Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bastille Day '12

I can’t seem to fall asleep tonight. I’m lying awake, hoping that eventually exhaustion will consume me and take me into that peaceful, unconscious state. But it hasn’t. Life is keeping me from surrendering over to it. I’m awake, allowing thoughts to jump in and out of my head. It always amazes me how much information my brain can mull over as the minutes on the clock slowly turn.  It dawned on me tonight that it’s been a considerable amount of time since I blogged. In fact, I realized I have not even really opened my computer in the past month. So in my state of mindfulness, I figure I might as well get some writing done…

Last weekend, I turned 23. For those of you that may not know me very well, birthdays are my absolute favorite thing to celebrate. So when it comes to celebrating my own, well, you can only imagine my excitement. The month of July has, in my family, become known as my birthday month where I basically anticipate and expect to be spoiled for 31 days and 31 nights.

Controversially, this year my father got remarried on… my birthday… July 14th.

To be honest, when my Dad and Step Mom announced that my birthday, and that of my twin’s, would be the date of their wedding, I was a little upset. Selfishly, all I could think about was my day; my month; my big 2-3.However, after the initial shock, annoyance, and minor disappointment, I started to realize that this date really couldn’t be more perfect. On this date, I have officially known my Dad for exactly 23 years. Now 23 isn’t exactly a perfect round number nor is it a game changer like turning 21, but still, it serves as a particular point of reference for me.

For 23 years, I have known my Dad. And when I say I have known my Dad, I mean I have really gotten to know him over the years. I have loved him, and I have hated him. I have been disappointed in him, and I have been inspired by him. I have seen his temper, and I made him laugh. I have learned from him, and I would like to think I have taught him a thing or two, as well. Our relationship has not always been perfect but having had the pleasure of being his daughter for 23 years, has really allowed me to know and understand him maybe better than anyone (besides maybe my two older sisters that have enjoyed similar opportunities).

Over the past 23 years, I have really gotten to know my Dad; which is why I don’t really mind sharing my birthday with his anniversary anymore. In all my years of knowing my Dad, I have never seen him as happy as he is when he is with my Step Mom. In fact, before my Dad met, who I have come to know as the love of his life, I had never seen my dad in love- and he was married to my mom for half of my life. My step mom has changed my Dad in ways that I can only hope someone will do for me one day. She has made him better. He is visibly more patient, more passionate, more understanding... He has this new love for life that I have only recognized in a few. Watching him love her over the past few years has given me a new outlook on love and life that I don’t think I had before, as I never had a great example set for me in terms of relationships and love. They have this, “anything is possible” sort of love. One that can only be found in a deep-seeded level of respect and compassion they have for one another.

I am a respecter and lover of Love. And after having taken a step back from my own ego, I have realized how lucky I am to share my most favorite day of the year with two people that truly embody that reality.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Brother/Sisterly Love

Family is probably the single, most important thing to me. It involves a lot of love-hate relationships, sure. But at the end of the day, it’s my family who I can count on to be there for me- sharing in my success and pulling me through disappointments. It is strange to think that I have hardly mentioned my family at all in this blog, seeing as I do hold them in such high regard. I have no idea what a normal family looks like, but if I had to guess, mine isn’t one of them. I’ve never known the reality of the white-picket-fence-lifestyle that the “American Dream” promises. Instead, I’ve known something so much better. It’s dysfunction at its very best. I think it is so crazy how different, yet surprisingly similar members within a family can be. Tonight, I want to talk about my siblings. I have 4 siblings; two brothers and two sisters. Each of us has our own personality type and disposition which sets us apart from each other. Yet, we have this same underlying competitive, aggressive drive that unites us.

The oldest, KateSpade, is an ambitious, high-maintenance lawyer living in Florida. She is the only one of my siblings that has ever really left “the nest” (as the rest of us have preferred to stay closer to home). She knows what she wants, when she wants it and basically demands that it be done that way. She is a girly-girl by nature, loves being spoiled and pampered, and is always dressed to impress- completing every outfit unlike anyone I’ve ever seen. She is probably my most favorite person to make laugh. She finds me to be completely ridiculous- which I probably am when I am around her simply because I do love listen to her laugh at me. KateSpade is someone that will argue with you about anything simply because she knows she can beat you. And I mean that in the very best way, as I probably share this trait. She is sharp and quick. Yet, at the same time she is outrageously ditsy and even sometimes outlandish in terms of her overall expectations. I don’t get to see her or even know her as well as I’d like, but hope she will someday move home- maybe one day even open a law firm with me, if I’m lucky.  

