how are you

Hey, how are you?

How’s it going?

How have you been?

I feel like these questions have become nothing more than a formality. Something we ask others in passing. If the person you’re asking doesn’t respond, do you even notice? Do you even care?

How do you respond when someone answers with anything other than “good”? “Fine”? You’re usually stunned. You never really expect that kind of answer. So there’s a level of discomfort. Uneasiness. Holy crap, I was not prepared for this person to be anything less than ‘okay’. What do I do?!

Lately, I’m anything but okay. And it’s gotten harder to hide, so I don’t really even try to anymore. Odds are, you’ve probably seem me crying in public more than once in the past few months. I’m trying to be more open, because I know it’s not healthy to keep everything bottled inside. But I don’t want to only be known as ‘the girl who’s always anything but okay’.

I’ve begun to dread social gatherings. Because I’m always waiting for the hey, how are you?The how’s it going? The how have you been? I don’t know how to answer. I don’t want to lie, fake a smile, and say that everything is just peachy. But sometimes it’s just easier than letting everything pour out of me. I don’t want to be the one who’s always constantly bringing the mood down.

If I’m being honest, I’m drowning on dry land.

Nothing feels right anymore. I question every decision I make.
I wonder which actions are dragging me deeper into this depression, and which ones are pulling me out.

I don’t know if I have the upper body strength to keep pulling anymore.

Staying in bed all day and staring at the four blue walls in my bedroom seems more and more appealing as the days go on.

I’m lucky to have a solid support system. I know I have people there that will talk to me when I need it. But really, I struggle with wanting to talk, or wanting to continue staring at the four blue walls in my bedroom.

Every time I start talking and getting things out, it always leads to crying. In general, crying is just fine. It’s healthy. Therapeutic. But I’ve gotten to a point where I’m beginning to schedule times to cry. I’ve gotten to a point that when I start crying, I never know when I’ll be able to stop.

Last night, I laid awake in bed for hours. 12 o’clock. 1 o’clock. 2 o’clock. Because I couldn’t stop crying. I was feeling everything with such intensity, all at once.

Some days I wonder if I’ll be able to make it into work because I can’t. Stop. Crying!!

My body has begun to have a physiological reaction to all of this stress and anxiety. I break out in hives. First it’s a few on my back. Then it’s my arms. Then my face. And before I know it, my body is decorated with these bright red, and itchy, new splotches.

I wonder if everything is getting harder, or if I’ve lost the will to try to get through it. I used to think of myself as a strong person. The person who can just laugh their way through the tough times. The person who can just smile through the pain. But now, I just don’t know. Maybe I’m not strong.

I wonder how I got to this point. I wonder what I did that led me to feeling this way. I wonder if I will ever go back to the way that I used to be. But I’m trying to stay hopeful. Maybe I’ll come out on the other side of things. Maybe I’ll be even stronger. And happier than I’ve ever been.

Again, I’m not writing this to get attention or pity. If anything, I just need a little love.

I’m writing this to be honest. I’m writing this because I don’t see the reason to pretend that I’m someone I’m not.


This week is Mental Illness Awareness week.

1 in 5 Americans experience mental illness at some point in their life.

I’m writing this for not only myself, but for all the people that have found shame in their sadness. I’m writing this to show that you don’t have to hide your feelings.

I am 1 in 5. I am part of this statistic. And it’s okay if you are too.

♥ M

my backpack

This is something I’ve thought about for years. I’ve never really found a way to articulate my entire thought. During a conversation with a friend the other day, I seemed to find the words. Maybe it was the person that I was talking to. Or maybe it has something to do with being older and wiser. But I think I’ve gained some clarity. It’s something I wasn’t sure if other people would understand. But he did. And hopefully you will too…

I’m sure we’re all familiar with baggage. The metaphorical baggage, not like luggage. Whenever I’ve heard someone talk about people having baggage, my mind always seemed to drift towards an image of a person surrounded by suitcases. But more recently, I started to think of it in terms of a backpack.

Without getting too symbolic…I think of how we take backpacks on hikes. Hikes are little journeys, and life is often compared to a journey or an adventure. It just seems fitting. The further I get into it, the more I hope it will make sense.

I think about going through life with a weight on my back. My backpack. Here is where I carry all of my burdens:

-My insecurities.
-My strained relationships with my family.
-My low self-esteem.
-My lack of self-confidence.
-My declining mental wellness.
-My constant need for validation and acceptance.

Whatever it may be, you carry all of this weight on your back.
But you’re not alone on this journey.

