Who We Show.

My old roommates are moving to Spain. I know I've mentioned it.

When going through their checklist of things to do before they leave, they asked me my thoughts on them starting blogs. I told them that I thought it was not only important for them to document their trip, but to document all of the things leading up TO that trip. How they feel about it on a daily basis- fears and joys alike- the preparations they are putting in, tiny details and facts that they don't think are relevant... everything. My reasoning was that sometime in the near future, two girls are going to decide they want to teach English in a foreign country and have no clue where to start. Blogs are not only about you, but all of the people who you can reach out to and help in ways that you never imagined would come to pass.

I've been wondering how my blog helps anybody. Is there some girl out there who reads this and thinks, "Man, I'm really glad she said it because I had no idea where to start?" And on that wave... how real am I being to that person? How many details about my trip am I including for her to navigate the places she wants to go?

I realized today, in talking to my best friend, how much of myself I hold in. I always thought that, as a writer, I revealed myself to people pretty widely and honestly. And I know that I do, to some extent. I tell all of my embarrassing stories in full detail. I joke about my dating mishaps and the "losers" I've dated in my early 20's. I laugh a lot and disclose my strange conversations that I have with my cat where I talk to her like a human and expect that she understands. I tell all.

But today I was talking to my friend about an old relationship of mine, and what she saw from me when it ended. She laughed as she told me that she had never really known WHAT I was feeling or thinking because I was so candid and yet private during the breakup. One minute I would be sad and the next I would be completely level-headed and preaching about how it was for the best and I was much better off. Here was my own best friend, who I talked to almost daily during this point of my life, telling me she had no clue how I was doing at that time. Crazy.

I guess I hold a lot in.

I had a guy tell me, from notes that a girl friend of mine had given him, that he knew better than to bring me flowers. "I know you're not into all that romantic stuff."

I guess I hold a lot in.

I wonder how many of us do this same thing. The truth of the matter is: I feel things more deeply than anyone I know. I'm a writer- of COURSE there's poetry in my veins when my life happens for good or for bad. It kills me when things don't work out with someone that I genuinely care about. It kills me that I don't have the relationships with my family and friends that I wish I had. I point out the comedy in my life because it's the only way I can talk about it without dwelling on the crappy things that happen sometimes (and I'm sure happen in anyone's lives). I love romantic gestures from a boy. The reason I don't jump up and down when they happen is because I'm afraid that if I do, I'll jinx it.

"Play it cool. Play it cool..."

On top of that, and because I see/feel more than most people do, I look for the individual in people. I don't want the same conversations you've had with your other friends. I don't want the rehearsed routine you've put forward with every girl you've dated. I want you to see and hear me- really hear me- and be the person you find in yourself when you're around the person that I am. I want the inside jokes and the idle chatter with my best friends. I want the book you knew I would love or the nerdy Mario Brothers foam flower that you knew would never die. I don't want an aisle-checkout Gift Card friendship, I want preempted individualism.

The reason I bring this all up is that I feel like I've spent the better part of the past few years (in my ongoing self-discovery) looking for who I am, who I REALLY am, and how much I show to people and why.

When I turned 30... something changed in me. Maybe it was a combination of turning 30 and changing jobs. But I suddenly felt like this huge weight had lifted off of my shoulders. Where I used to care so much about doing things "just so..." suddenly I just...


I stopped trying to figure out who everyone else wanted me to be. I stopped caring if everything was perfect. I honestly think that I realized after trying SO hard for SO long, and things never quite lining up the way I tried to orchestrate them to, that my life was going to just be imperfect. And for the first time- that was okay. So I stopped trying to fit a circle into a square. I stopped stressing out that people might have wanted me to behave a certain way. I stopped chiming in on drama around me and instead just shrugged and said, "Man, that sucks." I stopped trying so hard to make people love me.

So this is me. Not caring. And telling you that it's okay to stop using the comedy to really feel your own life. It's okay to admit to your best friend that you're sad, or scared, or that you just don't have all the answers at that moment. It's okay to just sit with yourself and not stress out that your life is different than you thought it would be when you were five and wearing light-up plastic princess heels.