Next, is Lil’ J who is probably my best friend and is the most devoted, hard-working person I know. It’s really hard for me to really put J into words because she is probably the most influential person in my life. She owns her own company and is a ball-buster if I have ever seen one. She’s very different from KateSpade- low maintenance, independent, and a definite guy’s girl. At work, she is a woman in a man’s world and earns every bit of the respect that she deserves. Outside of work, she is an animal lover at the very core. She rides her horse, what seems like every day of the week. And her dog, Oliver, who is the best dog on the planet, is like her child. She is a woman they write country songs about- she will pick up a stray dog off the street no questions asked. It may be this same instinct which caused her to take me in and allow me to live with her for the past three years. I have no idea where I would be without Lil’ J. She has been like a mother to me. She knows me better than anyone and of all the people in my life, she is probably the one person I am afraid of disappointing the most. Like I said, I do things on my own terms in my own time, and she has always respected that, just supporting me and encouraging me along the way. When I have struggled, she is the one person I have been able to depend on to lift me up. I can be the most honest with her because I know that she will always give me honest and loving advice.

My brother, Brosopher , is actually my twin brother. Our birthday, however, might be the only thing we share in common. We are complete and total opposites. Brosopher is the president of his fraternity, an accounting major, and can sweet talk you into believing anything. Growing up, I always liked to call him Eddy Haskell. Things just seem to come easy for him. I think some people would call him a little self-absorbed, as he never misses an opportunity to flex his muscles in the mirror; and well I guess I might too if I had 0% body fat. He can eat whatever he wants and never gain a pound. Brosopher is a lady’s man and a charmer but always a little sly too. He can walk into a room and people just seem to notice him; it doesn’t take much effort for him to grab the attention in a room.  As competitive as my family is, I think that’s the one thing I have always resented about him. While I can grab the attention of an audience, it usually requires me to do somewhat of a juggling act, where for him, he just has to smile and wink at you. He will be successful simply because he has this aura about him. As he always say, “he can sell a popsicle to a woman in white gloves.” We’ve have our differences, but I found that when I need someone to turn to he’s there for me. One similarity of ours is that we love our family.

Lastly, is my “little” brother T-bone who is by far one of the most impressive people I know. He has a level of discipline that is unsurpassed by most. We used to tease him growing up because once the guy had his mind set on something, he never let it go. If he wanted something, he didn’t stop until he got it. I used to think it was spoiled, baby-of-the-family syndrome until he grew up and had the same mindset when it came to life. Like me, he finds passion in a few things and is able to completely give himself over to those passions. T-bone’s biggest passion is football. About seven years ago, he decided that he wanted to be the best football player he could be. Since that day, the man hasn’t touched a piece of sugar; he toned up and became a boss-man on the field and in the classroom. I don’t know what else to say except that he is just impressive. He has this somewhat quiet way about him if you don't take the time to get to know him. Normally I am the one that likes to be the jokester and the center of the comedic circle, but T-bone is the one person that can get me to just totally shut up and laugh. I’ll admit he makes me pee my pants. I have this special relationship with him where we just kind of understand each other. He is similar to me in a lot of ways. He does things on his own terms, in his own time and I think that’s where we have a deeper respect for each other.

I wanted to write this post about my siblings because I think that they have a huge impact on who I am. It’s funny but as I wrote this, I could see a little bit of myself in each of their descriptions.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

For the Love of Running

I have never been much of a runner; a sprinter in my high school basketball days maybe, but distance running has always pressured my usual laid back disposition into one of anxiety and stress. Maybe it’s different for track stars, but for me, running was always attached to this idea of punishment and pain. Athletics have always made it a task against time; forcing me to race for playing time and water breaks. I never understood how people could just go running for “fun.” Any running I did was purely for training purposes and getting into shape for season.

