Never Forget

I was going to write a Facebook post, but I figured I have a blog for a reason–to speak my mind. Those who want to read it may do so, and others can just continue on with their days without being bothered by the things I have to say.

This year, more than any other year, the events of 9/11 are hitting me more emotionally hard than they ever have. Maybe it’s because I just returned from New York a week ago? Maybe it’s because my favorite spot in the city is the One World Observatory, a building that obviously only exists because of what happened 16 years ago today? Maybe it’s because I visited the 9/11 Memorial 10 days ago? Regardless, I’m couldn’t tell you exactly why, but I just want to talk a bit about the most resilient, powerful, and awe-inspiring city I’ve ever been to–New York City.

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You can literally see the curve of the Earth from the One World Observatory.

I’ve been to New York quite a few times, and each and every time I go, I tell myself “Anna, you need to stop coming back here and see other parts of the world. NYC isn’t the only place to go, anyways.” But time and time again, I find myself in the city that never sleeps, and time and time again, I fall more and more in love with that place.

I just watched a video on Facebook that gave me absolute chills. I got misty eyed at my desk, and I can’t even fully put into words why (aside from the obvious bravery and tragedy exhibited in the video). I’ve never visited somewhere as frequently as I have New York City, and watching the footage from this day that, at the time of it happening, I was too young to understand, my heart aches both with pride and sorrow. I put myself in the position that thousands of Americans were put in on that day and realize that this remarkable city and the people there have recovered from this detrimental tragedy.

Now, I’m not one for country music, and those of you who know me, know this to be insanely true. I’ve officially made an exception for the song by Alan Jackson that played in that video.

There really is no real purpose to this blog other than just to express some heartfelt emotion. The more I visit this city that I wouldn’t be surprised to find myself living in one day, the more respect I find myself having for it. (I didn’t even know my respect could continue growing, but alas.) My heart aches for events of the past, but with each tragedy that befalls us makes us even stronger.

Thanks for reading.

xx – A

Assumptions

You know what they say….when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me! (Bad joke? Oh well!)
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I was in the mood for a little blog, but my dilemma was that I really have nothing to write about right now. So, I did what any normal person would do in this situation–I googled. (I now have a nice long list of blog prompts written down for future moments when I’m motivated without inspiration.)
One prompt that kind of stuck with me (partly because it was highlighted on the page, partly because I liked the idea of it) was “Write about the assumptions people make about you.” (I linked to the inspo website I found.)

You would assume that I don’t have many assumptions made about me. I am an upper-middle class, blonde, white female. Fairly standard, I agree. I don’t have obvious race related things assumed about me, and I am in no way trying to demean those assumptions, I just want to talk about the irritating assumptions I have noticed that people have made about me.

The first thing that came to my head when I think about assumptions made about me is “dumb blonde”. If you’re blonde, at least once in your life, someone has made a joke about you being a dumb blonde. I can’t be the only one who hates this. My hair color has no relation to my IQ. Never has, never will. I am smart, clever, quick-witted, and everything opposite of being a “dumb blonde.” Stop insulting people’s intelligence by basing your assumptions of them on their hair color. It’s stupid.
Another thing, you can absolutely be pretty AND smart. It’s a thing. Just because you care about your appearance and you put time into how you look, does not make you less intelligent. (It should make you look more intelligent honestly, because everyone knows appearances matter.) This kind of ties into the “blonde” thing, but it’s so true. Again, I’m sick of not being taken seriously based on how I look. It’s so frustrating.

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Now, for the sake of not ranting throughout the entirety of this blog, I’m going to convert to list form!! (I could honestly write a 3,000 word blog about this topic, for real!)

