Journal Day: #2

As someone who always needs more motivation to make time for writing, I’m so thankful that Danielle of Sometimes Sweet, has started the Journal Days project. So what is Journal Days? Well, every Sunday Danielle is sharing a prompt and on Thursday will be publishing her reply. Everyone participating is asked to comment on the post with a few lines from their response and a link to their post. I think one of the coolest things about blogging is the community surrounding it – so this is really a win, win for me! Feel free to join along, too! It’s never too late to start. Anyway, enough rambling. On to this week’s prompt…

We all have songs that really mean something to us. Often just hearing it can take us right back to that place and we are able to re-experience the memory associated with the song. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but either way music has the ability to really draw things out of us and evoke deep emotion. Choose a song that has a particular meaning to you. Tell the story of the memory associated with the song, sharing as much detail as you can. Take us there; let us experience it with you.


Keith and I made things way more complicated than we needed to in our first month or so of knowing each other. He had just come out of a long-term relationship, we were both dating other people, and we were both just so scared of getting hurt, we couldn’t quite let our walls down but it was obvious. This was happening and nothing could stop it. Ya know how sometimes art reflects life and sometimes life reflects art, well our story is definitely the later. This was the kind of love you just know is there. The kind where everyone who meets you just knows that this is the kind everyone is looking for. It wasn’t caught up in the lust and passion, it was deeper. We met and felt like we’d known each other for years. I know, I can’t believe I’m saying this. I didn’t believe in this nonsense. But the day I met him, I knew there was no getting out of this one. My heart was a goner. So yeah – why didn’t we just shut up and make it happen? Because we were both way too scared.

But one night, everything just sort of erupted. I’d woken up sure I was moving on. We were done. This was over. He wasn’t ready to commit and I wasn’t ready to deal with this for months and months. Plans changed, though. A girlfriend and I had a serious miscommunication and ended up cities apart from one another, so there I was in Hollywood with nowhere to go. Keith had a show, I did know that but I didn’t want him to know I knew. But I should go, it would be fun and maybe something might happen or maybe he would be excited to see me or who knew what could happen. All those reasons popped into my mind, but let’s be real. The reason I decided to go? Well, I’d gotten dressed up and was even wearing my brand new flamingo dress that I loved and someone needed to see it. It worked out well that I ended up being able to go, because Keith’s best friend didn’t realize it was 21+ so she couldn’t get in and ended up leaving. That meant Keith needed a ride home. Perfect, I thought! That was exactly how I could bring up all the weirdness and see where this was going.

We drove home and had so much fun! I remembered why I was so into him in the first place, and forgot all about moving on. As always, we both got hungry because the show ended late and dinner had been hooours before so we found a place close to home that we’d never gone to. I’m not joking when I say we ate the dinner in a Chinese family’s living room. We shared a plate of broccoli chicken and whispered because we didn’t want to interrupt the soap opera they were watching. Going out with Keith was always fun, and it still is. That’s one of my favorite things about him – no matter what we’re doing or what’s going on – he can make it fun.

Then we went home and things got even more awkward. Why were pretending like we weren’t going to kiss? I remember, Keith got up to turn on the music and conveniently it was one of my favorite bands. Ha, he thought he was so slick but I saw right through it. Then, he sat back on the couch and awkwardly told me he wanted me to be his girlfriend. I know – how weird. We were two grown ups and he was asking me to be his girlfriend. It felt like something I should have to be in 10th grade to experience, but whatever. It happened. And ya know what? I loved it. Then guess what happened immediately after asking him if he was really sure that was what he wanted and after planting a wet one on him for saying he was sure?

The song changed. And guess what came on? Shiksa (Girlfriend) by Say Anything. Why is that significant? It was the band we listened to and talked about for an hour the first time we hung out. And why else? Well, for anyone not familiar with early 2000’s pop-punk, the first line of this song was:

“Girlfriend now, I have a girlfriend now.”

No, I’m not kidding. That song. Played. Within 30-seconds. Of Keith saying “I want you to be my girlfriend”. That. Song. Played. It could not have been more perfectly timed, unless of course I’d said no and thrown a drink in his face. Then not only would I have broken his heart, but the universe would have been giving him a huge middle finger. Luckily, I was like totally on board with being his girlfriend – no matter how lame it sounded.

Our whole relationship has felt like a movie to me, and I think this is probably why. Like – how could it not be perfect with such a great origin story?! You got nothing on us, Batman. Oh and just a year and a half into our relationship and we’ve seen Say Anything (or just the lead-singer, Max) three times. They’ve become our band. And yeah, I know, that sounds super lame too. But guess what? Most of my favorite moments with Keith are semi-related to a Say Anything song and I freaking love how cheese ball that is.

