Sunday, August 28, 2011

this is a public service announcement.

"it's time to tear this place down.
i've got the last gig on my mind.
not seen my friends in ages, have i been left behind?
it's time to figure out why i find myself in custody with each and every question on my mind.
fly to El Salvador. i don't know why and i don't know what for.
i've seen the picture for myself.
where did that label go? i tried it out, but it didn't work so, i'll choose the picture for MYSELF.
it's time to start all over.
take only one thing spare to wear."
-Athlete, El Salvador

i am human. i mess up. i make mistakes. i disappoint people that matter to me. i occasionally think before i speak. i've also been known to speak before i think.
sometimes, i commit to doing something that i end up being unable to go through with. i doubt myself and think "i can't actually do this." a time or two, i've told a lie or a white lie or ignored flat out telling the truth in order to protect someone or myself. several times a year, i have a complete meltdown. people tell me i'm smart, but i don't always believe that for myself (thank you, LSAT). sometimes, i don't recognize my own limit and i do really stupid things. i enjoy making art, even though sometimes it's not even worth how much i paid to make it. i enjoy talking with friends and sharing in memories and stories. i like long walks on the beach. not really, actually, i'm not a gigantic fan of sand. there are days when i want to do absolutely nothing except lay in bed and watch a marathon of criminal minds or law and order SVU. i am stressed; i am overwhelmed. i see the best in people and sometimes that entails misjudging them. i am an optimist, a realist and a pessimist simultaneously. i frequently talk to myself. i am beyond the definition of stubborn.
i am going to pick up. leave. and teach myself how to let go.
if you religiously read my blog and this post seems like the last five except reworded but expressing the exact same themes, i am sorry. i take that back. i'm sorry i'm not sorry. this is what i needed today, and maybe you'll find that you needed it too. for the same reasons or for reasons completely different.

                                                                                             Source: via Stephanie on Pinterest

"Failure is always the best way to learn, retracing your steps til you know. 
Have no fear, your wounds will heal." -Kings of Convenience, Failure

This is one thing I know. Love can set you free. 
Now in a "LOVE.Everyday" first, I will include a Biblical inspiration in the daily quotes and music lyrics. Because I needed this refresher, you can find a good definition of it here. Reposted below with the emphasis I particularly had to read to be reminded of today (from The Message).

1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

   Love never gives up.
   Love cares more for others than for self.
   Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
   Love doesn't strut,
   Doesn't have a swelled head,
   Doesn't force itself on others,
   Isn't always "me first,"
   Doesn't fly off the handle,
   Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
   Doesn't revel when others grovel,
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
   Puts up with anything,
   Trusts God always,
   Always looks for the best,
   Never looks back,
   But keeps going to the end.

 8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
 11When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
 12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
 13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the BEST of the three is LOVE.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

suck it up, suck it up

admittedly, i've sort of been putting off doing a blog post on this subject, though i have felt it looming over me like a ceiling fan. i had a great epiphany at the beginning of the summer. this epiphany was that my ideal answer to the constant obnoxious, "what are doing after you graduate" question was "working on myself." i had big goals for this summer. i wanted to dive back into regularly attending church, get a mentor to study the Bible with me so that I would start chatting with the Big Man upstairs again. i wanted to get in shape. not saying that i needed to lose weight, but instead to gain a sense of athleticism. i wanted muscle definition and endurance of some kind. the ability to run a mile and not completely feel like dying. i wanted to do some soul searching, traveling, job hunting, studying, reading of good books and relevant news articles. i also wanted to enjoy some time relaxing, breathing and in the company of dear friends. remarkably, i think i did almost all of these things. granted, all of these items are still VERY MUCH so a work in progress, i did indeed manage to start tackling all of them. individually AND simultaneously. i think i deserve a pat on the back for this.
focusing in on the idea of "working out," bear with me. this is something i have NEVER enjoyed. field day was my LEAST favorite day of the year in elementary school BY FAR. in fact, i distinctly remember one day, my mom got the newsletter and said, "oh, stephanie, field day is next Friday. are you going to be sick around Thursday night?" my response included a quick cough and "yeah, Mom, now that you mention it, I might feel something coming on right now. DON'T MAKE ME GO!" i was never picked on teams, i was the last person to finish "running" the mile even when it wasn't a race and i thought that sweating was stupid. ALL of this is behind me ladies and gentlemen. it's definitely still something i do not enjoy, but i DO like the definition i recently acquired in my legs and arms. i love walking by a mirror and thinking, "oh, i don't look so bad" even though i am home alone and have absolutely no one to impress.
you're your toughest critic.
if you want something, go out there and get it.
if you want some change to occur in your life, figure out how to tackle it and see to it that the change becomes a habit. it's incredible what you can do when you really put your mind to it. let me just tell you!
go get 'em tiger.
guess who is one step closer to a beach body and one step closer to winter with multiple layers of clothing? THIS GIRL.

