In Memory Of

IMG_7539One of my favorite pictures of my sister and I with my mom when we were really little.

 

Today marks the day, 9 years ago, that I lost my mom to brain cancer. The first couple years my sister and stepdad and I would go to her grave. That always felt a little uncomfortable and sad to me personally because a gravestone in the middle of town amongst a sea of other dead waiting to be remembered held no significance to me or maybe it just felt so final? Either way, I couldn’t do the whole visiting the grave thing. I felt guilty for years that I rarely visited her grave but for me…that’s just not where she was. I felt nothing by being there except sadness and awkwardness. I just don’t get graveyards — they are definitely for the living but I guess, for myself, I’d much rather go have a glass of wine on the porch in the home where she actually lived.

 

Sometimes after we would try to have some breakfast or lunch and be together which was nice but it was still too hard to accept the fact that she was gone and here we were eating brunch and trying to act like this wasn’t hard. Other years I stayed in bed and was sad all day. I didn’t particularly like that either.

So a couple years ago, after the breakfasts and lunches kind of faded away because we got busy and the day felt less ceremonious and ritualistic, I decided to honor and remember my mom in my own way. It’s still a sad day for me every year but enough time has passed that it doesn’t feel as raw like the only thing I CAN do on that day is cry a whole lot.

For the past couple years on this day I’ve been trying to do things that my mom loved. It might be as simple as having a glass of wine (my mom was a big wine-o) and listening to Jimmy Buffett (her favorite). One year I went to beach because my mom grew up in Florida and the beach was one of her favorite places on this earth. I always have a little dance party because my mom was THAT person on the dance floor and always loved to dance so much.

This year when I was thinking about what I’d do to honor my mom I started thinking about memory and how 9 years was a long time and how I’m scared I’m going to run out of things that I remember she loved. I talked about this a little bit in my P.S. I Still Love You book talk but that’s one of my greatest fears — not remembering. Or forgetting the details — what her laugh sounded like, how her face looked for real and not just in pictures, what her favorite food was, etc.

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Making fun of my mom (on the left) because of how she scraped her legs falling down in her wedding dress in Jamaica

And I kind of had a moment this morning. My mom’s favorite dessert of all time was carrot cake. It’s not my favorite but I’ve grown to like it. I was thinking about how I wanted to get some carrot cake today but was trying to think of a backup favorite in case I couldn’t find any easily. And then I just sat there because I couldn’t remember what else she liked dessert-wise. And then I panicked. How could I not know or remember? What if I didn’t know all along? How could I not have paid more attention? And so on.

I panicked thinking about how slowly and slowly these memories and these details were going to fade. How eventually there is going to come a time when I will have just as many (and then MORE) years on this earth without her than with her. And it pains me to think about that. How I had 20 years on this Earth with her but time is going to keep going and I’ll be living in a world where there will be 20 years of memories without her. 20 years between the time she lived and the time she didn’t.

IMG_7544I will always remember my mom’s hair (esp how big it was sometimes). ALWAYS. Like in fine detail. Because she passed on the wild mane of curls to me.

Memory and memories are just a weird thing. We collect them. We try to hold on to them. We lose them slowly or they become vague/less specific as we have distance from them — they begin to have holes like swiss cheese. We try to fill picture frames and books and journals and our social media pages with them. We try to pass them and on share them so that the memories just don’t live within us and end up leaving us when we die or our memory fails us for good. They aren’t always reliable or accurate. The most random ones jolt through our brains at the most random of times in full living color while other ones we try to remember just seem lost in the abyss. There are some things we remember forever. There are some things that seem lost the moment it became a part of our history. How some memories we wish we could forget have been branded in our hearts (I wish I didn’t remember the day my mom died in so much detail and color).

IMG_7542RenFaire! That time my sister bawled because she was too embarrassed to dress up but NOT US.

 

There’s been these periods of grief in my life. The times where I’m just trying to get through the day and grief was intense because it just happened and my mind could not fathom it. There was depression and bitterness. There came a wave of a lot of “firsts” that happened without my mom. And then these HUGE big life changing things that were hard to think could happen without my mom — graduations, marriage, babies (for my sister and not me obviously), etc. And I guess maybe this stage I’m in right now has a lot of fears of remembering or realizing the details have slipped away more than I’d like them to have. And maybe it’s that I’m dealing with my stepdad getting remarried and all of my mom being taken OUT of that house that a huge chunk of our memories were made in in preparation of his new wife. Maybe it’s that in preparation for all that, we’ve had to go through some of my mom’s stuff and memories have been swirling around.

So on this hard day, 9 years later, I decided that one of the biggest part of memories and remembering the people we loved is in the sharing and the retelling — sharing them with other people so they aren’t these things that are solely up to us to remember. It’s always broken my heart that Will never met my mom or that Geneiveve and Adela (my nieces) will never ever know her. So it came to me really strongly, in the middle of my panicking over my mom’s second favorite dessert that I can’t remember, that I really really want to put together a book with memories and pictures of my mom and growing up for Genevieve and Adela…and for myself if I’m honest…so that they can know her and that those memories can live on. I want to write about what I know about her. Relive memories I haven’t forgotten. List the random details.

 IMG_7540Intergenerational — my great grandma (who I barely remember), my grandma Mimi and my mom and I. My mom was I think 25 or 26 in this picture which WOAH.

And now I’m going to go on search of that carrot cake. And by the way, as I was writing this post, it dawned on me that cheesecake was definitely a close second.  Memory is a fickle beast, I tell you.

 

If We Were Having Coffee

I saw a life coach I love, Ashley, do a post entitled If We Were Having Coffee and I decided to take her lead and do one myself in November 2013 because I loved it and sometimes I feel like we forget that there is a whole life behind the people that write and read blogs. I got such a great response to my initial post so I made it a  reoccurring thing for the past couple of years and do it when I feel so inclined!

 

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So, grab your coffee/beverage of your choice and meet me for a chat. I’ve got a lemon shandy right now (it’s afternoon right now, okay!) and it’s divine.

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you that I’m currently reading This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen and Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. Also, I’m audiobooking The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen. I’d ask you what you are currently reading!

If we were having coffee... I’d tell you how much of a FUN summer Will and I are having already and we have so many other fun things planned I can barely contain my excitement. I’ve enjoyed beach days and pool days and nights out and good food and ice cream and concerts and new beer and just SO MUCH FUN. I’m really thankful it’s been a fun summer and it’s been really nice to feel so happy after a crappy winter! I’d ask what you have been up to thus far this summer!

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If we were having coffee.… I’d tell you that I opened up that THING…better known as a story…that I had told you about before. I had written like a paragraph or two last summer, bawled and then never opened the document again. It’s been sitting on my desktop untouched but all the while ideas have come to me for it. It’s a contemporary YA (I think..idk she just finished her first year of college) and it’s so personal and I am not even a good writer nor have I ever wanted to write a novel before. BUT WHAT THE HELL. I OPENED IT. I WROTE A SENTENCE OR TWO TO ADD TO WHAT I HAD. WE WILL SEE WHAT HAPPENS.  I’d ask if you are an aspiring writer. If so, do you have any tips??

