions. We also had EVERYONE participating which, honestly, can be a rare thing. (Granted, we did break for a couple games of Ninja and finished up the discussion with a debate on our speciality for our upcoming NCHSHS Olympics (Quidditch was definitely voted was the Krispy Kreme challenge).)

All in all, Friday started off rough, got rougher, then smoothed out, which probably makes this title irrelevant, but I love the book and several times during the day, I wondered if life wouldn't just be easier if I DID, in fact, run away to Australia.

Saturday found Maylen, Mom and I at the home of some amazing friends and we were there, well, all day. (: I slept through a good part of Inception and woke up after some craaazy dreams. Schoolwork (aka, the dreaded APUSH outlines) was completely abandoned, but that's what today is for.

Currently, at the moment, RIGHT. NOW, I'm waiting for Mom to get off a work call so I can go over to friend's and housesit for the next 4 days. I feel like I've packed up for college and it's a strange feeling. Dad asked if I would be home at all and I told him only when I got hungry. Maybe it's REALLY like college. ;)

I don't have a specific message or anything today--I'm just recounting my adventures, so my challenge to you is to come up with your own! Tell me about one thing you've learned from this, from life, from something that's hit you over the head (literally OR figuratively). I do have a topic in mind, but it's a currently-going-on issue, so my emotions are WAY too churned up to write about it.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Years Resolutions

So now we're ten days into the New Year...and I still don't have any resolutions. I considered making my resolution NOT to make any resolutions...but I'm easily influenced by peer pressure. ;-) I feel like some, if not most, are pretty superficial, but nevertheless, here goes:

1) Loose weight. I know this is probably on everyone else's list, but I'm serious here. I haven't really been happy with my body/the direction I'm pushing it in since I stopped riding. Anyone who doesn't think it's a sport--go out and have an argument with a 1,000 pound animal while being roughly 10% of its size. I've been using the excuse "well I'll ride again soon". No, I won't, so I'll stop waiting for the day when a horse appears on my doorstep and get busy. I'm following some fantastic and inspiring weight loss blogs that should hopefully help. (: And if a horse does magically appear...I'll be in better shape to ride it, right??

2) Laugh more. I feel like this should be a standard on anyone's list. Laughing is a medically (and psychologically) good idea. Just did a quick Google search and apparently it burns calories AND is good for your heart!

3) Go for more walks. I live in this absolutely phenomenal neighborhood, which isn't too far from downtown and I never take advantage of that fact. A friend and I used to go "running" around it, but she's moved away and I've gotten lazy. :-( So I'm going to a) start walking to and from school again, b) walk to the library more and c) just go walk around in the afternoons...although maybe I'll save the last two for when it gets warmer.

4) Eat better. I have this absolutely awful habit of just plunking down in front of the TV most weeknights and --if the first isn't bad enough-- grabbing a bunch of chocolate chips to accompany me. While it tastes good in the moment, I feel awful afterward. I realized the other day that I'm having wayyy too many of those "wow, I really shouldn't have had that" moments, so I'm going to start consciously correcting it.

5) Clean out my house. My father is an awful packrat and while I love him to death, I do not appreciate his --and my sister's!-- hoarderlike tendencies. Since my sister's Chinese, this year we're going to honor Chinese New Year and start clearing out selected spaces in our house. Mom and I tackled the craft closet this afternoon and got about half of it completely cleared out and organized in roughly three hours! It was great having so much to drag out to the street tonight for garbage pickup in the morning. So by the end of the year, I almost want to become known as "that house with the million garbage bags in front". (:

6) Stop swearing. I think this is going to be my most difficult one. At school, I feel like (hopefully it's not this bad) I cuss like a sailor on leave. Granted, I am not the only one in my school and I feel like its definitely environmentally influenced, but surely there's a way to get my message across without needing all the extra emphasis. ;-) It's like the food issue though; I'll say something like "blahblahblah profanity blahprofanityblahblah" and then go "...that didn't feel good/wasn't neccessary. Why would I say that??". So my goal, hopefully soon, is to be able to go "blahblahblahblahblah" MINUS PROFANITY. Yikes.

7) Start trusting myself/my opinions. I'm the kinda girl who appears not to have an opinion. On anything. I can be asked a question by a friend/friend's parent like "oh, what do you want for dinner? Chicken or fish?" and my knee-jerk response is to go "oh, whatever" when I reallyreally want chicken because I absolutely can't stand fish if it's not cooked a certain way. Invariably we'll end up having fish and who's to blame? I am. My goal this year is to learn to respectfully and gracefully communicate my opinions because I definitely have them.

Fortunately, in my opinion, that's all I can think of. I'm sure I could be here all night typing, but it's hard to look at myself so critically and it's definitely unpleasant, so I think I'll stop. (:

What are your resolutions this year?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Dear Alice, You Seem To Have Lost Your Muchness

We've been watching this movie (Alice In Wonderland) in Family (one of the things that makes my high school so fabulous. Family is when each teacher has a group of students and we meet twice a week and talk/watch movies/go bowling/create our own little family within our school) and the scene came up and just absolutely struck a chord with me. Muchness. What a perfect word. I later realized why the scene had caught my attention: I was unconsciously wondering about my muchness.

