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A Celebratory Massage (Adventures at the Spa: Part 4)

My sister just passed her comprehensive exams for grad school, making her a certified Speech-Language Pathologist.

*pause for much deserved applause*

To celebrate her accomplishment and combat the years of hard work leading up to it, as well as the weeks and weeks of stress she went through studying for the exam, I booked massage appointments for her, my mom and I.

If you’ve been around this blog for a little while, you might know that I have had an aversion/borderline fear of massages in the past, which is why on our previous trip to the spa I opted for being swaddled in a cocoon—which you can read about here. This time around however, I was determined to go all in.

Seeing as this year has been chockFULL of calendar events, and I had been sipping on secondhand stress for my sister, I was actually in a place where a massage sounded useful. Necessary, even. So as we sat at the spa that afternoon, clad in our luxurious white robes, and already relaxed after having spent a couple hours checking out the sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi, I was only slightly nervous. And when my name was called and I was led back to the room and asked to disrobe by my very nice masseuse, Rochelle, I only awkwardly giggled once.

Then it began.

After lying on my stomach and tucking myself under the sheet, Rochelle walked back into the room and promptly pulled the sheet all the way over my head. This immediately made me feel like a corpse, which wasn’t exactly relaxing, but then I thought, is there anything more relaxing than being dead? So I went full rigor mortis and let her go to work.

Looking back at my first massage, I compared the work of the masseuse to that of a baker kneading bread. I remembered this as Rochelle started massaging my back, and I had a sudden realization that I was the bread. And when I accepted that, I realized the true key to surviving and thriving your way through a massage.

Be dead. Be bread. Get read.

That is: allow yourself to melt into the table and, for lack of a better word, DIE. Then embrace your temporary identity as a batch of dough needing…kneading. And then let the masseuse read you, i.e. go hunting for everywhere you’ve been hiding and holding stress, anxiety, and those cringy, awkward moments you’ve been trying to forget about.

Be dead. Be bread. Get read.

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Following this mantra, it was no time at all before Rochelle was telling me our 50 minutes were up. As a testament to her work, when I stood up, my legs felt like jello and my hair was sticking out in seemingly every direction. And since I was still naked, I realized I was the perfect embodiment of a troll doll.

But alas, with a smile on my face, my rubber band back in my hair, and my robe securely fastened, I walked back into the waiting room a new woman. I was relaxed, I was moisturized, and I was now a massage person.

Leaning into FEAR

I was going through my notebook the other day and I found a quote I wrote down a while back. I mentioned it in this post almost a year ago, but it hit me hard when I saw it again and I wanted to share it.

It is from The School of Greatness podcast, episode 721.

“FEAR can be:

Fear Everything And Run,

or Face Everything And Rise.”

I’ve always been a bit of a fearer. I’m afraid of, well, most things, and I have found it very easy over the course of my life to run from those which are particularly scary.

It’s easy to run. Fun too. Running keeps you safe. It carries you away from all that can hurt you, thus ensuring that you can’t be hurt. But running is also quite tiring. It’s exhausting, really. And it gets old. Especially if you’re running in circles.

I don’t know where you are in your life, today or this week or in general, and I don’t know what kind of FEAR you are leaning into. But I want to encourage you, and me, the group of us together really, to stop running. And I don’t mean that solely in the sense that we should stop avoiding hard things or fearing good and vulnerable things. I just think we could all benefit from receiving the permission to stop moving.

We don’t always have to be doing something or achieving something or reaching and reaching and reaching. I think those things are important, and I think setting goals and working towards them is one of the most rewarding things you can do. But it’s not the only thing.

We are still important if we are sitting still. We still hold value if we aren’t setting new records and reaching new heights. We matter, no matter what.

I remember when I first heard this quote I took it as motivation to keep moving up. To rise. To be bigger and better. But I think I underestimated how far you can move forward simply by standing still. For to rise is not simply to ascend, it is also to acknowledge the steps that helped you do so. It is to face the things, good and bad, that have formed you into the person you are, and to accept them as part of your story.

