Archive for the ‘jen’ Tag
About a month ago, at a bar/coffee shop five blocks away from my old apartment in downtown Columbus, eight twentysomethings sat at table engaged in laughs and conversation. If you need a visual, picture Central Perk minus the couch and many more beer glasses than coffee mugs. Oh, I should also point out that most of these people met one another for the first time 30 minutes prior to my late arrival. It’s a night, even 3 weeks later, that I continually find myself coming back to. While it may seem odd to others, one of the memories I recall most frequently is over the lyrics of a song. I know, me and my lyrics & quotes.
A comedic, liquor-drinking guitar player soon took over mic and began crooning many ladies’ choices. As our table began making predictions for the next song, he sang the line:
Look for the girl with the broken smile/ Ask her if she wants to stay awhile (She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5)
As he continued singing the remainder of the song, silence hit me. (Maybe discomfort too.) To distract myself from the thoughts that were forming, I looked around the room at the strangers nearby, until the song came to an end.
“What does ‘a broken smile’ mean?” Jen asked.
With no one else responding and her gaze on me, I thought quickly about what to say. So many things I could have said. So many examples I could have given. With more discomfort setting in, I opted not to say too much but did incorporate the words ‘sadness’ and ‘broken heart’ into my answer.
I thought, Does she really not know? How could she not know? Has she never truly battled pain, suffering and/or a broken heart? Has she never had to force a smile when her heart was breaking inside? Has she never forgotten how to breathe without feeling pain? Has she never wished that she could sleep a whole day away so she didn’t have to worry about hearing his name? If not, then I pity her.
At twenty-seven years old, I can finally say that I’m grateful for my broken days; for they have given me strength and resilience. The honest truth is that obstacles are life’s best lessons. Each and every experience- momentous or habitual- exists to prepare us for what has yet to come. The same can be said about relationships as sometimes you have to learn from heartbreak in order to appreciate true love when it comes along.
I couldn’t have said the same thing at 22 years old; quite frankly I’m not sure if I saw it this way last year. But all that matters is I believe it now. And I believe that there’s nothing wrong with being broken… as long as you put the pieces back together again.
“This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something. ”
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
Last night while finishing my post, preparing my grad program application, and watching my daily fix of Ellen, I dodged text after text from my dear friend, Mike. I love him, I really do…but he was driving me a little crazy with all the texting. Now I really do enjoy helping my boys out when it comes to the World of Girls, but what I’ve learned from my years of experience is that you can only do so much. But I gave him as much as I could give, and will continue to do so, but as I told him, “The hard part is over. This is the chance you’ve been waiting for. Just be yourself.”
After sending that text I’m pretty sure I said this out loud, and if not then it was ‘said’ very loudly in my head: I feel like I’m in a relationship. Many relationships.
Let me rewind and share that this thought has crossed my mind many times, and especially yesterday after receiving another text from a different friend: So the other day I realized how distant our friendship is and by distant I mean not close. Of course I was taken back and responded as I saw appropriate, but the carefree version of me that I tend to be these days literally shook it off. After all, what else can I do? She’s a great friend to me and I’ve always thought I was to her. Again, what else can I do?
One of my biggest fears with moving to Chicago was that I was going to lose all of my friends. This thought was actually the main reason that I almost changed my mind after accepting the position. But fortunately my A*MAY*ZING friends proved me wrong, and in fact many of my friendships have grown even stronger these past few years.
The truth is that, like romantic relationships, you have to figure out what works for both of you. For me, personally, email proves to be the best way for me to keep in touch with people. In fact, most of the friendships that have proven the test of time & distance are the ones that I email with regularly/periodically…or mail a Pen Pal book back-and-forth to Ohio. But perhaps that doesn’t work for everyone else. Maybe I have to reevaluate and think about how I can rebuild my friendship with Jen?
