Personal

Whatever doesn’t fit & that usually has to do with my feels.

Too much

I have always been “too much” for certain people.

Too loud in conversation. Too outspoken about politics. Too enthusiastic about school projects. Too overzealous in gym class. Too angry about injustices. Too rough in basketball games. Too sassy when irritated. Too eager about the future. Too annoying. Just too much.

I have been called out or made of fun for this more times than I can count, by kids and adults alike. A particularly fun nickname I earned in junior high was “Spazzy Cami”. The girl who was always just too much. I live life with my heart on my sleeve, and I always have. If I’m feeling something – you’ll know.

I have also spent much of my life apologizing to those select groups of people. I’m sorry for being loud. I’m sorry I said what I was thinking. I’m sorry I got angry. I’m sorry I’m dramatic. I’m sorry for being sassy. I’m sorry I get so obnoxiously excited.

But the best part of getting older? The part my parents left out of all those talks when I was a teenager crying over boys who thought I was too awkward or girl “friends” who called me too weird or teachers who told my parents I was too loud…you grow to love the parts of yourself that other people don’t. 

I will never apologize again for being too much for certain people.

I don’t apologize for being loud any more. I talk loud. I type loud. I think out loud. I am a loud person. I’m not sorry.

I don’t apologize for being passionate about politics or people or injustices. This one in particular has gotten me into more arguments or trouble than I can count, usually ending in me apologizing. But as an adult – I have learned you do NOT have to say sorry for what you believe and sharing those opinions or beliefs in a respectful way.

I don’t apologize for being easily excited or angry or sad. I don’t bottle my emotions. I am open and honest. I won’t lie to you. I couldn’t even if I tried. It’s evident how I feel in every mannerism and facial expression I make.

I don’t apologize for being excited about nerdy things or pouring my heart into whatever fitness regimen I’m doing.

I’m not sorry for being “too” much anymore. I am just enough.

Why am I sharing all this?

Because I want my sweet niece at 4 years old who is already being called too dramatic and too bossy to know that she will never be too much for the right people. I want the timid girls out there who never speak up because society or religion has taught them to be quiet and obedient because it’s expected and feminine, that they can speak up and get angry. I want the women in the rural community I grew up in who don’t want to anger their husbands or their friends with their differing views to know that they have a voice, and their opinions and emotions are never too much. 

To all the middle school girls who are called too annoying or too awkward or too weird to date a boy or to be friends with someone – please don’t feel like you have to lessen yourself to meet their expectations. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You will never be too much of anything for the good, quality people who deserve a place in your life. Never.

Please don’t feel that in order to impress or satisfy a boy, or a friend, or a teacher, or relatives, or your own family – you hide the parts of yourself that “annoy” others. If they’re annoyed – it’s their problem, not yours. Apologize when you hurt someone or when you are in the wrong, and that’s it. Never apologize for who you are. 

I’m not an avid reader of poetry, but this one hit home in the deepest, best kind of way.

Too Much

BY TYLER FORD

 

do you remember the first time you were called annoying?
how your breath stopped short in your chest
the way the light drained from your eyes, though you knew your cheeks were ablaze
the way your throat tightened as you tried to form an argument that got lost on your tongue?
your eyes never left the floor that day.
you were 13.
you’re 20 now, and i still see the light fade from your eyes when you talk about your interests for “too long,”
apologies littering every other sentence,
words trailing off a cliff you haven’t jumped from in 7 years.
i could listen to you forever, though i know speaking for more than 3 uninterrupted minutes makes you anxious.
all i want you to know is that you deserve to be heard
for 3 minutes
for 10 minutes
for 2 hours
forever.
there will be people who cannot handle your grace, your beauty, your wisdom, your heart;
mostly because they can’t handle their own. but you will never be
and have never been
“too much.”

 

 

Feminists are for ALL women. Yes, even you, the ones calling us names.

Feminists are for ALL women. Yes, even you, the ones calling us names.

“I’m not a victim.”

 

“Stop acting oppressed.”

 

“This doesn’t represent all women, only the whiners.”

 

“What rights has he taken away?”