If we were having coffee…. Id tell that recently I’ve been thinking a lot about fear and how I can recognize places in my life where it has held me back. I know that sometimes fear is there to protect us but also I’m starting to see how I use it as a crutch and it kind of makes me sad. I don’t want to let myself live so fearfully and I don’t know when I started REALLY letting fear get in my way.

If we were having coffee…. I’d tell you that I’ve really been wanting to get into podcasts. I’d ask you for recs!!

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you that I’ve really been having a weird relationship with social media. I’ve been so disillusioned by it recently? I don’t even know if that’s what I mean. I just…sometimes I’m so weary from it. I get overwhelmed by it. I think “WHY DO I PUT SO MUCH TIME AND ENERGY AND STOCK IN ALL THIS?” I have nothing to say sometimes. I’m over the over-documentation and wading through the picture perfect shininess to get to the realness. The constant barrage of voices and options and links and possibilities of people and things to follow and knowledge and opinions. BUT THEN OTHER DAYS I AM LIKE OMG I LOVE THE INTERNET. IT IS THE BEST. I’ve been a lot more MIA than I used to be (especially on Twitter) and I feel like the balance has really been helping me. I’d ask you how you deal with social media fatigue.

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you how last time I was lamenting all my workout woes and how I couldn’t get back on the workout wagon and I’d like to inform you that I’ve been working out again and IT FEELS SO GOOD. I mean really. Sure, it’s nice to lose a little weight and look toned and wink at yourself in the mirror because you are like DAMN GIRL YOU LOOK GOOD. But most of it is about how I truly feel. I hate every moment while I muster up motivation and all the way through the workout until I think of how I feel after. How energized I am. Or how I think about how badass my body feels when I can hold a plank for longer or do more burpees than usual. It makes me feel like I can conquer anything…well not during my workout…mostly I’m a whiny baby…but AFTER. HEAR ME ROAR.

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If we were having coffee….I’d you that I’ve been having A REALLY spectacular reading year thus far in 2015. It’s been kind of magical — a great mix of 2015 releases and older books and things I missed last year that seemed to be beloved by others I trust. I don’t want to jinx myself but MAN OH MAN IT’S BEEN GOOD. I’d ask you how 2015 has been treating you reading wise!

If we were having coffee…I was thinking the other day while going through some of my old college papers while cleaning a box from my old room at my stepdad’s (and was talking with book club about it this morning) about how much I MISS school. And not even SCHOOL itself. But learning things. And I know I am learning things all the time and blah blah blah. But I miss learning a specific skill or subject. So I’ve decided I’m going to challenge myself to learn a new thing this summer. I’d ask you WHAT THE HELL I SHOULD LEARN! haha

 

If we were having coffee…what would you tell me? Come on…lay it all out! It’s just you, me, the pleasant sounds of a cafe…and maybe some other eyes in the comment section but NBD right?? Our we can have coffee in my inbox if you don’t feel comfortable. I really want to know! What’s going on with you?

If We Were Having Coffee

I saw a life coach I love, Ashley, do a post entitled If We Were Having Coffee and I decided to take her lead and do one myself in November 2013 because I loved it and sometimes I feel like we forget that there is a whole life behind the people that write and read blogs. I got such a great response to my initial post that I wanted to make it a reoccurring thing!

 

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So, grab your coffee/beverage of your choice and meet me for a chat. I’ve got water with lemon right now. Love that H2O.

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you that I’m currently reading Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed. Still too early on to have an opinion but I love reading about different cultures from my own and arranged marriage is something I’m not familiar with on a personal level obviously. Before that I just finished Bone Gap by Laura Ruby which was sooo interesting. I am still trying to unpack that one. I’d ask you what you are reading and what you just finished before that…

If we were having coffee... I’d tell you I’m really excited for how my late spring/summer is shaping up — so many good book events, concerts, vacations, etc. that Will and I have planned! We started putting it all out on a calendar and I’m just GIDDY with excitement. I’d ask you what you are planning on doing this summer.

If we were having coffee.… I’d tell you that I’m failing on my 30 before 30 list that I had told you that I made. I haven’t crossed many off so now I have to kick it into high gear. 30 is coming up sooooon (in October). I’d ask you how you tackle your more random goals (ie things that are of importance to you but not like pressing matters). Because right now my list is just SITTING THERE.

If we were having coffee…. Id tell you that the last time we talked I was feeling super discouraged with blogging but I would LOVE to update you that I’m feeling really good about it right now. Nothing really has changed but somewhere along the line my mindset did because look, internally, I’m REALLY happy about what I do here and feel excited about everything I post. So what is there to care about otherwise? I think the nice Spring weather is boosting my mood but who knows. Also been brainstorming some things I’m really excited about. SO YAY.

If we were having coffee…. I’d tell you that I’ve been having a really hard time with some changes going on in my life. SO, my stepdad is great. He’s like a second dad to me (I had both of them walk me down the aisle). I lived with him until I got married even after my mom passed in 2006 and he’s just really important to me. He’s been dating this woman for a while and they will be getting married in September. My personal feelings about her are complicated (long story short: she’s caused fractures between this relationship for both myself and my sister) but I WANT him to be happy. It’s hard. And then the fact that soon she will be moving into MY HOUSE? The house where my stepdad, mom, sister and I lived for all those years. I’m having to box up my stuff (I’ve kept stuff we can’t fit in the apartment there in my old room) and get it ALL out because her sons are moving in and will TAKE our rooms and it’s just all so weird. I know his life is moving on but it’s so weird that I’ll go there and the place where I see all MY memories will not be mine anymore. I won’t have a room. I won’t be able to just go in there as I please like I do now. I stop by, eat food and just hang out all the time. And all the touches that my mom put on that house? I know they are just going to be painted over and things will be taken down and changed. I would almost rather him sell the house rather than have to still visit MY house but it won’t really be mine anymore. I spent a lot of time this past week there by myself packing up my room and just crying. A LOT. I know it’s inevitable but it’s just so hard to watch yet another part of my mom just get erased in some ways. It was comforting to go there because that house was still so much my mom just reflected in everything that is in it and the decorating.

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you that I’m still struggling with what to do next with my life. I’m still nannying for the time being and haven’t really been sending out as many resumes. I needed a mental health break from it. I feel like it’s been so long since I’ve had a “real job” in marketing at this point that nobody is going to hire me. But like…it’s not by choice? I started nannying because I had to pay my bills somehow while I job searched. And here we are over a year later and I’m still nannying. I’d ask if you had any advice for me.

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you how I’m having such a hard time working out these days. I was doing so good last year and this year I can’t stay consistent. I’d ask you if you have an exercise routine and, if so, what it is.

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you about how I’m so thankful for many of my friendships but especially my one girlfriend who I get together with every Wednesday for wine night. I’ve been so awful about making an effort to get together with friends but having this standing date reminds me how much I love getting together with friends.

If we were having coffee…I’d tell you that I’m PRETTY SURE I’m going to BEA again this year. PRETTY SURE. Year #5 of BEA if so! I’d ask you, if you were a blogger/librarian/teacher/bookseller, etc., if you were going too.

 

If we were having coffee…what would you tell me? Come on…lay it all out! It’s just you, me, the pleasant sounds of a cafe…and maybe some other eyes in the comment section but NBD right?? Our we can have coffee in my inbox if you don’t feel comfortable. I really want to know! What’s going on with you?

