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Friday, September 2, 2016

It's been awhile...

I think it's safe to say that it's been awhile since I've been on here. A year and some change to be exact. In that year I've done a bit of living:

-Moved into my first big girl apartment
-Moved into another apartment
-Moved into yet ANOTHER apartment (where I finally signed a year long lease)
-Bought my first car - a bright blue 2008 PT Cruiser with pink seat covers - I LOVE IT!
-Drove by myself for the first time...turns out it wasn't as scary as I kept thinking
-Got in to my first car accident... a minor scratch, but still nerve racking
-Developed a love for sweet red wine
-Got my first boyfriend in almost 10 years only to subsequently get my heart broken in a months time
-Moved up in my job and became a leader at work
-Started and quit one job
-Started and still enjoy another job (2 jobs, working 6 day a week, let's go!)
-Achieved a tan for the first time in my life
-Applied to grad school
-Got in to grad school, only to not get the internship making grad school unaccessible
-Traveled on a plane, and managed new airports, all by myself (6 times to be exact!)
-Successfully completed my childhood dream of going to New York City
-Explored New York City AND finessed the subway all by myself
-Got my phone stolen my first night in the Big Apple
-Experienced my first spoken word poetry slam (Nyuerican Poetry Club)
-Started getting paid for my photography
-Got a Siamese Cat with my roommate Shannon. Named him Twist.
-Learned how to make the perfect eyeliner wing
-Made many new friends and lost some too
-Learned a lot about what it means to be an adult
-Discovered more and more of what I do want and don't want out of life

As you can see from the list above I did a lot over the last year. The saying, "Day to day nothing seems to change, but when you look back everything seems different" really is true. I can't say that I've loved every moment from the last year, there has certainly been enough crying and heartache to last me a good long while. However, as cliche as it sounds, through all the problems, issues, struggles, I grew up and developed as a person, and thus I truly am thankful for it all. Despite this, and though I wish for only good times, I know I have a lot more growing left to do. So here's to another year!

I hope to get back to keeping you in the loop. After all, this is Girl World OPEN, not girl world kept hidden.

Hope you all are well, and update you soon.



P.S. Here's some pictures over the last year for some visual and sentimental effect:

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Finding Comfort in the Uncomfortable

So often when I'm faced with a new situation, whether it be a new job, a new apartment, or even as small as going on a first date, I get very nervous. Each time I would have an inner dialogue going on about how ridiculous I am for being nervous. "Look around, does anyone else seem nervous," I'd ask myself. More often than not the answer was always "no". "So then, why be nervous? You'll be fine. Take a hint from the greatest band to ever exist and Let It Be". However, calling on the Beatles, relaxing, and facing the new situation with a victorious mindset is much more difficult to do than to say. Luckily, I've come to learn that, despite what my inner voice says, I'm not alone in this struggle. Oh yes, we all face it.

Before I jumped on a plane all by myself and moved to Florida from Michigan, my home state, I was freaking out. I kept telling my sister, the chauffeur to my presumable doom, that she shouldn't drive too far too fast once we said goodbye, for I was most likely going to back out. Beyond my verbal hysterics I was, of course, a physical hysteric too. A flood of tears and involuntary shaking paralyzed my typically lively spirit imprisoning me in the belief that I simply could not get on a plane and move to Florida all by myself. Thankfully my sister, being the dear that she is, pulled over to the side of the road and gave me a cup she had made herself, (apparently she knew my reluctancy may occur). On the cup she had written, "On particularly rough days, when I'm sure I can't possible endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through the bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good!"

Now I have no idea if she came up with that, or she found the quote from someone else, but I love it so much! I clung to that cup all throughout the airport. Even when my sister had to come back because I forgot my ID in her car and I wanted to use that as an excuse, nay, a sign, that I shouldn't be going, I clung to that cup and believed what it said. And you know what? It was exactly right! I got on that plane, and I've now been living down in Florida for 9 months and will living here for much longer. If I had let my trepidation get in the way of my journey I never would have met so many of my friends, or had most of the experiences I have had. I would probably be in a bed somewhere, crawled up in a ball never wanting to leave.