 

A beautiful, amazing movement happened yesterday. Millions of humans across the country (& even the world) marched in solidarity with one another in support of women’s rights. It was one of the most incredible grassroots efforts I have ever seen. I immensely regret not taking part.

That’s right, I didn’t march. The day after the election I made a commitment to volunteer on Saturday, 1/21 to offset some of the hatred I felt was weighing down on our country. That’s what I did. For some reason, despite the good I was doing at a rescue mission near my home, it didn’t feel as fulfilling as I’d hoped. I wish I’d been in Seattle marching on Saturday and volunteered today instead.

As I watched the photos and testimonies pour in from marchers on social media, I felt my heart soar with excitement. This was MY America. An America of people who practiced one of our most important democratic rights – assembling peacefully for what we believed. I felt proud to live here for the first time since the election.

And then, I started to see the negativity. The statements above to be precise. I’m not sure what these women who wrote these things believe about feminism. I’m not sure what news source or friend they received their facts. From an instant google search, you can discover it means the following:

Feminism: the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.

 

 

Feminism simply stands for equality between sexes and promotes protection of our rights (to our bodies and so forth).

 

 Why does that make a select group of women angry? What about that is so offensive to you, you feel the need to rip down others for exercising their constitutional rights?

 

To the above unnecessary comments from a feminist who didn’t march, but seriously wish she had:

 

 

“I’m not a victim” 

 

I am not a victim for standing up for other women. I am strong for doing so. I’ll stand up for you too and your right to choose to not march, or to get an abortion, or use a Planned Parenthood clinic. It’s wonderful that you have had opportunities in your life that make that unnecessary. Good for you. It’s difficult for me to understand why you can’t empathize with others, but I won’t call you names for that.

 

“Stop acting oppressed.” 

 

The man voted into office referred to a woman as a bitch he tried to fuck, and could do anything to, including grab her pussy. None of that is a lie or heresy. That happened. We have it on video. Can you imagine the things someone like that has said, that haven’t been caught on video? He now holds the highest office in our nation and is considered the leader of the free world. That is who our sons look up too now. My belief in feminism means treating women with respect and not perpetuating rape culture. Our president’s words are in direct contrast to not only how women should be treated, but basic human decency. I am not oppressed, I am outraged.

 

 

“This doesn’t represent all women, only the whiners.”

 

It does. We represent you too. Yep, my dear, even you. We will fight for you and your right to be treated with respect and dignity and make health care decisions about your own body. No matter how many names you call feminists or how much you want to disassociate yourself from equality. We’ll fight for you and your daughters.
Also, the women yesterday weren’t whining. They were exercising their constitutional right. Which you believe in right? Because you believe in the constitution? Right? I mean if you’re an American, after all…

 

 

“What rights has he taken away?” 

 

My favorite of all, because here you’re implying that unless we live in a country with horrible women’s rights, people are not allowed to say anything. “The someone has it worse, so shut the hell up” mentality. When in fact, the current POTUS has said and done things that the majority of us consider horrible. Marchers yesterday chose to stand together in peaceful unity BEFORE it reaches the point of no return. To PROTECT our current rights. They joined together to say we won’t take giant steps backward, we will not be like the countries in the Middle East. We will stand together. We will support women, the LGBT community, all races and religions, our children, our education, etc.

 

As the core mission statement on the Women’s March says:

“We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.” 

To the women who felt the need to make negative comments about the march, why on earth would you have a problem with a movement that was inclusive, peaceful, and positive? What an awesome day to be a woman and an American.
**NOT my sign. But I love whomever created it. So much.**

Build the longer table

“When you have more than you need, build a longer table not a higher fence.”

 

 

It took me four days to decide how I wanted to reflect on this year, and months since I have been able to formulate a blog post. I could blame my lack of writing on busyness or struggling with my newly hosted website and all of its quirks, but honestly? I haven’t felt a call to write.

My calling this year has been to focus on people, not words. To help others, to be kinder and more compassionate. 2016 has lacked compassion and empathy in every way. From our government and our leaders, to the media, to our own neighbors – there is so much apathy and anger.