Source: via Stephanie on Pinterest

and major props if you caught the tile as a Dave reference. it was an accident. it happens.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

regular tourist

i pledge to journal more religiously and to journal especially religiously while i am going through large life transitions. like anytime that i ever revisit my journals, i notice how much is missing and how amazing it is to reread my feelings and thoughts and how far i have come since that moment. after a three hour search party scouring my entire house, i managed to find the two small journals that hold in its pages the stories from my wonderful summer in Spain last year. it's a cool feeling to ask if I will ever see some of those people again and to wonder when I will be back in Spain. it's amazing how it's all come together so gloriously.
i have enjoyed having this blog, but nothing compares to the chronicles of my mistakes, feelings, happenings, choices, contemplations and everything in between. since i journaled for almost 2 hours tonight and finished the journal given to me by a dear friend that I started in April when days were chalk-full of uncertainty, doubt, confusion and insanity, it only seemed appropriate to have a journal-centered post.
writing is so therapeutic. if you don't believe me, you should try it. then you can tell me i am wrong. like every other woman, i love being told that i am wrong. kidding. but seriously, i'd be shocked if you tried it and you didn't agree. consider this a free therapy session where writing for 30 minutes straight is your first homework assignment.

on the front of the second journal is this quote and it will again be relevant on my upcoming extended European journey that can't seem to get here fast enough.
"This European air, it always warms my face.
I will bring you stories and bleary-eyed photos like a regular tourist
We don't go breaking down. 
I feel like nothing ever will.
And we'll embrace our time away."
-Athlete, Tourist

queen of insomnia and caffeine

yesterday, i made an official decision. i am NOT human. 
since high school, i haven't really mastered the idea of a normal sleep/wake cycle. in fact, i even printed some articles from Harvard's website on sleep and had the graphs posted by my bed for when i needed to take a quick nap to revitalize my day. I tried to find them to post here, but had little luck.
When I was a serious insomniac, I realized that I couldn't take any sleep prescription because I could never dedicate an entire 8 hours to sleep nor could I maintain any kind of routine. This resulted in trying more homeopathic methods. I stopped drinking caffeine after 4 pm. I did absolutely nothing in my room except sleep, especially nothing in my bed. Then college happened. Caffeine all hours of the day was the only means for survival. Several cups of coffee, multiple Coke Zeros, the occasional Monster or Red Bull and a cup filled with Sweet Tea became integral parts of my diet. Most of the time lack of sleep resulted in running on adrenaline and signaled an incredibly productive day. Now that I am interested in maintaining a "normal" schedule, I have discovered that my body simply despises that idea.
I am most awake from about 8 pm until 1 or 2 am daily, regardless of what time I got up that morning or afternoon. If any over the counter sleep medicine is going to be useful, I must take at least three. THREE. Last night, I took three Advil PM then managed to stay awake riveted by two hours of Law and Order SVU. Subsequently, I laid in the dark for thirty minutes thinking about how badly I didn't want to be thinking about anything and that I wanted to be catching some ZzZ's. Annoyed that lying there was an inefficient use of my time, I sat up and decided to start on some preliminary law school essays, thinking I'd realize how tired I actually was and fall over in a matter of minutes. Two hours later, I had typed three full single-spaced pages, responded to important emails, walked Grey around the entire neighborhood and downed a glass of wine. Around 12:30 (I took THREE Advil PM at 7 pm) I finally crawled back into bed and managed to fall asleep shortly thereafter.
I told my father that I think I should be prescribed to insomnia medication of some kind and he replied, "I'll give you some of my pills. No doctor will give a 22 year old a prescription." You're right, doctors, I'm not an insomniac, I'm just a 22 year old drug dealer like all other 20 somethings.
What's your opinion- Advil PM or Tylenol PM? How do you force yourself to go to bed early and to wake up early even if its against your natural circadian rhythm? And what the hell do you do when you hit the 3:00-4:00 hump when you feel like dying unless you instantly intake several gallons of caffeine?
Why can't we just be like robots that get plugged into the wall with an off/on switch?
Sleep is just such a gigantic waste of my time. Even if it is vital for all life processes. 
Maybe this should be my next read.
At least someone in this house doesn't have a problem sleeping around here...