Things people assume about me:
  • That, because I’m middle class, I don’t struggle with money/finances. Wrong.
  • That, because I’m thin, I don’t eat. Wrong.
  • That, because I’m thin, I don’t work out and am not strong. Wrong.
  • That I live this “perfect life” based on what’s seen on social media. Wrong.
  • That, because I care about how I look, I’m shallow (or something). Wrong.
  • That, because I have and express feelings, I am weak. Wrong.
  • That, because I’m a woman, I am not as good at something. Wrong.
  • That, because I sometimes show off my body, I’m a slut. Wrong.
  • That, because my hair is an odd color (i.e. pink), I don’t deserve as much respect. Wrong.
  • That, because I’m young, I’m naïve and easily manipulated.
  • That, because I’m blonde, I am ditzy. (Had to say it again.) Wrong.
  • That, because I dress and look nice, I’m weak and can’t handle myself. Wrong. If I tell you I know how to play a sport, don’t laugh and try to explain to me that “it hurts when you get hit”. I know. I’ve played it.
  • That, because you’re a male, you know more than me. (See above.) Wrong.
  • That, because I’m being nice to you, I’m flirting. Wrong.
  • That, because you made assumptions, you think you know me. Wrong.

I’m sure some of you can relate to these assumptions being made about you, as well as plenty others that I’m sure have been made. It’s frustrating.

Hopefully this was even remotely interesting? LOL. Thanks for reading!

xx – A

 

 

Freakin’ Poetry, Man

If a poem hasn’t ripped apart your soul: you haven’t experienced poetry.”
-Edgar Allen Poe


It’s such a therapeutic thing for me. I know I’ve said it before, but seriously when my mind feels like it’s spiralling inward, I just try to focus on copying down poems into a journal and it calms me. It centers me. My emotions are no longer fluctuating sporadically, but rather are at the mercy of whatever I am reading and writing in that moment. I zone out and feel whatever the poet wants me to feel, and I absolutely love it. I love it so damn much.

I cooked dinner and drank wine with a friend who is also a fan of poetry last night, and she recommended some poets for me to check out. I wasn’t a huge fan of all of them, but one stood out to me once I started doing some digging–Lang Leav. I had read some of her stuff before, but I never truly immersed myself in her work. Until today.

And holy shit, I am enamored. Her poetry is almost too emotionally powerful for me to read sometimes–it’s insane! I have actually had to sit back and close my journal a few times because I needed to take another minute or two to consider what I had just read.

Small detail, I rarely read an entire poem before I decide to write it down. I tend to read just the title and first few lines, then I start copying it down. This makes it that much more powerful as I figure out what it’s really about as I go along. Some poems take a twist that I didn’t expect, and some are exactly what I expect them to be. I am constantly baffled by poetry’s ability to fluctuate so heavily.

I also don’t just copy down every poem I see. I am actually fairly critical of the things I want to dedicate my time and energy to copying down. They have to make me feel and I have to find a way to really relate to them right now. So lately, I haven’t had any inclination whatsoever to write down any sappy love poems even though I’ve read some truly beautiful ones. They’re not what I want to read right now.

So anyways, here’s some poems that I felt like sharing today. Some are from Lang Leav and the other are from my favorite, Erin Hanson (or “e.h.”).

Enjoy!

xx – A

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More Poetry

Sorry if this is uninteresting, it’s been such a focus in my life right now, I can’t even go a day without wanting (needing?) to read some poetry. It’s just so soothing, okay?! 

This past weekend was Easter weekend, obviously, and my mom got me the most amazing gift–a book of poems by the poet Atticus, who as you know if you read my last blog, is one of my favorites. I didn’t go through it immediately after she gave it to me, I have certain moments during the day in which I like to read poetry. Instead of me going through it, my mom offered to thumb through and read some of the poems to me, which I readily accepted. (Having poems read to you is almost as great as writing them down yourself.)

You see, the thing I love about poetry is how these simple words and short poems (or long poems) can make you feel so hard. Everyone feels them a little differently, but they can impact you so intensely and I love that about them. There was one poem my mom started reading to me that brought me to tears, another that made me laugh so hard my stomach hurt, one that made me feel strong and empowered, and another that brought in waves of nostalgia that made my chest tight. It truly amazes me how just some simple words printed on paper can have so much of an effect on me.

Throughout work today, I’ve been working on filling my fourth and largest journal with poetry that spoke to me, and I hope to have filled it by the end of the day honestly. As much as I thoroughly enjoy writing all of these poems down, I also find great pleasure in looking through them later on at the things I selected to write down. I’m even starting to remember what poems are in what books due to my constant reading of them. I think it’s safe to say I have a slight addiction to poetry, and I love it so so much.