If We Were Having Coffee

I saw a life coach I love, Ashley, do a post entitled If We Were Having Coffee and I decided to take her lead and do one myself in November 2013 because I loved it and sometimes I feel like we forget that there is a whole life behind the people that write and read blogs. I got such a great response to my initial post that I wanted to make it a reoccurring thing!

 

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So, grab your coffee/beverage of your choice and meet me for a chat. I’ve got a warm water with lemon, cayenne pepper and cinnamon.

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you that I’m almost done with Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel which I’m really impressed with. I also just started Wildlife by Fiona Wood but I’m like two pages into it so I can’t say much. I’d ask you what you were reading.

If we were having coffee... I’d tell you that I haven’t been doing well lately. And that it’s a hard thing to admit. (because it’s embarrassing. Because I feel over-dramatic. Because I can’t tell you exactly why). When someone asks you how you are it’s easy to be like FINE and move on. But I’m not fine. Why should I pretend? Because of things and how I’ve been doing, I’ve been so disconnected from people and social media and this blog. I’d apologize for unanswered tweets, comments, etc. It’s just so difficult for me to interact when I feel so awful. I’d wonder if you’ve noticed my disconnect and flakiness lately because I feel really self conscious about it. That’s part of the reason I decided to write up one of these posts (it’s been a while) because I want to connect again.  I’d ask how you are doing and really WANT to know just beyond the typical response.

If we were having coffee.… I’d tell you how I’m FREAKING OUT over the fact that this month I will turn 29. It will officially be the last year of my 20’s and I don’t know what to do with it. I WANT TO STAY HERE. My face doesn’t match the age so aren’t I allowed to stay in my 20’s until it catches up?? I’d also tell you how most of the time I don’t ever feel like an adult. Like am I REALLY an adult? I don’t know. I do adult-y type things I guess but mostly I feel like the kid putting the grownup high heels and mom’s makeup stash all over my face. HOW DID ALL THESE YEARS JUST HAPPEN? HOW AM I ALMOST 29?? I kind of feel sick over it truthfully. How fast life truly does go. Days turn into weeks into months and suddenly you are older. In a flash. I’d ask if you ever feel this way.

If we were having coffee…. Id tell you how discouraged I’ve been feeling with my blog lately. It’s so unlike me to care or notice but traffic and general interaction has been down (says the girl who has been a shit blog reader). I never put my blog happiness and well-being into these things so why am I RIGHT THIS MOMENT? I think maybe it has to do with where I’m at right now so I’m just feeling really discouraged about LOTS of things. But also I get this nagging feeling that it’s me. That what I’m doing isn’t good enough. You all are bored of me. I don’t have anything to say anymore. I should quit. My inner monologue has been horrible. I have been focused too much on creation and consumption that I’m losing the beauty in it all. I’d ask, if you were a blogger, if you feel this way ever?

If we were having coffee…. I’d tell you how I’m not looking forward to the cold weather and winter but this year I’m trying REALLY hard to make the most of it. Find new activities. Really embrace the things I DO love in this season. I’d ask you what your favorite cold weather activities are/what you do when the winter chases you inside? If you lived in perpetual beautiful weather I’d give you the stink eye and ask you to house me for the winter months.

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you how a conversation with my dad was what I needed to reframe my whole job/career situation outlook. I’m going to be pursuing some new ideas with the job search and be more thankful for the flexibility nannying gives me. (I MEAN ALL SUMMER I GOT TO BE OUTSIDE). I’d ask who your go-to person is who always helps you reframe a problem.

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you that we should go out for Thai food because I’m really craving it. LIKE REALLY REALLY BADLY.

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you that I am often frustrated because I don’t have anything that I’m really good at. I wish I was artistic or could sing or like running. I always thought I’d find my THING at this point in my life but ALAS no talents here except expert procrastination and eating ice cream like nobody’s business. I’d ask you about what you are talented at.

If we were having coffee…I’d tell you how I was reading a post from a blogger (not a book blogger) who experienced a devastating apartment fire and I’ve been thinking a lot about THINGS. How much value we place in them. How they can be gone in an instant. I started thinking about what things I would be sad about losing in a fire. (Answer: pretty much everything haha). My time of being unemployed and us being really scarily tight with money taught me a lot about what I buy and what I use and I’ve become a lot more of a minimalist in ways and have tried not to get attached to THINGS. It’s hard. I’d ask you what would be the one thing you’d miss the most if this happened to you.

 

If we were having coffee…what would you tell me? Come on…lay it all out! It’s just you, me, the pleasant sounds of a cafe…and maybe some other eyes in the comment section but NBD right?? Our we can have coffee in my inbox if you don’t feel comfortable. I really want to know! What’s going on with you?

My Own Happily Ever After

 

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Today Will and I are celebrating two years of being marriage. On one hand I’m like HOW HAVE WE BEEN MARRIED FOR TWO YEARS! And then on the other hand I’m like…wait haven’t we always been married. Maybe it’s because we have been together, in total, for 8 years.

When I was thinking about my upcoming anniversary it hit me that I’ve never really shared my own love story! I think I’ve thrown out bits and pieces of it but I’ve never written it out here. So let’s do this:

So how did we meet?

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I was a junior in college and I’d pretty much figured I wasn’t going to meet anyone in college at this point because I’d either dated the ones I was interested in (small college so it’s not like it was that many) or the ones that I COULD be interested in were definitely just friends at this point or I was NOT INTERESTED. I pretty much resigned myself to the fact I would meet someone after college but definitely not now unless they transferred. (Dating someone that was a freshman was not even an option for me). Pretty much all my friends were in serious relationships and this was the year I was FINALLY okay with being the single girl. I was having so much fun and embracing going on dates when I wanted.

Enter this goofy freshman who always wore his hood up, blasted his music too loud and was always driving like an idiot (seriously he would drive fast and pull the e-brake!). One of my friends was on the basketball team and Will came in as a freshman and was also on the team and they became friends thus introducing him to me.

Was it love at first sight?

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Hahaha no. NOPE. NO. I remember when my friend, that I mentioned before, started hanging out with him I’m like WHY DO YOU LIKE THIS KID HE IS ANNOYING AND STUPID. Then I got to know him a bit but we were just friends and actually, come to think about it, I was crushing on another guy and always talked to him about it because HE was friends with this guy. I EVEN TRIED TO SET HIM UP WITH MY SISTER BECAUSE THEY ARE THE SAME AGE. That was pretty much the joke of my sister’s maid of honor speech at my wedding.

We progressively started talking more and I started enjoying his company more but I still didn’t ever picture an US. I mean we are OPPOSITES. Especially back then. I was picturing some guy in an indie rock band with jeans as tight as mine who would write me songs, would be cultured, go to shows with me because we liked the same music and would read alongside me…and never make me watch sports ever. And well Will….he liked rap. He rocked the typical jock guy attire — sweat pants and basketball shorts and t-shirts — and was obsessed with sports. His idea of dinner was a corndog and fries (yes I love those things) while I was like YES THAI FOOD PLEASE? And Will has probably read like 1 book in his life.  He didn’t necessarily check the boxes for DREAM GUY  though most of my dream guy criteria was pretty superficial because tastes change and develop.

