little reminders

tree

Hi. Hello. It’s been quite a while.

I didn’t forget about you, or this page, I promise. Someone asked me a few weeks ago why I stopped blogging.
I haven’t stopped – at least, not in my head or in my secret file on my computer.
It’s just that this crazy thing called life sometimes steals us away from simply sitting down at our desks or favorite coffee shops to bleed out onto pages all of the things we wish were easy to say while looking into someone’s eyes.

Anyways.

Here I am, and here you are, and today I really wanted to paint a list of little reminders for you. Articles and blog posts of lists seem to be a popular thing nowadays; they allow for easier skimming of a page, yeah? My list doesn’t exactly have a little bow that ties all of the points together — 15 ways to get the boy; 23 reasons why college is the best; 8 things you need for your first apartment. No, my list is random and in no way complete; it’s just a rundown of thoughts on my mind today, reminders that I need and maybe that you need as well.

  1. You don’t have to be sorry for breathing in a bit of oxygen, taking up some space on the sidewalk or the bus, being the one that someone else runs into, asking questions. You just don’t. None of those are reasons to utter that toxic two-syllable word. It is toxic, you understand. It’ll plant itself in your mouth to attack whenever it wants if you let it. Don’t let it. Don’t be sorry for things you don’t have to be sorry for.
  2. Confidence — oh yeah, that thing. That thing that so many people seem to have lost. It’s like a little piece of a dandelion that starts to fly away and you have to try your hardest to focus on it and catch it. It may take you more than a few tries to finally grasp it between your fingers, and once you do, you don’t ever want to let it go. Promise me you’ll try hard not to let it go and then let me know how you finally grabbed hold of it for good.
  3. When your body feels out of whack, just go work out. I promise you’ll feel better after that than after spending four hours on the couch eating goldfish and watching The Office (I mean, what? Who does that? Ha…haha…)
  4. Life is not a weighing device, a balance that catches everything on one of two sides and convicts you to fill the other to keep it balanced — asking the same amount of questions in a conversation, splitting bills, taking turns doing whatever. Those are sometimes important pieces, but that is not life. Let him spoil you and pay for everything and don’t feel guilty about it. Let your friend spill her heart out to you and don’t be mad or hold a grudge that she didn’t let you do the same this time; she needed that today. Life is not always a balance.
  5. Some days you will just need to eat six bagels and not destroy yourself over it. It’s okay – move on.
  6. Some days you will feel like not doing your schoolwork. And to that I say, only if nothing is due today, skip it and go do something to make yourself feel worth. Because not much worth is found in doing the day-to-day tasks of schoolwork. And it’s lame that that has to take up so much time of all of the young people’s lives. And that’s why I’ve vowed to try and not let grades and my GPA and my success inside of this institution define me, because this college-Claire could very well be the dullest facet of who I am, and to let yourself be defined by the thing/time/place that makes you feel least alive could be the worst betrayal against yourself that you’ll ever know.
  7. Grace is real and grace is good. Do you know the definition of grace? ‘Getting what you don’t deserve, and not getting what you do deserve.’ It’s a crazy, counter-cultural phenomenon, and it is still the best thing that could have ever happened to me. Ask me about grace if you wish; I could go on for days.
  8. Love looks a lot different than anything we initially picture. Love is not just sitting across from someone, dressed to the nines and eating exotic things and having intellectual conversation. Love is not just the flicker of eye contact and the rushed heartbeats and the stolen kisses and the curling of fingers around each other. It can be that, but that’s not all it is. Love could also look like holding your friend at 3am as she sobs over past mistakes. Or looking into someone else’s glistened eyes as tears start to fall from your own and telling them what a wreck you are, and having them reply, “Me too. But I care about you too much to let this friendship die. We can do this together.” Or wishing someone would stop asking you questions because it hurts to have someone care that much, but they keep asking anyways, and eventually you get to a point where it doesn’t hurt and instead you realize that love is dancing around the whole conversation. And Love above all can look like a half-assed, exhausted prayer, mouthed silently while you’re lying on the floor, and having that EXACT prayer answered 3 hours later, when the song you prayed to hear that day was played at church. Having your heart pierced and broken open – not broken apart; that is love. A sometimes uncomfortable, radical, “what the heck?” sort of thing, but love nonetheless.