I am who I am because of my story, and you are you because of yours. So let’s appreciate those stories for all that they are, and rise.

BAWAGA: A New Mindset

I talk a lot about inspiration on this blog. Whether it be my own ideas, lessons I’ve learned from others, or words and phrases I’ve picked up anywhere and everywhere else. I’ve talked about mantras and mottos that carry me through rougher days (i.e. It’s Not Time to Worry Yet and Just Live the Day) and I’ve talked about mindsets that motivate me to push myself forward (i.e. Shout Your Strong and Opening the BIFC Door)

Today, I bring you yet another mindset, that comes straight from the first baseline of Dodger Stadium.

It was a hot afternoon in May and a small group of us were there to see the Dodgers play the Mets. Seated in field level seats right next to the foul pole, we were very close to Dodgers’ right fielder, Cody Bellinger, who, in case you haven’t heard, is having the season of his life.

“He’s such a badass,” my sister said as he warmed up after hitting another homerun.

“You might even say he’s…a badass with a great ass.

Badass with a great ass. (BAWAGA, if you will)

Obvious thirst aside, this stuck with me. Not necessarily as a quality we should give to others (sorry, Cody), but as a mindset we should take on for ourselves.

Let’s face it, sometimes it’s hard to like—let alone love—ourselves all at once. For me personally, I have moments of love, sparks of that hey, I dig that about myself, but very rarely (if ever) am I walking around thinking, “man I love my brain and my spirit and my body, I am just the total package.”

But what if I did? What if we did?

What if we pursued that total self-acceptance on a daily basis? What if we woke up thinking and believing, I am a badass with a great ass, I can do anything and then went about our day? How would that change the way we viewed our world? How would it change the way we treated others? How would it change the way we approached obstacles?

For athletes like Cody Bellinger, they need to take the field with a BAWAGA mindset, even on days when they don’t feel like it. If they don’t, they leave room for both doubt and the confidence of all of the other players to stand in front of them. And when all of that is blurring your vision, it’s impossible to play to the best of your ability because you don’t believe it exists.

The same goes for us regular (non-professional baseball playing, MLB record breaking) humans. We all have the ability to “play” at our best ability, but first we need to believe that our best exists. We need to go into each day with positivity and motivation and we need to look in the mirror with love and admiration. We need to appreciate all sides of ourselves—including the backside ayyyy—and remind ourselves that we can do anything. Why? Because we’re badasses. And not only that, we’re badasses with great asses.

Is it corny? Yes.

Is it cringy?  A little.

But does it secretly motivate me to go out there and kick some ass? Sure does.

30 Good Things that Happened in April

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in

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1) Cherry blossom season arrived in Japan

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2) These students banded together to help our their fellow classmate

 

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3) The cast of The Avengers donated $5 million to children’s hospitals across the US

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4) This dad created special, interactive bed sheets for kids in the hospital

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5) This woman found a surprise in the book she was reading

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6) This girl hand painted her graduation dress

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7) This guy switched pants with his fellow student to help him out

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8) This boy started an important discussion in his class

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9) This dad shared a story about the new 49ers draft pick (click this link to read the whole thread)

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10) This boy went viral when he spent his spring break in Miami picking up trash

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11) These strangers were welcoming to a drunk stranger who mistakenly fell asleep in their house after a party

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12) Stephen Colbert and Oscar the Grouch sang a song

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13) Igloo released a new biodegradable cooler

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14) This video game designed to help predict Alzheimer’s disease has showed positive results

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15) This girl, born without hands, won a handwriting contest

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16) In lieu of selfies, this artist has started “dying” at popular destinations

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17) THIS DOG

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18) Robert Irwin introduced Jimmy Fallon to more animals

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19) The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office held their first annual egg hunt for the blind

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20) This horse got to live its dream

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21) This London tube station opened a short story vending machine for commuters

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22) This boy danced his heart out

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23) Hundred of pounds of trash were collected on Earth Day in Tampa Bay

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24) This dog caught its tail

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25) This company has started working with the NBA to upcycle traded players’ jerseys

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26) This:

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27) This teen ran a marathon with a titanium spine

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28) This police officer threw a surprise party for a boy after no one showed up to his birthday

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29) This school cafeteria packaged up unused food and sent it home with families in need

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30) Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw ran the bases with his kid

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what May brings!