So what made it finally click?

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I’m not sure the exact moment it clicked but I remember feeling a distinct shift in my feelings after one REALLY long conversation we had together in the car one night. We got into more matters of the heart and BIG LIFE THINGS. I talked about my mom this night. At this point in time, it had been only a few months since my mom had passed away. I was a mess even though I was really good at looking like I wasn’t. While my sister went wild and crazy and reckless, I held it together but inside I just couldn’t make sense of things.

After I told him my story, he shared with me that he lost his biological mom to cancer also when he was 4. There was just this vulnerable side of him this night that I had never seen and while I don’t think I was all heart eyed and in love….that couple hour honest conversation is something I will never forget.

I’ll never forget the moment I finally admitted I like him. We had a little house party at a friend’s house. I was a wee bit drunk. I was supposed to be super into and paying attention to the super popular basketball player (the friend that introduced Will and I actually) on campus but that night I kept finding myself gravitating closer to Will. I think it was pissing this other guy off and my sister cornered me and was like “omg he won’t stop talking about you to me” and I was like “yeah, I don’t think I like him…I think I like that kid.” To which my sister was like, “interesting.”

So for the next couple months I spent A LOT of time with him and we were “talking”…going on a few dates (dates are generous considering we were both super broke college kids). We would write each other long emails (where he would woo me with his high school level French), have long chats driving in the car and meeting each other after classes so we could walk together. Then we made it “official” on January 16, 2007 and here we are married two years today despite the fact I never saw this relationship being super serious.

The Day I Knew I Loved Him & Wanted To Spend My Life With Him?

 

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It wasn’t a particular moment but a couple years after we started dating his father got diagnosed with ALS. It’s just him and his mom (stepmom really because his real mom passed as I said but she’s been his mom since he was like 5 or 6) and we spent much time on weekends and in the summer there. Watching him take care of his dad was what made me know. When my mom was sick and dying from brain cancer my stepdad took care of her in a way that made me look at love & marriage in a whole new way. My stepdad is basically my hero to be honest. At some point I vowed, during that time, that I wanted to marry a man who would take care and love me in the way my stepdad did my mom. I never knew HOW I would know at the time but as I watched Will care for his dad in a way that breaks my heart because no son should have to do these things so young…it just made me KNOW. There was no complaining or resentment..just genuine love.

Things I’ve Learned From Finding My Happily Ever After

 

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* The story is still a work of progress and happily ever after does not mean we ride off in the sunset with no more battles or conflict or work involved. It does not mean I am happy every day. Good fictional reading related to that topic: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid & Landline by Rainbow Rowell

*Sure, common interests are good but it isn’t necessary to like all the same things (obviously I learned this also while dating him because OPPOSITES). When Will and I met he was an 18 year old boy and he hadn’t even begun to discover what he was into. He never cooked when we met and now cooking is one of the things he loves most in life. He dresses differently now (and not on account of me changing him or anything) and he’s even discovered he likes some of the same music as me. I’m okay with our differences and I embrace and love them. They are what make us remember that as much as we have become “one” in marriage we are still very much our own person. We learn and experience new things because of our different interests and I’m glad I never tried to mold him into who I wanted him to be in some areas.

* Most of my ideas about love and marriage were highly romanticized and were mostly based on movies and tv…and books to some extent but mostly movies and tv. How it works on the big screen is not necessarily how it works in real life.

* Sometimes you will go to bed angry. It happens.

* I never realized the new and exciting things I would learn about Will and the ways I could fall in love with him even more after marriage. Sometimes I think you have this idea after being together with someone that you know ALL THE THINGS but you don’t. And the falling in love part isn’t just a beginning occurrence…it happens to me at the most random of moments.

* Our relationship is not perfect and that’s okay. In the age of the internet and social media, it’s easy to look at the lives of others and think our relationship is inadequate. I’ve learned to reject the feelings that creep up when I see things online with someone else’s picture perfect relationship and it makes me start to doubt or think less of my own.

* I don’t ever want to stop fighting. I’m not saying I want to fight day in and day out in an unhealthy way. No, no not at all. I don’t want to FIGHT and scream and be miserable and awful to each other. What I’m saying is that, coming from divorced parents at a young age, I watched a relationship that eventually they became so apathetic/indifferent that they just stopped caring. They FOUGHT LIKE CRAZY but it was no longer serving a purpose but just to spite and let each other know how much they hated the other. (This kind of fighting is not want I want). I want to care enough to still disagree and that any “fight” we may get into will result in us taking the effort and time to work hard to bring a clear end to it.

I could write a lot more about what I’ve learned but those are just some of the most pressing things on my mind as I write this. I would LOVE for you to share your love story if you have one! And if you don’t, that’s okay too! I’m telling you…I really loved and embraced my days of being single once I came to realize it was okay and I wasn’t strange for NOT having someone.

You may also like:

10 Things My Husband Is Sick Of This Bookworm Saying
Being Married To A Non-Reader…It’s Not As Bad As You Think!!
Book Talk: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
You Mean I Have To Work At This Still?

If We Were Having Coffee #2

I saw a blogger/life coach I love, Ashley, do a post entitled If We Were Having Coffee and I decided to take her lead and do one myself because I loved it and sometimes I feel like we forget that there is a whole life behind the people that write and read blogs. I got such a great response to my initial that I wanted to make it a reoccurring thing!

 

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So, grab your coffee/beverage of your choice and meet me for a chat. I’ve got water right now because it’s far too late for coffee for me.  I actually wish I was having a jack & ginger right now because it’s been that kind of a week but alas I am not. What are you having?

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you that I’m in the middle of Half Bad by Sally Green which I started out loving but have hit a wall with. I don’t know if it’s the crazy of this week or what but it’s kind of causing me to be in a slump. I’m also in the middle of The Sea of Tranquility which is going a bit better. I’d ask you what you were reading.

If we were having coffee... I’d tell you that this week drained me. There was a bit of a family crisis that involved my sister and her two babies (Genevieve and Adela) staying here with Will and I in our one bedroom (things are fine now) and then I found out on Wednesday that I didn’t get the job I interviewed for and was really excited about. I was at my nannying gig when I found out and it took everything not to just break down and cry. I started crying the minute I got in my car. I’m just so frustrated. I KNOW I would have been amazing at that job and I just don’t know why I can’t get a job in my field (marketing/social media). And I feel so stressed because of this long term unemployment. I’ve done everything in my power to find a job and I can’t and I KNOW that jobs just penalize you even more when you are out of work. And all I want to scream is I DID NOT ASK TO BE LAID OFF FROM MY PREVIOUS JOB!!!

If we were having coffee.… I’d tell you that I need a vacation. I need to go somewhere where I don’t speak the language and explore and eat new foods. My soul needs it…to recharge. To feel even more alive.  I’d ask you about the last trip you went on.

If we were having coffee…. I would tell you how I seriously cannot stop mourning the fact that Breaking Bad is over. Will and I binge watched it in December and I can’t stop thinking it. I feel like no other shows compare for me at this point. I’d ask you if you’ve watched it and if you said no then I’d (lovingly) bully you into it.