  9. Coffee – make that your friend. It opens doors to a lot of other friendships too – not even kidding, I have like twelve barista friends now thanks to all of my time spent in coffee shops. I guess tea works too, but not even tea can trump the awesomeness that is coffee.
  10. And then sometimes coffee can become an enemy – and I don’t mean that in a dramatic sort of way. I just mean that sometimes when people ask you to coffee, it’s the spark that will ignite something more. And sometimes when people ask you if you’re available to get coffee, you just know that it is different. It’s not to continue something, it’s to end something. To wrap it up with a tattered ribbon, to move on with bright, flashing memories still inside your head. Maybe I only speak from watching too many movies or maybe I speak from past experiences, but either way, I think you understand the truth in this.
  11. Ladies, if that guy is not giving you all of his attention, just move the heck along. Easier said than done, I know, but you deserve to be “pined over,” as a good friend once told me. If that boy is not pining for you all day every day, time to say “adios,” and keep on rolling with your good life. ‘Cause you will be just fine without that one dragging you down, causing you to check that silly little phone of yours eighty-seven times a day.
  12. And speaking of checking your phone, STOP. Put that thing down for a bit. Take in everything around you. Those texts will be there in an hour. People twenty years ago went on with their days just fine without sending and replying to a hundred instant messages. And I need this reminder more than anyone I know: a lack of response over text usually, usually, usually MOST LIKELY means nothing bad. Hop over that hurdle and keep moving with your lovely day.
  13. Learn to say no when you need to. That’s a tough one, but essential in order to keep your sanity.
  14. Don’t feel like you have to compete with others around you; we have all been created to handle different amounts and different types of loads. Just because your best friend has four majors and two minors doesn’t mean you need to too; just because your boyfriend works two jobs and plays six sports doesn’t mean you have to feel guilty for your ‘lesser’ load. It’s not less; it’s yours and that’s just fine.
  15. Girls, remember that thrill you got when you had your nails painted when you were little? That thrill is still there; go paint your nails. It’s so fun.
  16. Take that advice from Ratatouille – “Anyone can cook” – and go cook yourself something fancy. That’s also very fun.
  17. Trust your intuition and your initial reactions more; if you feel like something is wrong initially, don’t ignore that.
  18. Friends, don’t feel inadequate if your life doesn’t look like all the articles you read online – forty places you have to go, sixty things you have to do, why you can’t stay in the same place for too long, ten dates you need to go on…Those are not you. You have your story and you already have the one who penned it; you don’t need Internet articles telling you how to orchestrate the rest of your twenties, or where you’ll live for the next ten years. Don’t let all of that make you feel less of a person.
  19. Speaking of personhood, YES you are a living, breathing, real human being. The other night I was sitting on a rooftop with a friend and told him that often I don’t feel like a human being – he said that’s rather normal. My mom once said that at the age I am now, she still had barely noticed she was breathing and alive. I feel ya, mom. But yes, we are all human beings. And we are all breathing and living. The question now stands: what are you going to do with that?
  20. Movies to watch when you’re feeling all sappy and emotional: Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and classic Disney movies like Robin Hood, The Sword in the Stone, Sleeping  Beauty, The Aristocats.
  21. If you’re an INFP like I am, you’ll understand that writing is so much easier than vocalizing thoughts. And sometimes I feel like my writing voice is completely and utterly different than the way I speak, and then that makes me feel like a fraud with my writing. But this isn’t true. I’m still me. Writing is just a more natural way for me to throw out some pretty words. If you feel like that, don’t fret. You’re all good. Keep writing and keep speaking; they’ll bring out different shades of who you are, not different people entirely.
  22. Here’s my last reminder of today: You’re here. Yes, you’re alive and breathing, but that’s not all you are. You are full of sparks and overflowing with colors and hues that make you up and that is so breathtaking. You are all the poetry that could ever come from my little fingers typing across this big keyboard. Life is so overwhelming and giant and scary and thrilling, but don’t let it keep you from reaching your highest potential. Don’t let anything get in the way of who you have been created to be and what you have been created to do. You are lovely; you are worthy; you are desirable; you are loved; you are needed and wanted; you are cared for. And don’t shy away from this sappiness – take it all in.

That’s all from me today.

In the words of Mr. Magorium, “Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.”

—claire

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