IMG_6620

Angeline and I at one of the office’s photo booth days!

Is it any surprise that I missed another Gratitude Journal post? Well, I suppose I didn’t miss it, but I’m fashionably late once again. In my defense, this past Sunday I was at Seattle’s Bumbershoot music festival for three days and was extremely distracted and exhausted. Sundays may be poor days to schedule these posts, after all.

Nevertheless, today is Wednesday and Wednesdays are always great days to focus on the many things we have to be grateful for to get us over the hump of the week!

I’ve been thinking about what I want this post to be about, and today it just feels right to write about how thankful I am for my internship experience thus far. As many of you know due to previous blog posts/videos/giveaways, I’ve been working for a small philanthropic business called Compendium this past spring and summer. I’m working on their Sales and Marketing team, and although my heart doesn’t belong necessarily in that sect of the company, I still have gained so much from my experience.

I don’t see myself doing sales or marketing for a company, and I’m not even sure I want to build a career in the for-profit realm, but if I ever were to work for a for-profit long-term, it would be this one. I’ve gotten to own and work on my own projects, I have been well-respected within the company by my co-workers (and friends!), and this community of people clearly wants to make a positive impact on the world. Although driving sales is definitely a primary goal of any company, Compendium truly seeks to create products that inspire individuals and families to lead happier lives. And if I feel comfortable selling anything, it’s going to be happiness.

Talking to my fellow college students who have been interning this summer, so many of them are working 7 am – 7 pm days, and most of that time is spent getting coffee for people. Most of my friends are not respected in their work environment, and they really just do most of the dirty work around the office. My internship experience has been so different from that that I cannot even begin to imagine what kind of working environment that would be like. At the end of the day, I just feel so incredibly blessed that this opportunity fell into my lap like it did.

I feel very secure in the fact that I was meant to have this job experience. I was meant to get a taste of this kind of business, seeing as all my other internship experiences have been for NGO’s. I was meant to get a glimpse into this company, and I feel like there’s a high possibility I may end up back here after graduation.

The Compendium family is very aware of my blog, so if any of my co-workers are reading this by chance, I just want to say thank you for making this such an incredibly positive experience for me. As I head into my junior year of college, I feel a little more stable in the fact that I’m half-way through school and will be facing the “real world” sooner than I think. Seeing the joy and satisfaction these employees get out of their work gives me hope for my future, and I’m beyond grateful that I’ve been able to witness that.

If you would like to check out what Compendium is all about, click here to visit their website or read some of the blog posts that include their products!

xx

banksy art phone

Art courtesy of Banksy.

It’s difficult to find true connection, commitment, and friendship in the 21st century. It’s not easy to bust down the barrier of our technology-filled lives; it’s like breaking and entering into somebody’s heart. Everybody’s got theirs completely surrounded by gadgets and gizmos of all kinds – phones, Netflix, laptops, Facebook, iPads, computers, stereos, Twitter, kindles, Instagram, TVs, blue-ray, Snapchat – the list goes on and on and on. And I’m guilty of it, too. Focusing on my phone when I should be focusing on the person in front of me. Trying to multitask with 3 different social media sites when I really should be focusing solely on my homework. Answering phone calls when I should be answering the people I’m sitting across the table from. I’ve made the deal with the devil, too, and I’m suffering for it just as much as the next person.

Just yesterday I was at a going away party for a friend that’s moving to France for two years. We were all laughing, reminiscing, and chatting most of the night, but we all had our phones in our hands… at beck and call just in case anybody were to text or snapchat us. After the party, I decided to stop and visit a friend that just moved into his new apartment on my walk home. We were catching up and making plans and talking, but he kept looking down at his phone to respond to texts or change the music on his stereo. And I couldn’t help but feel entirely disconnected from somebody I usually feel a really authentic bond with. I knew I was competing with his virtual reality, and I knew I was losing.

This morning I was reading an article on Elite Daily called How Sex Isn’t The Only Form of Infidelity These Days, and it was ridden with examples of how incredibly dull and drab our relationships have become due to our incessant obsession with the World Wide Web. It was focusing primarily on romantic relationships, but I think it points at some valid truth about all types of relationships and friendships: we care far more about the people we follow on Instagram than the people who are sitting right in front of us. We don’t hesitate to “like” photos of strangers and their seemingly perfect lives, but we don’t tell those we love how incredibly valuable and beautiful they are to us. We would rather subtweet our frustrations or hurt rather than confront and be honest with the people who have caused us pain.