As a field hockey goalie, for years, I spent several hours a day jumping into the splits and manipulating my body into positions that, well, literally tore my hips. These tears made the repetitive motion of running excruciating.  It turns out; I spent the majority of my college career running on torn hips. The more miles I ran, the worse it got. If you can imagine the feeling, you'll understand how much I hated running; I mean I really hated it. I loathed even the idea.  I stuck to my strengths and busted my ass in the weight room, as that seemed to be the only way to keep my coaches off my back. All that time, I didn’t know my hips were tearing. All I knew was that running made me hurt so bad that I would spend hours afterward, curled up in the fetal position for relief. My trainers told me that there was nothing wrong with me; having never ordered a single test, they cheaply sent me to physical therapy. However, I knew that the pain wasn’t simply, and I quote, “in my head.” I sought out a hip specialist who determined that I did indeed have a torn labrum due to pincer impingement. This basically meant that as I ran, the ball of my hip joint would knock up against the back of the socket, scraping away the cartilage. I had hip surgery on 1-11-11, which included, chondroplasty, labral/cartilage debridement and osteoplasty to repair my left hip and give my right hip time to heal on its own.

Considering it was surgery, I had a great experience. I was walking within days and back to work in a matter of a few weeks. My doctor said that he had never seen anything like it, in terms of how fast I healed. After a few months of rehabilitation, I started being able to really run, at first only about a few laps at a time. Since about October, I’ve been running off the weight I gained, trying to get back into the groove of actually being able to run pain-free and working towards being able to run for miles.  

I have been enjoying my evening runs for a while now, gaining a bit of understanding with each run that it can be something more than a race for time, but rather something that I can do for me; something pleasurable. I went for a run tonight, and I had this epiphany of sorts; there are very few acts that really create a perfect rhythm with everything. Tonight, it dawned on me just how poetic running is. I think it is the poetic nature of this act that I always missed out on; I never understood the love of running until tonight when I really paid attention to everything that was happening, and it all happens at once.

As I laced up my tennis shoes and turn my Pandora App to Eric Church radio, I was ready for just another run. Except tonight wasn’t just another run; I created a work of art. The night and the music and my body seemed to just flow together like lovers. The air was warm, yet soft, as my skin broke through. Each evenly paced stride seemed to create a perfect rhythm which mimicked the tempo of the music exquisitely. As I danced through the cracks in the pavement, my feet never held a place long enough to make an impression. I felt almost naked as my self-made breeze cooled the sweat on my arms and my chest. My hair tickled the base of my neck as my ponytail bounced in unison with my movement.  I could feel the power of my legs, propelling me up each hill where the stars seemed to literally touch down at the peaks. At the top, I let momentum carry me downwards with ease. Not sure if I was running away from something or towards another, my feet continued to chase my shadow. I felt nothing but ecstasy as the endorphins pumped through my body. Not wanting it to stop, I continued to run farther and farther from home, knowing it would take me just as long if I ever decided to go back. Considering it was an act I had completed before a thousand times, it was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. It was a complete high, so much so that I am afraid now that I created an addict. Coming down from that high, it makes me sad to think I have missed out on that feeling for all this time.  


If you are interested in more information about my hip surgery and the whole process, you can watch this video that will show you exactly what I had done:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Gettin' Prepped and Ready!

I spend a lot of time talking about relationships and social interactions. I do mostly because they’re interesting, and I get more feedback on those articles than I do anything else. However, I did promise that this blog would be about me and my life experiences. I have tried to keep that promise throughout my writing; however, I have probably failed in providing a well-rounded collection of topics. I have basically only talked about relationships and life lessons. I have only given about one, maybe two post references to my professional aspirations and goals.

