Monday, May 31, 2010

The people you love in life don't deserve a "ya," they deserve a "you." And if you aren't comfortable saying "you," then you haven't experienced enough in life to grasp the meaning of the term.

People die. People get sick, and they die. People have tragic accidents, and they die. People disappear forever. People die.

Death is solely the most profound act of life that dictates how we live. Everyone knows someone who has died, but not everyone has experienced a death of a close friend or relative. I believe this is the turning point.

If you are scared of death, you probably haven't had anyone close to you die. Because death is a beautiful letting go, no matter the circumstances. The last deep breath of air, a total state of relaxation, and a final release. The battle leading up to death is the hard part, the easy part is letting go.

So, knowing that people die, regardless of how you feel about death, should dictate how you feel about and treat people. And no one that you truly love deserves a "ya."

I am not afraid of death. I don't ever remember a point in my life where the thought of one day perishing frightened me. This is not a statement of faith about the greatness of heaven or an afterlife, but an honest belief that everyone I love will get on just fine without me. And I do believe that. I've experienced death on a number of levels, and after the cloud of grief dissipates, there are beautiful memories that dance around inside of you daily. The people in your life that deserve a "you" will come to realize that you have effected them in ways they never recognized before.

Some people live their whole lives searching for a legacy. STOP! You are leaving one whether you are aware of it or not. You don't have to write 50 best selling novels. You don't have to win a Nobel Peace Prize. You don't have to write your name in history by joining a governmental office. And you don't even have to smile all of the time. All of those things will become worthless. Regardless of your station in life, be genuine with those you care about. Be concerned with matters of their heart and expect them to be concerned with yours. Respect everyone without hesitation. Trust everyone and know that they may not deserve your trust. Work hard for what you believe in, because talk means nothing. Remember how to play. Life is just a game, and it starts getting nasty when the competition outweighs the lesson. Tell people, truly tell people, how you feel.

Think of one person who died and it made you happy. That is a really difficult task. For example, the world hated Michael Jackson because he was different and because he was accused of molesting young boys. When he died, the majority of those people were saddened by his death. They didn't forget about the allegations, but they did set aside those feelings of betrayal and mourned for a man who influenced their lives.

The biggest influences are from the people who are unaware of their influence. My third grade teacher, Mrs. Cahill, taught me how to master the times table. I still think about her when I have to calculate a tip at a restaurant. My softball coach at BSC, Coach Perry, was brutal to me to get what she needed out of me. I think about her and those experiences every time I am faced with a difficult situation. A dad of one of my players my first season at ND got in my face and questioned a decision I made. I think about him any time I have to engage in a hard conversation. Influence.

Your influence in someone's life is all that you need to imprint yourself upon someone forever. And above all, it must be genuine. If I tried to make an influence on you, you would recognize that I am trying; trying is not genuine. Just be. And be happy.

I have a friend who, at this current moment, is struggling with finding someone who he can share his life with. We have had several conversations regarding the matter. All I can keep telling him and all I can think of is stop trying so hard. In my experience, in life and love, if you cannot be satisfied in the here-and-now, how can you expect to be satisfied after your search ends? How can you be so certain that the one thing you want most in life is going to satisfy that yearning? And that the one thing you are searching for has something to do with another person and their feelings. To me, this leaves happiness too much at chance. Happiness can't depend on an uncontrollable. If Matt walked away today or if something happened to him, I would be devastated, but my overall happiness in life would remain intact. I cannot control Matt and his decisions or what happens to him. I enjoyed life before him and I will enjoy life after him. And I don't feel like that takes away from our relationship. I honestly think part of that is what makes our relationship, and most successful relationships, work. Matt would be fine without me. I would be fine without Matt. But we have chosen to be happy together.

Yoda says, "Do or do not. There is no try." And while his voice is creepy, those words are true. Whatever station you have reached in your life, you have learned something from past experiences to prepare you for that moment. So there is no trying necessary. There is action, reaction, and result. The result could be good or bad, but you move on. You move on.