You may have a hiking buddy. Or just strangers you meet along the way. You talk. You get to know them a bit. And as you get to know them, you see that they’re carrying just as much in their backpack as you are.

So you offer to help them.

You take a little weight off of their back.

And whether they asked you or you offered, before you know it…you added a little weight from their backpack into your own. Honestly, you were happy to do it.

Time goes on.  You meet more people. You see each of them carrying a heavy load.
Again and again, you help them take weight off of their back as you add more to your own.

You continue your journey. You meet more people. And the cycle continues.

Then you start to get tired. The weight on your back has become rather significant. Your backpack is almost bursting at the zipper.

Here’s a few different scenarios that my friend and I noticed tend to happen…

I. Maybe you think about asking a friend to hold on to something for you. Only for a minute. Just to get a little weight off of your back. This is a friend you’ve done this for a few times. But you see that their backpack still looks pretty full. You can’t add more to their load.

II. You turn to another friend. You see that they are willing to help you out. But you feel guilty. So unload something rather small. A pencil or something. Because the water bottle might just be too much for them to bear. Afterall, they do have their own backpack.

III. You’re still tired. So you turn to another friend. And you decide to ask. But they blow you off. Disregarding the fact that you have helped them countless times. You can’t be upset though. You didn’t help them out for the sole purpose to get help back in return. You did it because you care. And then it starts to hurt. Because maybe they don’t…care.

And I think that’s always been my problem.

You know the phrase, “you can’t truly love* someone else until you love* yourself first”.
*replace ‘love’ with ‘take care of’, ‘care for’, etc…

Well, I call bullshit.
Like my friend said the other day, “I’ve never had a problem loving someone else. [Even if I haven’t loved myself first]. The problem is, you can’t make people care.”

I’m starting to fall out of my niches. I don’t have the same level of comfortability as I used to in groups and social settings. Does that make sense?

I feel like I am very disposable. I can go days without talking to anyone if I don’t make the initial contact. I was gone for over a month without anyone in my family questioning my whereabouts or even reaching out to me to tell me that I had mail. I have friends that tell me they miss me and want to hang out, but will forever leave my text messages at “seen at 3:51pm”. It makes me wonder how much I truly matter. Do I mean as much to people as they do to me? Does anyone really even care?

Now, I know that’s ridiculous. I know people care. And I really don’t want to disregard the amazing people in my life. The people that have been holding my hand, giving me hugs, creating a home away from home, and letting me cry on their shoulders over the past few months. I am truly grateful. I’m especially grateful for the kick in the pants from people telling me to take control of my own mental health. The ones who tell me that feeling sorry for myself solves absolutely nothing.

So here’s something I’m starting to realize as we all have baggage that we carry. You may take in baggage from everyone else. You may have even more baggage of your own. But there’s no rule that says you have to carry it for the rest of your life.

Who’s to say that you can’t take a little out and leave it behind? Who’s to say that you have to pass it off onto another person? Can’t we just leave it as marker of something in our past? Something we’ve moved on from?

Who’s to say that you have to carry the weight of the world on your back?

♥ M




bad day

I don’t want any pity. I just want somebody to get it.

I just want to be honest.

Some days I wake up with the birds chirping, the sun shining, and a slight breeze creeping in through my window. I open my eyes, take my first conscious breath, and prepare for the day ahead of me. I’ll hop in a hot shower. Put on a clean outfit. Brush my hair. Put on a little bit of makeup. And just do something.

Other days I just wake up. I wake up confused and disoriented. Sometimes with a pounding headache. I have a stuffy nose. A cough. It feels like I haven’t gotten a wink of sleep. I’ll lounge around in bed for a while. Drag my body into the shower. Wait hours to brush my hair. Put on the same outfit I wore the day before and crawl back into bed.

I’ve been having a lot of those “other days” lately. Maybe not the same scenario, but the mood stays constant.

I don’t know if what I’ve been feeling can be better described as ‘crippling sadness’ or just ‘emptiness’. Maybe a little bit of both. I guess it depends on the day.

I’ve contemplated writing about this. Writing this on the internet for anyone to see. But I think it’s important to share the dark stuff sometimes. Because I know somebody will be able to relate. I guess I hesitated because I don’t want anyone to think that I’m searching for attention. I don’t want anyone to feel bad for me. Because we all have shit that we’re dealing with. I don’t want anyone to brand me as ‘crazy’ or ‘unstable’. I don’t want anyone to feel like they have to tip-toe around me. Like I’m a ticking time bomb. I guess, more importantly, I don’t want anyone to be worried, sad, or concerned. I’m fine. In theory, I’m perfectly fine.