It’s taken me awhile to get here. There is no doubt about it. In the past year, I have talked about pursuing a plethora of different occupational avenues. However, I couldn’t seem to just stick to one. There are so many things that I love to do and there are things that I just have a natural talent for, so picking just one has been a struggle of mine basically since I quit field hockey and messed with my whole “5 year plan.” Like I said before, I’m done making plans. I have no idea where I am going to be in a year, and honestly, I don’t see any point in wasting time on trying to predict what will happen in five. Right now, I’m simply focusing on me and making sure that I am the best possible version of myself that I can be. Life seems to be perfect right now. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I’ve let go of bad relationships, repaired the ones worth saving, and well I am definitely happy with the current version of myself. As perfect as things are, I am always looking to improve, mature and grow, as everyone should. I was born or raised, (depending on your opinion of nature versus nurture) with potential. Potential to be great, I think. I have a work ethic and level of intelligence that provide me with the potential to be great in anything I pursue. And right now, as much as I love coaching and working in an athletic environment, there just seems to be a lingering feeling that I am not fulfilling my potential.

Tonight, I am going back to school. I am starting the first day of the rest of my professional life. I am going to be taking night classes twice a week in order to help me prepare for law school. I will be taking a prep course for the LSAT in June. I’ve said before that I want to go to law school, but something has held me back from really being ready for that commitment. Time is funny, but I feel like I’m finally ready to get the ball rolling. As with most things in my life, I do things on my own terms. And this has been one of them. The timing might be off a bit, but I’m finally ready. I am actually really nervous and excited about tonight. I am going to take a diagnostic exam tonight to get a baseline on where I am now and where I need to go in order to get a good LSAT score. It’s the first step towards law school, and I am ready to take it.

Here is where I would like to fulfill my promise of discussing my whole life story- more than just my social one. I am going to make a tab, much like my “Gettin’ Skinny” tab, where I will talk about my LSAT courses and practice. I think accountability is one of the biggest tools one can have in achieving their goals. I can hold myself accountable sure. But there is something about being held accountable by others that really makes me work. It’s like working out with a partner- they make sure you wake up in the morning and get to the gym even on the days where you just want to sleep in. So in this tab, I will track my progress and practice schedule. If you would like to check in on how I am doing, you’ll find everything you need under the "LSAT Prep" tab which I will start after tonight's class. Wish me luck!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Life is a Great Love Story

So I was having a conversation with a friend recently about, what else, relationships and love. They’re easily my most favorite subjects, if you couldn’t tell. There is something about the bond between people that truly fascinates me so if you’re willing to go there in a conversation with me, you should probably pull up a seat and grab a beer because it’s going to be awhile. I could talk forever about people; about life, love and relationships. In this particular conversation, we somehow stumbled upon the topic of what my ideal relationship looks like.

My friend made a comment to me during the conversation that really surprised me. He said that in knowing the way I look at relationships and at life, that he couldn’t believe that I haven’t had any success in the relationship-department since JD; that, and I quote, “you seem like every guy's dream.” I was just really taken aback because 95% of the time I feel like I get put into the “friend zone,” mainly because I probably do think more like a typical man than a woman. As sweet as that comment was, it comes down to the simple fact that I don’t want to be anyone’s dream girl right now. Eventually I would love to be, and as simple as relationships are, it takes the right person to make the right relationship work. And I’m willing to wait for that person to come around rather than jumping into something with someone that I know isn’t right for me.

I think I have seen enough relationships that just go through the motions. I see those relationships all the time; the unfulfilled ones. The relationships that are built singlehandedly on comfort; out of fear that that relationship is the best they can do; out of fear of being alone. These relationships can often times be full of respect and support, but the passion and the love just doesn’t quite find its place. People go through the infatuation stage, get comfortable and decide to settle down. Once they settle down, they get married and have kids and “live life” (if that’s what you want to call it). And as deep as this sounds we just started talking about how we wanted more than that. All of those things sound great don’t get me wrong, and I want those things. But I want more.

I want someone who will be a free spirit with me; someone playful that recognizes that I’m not some delicate little girl and that will rough-house with me and joke around. I want someone that will go on an adventure with me. And I don’t mean a safari or something like that. I mean someone that can bring me to life- in every passionate, loving, playful way possible.

