1.31.2017

6 Things You Should Never Change About Yourself To Be In A Relationship


Being in a relationship is all about being selfless and learning to love each other the way you need to be loved.  Being in a relationship also means giving up things for the other person - such as bad or unhealthy habits and not hanging out one on one with an opposite sex friend who used to have feelings for you.

But there are definitely some things you should never change about yourself - for a significant other or for anyone.

Here are my top 6.

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1)  Your beliefs
I think the biggest part of anyone's life is their spirituality.  Our souls are immortal.  They will go on even after our bodies decay.  Your relationship with God and your convictions regarding morals and "how to live life" are foundational for your future.  If someone comes along and wants you to change all that for them, I'd consider that a red flag.

2)  Your Hobbies
Okay, so obviously, if you're doing unhealthy things - like going to strip clubs, or smoking/drinking excessively, or have an online dating app that you like to swipe through - you're probably gonna have to change that up a bit.  But what I mean by "things you enjoy doing", I'm referring more to healthy and productive pastimes like reading, or gardening, or hiking.  These are hobbies that a significant other shouldn't be able to come into your life and say "Don't do that anymore" for no rhyme or reason.  Uh, no, ma'am.

3)  Your relationship with your family and lifelong friends.
Any significant other that comes between you and your family needs to go.  They don't have any right to come into your life and either make you choose them over your family, or in any way, shape or form, pull you away from your family.  Your family has been there since the day you were born, and they'll be there till you die.  A significant other has no place in trying to "change" that.

4)  Your dreams
Of course once you are serious about being with someone, you kind of have to align your dreams/goals/careers with theirs, as far as how compatible you will be with them.  But they should never have to ask you to give up on something you've been working hard for, looking forward to, all to just be with them.

5)  Your style
I can echo what I said in point number 2 here, regarding if it's not healthy or respectful to your significant other than give it some thought to change.  But if your SO is telling you to throw out your whole wardrobe and only wear what they buy for you because they want to change your whole style and fashion sense, um, excuse me, who are they?  The way you dress represents you as a person (remember that!), and if they can't be with you or at least respect and admire you for the fashion sense you have, imagine what else they're going to try changing about you.

6)  Your standards
In today's day and age, you need to be picky.  I'm gonna say it again.  In today's society, and with the extremely disappointing ratio of decent potential boyfriends/girlfriends out there, you need to be choosy, have standards, and stick to those standards.  Of course there are some that can be discussed, such as if you'd never date a smoker, but he recently quit smoking a few months ago.  I mean, that's not a huge deal.  But if you have a standard for dating someone who shares your views and convictions spiritually, then you don't budge on that.  No amount of excuses will ever cut the cake there.  Go back to point number 1 for my reasoning.

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Relationships are tricky.  And committing to be in one with an individual human soul is scary and wonderful at the same time.  This article just touched on 6 main points I find the most important.  Comment below any you would add to this list!

P.S.  And even if you don't change all these things for someone else, and the relationship still doesn't work out, remember there's nothing wrong with you.  Sometimes things just don't work out and that's that.  And it's okay.  You're okay.  Life is still beautiful.

1.28.2017

Made For Magnificence


Everywhere you look, the world subtly - and sometimes not so subtly - tells us that we are defined by others' opinions of us.  Our popularity is ranked by how many Facebook or Instagram likes we receive on a daily basis.  And if we are well-liked, we'll have hundreds of followers on social medias.
The internet and magazines are constantly nagging us with ads on weight loss, skin care, hair product, and the latest beauty secrets.  Because of all these, we think we are made up of numbers - price tags, scale pounds, grades, likes on social medias.

But are we really?  

Is this who you want to be known as?  Is this the legacy you want to leave behind - someone who believed that something immortal could define who they were as an eternal soul?  We allow things to have such a hold on our lives, on our hearts, when in reality, we're the ones who are in control of who and what defines us.

You know what I think?
I think we're made up of love, of memories, of pain.  What defines us is what happens in our lives, the moments we learn, the moments we feel, the moments we will never forget, not even in a million years.

We're made of late nights with friends, or random mini roadmaps, taking a sip of your favorite drink on a brisk autumn evening or a stifling summer's day, watching a sunset from a rooftop, buying a pair of jeans that fit just right, the art we love, warm blankets in a cold room, the way music makes us feel or that moment when you look into the eyes of someone you love and know without a doubt that they love you back.

We're defined by what we allow to define us.  

The words we speak, the actions we follow through with.

We're lit on fire by flames that ignite many different blazes but we're all affected the same way.