In the utmost humble way of putting it, I have a lot of friends. I do. I feel very blessed to have the friends that I do and fortunate that there are so many that know me well enough and still put up with me. I’ve had a lot of ‘friends’ in my day, but right now I can honestly say that those friends that are in my life (now) are the very best I’ve ever had. I am the Lucky One. However, this lucky girl is beginning to see that she is spreading herself to thin. While agreeing with quality over quantity, I feel like I’m giving less of myself to each friend instead of being able to give much more to every one of them. Unfortunately I just don’t know how to change this.
Okay, lunch break over. Thanks for letting me clear this off my chest. If you are one of my dear friends reading this, then know that I will continue to spoil you rotten, drop everything at any time to be there for you, continue to take overnight bus trips to visit you, and always make sure that you know how appreciative I am to have you in my life.
My friend, Jen, just sent me a text, after donating $150 to our friend Dustin’s fundraising efforts in support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training program. Jen wrote, “It feels so good to give!!”
She’s right. It does feel good to give, especially to a cause that is worth more than money. Your money and support are Saving Lives.
I know you probably don’t know Dustin nor his aunts, who battled Leukemia and non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and serve as two of the benefactors of him lacing up his running shoes in May. And maybe you don’t know me personally…but if you’ve read my blog at least once before, then you do know me well enough to know that I’d only share something (on this blog) if it truly means something to me. I do know Dustin and saw/heard firsthand his passion for supporting this cause in honor of his aunts and the others that are impacted by blood cancers.
I’ll share with you that Dustin is not a pro marathon runner. In fact, he’ll openly admit this and maybe even share his “I’m never running the Chicago Marathon again!” story. Trust me, the story was priceless. The fact that he is running another marathon (but definitely not in Chicago) is a miracle: A miracle that happens when passion & inspiration are in the driver’s seat.
On Monday, I had the honor of spending time with seven-year old Ivy yesterday. Ivy is a Leukemia Survivor, having been diagnosed at the age of 4. On Tuesday, I gave Ivy a big hug and sent her and her family off on a well-deserved trip to Disney World. She is a Cancer Survivor. And She is a Kid. A kid who talks about having leukemia (when she was ‘younger’) and still takes daily medicines and goes for routine check-ups, with hopes that her battle is over.
So, will you do me a favor?
If you know someone who has battled any of the blood cancers (leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, myeloma and myelodysplastic), or really any cancer at all, Think of Him/Her/Them Right Now.
And if you are fortunate not to be affected by this devastating disease firsthand, Think of Dustin and His Aunts or Little Ivy and Her Family.
Now..take a few minutes to:
1. Visit Dustin’s Page and read just why he’s committed to running the Cap City Half Marathon in Columbus, OH with Team In Training on May 7, 2011.
2. Make A Difference. Donate Today. Help the thousands who battle blood cancers, such as Leukemia and Lymphoma. Serve the thousands who have lost their life to such illnesses. Support the millions of family members and friends who are affected by the struggles that their loved ones endure when fighting for their lives.
3. Learn more about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Team In Training program by visiting www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/ and searching for the Chapter in your community.
To help Dustin raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, visit his Team In Training page at http://pages.teamintraining.org/coh/columh11/dwoodx#My-Fundraising-Page
A.MAY.ZING. That is the only way to describe this past weekend’s road trip back to Columbus, OH. Exhausted, I’m sitting here debating whether to let my tired mind ramble on and on about the festivities or simply write: This weekend was, by far, (one of) the best weekend I’ve ever had in Columbus. Let me reinstate that I lived in the city for over a year and there have definitely been some memorable moments in Buckeye Country since first visiting 7 years ago. Okay, that’s it. Let me give you the details instead of just writing that it was A.MAY.ZING. But it really was quite A.MAY.ZING….because of all the people I spent it with. So, to each and every one of you- Stef, Jen, Kristin, Jim, Jay, Ashley, Nicky, Tony, Brandon, Ryan, Charlie, and many new friends, etc.- THANK YOU!