It’s corny, but I really believe that every life is meant to be a great love story. Whether it’s with yourself, with your job, with God or a hobby. As long as you love something with everything you are, than you have that great love story. I know that my greatest love will be another person. I know that I have the ability to love another person in a way that is incomprehensible to most. If I do nothing else in life, I will make that other person feel what it is to be completely and unconditionally loved. And this person will have the ability to reciprocate that feeling. It may sound completely corny and cliché, but that is how my life will be. And because I will have that fulfillment, I will be successful in everything else. And that’s why I haven’t had any successful relationships as of late. I’m not ready for that yet. But when I am and that person comes along… it will be something great. The great thing about a great love between two people is that it is bigger than anything.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Pick-up Artist

Men. Oh Men. If women can ever get over the obvious offenses that men make against them, they might find that these members of the opposite sex are actually quite funny. And by funny I mean in a very pathetic sort of way; as in I’ll-give-you-a pity-laugh-now-and-later-rip-on-you-to-all-my-friends-kind-of-funny.  (Disclaimer: this does not include all men. Some actually can muster up a real laugh from me!)

It’s 2012. I think that it is safe to say that the “pick-up” line has been a universal joke for quite some time now. Or so I would like to think… Recently, I have fallen victim to a pick-up line or two, and I think that it is time that we put these to rest. Honestly, I can’t imagine that these work on anyone. Now I’m not talking about the really dumb ones like “Was that an earthquake or did u just rock my world?” I’m going to give you my top three favorite pick-up lines and hopefully in seeing the obvious hilarity, you men can knock it off and try something a little… smarter.

 First we have the “betting man.” This one might seem somewhat clever except that it is almost insulting to my intelligence- it’s the approach from a man that wants you to “settle a bet” between him and his friend. I’m sorry but no. You’ve been standing at the bar by yourself for the past 20 minutes, and you didn’t come with a friend. Let’s not kid ourselves here. I totally get that sometimes guys do make bets with their friends and that they need someone to settle them, but that’s a one and done question. These guys that stick around and want explanations and force a conversation to drag on and on in a desperate attempt to keep your attention long enough to feel a sense of self-worth… are just sad. So when it comes time for them to ask me if they can buy me a beer, the answer will most likely be no… unless I feel sorry enough for them, in which case I will accept and find an excuse to walk away. Sorry I’m not sorry.

This one is actually my favorite, and I do get this all the time- we'll call  him “Mr. Fix-It”! This may only apply to me personally though, but it is hilarious every time. See I have this thing that I do with beer bottles when I drink them. If you’ve spent any time with me at a bar you will have noticed that I peel the labels off of all the bottles. I honestly have no idea why I do it, but it is an automatic impulse I have when the bottle is in my hand- I think it is a good pacer. Anyways, apparently peeling off the labels is some sort of sign of anxiety or sexual deprivation… So at least once every few weekends, I get some jerk asking me if he can help “loosen me up” or “take care of that problem.” BAHAHAHA! I am about as laid back as they come, and if you have to ask, than the answer is no! Seriously though, does that actually work on people? Because I cannot imagine why anyone would think that line is going to get them anything besides a smack in the face or some clever remark from me about their small penis size. But hey, at least you've gotten me to laugh at my own joke!

Lastly, we have the “sweet-talker.” His first words will be something incredibly nice, and you might even think this guy is a winner. This guy wants to come off as your prince charming that is going to sweep you off your feet. He compliments you over and over again. Which can be nice every once in a while. However, this guy could give a flying pig about you at all. If you pay attention between the “you’re the most beautiful woman in the room” lines and realize the guy has just been talking himself up the whole time, you’ll see the red flags a-flyin’! He’ll tell you about his really great job and his expensive car and blah blah blah. Guess what, you lost my attention about 20 minutes ago, and I still don’t know your name- so the answer is no.

I really just want to know why men feel like they need to come up with all these outrageous strategies to get the girl. What happened to “Hey, I’m so-and so, let me buy you a drink?” Easy enough, no? Seems confident to me and at least names will be exchanged for heaven’s sake. We aren’t stupid and even with all the alcohol in the world, I would never fall for those lame lines. So grow a pair and realize you can just talk to a woman like she’s just another one of your friends. So if you are an offender of any of these strategies or ones like it, try something else please?!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My Theory of Emotions

I know I haven’t been able to blog much lately; I have been pretty busy with lacrosse season, and my new workout schedule has replaced most of my blogging time so I apologize to my avid followers- if there are any! Anyways, over the past month I have had quite a few conversations with my family and some of my friends regarding emotions, empathy, and understanding. I want to talk about where I stand when it comes to these matters because I tend to look at things differently than most people so it often leads to misunderstandings. (You can absolutely argue with me on these points; I am not saying that I am right- I am simply explaining where I am coming from). I generally believe that negative emotions are irrational. I’m going to give a few scenarios to describe what I’m talking about.