I have a quote on my mirror in my bedroom that's been there since just after my birthday: We either choose to make ourselves miserable or to make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.

I like that.


Be You.

This past week has been filled with conversations that I really needed to have. I'd been lost on here for a while and that analytical side of me was MIA, which isn't terrible but not great when you're a writer.
I had a discussion today regarding writing, but from another person. My friend is a writer who has a sort of writer's block, which I can relate to. Sometimes we as writers lose our voice, and that can be incredibly frustrating. We were talking about how we have these "voices," or basically literary facades, that we use to present our stories to the world. Writers often do this for anonymity and self-preservation. I realized, though I already knew it, that I use this writing mask more often than not. I can't think of how many times I haven't been able to find the courage to tell someone my thoughts, only to write it down later. I have the words, but for some reason hiding behind a computer makes it easier for me to let down my guard and admit that I care, or that I'm afraid, or that I'm upset. Writing is the only way I think I can allow myself to be fully vulnerable.

I got to thinking about it this evening, this whole facade thing, and began to wonder why we do it. And it isn't just writers. It's Bloggers, Facebookers, Twitterers, even Instagrammers. We have this entire generation hiding behind our screens. We post updates, in our Voices, about the lives we want to be perceived to have. We post pictures of the amazing meals we're eating and the cute thing our boyfriend/girlfriend did for us. And then we hide and fumble over what to say when faced with actual people. We are an entire generation who has spent so much time reaching out to the world, looking for love and recognition in mediums we never thought possible, and yet more unable to find it than ever. And that's because we're not being REAL. It's easy to "like" someone when they're at their most edited selves. And we know that. So when things aren't filtered in Walden, it can become unnerving to open up and let people see your picture in a real-life hue. So we don't. We hide and we treat our world like a ventriloquist act, throwing our voices to a propped doll so people don't see that we're off stage in our tattered pajamas.

Being our real selves is one of the scariest things in the world. Mainly because if we give our all and present 100% authenticity, and people hate it, we have nothing to hide behind. Few things are more intimidating than saying "This is me," and having another person say, "You aren't enough." I think that's why I am so passionate about finding a place of clarity in myself. If I know who I am, and I can become the person that I know I am satisfied with at the end of the day, no one else's opinion really matters. You're never going to please everybody, and that is a fact. And even the people who love you the most in the world aren't always going to agree with or even like you. And that's okay. If you know yourself, and know the person you want to be, then you know that being the person SOMEONE ELSE wants you to be is silly and nonsensical.

Do we need to spill our deepest, darkest secrets to everybody? No. Keep a part of you for yourself, and spare hurt feelings if you have disagreeable emotions on a topic. But don't ever hide your plan for yourself, and don't ever stop trying to figure out who you want to be. That changes every day- every single day. It's emotional evolution and that's healthy. But allow people to see you. Be honest. Desire the best for not only the people in your world but for yourself, too. No manipulation, no games. No "this is who I want people to think I am." This is your life, not an audition for someone else's.

Be you.



(one of the good ones!)

I don't know about anybody else, but as a kid I seemed to have sought out unhealthy relationships with people. It extended further, well into my adulthood, and often comes up in my conversations with people. While some girls have these friends and boyfriends who are super supportive and loving, I did not. I wont go into details, only to say that when I talk about it it's embarrassing and usually reciprocated with a general response of "seriously? why?" I once had a boyfriend who broke things off, we decided to work it out, and then he broke things off again a week later. I told a friend about this and his response was, "Um, twice is a lot of times to break up with somebody." that simplistic reply really made me come to terms with the fact that this guy had been a jerk.

And it kind of IS an interesting scenario. Why did I do this to myself? Was it some form of self-loathing? Low self-esteem? I grew up in a pretty awesome and supportive family, so I know it's not a learned habit.

I think that women have this tendency to tell themselves terrible things. Ideas of not being worthwhile spew into our brains and take root. And of course, it's insane. We are worthwhile, amazing people. I know that I deserve people to treat me with kindness and love, but I seem to have a history of not really EXPECTING it from people. Or at least allowing them to fall completely short of the behavior I should accept.

