personal

A Few Challenges for My Birthday (Update!)

Remember a month ago when I wanted to start my 28th year off with a bang, so I decided to set a bunch of 30 Day Challenges for myself, causing most everyone (including myself) to worry that I’d gone too far and might possibly start my 28th year off feeling like a failure?

Well, I have great news: I actually did it! I checked off every single item on every single challenge, and I come to you today, newly 28, feeling like a freaking badass.

To be honest, I loved the challenges. I loved having something new to challenge myself with every day, even though some days it felt like a little too much of a challenge. And though it would have been easy to fall behind, I always took time out of my day to sit down, open my notebook and write, draw, and journal my way through each challenge I did that day.

One of the most important things I learned throughout the process is to let the challenges challenge me but not own me. There have been so many times in the past when I’ve tried to do similar 30 Day challenges and I started off strong, but then fell so far behind that I gave up. I was so determined to follow the challenges exactly to the letter that it wasn’t motivating me as much as it was discouraging me. So, for these past 30 days, I made sure to work the challenges into my life, rather than completely alter my life and turn the challenges into work.

Here are a few highlights:

Happiness Challenge


Do you collect anything?

Come to think of it, I collect a lot of things. I’m very sentimental to begin with, so I don’t like to throw things away and I often upcycle them into new DIY projects. In terms of consistent collecting however, I would say: postcards, sand, t-shirts, ticket stubs, and old cameras.


family.jpg


What is something you wish you were good at?

Singing. I love singing so much, especially in my car. I think it’s such a freeing feeling and I can understand why people who are talented singers fight so hard to make it their career. 


 

dream-house.jpg


What is your favorite quote or a quote that means a lot to you?

I’m a big lover of quotes and words in general. I love the way people can spin them in a way that can change your perspective on things. If I were to choose a quote that sticks out in my mind it would be this one from Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said , people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” It’s a good reminder that you don’t have to say the perfect thing or do the perfect thing all the time. As long as you lead with kindness and love, that is what will leave a lasting impression.


drawing-2-e1536127708377.jpg


Why did you start blogging and what is the origin behind your blog’s name?

I started blogging mostly because I had no other choice. I’d always loved writing and then when I went to Australia I started a travel blog where I mostly just rambled my way through my study abroad term. Once I got back, I missed writing and posting blogs, so I started a new blog, only this time it would be about anything and everything that came to mind. As for my blog name, it’s pretty simple, as it’s just my name minus the hard to pronounce part of my last name:

KimberleeKoehn


FitBit Challenge

.

If you ever find yourself looking for a challenge, I’d recommend any of these. (You can find blank copies of all of the challenges on my original blog post here)

Overall, I think the challenges served exactly the purpose I hoped they would, as I feel both accomplished and excited about the year to come. I also got to know a little more about myself (and my lack of ability to draw a dog, the result of which I didn’t include here, for everyone’s sake) which I think is important. It’s always good to check in with who the heck you are every once in a while. And as of now, I’m really liking that person.

200 Day Time Capsule Blog #2

Greetings, past selves, we’ve once again made it to the future!

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out this post, which talks about the first time capsule blog I did, and if you’re interested, join in on the fun below!

This is the second time capsule blog, and I’m happy to report that it is still just as exciting. The minute I received my email I was desperate to know what was on past Kim’s mind.

Let’s dive right in.

.

1) What day is it?

My answer from time capsule #1 (7/9/17): Sunday July 9th, 2017

My answer from time capsule #2 (2/9/18): Friday February 9th, 2018

.

2) What’s the weather like outside?

My answer from time capsule #1 (7/9/17): HOT. AS. HELL. Well, at least it was earlier. It’s actually not bad now. There’s a nice breeze happening and I’m here for it.

My answer from time capsule #2 (2/9/18): It’s about 50 degrees outside right now, but it’s going to get up to 80 degrees later because apparently we’re not having a winter this year.

Note for past Kim: You do realize you live in Southern California, right? Is “no winter” really a new concept for you or…?

.

3) What did you do today?

My answer from time capsule #1 (7/9/17): Taught the elementary class at church, went to Quiznos with my mom, then spent the entirety of the afternoon battling the swarm of ants that have taken over our house. #ant-pocalypse2017

My answer from time capsule #2 (2/9/18): Since it’s only 7:00 am, I haven’t done much yet. However, after work I’m going over to a friend’s house for a game night and hopefully watching opening ceremonies! I’ve got my Team USA hat on already!

Note for past Kim: Great news from the future, those friends you went to visit get engaged and it’s extremely exciting and adorable!

.

4) What’s your favorite song right now?

My answer from time capsule #1 (7/9/17): Thunder by Imagine Dragons

My answer from time capsule #2 (2/9/18): Sober by James Arthur

Note for past Kim: Still waiting for the day when we don’t love both of this songs, to be honest. We’re still rocking out to both. 

.

5) What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?

My answer from time capsule #1 (7/9/17): I think The Broadway Melody, though if we really want to get into the meat of my television/movie watching ways, LET’S TALK ABOUT GAME OF THRONES. How did Season 7 end? How are we doing with the way it ended? Oh my gosh I’m overwhelmed by all the questions I have.

