Tea Talk: The Grand Scheme of Things

Hello, World.

As my twentieth birthday approaches, I can’t help but think about the fact that I am leaving my “teen” years behind. For years, I wanted to be a grown up, I wanted to make a life for myself, and I wanted to have great success. Now, I’m just about to turn twenty, and it seems the grown up phase of my life is setting in. Twenty seems like a bigger stepping stone than when I turned eighteen, and was legally an adult. I realize eighteen was a special birthday in that I was able to vote, I graduated high school, I started college, and I moved away from home. So, in a nutshell, eighteen was great, but now twenty is here, and I feel like my twenties will be the GREAT years. This decade seems like a big transition period for most people, and I imagine my twenties will be similar. Why? Well, I plan to graduate college, move on to law school, get a job, maybe get married, etc. Right now, regardless of what I envision, I feel like anything is possible.

grand schemeAs I get nearer to this decade of my life, I can’t help but think about what I’ve accomplished this far, what I’ve failed at, and what I’ve experienced. It feels like SO much has happened in my nineteen years. There are some memories that stick out because they were simply amazing (like starting college), and there are others that stick out because they caused heartache, but also taught me so much about who I was, who I am, and where I’m going. There were moments that made me question the road I was on, and there were moments that changed my direction without me even realizing it until I ended up exactly where I needed to be. I had a conversation with someone back in November, and I said something to the effect of “in the grand scheme of this life, will any of this really matter someday?” I didn’t realize how much I meant those words until I spoke them.

I’m someone who tries to conceal my emotions most of the time, as I don’t particularly enjoy being hurt (although, who really does?). But when I invest my time and energy in something, I take it pretty hard when it doesn’t work out. This goes for work, school, relationships, friendships, etc. There are moments that define us, and there are moments that we think will define our future, but end up being such a minute detail. Sometimes the biggest moments are the smallest, and sometimes the smallest moments are the biggest. In the past nineteen years, I’ve planned and I’ve been disappointed, I’ve left it up to fate and I’ve been surprised. In life, we talk a lot about the grand scheme of things, but I don’t think I really understood what it meant until this year.

The Grand Scheme of Things isn’t about planning your life so completely that you end up planning every detail of every year to make sure you make no mistakes. The Grand Scheme of Things isn’t about pinpointing the moments when you grew into yourself or when you realized you changed. The Grand Scheme, at least as I’ve come to know it, is figuring out what’s important to you. The Grand Scheme is evaluating an event, and weighing all sides, and deciding if you’re going to be defeated or if you’re going to get up, fight back, and overcome every obstacle that’s been in your way thus far. There are moments that as they are happening, you think, “this is it. It’s all downhill from here. I’ve done my best, and I was just massacred.” Well, if you’re like me, then you’ve probably realized at some point that you’re only nineteen, and that if your thought process is “I cannot do better,” then you’re setting yourself up for failure time and time again. We have to continue to set the bar a little higher so that even when we reach our goals, we can continue reaching for something greater. I’m not saying to never be satisfied with what you have. I’m saying love what you have, appreciate what you have, but treat it like it’s fleeting, cherish it every day, and aspire to make it greater.

Is there such a thing as setting the bar too high? Only if you are disappointed with what you DO achieve. Be content, but not complacent. Be driven, but grateful. Remember, we all have the power to be happy, and we all have the power to make ourselves and our goals better and stronger. I’m so excited to begin the next phase of my life, and as I get there, I think I need to remind myself that although much of my teen years won’t affect The Grand Scheme, they’re still important years in my life.

How do you feel about The Grand Scheme? What’s it mean to you?

Truly,
Callie leigh

Tea Talk: Long Distance Relationships (friends edition)

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Hello, World.

Remember last summer when I wrote a post about long distance relationships? Well, things have changed since then. Almost every couple I wrote about broke up because the distance got to be too much, and people that were close to one of the people in the couple got too intriguing to ignore. It turns out, long distance relationships are harder than I thought. They usually involve a series of quietness, when people are beginning to understand the relationship is hitting a wall, and it continues until the fateful phone call or encounter that ends it all. So, in light of this discovery, I decided to write a post about long distance relationships with FRIENDS. As a college student, I am cursed with spending nine months with my close friends, then having to go home and not see them very much for three months. People can change so much in three short months, but friends are really good at staying close despite the distance.

