the best of intentions

Posts tagged girl shit

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one mess of a thursday

So… yesterday. Yesterday, I cried in my cubicle… for no concrete reason. Then I went to Target and impulse purchased a new pair of black leggings. On the way home I hit Arby’s for a jamocha shake. After Chipotle for dinner, a beer, and some serious tv/husband/furbabies time, I went to bed feeling a much less whelmed. 

Recovering from an unsolicited freakout is always considered a victory. But it should not require retail therapy, a perfect concoction of chocolate, coffee, and ice cream, our vice dinner, alcohol, and so much veggout time to do so. 

One day I will learn that there are methods other than countering one day that was bad to me with four things that are bad for me. 

Luckily, today I’m on my way home to Ashtabula for some shop time with Momma and quality time with the extended family from Indiana. Although I’m sure there will be plenty of not so great for me food, nothing heals the broken like home and family. 

Here’s to that.. 

Filed under family home girl shit

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blogging about blogging (post #100)

Yesterday, we had a little bogiversary party over here at BEST. There was cake, ice cream, party hats, noisemakers, a mound of gifts, me being chatty. But that’s what you’re here for right, my wordy musings? And if we had cake every time one of us wanted cake… well, things could get ugly. 

So, if yesterday was (metaphorical) cake day—all about pats on the back and celebrating the year that was—today is reflection day—all about analyzing the journey, measuring and adjusting. And don’t worry, Monday will be resolutions day—a little bit about about guilt and regret, but mainly focused on plans, goals, and the year ahead. 

We’re postponing that to Monday for two reasons: partly because I need more time to outline it all, and mainly because I just have to tell you (on Thursday and Friday) about last weekend. 

I came to tumblr last year in need of a space to let loose all the chaos that was bouncing around in my brain. As a newlywed, a first time home owner, a momma to one now two furbabies, and someone who was (and still is) searching for her career path, I was feeling very weighed-down by my crazy life. Writing has always been my means of letting go. If I acknowledge my emotions by putting them on paper (or screen), then I can release the weight of them. 

And that is what BEST has let me do. I’ve wrote about things and people I love, what I hate, what I want and need, what I have to let go of. We’ve talked house and home, marriage and friendship, (hypothetical) babies and furbabies, who I am, who I’ve been, and who I want to be

And as I mentioned yesterday, one the things I am most proud of at BEST is the rate at which I’ve been posting because it translates directly to how much I’m writing. My original goal was two to three posts a week. Now I’m up to Monday through Friday posts and the occasional weekend writing with little to no difficulty. As an aspiring writer, I’ve always been told that nothing is more beneficial than writing something, anything, every single day. Over the years, I’ve made dozens of attempts at daily writing, but this is the first time it has really stuck. 

And I am so proud of that. I’m not the girl for whom self-control comes naturally and I’ve always used that as an excuse for my overindulgence and my wavering level of commitment. The catch to those two shortcomings, overindulgence and a pathetic follow through, is that they are usually only harmful to one person: myself. 

By nature, I am far better to other people than I have ever been to myself. I don’t take care of myself like I know I should, I am not confident in my abilities, and I am far from being my own biggest fan. And I guess a lot of it goes back to my fear of failure. If you do your best for someone else, and don’t succeed, it’s still the thought that counts. But if I’m trying and working and fighting for self-interest, it has to be a safe bet, because if I fail, there’s nobody but me to say I appreciate the effort.

What I suppose I’m getting at with all of this, is that maybe my one goal for year two of BEST is to use it as a diary of all the personal goals I need to set and actively pursue over the next year. I genuinely believe that if I improve myself, and thus improve my self-image, that the confidence I gain will help lead me to the career path I have been so desperately seeking. 

So, check back in on Monday, and hopefully I’ll have some of those personal goals straightened out. Until then, thanks for listening. 

Filed under blogiversary yearly recap goals girl shit

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frustration and validation

Yesterday, over at APW, the community said a bittersweet goodbye to Lauren, our lovely editor. She’d been there for a year, keeping things interesting, well-oiled, and all around relevant. Meg reassured everyone that her replacement has been found, hired, and is currently training. Thank God! 

But Lauren will be missed. (Thankfully, we all still get a daily dose of her on her personal blog, Better in Real Life.) And in her goodbye, she made it so perfectly clearly why.