You can view last month’s post here.

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If I Had a Nickel…

So I know it’s usually a joke or a cliché or whatever you want to call it, but the other day I sat down and really considered how rich I could be if I ever did get a nickel or a quarter or, can you imagine, a dollar for every time I did or said and saw _______.

As I thought about it, these were the real moneymakers I came up with:

  1. Cursed in the car
  2. Ate a sandwich
  3. Said, “it’s freezing in here.”
  4. Made a pun
  5. Cried during a commercial
  6. Went to a dodger game
  7. Pressed snooze on my alarm
  8. Watched an episode of Friends
  9. Went to Target
  10. Made myself laugh
  11. Said, “you scared me.”
  12. Cringed at something I said years ago
  13. Cooked macaroni and cheese for dinner
  14. Did a crossword puzzle
  15. Went for a run
  16. Said, “Dude.”
  17. Talked to my dogs
  18. Googled something I was curious about mid-conversation
  19. Wore converse tennis shoes
  20. Rewatched a movie I’ve already seen rather than watch something new—especially something that I’ve been telling people “I don’t have time to watch.” (Sorry)

While there’s no way to know how much money I’d have if I could actually translate all of these into cold hard cash, I can only assume that if I did, I’d be writing this from a huge recliner with a built in refrigerator, wearing a robe made of clouds, while calling my personal driver to pick me up to take me to the airport to board a first class flight to an exotic destination with my family.

Or maybe I just wouldn’t have a credit card bill and I’d totally buy the brand name cotton balls instead of the knockoffs.

Honestly either future looks great.

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What are some things that would make you fictional nickel rich?

And what would you do with all that money if you could somehow get your hands on it?

I’d totally give the number of my cloud robe maker.

31 Good Things that Happened in March

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in

1) This teacher went the extra mile for one of his students

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2) This girl showed off her scars in the best way

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3) This chess champion gave us all a reason to smile

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4) This boy got an amazing surprise

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5) This man celebrated cat videos

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6) This boy was a true team player

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7) Carrie Underwood shared this message about postpartum body image

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I’m going to be honest, “bouncing back” after having Jacob has been much more difficult than after I had Isaiah and I’ve been pretty hard on myself lately. I go into the gym and I can’t run as fast or as far. I can’t lift as much weight or do as many reps as I could a year ago. I just want to feel like myself again…for my body to feel the way that I know it can. As I was working out today, I realized that for the past 11(ish) months, my body has not belonged to me. It was a perfect home for Jacob. And even now it belongs to him every time he drinks his milk. As I prepare for red carpets and for life on tour, right now I make a promise to myself to start appreciating what my body CAN do and stop focusing on what it can’t. I promise to stop analyzing every angle and every curve and every pound and every meal. I’m going to keep staying the path because it is a journey and as long as I’m always working towards my goals, one day I’ll reach them. I’m going to take it day by day, smile at the girl in the mirror, and work out because I love this body and all it has done and will continue to do! #bodyafterbaby #fitmom #healthy #staythepath @caliabycarrie

A post shared by Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) on

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8) This little girl talked to her pug

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9) National Puppy Day

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10) This puppy took care of his best friend

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11) Thousands of people stood in line to try and help this boy with cancer

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12) This boy achieved an incredible feat

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13) This man jumped into a river to save a woman who drove her car off the road

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14) This little girl’s hard work paid off