I don’t understand it. I don’t see the value in that type of behavior, and I know that I’ve a culprit in this game just as much as anybody else. Who are we becoming? What kind of future are we creating for our children if we perpetuate this kind of barren and disconnected communication? What are we setting ourselves up for? Sad, lonely lives, I think. Lives that are lived online, but never in Love.

I’m not advocating for a technology free life. I see the value, importance, and immense progress we’ve made through the development of technology. What I am advocating for is a step away from technology. A step away from the obsession we have with the lives of others and what they post online, so that we can learn how to whole-heartedly live our own.

Free-Sign[1]

Today is September 2nd, and I’m welcoming Fall with open arms. This past summer, hell all of 2015, has been the most difficult, most challenging, most debilitating, and most rewarding time in my entire life. I’ve been dealing with demons within myself, and within my relationships with others. They so often go hand in hand, and it’s funny how true it is that when it rains, it pours. I’ve built up a lot of anger and resentment towards certain individuals in my life that have done me wrong. People who have hurt, disrespected, and dehumanized me. People who have seemed to come into my life just to fuck with me, then disappeared entirely without closure or communication or understanding. The worst kind of heartbreak is the kind you just don’t understand. Because it haunts you. It sits with you and all that you do.

And as my summer break comes to a close, I’m starting to recognize that some of these individuals are going to be in my life once again. People I haven’t seen in months that I’ve felt hurt or betrayed by are going to be around once I start school back up again, and I’m going to have to face the pain that I’ve learned to process alone. I guess I’m just nervous because it is much different to see somebody face to face and figure out how to react than it is to plan out with your girlfriends what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it in the months leading up to it. Often times, the pain that you think you’ve worked through comes right back when you run into the person that caused it. I know this because it still sits with me when I’m alone even still. I know it’ll make a stand when I’m faced with the real live individual(s) that I wish I could all together avoid.

I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to handle it, I guess, but I’m fairly certain with how I hope to handle it: with kindness.

Kindess is free (which is incredibly good news to me because I’m a broke college student).

It’s easy to be kind to those who have done you no harm. It’s a walk in the park to smile at someone that hasn’t left a significant scar in your heart. It’s effortless to say hello to a friendly stranger, acquaintance, or classmate. But it takes courage, strength, and confidence to be kind to those who have hurt you most. It takes a lot of will power to not walk up to the person and call them out, or more realistically, run to the bathroom and cry/puke (I have this really weird thing where I get sick when I’m overly emotional… TMI? sorry).

Along with kindness not costing a damn thing (except perhaps a little bit of my pride.. but screw the ego), the impact kindness can have is also priceless. You never can fully comprehend the power kindness can have, and often times it leaves a much larger impact than you necessarily expected. Perhaps the person that left you heartbroken is the person that needs kindness the most. Or perhaps not. Perhaps they really don’t care what you think of them or how they made you feel. But either way, there’s so much freedom is letting go of the past, and embracing the best parts of yourself when handling difficult situations. And the way you confront the heartbreak you experience in this life says a whole lot more about you than it does the heartbreaker. So do you best to handle it with Grace.

As I read through this post, I’m slightly chuckling at myself because there’s a part of me that sees this as incredibly naïve. Do I really expect myself to me calm and collected in this situation? Well, the answer to that is no, but I’m sure as hell going to try.

Who knows how I’ll handle bumping into mystery person(s) in the near future, but I’m going to do my best to be kind, graceful, and strong. Above all, I owe that to myself.

1981940_10203327540212893_255004472_n[1] 11001878_10206014042293766_4429378025957109649_n[1]

Welp! I already failed at this new project of writing a post on gratitude every Sunday. To be fair, I had a busy day yesterday and it simply just didn’t cross my mind. But I’m at work right now on my lunch break, and it hit me that I didn’t post yesterday for The Gratitude Journals! Better late than never, right?

Mondays are great days to spend time meditating on all that I have to grateful for, too! It’ll help me start off my week in the mindset that I desire, and it will bring forth more positivity and light throughout the next 7 days undoubtedly. So here goes it.

Today I am feeling incredibly thankful for my health and the health of my family. I was having dinner with a friend and his family last night, and his parents were asking about how my family was doing – in particular, how the older members of my family were doing health-wise. I replied with the habitual “good, good”, but it really did get me thinking about how blessed I am that my health is in good condition, and that my family isn’t facing any major complications.