Friends, and I mean true friends, are able to go months without speaking, and as soon as they’re reunited, they pick up as if no time passed. I realize this sounds cliche, but in all honesty, it is one of the biggest truths I’ve learned in my experience thus far. One of my closest friends from home, Rossy, is the friend who constantly checks in with me to make sure I’m surviving, and she bugs me about when I will be home next (which I greatly appreciate). I love friends who keep in touch, and I’m not so hot on friends that, well, don’t. This year is fairly easy as far as staying in contact with my friends because all but roughly three of them live within walking distance of my residence hall. Next year, however, will be a bit of a difficulty for various reasons.

First, I will be a Resident Advisor on campus, which is time-consuming, and means I will be living in a first year residence hall. I am so excited to hold the position, and I feel so blessed with the opportunity. This position simply means my friends will be a little farther away than normal, though I go to such a small school its not a big deal. Anyway, I will be busier next year, and  I want to make sure I am maintaining my friendships while being the best RA possible.

Second, my best friend on campus, Holly, will be studying abroad in London during Fall Semester, which is completely awesome, but means there will be an ocean between us. In this regard, I have to make sure facetime is always working, and that the art of letter writing is picked back up because I want to make sure we are staying in consistent contact. I’m not sure how it’s going to be not living with her anymore, but I’m excited for her study abroad experience.

Third, a few of my friends are moving off campus, which will signify the first time any of my friends aren’t living on campus with me. It’ll be an interesting adjustment, but I plan to make sure I still go on coffee runs with them between class, or invite them over for dinner on nights I’m not on duty as an RA.

Most people don’t have to figure out how to actively maintain friendships until graduation, when you will not be physically with your friends for extended periods of time. My friends and I have to figure it out halfway through our college career. It is an interesting adjustment, but my roommate and I keep discussing it, and we believe it’ll be the time when we really figure out which bonds are worth working for. I love my friends, but busy schedules and distance can test people more than any written exam in a classroom. I want to make sure I am keeping in contact with them, and hanging with them whenever possible.

I feel long distance friendships are 100 times easier than long distance relationships, but I think both take work on the parts of both people. Friends who truly care about one another never stop putting the work in because the bond is slightly stronger than being in a relationship, or maybe there is just less pressure, I’m not sure. Regardless, friendships are important, and friends make people happiest, so in the next year I want to make sure that distance makes the heart grow fonder! Keep in mind that once college ends, people are going to be leaving for jobs, graduate school, programs, etc., and you want to make sure your bonds are strong enough to withstand the distance. With the amount of technology permeating today’s society there are really no excuses for NOT keeping in contact with the people who are important to you.

“True friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.” -anonymous

Truly,
Callie Leigh

Support Systems in College

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Hello, World.

Something that’s consistently on my mind lately is support systems, specifically in college. If you’re like me, and went to college just far enough from your family that you notice their absence, then you know that sometimes it’s hard not having the constant support of family and lifetime friends around you constantly. I am one of those people who tries to talk to their mom or dad everyday, and when I’m really upset, I immediately call my mom in desperate need of reassurance. Most people assume that college friends kind of assume the role of your family, and that they will inevitably be your support system. Sometimes it’s hard, though, because if you’re going through something really heavy, or are super proud of something but you just feel a little unsupported, finding you “support group” on campus can be difficult.

At home, my friend Rossy is always happy for me, always accepting of me, and always willing to lend an ear when I’m upset. In college, I have a similar support system with my friends, but sometimes I feel like I’m dwelling on things too much, and I can feel them becoming bored, and I hate to feel like a burden. But again, I’m not saying I don’t have a support system in college, I’m simply saying that sometimes is can be hard to adjust to having a support system that is predominantly people who have known you forever, to people who have only known you for a year. It can be a change, and it can be difficult, but I wanted to offer some words of advice about finding your niche, and ways to feel supported while away from your main support system.

First, I’m a huge advocate of journaling. I find this a little more therapeutic than talking to people, because it gives me the opportunity to vent about life, and just get all my thoughts out without having anyone give me advice. This also removes the possibility of people being negative about something you’re happy about, or saying something that comes off as rude, even if it was not intended to be rude. Journals are the most forgiving confidant, so if you’re “having a lot of feeling,” don’t make a cake of rainbows and smiles, but pick up a journal (Barnes and Noble has some really beautiful leather journals).