This thing called life that we're trying to survive... Why can't we all just realize that we're in this fight together?  Everyone has struggles, everyone is being told they're defined by numbers.  But we need to rally together.  We need to acknowledge the brainwashing of today's culture and say no to being put into a box and labeled as a certain someone, a certain thing.

Because we're more than that.

You are more than that.

Underneath all the layers of skin that clothes your body, you are a living and breathing soul that was intricately designed by the breath - not the fingers - of the Creator of the galaxies.  You are special because He says you are.  You are defined as who He says you are.  Your label is not one of a mere product of earth, but of a handmade piece of art that He carefully and masterfully designed to be so breathtakingly beautiful.

We are more than numbers.  We are more than what they tell us we are.

We are magnificent.

1.27.2017

Investing Or Removing

There's a difference between someone not wanting to invest in your life, and you removing them from your life.

This new year, I've slowly been disconnecting people from my social medias who I don't talk to and frankly, don't even know.  Weird how they even got onto my friends lists!  It's just dawned on me lately how many people who I don't invest in shouldn't be able to see into my personal life details.
Twitter and Instagram are one thing.  Both of my accounts on those apps are public.  But Facebook and Snapchat... do I want everyone to be seeing what I'm doing, where I am, who I'm with?  It's kind of creepy, if you ask me.  Plus, if I'm not giving them the time of day (not intentionally, of course), then why are they even having access to my life?

Relationships are two way streets - which leads me to another point I have.  If someone isn't willing to invest in you as you are investing in them, it's time to say goodbye.  Plain and simple.  They're basically telling you that you're not worth their time or love.

I recently got a text from someone who I considered very dear to me, saying that "we shouldn't talk anymore" and that it wasn't "anything personal".  No rhyme or reason.  It blindsided me for sure, but I've gotten to a point in my life where I just accept the actions of others without question.  Why?  Because I will never understand the majority of the decisions people make.  We all live different lives, have different opinions, choose different paths, and if I'm not chosen to be in someone's life, cool.  Their loss.

So how did I handle that "friend" texting me that?  I went and removed them from my social medias.  Unfriended, unfollowed, deleted.  Not because I don't love them anymore and don't want to be in their life, but because they chose for me not to be.

I often wonder if I've just become a calloused and hard-hearted b****.  I've been hurt and disappointed so many times.  I sometimes ask myself, "When will it all end?"  I guess I know the answer to that question but regardless, it still gets asked.

I think that, above all, I've simply learned to accept how others behave.  I have also learned to not let it affect me because that is something I do have control over.  To stay healthy, to be safe, one needs to protect oneself from any one or any thing that chooses to be harmful - whether physically or emotionally.  And when someone chooses to not be a personal investor in my life, as I would gladly be in theirs, then they don't earn the right to know me.  I'm not responsible for others actions or how they choose to view me.  I live my life according to my convictions, my thoughts, my opinions, my views.  If someone sees that and doesn't like it, they don't have to be a part of my life.

1.26.2017

Dreams Don't Turn To Dust


What do you do when you run into a brick wall?  Figuratively or literally.

You get hurt.  Maybe a little confused.  You get frustrated.  And possibly defeated too?

We tend to hit a few brick walls throughout our walk of life.  And when our dreams get stopped, we feel crushed and beaten.

You know that saying:  "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger"?

Just because your dreams are crushed, doesn’t mean they didn’t build something.  Inside of you.

I thought of this neat analogy awhile back...
Your dreams are fragile, right?  You care for and nurture them and think about them often.  When you feel it is the right time, you take a step towards them.  If they waver, you stop.  If they blossom, you continue.

But sometimes, even when there’s a slight quiver, we feel that our goal is just beyond our reach.  We keep taking steps toward it, little by little.  And sometimes, they slip through our fingers and we are unable to grasp them.  But from that experience, we learn something.  

Through every experience in life, we are taught something new.  Yes, it may be painful but it makes us grow.  It shapes and adds to the foundation.  The solid foundation of making new dreams and reaching for higher goals. 

So instead of dreams turning to dust, how about dreams turning to bricks, or building blocks, for a solid foundation? 

Dreams that disappear, really only disappear out of our reach because they fell to the ground underneath us.  And we are able to step up onto them and reach higher and higher.

Don’t ever stop dreaming just because one dream failed. 

Don’t ever stop believing that somehow, some way you will reach your goal. 

First of all, with God all things are possible.

Secondly, we learn from our mistakes and our failed dreams.

And thirdly, this life is full of opportunities.  Don’t stop dreaming because one of them failed.  Stop dreaming when you can’t dream anymore. 