Saturday, August 20, 2011


"it seems time's put a spell on me. and as seasons change, they give a taste of what is yet to come. and i know, there's no escaping change. but i try my best to think of ways to stay. it seems the hardest part is letting go. we've been living lives trying to survive all that we've known and i know nostalgia stings so deep. as lovers sighs and goodbyes bring men to their knees, i know i'll be embracing seems the hardest part is letting go. when we can't see what's happening, life cuts us to the core. and if only you and i could find the best is yet to come..." - Blake Aaron Guthrie, The Hardest Part

you know, life is incredibly, absurdly beautiful and bizarre.
last night i spent some time thinking about what i want. what i want from life RIGHT NOW.
what it comes down to is, i want everything.
i want a crystal ball. actually, what i'd rather have is to stop wanting a crystal ball and to instead live completely in the moment, completely unconcerned for the uncertainty of the future.
i want to be the best version of myself that i can imagine, at all times.
i want a clean- cut plan for fixing things.
i want more than 24 hours in the day to get things done and to spend that time exactly how i choose daily.
i want for communication to be less complicated.
most definitively, there are plenty of nights where all i want is to be suspended. (obsessed with this song)
i want more patience, courage and boldness.
i want someone to walk with me on this wire from tower to tower. (song reference)
i want people to read my mind. but only sometimes.
i want light in the dark as I search for a resolution. (song reference)
i want a laundry list of things ranging from intangible and important to tangible and mundane.
i want answers to the questions that keep me awake at night.
i want to stop hitting snooze in the morning and miraculously transform into a high-functioning morning person.

but mostly, i want to let go and know that i'll be alright.
but life doesn't work like that. so, push me til i have to fly.  (reference)

Monday, August 15, 2011

of sand

shouldn't that speak for itself entirely?
yet, i will wake up tomorrow and mistakenly think i am superwoman so therefore, i can do it all. again.
its been 8 days since i traveled and almost... oh my... i don't know how long it's been since i was on a plane. no wonder i'm starting to feel like i am going crazy.
no lie, around 10-10:30 every night i start to feel my sanity slip from my fingers as i go from a perfectly normal day of crossing items off my to do list and sticking closely to my pre-planned itinerary and then BOOM its like insomnia's evil twin consumes my mind then insomnia joins so that i can only think and sulk in said thoughts completely powerless to do anything until the next day. then i want to sleep all day because i stayed up all night. this cycle has to end.
hello Tylenol pm, nice to get reaquainted.
maybe once i book my plane ticket to california i will find my mind again.
i hate how often i happen to lose it.
what it comes down to is, the world is spinning madly on and i CANNOT keep up.
it's beginning to get me.
i'm human. that's all.