Second, call someone you love. With all the technology available today, it’s much easier to bring your support system to you, even if they’re not physically with you. There’s also Skype, FaceTime, and other forms of communication where you can see the person if you prefer that to just their voice. I really enjoy talking to my family when I need to talk to someone, but don’t feel like to talking to someone at school.

Third, I would suggest being your own best cheerleader. I know that sounds ridiculously cheesy, but honestly, sometimes we have to keep our heads up, even if the rest of the world is trying to dim our shine. If you don’t believe in yourself, and know your values or goals, then no one else is going to know either, and therefore be unable to offer you much comfort or advice. Being proud of who you are is important, so remember that if you accomplish something awesome, to remind yourself that you’re capable of whatever you set your mind to! I feel like this post relates a lot to my thoughts about Drama, and ways to avoid it. Part of finding a support system is finding people who love you, support you, and compliment you when it’s appropriate. Make sure you surround yourself with positivity because positivity breeds more positivity, and you want people who encourage you to be yourself and be successful. Try to avoid people who are constantly negative because that will make your support system negative, and well, a negative support system isn’t a support system at all, is it?

How do you make sure you feel supported in college?

Truly,
Callie leigh

Tea Talk: Confidence

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Hello, World.

I haven’t posted a ‘tea talk’ recently, so I wanted to share some thoughts about something. At first, I couldn’t think of any one thing I wanted to dedicate a whole post to, because so many thoughts have been going through my head lately about so many different topics. Then one day I was talking to my friend about the difference between selfishness, cockiness, and confidence. All three are so close, and yet they don’t actually touch. So, this post will be about confidence, and what it means to be confident. I don’t think being confident is synonymous with being selfish, but I think sometimes people believe it is. Just because you are confident does not mean you are constantly thinking of only yourself. I also do not think that being confident is synonymous with cockiness. Sure, people can take it to extremes, and say, “I’m the best looking, I’m the best student, I’m the best person on this planet,” but confident people aren’t necessarily self-absorbed.
I think it’s a shame that people are told everyday that if they think highly of themselves that they are self-righteous. But let me just say, there is world of difference between owning who you are (i.e., being confident), and being a totally conceited jerk (i.e., cocky). I’m a firm believer that people who respect themselves, and who are content with their being are much happier than people who look in the mirror every day and see their enemy. You should love yourself, enough to let people’s harmful words or judgments roll off your back, but not so much that you begin making other people feel poorly.
In a lot of ways, the sentiments from my tea talk on loving yourself are applicable to this post, but I want to highlight the idea that being confident isn’t negative. “Confidence is key,” remember? I feel most confident when I am completely content with everyone in my life, all the decisions I’m making, and how I’m doing in school. I carry myself better, and I don’t feel as hard on myself when my friends express their happiness with their own lives. Confident people are powerful, they are people we follow, they are the people we gravitate toward, and they are the people we strive to resemble. In this regard, I think that confidence couples nicely with positivity, since positive people are typically confident and confident people radiate positivity.
This is why I don’t think that confidence should be so condemned. Some people are falsely confident, and some people exaggerate their confidence, but I think if people can present themselves as genuinely confident, they are better off than the incessantly negative person. Again, there is a fine line between the confident person and the truly conceited individual. Conceited people are annoying, because they are typically very vocal about how amazing they are, whereas the truly confident person usually just has a sense about them. Some of the most confident people I know, the people I aspire to be like, are quietly confident. They are humble, yet you know they are utterly content with and proud of whom they are. Confidence should be seen as positive, and not necessarily self-righteous or annoying. So, be confident, be happy, and be you.

Truly,
Callie Leigh

Thoughts on Moving Forward

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Hello, World.