Honestly, I wish I could even understand how this is so therapeutic to me, but it just is. So today, I really just feel like sharing some more poetry with hopes that someone else will be able to appreciate it as much as I have. Today, I’ve been gravitating primarily to Erin Hanson’s stuff, so that’s what I’m gonna share with you guys. (These aren’t my absolute favorites, but they’re what captured my heart and mind today.)

xx – A

P.S. For those of you who read my blogs, I cannot even begin to tell you how much I appreciate it. And if they do something for you, then that means everything in the world to me.

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This is one of my mom’s favorites.

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Words of Wisdom

Who needs advice on how to handle post-graduate life?
Or just life in general? I know I do.

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Since graduating, my life has consisted of a series of drastic changes. Some of which, I elected to take on myself, some were thrust upon me, and others knocked me off my feet entirely. But here I am, still living. I decided I wanted to ask people a question regarding advice they might give to their younger selves. I came up with two options–one based around what advice they would give to themselves after graduating college, and one regarding advice they’d give to their younger self in general. Even now, as I ask people and compile quotes, the nature of my blog post changes slightly, and I can’t help but smile to myself because that embodies the exact nature of this post–change.

One of two questions will be sent to a variety of people. Hopefully someone reading this will find wisdom and solace in the words my friends and family provide (or even just smile at some of the goofier things said.)
Fair warning though, I ended up with more quotes than I intended, so you’re in for a world of advice. It’s a good read though, so I strongly urge you to read it all.

Enjoy.


If you could go back in time to when you had just graduated college and give yourself advice, what would you say?

“Enjoy life and know that what’s meant to be, will happen.” -Mariela, 22

“Live hard and travel.” -Robin, 26

“Don’t be afraid to do things on your own–get out and explore what life can be.” -Ashlee, 22

“There’s nothing wrong with not having a dream job. If at the end of the day you’re happy and your bills are paid, then what you do isn’t as important.” -Scott, 25

“Cheap beer is never the answer.” -Jake, 25

I’d probably tell myself to pay more attention to other people. Be genuinely interested in what’s going on in their life and how they’re doing so I could help them or just know what to say to them when they needed it.” –Evan, 25

Don’t be so defensive and fix your victim complex, the world is not out to get you. It’s your life, so live it your way to the best of YOUR ability. Play a song that’s in your heart, keep dreaming, but most importantly live long and prosper.” -Nicholas, 27 (Some content omitted for length purposes.)

“I would tell myself to be true to myself and not let a failed relationship alter my course. My first boyfriend dumped me when I was 22 and I had a hard time getting over it. Looking back, that breakup was a good thing because I wasn’t ready to be attached.” -Theresa, 55

“Not to take the first job thrown at you.” -Ryan, 24

“I would probably tell myself to be more patient about making job decisions and to put myself out there more. Don’t settle.” -Lauren, 23

Chill the eff out. Enjoy your time, and nothing lasts forever. It will probably be a few years before you figure out what you’ll end up doing. Career wise. You will most likely stumble across it by accident. But even if you found it today, you wouldn’t be ready for it. So…enjoy the ride. That applies to in work and outside.” -Evan, 38


If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would you say?

“There’s no hurry. Enjoy the journey. And, stay in school! Know yourself before you become a couple…” -Janet, 51

Not to bet money yesterday.” -Eric (currently visiting Las Vegas), 21

Be confident in everything you do and in every decision you make.” -Wilson, 21

Your life is short and precious. It is not to be cluttered with frivolous bullshit. Focus on things that TRULY bring you joy. Wasted time holds the heaviest guilt. If you can’t get into that book, put it down and start a new one. If an acquaintance leaves you feeling drained and ugly, limit your contact. If a hobby starts to feel like a chore, don’t do it anymore. If you don’t feel like going out, stay your ass at home. If your job treats you like a bad boyfriend, DUMP IT.
However, as particular as you must be with your time, make sure that every single person you encounter can say that they’ve experienced pure, unconditional love and acceptance. If you love without expectation, you will never be hurt or disappointed.
Live wholly and apologetically as yourself. You do you, boo boo! Don’t listen to society. Do not for a second conform. Your mind is beautiful and different so embrace it.
Above all else baby girl, focus on your value, not your success.” -Lisa, 25 (Some content omitted for length purposes.)

