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Outfit # 73: How do you like them apples?

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Since graduating, writing assignments seem less daunting. I don’t dread working and I don’t feel this constant lingering pressure. I realized how hard I worked in school, but now I’m wondering why. I knew grades didn’t matter post-grad, but I needed HOPE scholarship to help cover cost and I needed to graduate with honors for my own satisfaction.
And I did it.
I made it Magnum Cum Laude. During school I lessened my work load by taking 12 hours per semester. The first year I took 12 so I could devote as much time as possible to math and science classes, subjects I’ve always struggled with. Then I kept it at 12 so I could work for the school newspaper without having a nervous breakdown. My last two semesters I upped my hours, 15 and 18, so I could graduate “on time.”
Every day I would devote my attention to classes and give 110% of my effort to every assignment. I didn’t worry about my grades because my professors knew the standards I held for myself. They knew I wouldn’t turn in shoddy …

Outfit # 72: Mottos and Mantras

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I’m big on mottos and mantras and chants or any hopeful little phrase that reminds me to move forward. My newest one is, “I can do all things.” An indiscreet reference to Philippians 4:13 aka I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
It’s a good reminder that 1.) I am not alone and 2.) I am not incapable. Every day I’ve been having these punch-you-in-the-brain reminders that few people get to do what I’m doing right out of college. That thing being: exactly what I would like to do. Which is, in summation: talking to people, writing about them, helping other people write, making art, taking photos, staying home, going out, joining communities, making new ones, watching Netflix shows about art, cuddling with my dogs, developing more deep and meaningful relationships with my friends and family etc.
And I also keep having these just-stubbed-your toe revelations that everyone has a different path to their own kind of success. And that’s so freaking cool. It can be summed up wi…

Travel: Layover in the City of Lights

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On the way back from India we had a strategically planned layover in Paris. The few hours there gave us just enough time to see the Eiffel Tower, eat lunch and walk around the city before hopping back on a plane for 8 hours. We visited on a crisp, bright day. A sun halo hovering above us made the streets looked over-exposed.
Seeing Paris after three weeks in India is the strangest transition back to the United States I think you could manage. Even the air was different, more crisp. I felt like every pore of my body oozed American. All Parisians seem smooth, beautiful and effortlessly cooler than me. I don’t know if it’s the historic art and architecture at every corner or if there’s something in the water, but I felt clunky and lame in this city. Having just spent many hours on a plane didn't help either. I needed a flowy black dress and doc martens and red lipstick and a confident air about me to even begin to blend.

This is a city I promised myself I would return to. I want to se…

Understanding India: Last Glimpse

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I was jarred by India. The culture from root to tip was completely different from what I have known. To see the world is to see life in all of its complexity. I took an observational stance before the plane even took off. I wanted to soak everything up without judgement, accepting that I will not understand everything. 
There’s so much that I didn’t even cover in this series that we experienced. Maybe part of the magic is in the moments that I keep to myself. The moments of recognition, surprise and sadness. I would love to describe every room we stayed in, some with geckos scurrying on the walls, some with air conditioning, some with buckets and spigots for showers. We met a swami and we passed an eccentric Buddhist on the street. Mother Mary peeked over hedge rows. Cows crossed the street and ate out of dumpsters. McDonald’s fries are just as good half way across the globe. Laughing with a packed audience at a Bollywood film is incomparable to watching it back home with subtitles on…

Understanding India: Elephant Bath

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Nikki and I were walking around the mahout elephant camp. The behemoths wandered aimlessly with their shackles clanking. We stopped to look around, take photos. The rain had just quit and made the wet dirt smell and the tall trees sag. In front of us, a few yards ahead, an elephant froze. It looked directly at us. Its enormous body was frozen head to toe. The ears no longer flapping. The tail stopped swaying. A mahout told us to move on quickly. When an elephant freezes it’s a sign they are about to charge. The elephant was alerted to our presence and the longer we stood there staring back, the longer it weighed the decision to react. We shuffled off quickly with heads bowed.
*In another camp we watched the elephants get a good scrub behind their ears. This camp was different from the others because it was open for tourists and all the workers wore matching uniforms. The elephants seemed lackadaisical in the water, their trunks drifting like snorkels while they lay on their sides. Work…