My answer from time capsule #2 (2/9/18): Maze Runner: The Death Cure

Note for past Kim: Ah, yes. The baby stages of both your MoviePass using adventures, and your see at least one movie in theaters per month goal for 2018. There are so many good movies on the horizons for you, girl. Seriously, you make some great cinematic choices that get your brain stirring in all kinds of directions.

.

6) Who did you text last and what did you say?

My answer from time capsule #1 (7/9/17): A text to Natalee & Rachel in our Roomie text string, in regards to #ant-pocalypse: “they were slowing down pretty good earlier, we found some minor survivors, but applied the appropriate force. I’d hold off on calling for now. Let’s see how the next couple days go.” Follow up question: how DID the next couple days go? Did we win the war of the ants? Did we have to call the Terminix guys and let them take our money?

My answer from time capsule #2 (2/9/18): To my roommate Rachel:

IMG_5164

Shout out to my fellow This is Us fans who know what’s up.

.

7) What is your biggest goal right now?

My answer from time capsule #1 (7/9/17): Publish a book

My answer from time capsule #2 (2/9/18): Take steps forward in my career, wherever those steps may be. I mean YES, I want to publish a book, but I’m trying to focus my thoughts on just finding my place in the writing world. Hopefully I’m still working hard to do that!

Note for past Kim: You are definitely still doing that! In fact,you recently published a guest post on a Sammiches & Psych Meds and your blog just passed 400 followers! Woohoo! 

.

8) What are you most excited about?

My answer from time capsule #1 (7/9/17): At this exact moment, this time capsule blog, but in general I’m excited about the possibility of getting a book out there in the world, I’m excited (and nervous) about my brother leaving for college, and I’m excited about all of the possibilities the future holds if I work hard enough!

My answer from time capsule #2 (2/9/18): THE OLYMPICS. Like I said, I already have my Team USA hat on. I will now spend the next few weeks almost completely cutoff from society. #sorrynotsorry. Note: how did we do?!

Note for past Kim: We did pretty good! As usual the Olympics were full of inspiration and magic and yes, you essentially did nothing besides work, eat, and watch NBC. One particular highlight that comes to mind is a night when you were panic stirring together ingredients for banana bread, afraid you might miss a minute of the US Women’s Hockey team’s gold medal match. You stuck that recipe in the oven, then proceeded to run and scream around the living room with your roommates, watching the team win the gold just as the smell of banana bread came drifting in from the kitchen. It was fun. 🙂

.

9) What are you most worried about?

My answer from time capsule #1 (7/9/17): Not accomplishing anything I want to. Being sad, alone, and covered in left over ice cream. The ants coming back. The Dodgers never winning a World Series in my lifetime.

My answer from time capsule #2 (2/9/18): It’s hard to really pin it down into words, but I think I’d say I’m most worried that I’m not accomplishing enough or that I’m not going in the direction I should be. Or something along those lines. For the most part I think I could sum up most of my worries to being in my 20’s though. It may be fun and all, but it’s borderline terrifying.

Note for past Kim: Honestly, same, girl. But don’t worry, we’re figuring it out. It might be slower than we might like, but we’re figuring it out. 

.

10) Tell yourself a really bad joke.

My answer from time capsule #1 (7/9/17): You know you still like the “outstanding invoice” joke from your book. Just admit it.

My answer from time capsule #2 (2/9/18): This is not so much a joke as it is a pickup line I heard during an interview the other day that made me laugh. “My parents always told me to follow my dreams…so do you mind if I follow you home?”

Note for past Kim: I’m not going to lie, that one still made me smile. Though this time around I also got a little bit of a creepy vibe… 

.

Call me crazy but this is incredibly cool. It’s so interesting to see how my thoughts have shifted since the first time capsule and to think about how they’ve changed again as I sit here reading through them. It’s also weirdly soothing to talk to my past self in the third person. I highly recommend it.

Speaking of, if you would like to jump on the time capsule blog bandwagon, here’s how:

1) Go to FutureMe.org

2) Fill in your email address & put “200 Day Time Capsule Blog” (or whatever you want) as the subject line.

3) Copy and paste the questions below into “Your Letter”

  • What day is it?
  • What’s the weather like outside?
  • What did you do today?
  • What’s your favorite song right now?
  • What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?
  • Who did you last text and what did you say?
  • What is your biggest goal right now?
  • What are you most excited about?
  • What are you most worried about?
  • Tell yourself a really bad joke.

4) Answer each question

5) Set your “Deliver on” date to 200 days from now, so: March 19th, 2019

6) Click “Send to the Future!”

Note: It will ask you to verify your email before it “officially” sends, so after you click “Send to the Future!” go to your email and click the verification link to make sure your letter officially enters the internet machine!

Note #2: After you click that link, it will take you to a page that tries to get you to donate money. You do not have to donate money. If you want to, you can, I’m sure the lovely people at FutureMe would appreciate your generosity, but otherwise you can just close the window. 

.

Come March (of next year!!), we’ll check in on how we’re doing, which I hope is fabulous!

