A Blanket, Eeyore and a Guitar changed the way I see the world.

"Excuses are a chance to reiterate who they are. 
Your reactions are a chance to reiterate who you are." 

I've spent a lot of time lately looking at the person who I've been, and the person that I am now, and kind of wondering: if I could go back and change anything, what would it be? I don't believe in the whole "no regrets" thing, because I think that everyone has regrets and I also believe that we NEED them. Without messing up, being aware of it, and progressing forward as a result of it- we don't grow. So I like that I have regrets because it means I was aware of what needed to change. I like that.

I think that if I could change anything, though, it would be to not have taken so long to figure out who I wanted to be. Let me start that with a story. A really, really embarrassing story. The summer before my senior year in high school, we took our individual portraits. It's this big deal and in my house my parents put everyone's up on the main wall and blah blah blah. So there's a head shot (which is still at my parent's house), and a full body shot where you use all kinds of props to showcase what your strengths and interests are. My sister had her Cheerleading garb, my brother had his Letterman's jacket from Waterpolo... etc. I had no idea what to do. I certainly wasn't going to wear my swimsuit and goggles, and I didn't really have many interests (or so I thought) outside of just 'hanging out.' I asked my Mom for her advice and she suggested all of these neat little props to represent "me." So what does my picture have? I'm sitting on a Zebra-print blanket (to show I was trendy or something I guess), holding a magazine with a picture of Sarah Michelle Gellar on the cover (to show that I was a huge Buffy fan), next to a stuffed Eeyore doll (to show that I was suicidal or something), and I'm holding a guitar. I HAD NEVER PLAYED THE GUITAR IN MY LIFE. The idea was, according to my mom, I knew I wanted to learn to play some day. And by the time I was going to look back on these pictures, I'd be really, really good. Probably.

I used to be so ashamed of this picture, and obviously I realize how totally ridiculous it is. But it occurred to me, yesterday, how 100% spot on it was as far as representing "who I was." I was a girl who had no idea who I was. Everything was projected as this image of who other people thought I should be. Note: if you have to ask your mother what represents 'you,' you're doing it wrong. But that's who I was- an interpretation of what everyone else wanted to see. My bedroom wall was cluttered with magazine pictures of women skinnier and prettier and more famous than me- people that the world put on a glossy page and told every teenage girl that we should be like. I bought the shoes they said were cool, I took the general ed classes in college that everyone took. My personality was essentially a xerox copy of whoever seemed like they knew what they were doing.

It wasn't until years later that I started to befriend more people who promoted individuality, and I started to see things that the world showed me and say, "meh, that's not for me." And maybe that makes me less of a celebrated "yes" person, but I'm okay with that. When I look around my room, now, I see places around the world that I've been because they were important to me. I have books that represent my values and clothes and jewelry that I think are pretty and comfortable. I have a 13 lb. cat that everyone else hates but I think she's the greatest thing in the world and they can go to hell if they have a problem with that. I love my little life, and it finally feels like home to me.

The reason I started out my entry with that quote is that I was having a moment today where I felt like I was kind of getting the butt of things. I was irritated that people were expecting things of me that I felt they weren't personifying themselves, and it was very much a "well, why should I do it then??" moment. And I made all of these very true, very valid excuses of why I felt like the only non-hypocrite. But that thought stopped me because, at the end of the day, I can only control my own actions and reactions. And just because I feel that someone else has made poor choices doesn't change a thing about my own. I struggle with that concept a lot, actually. And not to sound like I'm a saint by all means, because I can be a real selfish asshole. But I often feel like it would be fair and right for me to react to a scenario based on the scenario, and not on the person that I try to be. But I don't want to be anybody based on what other people believe I should be. I'm not a teenager, asking what represents "me." I am "me," and I should be the one deciding what to include in the picture.


Something (an update).

It's been too long. It keeps being too long, unfortunately. I think that I started to feel like I was writing because I needed to write, and the fact that I write for work, now, seems to have taken some of my steam out of personal musings. Plus, work has been busy and good and fun, but exhausting with all of the new responsibilities of my recent promotion (they made me the new Marketing Communications Manager). But it's good.

I also started to feel so exposed with this blog. I write every thought here, and began to feel like I had no secrets anymore. And honestly? I missed having secrets. So I'd love to make bold promises as to when I'll write and what I'll say, but I wont do that. I made a promise that my New Years Resolution was to make a series of resolutions, which I should do. But something is coming, and I don't know what but I know it is. I can always tell when something is changing and right now, something is changing. Last week I had a mini-drama because I've noticed a lot of chaos in my life lately. Not bad chaos, necessarily, but just upheaval of everything about my life that I thought was one way and turned out to be another. My job change, two of my best friends moving away within a few months of one another, feeling very disoriented and lonely. And it's sucked, quite frankly. BUT- I also know that it's a really good thing because great changes come out of great trials. There are a number of things about my life that I've noticed I was to change, and it's taken me feeling disappointed about them in order for me to snap into action and make the changes themselves. I've always been stubborn like that.

It's almost March. In April, I'll be going to spend a week and a half in Brussels, Paris, Florence and Rome. Which is an important trip to me because I've now tried to go to Rome twice without having been. I'm finally going there, and on top of that I'll be spending an entire day completely on my own, which I'm more than a little excited about since it'll hopefully pave the way for future trips I'd like to take alone. Maybe this next few years of my life will be my travelling years to see all of the places I want to see: Peru, Tibet, Prague, Croatia, Spain, Morocco... I want to see it all and maybe this big change coming my way is finally doing that. We'll see.

I wish I had better blogs and more exciting stories, and maybe I need to get back to writing on a regular basis so I don't lose my ability to do it in a non-work setting. But in the mean time, life is good and crazy and interesting. I can't wait to see what happens next.