And you can be happy. Nowhere in our DNA is there an imprint for optimist or pessimist, happy or unhappy. These are choices that we make, whether conscious or subconscious. Depression, to some degree, is a choice. I cannot deny scientific evidence, but I believe that depression stems from a point of ignoring good. Things get bad in life. I get it. Really, I promise, I do. But being able to recognize that place between depression and sadness only means finding something good and hanging on to it. Finding something good, and not overanalyzing it. Letting it be good, and letting it make us happy.

I have some very special friends that make me very happy. One reason is that they find ways to "celebrate" over the most minute details. Celebration, at its core, is a foreign idea in our culture. We are taught to celebrate major market events: Memorial Day, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc. And sometimes, given the right situation, these marketed celebrations do not feel like a celebration. To me, and because of these friends, a real celebration means nothing but the simple fact that there is something to be happy about. Someone was really nice to me today at work: Let's Celebrate! Your new haircut looks really good: Let's Celebrate! There's college softball on TV: Let's Celebrate!

Happiness does not have to derive from the big moments. There is such a thing as unadulterated happiness. The initial moment of pure bliss before the rational mind takes over. No situation is perfect. It must be deciphered and picked apart and analyzed and decided upon. But the moment before all of that happens should sometimes allow for the happiness. People are not perfect. They must be lived with and talked to and seen and judged. But you can still love them.

If someone handed you a piece of paper and made you write down everything you thought about every one of your friends and it was going to be burned as soon as you finished writing, you'd realize that your friends aren't perfect. They have hurt you in ways that they are not aware of. They do things that you judge them for. They abandon you when you need them most. But you still love them. You still give them access to your heart.

I had a conversation in high school with a person who I still consider a "you." She, like me, had a very small group of people that were her "friends." And we came to the conclusion that we had a tiny gathering of people that we considered our "all the time friends" as well as a larger group of "weekend friends" and then an even larger group of "classroom friends." I think about this all the time. Because I have a lot of people that I would call my "friends," but there are different levels of friendship-dom that I don't know if we are able or willing to recognize. To me, no one is stuck in any particular class of friendship, because friendships ebb and flow. Its the willingness to recognize what someone is to you right now and what their potential is in the future. You still give them access to your heart, knowing that there is a great chance that they will fall through. That they can hurt you. But all relationships hang on this trust. All, relationships, not just relationships based on love in the romantic sense, take work.

People die. People come in and out of your life. And there is no shame or risk in saying "you," if you are content with "you" meaning something different to whom you are saying it and changing over time. If you feel it, say it. "Ya" is the scared, self-conscious "you." I love you. I do not "love ya."

Saturday, May 8, 2010


All of this wedding business stresses me out. I have 483 days to plan this thing, and I would like to plan all of it right now so I don't have to do anything else.

So far, I've:
-reserved the church
-picked out bridesmaids dresses (ish)
-decided what I'm going to wear
-decided what the boys are going to wear
-picked out a cake that I like (though I have not found anyone to make it)
-picked out what kind of flowers I like (though I have not talked to anyone about making that happen)

And considering I have 483 days until all of this has to come together, that's pretty good. But if I go by's checklist, I have completed 7 out of 182 things on the to-do list. Being the procrastinator that I am, I know I'm going to need all 483 days to make this happen.

I've been to two dress stores. One was just for fun (and turned out to be not fun) and the other was just to ask a question. This is where I've decided that I do not like planning a wedding. Just the act of being in the store makes me sweat. And then the questions make me want to run away. Because, like I've said before, I have no idea. I was not the little girl that always dreamed of her wedding day. I did not collect clippings of wedding details that I would die without. Heck, I barely paid attention to any of the details in all of the weddings I've been a part of for the past 5 years. All I can see in my head is that the weddings were pretty and sweet, but I don't know what kind of flowers we carried or what kind of food was served at the reception.

I know that weddings don't just happen, but I really wish that I could say I like these colors and I want everyone to have a fabulous time at the reception. Because all I really care about is the walking down the aisle to Matt part. After that, you guys can throw your own party and we'll just come to it. Wouldn't that be nice?