Lately I’ve just been feeling a lot at once and, at times, it gets too overwhelming. I’ve gotten to a point where I don’t know who I am anymore. I wonder if I’m still Emilee, or if I’m simply just a shell of who I used to be.

I don’t feel as if I am enjoying anything anymore. I know that there is so much excitement around me. I see it! But it’s like I’m no longer participating. I’m watching everybody else enjoy the things I used to love. Concerts. Reading. Bike riding. Social gatherings. I’m going. I’m involved. But my mind never stops moving. It feels like the world around me is spinning, and I’m not sure where to turn next. I had dreams and goals, but now all I really hope is to die young and that Hell isn’t real because that’s probably where I’d go.

I’m always on the verge of tears. Anytime anyone asks me about how I’m doing, or school, my family, or just life in general, I always feel like I’m about to cry. And more often than not, I do! I cry in public! Like Kim Kardashian ugly-cry.  Which is literally my least favorite thing to do ever. It’s embarrassing. But I really can’t help it anymore, and everyone is starting to see how big of a train wreck I truly am.

And I think that’s the worst part about all of this. Showing everybody those raw emotions. Being that vulnerable. Writing about it is different. At least it feels different. Because I can give an explanation of what’s going on. Like look dude, I’m not crying because you asked me how my day was. It was probably a pretty uneventful day. I’m crying because I literally just don’t have a grip on life right now.

But you can’t just say that. Because then they’ll ask questions. You’ll unload all of your baggage. They’ll think you’re a wackadoodle. And then boom. You’re a burden. You gave them more information than they wanted. They’re uncomfortable. You’re uncomfortable.

Sounds ridiculous, right?

Most people are pretty understanding. And typically have no problem leading a listening ear. And I know that if someone came up to me with these feelings, I’d get it. I’d be understanding. So why is it that sharing emotions that are anything less than happy makes me feel like I’m driving everybody up a wall? Why do I feel like it will push everyone away?

I know it’s not normal to feel like this. I know I should probably do something about it. See a professional, probably. But I wouldn’t even know where to start.

“What seems to be the problem, Emilee?”

Do I respond with “I literally don’t even know” or “absolutely everything”?

Sometimes I wish I could check myself into a mental facility, slap a band-aid on my brain, and be good to go. If only it worked that way…

As dumb as it sounds, all I want anymore is to have a good day. A day where I can get out of bed, be productive, do something enjoyable, and maybe not cry all day? Like shit dude, I’ve been crying since I woke up, and I’m crying right now.

I know this is all stuff that I need to either get over or work on. I’m just tired. My life has been falling apart for a while, and I wish it would just  completely fall apart already. I wish I could just hit rock bottom, so I could have a place to start climbing back up.

I guess that’s all I have for now. I’m gonna hop in the shower, slap some makeup on, and tell myself that today’s going to be a good day. And if it’s not, maybe tomorrow will be. And if that’s not, I’ll say it again and again. Because maybe if I keep saying it, it will one day be true.

I didn’t write this to get sympathy. I don’t need anyone to feel sorry for me or to tell me it’s going to be okay. I know it’s gonna get better eventually. I do. It’s just something I’ve been going through and I wanted to share. Because I know someone somewhere is probably going through something similar.

I don’t know how to make it better. So all I can say is that we are not alone in this struggle. We are not victims. We are not lost causes. And we are not to be pitied.

♥ M

a year and some days ago

As somebody that is really obsessed with dates, anniversaries and memories, I can’t believe that I actually missed the anniversary of my first blog post.

August 19, 2015. I wrote my first post on thewanderingcove.

Writing first peaked my interest in elementary school. I’d write short stories and read them to my class. The first career I ever wanted to have was to be a published author.

Then I stopped sharing my writing. It felt like I’d lost my creative side. So I wrote only in my journals.

And then one day, I decided that I was going to start a blog. From not sharing anything, to putting it on the internet for the world to see, that was a big jump. Okay girl, do your thang.

It’s not like I’m some huge blogger and have thousands of people reading and critiquing my innermost thoughts. I’m not consistent enough for that. But the fact that it is online for anyone to read, rather than behind the safety of my leather-bound journal, is a little scary.