Until then, have a wonderful day and I’ll see you in the future!


 

Check out the previous 200 Day Time Capsule Blog here.

July/August 2018 Favorites

I feel like I’ve fallen in love with a million things since my last favorites post, so it’s hard to choose only a handful to share with you rather than write a five-page, thesis driven report on everything you should be checking out.

In lieu of that however, I’ve tried to narrow it down to some of my tippity top favorites—which is a thing, right?

.

The Mortified Podcast

avatars-000129189817-c27y6b-t500x500

This is a continuation of the “Mortified” series of both books and live events where people share their embarrassing childhood journals.  Each week, the podcast takes on a theme and stories that fit into that theme are shared. For example, this past week’s episode was called “International Affairs” which featured stories about experiences overseas. No matter which episode you watch or listen to, or which format you find them on, they are guaranteed to make you laugh and/or cringe and more than anything relate. (find it here)

.

M-W Word of the Day

Screen Shot 2018-08-27 at 7.30.43 AM

While I like to consider myself as someone with a relatively high vocabulary, I’m always anxious to improve. The way I see it, the more words I know, the more easily I’ll be able to convey exactly what I’m trying to say. So, every day, as part of my morning routine, I check my email and read the word of the day, its definition and its usage in a sentence. Is this a little nerdy? Yes, and I love it.  (find it here)

.

Movies

Eighth Grade

As far as I’m concerned, absolutely everyone should see this movie. It is so honest and beautiful and hilarious and sad. It’s about a time in all of our lives that was so awkward and important, and it offers a rare look back to see how far we’ve come since then. (find it here)

Three Identical Strangers

This movie had a pretty limited release which is absolutely heartbreaking because it is one of the most mind-blowing things I’ve ever seen. And while I’d like to tell you all about it, it is truly one of those films that you have to watch without any prior information. So please, do yourself a favor and don’t do any research on this film other than how you can get your eyes on it as soon as possible! (find it here)

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

This movie is absolutely adorable. It’s the romcom we’ve all needed for a long time. I watched it one night when I was feeling a little down and it gave me so many warm fuzzies,  I watched it again the very next night without even an ounce of shame. (find it on Netflix)

.

TV

The Sinner71HSFu3M7zL._RI_

Before watching last year’s award show circuit and seeing Jessica Biel nominated left and right for her performance on this show, I hadn’t really heard anything about it. Needless to say, the minute it was released on Netflix, I went into full blown FOMO mode and made myself sit down and watch the first season. Being the scaredy cat that I have always been, I only watched one or two episodes at a time because I was so nervous about what was going to happen, but when I got close to the end I gave into the binge and let me tell you, it was worth it! I haven’t got a chance to watch any of the second season yet, but it’s definitely on my list! (find it Netflix)

.

Red Oaks

A1bchCANwlL._RI_

Taking the hardest of left turns, I bring you Red Oaks, a show I found completely by accident on Amazon Prime. It follows a cast of characters that work at a tennis club in the 80’s. One thing that particularly drew me to this show was Craig Roberts, who I loved in The Fundamentals of Caring. While set in a completely different pair of shoes, you again find yourself rooting for him, which is kind of the theme of the show in my opinion. Over the course of the three seasons, there’s never really any cliffhangers or monumental events that make you gasp, but you still find yourself gripped to the characters who are easily tangible and relatable people who you just want to succeed and be happy. (find it on Amazon Prime)

.

Making It

Making It - Season 1

This show is honestly my dream come true. A DIY competition show—which alone would’ve stolen my heart—that is hosted by Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler!! It is the greatest gift my DVR could have ever been given. (find it on Hulu, or Tuesdays at 10 p.m. PST on NBC)

.

Books

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This was released as a movie in March, but I waited to read the book first and I was so glad I did. Not only do you get a lot more detail, but in many ways (in my opinion) you get a better story.  While I enjoyed both adaptations, the movie and the book are drastically different in terms of minor plot points. I feel like the movie focuses more on video game references while the book’s major focus is the 80’s generation as a whole. (find it here)

Strange Fire by Tommy Wallach

In a recent conversation with my sister I made a comment that I thought Tommy Wallach might be my favorite author, which made me wonder why he hadn’t released any new books lately. This sent me on a Google hunt which informed me that not only had he released this book last October, but that it was the first in a trilogy, the second of which is coming out this November. Cue the happy dancing. This book was much more sci-fi than his first two (both of which you should read, by the way, they are: We All Looked Up and Thanks for the Trouble) but the characters were just as rich and the story was equally gripping. I can’t wait for book #2! (find it here)

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Seeing as it won a Pulitzer Prize and all, I realize it wouldn’t be new information for me to say, “hey, this is a great book!” But I never read this book in school and really only did so now because it’s on the list of Time’s Best 100 Books that I’m working my way through, and I’m SO glad I did! I listened to the audiobook read by Sissy Spacek and she was fantastic. Highly recommend! (find it here)

.

Music

As always, here’s a few iTunes adjectives to peak your interest

Don’t Smile at Me by Billie Eilish: “nudges things along nicely with its minimalist beats and lifting-yet-sinister lyricism.”