Even from me. I was furious with the election (the understatement of the year). I unfortunately still am. But I’m doing my best to have my life and my home be a source of love and friendship and laughter, despite our government.

I said the above quote to my husband recently, mentioning how we’ve really been building that longer table this year.

He laughed, commenting how we’d taken in more than one stray. He meant it in the best possible way as this past year we’ve opened our home to countless friends and family. Anyone who needed a place to stay during their travels or a job opportunity or a lease they had to break or in the case of our permanent roommate – a new place to call home for awhile.

We’ve welcomed them and helped where we could, providing suggestions or a meal or company. Most of these guests have been close friends I was elated to spend time with for a few days but all the same – we’ve done what we could to make people’s visit to the Pacific Northwest a little easier and a little more enjoyable.

Our zen corner of the spare room (which triples as an office & Army equipment headquarters)

It’s not much. I’m not changing the world. I’m no Saint. I swear & drink just enough to put me out of the running.

But I like to think in some small way every time we have a guest in our spare bedroom or add an extra plate to a meal without hesitation, I counter some of that hate spreading through America. I counter some of that anger towards groups of people facing discrimination. I make the effort to bring a little more compassion into the world.

When I reflect on 2016 I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished despite not achieving some of my goals (like a super epic blog come back). I’m proud of my marriage – how it’s grown and strengthened with time and how I can say 3.5 years later I have never loved that man more than I do today. I am proud of my health – how I’ve maintained a relatively similar body frame and continue to eat whole foods and workout when it’s feasible. I am proud of my career – how I continue to learn and improve at my job.

But mostly I’m proud of my empathy. I’m proud of my fierce passion to help others. I’m proud of being willing to share my home and my dinners when it’s sometimes inconvenient. I’m proud of calling out the hate and indiscretions of our leaders, because apathy isn’t something any of us should be proud of.

I have made a handful of resolutions for 2017. Cliche commitments about eating healthier and saving more money, but my biggest resolution is to become more empathetic, more willing to help others, and more willing to build on to our table.

We don’t need fences or walls this year. We need more compassion.

Wanders & Words is back!

I’m baaaack. And this sweet, little space of mind has a whole new look. I have missed Wanders & Words so much. When I made the decision back in early September to start blogging consistently again I wanted to approach this right. I dropped my wordpress.com account, decided to host my website, and now I own it. From every font choice and color, to every inch of the layout – this baby is all mine.

 

What can you expect from this makeover?

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Well beyond just the aesthetic changes (I’m in love with the new logo Y’ALL), you can expect a few familiar posts:

Adventures: Where have I been? Where am I going next? What makes travel easier? How do I plan? Where do I find the cheapest flights? Why do I love airports? What airline/places are military friendly? Weekend trips. Day trips. 2 hour excursions. You name it.

Fitness: Over the past year I have been surfing, skiing, weightlifting, hiking, training for a half marathon, crushing said half marathon, kayaking, running random 5K’s and just exploring every facet of fitness (except spin classes because I tried one and it was horrible). I’d love to run another half, or pick up Crossfit again, or do one of those crazy spartan runs with fire – and share the struggles and triumphs here.

Food: New recipe? Meal prep plan? Margarita review? My experience eating my way through New York? I do warn you all that unlike previous versions of “Fitness & Food Fridays” this won’t all be healthy. The reality is – I love food. All food. Kale and donuts. Quinoa and prosecco. Chicken and chocolate chip cookie dough. I’m keeping it real this time around.

 

I’ll also be adding posts about:

Married/Military Life: Being married is such an important part of my life. When you couple our marriage with this job that deeply impacts our life decisions, these posts will delve into both aspects. How do I handle the constant questions about marrying young? How the move from Alaska to Washington was and what did it entail? As a military spouse, how does Alaska differ from Washington differ as a duty station? Why is being married literally the best thing ever?

Wildcard Words: What am I loving? What am I hating? Who do I want to vent about? *cough* Trump *cough*. What is making me smile? A song I can’t get out of my head. A current event I can’t believe. Instead of a flurry of random venting, I’m just going to condense it down into a wildcard post. Sort of like a get out of a jail free card. These will be all over the place. Sort of like my blog was before – just condensed into once every other week or so post.