"What she didn’t know was how much I needed to be part of something that used my skills. And that may sound silly, or maybe even overly dramatic, but when you graduate with a master’s degree and a lot of debt, and land in a world that isn’t hiring, where you realize the things you’re really, really good at aren’t employable, it makes you feel helpless and hopeless. After you apply for job after job after job and try to figure out your own way, try to figure out how to forge your own career path only to come up against wall after wall, it’s vital that someone finally gives you a chance." 

Like me, Lauren is a writer with her first novel is on the way. (Let’s assume she’s a little farther along than me. =) And she said everything I’d been feeling for so very long. So much so, that I couldn’t let her leave without saying my peace.  

And in typical APW fashion, she went and trumped my ace. She validated my frustration, gave me hope, and then wished she could do more.

So that was my feel good Thursday moment. It was the kind of sweet, little, virtual gesture that makes all the difference. It was the kind of moment that defines the APW community. And that is why, a year after my wedding, I still linger over there. Over there among beautiful, heartfelt women who do their best to take care of each other. 

It’s safe to say we could use a little more of that in this world. 

Filed under apw girl shit interwebs love

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let’s talk role models

When I was thirteen, this is who I had to look up to:

britney christina
via                                                          via

In 1999, these girls were 17 and 18, respectively. They came out of the gate as naive girls who allowed themselves to be pushed on the world as over-sexed, under-dressed, princesses of pop, queens of the sexual innuendo.  

Over the next ten years, their careers grew and their outfits shrunk. I mean, when you start out half-naked, how much more can you take off? 

britney 3  christina 3
via                                                            via

Twelve years later, they seem more desperate than ever.  

britney 2  christina 3
via                                                            via

Do I know all the lyrics to every one of their songs released before 2006? Yes.

Am I embarrassed by this? Yes.

But even more so, I’m embarrassed by my 15 year old self and her constant pursuit of sexy. Luckily, I survived virtually unscarred. But I know of a lot of girls from my generation who weren’t so lucky. It wasn’t easy. We were just beginning to seek out attention from boys, and these girls upped the anti. We went from competing with the head cheerleader, the class president, and our best friends, to losing to these manufactured sex dolls. 

Thanks to Britney, Christina, and the twelve other pop stars who were trying to be just like them, a lot of young girls grew up way too fast. 

And yes, our parents allowed us to watch MTV, to listen to their music, and to dress the way we did. But the world hadn’t seen a sexed-up pop sensation aimed at tweens quite like this before it. Hell, in 1999, nobody even used the term tween. Nobody knew how vulnerable we were yet.

And our parents were the products of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Aerosmith. How much harm could a couple of ex-Mousekeeters do? 

mice
via

But this post is really about how jealous I am of this generation of young girls. Yes, they still see the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll too early in life. And yes, there will always be girls like Miley.

miley
via

But they also have a few wonderful role models to look up to. 

via

Girls who not only find the time to put on an entire outfit daily, but who’s music is also about really positive things. Girls who advocate being who you are and standing up to anybody who tries to change you. These are the kind of girls who I hope are still around when I have little girls. 

via

Say what you want about them, but I may be these girls’ biggest fan over the age of seventeen. 

via

Filed under girl shit guiding life choices role models

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i’m gonna get over you

“To change your life: Start immediately, do it flamboyantly, no exceptions”
—William Jones 

I read this today and it struck a very poignant chord with me. As you all know, I’m in the process of making some changes and trying my best, every day. I’ve accepted that my best is all that can be expected. But the past few days, I’ve fallen short of that goal. I’m giving myself a pass though, because I was feeling rather shitty thanks to my sinuses. But in my down time, I set a new goal for myself. 

I have some serious baggage that needs to ship the %*#% out.

Three years ago, I went through a really bad breakup. At the time, I didn’t see it as such but I got dumped. The love of my life, the heart of my heart, OU, dumped me.  

We called it graduation, but at the end of the day, it felt more like a funeral than a celebration. The end of an era… 

I’m smiling in the pictures, but I cried for hours that night. And for the large majority of the five hour drive home the next day. I still cry, from time to time, for that beautiful place and those four wonderful years. 

OU is my home in the truest sense of the word. It is where I feel the most alive. It changed me indelibly and I am forever grateful. But OU is my past, not my present or my future, and because of this, I have to let her go.  

