More than some names on the street

Sometimes my life is so routine that I don’t even stop to look around at anything. I wake up, go to work, go home, and do it all over again. Recently, I’ve been slightly mixing up that routine, and with that, I have really started pondering the meaning of life. I don’t feel there’s a central meaning of life that we all are working towards; we are all on different paths, but after plenty of experiences and thought processes, I think I have a pretty decent grasp of what the meaning is from my point of view.

It’s not really as scary or complicated as I ever thought it was. I don’t have to go out and do something huge or spectacular. I don’t have to wait until I am older. I am making my life happen right now, despite the fact that I am young and frankly, lost as can be. I know what I want in life and I know where I want to go for the most part, but that’s not all completely within my control. What I do have control over is what I am going to do right now, and what my grander purpose is. It took a lot of tears, hugs, long talks, and nights alone for me to finally see what the heck I’m doing here. I sincerely believe my purpose in this world is to make as many connections as possible.

I am going into a career field where networking is essential to my future successes, but by “connections”, I mean something so much deeper. I’m not here to meet a future employer through some person and get a job, settle down, and call it a day. I am here to meet strangers and incorporate them into me, and me into them. I am here to create friendships, to form memories with the people I have met and will meet, to change the world around me by helping those I encounter. I am here to be covered in the many prints of the many people I encounter. I am here to form bonds that cannot be broken. I am here to not be changed by who or what is around me, but to grow as a person as a result of those I come in contact with. I am here to change lives, even if that means just changing a day for someone. I am here to love. I am here to allow each moment I have spent with someone to leave its mark on my life. So many people flow in and out of our lives, still leaving some trace. I am here to embrace what others leave on me. I am here to understand the marks that have been left, no matter how slight. I am here to find the connections that are extremely important.

I thrive on the bonds I am creating every single day. Whether it’s a simple coffee date with a friend, a hug from a coworker, singing in the car with my best friend, or reuniting with an old friend, the memories I create with people mean so much more than some typed letters could ever tell you. My purpose in this life is to form bonds. It’s as simple as it sounds, but also as complex as any mind could ever make it. I’m not here to get an amazing job or drive a nice car or have infinite amounts of money; those things may happen and I wouldn’t be opposed to them happening, but they aren’t what I am working towards. I want to leave something with every single person I encounter. I want my smile to create a movement within someone. I want my actions to help change someone’s circumstances. I want my words to be full of meaning. I don’t want to listen just to reply. I want to listen to, take in, and understand the words being fed to me by the people I am surrounded by because, to me, those words are more valuable than any worldly possession.

I don’t know why life happens the way it does, nor do I think I will ever really be able to explain what is really happening, but as long as I continue to forge and maintain bonds, I know that I’m on the perfect track. After finding myself in a little funk, some good conversations and some stress-free experiences with people that have impacted me were enough to open my eyes.

A simple smile can flip a person’s day, a helping hand can restore hope in humanity, the exposure of some deep thoughts can detox a mind that has been exhausted. No amount of interaction is too small; each and every day is a chance to go out and experience this world through each other.

People are significant, words are significant, and, to me, there is nothing more important that finding ways to connect with people, while also embarking on experiences and keeping a level head when life gets kinda crazy. A crazy life isn’t always a bad thing anyhow, as with all the “bad” crazy that may arise, there’s always good on its way. Every action has some sort of reaction, and that also goes for choosing how happy or unhappy we will be. I know that as long as I am growing with the people around me, I will be happy. These people are what complete me. I can’t predict my future, but I can grasp and immerse the moments leading up to whatever my future may hold, and honestly I see that as being far more important than reaching some measurable degree of “success”.

Something really cool

As previously posted about, I recently regained contact with a friend I thought I would never speak to again. She moved after third grade. It has been over 10 years since I last saw her or spoke to her. After finding her again and talking for a while, we had the opportunity to meet up again.11811352_994637997226675_6778961908369659287_n

I didn’t really know what to expect. Given the fact our plans included a daylong music festival, it meant that the day would either be really awkward and long, or a good time. It was definitely the latter and I am so happy about that.

From the minute she picked me up, we were talking, reminiscing, and laughing about how crazy the whole situation was. I mean, out of no where all these people she used to go to school with just start adding her on Facebook. Anyways, we headed to downtown Detroit, where she bought us lunch (I picked up dinner at a food truck at the festival). Lunch was full of more talks of the past and stories of things that have happened throughout the years. Once at the festival, she met my friend and I met hers. It was funny being introduced as a friend from third grade who basically just showed up, but the reactions to the scenario were also sweet. Overall, the day was full of good conversation, good food, and good music. I don’t think there was ever a moment that things were awkward.