 

What I won’t talk about:

My job: I’ve gone back and forth on this for a while, but I’ve concluded my current job is not a part of my life I want to share anymore. I enjoy and struggle with my career in marketing, and I’ve decided that this platform isn’t the place I want to vent or brag about it. My job is my job. This is for fun.

Book reviews/reads: This one makes me sad because I am SUCH an avid reader, but I wanted to channel my focus into a few main topics and my passion for reading didn’t make the cut. *sob* I have too many interests, I know. Feel free to ask me for a book suggestion ANY TIME. More than likely I’ll direct you to Looking for Alaska by John Green, Prep by Curtis Sittenfield, or The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Or obviously the entire Harry Potter series.

 

Why the refresh?

I am so different than when I started this blog. My goals, dreams, hobbies, passions, job, writing style, personality etc etc etc. A new look felt necessary if I was going to keep writing and using this as an outlet. This blog has never been to profit or to journal. It’s sharing my life. It’s my art. It’s an archive of things I’ve done and see. It’s providing others with an opportunity to relate or agree (maybe even disagree) or to get ideas or inspiration for their own lives. It’s for conversation, for reference, for fun. It’s for me and it’s for you. I’m excited for this and I appreciate the 1, 10, or 100 people who may pass by and read any of these words.

“So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don’t sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.” – Lee Iacocca

 

 

Tuesday evening quotes

I stumbled across an old quote I had saved that spoke to me more today than at any other point in my life –

Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.
-Farrah Gray

Now I’m drinking Rose for dinner, staying up past my bedtime, and dwelling on these words. As an adult I have found it is so easy to become jaded and lose interest in things that I once felt a deep passion for. Writing is a perfect example of this. At 10 I was convinced I’d be a novelist. At 20 I was convinced I’d be a journalist. At 25 (two weeks people) I write emails and scopes of work for clients and their projects.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for my job and thankful my words are used in any way at all. But what a cop out – to quit writing as even a hobby because I feel so exhausted and burnt out from the writing in my current career. My last blogging entry (mid-April?) is about as evident of this as a I can explain.

I am always urging my husband to follow his dreams. I want him to do what makes him happy. Currently that’s a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army, but if he ever feels that isn’t for him, I always want him to feel supported to quit and find something else.

Why don’t I extend the same kindness to myself?

Again, I am thankful and content with my current position for now. Executing national email and direct mail pieces for my clients is fulfilling in a way that I had never experienced before, but I see words like the above and can’t help but feel my potential is so much greater. My passion is so much different. My drive and determination is getting lost in the hours and demands of others.

I once had a boss who told me he saw so much potential in me, he could see me running my own business one day. I felt my pride in my work ethic and commitment to do well surge. It was one of the greatest compliments I had ever received.

I have tendency to thrive on routine and safety. To find solace in the comfortable and in doing what I’m excellent at and nothing else. Not just good, mind you. If I’m not excellent – I usually just quit.

But what a thrill I think – to pursue a passion so deeply and fearlessly that failure is not an option. That doing poorly at first or for awhile is not only expected, but embraced. To stop quietly obeying the directions of others and live your life by your own rules.

“Mediocrity will never do. You are capable of something better.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley

I am capable of something better. I have a big enough head thanks to good parents and studious grades throughout my adolescence that I know I am destined for bigger, better things.

But at what point do I live my words instead of just writing them down?

My 25th birthday seems as good of a time as any. A quarter of a century old has brought me wisdom (or a reality check) in a way I am endlessly thankful for.

We have just one life. Just one.

 

 

 

Pura Vida – Costa Rica Pt. 3

Pura Vida – Costa Rica Pt. 3

I read the travel writing compilation of Don George before I left on this trip. His book, “The Way of Wanderlust” struck a yearning in my heart for places I’d never considered visiting until he wrote about them. From hiking Kilimanjaro to relaxing in the Cook Islands to exploring hidden temples in Cambodia. George’s words have a way of making one feel as if you’re right there with him, and upon snapping out of the trance, an intense urge to buy a plane ticket immediately.