Fall is the worst. I have always been a back-to-school lover: new clothes, cooler weather, school supplies (don’t even get me started), football games, and most importantly, the beautiful routine that required me to see my best friends every damn day. There is nothing better. And that love grew times a thousand, when back to school started meaning back to this: 

ou

I mean, is there really anything more beautiful? 

No, absolutely not. Other than the people I shared it with. 

And I guess that’s the upside. I got to take all those people with me when I left. They may be spread all over the country, but they are mine and I am theirs and that will never change.

But everything else has. And it’s time to let go. Because as I said, fall is the hardest because it’s always been my favorite time of year. And nowadays, instead of enjoying it for what it is and what it has the potential to be, I long for autumn in Athens. Fall is good for longing: the cool breeze, cozy sweaters, rainy days. 

It’s different down there. Lasts longer. The weather stays a little warmer and because of such, the trees can hold onto their red, and orange, and gold leaves for months it seems. Autumn in Athens is exactly what God intended. 

But fall in Cleveland can be just as beautiful. And this goal is about starting to appreciate that, celebrating what is instead of longing for what was. 

And what is, is two eager puppies, a beautiful day, and just a hint of golden leaves right outside my door, so you’ll have to excuse me. 

__________________________

Photos:

  • Best Friends at a Funeral, graduation, June 2008, personal collection
  • Two Spice Girls, Veruca Salt, and SNL’s Pat, Halloween 2007, personal collection
  • College Green, Ohio University, 2011, OU Alumni Association
  • Junction Kisses, Homecoming 2007, personal collection
  • Fall in Cleveland, September 2011, personal collection

Filed under girl shit challenge quarter-life crisis ohio university

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the name game, part 2

"Never think you’ve seen the last of anything." —Eudora Welty

When I wrote part one of this series, I didn’t realize it was part one. I didn’t realize there was anything else to say or that it would evolve into a series. And I suppose that’s par for the course with me.

But part two of this series is focused on my middle name, Jane. The extreme affection I feel for it recently hit me. I’ve always had a soft spot for my middle name for several reasons. First and foremost, in my family your middle name is the one that holds meaning. My older brother’s middle name is my father’s first, Jacob Russell. My father’s middle name was his father’s first, Russell Delus. And my younger brother is named in the same fashion after our uncle, Lucas Michael. My middle name is something I am so proud to share with this lovely lady, my momma.

When I was younger, I was less than thrilled about my first name. I think every kid goes through a phase when they wish they could have talked some sense into their parents. And when you share a name with seemingly every girl within a 12 block radius, you’d give everything to be called anything else. Throughout elementary, junior high, and high school, I was typically Sara(h) #4 of 10. 

Luckily I caught a break in college, and to this day there isn’t another Sara(h) with whom I, or anyone particularly close to me, interacts with on a daily basis. 

But even now, I don’t feel all that attached to Sarah. Other than my best friend’s rendition of Starship’s 1986 hit (coincidentally my birth year) and the few nicknames that are hardly used anymore, I’m not sure if there’s anything I’d miss if I lost it for some reason. 

And maybe that’s part of it. Bearing entrance into the witness protection program, I don’t foresee any reason I would ever lose it. I’m not usually the kind of person who doesn’t appreciate what they have until it’s gone, but I have to say, I didn’t feel overly-attached to my last name until I got married and agreed to change it.

And that’s probably also the source of my newfound affection for Jane. Now that I’ve changed my last name, it helps me feel connected to my family. I’ve always debated whether I would want to pass it along to a daughter, might I have one, and this revelation puts that conundrum in a whole new light. 

Shakespeare asked “What’s in a name?” I like being on the same wave length as Shakespeare, even if it is for more personal and vain reasons than he was speculating about. 

______________________________________

Photo:

  • Sarah Jane and Laura Jane, circa 2005.

Filed under quarter-life crisis girl shit name game

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a recipe for sanity

Yesterday was all about feeling restless, facing the truth about my situation, letting go of the shame, and speaking writing honestly about it. Today, is all about finding solutions. 