295806_3914014764502_981948665_n

(This is one of the first pictures we took together and it was kind of a total accident. But doesn’t it look like an indie band’s album cover? I know. It totally does. Also look at Keith’s ridiculous side burns! If I fell for him with those, well, that’s how we know it’s true love.)

Journal Day: #1

As someone who always needs more motivation to make time for writing, I’m so thankful that Danielle of Sometimes Sweet, has started the Journal Days project. So what is Journal Days? Well, every Sunday Danielle is sharing a prompt and on Thursday will be publishing her reply. Everyone participating is asked to comment on the post with a few lines from their response and a link to their post. I think one of the coolest things about blogging is the community surrounding it – so this is really a win, win for me! Feel free to join along, too! It’s never too late to start. Anyway, enough rambling. On to this week’s prompt…

Everyone has a time in their life they view as a crossroad. Sometimes you can see it as it’s happening, and you’re able to choose one way or another. Other times you may not realize you’re there until you look back, and see what a turning point it really was. This week, write about a time you view as a marker in your life; a distinct place where things changed, for better or worse.

Image(me and my teammates at White Sands National Monument)

I’ve always been a planner. I’ve always known what I was going to do, when I was going to do it, and how it was going to happen way further in advance than is even necessary. So when I found myself graduating from high school, I knew I would be going to the University of South Florida, my mom’s alma mater, I would be living with my two best friends, and I would be studying journalism. My dream was to move to New York after graduation and pursue a career in the magazine industry. There was no crossroads here. I knew exactly what I wanted and I made it happen.

But a couple months in to my second year of college, everything started to change. Though I loved writing, I found myself unsatisfied in all of my classes. Around this time I was also being made aware of human rights and social justice issues all over the world. I was having a hard time wrapping my mind around why I should care about the proper placement of periods or parallel structure when there were people all over the world who needed my help. Feeling stuck, stressed, and scared I remember calling my dad… Asking him what I could do. I had already taken so many journalism classes, it didn’t make any sense to switch majors. Thankfully my dad was able to talk me off the ledge and told me to abandon my plans. He encouraged me to look into other majors, to find what made me happy, and pursue those things, even if that meant abandoning my plans. The next semester I made the choice to major in Psychology and put my quarter-life crisis out of my mind.

A few months later, I found myself so much happier but still not quite satisfied. It was the time of year when everyone starts thinking about what they’re going to do for the summer. Stay at school? Sub-let your apt and head back home? And my plan was always to go back to my dad’s for the summer, go back to my high school job, and go back to hanging out with all the friends I missed. But my best friend had different plans, she was going to work at a camp all summer and I was dreading being in our hometown without her. Just then I remembered an organization I had learned about a year prior. Liberty in North Korea – a grassroots non-profit organization who was rescuing North Korean refugees and using college aged students to spread awareness here in the states.

Without even calling my dad or really understanding the position, I applied to be a traveling representative or “nomad.” I reassured my worrying mind that I could think through all the details later, and even if I was accepted, I didn’t have to go. Well – two interviews later and I got the call. I was being offered a position to go to California and train at their headquarters, and then head out on the road with a few teammates, live out of a van, and speak in cities across the country spreading awareness and mobilizing action.

Now here was the choice – Go home, to a city I knew with people I loved, go back to the job I enjoyed, make decent money, maybe be able to reconnect with an ex-boyfriend and really fall back in to a comfortable routine where I knew I would be relatively happy, but more importantly, I would be safe. Or, pack up everything, fly across the country to a place I’ve never been, work with strangers on an issue I barely knew anything about, doing a job I still barely understood for no money and anything but comfort.

I’m thankful every day that I made the decision to head across the country, and take a leap into the unknown. Yes, partially I am thankful for that because I now work at LiNK full-time and live in California, both of which I love so much. But more importantly, looking back, this was the decision that gave me the ability to make such a crazy decision like moving cross-country permanently.

This decision came at just the right age. I was 19, turning 20… And if I had chosen to spend the summer at my dad’s and let this chance pass me by, I can’t promise I ever would have made a decision to leave. Looking back, deciding to be a nomad that summer is the only reason my life is what it is today. And honestly, I’m scared to think what it would have been had I stayed home that summer. At the time I had no idea how big of decision this was. I thought it would just effect the summer of 2010 but it did so much more.

Leaving that summer proved to me that I could do anything. That I was brave. That I could make decisions that weren’t planned out completely and still be okay.