With the New Year approaching in the next few days, I wanted to do a tea talk. I originally planned to do “new beginnings,” or “reinventing yourself,” or something equally as New Year-esque and cheesy. Every year, I always think I’m going to start over, change everything completely, and become a whole new person, but the past defines us, and I wouldn’t be me without everything that happened in 2013, and every year before that. So, this year I’m changing things up a bit, and instead of talking about new beginnings as totally new, I’ll be discussing moving forward. I wanted to do a 2013 review, so I figured this would be a great space to review my year, and discuss moving forward. 2013 brought a lot of change, as I discussed in my talk on change. If I was to write this post at the beginning of the year, or even halfway through, it would read much differently. The first half of 2013 was awesome, with some downs, but mostly ups. I was completely satisfied with school, so happy I ended up at Saint Mary’s, I had great friends, my first play placed in a script contest, and I even found a little love. But then summer came, and despite the fact that everything in summer is supposed to be easier, everything got harder. Much, much harder. My dad was sick all summer, my sister’s best friend from high school passed away, and I lost love in a matter of weeks. To top it all off, fall semester was by far the hardest semester I’ve ever had in my entire academic career. But despite all of that, I loved being a WOWie, and I absolutely love the people I have in my life at the moment. They are truly amazing.
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Somewhere in the midst of the semester, things started looking up, as they always do after a spell of bad luck. Thank goodness! I’m always nervous that things aren’t going to get better, but what I’ve realized is that things take time so we must be patient. 2014 is a brand new year, and I’m so excited to take all the hardships I’ve gone through this year to make a better me. Time changes everything, and it only took 3 months this summer for my entire life to change, to alter ever so slightly, ever so quickly, that for most of the semester I was left wondering what the hell happened, and why I was screwed over so hard. I’ve never felt so lost before, but I think 2014 will be year of self-discovery, and moving on from a past that seemed horribly important, but really, was just a fleeting moment in the grand scheme of things. I’m tired of being unsure, and I’m tired of feeling like I did something wrong, and like I somehow deserve all the crap that’s gone wrong in the past year. So it’s time I take control of my life, and start choosing me. Moving forward can mean a lot of different things to different people. For some, it really is starting over, moving to a new place, and changing themselves. For others, it’s simply changing a specific thing, like your morning routine so that you start each day anew.

For me, moving forward is going to entail accepting my past, but no longer trying to change it. It’s going to mean working out everyday, and refocusing on schoolwork, and it’s going to entail being happy, and not feeling sorry for myself. Moving forward is also going to mean changing some things, like whom I allow in my life, and whom I don’t. John Green once said, “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, but you do have some say in who hurts you.” This year, I’m taking this seriously, and no longer accepting people in my life who do nothing but break my trust…and my heart.

Moving forward feels amazing, and I’m a firm believer that nothing good comes from living in the past. Your past is your past for a reason, and if someone or something was meant to be, it would have been, so don’t get hung up on the “what if’s” or the “could have beens,” because a new year means new chances, and if you’re still living in the past, you’ll miss everything that could be.

Truly,
Callie leigh

Tea Talk: Clarity

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Hello, World.

I haven’t done a ‘tea talk’ in a while, and in the few moments I’ve had to just contemplate the meaning of life lately, something keeps coming to mind: the idea of clarity. As I mentioned in one of my recent posts, a lot changed in my life in a very short time, and it was a bit of a whirlwind that I’m still trying to sift my way through. However, the more life goes on, and the more minutes and days pass, the more I have this overwhelming sense of clarity. The definition of clarity is a clearness of thought or style (according to a free online dictionary), and I think that this is pretty accurate. I don’t know about you, but I feel really damn good about my life lately. I feel like I’m starting to get my stuff together, and realize I want to be. I want to look back when I’m sixty years old, with gray hair, and a big family, and know that I did something of importance to someone… even if it was something that was only important to me.

So, what is clarity? And how the hell does it apply to life? For me, clarity comes in the small moments. It comes rushing in in the moments when I least expect it. It consumes me, and overwhelms me, but lets me know that everything, and I do mean everything, is exactly as it is supposed to be. Clarity, or at least my interpretation of clarity, applies to my life because there are moments when I take a deep breath, and realize that everything in my life, including the awful messes, led me to where I am right now. And right now is really important because it affects where I go from here. For me, clarity has come lately in the sense that I’ve begun to understand things about myself I never realized. For example, I like being single. I have this really terrible tendency of falling for the wrong people, and putting my trust in people who don’t care or change their minds. But a few weeks ago, I was walking across campus, and I realized that people come into our lives for a reason, to teach us something—to teach us what we don’t want, to teach us that some people are immensely selfish, or to teach us that being loyal means different things to different people—but regardless of what they teach us, they spent time in our lives because we needed them for some reason. And when people leave our lives, we should let them go, because if they really wanted to be a part of us, they would be. And that was a moment of clarity for me.