I own one bridal magazine, have a "pocket" binder that was given to me for wedding stuff, and the internet. These are my only anti-bride tools. And the magazine came in handy; I saw a cake that jumped out at me and voila! I have my wedding colors.

What I need is a wedding planner. Which makes me feel like a spoiled brat. But I'm totally willing to take a cut elsewhere so that we can fit a planner into the budget. If I could sit down with someone and tell them exactly, and in no detail, what I'm thinking and they could just make it happen. It would be magical.

Luckily for me, Matt has absolutely no opinion on anything wedding. I asked him about a tux yesterday and he said pretty much whatever. Which, I guess, is a lot better than having him involved in every detail, but dude, I'm as clueless as he is.

Now, I'm going to tell you about my two dress shop experiences. If you do not want to read about my complaining of one, just stop here. Because I'm about to go bridezilla on this store.

David's Bridal is a great option for a tight budget. They've got dresses that feel like paper but look great in pictures. You can get a dress for as little as $99, but buy a veil that costs more than the dress. Its pretty much the Walmart of dress shops. But my point is not about the quality of their merchandise, but the quality of their staff.

Emily and I went to David's about a month ago. It was totally for fun, definitely not for serious, but I pretty much had to sign my life away as well as my first child's just to look at any dresses. I had to register before I could walk 10 feet into the store. And by register, I mean: email address, home phone, cell phone, home address, wedding date, wedding budget, matt's email, phone, address, where we worked, how long we'd been together. Were they planning on doing a background check? Your dress costs less than our cell phone bill. And I'm not giving you my email address.

So after filling out all of the required paper work, we were finally released to the dresses. Of which, there were about 3 styles to pick from in my size. All of the doctor's office paperwork for this?

We had a sales rep follow us around the store in case we tried to stuff any crinolin gowns into our purses. The woman was nutzo. She shooed me to a fitting room and then proceeded to throw dresses over the door with so much sparkle and flare that I thought I might get sick on the dresses. And this was after I told her that I'm a very simple, no mess dress kind of girl. Stood outside of the door and made me come out in every dress. I wanted to cry. Finally, after about 30min of fashion show, I told her that before I could do anything, I really needed my mom. And at that point, I really needed my mom in the five-year-old spending the night at a friends house for the first time kind of way. Mommy, please help me escape this wedding hell bliss.

I thought I was home free. Emily was laughing at my agony (and you can't blame her, it was humorous) while I was scurrying to disassemble the iron maiden bra they had me in and put on some semblance of real fabric. I broke out of the fitting room and tried to make a mad dash for the door while our sales rep was tending to the dresses, but she caught me. Before I could even leave the store, they made me schedule a return appointment with her so I could bring my mom back. Like I said, signed my life away. So, I scheduled the appointment knowing that I would never return, and sprinted for the door. Such a bad first wedding planning experience.

Obviously, the sales tactic works with people, or David's Bridal would be out of business, fast. If the whole world were like me, though, the sales tactic would be you're either going to buy a dress or not, and nothing I do or say or bring you is going to change that. I'm the kind of person that likes walking in a store all sweaty and nasty, knowing that the sales reps are going to look away and pretend I'm not there. That's my shopping tactic. Don't talk to me, I'll find it myself, and I am very much okay with making my own decisions without your opinion.

Needless to say, the David's Bridal experience definitely altered my view of wedding planning. Now, every time I need to get something done or talk to someone regarding the wedding, I immediately imagine myself caged up in a fitting room desperately trying to get out.

Besides the fact that I'd like a wedding planner so I don't have to deal with it, I'd also like to plan everything and tell no one what the plans are. I don't want anyone to know what I want because I really like it, so I don't want any negative feedback or subliminal I-don't-like-that-suggestions. On the wedding day, it can just be like surprise! and everyone will be having too much fun to care about the colors or the flowers or the cake or the music or the dresses or the tuxes.

