Thursday, February 24, 2011

Don't You Dare!

Recently I had a bad day. Now, bad days are fewer and farther between for me right now, which is totally great, but this one was particularly annoying. I won't get into the gruesome details, but suffice it to say I had a conversation with someone who makes me doubt myself. This person is not a bad person but just has that uncanny ability to make me want to jump off the nearest bridge.

The subject matter of the conversation isn't important. What is important is that when it was over, I was second-guessing myself and everything I've worked for in the past few months. Trying to be more independent. Finding contentment in leading the single life. Creating happiness out of whatever I have around me. These are goals which I still strive toward and for someone to step in my way is really quite unacceptable. The lovely Eleanor Roosevelt said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." (I know, I hate cliche quotes, but this one works so well.) When someone causes those sickening feelings of self-doubt to come creeping over your shoulder, there is a problem. Please, please, if you are in any sort of relationship where this happens, consider not being in it. It doesn't matter if it's a friendship, an acquaintance-ship, a romantic relationship or whatever. No one should make you feel inferior without your consent.

So do what it takes to find your own confidence. Stand up for yourself. Surround yourself with people who are supportive and loving. Know who you are and don't be afraid to stick to your guns in the heat. Don't you dare let anyone make you think you are small or useless.

Ok, ok, getting off my soapbox now. One last thing though. I recently rediscovered this song and I think it's incredibly sparkly. So listen to the words and then hang out with people who would say all of this about you. :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Well, There's Really No Title for This.

It's been a while (a whole WEEK!?) since the internet has seen the joy of spar(lk)kle, sparkle, so I thought I'd enlighten you all with my latest deep thoughts. However, my latest deep thoughts have been relatively nonexistent during the past week so I'll just enlighten you with my regular thoughts. Good enough? OK!

1. (list form is better for regular thoughts) Is there a point in my life where I have to stop admitting that I love pop music? I don't know what it is about Lady Gaga, Usher, T-Swift (ugh, I know) and Beyonce, but I just can't help from stopping the radio scan when I hear their music. Maybe it's because I love to dance or because the lyrics are easy to belt or because the tunes are catchy. Whatever it is, I like it, and I'm not ashamed. But I'm still 22. Do I have to break up with Top 40 hits anytime soon? I really hope's been a healthy relationship.

1B. This is a side thought relating to the aforementioned topic: WHEN is Justin Timberlake coming out with a new album and/or single? My friend Courtney and I were discussing this over the weekend, and quite frankly, we're sick of waiting.

2. While the faux-spring we recently had here in Nebraska was absolutely lovely, (helloooo 70 degrees!) I'm starting to resent it now that the temperatures have dropped back into the teens. Why, why, WHY did you fake us out, weather?? I'm glad we could get our kicks for a week and a half but dropping us like an old flame is not cool. NOT cool.

3. Everyone should go to my dear friend Megan's blog and live vicariously through her travels through southeast Asia. She takes stunning photos, writes eloquently and really knows how to make a blog oh-so-delicious to scroll through. Basically, I want her life right now.

4. When I go forth from this place called Seward, Nebraska, I'll have accumulated quite the list of random skills, including but not limited to: stained glass window making, ceramic glaze mixing, check requisition filing, printmaking, clay rolling, Adobe Illustrator masking, proposal writing, website troubleshooting, customer support calling and holding, and figuring out how to keep my office 30 degrees warmer than the rest of campus. Now how should I fit this all on my resume?

5. I want to learn how to re-upholster furniture. I see so many do-it-yourself projects and furniture renovations that I love on that I can't help but dream of acquiring this talent. If anyone knows the first thing about this stuff, let me know. I'll make you a cake as a symbol of gratitude.

Ok, enough rambling. I hope this has amused you, inspired you, assisted in your procrastination efforts or helped you fall asleep. Whatever the case may be, I wish you many, many sparkles on your day. Great!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Pain + Endurance + Blog Post = Love.