My second major moment of clarity recently is that I have absolutely no idea what I actually want to do with my life. For years, I’ve wanted to be a writer, someone who writes something that means something to someone, and I still want to write. But I also want to go into publishing. Ever seen The Proposal? I want to be Sandra Bullock, but nicer, and with a soy pumpkin chai latte instead of her unsweetened cinnamon light soy latte. Anyway, lately though, the idea of law school keeps entering my mind. I don’t know why, and I don’t know if I’ll end up at law school in roughly 2.5 years, but hey, maybe. The clarity, though, happened when I realized that I really don’t need to know. I’m nineteen years old, and I have time to figure it out. I just need to do me for now, and maybe I’ll have a moment of clarity in the future that tells me what direction my life should go in. Who knows? What I do know, is that you can plan your life out exactly how you want it, and you can think you know everything about how things are going to go, but there are a lot of factors in life, and when one changes, everything is thrown off course. There are no re-dos in life. We don’t get to wake up tomorrow, and re-do today, and we can’t un-make decisions, and we can’t change the fact that what we do affects people, and we can’t change the fact that people are going to stop believing in us. What we can do is us. We can be who we are, and we can do things that make us happy, and we can be better than the people who change their minds.

Clarity allows us to realize where we are. It allows us to figure out what we like, what we don’t like, the mistakes we’ve made, the decisions we’ve made, and the people we’ve gained and lost. I don’t think I’ve ever had a negative moment of clarity. By this I mean that I don’t think there has ever been a moment of clarity where I think to myself, well, shit, I really screwed up. Usually, I just become unspeakably thankful. I usually am thankful for the bullets I’ve dodged, the people who love me, books that read me, songs that speak to exactly what I’m going through, chunky sweaters, pumpkin flavored anything, and oversized mugs that spread warmth. Knowing things is dangerous because it can tear you down, cut you open, and break your spirit, but at the end of the day, it’s better to know the truth because no one wants to wake up one day and realize all they’ve ever known was a lie. Clarity allows us to be okay, and for that, I am thankful. Have you had any moments of clarity lately? If so, are you happier now?

Truly,

Callie Leigh

Changin’

Hello, World.

I have two full days (counting today) left until I get in my car and drive back to school, and as excited as I am, I’ve been thinking a lot about how much different going to school this year feels. There are so many things that have changed since last August. Some things changed for the better, some for the worse, but alas, the past year of my life has been riddled with change. Last August, I was packing quite chaotically to leave for school, and I consistently reminded people of when I left so that I made sure to see everyone before I was gone. This year, I have been so stressed out that I kind of forgot I actually leave on Sunday. In my mind, I still have time to spend with my family, I still have time to see my friends, and I still have time for last minute packing. Last August, I always had this giddy/nervous feeling in my stomach because I knew I was leaving home, and all the things that were familiar, to start a new chapter of my life with all the lovely gems that are the Saint Mary’s family. . I have this ball in my stomach, a bundle of nerves and excitement, and I know it’s because I have a lot of responsibility waiting for me on campus. I’m going to be a Weekend of Welcome leader for the incoming freshman this year, which is why I’m moving back so early, and this idea is both exciting and nerve-racking. I’m so excited to see my friends, though, and all the people I grew to be so close to in the last year. I feel like I always get a little nervous to see people I haven’t seen in a while, maybe because I fear it’ll be different than I remembered, or maybe I just fear something has changed.

It’s funny to me, though, looking back at all the events that transpired last year, and what the outcome of those events did to shape the person I am now. I feel like unless something obviously major happens, change is subtle. A lot of the time I feel like I’m not actually that different, and things around me aren’t really changing, but then I take a moment to step back and really evaluate my life at a given point, and I realize just how much I’ve lost or gained.

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Change is inevitable, and everything in our lives is basically a crossroads, where we have to make a decision that will carry us in a certain direction. But sometimes the roads are blurry, and they begin to look the same, and it’s impossible to know which road to go down because the outcomes are so frighteningly unknown. Most the time people say that they make a decision because it’s what’s right, or it’s the right thing to do, but how do we really know? We can’t go back and unmake a decision to figure out what would have turned out differently, which is why I think it’s more that you make a decision based on what appears right (but may not actually be right), and then you just go with it, and deal with the outcome when you find it. I think there are two philosophies that people live by, though, when making decisions: 1) choose whatever is going to protect, benefit, or help you and 2) do what you believe to be right, but that also takes in the consideration of others.