Wednesdays are one of my out of the office days and those are always the hardest for me. It’s difficult to stay motivated and very often I end up feeling like I’ve been completely unproductive. The following are a list of activities, thought processes, and daily objectives that I’m calling my recipe for sanity. 

physical activity—I’m not specifically referring to exercise here, although I am open to it. I’ve honestly always been a rather sedentary person. The things in life that I enjoy the most are as follows: reading, writing, organizing, music, and baking. Things I am terrible at: coordination and all things that require it. Thus, I consider my sedentary nature to be a combination of a very strong survival instinct, too many headaches that I related to outdoor exercise because I didn’t know they were allergy related, and years of being told (albeit in a joking manner) that I was not athletic. 

contributing the house—My mother did not work outside of our home from the time I was born until I was in junior high. Thus, our home was always immaculate, dinner was always homemade, and our home life was never anything shy of wonderful. Don’t get me wrong, she was no June Clever. We had some chores and were in charge of our own things and rooms from a very young age. Now, at twenty-five, I want the same quality of life I had at ten. I know it might seem silly to some people, but I was raised with so much pride in my home and that will forever be imbedded in me. But I’m coming to terms with the fact that this does not mean I have to scrub the floors on the daily. But as long as I do something my mother would be proud of everyday, I’m content. 

grace, not perfection—I owe Emily Ley for this simple and beautiful mantra. It may, single handedly save my soul. 

office work from home—I have technically been working part-time from home for a year and a half. But, I’m in a new situation. I began working from my parents’ house and there isn’t much there in way of distractions. And until recently, I worked a second job, so most of my work was done in office. But now, I’m home, with two dogs, and plenty to distract me. This one is all about focus. 

my writing—Don’t get me wrong, I love my tumblr and it’s proving to be pretty therapeutic. But like I mentioned yesterday, I have a fiction project that I’m working on, and am rather excited about. So, I need to dedicate the majority of my energy to that.

my relationships—I have a lot of really fantastic people in my life. Unfortunately, most of them are very far away these days. Long distance relationships, of whatever nature, require lots of work, specifically phone calls, which is something I am rather terrible at. I want to be better because they deserve better. 

So, that’s the plan. I’m not sure if this stuff is relevant to anybody but me, but I have to write it out. I need something to be accountable to. Thanks for reading, if you are. 

Filed under girl shit challenge life balance

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restless

I’ve been feeling really restless since I quit my second job. Hell, I felt restless before I quit. To be honest, I feel like that kid in the back of the classroom shooting spitballs at the wall. I’m starting to understand that it is all a side effect of my extra time and energy. When I was working an additional twenty-four hours a week, it was an overabundance of mental energy. My job simply didn’t require enough from me. Now, I also have extra physical energy and time. 

These are not things that I’m used to.

I’m used to going too fast for too long. In high school I signed up for every extracurricular activity I could find. In four years I was involved in cheerleading, band, student council, yearbook, newspaper, and National Honor Society. That was on top of an honors and advanced placement curriculum.

College was a similar story. I graduated from one of the top journalism schools in the country. I was involved in my dorm council, colleges against cancer, and three years of running the yearbook, which pretty much entails knowing about every single thing that happens on campus. 

Shortly after graduating, Bill proposed and I had a wedding that I was more than happy to throw myself into. Now, there are no projects, no to-do lists, no homework, no meetings. I’ve always considered myself to be self-motivated, but apparently I get a little lost without deadlines and syllabi. 

Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty I could be doing. There is a 1400 square foot house that needs a ton of work. Pretty much every room in this place needs painted, and that is just the beginning. But because of all the problems we’ve had and are still having, (read: showering in the basement) I’m nervous to start anything unnecessary. 

On the plus side, I have been writing more. This blog has really been my saving grace. And I’m working on a fiction piece that I’m really excited about. Having the time to read has really motivated my writing. For these reasons, I am exceedingly grateful for my free time. 

I may have taken the long road on this one, but I’ve finally realized that at twenty-five, I am responsible for finding balance in my own big picture. But more on that tomorrow. 

Filed under girl shit challenge life balance restless

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saturday night meltdown

So… as you all know, things have been rough lately. But they just seem to be getting worse. Last night, we had tickets to see Jason Aldean at Blossom. Bill got them for my birthday gift and I was over-the-moon excited. I bought a new shirt, finally caved to the skinny jean style, got a haircut, and painted my nails. I even pulled myself away from Adele’s “21” for a week to listen almost exclusively to his newest album, “My Kinda Party.”