My shin hurts. Every time my left foot steps down, I get a little shooting pain right up through to my knee. This is because I made the silly mistake of thinking I should improve my physical state of being and go running the other day. Actually, I should say "running" because I probably made it about 2 miles before I decided I hated myself. Apparently my left shin was in exceeding agreeance because it continues to pain me today saying, "ABBY! What have I told you about making me move faster than a brisk walk? I'm going to get you for this one..." So yeah, my shin hurts. But don't worry, this is relevant.

Yesterday I was having a brief conversation with people about running, and I made the point that I'm bad at it and I dislike being in pain. One of my friends said, "But see, you have to get to the point where you enjoy it, then it's really not bad at all." Or something to that extent. I don't have a perfect memory. Of course this kind of rolled off my back like water on a duck because I can't envision a world where I enjoy feeling like I'm going to die. At any rate, this conversation didn't really seem important until today, Valentine's Day. (Oh, yes, I'm going to tie this allllll together.)

Today during chapel we heard about love (of course) and how it materializes itself in the Christian life. I thought, "This is great. Maybe I'll find my sentence about love." We all know sentences about love. "Love is composed of a single soul dwelling in two bodies." (Aristotle) "Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own." (Robert Heinlein) "When you are in love you can't fall asleep because reality is better than your dreams." (Dr. Suess) Etc. Etc. Etc. I've always been intrigued by short statements about love because it seems as though it should be impossible to sum up such a complicated emotion in 10 or 12 words. And yet it would be nice if we could, because then I could use that little mantra as a standard for all of my relationships. So I'm in chapel and I'm thinking maybe I'll hear THAT sentence, the one that puts love in a neat little package.

Well, it didn't happen, but as I was leaving, I thought "UGH MY SHIN HURTS!" Cue lightbulb moment. This pain in my leg was the result of me trying to do something good for myself. Theoretically, (at least according to my friend) if I were to keep running, the pain would go away and I might actually enjoy myself in the process. And I think love is a little like that. It sounds like a great idea, and when you start off, it's not bad at all. In fact you might be thinking, "This is great! I can totally do this." Later though, you're a few miles down the road and you're tired and it hurts and all you want to do is stop. Just turn around and go home, because it would be easier than pushing yourself any further. Love is actually feeling pretty crappy right about now. But true love is persistent. Eventually, you get to the point where you even enjoy the hard parts because they're all a part of the experience that is sharing your life with another person.

And from there...well, I'll tell you when I figure that part out. As a single gal, I have to say you may want to take this post with a grain of salt. I haven't fulfilled my own running/love analogy yet. But hopefully I will someday. And in the meantime, my love sentence is as follows:

Love is when your left shin hurts, but you go out running again the next day.

Happy sparkly Valentine's day, one and all.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Life. Or, A Short Analysis of A Fickle Phenomenon.

Let's talk about plans. Everyone is a planner to a certain degree. I like to plan major things out a few months in advance. I would say Devin likes to plan major things out a few years in advance (just kidding, love. sort of.) My dad likes to plan things out a few days in advance. Most young men like to plan things out mere minutes before they actually happen. At any rate, there's obviously a large spectrum of planning personalities. My question tonight is this though: How many of you out there have ever had to rearrange your plans? If you are not mentally raising your hand, I curse you and your perfect life. However, I'm guessing that virtually every person who has ever walked this earth has changed their plans at some point. So yeah! No cursing today!

Plans are great and I'm a huge proponent of being prepared and giving your best shot at every opportunity that comes your way (which often requires a little planning.) However, life seems to think this is a funny thing to do, judging on how often it throws a little wrench in there. Life has a very hilarious sense of humor. Life is just waiting to see how invested you get in your plans and then BAM! Life makes you move, or gives you the flu, or breaks your leg. Sometimes there are good BAMs, don't get me wrong. Sometimes life seems to be in a good mood and gives you $80 on the ground, or green lights at every intersection, or cake with extra frosting (literally or metaphorically.) The point of all of this personification is to say something very obvious. As much as we try to plan our lives out perfectly, we never really know what's going to happen next.