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15) Morgan Freeman converted his ranch into a honeybee sanctuary

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16) This selfless man was awarded teacher of the year

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17) This man got a new puppy

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18) This mother donated her uterus to a woman who has struggled with infertility

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19) This woman became the first ever woman to win this math honor

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20) This girl went all out for crazy hair day

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21) This supermarket continued to train an employee with dementia so she could keep working there

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22) This little girl helped save her veteran neighbor’s life

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23) This man did this:

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24) The “Trashtag Challenge” on social media inspired people to clean up parks and beaches

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25) This little hockey player was mic’d up

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26) This boy’s viral tweet of his dad’s empty doughnut shop got their business booming

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27) This blessed the internet

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28) This woman adopted a baby she cared for in the ICU

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29) This whale tucked a scuba diver under its fin to protect her from sharks

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30) This formerly homeless teen got accepted into 17 colleges

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31) And this woman inspired us all

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what March brings!

You can view last month’s post here.

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28 Good Things that Happened in February

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in

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1) This couple invited women to wear their old wedding dresses to their wedding

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2) This soldier surprised his dad

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3) Mattel introduced dolls with wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs

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4) These people pranked their dads in the best way

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5) Elton John did a duet with the actor set to portray him in the upcoming biopic

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6) This mom sent a video to her daughter

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7) This boy’s embroidery became an internet favorite

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8) This boy showed how strong he is

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9) Selma Blair walked rocked the red carpet at the Oscars, her first public appearance after her MS diagnosis

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10) These people described their age in one word

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11) This police officer left his pregnant waitress an incredible tip

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12) Kacey Musgraves honored Selena with a performance in Houston

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13) Research showed that the sea turtle population has increased by 980%

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14) This little girl got an amazing Valentine’s Day surprise

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15) This man discovered a life hack and decided to forego moving into a nursing home and instead live in a series of Holiday Inns

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16) This community learned sign language to support their newest member

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17) This boy’s hilarious Valentine box stole people’s hearts

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18) Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper performed together at the Oscars

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19) This:

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20) This little girl was moved to tears by the song her mom wrote just for her

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21) This dog took care of his fellow animals

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22) These people shared stories of the nicest thing that’s ever been done for them

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23) Alicia Keys played two pianos at the Grammys

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24) After winning Best Actress at the Oscars, Olivia Coleman gave the most incredible speech

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25) This boy took his first flight

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26) This man shared an important note on knowing your worth

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27) This little girl received thousands of pictures of dogs

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28) This girl wrote an amazing poem

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what March brings!

You can view last month’s post here.

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Just a Little Valentine’s Day Reminder

Today is just a day.

And no matter if you love it, hate it, celebrate it, skip it, or just now remembered it’s anything more than a Thursday, I hope you know that you are loved.

You are loved.

You are important.

You are worth appreciating.

So no matter how you spend today, tomorrow, and every day after, if it makes you feel like the diamond crusted, chocolate covered, rose petaled, champagne fountained person you deserve to be, you’re doing it right.

Learning Internet Slang

Recently I’ve noticed that the Internet is chock-full of…well, gibberish. It seems like I’m constantly having to Google new words so I can try and understand what the hell people are talking about. I still never end up using them, but at least I feel like I have some context clues.

This got me thinking.

Since I am probably the most informed on slang—mostly because I feel like as a blogger I have to be—but still continue to struggle, it might be kind of funny to see how tuned in my family is.

So I asked them. (Well, everyone except my brother. But that’s only because I’ve heard him use some of these words so I felt like this would be too easy for him.)

All I gave them was the word. I wouldn’t give it to them in a sentence, so as to avoid giving them context clues, and I asked them all separately so they wouldn’t play off of each other.

These were the results:

1) Woke

Urban Dictionary Definition: a reference to how people should be aware in current affairs.

Natalee’s (my sister) Guess: Oh, um, like you’re really in the times. And you know what’s up. So like, if you’re drinking the fizzy water, you’re probably pretty woke, because that’s what people do now. So, you know, I’m woke.