I looked back on my first post to see what made me even start thewanderingcove in the first place. Honestly, I think it had a lot to do with my cousin and biggest supporter,  Michele. She had herself a little healthy food blog going on for a while, and it really inspired me to look at myself to see what I could do to be healthier.

And if she could inspire me through her posts, it made me feel like I might be able to do the same. Even if it were just one person. Which is a really cool thought. I think one of my greatest aspirations in life is to be able to be an inspiration for somebody. Because the opportunity to make someone smile or give somebody hope is magical. And I hope to get there.

Sometimes I’ll go weeks and weeks without posting anything on my blog. I feel like I don’t have anything of substance to say sometimes. And then something will just hit me, and I will ramble on and on and on. More often than not, it’s incoherent and messy thoughts. But for almost everything I’ve posted thus far, I’ve had at least one person message me to let me know that they can identify with these incoherent and messy thoughts.

That’s a really validating experience. And I appreciate it more than you will ever know. First of all, to know that somebody actually reads the stuff that I write is pretty neat. And it means a lot to know that you’re not alone in having a cluttered mind.

I don’t know where all of this is going to take me. If anything, I hope it allows me to be open to inspiration. I hope it leads me to creativity and passion.

I still plan to write a book one day. With each post, I hope to de-clutter, just a little bit. To make the road to realize this dream a little more clear.

So thanks to everyone that reads my posts. Thanks to everyone that comments and messages me about them. You make me feel validated. You make me feel like my words hold meaning.

♥ M

falling apart

Life sucks.

Right? We all say it. Sometimes life just freaking sucks. It seems like when one thing goes wrong, then other things follow suit. And it feels like your world is crumbling. It gets harder to ground your footing. Like the rug is constantly being pulled out from under you. And you start to wonder if things are ever going to get better.

Spoiler alert: They will.

When you feel like everything is going wrong, it’s easy to get sucked into this vortex of negativity. It’s normal to want to vent to somebody, but when does venting turn into incessant complaining? At some point you have to realize that continuously whining about your life only perpetuates the negativity around you. You can complain all day every day for the rest of your life if you so choose, but absolutely nothing will change if you don’t get up and do anything about it. Complaints can only take you so far, so ultimately you will end up continuing to live the life that you’re bitching about.

I see so many of my friends turn to social media to let out all of their anger and sadness. I see it constantly. So I try to be there the best I can. To offer a listening ear. A shoulder to cry on. But whenever I ask, everyone usually says that they’re really just fine. And it makes me wonder, if they’re just waiting for the next thing to go wrong?

And they aren’t alone in this behavior. Lately, I’ve found myself complaining much more than I’d like to. From car trouble to family squabbles, I’m about ready to lose my mind. It feels like one thing after the other, and I’ve just really needed to get some stuff off of my chest.

It’s important to talk about your feelings, in my opinion. I’ve tried bottling things up and keeping to myself. It’s not great. You feel a weight on your chest. On your shoulders. On your back.

So I think that if a little talkin’ will help lighten your load- go for it. Talk it out. Take an appropriate amount of time to be frustrated. Upset. Angry. Sad. Then move on. Do something to make things better. Anything.

Join a gym. Change your hair. Change your wardrobe. Say goodbye to negative people in your life. Take a leap and move to a new city to chase your dream job. Do what you can to get by. Take the first step. Just try not to dwell in the negatives.

What if you find yourself at a loss? What if you’ve been trying to let things go? What if you’ve been making changes, and you’re still feeling like absolute garbage? What if it’s still hard to get out of bed in the morning? What if you still can’t seem to catch your breath?

Maybe it’s more than just being a pessimist. Maybe it’s more than just complaining. Maybe it will take more than a few life changes. It might be time to say that you need some help.

That’s something that I’ve been having trouble with. Asking for help.

It’s no secret that I’m not one of the most emotionally stable people you’d know. But I’ve tried really hard to hide the true extent of it all. Which is kind of a bad thing. The kind of thing that makes you lose it over something as minor as getting a flat tire.

I’ve never wanted to be a burden. I’ve never wanted to cast my dark cloud over others. And I think I’m getting to a point where these worries aren’t cuttin’ it for me anymore.

Nobody wants to be perceived as weak. Nobody wants to be known as ‘the one who constantly needs saving’. But I think it’s okay to admit that you need some help sometimes. You don’t have to do everything on your own.

You should be able to say, “hey, I’m fucking miserable and I don’t want to be this way anymore”. You should be able to say that and know that it’s okay if you do.