(P.S. Bonus points to anyone who catches the two song title references in this post.)

1.16.2017

Some of the Things I Want To Tell You


I want to tell you that the first time I saw you, not only did my heart go wild, but my brain did too.

I want to tell you that I remembered the drink you ordered but I asked you to repeat it just so I could hear your voice again.

I want to tell you that I wished there hadn't been other customers in line behind you because I wanted you to stay as long as possible.

I want to tell you that your eyes captured me.  And I've never met anyone else with the same color as yours were.

I want to tell you that it took everything in me to not let the flush rise to my cheeks when our eyes found each other.

I want to tell you that every moment I spent with you after our first meeting was like a perfect scene in a storybook.

I want to tell you that I believe you loved me, but that's what scared you the most.

I want to tell you that I don't hate you for the way you hurt me.

I want to tell you that so many little things remind me of you and bring you to memory.

I want to tell you that there are countless times in my day that I pick up my phone to text or call you, but then remember that you took me out of your life.

And that's okay, I guess.

Because not everyone is meant to stick around forever.  And I guess that's true for you and me and our story.

I also want to tell you - all I know is that we were meant to be together.  Maybe not for the rest of our lives.  But baby, for a time, I'm so glad I could call you mine.

And I titled this only some of the things I want to tell you because if you want to know the rest, maybe that will be enough to make you come back someday.

1.11.2017

A Writer's Daily Battle & Greatest Victory


I've been working on various writing projects for the last three hours.  And the above picture is much prettier than the reality at the moment.  I'm just sitting on my bed, wearing a Blazer v-neck, with an almost empty glass of wine nearby.  My eyes feel bloodshot from staring at this laptop screen for so long.  And my fingers are slightly achy from the constant typing.
But I still feel like I didn't achieve all that I wanted to.
I didn't get as much writing done as I wish I had.
I don't feel like everything I wrote was good.
I want to do better.
I wish I did better.
Sometimes I wonder why I still do it.  Or attempt to, anyway.
Are these words even coherent?  Did I convey my thoughts well?  Did I edit out all of my mistakes?

Should I just not continue?

Honestly, dear readers, the words don't always come easily.  You may think I'm a good writer.  You may picture me in a romantic scene, thinking up whatever words you read and enjoy reading and typing them away without a care in the world.
But, I'll be real with you.
Sometimes, it's painstakingly hard.  First of all, to sort through my thoughts; secondly, to know how to express them with words; and thirdly, to publish them on a public website for every eye to see.

I asked myself almost every day, "Why do you write?"

I always answer the same thing, "Because I couldn't live without being able to."

I do it because I find freedom in this gift of an outlet.
I find freedom in expressing myself with passion and purpose through beautiful, beautiful words.
Language is such a gift.  To have the ability to communicate to someone not just through facial expressions and hand movements but to actually speak and be understood is so wonderful.
And to be able to write and have a reader halfway across the world grasp your meaning and fervor in being vulnerable and revealing your heart, soul and emotions...  Now that's a blessing.

I write because I can't imagine not being able to write something and send it out onto the worldwide web to somehow, magically find someone and touch their soul.  For the heart to resonate with something I wrote, and to maybe later find an email or comment from that someone saying, "Hey, what you said really encouraged me" or "Your words were an inspiration".  Those little notes make it all worth it.  Just to know one person (yes, even the haters <3) read something I scribbled at one o'clock in the morning means the world to me.

Because, honestly, you don't have to.

You didn't have to type in my blog URL into your browser today.  You didn't have to click on the newest link to my blog that popped up in your email, on your dashboard or Facebook timeline.  You didn't have to read all the way until the end of this article.  But wow.  You did.  You're here.

So thank you.

A writer's daily battle may be figuring out what thought to write down first and how to and if we did it well and oh what if it doesn't make sense, etc., etc...
but our greatest victory is knowing one - even just one beautiful human being - chose to read our work.

Then yes, we have done well.

And if you're still reading this, then I have done well.

1.09.2017

Erratic Prose [first of 2017] | edition 6

Well, here I sit in my new home, which I have gotten quite settled into, thankfully.  I'm still learning my way around the new neighborhood, and challenging myself to find my way back home without using my GPS.  So far, I've impressed myself with how directionally talented I have become so hurray for me.