There's a quote regarding eating disorders that says "food is not the enemy; your mind is" and the way I see it now, my muchness influences my mind. So what can we do to control our muchness? What is our muchness even made up of?

I decided that my muchness grows stronger when I do things I enjoy. So I've been reading more than I have in months (and making time to read/forcing myself to prioritize is half the battle) and I've started this new routine where my sleeping music has become the This American Life podcasts. Listening to TAL as I'm going to sleep means that I'm ending the day laughing. Who doesn't love that? I'm a VERY visual person and listening to audiobooks is near impossible for me. I have to watch movies with subtitles, otherwise my attention wanders and I forget what the heck the characters are talking about, but during those few minutes (depending on how tired I am, it can be VERY few ;-) ), it can be almost magical to focus on one thing and completely absorb yourself in it. Listening to and visualizing the stories and incidences is boosting my creative energy up 1000%. And this has caused something else to support my muchness: writing.

I've been so blocked for the past couple of months. I have the plots and all the things I want to write, but my Inspiration is missing. It's like I either can't make myself just sit down and write or I force the words out and my story sounds just that: forced. Neither of these make for very good reading, unfortunately. But currently, since I've stopped horseback riding, it's been one of my only major creative outlets.

I view creative energy as something to be channeled. When I have unchanneled creative ideas, I get hyper and unfocused and I've been known to just be completely absentminded because I'm writing out entire chapters in my mind or daydreaming about riding. It's like putting bread into a tube and leaving it out to rise: there are only so many places it can go before it starts leaking out. And I think my muchness is my creative energy. Writing, reading, riding, knitting, working out, etc. are all things that make me feel good and that give me confidence and your muchness depends on that.

Just give it a try. Find something you absolutely LOVE to do and maybe haven't done in a while or haven't really thrown yourself into and pick it back up, even for a day. If knitting is your thing, start on a hat or a scarf; it's the perfect season for that! Or if you're one of those people that are so busy you can't even find time to sleep, I like having dance parties. (: I generally have a song running through my head and after I get out of the shower, I will just stay in the bathroom and dance. Do you know how much fun that is? (It also dries your hair really quickly.) By the end I'm laughing and am so full of energy!

Pick something and give it a try. You don't know what you're missing unless you try and find it. ;-)

Sunday, January 2, 2011


For starters: happy new year to all! 2011 feels like it will be a FANTASTIC year. I can just already tell. (:
Since I still don't have my book back ;) my soapbox today is on negative influences.

Dearest, darling readers, I can't manage to tell you how important having bright lights in your life is (are?).
My family kicked off the year with a party with our some of closest and dearest. There was no one in our house that wasn't/hasn't been a positive influence in our lives and it felt so good. There was laughing, good conversation (to go along with the good food!) and just a general cheerfulness. I heard so much talk on how fantastic 2011 would be and how much would be accomplished/achieved/resolved and how much people were going to move forward. What more can a lucky girl ask for? I'm also proud to say that since this new year began I've made a conscious effort to surround myself with people who simply build me up. At 2am 1/1/11 I was talking to two of my best friends and on 12/31/11 at 12:59, I still want to be talking to them.

Last year I got into a pretty nasty habit of just talking about people. I didn't start rumors, just perpetuated them, which can be as bad as starting the rumor itself. Think about what's worse: the bomb or the blast from it? If there's no one around to spread it, a rumor will just curl up and die. But when people share it and continue talking about it, it grows strength and power, it becomes more elaborate and detailed, like a hurricane.

While you have to assume some of the responsibility for encouraging a rumor, part of your job is also to realize why you're spreading it. Are you around people who encourage or begin spreading rumors? Do you feel the need to spread rumors and lies to feel cool? Hurting other people is not cool, my loves. With rumors, someone ALWAYS gets hurt; it could even be you. Lies affect you, even if you don't like to admit it.

When my mom goes into schools to teach energy psychology and TAT she has this exercise that she loves doing that shows how rumors affect each person physically. She has a volunteer at the front of the class and a group of kids at the back. The group in the back will think alternately negative and positive things towards the volunteer at the front and with muscle testing (visualize the second paragraph being acted out, minus the herb), she shows how negative energy lowers an individual's personal energy/protection/aura/whatever you wanna call your personal bubble.
She will then switch the groups and have a volunteer project out negative thoughts/feelings and shows how their personal bubble will lower/weaken.
Reflexively, positives influences build you up and encourage you.

Now, I totally understand if you're not with me on the whole energy/muscle testing deal (one of my friends jokingly insists that my mother does voodoo) ;) but think of how you feel after you've spent time with someone who supports you...versus someone who is mean and cruel or even just rude. I feel drained after I'm with the rude person, even though I may not feel like that when I'm with them. So one of my goals this year is to surround myself with loving, beautiful, spiritual people and draw as many people as I can into our glowing circle.

So my challenge to you is to reach out to that one person who stands alone in the lunch line or sits alone or is always picked on. Just one. I find that it is much easier to love someone else then to love yourself; so love someone else, encourage them, boost them up...and then we'll work on turning the beauty that you're projecting outward, inward.

Getting off my soapbox now. I love you all.