In middle school, admitting you have a crush on someone feels equivalent to setting
yourself on fire. It is painful and horrifying, which makes sense because everything about being a middle schooler is painful and horrifying.
As an adult, well, it doesn’t get that much easier. Being vulnerable is never fun, setting yourself up for rejection is always terrifying. But we get through it—maybe not gracefully, maybe not easily, but we get through it.
Luckily, we’re not talking about those kinds of crushes today. Because as I’ve grown up, I’ve found that those are not the only ones that exist.
Sometimes you have a crush on someone that is not based on romantic feelings, but rather that longing to be more like a person, or a wish that you were friends (best friends?), or a productive envy that inspires you to better yourself.
These kinds of crushes are the kind that make you want to say, “I just think you’re so rad.”
Even if you never use the word “rad” in your everyday vocabulary. (Which I don’t.)
This year, I crushed and I crushed hard.
These five people inspired me and made me laugh and cry (in a good way) and just overall made me feel cozy.
1) Meghan Trainor
If you are/were on Tik Tok this year, you might have run into a lot of Meghan Trainor content. She kind of took the social media world by storm. At some point, I looked up her podcast and then binge listened to it, smiling and giggling my way through every episode. I then proceeded to follow her on Instagram, listened to her music, and simply just fell in love with her. She is so fun and genuine and goofy, and she is upbeat while never being afraid to be honest. At times I would forget that she was a mega pop star known and beloved by the world, and would scroll past her on social media thinking she was one of my friends. (find her here)
2) Nora McInerny
After finding Terrible, Thanks for Asking, during a Google search for “podcast recommendations”, I quickly and gladly snuggled into its orbit. The premise of the podcast is to embrace your feelings—even and especially the hard ones—which is why the name is phrased as a response to the question, “how are you?” Having gone through multiple harrowing losses herself, Nora founded a community that invites its listeners to just be, and I was hooked instantly. While keeping up with the podcast, I listened to Nora’s audiobooks and even went to a live show she put on in Los Angeles. The content she creates makes me feel safe and seen, and it gives me courage to write about the hard parts of my story.
3) Toni Collier
On another night spent searching for new podcasts (the subplot for this blog might be my podcast addiction) I found Still Coloring hosted by Toni Collier. It is Christian based, and it encourages those who are walking/have walked through hard seasons. Not only do I find inspiration in each episode, but I am constantly in awe of Toni’s ability to hear and have hard conversations. She leaves space for people. She’s not too quick to respond, she doesn’t try to fix or explain or bandage, she just says, “mmhmm” allowing her guests to know she’s listening, while giving them room to keep talking. She’s not intimidated by gaps or silence. I am in AWE of this, and I want to do better at it in my relationships.
4) Kelsey Kreppel
I started watching Kelsey Kreppel’s videos on YouTube a few years ago. They have always been funny and easy to watch, cozy and casual without all the flash and show that you find in many other popular videos. She is just a normal person, going about her day, sometimes thriving, sometimes struggling, never afraid to admit either. She is funny, sweet, and comfortable in her own skin in a way that I am striving for.
5) Ashlyn Sailsbury
I mentioned Ashlyn in a List-cember post a few years back and she remains one of my favorite people to follow. She is so funny and sassy and is always sharing her latest hobbies and travels. I like that she goes with her own flow and is never ashamed of that. She feels like a big sister I can check in with that encourages me to speak my mind and define my own bliss.
You know that saying “you are who surround yourself with”? I have seen it be true in my real-life relationships, and in the people I follow on social media. I am proud that I actively pursue people who encourage me to be myself. It’s a good reminder of how far I’ve come on this journey to self-love and acceptance. And I’m thankful for all the people (online and IRL) that continue to help me on that journey.
Here’s hoping we all crush next year.
I know I will!
You can find more List-cember posts here.