Where do I even begin? The beginning, I guess, sounds like a good start. So the beginning of our trip to Columbus would be when Stef and I ventured downtown to catch our 10 pm Megabus. I could tell you about some of the shenanigans of our overnight bus trip, but instead I”ll leave it at- what happens on Megabus, stays on Megabus. Well I’ll just say that if it wasn’t so cheap and convenient, then I’d probably have stopped riding it by now. With a feel restless hours of ‘sleep’ under our belts, and a whole lot of thinking & stressing for me, we landed at the intersection of High St. and Nationwide Blvd. around 6:30 am and immediately made our way to the hotel (aka our home for the weekend). Although excitement was seeping through our veins, we opted for a little napping before we caffeinated ourselves with Starbucks and fueling with lunch at North Market.
After crepes in Goodale Park (my backyard when living in my first C-bus apartment), Jen picked us up and carted our carless butts to (drumroll please) Easton!!! I was (so happy that I had the chance to introduce Stef to Easton- my retail sanctuary for therapy. We stopped at all the basics- H&M, Forever XXI, Buckeye Corner– and ironically and completely unexpected, ran into a former Hampton classmate of ours. It’s a small world. After buying new shoes (and a hat for me), we settled for some (more) caffeine and snacks at ‘bucks and sat outside to enjoy the rest of the cool fall afternoon.
You know, for me, that was one of the most memorable moments of the weekend- and just only because I was sober. Sitting there, enjoying the breeze, Stef’s company, and being back in Columbus was one of those rare moments were I didn’t want to be anywhere else. Telling Stef more about Columbus and engaging in soul-searching & eye-opening conversations like we always do, I found myself back in love with the city- believing that I could actually see myself back there again. Maybe?
Jen picked up her carpool (us) again and we headed back downtown for an evening out in my old stomping grounds. Stef’s friend, Lindsey, and her brother, Mike, drove down from Cleveland and joined us for dinner. Soon I was graced by the presence of my partner-in-crime, Kristin, and the rest of the weekend is a blur. Thanks Kristin! (I actually mean that!)
Heading to the Arena District, we began our adventures by meeting Jen’s friend, Kelly, at O’Shaughnessey’s– one of my favorite bars and full of memories (mainly with Sarah). After a(nother) glass of wine, we found ourselves walking into the new bar (to me at least), Park Street Cantina. You most certainly do not feel like you’re in Columbus, OH when you are inside that bar.
If those Cantina walls could talk, they would tell you that this little blogger of yours turned into a little (old?) cougar- right in the middle of the crowded bar. How it happened is all a blur, but it most certainly happened. Before I say more, I have to once again come clean with my addiction: I love Ohio boys. I really do. And, for some reason, they love me. I promise you, I will end up with a Ohio boy and/or Buckeyes fan.
With a third glass of wine in me, the details of the evening all blend together in my mind today- three days later- but I will admit that there were definitely boys that crossed my path. Now perhaps using the term “boys”, instead of “guys” or “men”, is appropriate. Yes, they were “boys”. I did not come across a boy- other than the ones I was with- that was over the age of 25-years old. Oops! In my defense, I am commonly mistaken for an early-twentysomething (if not a teenager). But still, it’s not like my 3 glasses of Merlot were the Fountain of Youth. I’m telling you, something happens to me when I cross the border into Ohio. I’m like a movie star or something. Or maybe, it’s because I’m exuding happiness and confidence in my Happy Place. Seriously, I’m not sure if I get it either, but I love it!
So yeah, “boys”. A few of them. There was one from Turkey….as in Istanbul, Turkey….who I believe was 24-years old. We had an interesting conversation on the dance floor, but after having a flash (literally) that he resembled a certain guy (ck), I decided that I had to say my goodbyes. (I think I gave him my phone number thought. Idk.) Before I knew it I was engaged in a conversation with a 21-year old, but dismissed myself quite quickly to rejoin my girls. After they abandoned me- Jen & Kelly for guys and Kristin for the bathroom- I found myself in the presence of Austin, someone who definitely showed that he can shoot-the-shit with me and put me in my place with equivalent sarcasm and humor. I have to say that I enjoyed talking to him, and of course, Kristin thought that he could be the love of my life that leads me to moving back to Columbus.
Did I tell you about that? I probably should as this knowledge will come in handy for Part Two of this weekend’s story.