Reflecting on Costa Rica, I wish I could describe this country as perfectly and poetically through the written word. Unfortunately I feel my favorite memory from the trip has to be accompanied by pictures to tell the story accurately. Maybe one day I’ll be a great travel writer, or maybe I’ll always need the pictures…


 

It was hot. Nine in the morning and the sun was already beating down with such ferocity I knew my cheap straw sunhat and sunscreen applied over an hour ago were doing little to protect my skin. We had also been trudging along the beach for the past fifteen minutes, so sweat had began to form at every crease of my body. I glanced up to Michael, about 10 feet in front of me, diligently marching towards our final destination, surfboard in tow. He’d insisted on grabbing it before we entered the park, so I had little sympathy for his struggle as he shifted it between arms every couple of minutes.

Looking past him, I could see the end our of trek. The Whale’s Tail in Parque Nacional Marino Bellana. At low tide Playa Hermosa and Playa Uvita, two beaches along Costa Rica’s southwestern coast, joined to form the infamous Whale’s Tail. From the moment I saw the aerial view on one of the many travel blogs I poured over prior to our trip, I knew I had to see it for myself.

I wiped my forehead and adjusted the backpack on my shoulders. Many around us were making the same trek to the end of the Whale’s Tail, but some had plopped down right on the narrow stretch of beach for a break. I envied them. They didn’t have a husband on a mission. I picked up my pace and briefly wondered how many Pina Coladas I was walking off.

After five or so minutes, the soft, wet sand began to be sprinkled with rocks and I looked up from watching my feet to see we’d reached the end. The rocky, tide-pool filled end of the whale’s tail. Michael had come to a stop and as I tried to maneuver around rocks to reach him I understood why. Our flip flops were no match for the jagged, soaked terrain. We’d planned to walk to the very end so he could surf and I could sun bathe, but there was at least 500 ft to go and no chance we’d make it unscathed.

“So much for that,” he said begrudgingly and I sighed in agreement. “Well, I saw some bigger waves back where we entered in the park. Let’s just go back there. Closer to food and drinks. Maybe you can find some shade.” I grimaced thinking of the walk back, but knew my face was already beat red. Without another word he turned around and walked away. A bubble of anger rose up in my throat. I was disappointed enough by our anti-climatic whale’s tale adventure, but his disinterest in anything but surfing was beginning to piss me off. I stubbornly contemplated sitting down right there among the tide pools to take in the turquoise ocean crashing into the black rocks of the tail’s end all by myself. I glanced back to see how far he’d made it and instead, I saw the view.

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The stretch of beach that led us out to the tail had already begun to disappear back to the ocean. But each time the waves retreated, the jungle, mountains, and marshmallow clouds before me reflected in the wet sand. To describe it as simply “stunning” would be a travesty. Frozen in place and humbled by the earth, it hit me.

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Walking out on the Whale’s Tail to stare at the ocean wasn’t the point. One could stare at the ocean from any position on shore. Travelers walked out on the Whale’s Tail to look back. They walk out into the ocean to see the land from a different perspective.

I stood for a few moments longer before Michael called to me. He pointed up at the mountains with a delighted expression. I smiled in spite of my annoyance just moments before. Sharing this with him, with the person I love more than any other, was so much more important than being bitter he rather surf than meditate. I jogged to catch up with him – a feat considering the sun only blazed more fiercely as we approached mid-day.

We walked in sync back to the main beach together, silently sharing our awe of this place we had the privilege of visiting. Just before we veered right to settle into our palm tree hangout, I saw it. The very point where the beaches met. The very tree from which the whale tail grew each morning and disappeared each afternoon at high tide. My head must have been down on the walk out to have missed it, so focused on the destination I’d forgotten to enjoy the journey. Or, I had simply needed a new perspective.

I snapped the picture. Michael yelled back to say he could see the perfect spot up ahead. I turned away from the edge of the world and find that weeks later, it is forever seared in my memory.

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Thank you for the memories, Uvita. Pura Vida.

“Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.”

Isabelle Eberhardt, The Nomad: The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt

Camille Mae (2)

 

 

Politics & Pancakes

Politics & Pancakes

 

I was raised on pancakes and politics.