My second dress shop experience was truly wedding magical. Like I said earlier, I just went in to ask a question and check out bridesmaids options. I did not expect my hardened anti-bride heart to swoon. But I'm going to save that story for a later date.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I bought a bra the other day that actually fit. Usually, I'm a sports-bra-all-the-time kind of girl, but sometimes I bring out the real, fully lined, underwire bra. It doesn't make me feel more feminine or pretty. In fact, they are rather uncomfortable and, in my opinion, unflattering. I do sometimes feel, however, that I'm doing my boobs a disservice by always binding them down.

I became a "woman" at the tender age of 14, but my "woman parts" didn't develop until I was probably 18 or 19. So this whole wrangling the girls into position thing is still uncharted territory. The theory is this: because I was diagnosed with Crohn's at 15, my doctors think that I was probably deprived of a lot of nutrient absorption through my colon and it stunted my growth. To think, I could have been a 6' DD kind of woman. And I thank God every day that I'm not. I wish I could put a slide show on here of my progression through high school and college. Then you could really see what I'm talking about. But since I don't have those pictures handy to timeline, I'll just have to show by telling.

Age 14: Looked pretty much like a mouse with horse teeth. While I am thankful for my smile now, it was entirely too large for my face from about 12-16. Weighed less than 100lb. Stood at probably 5'1" or 5'2". My favorite outfit was a pair of washed out Gap jeans that had a nice little fray starting in the knee and a horrendous pink sweater that my Gigi bought me (that I still have).

At 15: Not a whole lot of change. Until...dun dun dun...steroids. Not anabolic, performance enhancing steroids, but prednisone. The kind of steroids that make you want to eat ALL of the time, make your cheeks swell like you're storing food for the winter months, and give you the jitters. Steroids made me a fat kid for the first time in my life, and sometimes I still kind of live there. My clothes stopped fitting, I couldn't stop eating, but I was "healthy" by all medical standards.

16-17: Stringy hair, braces, still no boobs (and at this point in my life, like any teenager, I longed for them), stick legs.

18-19: College. Which means weight gain of roughly 10lb, then loss of about 15 (when softball started). And then magically, one day, I woke up and had these foreign objects attached to my chest. Gone were the days of built-in-bra tanktops.

I was, quite literally, a late bloomer. Now, I'm not going to try to say here that my boobs were the only body part effected by Crohn's. I might have grown a few more inches, or I might not have. Maybe I would have been able to build muscle more efficiently, maybe not. But the instant boobage definitely stuck out. And they still surprise me today.

Imagine it like this: Hypothetically, you wear a size 0 jean. So no butt, hips, or thighs. And hypothetically, you wear a size 34 C bra. There's disproportion there.

I really can't imagine what people like Heidi (from that MTV know? the one that's had like 117 plastic surgeries) are thinking when they get breast implants that make them lean a little when they walk. Here I am walking around trying to hide them, and people are putting plastic under their pectoral muscles and filling the plastic with foreign substances to make them stick out more. That is as crazy to me as someone walking into a doctor's office and saying, "I want bigger eyes. Here, just take mine out and use these marbles. Yep, that will do it."

My aha! moment came the other day while I was bra shopping. I have a few ol' trusty bras, but I just felt compelled to check out my options (plus I had a coupon for $15 off). Normally, I will buy the size down in a bra because it makes me feel a little more secure. I've been fitted for bras probably 3 times and they've all given me the same measurements. But I never use them. So, as an experiment, I took to the dressing room the size that I normally buy and the size that I've been fitted as. I tried on the size I normally buy first. Not bad. And then the size I'm measured for. Are you kidding me? A bra can look this good?

I'm not saying its good enough to wear without a shirt over it, but its definitely okay to wear under one. And its given me a new rationale.

Lets say that I want to drop a jean size. The next time I go jean shopping, I might buy the size down in jeans hoping that at some point they will fit right. Well, a bra size is not like a jean size. Unless I dropped or put on an ungodly amount of weight, boobs are going to stay the same size. Kind of like feet. Once you've got your shoe size, you're pretty much good for life. So, its funny to me that at 24, I have just now given into my bra size.

Its just one more thing that I'd like to add to my list of things learned after college.