Because I love her dearly, I granted Kristin the chance of a lifetime: To play wingwoman for me over the weekend. The hope was that I’d meet the love of my life (this weekend) and move back to Columbus to live happily ever after- with her (Kristin) at least. So, that being said, Friday began the hunt as we scouted out boys- beginning at O’Shaughnessey’s and continuing at Cantina. I’m not sure if the love of my life was found in the Arena District that night, but Kristin did keep Austin at the top of her list…at least until Saturday night. (More later.)
That’s really the most of Saturday night. It was a late night. A long day. But it was wonderful! The perfect beginning to an A.MAY.ZING. weekend back in Columbus, and you know what, it only got better from here-on-out.
Let me first say that I spent my lunch break beginning a post highlighting my thoughts on this Moan-day. To put it best, today was not my day. But I’ve had many days like this to learn that you really do have to experience bad days like this one in order to appreciate the good that life brings our way…and it really does. This evening is one perfect example, and it’s all centered around the beauty that comes in the form of girl friends.
Stef and Rory, two of my saints here in Chicago, saved me from having an emotional breakdown this evening by providing me with quality girl time. Mix in some “Chicagoans are crazy” talk, a Mystic Tan, and some Starbucks, and I seriously felt 1000x better. Thank you so much, ladies!! To make it even better, I had another great conversation with Stef back at my apartment that had me feeling that I’m okay here. I really am.
After Stef left, I immediately received a text from my friend, Carrie, who I called back to discuss her & her husband’s upcoming trip to Chi next weekend. (Cubs’ game, here we come!) Afterwards I called Kristin, who answered the phone, “What are you doing calling? The Bachelorette is on.” I couldn’t stop laughing. And then, she told me that her husband, Jim, was watching it. I lost it completely.
Add in a love Facebook posting from Adriana saying exactly what I needed to hear: A reminder: You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. And then a “meet my new friend who moved to Chicago” message from Jen. Topping of the evening, I just got another message from Alisha reminding me that she is my sister and therefore, always there for me.
Now I sit here, smiling- which I didn’t think was possible a few hours ago- as I think about the other fantastic girl friends that I have in my life. Darlene for her constant love and support. Ruth & Sarah for teaching me that your girl friends always have your back. Libby, Julie & Jen, who remind me that time and distance never changes the bond between best friends. That you have the opportunity to know someone will be your friend forever in just a few seconds, like I knew with Laura.
For me, life has never been about having a boyfriend. Sure, it would be nice but it’s never been a priority. I’ve learned to live life without a boyfriend, to the point where I’m not sure if I know how to live with one. However, a life without girl friends is a life not worth living. My friends are the reason that I am who I am today. No matter how bad my day is, I still find myself remembering how blessed I am to have these girls in my life.
I’ve always had difficulty opening up to others and letting them be there for me. I have a naturally tendency to what to be the one giving and never the one receiving. But I simply need to be the recipient sometimes. I need to rely on others to help me through my rough days. I’ve come a long way to realize this, but now that I have there’s really no turning back. I can only go forward, and as I do so I know that my friendships will only grow stronger.
Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive. ~Anäis Nin
Good morning, Columbus!
I feel like I was just here…probably because I was…a month ago. Wow! Has it really been that long since Kristin’s and Jim’s wedding? What a whirlwind the past few weeks have been! Because I’ve been so caught up in it all, I don’t fully comprehend it until I start looking back.
Where have I even been these past few weeks? From what I can remember: Columbus, Pittsburgh, Washington DC, Cleveland, Akron, Memphis, and some time in Chicago. And now Athens. Is that it? I need a nap. A very long nap. Or perhaps I just need to stay in one place for awhile, but (unfortunately) that may not happen any time soon.