Weekend mornings were for a fat stack of buttermilk pancakes covered in peanut butter and dripping with organic maple syrup, followed by (or even during) a lively discussion about government officials and political beliefs.

You probably think I’m kidding?

In the third grade (2000) at 9 years old, I saw Al Gore and George Bush battling it out on the television while my teacher was simultaneously teaching us about presidents in class. I asked my parents who they were rooting for. They sat me down and explained why they supported Al Gore and that voting for president was a personal decision everyone makes on their own. Our class held a mock election and I voted for Al Gore. He won in our classroom and lost in real life, and from that point my interest in politics blossomed.

Under 18, politics fascinated me. Taking a stance and researching why I believed what I believed was a passionate hobby of mine. I got into heated debates on more than one occasion in social studies and health class. Just ask some of my former classmates.

Over 18, politics fueled me. In college I joined advocacy groups, interned at the state Capitol, and shouted my beliefs from the roof top.

As a 24 year old, the fear of a bad president or congress motivates me to act now more than ever. The reality of what could happen if the wrong person takes office encourages me to speak up; to say something to anyone who might be toeing the line between candidates.

My right and every woman’s right in this country to choose medical procedures we deem necessary, to receive equal pay, or to have a baby and be paid for the time we take all rests in the next president holding office for 4 to 8 years. My husband and all our soldiers being thrown into unnecessary wars by a reactive, instead of thoughtful decision maker all rests in our next president. As a middle class citizen who takes public transportation, relies on Tricare for my medical benefits, and believes the right thing to do is help the poor – I care deeply about who takes office and upholds these things. 

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are the scariest candidates for president I’ve seen in all the years I’ve followed presidential races. Their extreme beliefs and outright hatred for certain groups of people is appalling. What appalls me even more is the amount of people rallying behind them, so focused on their selves and their own beliefs and financial situations – they can’t even emphasize with people who believe anything different or would suffer from these candidate’s extreme tax codes.

I could rant for days when it comes to these two candidates, but I’ll leave you with one last thought instead. When I vote, I do think about myself and my family first. But I also think about our nation as a whole. I think about whether this candidate’s beliefs will help or hurt our nation’s children, our soldiers, our minorities, our women, our poverty stricken citizens, and ALL of our families.

I won’t tell you who to vote for. I still believe with every ounce of my being that it’s a personal choice. But do your research. I mean really, really do your research. Maybe over pancakes on a Sunday morning.

Politics are stressing me out lately, so I think I’ll focus on pancakes for the rest of the morning. Here’s a nice photo of pancakes I scarfed down in between writing this post in case they’re stressing you out too.

You can find the scrumptious recipe here.

((These aren’t buttermilk because my metabolism has slowed since childhood, but pancakes with gooey peanut butter and sticky, sweet syrup all the same))

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“If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal”, then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”

– John F. Kennedy

Camille Mae (2)

 

Perspective

Perspective

My house is so messy right now. I am talking clothes strewn all over my kitchen, laundry up to my eyeballs, dishes in the sink, rugs that need vacuuming, counter and table tops in desperate need of organizing, and leftover glasses on the coffee table.

But my life is so full right now. Those clothes all over the foyer and kitchen are drying off next to the heater after the best day skiing in Washington’s Cascade mountain range. The laundry is from a wild week of work and working out and after work fun so I was changing at least twice a day. The rugs are trekked with mud from three people going outside in Washington’s cool, drizzly winter (instead of negative, bitter cold!!!). The table and counter tops are filled with mail and bills because we have somewhere to call home and electricity, heat, and water. And the leftover glasses are because we spend most of our evenings hanging together in the living room (me, husband, and our fabulous roomie) watching movies and socializing. The holidays are also out in full force here and among the mess we have colorful holiday lights, a glittering tree, rugs with snowmen, tins of Christmas cookies, and a hodge podge of various decorations.

Perspective.

Life is busy and messy, but I am grateful.

I’ve had people comment on my photos and on things I post on social media with sentiments like: “Wow, I’m so jealous of your adventures!” or “You really know how to live life!”.