Decisions yield change, and I feel like without decisions, we wouldn’t make progress, we would never change course when we need to, we wouldn’t be able to see that the road you chose originally is wrong, and that you should backtrack slightly and take a left instead of a right. The quote from Just One Day, “Sometimes the best way to figure out what you’re supposed to do is doing what you’re not supposed to do,” comes to mind. So, maybe if you’re having trouble what’s “right” do what you think is “wrong,” and see what happens. It may surprise you, it may frighten you, but it may also bring you peace. The scariest thing in life is decisions, but hell, without them you may never know what you’re doing, who you are, or who you want to be. Some food for thought, I suppose. How do you make decisions? Or do you even make them?

Truly,

Callie Leigh 

Judgment Day

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Hello, World.

The other night I was curled up with a cup of tea, listening to the Mumford and Sons Pandora station, and perusing Pinterest. I know there a lot of people who use Pinterest, and I know there are a lot of people who don’t, but seriously, if you ever need a little inspiration or words of wisdom about anything (and I do mean anything) you should really think about opening a new window (after you finish reading this, of course), and browsing the pages and pages of…stuff on that site.

Anyway, while going through the quotes page, I stumbled across a little gem that read, “Just remember that sometimes, the way you think about a person isn’t the way they actually are.” At first I read this quote, then kept scrolling, but about ten seconds later, I was scrolling back up, re-reading the seventeen or so words beautifully written by John Green (naturally).

Initially, a bunch of people rushed into my mind. People that I could easily show this quote to, and say, “you shouldn’t judge me.” But then, as I continued to stare at the quote, I started thinking about the people I’ve thought things about before actually knowing them. Judgment is part of everyday life, and even though we learn to “not judge a book by its cover” when we’re little, I’m pretty sure everyone eventually learns that is just an ideal. Honestly, we make presumptions about people within five minutes of knowing them. Actually, we make presumptions about people within five seconds of just seeing them. Just take a moment to think about the people who hadn’t even spoken to you, but that you had ‘all figured out’ right away. You may look at someone wearing expensive clothing, chatting on his or her iPhone, and think that he or she is a pretentious person that can’t possibly be compassionate. You may see someone who you deem unattractive, and assume he or she is just an idiot who doesn’t deserve your time. Sure, these are nasty assumptions, but human nature has a funny way of putting a dark spin on our immediate reactions to people.

People can say that they never judge people, and they’re the kindest being in the world besides Mother Teresa, but maybe those people just aren’t very vocal about their judgments because judgmental thoughts cross their mind at some point, some how, some way. The thoughts may not even be considered judgmental, maybe they seem more like ‘observations,’ but let’s get real; that’s just a culturally sensitive way of admitting to thinking judgmental things. While I admit that I judge people, and that it is wrong, I feel people probably think I judge others a lot more than I actually do. For years, I’ve battled what I call “the disinterested face syndrome.” With this ailment, I often come across aloof or disinterested in people, especially because I don’t really have a super inviting face. Usually, though, I am interested in people, I just take a while to warm up (maybe because I’m an introvert?).

Since I’m not the friendliest person right away—unless I’m completely alone and am forced to be outgoing—a lot of people assume I dislike them or just don’t care to get to know them. These assumptions are judgments, and they are things that people think about me, but aren’t how I actually am. It is a little ironic, though, because if I meet someone who is reserved or closed off toward me, I assume the same thing. Judgments exist in a vicious cycle, where people judge each other, one judgment gets vocalized, and the other person judges again even more harshly.

I’ve made silent judgments that have turned out to be completely untrue once I got to know someone, but that’s the thing: you have to try to get to know someone in order to be proven wrong. I’ve encountered a lot of people who make an assumption about someone, and then don’t care to get to know that person because they’ve already made up their mind. This isn’t fair, though, because people really should be more open minded, and have a desire to get to know new people. Everyone, including me, should aspire to live a life that is as close to judgment-free as possible. To borrow a quote from Sarah Dessen, the next time you meet someone, “Don’t think or judge, just listen.”

What are your thoughts on judgment? How can we become less judgmental?

Truly,

Callie Leigh 

Love Today

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Hello, World.