Greetings from the Neon Frontier by The Wild Feathers: “full of wistful highway anthems built on breezy three part harmonies.”

Sweetner by Ariana Grande: “a gorgeous pastel album about love, happiness, strength and womanhood.”

.

Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

 

A Small Collection of Small Thoughts

Sometimes when I’m going about my day I come up with questions and ideas that wouldn’t necessarily work as full blown blog posts but still have a way of distracting me for the better part of the day.

They all start with a “what if” or a “you know what, I’ve never thought of that” and then I (somehow) drive around thinking about them until I get home (without really remembering how) and I do my necessary research so that the thought(s) can leave my brain.

Am I the only one who does this? At what point should I be concerned about my spaced out driving? Also, I wonder what my “spaced out driving” face looks like. I hope I at least have the wherewithal to close my mouth.

.

On Thumbs

Have you ever thought about how dirty thumbs are?

I’m not talking dirty in a sexual way, I’m talking dirty in a bacterial type of way.

Think about it. When you were little and had something on your cheek, what’s the first thing your mom would do? Lick her thumb and wipe it off, horrifically embarrassing you in the process, right?

Now think about every time you’ve ever seen a speck of dirt/deodorant/makeup/etc. on your person/counter/car/etc. and needed a quick fix to get it off. What is the first thing you did?

Exactly.

But you want to know the weirdest part? Thumbs never look dirty. Where does it all go?

.

On Hogwarts

If magic and Hogwarts are actually real things posing as fiction, and I’m just a muggle living in hopeless ignorance, I’m going to be so pissed.

.

On Hair

Did you know that once your hair pokes out of your scalp it dies?

Truth.

Below the skin are blood vessels that feed the hair, helping it grow, but once it pokes out, the cells inside it die. That’s right: DIE.

So basically we spend hours and hours and hours of our life crying in bathrooms and groaning on hot days and envying awards show pictures over something that is long dead.

Remember that time you cut your hair and hated it so you spent days looking in the mirror telling it to grow? Ever wonder why it didn’t? Probably because all it heard was, “DIE FASTER SO I WILL LOVE YOU AGAIN.”

You monster.

Give your hair a break. It’s the only corpse people will ever compliment you on wearing, and that’s pretty special.

.

On Lunch

I’m never going to be the kind of person that says, “is it lunch time already?” There is no surprise factor here, I’ve been counting down for five hours.

.

On Bob

Do they make rulers with other rulers?

Like was there an original ruler that set the standards for all other rulers and now we’re essentially relying on that to be right until the end of eternity?

What if that ruler was wrong? Or what if at some point in history some guy named Bob was working the ruler assembly line and he purposefully botched one, then used that botched ruler as the new original ruler, thus trolling the entire world until the end of time?!

He’s probably sitting at home, smoking a cigar, watching men and women alike lie to themselves about the length of their extremities, humming the rick roll anthem 24 hours a day.

What a monster.

.

On Bruno Mars

Am I ever going to be as comfortable in jeans as Bruno Mars is in silk?

.

So if you ever see me driving around looking spacey, these are the kinds of things I’m thinking about.

It’s really hard hitting stuff.

A Bummer of a Step in the Right Direction

A few weeks ago I applied to a job that sounded like it would be the perfect fit for me. Not only was the company one that I’d volunteered for in the past, but the job itself was one I believed I was completely qualified for and could offer a lot to.

It had been a while since I applied to a job. And even though my current job was not unsatisfying—I have both friendly coworkers, generous bosses and a healthy work environment as a whole—I’ve long dreamed about finding a new home. Somewhere that I can grow and learn and be challenged in new and exciting ways.

Patience was all it was supposed to take. Patience and hard work and determination. And after years of feeling as if I’d done just that, I found this job opportunity and hit apply.

A week later, I got an email asking to set up a phone interview. My stomach turned and turned, wondering if perhaps this was actually it. Maybe this was what I’d been patient for. Maybe this was what I’d been working towards.

The night before the interview, I warned my roommates I would be going into work late the next morning, asking them to send their thoughts and prayers, and not to judge if they heard me pacing back and forth on the phone.

After the interview, I went to work as usual. I pulled into my parking spot and clocked in at the time clock and sat behind my desk. My stomach was no longer in knots, and my confidence was through the roof. I nailed that, I thought, and instantly my mind began to picture me in a new parking spot and behind a new desk.

In the days that followed, my confidence waned. It wasn’t that anything had changed; I still believed I’d given a good interview, and even if it wasn’t perfect, it was honest and a good representation of who I was and what I can do.

Prideful thoughts told me they’d be crazy not to hire me, that there wasn’t a chance they’d interviewed a candidate as good as me. But realistic thoughts countered back with humbling doses of doubt.

What if they don’t hire me? I began to worry. What if this is just another blip on the failure radar? What if in a few weeks, this will be nothing more than a jaunt of unrewarded risk?

Tears flooded my eyes as I sat at my desk. What if this wasn’t it? Could I really continue being patient? And if this seemingly perfect opportunity wasn’t going to work out, then what was I even being patient for?