Here I am now however, about to start another new chapter in my life, and the nerves are back. Change is a part of life I tell myself. Reminding myself that if everything stayed the same how much I would loath life, and how dull the colors of my life's palette would be. So now I look back at all the times I've had to go through transitions in my life and remember my sister's quote and it's accuracy on my success rate: 100%. From each success I have learned, I have grown, and I have thickened the breadth of my life's story.

Therefore, I encourage you, no matter what struggle or challenge you are facing, to remind yourself what your success rate is for overcoming...100%.  It may be hard, and change is hard, no one denies that, but change is also good. I believe in you!

What are some comforting words of wisdom you have you been told during your life's transitions?



Thursday, December 18, 2014

My Prequel

This is my prequel. Why a prequel? Because if you don’t look back and see where you’ve come from, how can you know where you are going?

So how does one go from an small town American country girl to a freethinking Christian feminist ready to change the world? Well that’s exactly what I’m about to show you.

When I was around the age of 8 I was called a feminist by my very loving father. I had been complaining about getting yelled at for having to help my mother clean up dinner while my brother got to continue to watch the football game blaring in our living room. Between the clanging of the dishes and the slamming of the refrigerator I cried about the unfair treatment my brother and I received solely due to our sex. My father, between bouts of laughter, said that I am being prepared for my future and this is the woman’s task. Seething, I put down the dishes, quit touching the half wrapped turkey and yelled, “I will never marry a man who doesn’t help clean the kitchen and put away dinner”.

At this my father really began to laugh, the type of laugh that comes from somewhere deep within a person’s soul and shakes their entire body. But it was here, as his laughter lessened, in a moment barely tangible, my father uttered the infamous word that has since changed my life completely: “feminist”.

Of course at 8 years old and barely in the 3rd grade I had no idea what the word meant and, much to my dismay now, yelled back at my father for calling me such a thing. A few hours later I was told by one of my older siblings that it meant “equal rights for women” and at that moment, in all solemnity, I swore myself to be a feminist for the rest of my life.

At that age I had no idea where, if anywhere, feminism would lead me. If you had told me I would make it my life’s work, I probably would have speechlessly dropped my jaw. But alas, 11 years later in my freshman media class the word “feminist” came full circle and hit me square in between my eyes.

I was studying at university to be a documentary film director and as a prerequisite had to take TC 100: The Information Society. TC 100 focused on the trends, services, and policies around every form of media. Around the sixth week of class we began to focus on media’s effects on women and, if you can imagine life as a game show, this was the moment I pressed the big red button, bells and whistles sounded from every direction and Bob Barker was shouting “that is the correct answer!” In other words, I had hit the sweet spot in my education and wanted to continue to learn about this subject matter for the rest of my education. Only problem: “Media’s Effects on Women” wasn’t a degree.

I spent the next year and half developing my own major titled, fittingly so, “Media’s Effects on Women”.  Now I digress for a moment to say it wasn’t something normal at my university for students to go around developing their own major, in fact I’m only the second person at my university to have done so. I say this not to bring myself accolades but rather to express the sheer magnitude of my passion to learn about this subject matter.

With the ability to develop my own major came the blessing to pick, out of all the thousands of classes offered, which classes I wanted to take, as long as I could prove to the university that all of them combined could relate to one narrowly focused educational outcome. That being said, the university was my oyster.

Choosing classes from English 431C: Studies in Film and Gender, to Psychology 339: Psychology of Women, every class was a new and eye opening experience that only deepened my love and passion for my chosen field of interest. Seeing the need all around me I began to utilize every morsel of my learning in the real world by mentoring sixty plus females as a Resident Assistant within my university’s dorms, writing articles and creating campus-wide programs as an inter at my university’s Women’s Resource Center, and even volunteering as a media specialist at a summer camp for underprivileged inner-city children.