If we were having coffee…. I’d tell you how this winter is going to be my undoing. I’m NOT a winter girl at all. I hate it. If it weren’t for family I’d be on the first flight out of here to live somewhere warm. This winter has been BRUTAL. In fact, the news keeps telling me it’s the THIRD snowiest winter we’ve ever had. DIE, MOTHER NATURE, DIE. And the fun part? WINTER IS NOT EVEN OVER. Between getting stuck in traffic for 4 hours (should have only been 25 minutes), having below zero temps, my car door being so frozen multiple mornings that I can’t shut it, having to dig out my car, falling on ice and having to drive in shitty conditions…I’M JUST OVER IT.

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you how I went to a party for my former bff’s 1 year old kid (to support HER because we’ve been working on things) and I had to see my old group for the first time in over a year. There were only a couple of people who actually acknowledged us/talked to us and the rest of the people literally ignored us. It’s so sad to see friends I’ve had since middle school and high school just act like I’m not there. I had my reasons for leaving that group but this showed me it was the right decision when I thought about how none of them have even tried to reach out/basically showed me how shallow those friendships always were. I was just so disappointed that there wasn’t even hellos or “it’s been so long! How have you been?” from any of them. It give me the major sads. I would also tell you how Will and I went out for burritos and margaritas afterwards and I no longer gave a shit about what transpired.

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you that I slacked off on working out in 2014 so far. I was really dedicated last year and then I started the year off sick and I just have not regained my mojo. SOMEONE PLEASE KICK ME INTO GEAR.

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you that I really want to go to BEA again this year and would be really sad to miss it after having gone every year since I’ve been blogging. It’s more about being able to hang out with people than it is about the books but I really look forward to it. Everything is so up in the air because I don’t know what I’ll be doing job-wise by then and who knows if I’ll be able to get off the time. FINGERS CROSSED IT WILL WORK OUT. I’d ask you if YOU were going and if you didn’t know what it is, because maybe you don’t blog or you are new, I would tell you ALL about it..how it is a bookish heaven.

If we were having coffee…I’d tell you that I’m really behind in replying to comments on my blog and visiting other blogs. It’s embarrassing honestly. And I feel bad. I don’t know what’s up with me lately HOWEVER..I’m working on it.

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you that I’m honestly having the hardest time keeping my spirits up these days with this whole looking for a job thing. I keep having to look for bright spots in my day — your comments and tweets being one of them — and it’s just really, really hard just not to give up. I’ve never felt so demoralized in my life and I feel like I’m doing the best I can and asking for helping and doing All The Things You Are Supposed To Do and it’s not getting me anywhere. Something’s gotta give eventually, right? Everyone tells me to “keep on going” and I KNOW that’s what I’m supposed to do but I feel like I’m just a hamster on a wheel at this point.

 

If we were having coffee…what would you tell me? Come on…lay it all out! It’s just you, me, the pleasant sounds of a cafe…and maybe some other eyes in the comment section but NBD right?? Our we can have coffee in my inbox if you don’t feel comfortable. I really want to know! What’s going on with you?

Dear 2013, Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out!

So I had initially written this whole long goodbye 2013 letter but I decided, after rereading it, that it was mainly for me. It was. I needed to write it. To word vomit out all the rottenness of the year and get it out of my system like a night out drinking. I cried as I wrote it. My rageypants fit a bit tighter as I got more pissed about things that happened this year. I ate a brownie. I cursed 2013. And then I just sat there. I reread it. I cried more. And then I decided that I didn’t want this to be the first post I made in 2014. I’m ready for a new year, a new start — I know it’s a mental thing but my brain likes the idea of a new year to let go of all the baggage I have carried this year.

Let’s get it out: This year SUCKED. There were good moments. Really fun, awesome moments. Things learned. Things tried. Memories I won’t forget. There were seriously awesome days. Those things kept me going. But there was this dark cloud that followed the whole year and liked to dump acid rain all over me at inopportune moments. I told Will often that I just wanted to quit life this year. I pleaded with him that it was a good idea to take what little money we had and just flee to an island somewhere and sell smoothies out of our shack. He often rolled his eyes at my solution to things. It’s no secret — I’ve been honest. I struggled this year.

Okay now that that’s out. Let’s talk about a few takeaways from this year that will be melded into the armor that I will wear into battle in 2014 — because I will fight to make things better, to be happy, to be stronger. Hear this rebel yell, 2014! I’m coming for you.

Perseverance

My dear friend Ginger had an awesome idea for a project and I loved seeing the outcome. She asked some bloggers and authors to give a word that summed up the year for them and it really made me think. I had a lot of negative words come to mind initially but I knew that’s not the direction I wanted to go in because I’m a glass half full kind of girl. There had to be some overarching theme of 2013 amidst all the really negative words I was thinking and all the things that had happened. And then it came to me — perseverance. I think this word sums up a lot of my life. In fact, in college I was given the perseverance award presented by the Business Department because everyone knew about my mom’s fight with brain cancer through most of my college career. I just persevere.

The official definition for perseverance: steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

That pretty much sums it up. This year was a lot of just keep pushing through. Even when I wanted to lie down and quit, I just kept going even if nothing felt better. Even in the days where all I wanted to do was cry, I let myself cry, I dusted myself off and said, “Self, you will keep going.” I didn’t feel particularly in battle mode most of the time but it was more of a quiet perseverance this year for me. One foot in front of the other. One day at a time. The biggest thing was the job thing — it’s demoralizing and exhausting to keep looking for work and knowing you are good enough but new rejections pummel you every day. I don’t see the fruits of that labor yet but I’m persevering knowing that soon enough I will be where I need to be career wise. Perseverance.

I’ve always known I can handle a lot, as hard and as weighty as it seems, but this year perseverance was everything. It was a new challenge for me and, even if the only thing I can say at the end of all this is, HEY I SURVIVED 2013..then by damn I’m going to put it on a t-shirt, bedazzle the shit out of it and embrace it.

Perspective

I find some irony in the fact that last year I was declaring myself DONE with a certain longstanding group of friends — my former bff included. And how did I spend one of my last days of 2013? Hanging out with my former bff who is now solidly my friend. For, you see, I did in fact cold turkey cut them out of my life. I did it. It was the best thing I did for myself. I needed to. I could have went about it differently for sure but that’s what I did. I did not speak to them for most of the year — until this Fall when I was invited to have dinner with the one person who had hurt me the most. And you know what I did? I said yes. Because I felt like I needed closure of some sort. I could see I was different now. I did what I needed — put some time and space in between me and them. And suddenly I realized they had NO bearing in my life anymore. It was the most freeing realization. I worried about them SO much and let them dictate my life to the point of being miserable and they NO LONGER HAD ANY HOLD ON ME. I did not care what they thought. I didn’t. AT ALL.

But at that dinner I realized my heart was not so bitter towards them anymore. I will never be a part of that group again but I proved to myself that I can be friendly with them and see them from time to time because there is history there. But I became myself again because I wasn’t letting my life be dictated by them anymore. I’ve changed my expectations on the friendship and gained perspective in my “timeout” from them.

And then I reconnected with my former bff. I apologized. I explained why I did what I did. She understood it. She forgave me. I forgave her. We will never be as close as we once were and that’s okay. We have a new friendship built on a foundation of 10 years of friendship and I’m excited to see where it goes.