Over the next few days I felt nauseous with worry. I checked my email obsessively, hoping the next refresh would prove my doubts wrong. But nothing came.

Then, in a seemingly ordinary moment, when neither acceptance nor rejection was particularly weighing on my mind, I felt a sudden feeling of peace. It wasn’t a confidence that things were going to go my way, and it wasn’t a guarantee that I wouldn’t be crushed if they didn’t, but rather a reassurance that whatever happened was exactly what was supposed to happen.

So often I’m someone who’s making plans, setting goals and checking items off lists to ensure that I’m setting myself up for a happy and successful future. I’m always trying to do more, to be more and I assure myself that eventually what I do will lead me where I need to go.

But therein lies the problem.

So often I forget that I’m part of a plan much bigger than me. That what I’m working towards, even on the most mundane of days, and what I’m being patient for, even when it seems hopeless, is something greater than I could ever imagine.

Almost exactly a week after my phone interview, I received an email that the company had decided to go in a “different direction”. And even with that feeling of peace sitting in the back of my mind, I was still bummed. It was still a no, and now that it was a real no rather than one fabricated in my head, it stung—bad. So I took that day and I let all the sad and the disappointed move through me. Rather than go out with my friends, I stayed home and watched a sad movie and let myself be bummed.

As it turned out, this wasn’t it. But even though it felt like a step I didn’t get to take, it was actually a step forward in a new direction. A step towards something else.

So even as I drive to work today and park in my same parking spot and clock in at the same time clock and sit behind my same desk, I can take a deep breath knowing that right now, I’m exactly where I need to be. And that as the days go by and I keep moving forward, my patience will pay off, and where I end up will be far greater than any place I could have ever imagined.

TBTS (Throwback Thursday Stories): The 40 Penises of Freshman Year

Today we are throwing it back in a few different ways to a few different places.

Throwback Thursday Stories is a segment I used to do on my blog which, as the name suggests, included a “throwback” story that I posted on Thursdays. (We like to keep it literal over here.)

On top of that, the story I’m posting today was one of the very first I ever had published. The website, In the Powder Room—which unfortunately is no longer active ☹—was actually responsible for both of my first ever publications (the other was about the first time I did a juice cleanse which you can read here) and the friendly editors that helped me prepare my post were the first people to ever make me feel like a real writer.

And on top of that, I figured since school has started back up for a lot of people, why not re-share one of the most—uh, unexpected first days I ever had?

It’s a win win win as far as I’m concerned.

(Except for past Kim, she’s still a little shaken up.)

There I was on the first day of my second semester art class. While completely ashamed of my lack of artistic ability, I was just as determined to improve as I was the previous semester. I walked into room 68 and found a spot near the front just as my teacher clapped her hands together to get our attention.

“We’re going to dive right in this morning. No use wasting any of this precious time. Let’s just keep it loose and have fun today.”

I nodded, smiled, and quickly began to search my bag for my pencil box, silently pondering what we’d be drawing.

As I propped up my drawing pad, a man took the stage my teacher had vacated and I saw him nod to the class before I flipped open the front cover to reveal my first blank page.

Now, the actual fall time of the front cover behind my seat was probably around a second or two, if that, but due to its likeness to a curtain on Broadway, the descent seemed to last a lifetime.

Beginning with its peak height—which completely blocked my view of the stage—the cover fell slowly, carefully revealing what I was sketching inch by inch. First I saw the man’s head. His eyes were gazing away from me, towards the door in the back left corner of the room. Then I saw his chest, now bare, and his arms laden with goosebumps. Then I saw his…WAIT, WHAT?! The cover hit the back of the chair and I sat, stunned and still amongst my classmates, unaware of what to do. I started again with his head, sure I’d had some kind of pornographic stroke. I again moved down his chest and arms until I again found his…

WHAT KIND OF CLASS IS THIS?!

I looked around, desperate to find someone in the same amount of shock. And while I saw a few of my classmates wincing as they sketched, making a conscious effort to keep their eyes up, no one seemed to completely object to our subject.

“If you are uncomfortable, or feel it will use too much of your time, please feel free to draw fig leaves in the place of genitalia. And if the time comes that you do feel comfortable, challenge yourself to complete full body sketches.”

I’m a modest person. I knew the day would never come when I’d find myself adding drop shadows to a stranger’s anaconda, so after class I assigned myself five hours hard research on the anatomy of a fig leaf.

Much to my surprise however, intricate knowledge of this greenery would do me no favors as the parade of peckers continued throughout the semester. I failed to take into account the variety of sizes and shapes that would take the stage, and I neglected to consider the impact the model’s pose would have on the angle at which gravity would…umm…pull.

Not to mention, despite my thorough research, there were times my fig leaves failed to appear, well, leaf-ish. For example, one afternoon I sketched a man that appeared to be squatting on a burning bush, and later that week, I drew a gentleman whose crotch had seemingly sprouted a snowflake.

To make up for the blunders down under, I decided to start drawing the models’ facial features.  I reasoned that if I was forcing my teacher to grade a drawing of a man giving birth to a pineapple, the least I could do was give her a face to sympathize with.