Also, I've been giddy with excitement at all the places I've encountered that are literally minutes away from me, such as - Ross, Nordstrom Rack, Chick-Fil-A, Chipotle, and Barnes & Noble.  The other day, I spent 6 (literal) hours in Barnes & Noble.  I walked down aisle after aisle, grabbing books of interest and finally sat in a corner of the store with a nice little pile around me.  I was in paradise.  I also ended up buying 3 books by the end of my time there.  I spent under $20 on them, so I was quite pleased.
A resolution I have for this new year is to make more time to read.  When I was younger, my parents had to pry me away from my books, but now, I find myself geared towards my computer and Netflix rather than to reading.  Going to Barnes & Noble that day really helped me rediscover my love for being nose deep in a good book, and I'm determined that these three I bought won't go unread.  I've been making time to read and journal before going to sleep each night and so far, I enjoy how easily it has fit in to my schedule.

Oh guess what?  I got a second job!  Yes, I'm still at my beloved Dutch (would never leave there, I promise), but I find my schedule not full enough so I decided to apply at Jamba Juice.  I got the job the day after applying!  I'm super excited about it and can't wait to start next week.  All I need is an evening bartending job and I'll be serving every kind of drink out there, right?;)

I transferred campus locations this week as well.  The one I was going to is about 1/2 hour away from where I moved to.  But now, I'll be going to one within fifteen minutes of me.  Cool fact: I get more of a winter break because the campus I transferred to doesn't start their term till the 23 of this month.  Pretty sweet, huh?

By the way, do any of you use Apple Music?  I recently signed up with it (and got a discount because I'm a student. Yes ma'am.) and have been in love with all the new music I've been able to discover and acquire.  Give me some recommendations?  What are some of your current faves right now?

We got a crazy snow and ice storm this last weekend.  I had to trade a shift with a coworker because I wouldn't have been able to make it to work with the condition of the roads.  Thankfully most of it has melted and I think we're on the path to warmer days.  I'm ready for spring.

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How has the New Year been for you so far?  Any fun plans for this first month?

1.03.2017

"Christian is not the definition of a perfect me."


It's a new year.

I thought I was ready for it, but once the clock turned midnight on December 31, I felt blindsided by the fact that 2017 was indeed upon us.

And yes, I am not publishing on the first day of our new year, but it's only because I've been very reflective these last few days.  Reflective on myself, my resolutions, who I am as a person, as an individual, as a human on this earth, and most importantly, as a Christian.

2016 was a difficult year for me.  I'm not going to go on a long rampage about why it was so hard and all the bad that occurred in it because 1) I hate complaining and 2) I know God had a reason for everything that transpired.
What I will say, though, is that I learned a lot.  About this world, about people, about who I can trust, about myself.  I learned how forgiving I am, and how often I give people too many chances to stay in my life when in reality, it's unhealthy for myself to allow them to be close to me.  I learned what it means to love and lose someone.  I learned that when I feel like I'm at the end of my rope, He is gonna be there.  Either to catch me when I fall out of pure exhaustion, or to come through at the last minute and be like "Oh hey, I got you."

One of the greatest examples of His provision is the fact that I am writing this, sitting on my new bed in my new home in a completely new town.  After house-hunting for almost 4 months, God provided a perfect little spot for me.  I was commuting 40-60 minutes (one way) to work and now, that time has been cut to more than half.  I am indeed blessed.  And He provided it at the last minute.  Isn't that how He likes to work?

Like I said, 2016 taught me a lot about myself.  And that's something I'll always be learning more about.  My personality, my heart, my emotions.  These are all good things to learn.  It's hard sometimes.  And the more I learn about myself, the more I see my need for a Savior, and how often I fall short of His glory.

The title of this post is a line from a song by one of my favorite rapper's.  I feel that many Christians try to put up a front about their lives and who they are and try to never appear like their life is hanging on by strings, or that they really screwed up in something recently, or how they really don't always want to make time for God.

These are all real struggles.

These are all part of life.

Being a Christian doesn't mean that we're suddenly perfect individuals.  I sin every day.  I do things I regret every day.  I say things I wish I didn't.  I go places I know I shouldn't.  I talk to people I know I shouldn't.  But you know the two things that override all of my mistakes?
The first is that I am trying.  Trying to be a better person, trying to be a better Christian, trying to live a better life.
The second, and ultimately, the most amazing point to all of my struggles and the greatest example of perfection amidst the mess is simply - God's grace.  His grace covers a multitude of sins.  His grace upon grace upon grace upon grace is sufficient.  Nothing can be added to it to make it perfect.  Nothing can be added to it to finally cover my imperfections.

The word "Christian" means Christ-follower.  It's not a definition of a perfect individual.  It's the definition of someone following the perfect One.  And I pray to God that this year I can live a better example of that lifestyle and calling.

God is good.  Welcome, 2017.  I'm ready for you.