That isn’t to say that everything is perfect. My mother is disabled and struggles quite a bit, as well as other people that are close to me. But nobody is facing a life-threatening disease and nobody has cancer. Thank God.

It’s easy to focus on how those I love are struggling. Because, to be frank, there are quite a few people in my life that are struggling right now. But as I sat with my thoughts last night after dinner, I realized that the only way to bring forth healing for myself and those I love is to focus my energy on all that is good. And there really is so much that is good.

So thank you God for all that is right and well. Thank you for my health, and the health of those around me. Although not everything is ideal by any means, my family is alive and I am alive, and I am beyond grateful for everyday that I get to share with them. Despite the pain I’ve witnessed growing up, it has brought me closer to Love and to You. And for that, I have something to eternally celebrate.

unhappy_couple_dinner

I’ve been reading some hilarious blogs recently. Ever since I started writing more myself, I’ve started reading people’s internet work more often… sometimes for inspiration, sometimes out of curiosity, and mostly for shits and giggles during my lunch breaks. I really like the blogger Jessie Rosen, who writes for her own website called 20-nothings.com. She’s incredibly talented, and she’s the type of writer that just gets it. In fact, she just gets a whole lot more than I do. I’m always laughing and learning when I read her work, and that’s why I keep going back. She’s witty, honest, and smart as a whip. The more I read her blog, the more I’m (not-so-) secretly hoping she’ll rub off on me. Is it working?

The post I particularly chuckled at was this one: The Strong (And Highly Recommended Case) For Acting Like You Don’t Want A Boyfriend. I clicked on it because it caught my eye. I clicked on it because I, myself, am in a position where I don’t really want a boyfriend. Or a commitment. Or too much emotional baggage. I’m happy I clicked on it, though, because it explored some incredibly fruitful advice that I think every. single. person. should think about when entering the dating scene, or a new relationship. This is what I’ll think back to when I decide to give dating the old college try once again.

Beginning with date number one: Stop pretending like you’re the person you’re fairly sure your date wants you to be. Chances are that you don’t really know said person, and you’re purely guessing after doing some fairly thorough Facebook stalking. So you put on your favorite flattering outfit (ok, understandable), but worst of all, you put on a personality that strokes their ego. NO. STOP. You are not that person, and you wouldn’t want them to be anybody except themselves. Who wants to find out 5 dates in that they’ve been dating somebody entirely different than who they previously thought? Nobody. Nobody wants to be blind sighted, and nobody wants to waste their time. Time is, after all, our most valuable asset. So before that first date, or that second or third or fourth, look yourself in the mirror and become centered into your own personality. You owe your date nothing but authenticity. And if you two don’t jive well, then don’t you want to find that out at the beginning? Don’t you want to realize that before those (sometimes nonsensical) feelings get involved and demand to be felt?

I’m not saying not to put your best foot forward. I mean, I think it’s obvious that you don’t want to arrive with a bunch of baggage when you’re getting to know someone. But you’re a person! A human fully capable of experiencing experiences and feeling feelings. And those experiences and feelings have shaped you into you. So embrace that you. Express that you. Especially when looking for a partner.

As I write this out, I keep asking myself… Well, why is this such a big problem in the first place? It’s seems strange and counterproductive to pretend to be someone other than yourself at any point, but especially when testing the relationship waters with another individual. But I think I just answered the question that I asked: because of the ego. It’s always all about the ego, and we are all prone to protecting said ego. Nobody wants to get rejected, so subconsciously, we all try to fit the mold that we think the other person desires. But chances are, your date doesn’t entirely know what they want. And loving a real person is so much different than deciding in your head the type of person you want to love. Often times, the best relationships show us the things we didn’t even know we were looking for.

So stop worrying about rejection. It’s going to happen. And it’s going to sting. But I don’t know about you…. I sure as hell would rather nurse that bee sting back to health rather than fix a broken heart that’s realized the person you’ve spent all your time with doesn’t actually love the real you. Trust me.. I’ve been there. And that wounds lasts a whole lot longer.

Dating doesn’t have to be a pretender’s game. It shouldn’t be. Dating can real and authentic and serendipitous. When it is all those things (and much, much more), it’s a lot more likely to lead to the relationship you never realized you needed. The one that sweeps you off your feet, but also keeps you grounded. The one that loves you unconditionally, but also leaves room for you to love yourself. The one that makes you feel more alive, more you, more human. Those relationships exist, and I think Jessie was right: they happen when you stop looking for them, and instead start looking for yourself (*hint *hint… start your search right underneath your own skin).