As graduation sped closer I was able to look back and see how much my life had been changed by that one simple word “feminist” 14 years earlier. Even since my freshman TC 100 class, I had become exposed to a subject matter much more vast than just media’s negative representation of women. No longer could I ignore the many triggers of rape culture our society perpetrates, sex slavery, the acid violence against Bangladeshi women, or even the simple words and stereotypes we use that continues to proliferate the gender disparity. Looking toward the future I search for a career that encompasses all of this thus continuing the revolution my feminist sisters started over a hundred years to help forge the gender equal future they imagined.

Alas, as every good prequel must, we’ve come to the end of our story, or really the beginning of my story. Here I am, I freshly graduated 20-something with only a degree in one hand and an ambition in the other to take me into my future. Yes, you could say then that I’m just like every other college graduate: naive, penniless, and a dreamer. To quote from John Lennon, “but I’m not the only one” (“Imagine”). 

Infinite X's and O's,


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Letter to the Bullied

You’re always going to have haters. People who tell you, you are wrong for thinking, believing, or even looking as you choose to. They will always exist so you must learn to accept them and move on. Don’t take my forwardness as ignorance of reality, for I know what’s real. What’s real is the pain their words and actions make you feel at night as you replay them for the hundredth time like a broken jukebox repeating your least favorite song.

Your pain is valid. Their words are cruel and unfair. However, staying in a state of pain by focusing on it will get you nowhere. They will think they have won and continue their vicious cycle of making you feel worthless, incapable, and insufficient. Listen to me right now, and repeat these words every moment of every day: You are worthy, you are capable, and you are sufficient.

 I wish haters didn’t exist, I wish we all accepted one another just as we are and focused on the more important matters. But, this just isn’t reality so there is no point in wishing away our lives. Instead try and make something good out of their cruelty. Refocus your energy and use their gifts in a positive way. Tell them thank you.

Thank you for reminding me why I need to be nice to people, why I should help others even when I don’t feel like it, and why I should think twice before I speak or act. If it weren’t for their daily torments you wouldn’t know what it feels like to be judged or stereotyped and why it’s important not to do so in reverse. Above all, you wouldn’t know how to recognize others being bullied and you wouldn’t feel a desire to stop it. There’s a reason for your pain, use it to make the world better.

Again, haters will always exist. They are there when you are young and don’t understand what you have done wrong. They are there as you get older and realize it’s nothing you’ve done. Haters morph from being just another schoolmate to being your co-workers, your boss’s, and even your best friends. Therefore you must live your life exactly as you believe is right for you and under no circumstances change that for anyone except yourself.

So everyone has the new Michael Kors purse and your getting made fun of for just having a hand-me-down clutch? You rock that clutch like it’s what’s up and coming and they are a part of yesterday’s trend! So you got straight A’s and everyone is calling you a teacher’s pet, boring, or nerd? Remember that education is the path to success and the key to a positive future. If nothing else, remember that doing well in a school means you’re more likely to be their boss in the future and then oh, how the tables will turn. So you’ve stood up for your beliefs that women deserve equal rights and now your being called a Femi Nazi and getting uninvited to social engagements? Even for the greatest of leaders opening people’s minds has never been an easy task that doesn’t mean your opinion is wrong, you’re just a leader for those who are too scared yet to speak. Don’t let one non-invite disturb your focus on helping achieve a positive joyful change for an entire world.

See it is not haters you must be worried about, but your own self. If you let them be your focus you will forget who you believe yourself to be and will become who they say you are. They will try and make you in to nothing, but you are here for a reason. You have two eyes, two ears, two legs, two arms, and one brain to think about what you see, what you hear, where you go, and what/whom you hold. You alone make the choices. Think them through thoroughly, than make them fully and completely. Own them. Let not a sole damper your choices for only then can you say you have won.

You won. No matter what they say, and no matter how they have made you feel, you have completely stood up for yourself by making your own life choices and thus being exactly who you are.** You have projected yourself out in to the universe as a new light, a unique light, a light that no matter how are they have tried they have been unsuccessful in darkening. Congratulations, and keep shining through the darkness.