Something that I think every person (and yes, I do mean every person because I think guys struggle with this too at times) has a difficult time with is “loving yourself.” Throughout the course of our lives we hear this expression from our moms, our aunts, on television, in magazines, in books, and elsewhere. But what does this really mean? Sure we can look in the mirror, and say, “good enough,” and move on, but that’s not loving ourselves, is it? In a world that is constantly changing trends, where everyone is supposed to be 5’ 9,” 100 pounds, and gorgeous, it makes loving ourselves pretty difficult if we don’t fit this image. I’ve been on this earth for 18 (almost 19) blissful years, and I’ve only ever felt really confident in the last nine or ten months. For most of my life I wasn’t sure who I was, or who I even wanted to be. I knew I liked to read, and I knew I liked to write, but as far as I knew I was one of the few people around me who thought either of those activities were fun.

Personally, I think middle school and high school are the hardest times to figure out what loving yourself is all about. During those years, people are so segregated into predetermined categories (jocks, preps, popular, weird, nerd, etc.), yet no one at these ages are really 100% sure that they even want to be in their supposed category or if they even actually fit in it. As a society, people feel pressured to fit into the most accepted group because, in reality, the end goal for most people (especially during these six or seven years) is acceptance from their peers.

The thing is, though, that people have varying interests, and sometimes people’s interests don’t fit neatly into one little category that someone else made the criteria for. What does this mean? It means that we don’t have to be in a category because we don’t need the label “jock” or “nerd” or “popular” when instead we can just be “us,” or more specifically, “me” and “you.” Every person is built in a way unique unto himself or herself, and therefore, we should be more accepting of our differences instead of constantly attempting to be clones of “what’s hot.” It’s crazy because we’re all such beautiful creatures, and yet we all want to change something about ourselves, whether it’s our weight, height, nose, hair color, skin tone, etc. I’m not sure why we have this overwhelming need to change who we are, or at least who we look like we are, but I think it’s something that is ingrained in us from day one. I think more people, myself included, need to realize that everyone has something to offer the world, and we just need to figure out what that thing is, and embrace it. But first, we need to be completely happy with who we are, and where we are going. If you don’t like yourself, maybe you should figure out why, and do something about it! Don’t like your stomach? Do some sit-ups before you shower everyday. Don’t like your hair? Dye it. I’m not saying change yourself if you don’t need changing, but I also don’t believe in “embracing” what you really don’t like about yourself if it’s something you could change. What I’m saying is to get a little perspective on whatever it is you don’t like, and find an angle where you are at peace with it.

We are all unique, and it’s time we start loving the flaws that make us individuals. There is no such thing as perfect despite the fact that Photoshop may make us think otherwise. Besides, we can spend our entire lives getting “perfect” on the outside, and realize that in the end, our inside is what we really dislike about ourselves.

It’s difficult to love ourselves every single day because we all make mistakes and do things we are not proud of, but making mistakes is part of the human process, and it’s these mistakes that can help mold us into the person we are both meant to be and want to be. I think the most important part of the whole “loving yourself” thing is that you have faith in yourself, and that you accept and embrace your differences, because it’s your differences that you’ll be remembered for, not your commonalities. Personally, I would rather be remembered as “Callie the reader, writer, blogger, friend, fashionista, daughter, sister, and jokester” than “Callie the nerd” or “Callie the prep.” I’m not sure what category I would fall in, but I must admit that I’m desperately scared to find out because I’ve spent my life trying to avoid a set category, and I would be highly disappointed with whatever category I was dubbed. So remember this if you remember anything: differences are stronger than similarities, and “if you are lucky enough to be different, don’t ever change.” “Be you and be okay with it.” “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” (Wise words from the wonderful world of Pinterest.)

Truly,

Callie Leigh 

 

The Color of Friendship.

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Hello, World.

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship lately. When it comes to friendship, I consider myself to be a bit of a chameleon, meaning that I can usually get along with most people. I rarely dislike people, and I try my best to avoid conflict. Friendship can be hard though, because being a chameleon has advantages and disadvantages. Despite the fact that I get along with a lot of people, I’ve always been someone who has very few close friends that I spend a majority with my time with versus a ton of people I hangout with. Maybe because I’m an introvert I have  hard time really connecting with friends.