First of all, it really bothers me when men call women emotional, and they say it like it is a bad thing. Everyone is emotional; we just display those emotions in different ways. For instance, I am not a crier. I simply don’t cry, and honestly it makes me slightly uncomfortable when other people cry. The last time I cried was back in November after a horrible fight with JD, marking the finality of our relationship. I can’t remember the time before that. I just don’t cry. My defense mechanism is to laugh instead. So when I tend to laugh during situations where other people would normally be crying, my ability to feel is called into question. My own mother asked me awhile back, in all seriousness, if I even had any feelings at all. I am not a sociopath, and of course I can feel. In fact, I probably feel emotions more intensely than most people. It’s not that I don’t feel sadness or pain, I just don’t show it in the ways that other people do. Instead, I feel more comfortable making light of a situation and try to change the negative mood. It might not always seem appropriate, but that’s the way I deal with things; the same as most people cry to deal with the same feelings.

Empathy is another quality of mine that has been questioned lately. I absolutely have the ability to put myself in another person’s shoes and feel what they are feeling. But again, I don’t display my emotions quite like most people. … A little background: a friend of mine gave me this scenario just last night: he asked me if I could put myself into the shoes of a person who had worked their entire life and felt the feeling of desperation after no longer able to afford to retire…. Yes, I can imagine that person’s disappointment and frustration and even exhaustion in such that situation. I can understand those things because I have felt them, although not in the same context of course, but I can imagine. What I was trying to explain to my friend is that it is a waste of time to feel that way because everything can be broken down into rational responses.
See I believe that people make decisions based on what they believe in that particular moment will make them happy. To me, happiness is a state in which people choose to be in or not. I use the phrase, “in the pursuit of happiness” all the time, but I don’t really think that happiness is something that you have to strive to be. Happiness is not an end goal; it is a state of mind. So there are two options you are faced with when you begin to feel a negative emotion: you either accept the way things are or you change the situation you are in. While I understand the person who is unable to retire; I would not react the same way in the same situation. Instead, if I were truly unhappy about the circumstances, I would rationalize the situation and react accordingly. Maybe that sounds irrational, but I am a firm believer in taking a step back and working through things in your head and redirecting the thought process. That is what cognitive behavioral therapy is based on is it not?

Another situation I was in recently involved my BFF Kitty. (Hopefully she won’t mind me telling this story). But she recently got upset with me over a few things, and she bottled them up for so long that one afternoon she sort of just blew up at me. I was pretty surprised by this because I was unaware that there was even a problem. But the problem ended up being that we just don’t react the same way to certain situations. Things that don’t seem like a big deal to me, really upset her. But we had the discussion about how we would handle things like that. See when she does something that bothers me, I choose to forget about it and move on. I don’t bottle them up because I will never pick a fight with Kitty. I think that it is a waste of time to fight with her because she is my best friend, and I would rather stay friends than create drama over what I can rationalize as nothing in the big scheme of things. To me, I look at it as why threaten the relationship over something that won’t mean a thing in a week? Kitty, on the other hand, can’t just move on from a bothersome situation. So we have the understanding that if I do something that makes her upset, she will call me on it right then and there, and we can move on. And I understand that she needs to do that in order to deal with things so I can’t get upset at her for calling me out. Our relationship seems to work because of our basic understanding of how the other person works.

The problem tends to occur for me, is when people think I am insensitive. It’s not that I am insensitive; it’s simply that I just process things in a different way. I make the choice to feel a certain way by readjusting the way I look at a situation. I make the choice every day to be as happy as I can on that given day. If that makes me seem insensitive or lacking emotion and/or empathy, than hopefully this post will allow you all to readjust the way you look at my reactions or lack thereof.