**There will come a time when you may not be happy with your choices. Only you have the power to change them. Sometimes you will not feel capable of it and at this time the bully will reside in your own head. Repeat to them just as you repeated to the haters in world, you make the choices for your life. You choose. 



Monday, October 27, 2014

Quit Apologizing!

One of the hardest things I've had to overcome is the need to prove to others why I am the way I am. I've had to realize that when people disapprove of how you define yourself they don't literally say, "I disapprove of you" instead they say it through their mannerisms, their actions, and their forms of speech. They may ask you, "how can you be a Christian AND a Feminist?" but their not asking for understanding sake and keeping an open mind about who you are, instead their closed off and searching for an argument to correct your "bad lifestyle choice". Now this isn't all people in life, clearly. Some people accept you for exactly who you are, no questions asked. Those people I'd like to call friends. Best friends. However, I've encountered far too many of the negative sort of people in every aspect of life to believe that it's just a phase of life, certain people, or just the rare few of us deal with it.

As I've grown up I've learned that I'm very hard to put in to a box. Some people may be able to, (awesome, go ahead and be my guest) but I have a million scattered edges with landmarks of personality displaced all over the globe. For instance, I'm a complete Directioner, but gain breath through indie-folk. I'm a Christian, but a complete and total feminist. I'm small in stature but loud in voice and fast in walk. I'm a pop-culture junkie but devote my self to educating people on how it effects them. And I wear makeup almost every day, but I know how beautiful people are without it.

Now most days I've felt compelled to hide either one side or another of my seemingly contradictory existence simply to please other people, but I'm tired of fighting who I am. I've learned that to lie to yourself is one of the greatest injuries you can to do yourself. You have to find your own truth because you are the only person who lives with yourself, every moment of every day. You don't owe anyone an explanation. So quit apologizing for being you.

On the reverse side though, people are going to act in ways that you disapprove of, keep an open mind and let them be who they are. This doesn't mean you have to like them, but you should respect them for who they choose to be especially if you ever hope for the same in return.

What are some things about yourself you always seem to have to apologize for?

What are the most difficult barriers of being yourself you've had to overcome?



Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fall Fashion in Florida

With the changing of the leaves, the fresh crisp air, and of course football, Fall is one of my favorite times of year! Unfortunately, here in Florida the leaves don't change colors, and instead of cool air, it rains almost every day. After living here for almost a month, I've learned Florida Fall fashion means keeping cool, always carrying an umbrella, and darker colors. Below I put together some of my favorite Florida Fall fashion accessories. Hope you enjoy!

Florida Fall Wear

What are you favorite fall fashion accessories? 

Anything unique about fall in your area?



Saturday, September 20, 2014

What I know: You don't have to dress slutty for Halloween

For some reason there seems to be this transition as a girl grows older where they go from dressing up fun for Halloween to dressing up slutty. Once a girl reaches a certain age it's no longer about actually looking like a favorite character or animal, it's all about getting a shorter skirt, a barely there shirt, and rabbit ears. Movies such as Mean Girls and Legally Blonde show this stereotypes quite perfectly. In my opinion, this is a ridiculous transition. As the idea goes though, "it gives girls permission to dress as provocative as desired and they can't get into trouble for it!", well I begged a differ. 

Although it's only September here at Walt Disney World, Halloween is already in full swing with the Magic Kingdom theme park putting on Mickey's-Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Just last Tuesday I went dressed as Lilo from Lilo and Stitch (see picture). It was such a fun night, with lots of great rare character meet-and-greets, and trick or treating! The biggest thing I noticed though, was how amazing so many people's costumes were, and they were still fully covered! Now you can question my statement as clearly my stomach is fully showing, but I dressed up just as Lilo is dressed from the movie. 

So what am I getting at? You don't have to go slutty for Halloween, just dress up as the character or animal you want to be. Let's get back to our childhood roots of why Halloween is so fun: you get to be who ever you want to be! So instead of challenging each other of who can wear the least amount of clothing, let's challenge each other with who can have the most creative costume! 

One month away!

Happy Halloween!!

What are you going for Halloween this year?