This however, did not go well.

Turns out, if you are as tremendously terrible as I am, a butt chin can look a lot like what is hidden behind a fig leaf, and facial hair can look a lot like what keeps it warm in the winter.

As the semester drew on, it was clear that I was never going improve; however, I did grow more comfortable with being told to stare at a man I’d never met as he pointed both up and down at the same time. I even went back and forth on the idea of taking that next step with my colored pencils, and attempting a schlong sketch. What did I have to lose?

Ultimately however, I talked myself out of it. I concluded that any attempt I made would not only be pitiful, but also insulting. Picture a kid trying to explain a drawing of their family to their teacher in preschool. Now picture me explaining why I’ve added a pre-explosion Hindenburg blimp between the legs of Bob from Torrance to my college professor.

On the upside, I did eventually perfect that fig leaf.

10 Things I Do Incorrectly

Ever since the day we were born, we’ve been taught to do things a certain way—or at least the way our family (and those around us) deem acceptable. Then, as we make our way out into the world and see other people doing things in completely different ways, we have one of two reactions:

  1. We are intrigued and overall impressed, thus we adopt this new method.
  2. We are horrified.

I’m not afraid to admit I have habits that (I guess) might horrify people. Not in a clinical way or one that would warrant an arrest or anything. But some that would definitely provoke a dirty look or at the very least a pity nod and a side glance to someone equally as upset.

Don’t get me wrong, this post is not a promise to change any of them. It’s also not an apology. I’m just pointing them out to let you know that I know, and also to let you know what I know in case you’re wondering if anyone else does what you do, you know?

For example:

1) Tie My Shoes

I was never able to figure out how to work the loop, swoop and pull method, so I’m still rocking the bunny ears. Honestly, I prefer this method. I think it allows a tighter (a.k.a more efficient) tie.

.

2) Follow Washing Instructions

As a persistent rule follower this is a little out of character for me, but I get so aggravated that some clothes require this and some require that. I do stick to the basics: colors vs. whites, but when it comes to machine wash vs. hand wash, I’m more than likely to go survival of the fittest on you and cross my fingers you make it out of the washer and drier. If you do, I dub thee worthy of my closet.

.

3) I Cut the Crusts off My Sandwiches

I’m sorry but crusts are gross and I will never apologize for this. The only thing I’ll admit is a little weird is that crusts don’t bother me when the bread is toasted. But I feel like that’s because it’s a more consistent texture…or something.

.

4) Handwriting

My handwriting is an absolute disaster. It’s a strange combination of cursive, chicken scratch and both lower and upper case letters. It’s a shame too, because I actually love writing and receiving letters. But when I look at the way I write, it’s not a big mystery why I’ve never been able to keep a consistent pen pal.

.

5) I’m Right-Handed and Left-Handed

(Not really) speaking of hands, mine are moody. While my right is dominant in most everything in my daily life, I’ve always batted left-handed. As a result, I also golfed left-handed, however, I recently learned that I have a better right-handed golf swing. So basically my body is having a constant identity crisis.

.

6) I Hate Peanut Butter & Coffee

I feel as though both of these preferences have been regarded as sins at some point during my life, and while I’d like to apologize (I guess) for being unable to relate/obsess/meme with you, there’s really not a whole lot I can do about this.

.

7) Dream

This is one of those things where I know I don’t really have any control over it, but I still feel like I’m doing something wrong. I just have weird dreams. And not the “haha how funny” kind of dreams, I’m talking mouth agape, friends concerned and inquiring about professional opinions type of weird. I’ve written about some of them (which you can read here and here) but they just seem to keep on coming. Just the other night I had a dream about peeling the top layer of skin off of my face. Mind you I had this dream after a relaxing evening of watching a romantic comedy and coloring.

.

8) I Occasionally Misuse “Literally”

I understand this is a terrible (literary) crime, especially since I like to consider myself someone with a relatively good handle on the English language. But I can’t help it! Sometimes I find myself in the middle of a story where the punch line feels so unbelievable that the person I’m talking to couldn’t possibly believe how serious I am. So I’ll say, “LITERALLY,” before the big reveal, that way they know I’m not screwing around. And even though it doesn’t make sense, and there are people who would say, “oh yeah, and what would it have been like figuratively,” the way I see it, it’s their choice to be a jerk. All I was trying to do was get them as excited about hearing my story as I was telling it, and I wanted the ending to literally blow their mind. Into a million pieces. Yes, I wanted my story to be so good it murdered them.

.

9) Tanning

I understand that I have pale skin. I also understand that tanning is terrible for your skin, which is why I don’t often do it. But can someone explain to me why, when we spend a few hours in the sun, I come home 98% pale, with blotchy sunburns on my knees and a tan line from my FitBit, and my sister comes back a golden brown sun goddess? Something about that just doesn’t seem right.

.