In my lifetime, I can count on two hands the people I felt I truly clicked with, and whose friendship and opinion I really value. Something one of my best friends and I have in common is that we often have fallings out with friends, and this can be really upsetting. When your friends with someone you invest so much time getting to know them, sharing your life with them, sharing memories, and then suddenly, something shifts and you look at the person and can’t help but think of the quote, “we’re not friends. We’re strangers with memories.” Losing friends is one of the most depressing things, and although my mom tries to cheer me up by saying that if you lose a friend over something other than murder, significant other stealing, or lying about something huge (i.e., I’m actually a con artist who is only friends with you to steal all your money), they weren’t really your friend to begin with. But regardless, it’s hard to accept someone vanishing from your life.

When I entered college, my Resident Advisor was a girl named Charlotte, and she was the sweetest, kindest person. She offered a lot of people similar advice about college friendships, especially during freshman year, and it went something like “you may think you really know someone because you’re spending so much time with them. But usually around January or a little later secrets can come out, and it’s either exactly as you thought or different.” This advice was welcomed, but to be honest, I kind of took it and then didn’t really pay attention. But then, as the year went on, I noticed friendships changing. Friendships where people were inseparable suddenly became separable and then some. There were times when people disliked each other suddenly started getting along. And friendships where you loved the person’s company at the beginning of the year, but then it suddenly felt like spending time with a stranger.

I’m not saying all friendships change, but people do, and that little fact changes everything. Friendship, true friendship, should be judgment-less, and each person should always want to hear about the other person’s life without trying to knock their spirit, or make some rude comment. Friendships are not something that should be superficial.

Friendships that have jealousy or hard feelings cannot be everlasting friendships. Trust me. And friendships should be natural, always. My best friend is someone I only see once in a while, and although we don’t hangout every minute of every day whenever we do see each other it’s like no time has passed, and we never have this awkward tension that I felt in other past friendships. She is always happy for me, and always has my back, which is something I both appreciate and love about her. I saw a quote once that I adored, and it said, “Friendship isn’t about being inseparable. True friendship is being separated and nothing changes.” This, my friends, is what I think is the mark of friendship. If you spend a little time away from someone, and when you try to hangout again they seem mad at you, irritated, or act like you’ve changed, maybe it’s time to revaluate why your friendship feels that way.

In my personal opinion, friendships that lack the natural, loving, open feel should be cut off. When do you cut off a friendship? When you lose all hope that the person you became friends with is the person you’re currently friends with. Or when life happens and two people change and go in two very different directions. Now, I’m not saying that friendships can only happen if two people never change or grow, but a true friendship allows the person to grow, doesn’t ridicule the changes, and doesn’t feel weird around the person because they’ve changed. Change is inevitable, part of life, and so it shouldn’t be something that is absent from friendship. However, you sure as hell better bet that if someone starts doing something I don’t do and they make me feel guilty, alienated, or unwanted because I’m not “cool” like them, they won’t be on my friend list for very long (and I don’t mean my Facebook friend list, although I have been known to delete people when they irritate me. I’m human?). Friendship gets people through life. It is a form of comfort, assurance, love, and happiness. We want friendships that will last, and we want friends who love us for who we are, who we will become, and who are willing to stand by us through every hurdle we face in this life. But something that should constantly be a little gem in the back of your mind is that it goes both ways.

In order to have friends, you have to be a friend. I’m not a perfect friend by any means, but I try to get as close as I can. I’ve recognized that some friendships are pointless, which explains why some people aren’t in my life anymore, but I’ve also failed to try with some friendships and lost people I wish I could still call on some days and just talk to. The important thing is that you recognize which friendships can be let go with nothing lost, which friendships you should work at, and which friendships will remain steadfast through everything. Another thing that makes a strong friendship is commonality. I think in many cases, opposites can attract, but in order for friendship to last I think two people should have similar moral codes. I think morality is where the basis for friendship lies, and although it may be overlooked for a while, in order for a friendship to get past the initial, getting-to-know each other stage, each person should have a similar sense of morality.

We could discuss friendship from now until the end of the world, but everyone is going to have some input on what makes friendships last, and what makes a good friend. For me, there are ways of recognizing a true friend, and those are: time doesn’t change the friendship, there isn’t jealousy or competition, each person loves hearing about the other person’s life, honesty with one another, and acceptance of differences. There are also, I’ve noticed over the years, ways of realizing which friends aren’t your friends and those are: jealousy, one friend has no desire to hear about the other, dishonesty, lying, getting really distant and angry when one of the friends brings someone into their life that the other doesn’t like (or boyfriends/girlfriends), and time does change something.

Your thoughts on friendship?

Truly,

Callie Leigh