Biggest takeaway: There is always room for forgiveness and healing in life.  I vow to take this lesson with me in 2014 and be more gracious in my forgiveness — without being walked all over. Sometimes it just takes a new perspective to see that your initial reaction wasn’t completely right. Yes, I did the right thing that I needed to do in the moment but I wasn’t altogether right about everything.

True, Genuine Friends Can Get You Through Anything

I don’t know where I would be without a select few people this year + the whole amazing community who in their own way were able to support me and encourage me.

This year I was largely a crappy friend. I have this tendency, when I am going through really hard times and am having the sads, to shut the world out. I did that. I’m not proud of it but I figure that most people don’t want to have a mopey friend. Luckily, I have a select few people who loved me in spite of all that, who encouraged me, inspired me and UNDERSTOOD without judgment. I don’t know what I would have done without them listening to me let it all out, for putting up with my scattered mind, for sending me encouraging links or quotes or a mood boosting playlist. I don’t know what I would have done without dance parties via text (yeah that forreal happened and it was epic) and lip syncing via text to Hold On by Wilson Phillips. I would not have survived without mutual bitch sessions, the kind texts asking me how an interview went, the brainstorming to get ourselves out of ruts, etc. I appreciated and needed their “keepin it real” advice and thoughts even if it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. They let me wallow but also kicked me in the pants and for that I am grateful.

I vow in 2014 to be the kind of friend I always was before and to shower these special people with so much love it is going to come out of their ears. I’ve always believed that friendship is give and takes and sometimes someone will need to carry a little more of the load when the other is down and my friends have proved that and I am ready to be there for them in a better way than I could this year.

Dance Parties Are Necessary

I am the dance party queen and I really outdid myself this year. Out of necessity. I don’t think I would have made it through some days without dance parties — both text dance parties with a friend and the ones I had in my kitchen. There were days that I just had to dance it out — a la Christina and Meredith style on Grey’s Anatomy. I made myself dance because it kept me from crying. I made myself dance even when I was crying. For at least a couple minutes I just acted ridiculous and silly and it helped. Even when Will walks in on them and makes me cry because he just doesn’t miss a beat and just joins in.

Sometimes You Just Have To Laugh

When all else fails, at different points we just had to laugh at ourselves and the bad things that happened this year. Some of our most hearty laughter came from the most ridiculous situations — my Nancy Drew stint when our car got broken into and tons of stuff was stolen, when our power was out for days and we had to stumble around our apartment in the dark, or when we talked about how we’d decorate our cardboard box when we eventually had no more money to afford our apartment. Sometimes laughter turned into crying and sometimes crying turned into laughter. I’m just so thankful for all the laughs Will and I had this year.

Defining Who You Are

One of the biggest things for me this year was thinking about my worth and who I am and what defines me. I’ve never been the type of person who was defined by a career or anything but not working for a year makes you feel all sorts of things about your worth and you realize how often we define ourselves by the things we do. Normal conversations often leads with, “So what do you do (for work)?” and when you aren’t working it causes you to have a bit of an existential crisis — even if you, like me, do not at all put all your value in your career. I’ve come to really realize that we can’t really define ourselves and put our worth in some of these things that we do because they can end, they can break, they can disappoint us and they could be gone in an instant. Like everything they have their place and their importance in our life but hinging our worth and who we are on one thing is scary. I resolve to NOT let myself fall in that trap when I get a job or really with anything — this blog, relationships, etc.

 

And those are a couple of the takeaways I’m bringing with me into 2014. I firmly believe there is always something to learn from the bad and the good and I can go into 2014 stronger, smarter, better and with even more perspective. I have high hopes for 2014. I’ve been really proactive already about making it a better year — really fixing the things that were bad this year. I made the most out of 2013 and, while I wouldn’t say it was the worst year I’ve ever had, I’m okay with letting it go and moving on. I already see myself changing and growing and really what more can I ask for. I’ve weathered that damn storm and it’s time to see what’s on the other side of it.

What lessons did you learn this year?

If We Were Having Coffee…

One of my favorite bloggers, Ashley at Your Super Awesome Life/aka the life coach I told you all about, did a post like this the other day and I decided I wanted to do the same because 1) I loved it and 2) sometimes I feel like we forget that there is a whole life behind the people that write and read blogs. She sat down and typed out what she’d talk to her readers about if she was meeting them for coffee. So let’s try it?

 

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So, grab your coffee/beverage of your choice and meet me for a chat. I’ve got tea right now but if we met earlier it would be a gingerbread latte. What are you having?

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you about how I’ve been in an epic slump for the past week. I’d tell you how I wasn’t sure if it was ME or the book (The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert). I’ve been really preoccupied/stressed so I know that could be my problem. I’d tell you that I decided to try something paced a little differently and ended up reading Ashes to Ashes by Melissa Walker and finished it in a day. Now I’m going back to The Signature of All Things but reading Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff at the same time to balance it out. I’d also ask you what you were reading.

If we were having coffee... I’d tell you about how I’m really having a hard time finding those books that just WOW me to the fullest degree. I’m talking those books that make you remember why you love reading. The ones that just knock you off your feet. I want to curl up and sob like a little baby because of how it wrecked me or because of how beautiful and amazing it was. I want to almost convince myself I never want to read again so this book could be the LAST BOOK I’D EVER READ if I died. End on an amazing note. I’d ask you what book last did that for you.

If we were having coffee.… I’d tell you how I’m really kind of nervous about this whole not having a job thing. I don’t know what I can do anymore honestly. I send out resume after resume and rarely hear ANYTHING. I’ve had people look at my resume. I’d tell you that my unemployment is up in December and I don’t know what were are going to do. I’m rather scared. I’m going to see what is hiring around the holidays and just go from there. Also, I’d tell you how demoralizing this all has been. And stressful. And all consuming. Probably contributing to my slump.

If we were having coffee…. I would tell you about how I’m really loving this auntie thing even MORE as Genevieve grows up. She is almost two and such a little person with a BIG personality. I love watching her grow and learn and I just get so much joy from being around her. I would tell you how she likes to say to my sister, “MOVE MAMA!” so she can be the closest to her baby sister Adela.

If we were having coffee…. I’d show you the bruise on my leg because I’m a klutz and ran into the side of the bed today and how it hurts so bad. I’d also ask you if my roots were showing really bad because I’m WAY overdue for getting my hurrr did.

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you how I’m really, really happy that I’ve been reconnecting with my high school/college bff again. We have been on rocky ground for the past couple years but it’s been really nice working on our friendship and both admitting where we messed up.

If we were having coffeeI’d ask you if you always knew what you wanted to be when you grew up and if you are happy doing what you are doing. I’d tell you how I’m so passionate about social media and marketing but I doubt whether I could do the corporate thing long term because my last job sucked the life out of me. I would tell you how I hate the notion that you have to pick what you want to be as an 18 year old kid, before you even really KNOW who you are, and pursue that as a degree for the next four years. 18 year old Jamie who chose to be a business major is a lot different than 28 year old Jamie and had different motives and priorities in life than me now. I’d tell you that it scares me that I still can’t answer the question of, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Can’t I just date a few careers first?