I am just so happy about the day because from what I remember, she was a person that really had some sort of impact on my memory back when we were kids. When I finally got to talk to her through Facebook, it was nice but I didn’t think much would come from it. After an awesome and eventful day, I am just so glad we came in contact again. Plenty of time has passed, but we still spent today like we’ve known each other forever. I just wanted to share a little update on my previous post, though words can’t really even begin to represent how happy I am that I was finally able to talk to and see a friend I had accepted I would never see again. Life is really crazy.

Simple Pleasures

A current (and evolving) list of my favorite little things:

Long walks
Scenic bike rides
Hugs
Talks with close friends
Antique shops
Discovering a new song
Hugging my dog
Drives with all the windows down
Nights with sporadic plans
Inspirations for writing
The feeling of a camera in my hands
A cool summer evening breeze
A mug of green tea
Exploring a new place
Singing along to a song with my best friends
Bonfires
Firecrackers
Sweet tea
Burritos
Concerts
Messages from old friends
Buying new notebooks
Writing with a new pen
Polaroid photos
New books
Used book stores
Clothes that fit just right
Coffee shops
Lava lamps
New posters
Penguins
Dogs excited to see you
Nights and days with good friends
Walking barefoot
Building new friendships
Opening up
Letting go
Nostalgia
Movie nights
Waiting for a trip
Watching airplanes
Handmade items
Watching the sunset
Reunions

Handwritten

Words tapped on a keyboard feel less attached to my mind than words written on a page. When I was a kid, I didn’t have a computer. I filled notebooks with all my thoughts, my stories, my feelings. I was an artist with my words. Now, my words feel so much less authentic. I write for an audience (which is what I have always wanted), but my letters look the same as every other person also writing. I don’t feel connected to what I write. I sit here with a cup of tea, a candle burning, some good music on, all trying to produce some words. There are plenty of feelings going on inside of me but as my fingers touch the laptop, they all seem to be lost. Typing is for tweets. Typing is for short communications. Typing is for research papers and online coursework. The mind is moving straight through the hand through the pen, but when I type, I do not feel that. When I went on a volunteer trip this past winter, we had no internet, no electricity. Every night I would curl up in my bunk with a lantern and write what I was feeling that day. It was such a simple procedure, but it is something lost in the daily commitments and distractions of technology. I don’t mean that everything written on the internet is watered down or not authentic; that is far from what I think. I just believe my thoughts mean so much more when they are scribbled on paper, jotted on scraps, or neatly organized in notebooks with the occasional pen marks to erase errors. Nothing can compare to handwritten. After some great days full of plenty of thought, I know it is important for me to get back into the therapy of writing my thoughts and ideas on paper. If I am ever going to find an emotional tie that is stronger than thin fibers of beliefs in my work, a pen is going to need to run across the smooth surface of a new journal until the pages are tattered and the binding is breaking.

Words as weapons

I was bullied in elementary, middle school, and part of high school. They made fun of me because I wore glasses, made fun of my hair, my clothes, my weight, told me I was annoying, even made fun of me because I got good grades.

There was teasing that seemed to pass as “harmless”. There were “friends” that would join in on the hurtful remarks. It was often and it was malicious. There were even instances where I was physically pushed around by the people that saw themselves as better than me; I was pushed off a chair while standing on it, picked up by my shirt and thrown down, etc. I usually had no choice but to laugh along. That, or be made fun of for reacting like a “baby”. I don’t really know which is worse but I do know I had a mix of reactions.

I had few friends in elementary school. The ones I really liked usually moved away. I spent a lot of time alone or trying to make friends with the people that would eventually join in on some sort of teasing. I dealt with it. I begged to change schools or be home schooled so I didn’t have to deal with the same people after elementary. In middle school, I had more friends, but with more friends came more people I really cared about hurting me. I can still remember the exact insults some of my closest friends would use on me. High school, more friends, but then the insults started behind my back. These usually circled around my weight. I can look back and feel proud of the changes in my weight, but at that point I was full of hate for the way I looked and having friends constantly go on about it definitely did not help. Oh, and did I mention they liked to make it known that I annoyed them and was only someone they mildly tolerated?

I was irritating and weird, so I became the deserving target of these actions. Or so I thought.

It took me years, until my junior year of high school, to realize that I deserved better. I was a target for things I could not control. I could control it, though. I could control my friend group. I could try and distance myself from what was ultimately breaking me. Of course, this was far easier said than done. It took a lot of energy out of me initially, but I kept telling myself that I was better than what I was receiving. I deserved to be happy. I couldn’t keep letting myself be dragged into these dark fits of pain over some people that were irrelevant. I had to pull myself out of the notions that I should be gone. Lives would be easier if I wasn’t here. I shouldn’t be around. I forced myself to break free of my taunters.