Work hard and find goals to work towards. Stay motivated.” -Kurtis, 21

Don’t care so much, and those boys are seriously not worth your time, FYI.” -Krysten, 23

Never settle. Be more confident in yourself. NEVER ignore red flags. Trust your gut. Travel more. Save money, you never know what surprises life will throw you. Realize sooner that you are a badass woman and can handle anything life hands you!” -Ally, 30

“Never let others belittle you.” -Molly, 16

“I wish I wasn’t afraid to make my own decisions on things. I let my husband make decisions whether I agreed or not. This was hard to admit, but it was a mistake on my part.” -Ellie, 78

“Don’t be insecure, everybody has doubts.
Enjoy even the poor times of your life. Those are great memories you will enjoy remembering.
Participate in every 401k plan you can.
Don’t ring up debt. Money is more fun if you spend it as you earn it instead of before you earn it.” -Sharon, 52

“Go to bed earlier.” -August, 57

Don’t look at others and think they have the perfect life. Everyone faces their own challenges. They only show the good things to the rest of the world (on social media). People don’t always share their struggles. (Aka, the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.) -Trisha, 47

“Don’t be scared to do new things. I get anxious of the unknown and wish I enjoyed myself more.” -Chase, 28

Spend more time appreciating what you have instead of wishing you had more. And look for your purpose in your current situation instead of a way out of it. It’s usually easier going through it than it is getting out of it.” -Mike, 43.

“1. Don’t pay so much attention to what other people are doing and focus on yourself.
2. Don’t miss out on experiences that could be fun because you’re scared.
3. On that note, learn how to say no.
4. Take time to figure out what you love.
5. Learn to take care of yourself.
6. That boy? The one that doesn’t call back and only texts you late at night? He’s not worth any of it. Know your own worth well enough to say no.
7. Talk to your family. 
8. You’ll meet some of the best people in the world during this time: wonderful amazing loving people that will become your best friends.
9. On that note, you’ll meet some pretty awful people too. Keep your head up, and if someone is toxic, cut them out.
10. Relationships are hard. Sometimes things don’t work out for whatever reason and you’re stuck picking up the pieces alone. Remember that healing isn’t a linear process and these things take time. Don’t harden your heart just because you feel sad.
You’re only 22, you don’t have to have it all figured out now.”
-Tessa, 22 (Some content omitted for length purposes.)

“Watch the people you keep around because they’re the ones you’re giving the ability to do you wrong.” -August, 19

“Follow your dreams and don’t worry about making other people happy. Do your own thing.” -Erika, 23


Initially, I was going to omit the advice I would give to myself, but a friend suggested I include it. So, here we go.

What would I say if I could go back and tell my younger self something? Where do I even begin? 

Life is shitty sometimes, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. Instead of dwelling on everything that’s going wrong, focus instead on the blessings in your life. Find things that bring you joy, no matter how small they might be, and DO those things. Do them always. In this long and complicated life we live, there are few things that matter more than the simple pleasures. 

Find people that you love and who love you back and never let them go. Ever. Having people in your life who truly care about you is such an amazing feeling and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. When they need you, be there for them and they will be there for you in return when you need them. If you ever fall down and become broken, these people will be your crutch until you learn to walk on your own again.

Maintain the realization that people who mean a lot to you are worth you swallowing your pride sometimes.  Think to yourself: Is this little argument worth this friendship? Usually the answer is no. Apologize even if you’re not wrong–the relief that accompanies the end of a conflict is well worth it. Recognize that most people are worth more than your need to be right, but also be mindful of the ones that aren’t. 

Work your ass off. No one gets anywhere without true effort on their part. If you want to achieve your dreams of living in big cities and traveling the world, you’re going to have to put in 110%. But, it’ll all be worth it when you look back and see how far you’ve come. Make your parents proud. Make your friends proud. Most importantly though, make yourself proud of who you’ve become.

And lastly, love yourself, damnit. Always take care of you.” -Anna, 22

xx – A