So if you feel like your life is falling apart. And you feel like everything is slipping through your fingers. If you feel like you need some help getting help opening the blinds and letting some light shine through, make sure to seek out help. Whether it’s the help of a friend or of a professional, know that you’re not alone. There are people willing to help. There are people who want to help.

We’re all striving for happiness. For ourselves. For others.

We’re all trying to figure shit out.

Just know that you can make it through.



into your own

When writing, I always go back and forth on whether I should write in my journal or post something on my blog. And I guess it kind of depends on the topic. Usually any realizations, epiphanies, or general thoughts about life have made their way onto my blog. And then anything that I was feeling sad or angry about would stay in my journal. Simply because I always try to maintain a positive and upbeat energy around myself. I never want to exude negativity into the world unless I am able to put a positive spin on it.

And that’s something I truly believe in. Long ago, I told myself that I wanted to leave a mark on the world. I told myself to shine bright enough to touch the people around me. But you can’t do that when you’re complaining. So I really do try to look on the bright side.

I’ve had to work a little harder to do that lately. Going to school, I see so many of my friends have found themselves having the time of their life. Truly having the college experience. I see them thriving and coming into their own. And I think that is amazing. I’m genuinely happy to see people I care about flourishing. But I think that has only made it more apparent how lost I feel.

Before I even started my freshman year of college, I wanted to drop out. From the get-go, it didn’t feel right. I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. So I told myself to just complete two years at a community college, get my prerequisites out of the way, and figure everything out later. But here I am two years later, revisiting the thoughts of my eighteen year old self.

I think that I’m stuck in the idea of following a timeline. And I wish that I could figure out how to get out of this mindset. I try to tell myself that everyone is different. That we all have our own lives to live. I try to tell myself that there is no right way to live. You just live.

Intellectually, I know that I’m doing just fine. I know that I’m going to be okay. I know that I have the ability to make something of myself. But inside,  I can’t shake this feeling that everything is just wrong. I feel like everything that I’m doing is wrong. I’m making all the wrong decisions.

But I imagine that everybody feels that way sometimes. I don’t know if you ever get past that little bit of self-doubt. I think that’s okay. I think that it keeps you on your toes. It keeps you striving for something better.

I often have to remind myself that I am only twenty years old. So yeah, maybe I am feeling a little lost right now. And I don’t know if it’s because I’m trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. Or maybe I’m trying to figure out who exactly Emilee is.

So I started making little  changes.

Dying my hair is something I thought I’d never do. I was born with blonde hair, and that’s what I have always known. As silly as it sounds, I feel as if dying my hair opened up a door to a new part of myself. A bright fun color allowed me to embrace my youth, and made me realize that I am a bright fun person. It makes me want to go out and enjoy more fun things. It suits me.

I was born and raised in the same house in the same city for my entire life. I never wanted to leave Columbus. It was familiar. It was safe. But then I started to do some light traveling. In the past two years, I’ve traveled to concerts in five different states. I even got on a real life plane. It was scary. And maybe I peed my pants a little. But it was also exciting.

I started changing my wardrobe. I went from a girl that only wore short-sleeved graphic tees and skinny jeans to a girl that takes a little more risk in the world of fashion. I shop in the men’s section. I wear clothes that are five sizes too large. I wear long dresses and short skirts. I wear short dresses and long skirts. I wear high- waisted pants and shorts. I wear crop tops and sweaters. I wear combat boots and sandals. I wear grandma sweaters, dad shirts, and mom jeans. I have fostered my own sense of style. And I think that I am able to express myself through the clothes that I wear.

I embraced my love of music. I started going to concerts. I began writing for a few music blogs. I discovered that music journalism was not something that ignited a fire in my soul. I was hired as an intern at a radio station. I’ve been there a year and a half. I started selling merch for different bands. And that’s where I think I might have discovered something really big about myself.

I think I might have a place in the music industry. Now it may not be in music journalism. But I think I’m onto something with these merch gigs. Maybe I’ll end up in PR. Or working for a major label one day. But I’ve found something that I love. And it would be mighty foolish of me not to run with it.

I decided that I need to take more risks. I need to go after the things that I want. Even if I am afraid of failure. Even if I embarrass myself. Even if it seems silly or unrealistic. I have to try.

I want to go on the road one day. I want to travel with a band and immerse myself in another aspect of the music industry. I know it’s competetive. And I know it’s a gamble. And it may seem like a dream. But that’s something I want. I want to go on the road one day.