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you how I’m loving doing Blogilates and it’s the first workout I’ve stuck with ever in my life. I can feel myself getting stronger and stronger and more flexible since I started doing it in July. I’d also tell you how I’m a dummy and I signed up for a 5K on Thanksgiving and trained for one week a month ago. OOPS.

If we were having coffee…I’d tell you how excited I am about something that I’m working on. I’d also tell you that that something isn’t the NaNo project I promised myself secretly that I’d do this month without telling anyone. Not one word has been written.

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you how thankful I am for you. For reading what I write. For talking to me about books and other things. For encouraging me. For commenting. For letting me be myself.

 

If we were having coffee…what would you tell me? Come on…lay it all out! It’s just you, me, the pleasant sounds of a cafe…and maybe some other eyes in the comment section but NBD right?? Our we can have coffee in my inbox if you don’t feel comfortable. I really want to know! What’s going on with you?

HEY YA JAMIE! We Need To Talk!

You guys all met YA Jamie (still cringing that I put these pictures on the internet) and you learned some things about her with my little survey but after reading this post I was thinking a lot about what I would tell my YA self I could sit down and talk to her and tell her what I’ve learned in all these years since being a teen. I doubt she would have listened because she thought she knew it all (Will would still say this is true of me now but WHATEVER) but reading so much YA I think SO much about my teenage years. So here it goes…

*stares at YA Jamie* *hands coffee* Don’t give me that face. You learn to like coffee one day or at least like it out of necessity in college. Also, your boobs don’t get bigger. HATE TO BREAK IT TO YOU. Everyone who said you were a late bloomer LIED. You just bloom in other ways. So start saving those pennies and cozy up to Victoria’s Secret. So for real…let’s talk.

Things You Need To Know:

 

advice1It’s all part of adolescence so go with it but whenever you are feeling particularly overwhelmed about something remember that it is transient and think of the bigger picture. That party your mom wouldn’t let you go to? It really did NOT ruin your life. See…I’m here. Do I look ruined?? Worry about these dumb things because it’s your now but put more stock in the important things that will be there in 5 years. Perspective is really key in getting over these things.

advice2
Here’s the thing, if you don’t you are going to end up sitting in your bed at night running through all of the “should haves” and “what ifs.” TRUST ME. Sometimes the chances you took don’t pan out the way you think they will but I assure you at some point you will realize that even that failed attempt changed you and you won’t wonder “what if” down the road. Take chances, say yes even when you are scared and be bold. It’s empowering. Some opportunities you won’t get back. They won’t wait for you to finally get the courage 5 years later. TRUST ME. I have a whole list I could share with you.

advice3I know you feel like you get along better with guys and I know your friendships really ARE awesome with them and you DO really fit in. But there is going to be a point when you realize you have no girl friends and you need them. And then when you TRY to make them? You are going to be really bad at it. All the things other girls learned about friendship? You are years behind and don’t quite understand how it all works. It sucks but luckily a few girls come into your life that make it real easy. Sadly, geography is not in your favor but they are important nonetheless. Also, read this and find those kinds of friendships!

advice4They are by no means perfect but you won’t have them around forever as you will soon learn. Appreciate them. A lot. Try to peel back the layers and bridge the gaps. You are going to feel the absence of not having a mom but you still have a dad and sisters and stepmom and stepdad. Cherish that. You and Angela will stop hating each other and actually she will be your best friend. Want to know how? She’s going to tell you she’s pregnant and that will change your life and make you inseparable. Be gentle with her as you work out your differences through high school and college. You are going to realize that these people will be here for you when others hurt you, fail you and they will love you unconditionally despite your flaws and will be the ones you call crying when bad things happen.

advice5Let go of things that don’t work. Let go of people who do not add anything positive to your life. Let go of anger. Let go of the past. Let go and forgive. You’ll feel a million pounds lighter. It’s going to be hard and you are going to struggle a lot. It seems counter-intuitive because you’ll feel like you can fix those friendships and situations but you’ll really just feel prisoner to them. And ignore the slogan, “Quitters never win” because it’s OKAY to not want to do something anymore if you don’t want. You are free to try new things. Just be honest with yourself about why you want to quit it.

advice6You are going to feel like you are always at different stages than your friends and peers a lot. In high school and college you are going to grow up fast because of what happens with your mom. Your friends aren’t going to understand it really and you are going to feel alone. But I promise you that you will have a step ahead of them when it comes to seeing the world differently and having perspective. Relish in that when you feel alone but don’t hold it against them. And then they are all going to be in serious relationships and you’ll be single. It’s okay. When you get a relationship, they all get married. It’s okay. You learn from their mistakes. When you finally get married (yes it’s before your are 30) and get your first apartment, they will be having babies and buying houses. IT’S OKAY. Don’t compare yourself because your journey is different.

advice7
This is the biggest lesson you could ever learn. Look, I’m only meeting with you right now because I got laid off and have TIME. I didn’t order food to go with that coffee because I’m broke. But I’ll tell you what…you and your husband laugh a lot. At your situation. In spite of it. You are going to go through things that you can’t control and sometimes you will feel like everything has gone wrong (seriously..2013 you will have a HUGE bad streak) BUT you can choose to put a smile on your face, be kind, laugh, be the best person you can be and that will help you get through it. You can’t control the chaos but you can do something about how you see it.

advice8Seriously, you are going to fight it SO MUCH. STOP IT. You will save so much time, money and painful burns in your quest to straighten it every day. Give into the lazy, girl. Rock what you have!

advice9Seriously, you have lots of dance parties. Just the other day you had one and your husband walked in from work and immediately started dancing with you. He’s a keeper. Plus as much as he shakes his head at your white girl moves and your failed twerking attempts..he still thinks you are awesome. Also, he’s a better dancer than you. Deal with it.

advice10
People will show you who they really are. They will. You are going to come across a lot of people who treat you like crap, make underhanded comments, talk behind your back and just genuinely don’t have your best interest at heart. Don’t let those bad eggs make you become jaded…just cut your losses. That person who talks about EVERYONE else (even her “bffs”)…don’t be stupid to think she isn’t also talking about you. That person who loves gossip? You will struggle with wanting to get in on it but it’s TOXIC. That friend who isn’t every pleased with anything that anybody does? You have flaws but don’t need to try to aim for what she thinks is acceptable. Stop trying to please her. Focus on your handful of AMAZING friends. You will be blessed with friends who send you empowering mixtapes when you need them, that friend who you can text at 3am about a fight with your husband, friends who GET you and don’t judge you even when you tell them something ridiculously stupid and petty and friends that understand your quirks and flaws and love you but aren’t afraid to tell you like it is when you are being a jackass.

advice11Even though you should be wary of certain people, you should be gracious with everyone else. Remember you could be seeing someone on their worst day. Don’t assume things. Don’t think the worst of people’s intentions right away. Talk about things when you feel slighted and don’t hold it in. Be honest. Don’t be stingy with second chances and “I’m sorry’s”. Meet people where they are at. See other people’s perspectives and consider them. Don’t judge harshly when someone is human and makes mistakes or does something douchy. Understand that sometimes in friendships you give and take at different intervals — it’s never the same for every friend but I can assure you that it will never be equal at all times. Sometimes people need more from you than they can give at certain times and vice versa. Don’t keep a tally. You’ll know when it’s right.