But it should never be that way.

Someone should never have to go to school and worry about being taunted, pushed around, or insulted. Someone should be able to wear the clothes that their family bought them without being made fun of for years on end. We should be able to feel comfortable in our own skin.

For the most part, I am now happy with who I am but, against all my efforts, the bullying has negatively affected me. I still worry about petty appearance issues. I still feel like people are staring at me if I don’t look my best. If I hear laughing around me, I immediately think it is directed at me. I scold myself if I have sweets, and I feel bad if I talk too much or tell stories to my friends. I know that in the big scheme of things, these issues are minor and don’t mean much, but to my mind, they have felt massive.

In college, I have really found where I belong, but despite all my efforts to let go of the negativity of days passed, it still remains. Almost 20-years-old and I can say that I have learned and grown from my experiences. The greatest thing I have learned is that words hurt. Words hurt like hell. Hands can inflict pain that heals, but words can create cuts that remain open or at least nagging to some extent. Be choosy with your words. Realize that what you say can change a person’s entire perspective for good or for bad. It is so easy to spew hate for laughs, but when the laughing ceases, the aftermath can be devastating. Be nice.

This is nothing more than an appreciation post for a friend who has been one of the greatest people in my life in such a short period of time.

We met in class when we were squished next to each other. We became friends through sarcastic comments about an irritating classmates and through the purchase of a burrito. What better way to start a friendship? We discovered we had a ton in common, and from there, a close friendship bloomed. As much as we have in common and as many crazy little connections we have, I think we were definitely meant to end up in each others lives.

I had absolutely no intention of making friends this past semester, but in addition to forming a very close group of friends, met Sarah, who immediately became closer to me than many of my friends I had for years. Dare I call someone I have known for so little time a best friend? I think it applies.

I am so thankful to have a friend that I can open up to about things without being judged or told how terrible I am. 11169958_947063748650767_3213400969299907873_nBelieve it or not, I’ve heard it more than a handful of times from the people I used to allow to be close to me. I guess you have to endure the not-so-nice people to find the ones that will make you realize why every one of those past doors slammed shut. Barely a month before we met, my best friend made me feel like I was the most worthless, awful person before suddenly never speaking to me again.11137160_978760305481111_8185065764590681175_n I didn’t really think it was fair for that to happen; with all the past and all the troubles of before, it didn’t make sense. But then this past semester began and it all made sense. I have found a friendship that in months has become so important to me. The end of everything that once mattered so much to me was only making room for someone amazing. That someone is Sarah, and I have no words to say how grateful I am for her friendship. In the short time that we have been friends, she has seen my highs, cheering me on and wishing me the best, while also helping me through my sometimes very stupid lows. It’s so refreshing to have a friend that has my back. In the past few months, she has taught me more about what it means to have and be a true friend than I have ever experienced in my nearly 20 years of life. Oh, and she’s practically family. She was a blessing and I truly believe that she was placed in my life for a reason.

Why I don’t regret my matching tattoo

I have a best friend tattoo with someone I no longer speak to. I don’t even know what she is up to besides the slight updates I’ve been fed by people who are still in her life. While it’s interesting to know what’s going on with her, I don’t care to ask now. Still, I wake up every day and see that tattoo looking up at me.

Does it make me sad? No.

Do I regret it? No.

There was a point where I wanted it covered up, looked up places to get it removed, stared at it and thought about how I will always have that part of my life that is now gone. But after a while, when I stopped crying about the friendship being over, stopped being bitter, and started moving on, it hit me. That part of my life will never truly leave my memory, tattoo or not. Memories are essentially tattoos, and along with the mental impact and thoughts I will always have, I also have a physical reminder of who used to be a huge part of my life.

Similar to how I can’t erase the tattoo, I can’t erase the memories of our friendship. I can’t get rid of the good times, all the amazing times, or the low times. I don’t regret our friendship because it impacted me, it shaped me, it helped me grow. The good and the bad are both very much a part of who I am each and every day. Looking at the tattoo doesn’t weigh me down. There’s not a sadness or a sense of stupidity when I see it. When I sat down in that tattoo shop and decided to get it, I knew that I was making a lifelong commitment to that ink on my body. It didn’t matter because at that moment, I knew I would always be there for my best friend. At this point in my life, I don’t want anything to do with her and I would be content with never seeing her again, but I still will always care deeply about her. While I don’t think I could ever bring myself to do things for her like I used to when we actually had a friendship, who she is and the impact she had on me will forever be embedded in me. So no, I don’t regret the matching tattoo, and no, your opinions of the decision don’t matter. I can’t magically change my past, so I accept it and move forward with all of it leaving its various marks. That is life: a series of memories, tattoos really, that we carry forward on and on until our last breath.