"i use to rule the world, seas would rise when i gave the word. now in the morning i sleep alone; sweep the streets i use to own. i use to roll the dice, feel the fear in my enemy's eyes. one minute i held the key, next the walls were closed on me. and i discovered that my castles stands upon pillars of sand. it was a wicked and wild wind, blew down the doors to let me in... people couldn't believe what i'd become. just a puppet on a lonely string, oh who would ever want to be king?" -Coldplay, Viva la Vida

Friday, August 12, 2011

nothing like a dream to create your future

I've been wanting to do a post with this clip from a favorite TV Show, Dexter, for a long time. This show is incredibly well done and despite its morbid nature, I am totally addicted to it. Anyways, in this clip, pay attention to the tape this guy is listening to.

Just imagine if that's what you woke up to each morning. The voice of a confident man telling you that WHATEVER you want, you can HAVE. Just, TAKE IT.
"Do you want to have control of your life? You have that power, you just have to learn to use it. You can have all the excuses you want... but if you want something, TAKE IT... it's entirely up to you. The world does not put limitations on what you can have."
The only thing standing in between you and your dream is YOU.
We are our own worst enemy, make no mistake about it.
Doesn’t that make you feel a little responsible? Well, it should.
I had a great aha-moment on Tuesday. It was the exact moment when I realized that I am moving to Spain and doing exactly what I said I wanted to do a year ago. A year ago exactly in fact.
One year ago, I had just said goodbyes to newly made friends and boarded a plane home. I sat in first class and drank a mimosa as I stared out of the window before the plane took off already contemplating how I would get back to that country. By no means am I trying to say, "look at me, i'm awesome, i've got it figured out" because uh, that is not true. at all. BUT I am saying that I hope that you find the courage within yourself to persue something that you want to do. You will find that the second you are actually DOING it, you almost become an entirely new person.
I have known for over a month now that I will be moving to Spain.
It did not become real until very recently. I accepted my official letters of placement, participated in commencement wearing my cap and gown with honors cords proudly and put my 35 page visa application in the mail. As my Dad said goodbye to me at the airport after a whirlwind weekend dubbed "graduation," he said, "this is going to be a crazy 60 days." Driving home I realized, oh my, that's all it is, 60 days. In actuality, it's more like 52 now, and all I have to do is stay focused, stick to my goals and get all my ducks in a row. It’s necessary to make sacrifices in order to achieve what you want. I'm ready to buckle down and do it.
I want to go to law school. Not just ANY law school, but a law school that I want to go to. with a strong international law program, a name of notoriety, an impressive pro-bono program, excellent faculty and staff, a dynamic student body, stellar journal publications and a beautiful campus in a huge city full of opportunities and challenges. That’s what I want.
Unfortunately, in order to do that, I have to take this BEAST they call the LSAT. But, that’s exactly what I am going to do. TAKE IT.

"Would you not like to be sitting on top of the world with your legs hanging free? I can't believe we would lie in our graves, wondering if we had spent our living days well. I can't believe that we would lie in our graves, dreaming of things that we might have been, could have been, maybe. I can't believe that you would not like to be okay, okay, okay." - Dave Matthews, Lie in Our Graves

Thursday, August 11, 2011

maybe you'll dance the funky chicken at your 75th wedding anniversary

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.
The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by
scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable
than my own meandering experience…I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh never mind; you will not
understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded.
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you imagine.
Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as
effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing
bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that
never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm
on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing everyday that scares you
Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with
people who are reckless with yours.
Don’t waste your time on jealousy;
Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.
Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters; throw away your old bank statements.
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.
Get plenty of calcium.
Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.
Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children, maybe
you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary
Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.
Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.
Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.
Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.
Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.
Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the
people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few, you should hold on.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.
Accept certain inalienable truths; prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.
Respect your elders.
Don’t expect anyone else to support you.
Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.
Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.
But trust me on the sunscreen…
-Mary Schmich, a columnist with the Chicago Tribune, 1977