Dad’s Guess: Like W-O-K-E? Woke just means to be highly alert.

Mom’s Guess: I feel woke, I’m ready to roll. I’m awake and ready to go.

2) Lit

Urban Dictionary Definition: When something is turned up or popping

Natalee’s Guess: Oh I know this one! Well…I don’t really know how to describe it. Umm, it means it’s a banger, that’s another term right? Like it’s really off the hook.

Dad’s Guess: That means it’s like, happenin’.

Mom’s Guess: I’ve heard this one used. Do you say, “she’s lit” or “he’s lit”? Doesn’t that mean that they are IT? Like, they’re cool.

3) Fire

Urban Dictionary Definition: incredible, hot, crazy, nice…etc

Natalee’s Guess: Can you give it me in a sentence? Because I’ve heard people say, “that’s fire” so does it mean, like, awesome, turned up? Is it the same as lit?

Dad’s Guess: The only thing I can think of is being on fire, like going 4 for 4 in a game or making three beer pong balls in a row.

Mom’s Guess: Well that one’s…dumb. That shouldn’t slang because it’s an actual thing. But I guess it has to mean you’re hot or maybe something that’s cool. Wait, is it like an oxymoron?!

4) GOAT

Urban Dictionary Definition: greatest of all time

Natalee’s Guess: GREATEST OF ALL TIME.

Dad’s Guess: Greatest of all time! Kobe Bryant!

Mom’s Guess: GREATEST OF ALL TIME! A.k.a DAD

5) Extra

Urban Dictionary Definition: over the top, excessive, dramatic behavior, way too much

Natalee’s Guess: Oh! Well…I mean, it just means extra. You’re just very in it–just all the way.

Dad’s Guess: Other than the literal meaning of wanting more of something I can’t think of what else it would mean.

Mom’s Guess: I just learned about this!! What did you tell me it meant?! Wait, hold on, let me go back in my brain. When somebody’s extra they’re…isn’t it like…shoot I didn’t pay attention. I think it means a lot, like a personality that’s difficult.

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6) Salty

Urban Dictionary Definition: Being upset, angry, or bitter as result of being made fun of or embarrassed.

Natalee’s Guess: Oh, this is when you’re upset but also sarcastic. So you’re not like “angry”, you’re just like woah, salty. You’re not really pissed, you’re just kind of…irritated.

Dad’s Guess: I would say that means you have a negative opinion on everybody. You’re just a salty old dude.

Mom’s Guess: Somebody who, like, “ooh you’re salty, spicy, you’re wild.”

7) Snatched

Urban Dictionary Definition: This term took over for “on fleek” and is often used to describe your eyebrows, your clothes, your hair—anything that looks on point.

Natalee’s Guess: Um…snatched…does that mean you’re taken over by something?

Dad’s Guess: Oh man. I can only imagine what Urban Dictionary’s definition is. Snatched….snatched…snatched…I would say uhh…snatched…that one’s almost as hard as “extra.” Hmmm…snatched. Ummm like you were ripped off?

Mom’s Guess: You’ve been kidnapped? Or maybe you are taken. You are in love.

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8) Keep it 100

Urban Dictionary Definition: To tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth

Natalee’s Guess: Tell the truth, be yourself, no bullshit.

Dad’s Guess: I would say that means to put all of yourself into everything.

Mom’s Guess: Be completely honest.

9) Bye Felicia

Urban Dictionary Definition: When someone says that they’re leaving and you could really give two shits less that they are.

Natalee’s Guess: Isn’t it the same as “boy bye”? Like bitch, get out.

Dad’s Guess: When you’re writing someone off.

Mom’s Guess: What people might say to Trump?

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10) Savage

Urban Dictionary Definition: badass, cool, someone who does not care about the consequences of his or her actions.