Another roadtrip via the ever-so-lovely Megabus. As far as I know, there were no random pit stops in the middle of the night in Nowheresville, IN. I’m under the impression that I slept through the night, well most of it. This ignorant guy in front of me kept putting his chair further back to the point where I had to stand on my seat to switch positions. Seriously? Now the usually mild-manner girl that I am even considered yelling at him, but he spoke Spanish (only), or so I was led to believe. How do you say, “Seriously dude. Are you an asshole or just tired and acting like an asshole?” Once I switched to the other seat and manuevered a sleeping spot, I was out. I didn’t even care that I’d only made it halfway through Dear John. (I read the book and it’s better…of course. But maybe the second half will surprise me.)
Oh well. I made it here and that’s all that matters. We were even early. Thank God for Starbucks opening at 6 am! As tired and groggy as I was getting off that bus, the crisp morning air immediately filled me with the joy as I thought, It’s good to be home, Ohio. Why did I ever leave again? I know, I know. No regrets at all, but I still miss it. When I explained my situation to the barista, she said, “Welcome home.” I didn’t correct her. This is home to me.
I dragged my bags into ‘bucks and assumed my post for the day; made nice with my lovely baristas for the day; and headed to the bathroom to freshen up…all before consuming even one sip of caffeine. I have this down to a science now. Damien Rice’s song, Delicate
, was playing over the loudspeaker. It’s not that we’re scared, it’s just that we’re delicate.
I love this song! Although I used to listen to it during my somewhat-dark, heartbroken-Bella Swan days, in an odd way it’s soothing to me. It reminds me of my past and the things that I’ve gone through: Who I am
That’s a perfect segue into the verbal vomit that is this post. (That’s the name of some girl’s blog and I kinda-sorta like it, in a way.) My dear friend and newlywed, Kristin, is a counselor and through that I may benefit from this little activity. I’ve decided to just post this on here in case anyone- who actually reads my blog (and a million Thank Yous if you do)- would benefit from this little soul-searching activity. As I commonly share, again and again, I have been lost many of times in my life- and still am in many ways now. Jen told me once that “sometimes you have to get lost to find your way.”
Wise words, and so true. While we want answers from other people- our family, friends, significant others, mentors- the answers that we seek are within us all along…we just have to take the time to listen.
Activity: So what is it you really want?
1. What do you want?
2. What must you do to have it?
3. How would you feel when you got it?
4. Now, what do you really want again, but use your answer to question 3.
5. What must you do to have what you really want?
6. How would that make you feel?
7. Now, what do you really want again, but use the answer you just gave in question 6.
8. Repeat 4-7 as many times as neccassary. Then you imagine what it will look like to others when you get what you want, how you feel about yourself, etc.
Just keep this activity in your back pocket (figure of speech) because you never know when it may come in handy. Self-reflection is so important and something we take too lightly. We’re all so caught up in the hussle-and-bustle of our daily lives that we don’t make enough time for ourselves. I admit that I’m guilty of that. Now there are different ways to reflect and reconfigure your goals. Some people write via blogs, journals, poems, etc. Others do yoga. (Which I recommend.) I’ve been known to take walks to help me collect my thoughts- there’s just something about fresh, (cool) air that helps me do just that. Whatever your thing may be, do it. Don’t make excuses, and don’t say “I’m too busy.” You feel ‘too busy’ because you haven’t taken the time to reconnect with yourself, reprioritize your life. We ALL benefit from a little housecleaning and mental/emotional cleanse.
The book, or the movie, Eat. Pray. Love.
promotes the message that I was just speaking of. While I’ll always
prefer books to movies, I have to say that the Eat. Pray. Love. movie trailer
looks pretty good. Every time I see it, I get even more excited. I know this is just the movie (and book) for me, and maybe you too. For anyone who has ever felt lost, needed a good soul-searching, or can characterize themselves as always looking for something
…read this book/ watch the movie. Trust me.
As I reflect on my life- the past, the present, and the future- I realize more and more how I’ve never been able to figure out exactly what I want, and that’s my problem. Maybe yours too? I’ve used to be that girl who was envious of others who knew their exact gameplan…now, I see the beauty in the journey, rather than the destination.
As I sit here in Columbus, the place where two years ago I never thought I’d leave, I can say that I’ve practiced what I preached. I
preach this, or rather share, because
I have lived it…and survived. My hope is that I can help you- whoever you are- do the same, as people did for me. Life is a journey, not a destination.