I want to write a book. I’ve always felt silly thinking about that. I’ve barely ever said it out loud. There’s always the fear that nobody will care what you have to say. Or that somebody will criticize your thoughts. Or mock your vulnerability. But I have a lot to say. And I think that my words might one day hold some weight for somebody else. I think that I have the capability to create a voice to help others.

These things are at the top of my list. And for so long, I was afraid to say it out loud. For the fear of judgment and disapproval. Disappointment. But I don’t think I’m afraid anymore. At least not as much.

I was lost. I had no idea who I was. I had no idea what to do or where to go. As I watch all of my friends grab life by the reigns and set down a path to the life they wish to live,  I wander aimlessly behind. Making little stops along the way. Sitting down to rest. To collect my thoughts. Smelling flowers. Petting dogs. Then I lose my way, and set on a different path until I lose my way again.

And I used to think that was a bad thing. Continuously changing my direction. It felt like I was never going to have anywhere to go. I was never going to be able to make a decision. I was just going to stay lost.

But it wasn’t until I was lost that I began to find myself.

I tend to ramble. And I’ve never really been that great at conclusions.

I guess all I have to say is to anyone out there feeling lost and confused, you can’t compare your path to somebody else’s. Know that you’re on your way. You’re about to stumble across something amazing. Whether it’s a new path that you haven’t explored yet. Or back to one you’ve already been down, this time with a new perspective. You are onto something.

You’re not going to feel lost forever. You’re going to figure out who you are. And you’re going create a beautiful life for yourself. But know that this life can change. And even if it seems like everything is falling apart and you’re lost again, know that it’s the calm before the storm.

And gear up for something even more beautiful.





love a little

Sometimes I feel like my life is a movie. Often a comedy. Rarely a horror. Usually a drama. It almost seems unreal. But more recently, I feel like I have been living in a tragedy.

To tone down the inevitable melodrama to follow such a statement, I’m not talking about the tragedy of Romeo & Juliet. And I’m not an angsty teenager pining after some unattainable boy. My life isn’t falling apart. However, it seems like the world around me is.

Maybe I was oblivious. Ignorant. Maybe I had my eyes closed. But as a child, the world didn’t seem so awful to me. I didn’t hear stories about kids getting murdered. Women getting raped. Hate crimes. Animal abuse. And so-on. Now, I feel like a day does not go by without a new tragic headline.

When I was in grade school, I remember having drills for fires and earthquakes. Now there are drills for what to do in a school shooting. And these drills aren’t just in case. They have been used. Living in a America, we have the right to education. But we’re living in a time where there will always be a fear, no matter how slight it may be, that school may not be a safe place. Our children may not be safe.

The state of the world we live in right now is terrifying, to say the least. And I’m scared.

Since I have gotten my license, I have been told a few things…

Don’t honk at anyone. They may shoot you.
Always check your back seats and under your car before you get in it. There may be somebody wanting to hurt you.

Making the transition into womanhood, young girls are given ‘advice’ that many boys never hear.

Girls are told to always be aware of our surroundings. To never walk alone. Don’t even think about pumping gas at night. Be conscious of what you are wearing. Make sure your body is always covered up. Don’t wear form fitting clothes. Always carry pepper spray.

As a woman, I have experienced some things that are not so great. Catcalling on the street. Having my ass physically grabbed at a music festival. I’ve been called names. Tease. Bitch. I’ve been followed. I’ve felt unsafe.

Once I was at a gas station, just minding my own business. As I am filling up my tank, a man approaches me. I have a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach as he walks towards me. I know that this isn’t going to be a pleasant encounter. He starts asking me questions. What’s your name? Do you have children?

No, I reply, wondering what made him think I had children. He smirks at me, I didn’t think you had children. So, how old are you? Panicked, my eighteen year old self lies, says I’m seventeen. Because this 30 years+ man might respect the law more than he would respect my disinterest in him. When I tell him that I’m seventeen, he gets very angry. He begins to storm away, but then he walks back towards me. Are you trying to get me arrested?, he exclaims. I remind him that he is the one that approached me. He then proceeds to tell me that it doesn’t matter that I am seventeen, because he has a fetish for younger girls. He also asked me for money, to which I responded that I had none. But that was frightening. I cried the entire way home. Although nothing had actually happened, something could have. Because we live in a world where we can’t even pump our own gas without being fearful.

So yeah. As a woman, I have experienced some things that are not so great. But as a white woman. I know that I have it far better than a lot of people. For that, I suppose I should be thankful. And I am. I know things could be worse off. And I’m glad that they’re not. However, I can’t find it in myself to be happy that I’m not suffering when I know the there are people that do have it worse than I do. My heart aches.