10) I Scrunch

This is more of a shrugged acceptance rather than a confident statement, as I don’t know if there is actually a designated “right way.” The other day I was watching a video on YouTube where someone mentioned they “scrunch” their toilet paper rather than “fold” it when they wipe, and there was an uproar among the adjacent parties. Words like “monster” and “animal” were used. Meanwhile, there I am, knowing full well I’ve scrunched my whole life, wondering if I’m some sort of deranged psychopath and don’t even know it? To settle this, please feel free to add your two cents here:

.

In the end, some of these things are biological and some could be addressed in a nature vs. nurture argument, but most of these things are just because…me. I don’t want to apologize because I don’t think I should have to change, but I also don’t want to say I don’t want to change because my analytical side likes to weigh the pros and cons of both sides.

Except on crusts that is. You ain’t changin’ my mind on crusts.

A Few Challenges for My Birthday

As of yesterday, my 28th birthday is officially one month away!

This is both alarming and exciting. I’m not necessarily intimidated by the prospect of being 28, but then again it’s like, woah, I’m going to be 28?! You know?

Anyways, in order to welcome in age 28, I’ve decided to do a few challenges.

I did some deep diving in the Pinterest universe—and made it out alive, so 28 is already looking good—and I’ve found a few that look both fun and doable. Plus, they’re lists, which if you know anything about me, you know I love the hell out of some lists.

Some people might say giving yourself a hefty amount of tasks to check off in the month before your birthday would be stressful, but I have never been one of those people. Thus, let the lists commence!

I got one for exercise:

66108f675db0ab89f400490717b1147e-copy.jpg.

I got one for drawing—which should really be a challenge since I don’t/can’t draw, but hey, maybe 28 year old me draws. Who knows?

30 Day Drawing Challenge

.

I got this one that will give me something to write about each day

b4b8aad9b39a272ce128f6e6172750fd

.

And this one for happiness, because it just seems like a logical way to welcome in another year of life.

30 Day Happiness Challenge

.

Is this a bad idea? Will these challenges end up stressing me out more than building me up? Have I made a grave mistake by committing to them on the internet rather than just keeping them to myself?

Maybe.

But all I can do is my best. The whole point is to get 28 started with a bang.

Not bangs though, I don’t think I (or my sister) could do those again.

bangs

I’m Still Trying to Land My Own Jump

The other day I was scrolling through Facebook when I came across a video of a skateboarder trying to land a super complicated trick. Massively complicated for someone like me. Impossible, really. But for this guy, it was something he knew he could do eventually. It was something he could work towards little by little.

The caption of the video described the trick as a “triple set with a massive laser flip,” which undoubtedly means…something.

The video fades in on the guy, Christian Flores, standing on his skateboard, his voice coming through the speakers saying, “Everyone has their own project that they’re doing mostly for themselves, you know?” He’s standing next to a double door entrance of a medical building, on a small patch of cement that leads down three small sets of stairs. The camera is pointed straight at the building and Christian is in the far left corner of the frame. With a quick pump of the leg, he rolls towards the edge of the stairs and comes to a quick stop so he can look down at the jump he’s going to make, visualizing every movement required in landing the trick successfully. He then goes off camera to give himself more room to pick up speed, before soaring back into frame and hurling himself into the air. When he lands, the board is upside down under his feet and he rolls on his back across the asphalt. It looks like it hurts, like maybe he should be broken in more ways than one, but he pops right up, grabs his board and runs back up the stairs.

For the next few minutes, the video shows a montage of what should have been (at least I think) the last day of Christian’s life. He skids and slides and crashes and rolls and booms and bangs and oww and how much milk did this kid drink that his bones are not in a pile right now?

The caption of the video states that throughout the trying process—which took over two years—Christian did endure a few broken ribs, but that’s a laughable amount of damage compared to what should have happened. If I tried a trick like this, I think the acting doctor would end up laughing, but in more of a, “great news, you didn’t break this rib!” type of way. But as much as I’d like to go on and on about how broken this guy should be, how beaten down and discouraged and exhausted, there comes a time when you have to respect that the guy just knew how to fall. Being a skateboarder, he was used to it. And being a good skateboarder, he didn’t let it bother him. With each crash he popped right back up and ran up the stairs. Again. And again. And again.

Not being a skateboarder myself, it’s hard to understand how he kept getting up. But I suppose his wanting to land that trick (regardless of the consequences that came with it) is just a physical representation of any of us being knocked down en route to accomplishing something we’re passionate about.

There are clips of him rolling around in obvious pain, tears rolling down his face, and anger radiating out of his bones. There are countless moments when you almost want him to stop, for fear he really might hurt himself. But there’s no stopping him. He keeps getting up.

The funny part about the whole thing is that it’s just a trick. All of this falling and nearly dying and hours of frustration, it’s all for a silly skateboarding trick. But then again, is that really all it is?

Like any muscle, perseverance takes time to build up and make strong. We’re not born with blind determination, we have to work for it. We have to want it. And so even though this want of his may have seemed like small potatoes to someone trying to start their own company or run a marathon or write a book, the drive to do any and all of these starts in the same place. Who knows where his determination could take him after this trick? Who knows what his mind would set itself on next? What counts is that he knows he can get himself anywhere he needs to be, because he knows he’s willing to put himself through hell to get there.