Here’s the thing:

I am a pessimist at heart. My life is nowhere near as perfect as the filters I use on VSCOCam. I work long hours. I argue with my husband. I have a messy home. I don’t know how to decorate. Sometimes I eat ice cream and cookies for dinner. I can be the crankiest person in the world. I envy other people even when I shouldn’t. I am flawed.

But I am also determined to live the most full, fun life I can. I wake up early and workout and try to eat right so I feel good about myself when I lay back in bed at night. I plan trips and excursions by saving my money and [not so] patiently waiting for the event. I put effort into making holiday memories because I grew up fondly remembering the effort my mom made for holidays. I also take pictures of it all because as a pessimist and an observant, reflective soul, I need to remind myself constantly that LIFE IS GOOD.

I can look at my house in this moment and feel disheartened that I can’t keep it clean or perfect, grow frustrated with my husband, or spend my entire day ignoring everyone to clean it perfectly. OR I can recognize that good memories create a messy home. Effort creates a good life. Working towards being an optimist will one day make me one.

The sun is currently shining despite the fact that my weather app says rain all day (& for the next 10 days).

I think I’ll take that as a sign. I hope you do too.

“I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.”
Antonio Gramsci, Gramsci’s Prison Letters

 

 

An update from the 6:30 train

An update from the 6:30 train

Hey! Do you remember me? I’m the girl who used to blog frequently about hiking trips and Alaskan winter struggles and the moving and job searching debacle that was my life for months on end.

Where have I been?

Oh just putting in long days in downtown Seattle at a marketing firm, loving on my cute husband when he’s around, entertaining a plentiful amount of guests, and hanging with my bestie who I now call roomie. I try to squeeze working out in at 4:50 am on weekdays when my eyelids aren’t glued shut and leftovers in at 7pm when I roll in the door. Most weekends I spend one day doing extensive amounts of laundry, cleaning, and errand running and then the other day I’m usually exploring this beautiful place I call home.

Welcome to the chaos that is my life.

Oh and those 80 minutes I’m on a train every day? Well that’s been devoted to zoning out on social media, catching up on the news, and reading fiction books that get me out of reality. By the way, has anyone read The 5th Wave? So damn good! I am such a sucker for young adult fiction. I’m forever and always a sassy teenager at heart, just with better skin.

I don’t mind the craziness. Some days I feel like a bit of a failure when I can’t fit a workout in, but others I feel so proud I’m not spending hours watching Netflix like I did in Alaska. Give and take, I guess?

There are so many things I want to share. From little day trips and hiking excursions, to the best bars and restaurants I’ve tried in Seattle, to tips on how I’m not gaining a hundred pounds when I never have time to work out.

I also want to blog about the real things going on in the world: the presidential election, Paris, women’s rights, organized religion, homelessness, etc. My head is spinning with things I want to say about all these issues, but I never feel like I have enough time to educate myself fully to formulate a post.My blog is usually light and fun, but sometimes I think it’s important to get real. Having to dodge tents and garbage on my walk to work on a public sidewalk in downtown Seattle each and every day when it’s 40 degrees outside and I know people are sleeping inside of those makeshift homes – that’s real.

I obviously haven’t been writing enough since this post is all kinds of getting sidetracked.

My point? I’m trying to make it a priority to update this space since it’s always been such a fun, relaxing part of my life. I know my frequent readers are a small group, but I truly appreciate each and every one of you who have stuck by since first subscribing (even if half of you are related).

Living in Washington has been an exciting, crazy adventure. I want to share all the wild bits of it whenever I can. Even the rough stuff every now and then (as mentioned above) so I keep it real. For example, I’m writing this from the very last train out of Seattle back to the little town we live because I was working for 10 hours straight. I ate my lunch in-between key strokes and spent the last couple hours fixing mistakes I created and waiting on client calls. It’s not always glamorous. Hell, sometimes it’s hard. But tonight on my walk to the train I reminded myself to look UP from my e-mails and from my rush to get home.

And I’m thankful I did.

DTSeattle

Don’t mind the poor quality, I grabbed this shot on Snapchat while saying a silent “thank you” for how lucky I am to live this life I do.