There are people that live in fear to walk down the street. Because the color of their skin. Because they are wearing a hijab. Because they are a gay man holding the hand of their partner. To know that you could be attacked or even killed, simply for the color of your skin, religion, or for who you love.

And I don’t get it. I really don’t.

I believe that once you understand something, it makes it hard to hate it. Once you understand somebody and know their story, you respect it. You may not agree with it, but you respect it.

So I wonder. Is all of the hate in the world because people don’t understand others? Where exactly is the misunderstanding? How can we teach others? How do we share our stories?

It’s hard to be happy in a world that is dealing with so much hurt. It’s hard to feel safe when the people that are supposed to protect us are killing people of color. It’s hard to want to have children one day, that will practice standing on toilets if they are ever caught in the bathroom during a school shooting. It’s hard to discover who you are when you fear what might happen if you do.

So I think that it’s important to love a little more. It’s natural to hate the people that hurt us. But that only breeds more hate. More unhappiness. More pain and suffering. Fight the hate with love. Shine bright. Do good.

Stand for the things you love. Speak with kindness. Care for those around you. Protect each other. Hold hands with one another. Love each other. Because the light of our love is the only thing that will be able to combat the darkness and hate. But speak UP when you see injustice. Be willing to teach. Help others understand. If we all take a moment to learn about each other and understand each other, I think the world will be a more beautiful place.


light in my life

Going to a public school, being involved in extracurricular activities, and working in the service industry, you are exposed to all walks of life. With this exposure, comes a sense of understanding. Seeing the different ways that different people live their lives allows you to understand the world just a little bit more. For me, it made me realize that the world was so much bigger than the community I grew up in. Bigger than the schools I attended. Bigger than my group of friends. And so much bigger than myself.

I have seen a lot. I have seen people live a very privilege life. I have seen others come from nothing at all. I have seen people rise, and others fall. I have seen success and failure. I have seen those struggle with mental illness. And there is so much more to see.

After all, I have lived in the same house for the entirety of my life thus far, and have barely traveled outside of the Midwest. There has to be more to see. There has to be more people to see. There has to be more to learn.

One thing that I have learned is that I am a very empathetic person. I feel. Everything. To see somebody experiencing joy, it warms my heart. To see somebody suffering, it breaks it. And for a while, that was going to be my hamartia.

There are people in my life, people who provide a great deal of light and warmth. People that will share in my triumphs and cry through my pitfalls. I think that I am incredibly fortunate to have relationships with people that exemplify the sun shining through storm clouds.

I am very appreciative of these relationships. To have people to support, encourage, and believe in you with such fervor is so incredibly rare. And if you are lucky enough to find people that care about you so deeply, you must make sure to let them know how much they are appreciated.

The hackneyed phrase, “Life is too short not to tell people how you feel about them while they are still around to hear it” continues to ring true. That is why it is a cliché!

People want to feel loved. Appreciated. Cared for. And valued. And if someone is giving their heart and soul to make your life shine a little brighter, at the very least, you kind of owe them your gratitude. If you want to take it one step further, reciprocate the love, light and kindness they invest into you.

And if you do not want to do this. If you want to take advantage of this gift, and reap all of the benefits without giving anything in return. If you want to think of only yourself. Well. That is the quickest way to dim somebody else’s light. And nobody deserves that.

There are many people in my life that mean the world to me. There are so many people that I appreciate and cherish with my entire heart. And I know I do not tell them as often as they deserve. Every laugh. Every story. Every tear. Every rant. Every embrace. Every meal. I appreciate each and every memory.

Thank you to those who have brought light into my life. You. Are. Wonderful.


what you deserve

Something that I have struggled with for a while is trying to figure out what I deserve. I put a lot of effort into being the best possible person that I can be. I lend a listening ear. I am helpful. I am considerate. But I am human. I make mistakes. I get angry. I catch an attitude. I get jealous. I let people down. I let myself down.

I know that I am not alone when I say that I am my own worst critic. I am. If anybody were to try to hurt my feelings or put me down, I am sure I have had those thoughts before. I am not smart enough. Pretty enough. Funny enough. Strong enough. Personable enough. Am I enough?

When something good happens to me, something really good, I question if I deserve it. I usually decide that I do not. Not over another person, at least.

When something bad happens to me, I never really question if I deserve it. I just accept it. I accept that I am just awful enough to deserve the worst.