At about the four minute mark, we see him propel himself into the air for what seems to be the hundredth time. He floats up off the stairs and his feet leave the board. His arms go up in the air to keep his balance and his eyes focus down on where he needs to land—which he does. With both feet cleanly on the board, he rolls down the asphalt for a few dozen feet, then comes to a stop, throws his skateboard and shirt into the air, and walks over to hug his friends.

As the video closes, Christian says he is proud to have accomplished his goal and happy that it is done, but even so, he is already looking for something bigger. My response to this was a solid two minutes of letting my jaw hang open, and then I wrote this blog. It’s just a short, silly blog, nothing more. But then again, maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s part of something bigger.

Why I Almost Didn’t See Bo Burnham’s “Eighth Grade” and Why I’m Glad I Did

One of the most talked about films in theaters right now is Bo Burnham’s directorial debut, Eighth Grade. Having been a fan of the comedian for a number of years now, when I learned his name was attached to the already intriguing project, it made the decision to see it pretty easy. So, this past Monday, as I packed up my stuff at work, I checked the showtimes nearby and decided to spend my open afternoon doing just that.

Walking into the theater for the 4:00 p.m. showing, I fell in step behind a couple and then discovered my assigned seat was directly beside them. We shared a laugh and made a few comments about the associated odds, and then slowly got quiet. They leaned into each other and talked low, and I opened the book I had in my purse.

As time went on, other people began to shuffle in. Some alone, like the girl my age in a slouchy cardigan, and the one probably younger than me with a blonde bun piled on top of her head; an older woman carrying a large popcorn and a colorful shawl, and a man about my dad’s age wearing a red shirt and glasses, who took a seat in the very front row. Others arrived in pairs, like the couple already stealing bites of each other’s food, the boy in the baseball hat that walked in laughing beside the one with long brown hair, and a pair of girls carrying identical ICEEs and whispering.

The man in the couple next to me leaned in to his girlfriend. “What do you remember about eighth grade?”

“Not much,” she replied.

He paused and then said, “I remember my dad taking me out of school for a week…” and then continued the story too quiet for me to hear.

I sat reading my book, listening to the mumbles of surrounding conversation, my mind wandering to where I was in eighth grade. I thought of the week I had pneumonia and how when I came back a number of my fellow classmates told me they thought I died. I remembered having crushes on boys that my best friend and I gave code names and wrote about in notebooks that we passed back and forth between classes. I thought about my hair and what a nightmare (at least I thought) it was, and how I refused to take it out of a bun unless it was flat-ironed. Also, the pink pants, but I tried not to harp on those, it was the early 2000s.

After a while, people started to get restless, and when I looked at my watch, I understood why. Before I could form an opinion on the matter however, a theater employee walked in to inform us that the movie would not be playing. He offered his sincerest apologies and assured us we would get a refund and a coupon. Glancing around at each other, we all stood up, most of us shrugging and exchanging short anecdotes like, “well that sucks.”

As we stood in line for our coupons, I got the same feeling I always get after I walk out of a movie. That sense of camaraderie with my fellow moviegoers, knowing we’d just gone on the same journey together, even though in this case the journey was much shorter than we might have preferred.

On my way back to the car, I glanced at my phone. Since I’d spent a good amount of time looking over the showtimes earlier in the day, I remembered something about a 5:15 showing at a theater down the road. I tucked my coupon in my pocket and picked up my pace. I had 15 minutes. I could make it.

Hustling to the line at the second theater, I waited patiently, alternating my gaze between my feet, the ticket window and my watch. In a look back a few minutes later, I recognized a few of the faces getting in line behind me. A girl with a blonde bun piled on top of her head; a boy in a baseball cap followed closely by a boy with long brown hair; a man about my dad’s age with a red shirt and glasses. Each of them held a gift certificate in their hand, waiting patiently while trying not to look at their watches.

Once I was in the new theater, I again took a seat by myself, again noting the couples, groups and other singles that filed into the theater one after the other. My instincts were to feel self-conscious. I was here alone after all, and eighth grade me would have died at the thought. But as the lights went down and the conversations I wasn’t a part of began to fade out, I realized how far gone I was from eighth grade me. And as I watched the movie and laughed and cried and cringed with everyone about the things we all went through at that age, I was reminded how far we’ve all come since then.

Without going through what we did, the movie might not have been as funny, and it might not have made us (or hey, at least me) cry. We wouldn’t have cringed or “aww-ed” or wanted to hug the hell out of Kayla (the main character played by Elsie Fisher) because we wouldn’t have understood how much better things get. How much more we were going learn and experience and discover. We wouldn’t know that eighth grade is ugly but life is beautiful. That life becomes beautiful because eighth grade is ugly, and how it repeats this cycle throughout every stage that follows.

So as credits began to roll and the lights came back up, we all looked around at each other and smiled. We were filled with that feeling of camaraderie, but this time it wasn’t only because of what we’d gone through today, it was because of everything we’d gone through since the day we stepped foot into eighth grade, and every step we’d taken after. We knew were in this together, and that unlike our eighth grade selves, we weren’t afraid to admit that that mattered.