I had a friend who was so similar to me in this sense. We would talk for hours about the people in her life who were consistently letting her down, and her responses to it. She had one guy, in particular, who she was completely enamored with, and he knew it, but kind of led her on about the whole thing. And she would tell me how she knew better, yet exposed herself to his rejection time and again, not knowing why. It actually got sort of hard to talk to her about it because she would always be giving chances when she knew better than to do it.

I think I understand why I allow people to be jerks sometimes, which is the first step. But the next, and more difficult, is figuring out how to navigate things from there. When someone messes up, do I axe them from my life right then and there? How many times do I allow myself to get hurt before I end that friendship? I don't know the rules.

What I DO know is this: I (and you!) am/are worth it. And I demand a better circle than the ones I have run in in the past. Maybe it's me being old and lazy, but I don't have the time for that crap. I don't have the energy to embrace crummy friendships and relationships, and I refuse to do it. I want to surround myself with people who encourage me to be my best self. I don't want to have friends who do stupid things to me or to themselves and don't expect me to get upset about it. I don't want friends who put me on the backburner, or who place minimal effort into our friendship. I'm worth effort, and so are you! If somebody makes you feel bad on a regular basis- why keep them in your life? You should have people who want to help you succeed and help bring you up, not make you sad. Surround yourself with the love you deserve. You are so worth it.


All You Need Is Love.

So I am in a bit of a fun blogger mood tonight. Partially because all of my responsibilities are away at summer (or, rather, fall) camp. Aside from work, which will now be taking the spotlight in my oh-so-thrilling social life, all of the things I've had on my agenda are checked off. I have zero obligations aside from hiking, yoga, cooking, cats, and ideally personal hygiene. Watch out, world!

It isn't that I don't like being busy. I actually prefer it. I have this over-analytical, writer-y side of me who needs to be constantly preoccupied lest she start wondering, like... what feelings mean or something. This is great once in a while, but trust me when I say I accomplish much more when this is not the case. I do plenty of soul-searching during my deep conversations with Newps.

So now it's September and the next thing on my agenda (aside from the 67 lbs. of family birthdays this month) is whether or not I want to tackle sewing my own Halloween costume.


At the risk of blabbing on about how lazy I anticipate being in the coming future, let's talk about something else.

My Best Friend got married this weekend. And I am SO not the girl who swoons at weddings, but this one was absolutely perfect. maybe I'm just getting old, but I totally cried at least 3 or 50 times. Sayum looked like a Bride Magazine model, complete with horse-drawn carriage. The thing that blew me away, on top of the physical beauty of the day, was the amount of love pouring out from every corner of the evening. The majority of her bridal party flew in from Michigan and rented an enormous mansion with a waterslide and a grotto. Every day was all about Sayum and how to make this the most special weekend of her life. I'd never seen an outpour of love the way these girls funneled it to Sayum. It was, and this is an understatement, inspirational. I'm not kidding, it really made me re-evaluate the level of friendship and love I give to the girls in my life who are important to me.

For being someone who loves spa nights and Bridesmaids... I guess I'm not a very girly girl. I'm more comfortable with fart jokes and movie quotes than late-night gossip and martinis (well... maybe martinis.) Or heaven forbid someone cry in front of me- I completely panic.

I am learning, though. I'm learning to be gentler, and to appreciate the female bonds I have in my life. It's been honestly tough at times, but I think there is a greatly undervalued emphasis on girl friends in my life- and I hope to nurture those friendships where they stand strong. I'd be lying if I said that I don't trace this back to some pretty crummy female friends I had as a kid, and I think that is why I hold Sayum on such a pedestal. She has been the absolute perfect friend to me, and if I am at all lucky I will figure out a way to do my best impression of that.

Friendships are so important, and it can sometimes be easy to get caught up in life and forget to make time for the people who make time for us. But if there is one thing I've learned in the past few years of knowing Sayum, and in the past week of witnessing the bonds that exist with her Michigan friends, it's that those relationships are worth every moment of effort.

Thank you, Sayum, for showing me the type of person that I want to be. I can't promise to come close to perfect, but I am that much closer to being the best friend that I can be.

I love your guts, Mrs. Boucher.