But I am starting to believe that I am not. I am not an awful person.

Going through the motions of life, childhood-kindergarten, adolescence-middle and high school, I have become a young adult. In one week I will be twenty years old. And in my twenty years of life, I have been very observant. I have watched the way the world works. And I think that I have developed in many ways.

I strive to be the type of friend that I would like to have. Someone that is caring. Loving. Affectionate. Strong. Humorous. Passionate. Someone that is a good listener. A good storyteller. Someone that can motivate. Inspire. Spark creativity. Evoke happiness.. Create excitement.This is the type of friend I wish to have. This is the type of friend I hope to be.

And I think that I am starting to get there. Telling myself that I am not awful always felt strange. Like I was trying to convince somebody that I was something that I was not. Like I was trying to convince myself. Telling myself that I am good is a whole other story. Who am I to say that about myself? But who is around me more than me? Who knows me better than I know myself?

If anyone is going to say what type of person I am, it should be me. If anyone is going to say what I deserve, it should be me. Right? With one life to live, I am starting to see what I want to get out of it. And I should not feel bad to say what I want. None of us should.

I want a big beautiful life. I will not go as far to say that I deserve the world, but I do think I deserve to experience what the world has to offer. I want to explore what I have to offer. The world. The people in it. I want to love. I want to love with my entire heart. And I want to be loved. I want genuine relationships. I desire symbiosis. An equal distribution of give and take. I want to live outside of all I have ever known.

After all, we only have one life to live…
And when it is all over, did you get what you deserve?
Were you cared for how you should be cared for?
Were you loved how you should be loved?


get connected

As I am getting older, I am learning how truly important it is to make connections. In order to get ahead in life, you have to utilize these connections. Now, I am not talking about taking advantage of others, or stepping on people to jump-start your rise to success. No way! That is a complete jerk move, you will burn every bridge you have ever built, and you will gain a reputation that will hinder you from building bridges in the future.

In this day and age, higher education may seem like the most important thing in the world. And I get it. It seems like every job requires, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree. But that is not necessarily always the case. I am not saying that education is not important. I am saying that often times it is more about who you know rather than where you went to school.

When you find an area that interests you, take initiative. Immerse yourself in it. Introduce yourself to the people in charge. Have them introduce you to other people in that area. Form relationships. Pick people’s brains. Learn everything you possibly can from others, and do not forget to offer yourself as well. Your words of wisdom. Your skills. Your connections. When you get everything you possibly can from an outlet, feel free to move forward. But do not kick those people to the curb. You are allowed to grow and prosper but it would be foolish to disregard the people that helped you get to that point.

When thinking of connections, your brain may first just go to connections in the business world. Networking. But one thing that I have noticed, something that is very special, are connections in everyday life. The ability to meet another individual and connect with them on a deeper level where you can become close friends or partners is something so fascinating to me.

There have been people that I have known for years, where our relationship has not bloomed beyond small talk. And that is okay. We just have not clicked in that way. But on the other hand, there are individuals that have walked into my life not too long ago, that I feel like I have known since I was a child.

It is so amazing to me that you can find somebody that you click with on every single level. Somebody that you can laugh with. Somebody that you can cry with. Somebody that you can talk to about the wonders of the world and the meaning of life. I think connections like these will really help you get ahead in the world.

Through relationships with others, you will learn more about the world. You will learn more about others. And you will learn more about yourself. And I think that is how you really get ahead. Not by what job you have. Or even how much money you are making. I think it is all about who you know, what they have to teach you, and what you have to teach them.

Sometimes these connections overlap. Sometimes the connections in the spiritual world and emotional world will overlap with the connections in the business world. This overlap creates a very special spot that allows beautiful things to happen.

I think that I am so very lucky. I am so lucky to have formed connections in various aspects of my life that overlap with one another. I have found friends that I can connect with on a deeper level. Friends that I can share the darkest parts of my soul with. People that can make sense of the clutter in my mind. I have found people within my area of interest that want to help me  join the industry of my dreams. Together, with all of the connections I have made, I feel protected. Safe.

I truly feel like there are people in my corner that want me to succeed. I have formed such genuine relationships with the most amazing people. These symbiotic relationships provide an even distribution of give and take where neither party will feel abused or mistreated. And I think that is the key to it all.

We all want to be successful. We all strive to get ahead. But what I have found to be extremely important in utilizing connections, is to take advantage of opportunities rather than people. Help the ones that help you, and make them feel appreciated.