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

lesson in itself

stop anything and everything you are doing and read this.
an exceptional article incredibly insightful, truthful, gut-wrenchingly honest and exactly how I felt on these days. written by a friend and colleague whom I am incredibly proud of. ever since i have known him, he has been intelligent beyond his years and possessed strength unlike thousands of people that I know. it was an honor to walk across the stage just a few people behind him, even if we walked across that stage three months too late. i firmly believe it is crucial to have friends and influences in your life that inspire you and Alan Blinder is certainly one of those people for me, though he probably wouldn't come up with my name on a list of his first 100 closest friends.
I agree whole-heartedly that even though the following link is wonderful journalism, those affected will not be able to move on anytime soon and those unaffected will never be able to fully understand.
it gave me shivers to be within ten feet of seeing the grief on those families faces and to know that it could have just as easily been my family accepting my diploma. that gives me chills to think about. i am blessed. grateful. and attempting to move on.
Tuscaloosa did indeed become a lesson in itself.

Read the full article here.

Another great article mentioning two of my pledge sisters and showing one of the most emotional moments of my life, as well as emotionally challenging for all spectators in that Coliseum- Read on HERE.

Monday, August 8, 2011

keep breathing, just keep swimming

"please hand me the bottle, i think i'm lonely now. please give me direction. i think i just caved in. i dont feel nothing..." -Matchbox 20, Kody

While you read, watch and listen to Ingrid Michaleson perform the words in italics live and let her convince you that literally just breathing is okay.

the intersection of the moment when you realize how incredibly exhausted you are from the schedule you've managed to maintain for yourself that you know you just need to sleep for days and remind yourself to inhale and exhale and the moment when your mind won't stop racing with a to-do list so lengthy that it adds to the overwhelming exhaustion filling your body. at this intersection, you can do nothing except continue to swim in circles with your thoughts as you physically can do nothing except THINK about all the things you SHOULD be doing but you're not. well, that's where i am at.
this time the intersection happens to be at the bottom of an incredible high of amazingness. now that's over and it's back to this and time to kick my ass in gear. this is the ultimate realization- sitting in my empty house staring at my to-do list that the last phase is OVER and it's time to prepare for the new phase.
the storm is coming, but i don't mind. 
all that i know is that i am breathing. all i can do is keep breathing. 
all we can do is keep breathing now. 
so i'm going to pour myself a glass of wine.
anticipate my wake up call at 9:15 in the morning and tackle that to do list tomorrow.
i want to change the world, instead i sleep.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

jumping off a bridge, it's just the furthest that i've ever been.

"another turning point, a fork stuck in the road. time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go... so take the photographs and still frames in your mind..." Greenday
in light of graduation this upcoming weekend, i feel like it is crucial to have a sappy post about where ive been, where im at and how it is all changing, its uncertain, it's scary but that i am thrilled for it. the only problem with that is that i basically just described an entire YEAR of posts. so, instead, this post will be about a song that i think is applicable to all my friends. its been playing on repeat for days now. a toast to how no matter where we all end up, i've got their back and we'll figure out how to stay in touch. the following is a collage of some of my favorite pictures from college. pictures with people i love more than simple words express. pictures from days and events when i was overfilled with happiness and was given memories i am beyond words thankful for. i can't wait to see what else is to come. the pictures are times i was, i think, the absolute happiest in all four years. and to those in these photos, anywhere you go, i'll follow you down.

“Did you see the sky? I think it means that we've been lost. Maybe one last time is all we need. I can't really help it if my tongue's all tied in knots. Jumping off a bridge, it's just the farthest that I've ever been. Anywhere you go, I'll follow you down, anyplace but those I know by heart. I'll follow you down, but not that far. I know we're headed somewhere, I can see how far we've come but still I can't remember anything. Let's not do the wrong thing and I'll swear it might be fun. It's a long way down when all the knots we've tied have come undone. How you gonna ever find your place, running in an artificial pace?” –Follow You Down, Gin Blossoms