Things you will still struggle with at 28 (but I assure you, YA Jamie, I’m WORKING ON IT FOR US)

+ making omlettes
+ painting your nails
+ Not stabbing yourself in the eye with your mascara
+ Saying I’m sorry first
+ Feeling accepted/left out
+ Letting things consume you that shouldn’t
+ Trying to seek approval
+ dealing with the loss of your mom
+ Making friends
+ Knowing what you want to do with your life
+ Letting people walk all over you
+ Making decisions
+ Feeling like you are your age (trust me, girl, you still look 16 too)
+ letting one person ruin your mood
+ being the one to make plans/pick up the phone (also, you SUCK at answering texts)
+ feeling overwhelmed to the point of just shutting down
+ loving exercise (though right now you started Blogilates and you kind of maybe love it)
+ reading into things
+ feeling worthy and believing in yourself
+ finding pants that don’t show your crack when you bend down

You aren’t perfect but you’ll do alright, kid. You don’t even comprehend your strength but you’ve gotten through some of the worst things life could throw you with grace. You are still here. You are growing. Learning. Loving. Playing. Every day. And that’s what is important…at 16 or 28 or 58.

Love, ME

Meet YA Jamie!

This post took me about a week or two to do because going through pictures was just too much fun! I know you all as adults and as much as we talk about YA novels…I’ve never shared much about MY YA self. So get to know YA Jamie a bit! 🙂

Meet Middle School Jamie (2000-2001)

BP28th grade dance

BP69th grade dance

Facts You Need To Know:

– In 8th grade I moved from small town PA to the Philly burbs and WOW was everything different. So I started middle school in a new school which was HARD but I was also lucky because I made friends in my neighborhood during the summer (like my BFF Becky!!)

– I was painfully, painfully shy in school as a result of this move (but was WAY super loud around our neighborhood crew and like really obnoxious when around my bff). I made friends pretty quickly in school but it was pretty darn hard. My face would turn BRIGHT red if I was called on in class.

– Middle school Jamie had really bad hair. Like really bad. It’s naturally ringlet curly but she wanted it so straight so used a crap-o straightener and then seconds after leaving the house it just looked like a big POOF BALL.

– She also thought she had really good style (I mean, HELLO DELIA’S and puffy vests from Gap) but now I’m LOLing.

BP5

School Wise:

LOVED: English class (surprised?)
Hated: MATH (I was a YEAR behind thanks to my small town school. SIGH.) and Gym..seriously I hated the gym teacher and the icky uniforms.
Extra-curriculars: I got on the middle school lacrosse team. So did everyone who tried out. Choir…I couldn’t sing. Everybody seemed to be allowed in choir.
Social Status: Well, I started out as the new girl and sat at a table full of new girls. I made a lot more friends as they year went on.

BP7

Boyfriends In 8th & 9th:

5 I think that all lasted like 2 weeks? Plus guys that I had a “thing” with…basically just lots of hand holding and “teehee I like you” but no official title. I also had an interesting “I kinda like him but I don’t but he likes me” with my across the street neighbors who was also one of my best friends.

My BFF & I!
She seriously was that ultimate BFF that knew EVERYTHING and we could laugh for hours and had endless inside jokes. I kind of always assumed we’d be bffs for forever. We liked to take “model” pictures and like I’m DYING at how we thought they looked good. I’m not even including the worst.

BP3 BP4BP1“model pics” Look at those shiny black pants and Delia’s shirt.

Hobbies:

– hanging out with my bff and the friends in our neighborhood
– reading magazines like Seventeen, Teen Vogue
– Listening to music. Rap was my JAM in middle school. lol. Some Shaggy and some Luda…you know how I do.
– MARY KATE AND ASHLEY.
– Omg I had about 30 penpals in 8th grade and I used to be big into “friendship books”. Did anyone else do them?? You would send them off to other people (my penpals) and then they would send them on, etc. until it filled up and you got it back. I was kiiinda of obsessed with the Hanson ones.

FUN FACT:
Pink went to my school and in 8th grade (I think her first hit had just blew up!) she came to our school to visit. My mom HAPPENED to be in the school office dropping something off at the time and got her autograph.

BP21

Meet High School Jamie (2002-2004)

BP12BP8
Facts You Need To Know About High School Jamie:

– The summer in between middle school and high school she really came into herself. She still HATED being called on in class and could be shy but she definitely was a little more outgoing.

– The summer in between middle school and high school she got better with her hair and stopped trying to straighten it until about 12th grade when she got good at it/got better tools to do it. Exhibit A:

BP20
– 12th grade Jamie found out her mom had brain cancer and had only months to live. (She ended up living for almost two years).

– High school Jamie was so scared of driving. She got her license but WOWWEE. Not good.

– High school Jamie’s style: She was very serious about her style in 11th and 12th grade — dressing like a little emo/punk girl straight up from the thrift store. Lots of thrift store t-shirts/band shirts, plastic barrettes (like the ones you used to wear when you were 5), pearl necklaces and bowling shoes.

BP15

School wise:

Loved: Spanish class, english & history class
Hated: Math!
Social Status: Somewhere in the middle. I had friends in almost every circle and mostly everyone liked me but I didn’t have one particular group. I floated though my “main” group was in the top middle of the food chain but really in HS lots of people talked to each other…wasn’t a strict social order.

Extra-curricular activities:

– Lacrosse team until my senior year (lazy senior! plus I wasn’t that good!)
– Key Club
– I was a HUGE youth group kid and really got into it in 9th grade and then especially during high school. I was always at the church after school to play freeball (kind of like dodgeball but crazier and barely any rules) in the gym or at youth group on Sundays or going on retreats or bible studies or Creation Fest (like the Woodstock of Christian music? lol). I was friends with a lot of people at school but the kids in my youth group were my closest friend (some of them DID go to my school).

Boyfriends in High School

“Serious” boyfriends? 4 or so. I pretty much always had a boy de jour in between an actually boyfriend. My longest relationship was 6 months in 11th grade through 12th but he was a year older and went off the Navy and High School Jamie couldn’t do long distance. 12th grade Jamie started dating her best guy friend and that proved to be DISASTROUS and led to her worst heart break ever.

BP13
My bff & I:

The end of an era came to a close by the end of 10th grade between Becky and I. My best friend became Rachel who also was my best friend throughout college and after.

BP1610th grade homecoming when Jabeck (yeah, we called ourselves that) was still a force!

bp22Rachel & I

Hobbies:

– youth group
Music: Taking Back Sunday, Finch, Brand New, The Get Up Kids, Dashboard Confessionals, Fall Out Boy, The Early November
-thrift shopping
– Xanga and Myspace!
-chatting with my friends on AIM
– BOYS. I was seriously boy crazy. We would meet boys every where we went and have crushes on them (pictures below from a cruise and at an amusement park).
BP10 BP11

Prom
I only went to prom as an 11th grader with my senior boyfriend. All my friends were older or dating someone older so we didn’t go to our senior prom.
BP19

High School Graduation
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Would you and YA Jamie have been friends or probably not? Did we share any similar hobbies/stories/etc? Is it not crazy how much YA Jamie and Present Day Jamie look pretty much the same? I NEVER AGE.

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