Natalee’s Guess: When somebody burns you or says something that is like WOAAHHHH, that is really savage, that really got you, they called you out.

Dad’s Guess: Savage would mean something that’s just ruthless—you don’t care who it offends. It would be like if I walked up to you and took the last chip off your plate even though I knew you were hungry.

Mom’s Guess: Somebody’s who is super athletic.

11) Hundo P

Urban Dictionary Definition: 100%

Natalee’s Guess: (completely sarcastically, because she, like me, had never ever heard of this) Oh, well that obviously means like, when you’re in line for a club and you have to pee but don’t want to lose your spot, so you pay someone $100 to hold your spot, and then you go to the bathroom real quick. Then when you come back, you get your $100 back, because you were never really paying them, it was more of a placeholder. But only for the VIP’s. Hundo P = VIP

Dad’s Guess: I would say that means you got lots of $100 bills in your wallet—you’re loaded.

Mom’s Guess: I think it’s when you’ve been drinking a lot and you’ve GOT TO GO.

12) Stan

Urban Dictionary Definition: overzealous fan

Natalee’s Guess: Does every letter stand for something? Like supporttalk…and then I don’t know.

Dad’s Guess: I’m thinking it’s what you call someone that’s unsociable. “That guy over there is being such a stan.”

Mom’s Guess: Someone very feminine.

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13) Ship

Urban Dictionary Definition: to endorse a romantic relationship

Natalee’s Guess: It means you, like, support

Me: Specifically…?

Her: Relationships?

Me: Correct.

Dad’s Guess: S-H-I-P? I would say what that means is you’re so hip, you’re just…I don’t know. You’re with the times.

Mom’s Guess: I don’t know, maybe like a…bigger person.

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14) OTP

Urban Dictionary Definition: one true pairing, a couple that is perfect for each other

Natalee’s Guess: um, original…true…PERSON. Like, you the realist.

Dad’s Guess: The only thing that comes to mind is from work: On Time Performance. That’s all I can think of.

Mom’s Guess: On the period. Like, you might say, “I’m OTP right now.”

 

If the Timehop App Knew Too Much

Alongside hitting snooze upwards of three times, my morning routine usually consists of checking the Timehop app on my phone. For those of you unfamiliar, Timehop connects to your social media accounts and tells you what you have posted on that day, however many years ago. In my case, Timehop usually reminds me of bad jokes I’ve made—though to be fair, I usually still laugh at them.

Sometimes when I read through an old status or tweet or Instagram picture, I’m reminded of more than just the post itself. I have flashbacks of the days and moments surrounding the post, getting a little glimpse into where I was when I posted it. This got me thinking: wouldn’t it be something if Timehop somehow tapped into those moments in time, both the good and the bad?

It would probably look something like this:

6 years ago today you said “you too” when the theater ticket taker said, “enjoy the movie.”

4 years ago today you woke up and felt inexplicably different about the relationship you were in.

2 years ago today you spent the entire day on the couch for no reason.

1 year ago today you ate 15 Oreos for breakfast and couldn’t eat anything for the rest of the day.

7 years ago today you fell in surface love with a person you saw on the freeway and spent a solid 10 minutes picturing what your future together would be like.

3 years ago today you looked in the mirror and liked what you saw for the first time in a long time.

5 years ago today you ate expired food from your fridge.

5 seconds ago today you were still wondering if it had any lasting effects.

14 years ago today you saw your favorite movie for the first time.

10 years ago today you made awkward small talk with a person who would become your best friend.

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To be honest, I’m not sure if I’d like a deeper digging Timehop. I like the freedom of being able to block things out here and there. But I suppose the important thing to remember, both about the real Timehop, and the nosy, fictional one I’ve imagined, is that it can remind us of all the moments that have lead us to where we are now, and the ones currently leading us somewhere in the future. Today will be full of those moments, as will tomorrow. They won’t all be easy, but they’ll be necessary to help us get where we’re destined to go.