I think I’ll smile at a stranger before I get off this train, hug my husband a little closer when I get home, have more patience for my clients at work tomorrow, and savor that last sip of wine a little more.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.”
– John F. Kennedy

 

Planned Parenthood, and standing up for women’s lives

Planned Parenthood, and standing up for women’s lives

Congress’ pending decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood has been weighing heavy on my heart lately. I know far too many individuals that have been helped by their services, and it’s an issue that hits too close to home as a woman to remain silent.

I am a very political active person, but I try my best to keep my opinions and beliefs to myself on social media and the internet sphere. I have amazing family members and friends whose views differ, and I would be annoyed if they shoved their beliefs down my throat so I try to live by the Golden Rule: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

Yes, you’ll note that comes from the bible. I grew up with the bible so I know a thing or to about what it teaches. I also grew up in a Catholic home. Though I am no longer Catholic or religious, I still try to live by that Golden Rule regardless of my changed beliefs. I actually still live by a handful of the verses I learned as a child, because they are unifying words to live by regardless of religion or background.

Words such as, “Love each other as I have loved you.”

So when I think about the fact that Congress and so many “Christian” Americans want to stop funding affordable, accessible healthcare options for women – I am appalled. I am sad. And I am pissed off.

That’s not love. That’s not treating others as you’d like to be treated. That is spiteful, and only hurts the 1 in 5 women in this country who have used Planned Parenthood.

These groups would argue, “But abortions?!”

I say – do your research. 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortions. 3%. THREE PERCENT. 

Here’s a graph to help make it clear:

ppchart

97% of healthcare services performed at Planned Parenthood are not abortions. They are, instead, services affecting the lives of the women AND MEN who seek their help.

Things like:

  • Breast cancer screenings
  • STD testing
  • Pregnancy tests
  • Prenatal services
  • Adoption referrals
  • And (drum roll please) BIRTH CONTROL TO PREVENT PREGNANCY

Here is what the New England Journal of Medicine (among the most prestigious peer-reviewed medical journals in the world) had to say about Planned Parenthood and the government’s recent actions:

Argument

For the Christian Americans still mad about the 3% of abortions and ignoring all the efforts Planned Parenthood takes in preventing unwanted pregnancies in the first place…

The federal dollars that help fund Planned Parenthood come from Title X and Medicaid. Essentially none of that federal funding goes towards the “choice to abort”, and instead only apply to very restricted cases:

“Title X does not allow federal funds to be used for abortions. Medicaid, however, does allow government money to be spent on them — in very restricted cases.

The 1977 Hyde Amendment dictated that federal Medicaid funds could only be used to fund abortions in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother. However, some states have expanded cases in which they will provide funds. Currently, 17 states allow funds to be used for “medically necessary” abortions. In those cases that these states count as medically necessary but that are not permitted by the federal guidelines, states cover the cost alone.” – NPR’s Fact Check

Finally I have to ask these Christian Americans, “What would your Jesus do?”

The Jesus I was raised with loved everyone, believed in free will, and did not say GET IN EVERYONE’S BUSINESS AND MAKE SURE THEIR LIFE CHOICES ARE THE SAME AS YOURS!

No he said love and support one another. Love your fellow WOMAN and MAN. Even if those people happen to receive Planned Parenthood services because they are unable to afford or utilize private healthcare options. Pro-life? Be pro-women’s lives. Support a woman’s right to affordable healthcare and support her difficult healthcare choices. Support the men who stand alongside their women in making these choices.

Be a person who realizes this nation is a melting pot of different religious ideologies, and cultures, and circumstances. Be a person who recognizes not everyone has the financial or emotional support that you may have. Access to healthcare should not be voted on or decided on by archaic interpretations of a few select religious scriptures. It’s 2015, and we’re a nation of equality. Healthcare should be accessible and equal for all who need it.

And as an exasperated 24-year old married, working, feminist who who wants to be able to make any healthcare decision I need to at any point in my life (yes, even an abortion if medically necessary):

Please keep your religious beliefs out of my uterus.

#IStandWithPP

ppstuff

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