So what's the point? Sure, it's obviously helpful to have a general idea of what steps you want to take next, but how far can you really take it? I visited my beautiful friend Courtney this weekend and we talked about how it can be detrimental to get caught up in plans. Once we brand our plans in our minds, we may be unknowingly nixing any number of great things that could happen. Life could be in one of those good moods and throw you a present! And don't you want to be ready to catch that gift? Just because it doesn't fit in with your preconceived plans doesn't mean it couldn't be awesome.

Let me try and think of a more concrete example. After Christmas, I had a lot of plans for what my life would be this year. I thought I would do more sleeping, reading, and general relaxing by myself. I thought I would spend a lot more time contemplating and questioning my place in the world, and I thought I would be pretty "meh" about it. But then what happened? I found some people who graciously let me into their lives and "rent out their world" as one of them put it. If I had convinced myself that this time was meant for me to be introspective and reflective 24/7, I wouldn't be getting to know these wonderful people. And believe me. I was pretty convinced and ready to put my plan into action.

I guess the long and short of what I'm saying is this: Plans are swell. I love them, really. But what I am trying to learn to love more is having plans with wiggle room. Let yourself take advantage of the unexpected. Jump on opportunities that throw themselves into your lap. Don't close your eyes. Open them and open them wide. I'm convinced you will see far more than you first thought was there.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Abby-at-her-blog. Or, the 7th Me.

Well, it's lunch. And that means I'm inhaling my meal so that I have time to blog away. Consider yourselves lucky, friends. Verrrry lucky.

Lately I've been thinking about why people are the way they are. I think this stemmed from a sort-of conversation with one of my friends from home who told me that he was surprised about some of the things I write on my blog because they're "deep." He quickly (and wisely) added to this by saying it wasn't that he didn't believe I could be a deep thinker, but rather that I just chose not to. Or something to that effect. We're going with this for the sake of the story here. Anyhow, I was mildly amused by this statement and wondered if I come off that way to a lot of people. Not dumb, really, but just one who doesn't take the time to think about the bigger implications of life. I guess it doesn't bother me if people think I do or not, I just think it's interesting to hear what perceptions people have of me. I suppose there are probably lots of different ones, which leads me to my point about context. I think everyone would agree that we often act differently around different groups of people. But do any of these selves match our true selves?

How do you really determine who you are? And does it even matter? I feel like I'm probably some sort of crazy combination of Abby-with-her-parents, Abby-with-her-grandparents, Abby-with-her-friends, Abby-with-Devin, and Abby-at-work. And maybe more! The possible Abby's are endless! (Scary, huh?) How much of each of these make up the whole me? I feel like I should make a pie chart now, but I'll refrain for the time being. And this doesn't even take into account the Abby-by-herself. Who I think is probably quite different than any of the aforementioned Abby's. If you ever have the blessed chance to observe me when I don't think you're looking, you may find some interesting things. I dance a LOT, often uncoordinatedly. I sing along to everything I hear, I can't help it. I make faces at myself in the mirror. I laugh out loud to the jokes I make in my head. I talk to myself (hopefully not enough to make it creepy.) I relax my posture (not that it's that great to begin with.) I'm honest with myself, brutally so. And I chat with God a lot.

Anyhow, I'm not really sure I have any concluding points about this topic, I just think it's really intriguing. Theoretically, how we act in every situation is totally under our control, but I don't think that's how it works in practice. It's way too easy to slip into the skin of whoever you've set yourself up to be for certain people. And that might not even be a bad thing, I just hope I can keep track of who I really am at the end of the day. I'm working on getting a good handle on it, and I hope you do too. Cheers, ya'll.