I, myself, used to question the validity in that statement but I no longer do. Self-reflection and experience have allowed me the opportunity to figure out what I want and what I don’t want. (More the latter actually). I’m stressing this to reiterate the point that you have the answers within you. No one else can hear what your heart is tell you you want. For me, one of the roughest things is not knowing what you’re looking for/ what you really want. It numb you so that you cannot feel anything. And as Lady Antebellum says, I’d rather feel the pain than feel nothing at all.
Here I am, back in Columbus, OH and venturing off to my alma mater for the weekend with friends. Things like this mess with my mind and make it easy for me to think that I want to be back in Ohio, now and forever. Maybe I do? Maybe I don’t? Maybe this isn’t the right time, but maybe it will be one day? Honestly, I don’t know. But this is something that I want to figure out. This is my life, my journey, my happiness that I seek to have once and for all. My dreams that I want to accomplish. No one else’s.
PS. If one more person says how wonderful Denver is, I may scream. If you know me, you know another reason why I say that. Thank you for allowing me to be dramatic for a second.
Before ending this day, I have to quote my dear friend, Jen, who just claimed that this song was the theme of today. If you’re not a fan of Glee (yet) then hopefully this song officially turns you into a Gleek like the rest of us. All day long we have been singing this song, and even got my new little BFF, Maddie, to sing it. (More on her below.)
Poker Face (Lady Gaga)- as performed on Glee by Rachel Berry and her mother
As I’ve been sharing, it’s been quite a relaxing and enjoyable weekend for me here at the MacPherson’s lakehouse in Michigan. One of the reasons is that I made a new friend. Everyone, meet the adorable Maddie. In this photo she is posing with the tiny frog that we happened to catch at (her) Grandma’s pool today. Maddie is Jen’s little cousin and she just happens to live in the suburbs of Chicago. I willingly gave her mother my phone number and email address today in hopes of babysitting and/or hanging out with them whenever possible. She is adorable, and her brother Connor is too! I’ve had a great weekend here and honestly don’t want to leave.
Yesterday, within 2 hours of meeting her, Maddie gave me a bracelet. Has anyone else seen these yet? So when you’re wearing it on your wrist it just looks like a regular, twisted rubber bracelet; however, when you shake it up it takes the shape of an animal, object, shape, etc. Maddie went back and forth on which to give me (since she had duplicates) but the star ultimately won out. I love it. And I love this even more. Today Maddie said to me, “I can’t believe the we became friends so quickly.” She’s 6-years old! Just one of the simple, most precious moments in life that touches you forever.
Through playing with Maddie, Connor and the other boys, Ryan and Colin, I was reminded again and again how much I enjoy working with kids. It’s my passion; my calling; my destiny. It’s just so natural to me.
On that note let me share that the part-time weekend/night position at Children’s Memorial that I mentioned finding earlier today actually happen to close up (ie. not accept any more applications) by the time I went back to apply later this afternoon. I was disappointed, but I took a chance by contacting the hospital to submit my applications anyways. This is another one of the chances that I had to take. I couldn’t let it go by without fighting for it. So please keep your (pingers/fingers crossed for me. I trust that God will guide me along my path, but this position will help provide me with more experience/knowledge/networking opportunities- with regards to my Child Life certification- and it would certainly help financially right now as well. (The latter reason is trumped by the other reasons, of course.)
Mrs. MacPherson and I were talking this morning and agreeing how we’re both givers. (My mom is one too.) None of us expect anything in return. This is who we are. It’s hard to explain to those who are not our kind, and sometimes it’s even difficult for us to understand it. But like I said, we are who we are. My point is that I really don’t ask for much nor do I expect much. However, I sit here right now, once again, thinking about how important the Child Life program and the kids are to me. I want this. I really do. My friend Jacquie, who is a Child Life Specialist in Columbus, has been advising me on the steps to take and encouraging me not to give up. This position at Children’s Memorial is a great stepping stone to help me along my way. So again, pingers/fingers crossed. (Thank you.)