It was a big deal, a really big deal for me. I LOVE live music. Nothing compares to that feeling in your chest when your heart starts beating to the rhythm of a song and the lights from the stage seem to pass over 20,000 other people and shoot straight into your soul. We only went to one other concert this summer; Stone Temple Pilots at the Captains Stadium. It was a pretty good show, but it’s just not the same when you aren’t a fan going in. It’s never as exciting.

But for Jason Aldean I was insanely pumped. And then I realized I still hadn’t found my camera charger so there would be no photos of my birthday concert. And then we spent an hour sitting in traffic to go the four miles from our exit to Blossom, arriving a half hour after the show technically started despite leaving two hours prior to start time. And then I stepped on a dead squirrel… in flip-flops. I think you see where this is going. Once you’ve stepped on a dead animal in shoes so thin you knew it was a dead animal before even looking down, it’s not going to be a good night. 

When you add all of that to the obstacles of your typical drunken, country concert sold-out crowd, we were doomed. 

Essentially, it was a big, giant, let down due mainly to things neither we, nor Jason Aldean, could have controlled. (However, the song selection was pretty damn sluggish, in case you’re wondering, Mr. Aldean.) So, we ended up leaving about 2/3 of the way through the main set. And then I cried the entire way home.

Pathetic, I know. But I wasn’t really crying because the concert wasn’t fun. I was so upset because it was, essentially, my fault that it was so bad. I was so pissed about the things we couldn’t control and I just wasn’t able to let them go. I know that most of the time, when it comes to my happiness I am my own biggest enemy. 

I’d spent so much time building the concert up, that when it fell apart, I was devastated. I do this, a lot. For my birthdays, our anniversary, this concert, countless other dates with Bill. Surprisingly, I avoided this for the wedding. Thank God! Or APW, I’m pretty sure they had more to do with my level-head that day than anyone else. 

Anyways… it was a Saturday night meltdown. And I’m still pretty annoyed with myself for ruining what could have been a great night. But, lesson learned. 

Filed under random girl shit lesson learned

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the name game

You see that pretty picture up there, above my desk? Yeah, that’s my college diploma. The one that showed up 3 years, 1 month, and 1 day ago—on my 22nd birthday—6 weeks after my graduation. I framed it, today, finally. 

It was never a matter of not valuing my very expensive piece of paper or of not being proud of all the work I did to earn it. It’s truly priceless to me. Like, go back into a burning building after it kind of priceless. But I always found excuses not to hang it. 

My Excuse Timeline is as follows:

  • Back to living in my parents’ house with a very small amount of personal space all of which is already crowded with loads of high school memorabilia. 
  • Finally have an apartment, even one with an office-slash-spare-bedroom, but without $200 to drop on the fancy frame.
  • Not working in a field even close to what my degree was in and thus felt silly making a point to frame and hang it. 
  • Living with the parents round two three while house hunting and everything I own in storage all over town.

Eventually, a house was purchased, boxes were unpacked, and my diploma found a home in my second office-slash-spare-bedroom. But it’s home was in the top drawer of my desk. The excuse I just couldn’t get past: the name on my diploma wasn’t mine anymore. 

As you may know, I got married one year ago and took my husband’s last name. It was a very emotional transition for me and the idea of having to start over as person haunted me for months. I thought that changing my last name meant letting go of who I was. I felt an immense guilt about all the things I hadn’t accomplished yet. It was as if someone told me that if my life-long goals weren’t met by my wedding day, that it meant I was unable of accomplishing them on my own. 

Except, no one ever said those things to me. Those terrible ideas were put in my mind by… well, me. I’ve always been a unique brand of independent. I’m terribly needy and extremely close with my family and friends, yet I’m virtually incapable of asking for help. I want to make my own way in life, at least in the professional sense. I don’t want favors or handouts. I want my work, my words, to stand completely on their own. 

I know that being married has been good to me and good for me. My husband is my better half, everything that I am not. This is exactly what I want and need from my marriage. We should be a team. We should make each other better. 

Now I have to accept that being a better person makes me a better writer. I have more confidence in my abilities now than I ever have. Bill is such a huge supporter of mine, as are my in-laws. 

Today, I am simply a better version of the girl I was on the day my diploma showed up in the mail. It’s still mine. I still earned it. And looking up at it everyday will only bring me peace. 

Filed under quarter-life crisis girl shit name game