The feeling after a swim. The smell of chlorine. Blowing out candles. Breaking down walls. Telling secrets. Keeping secrets. Falling in like. Fitting playlists. Pure blue sky. New dresses. Walking arm in arm. Smiling at strangers. Eating family style. Waking up because you want to, not because you have to. Homemade cupcakes and the people who make them. Flowers that make your room smell like heaven. Cheek kisses. Forehead kisses. Being warm. When someone puts their arm around you when you’re cold. The first sunburn of the year. Elephants in the room. Summery color schemes. Brothers. When people laugh at my jokes. Goggle marks. TOMS tans. Rolling fog. Rolling tides. Walking and talking. Hand written cards. New friends. Old friends. When “I love you,” means “I’ll always love you.” When you walk into a room.
You rained last night but I didn’t mind. When I woke up my friends asked me if we should still hike your tallest peak and I said of course, and when we reached the top we all laughed at the idea of abandoning our plan for the day. We were taller than the clouds. The sky was grey but there’s no such thing as an ugly sky when you live in such a breathtaking town. Even grey looks good as the fog dances with the peaks of your mountains. It makes the greens a little greener. The rocks a little more slippery, but that’s okay too.
You have an uncanny ability to feed my sense of adventure. I could be scared but I know you’ll take care of me. You’ve brought me to some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. To the ones who keep me safe and the ones who crack me up. I owe you one, SLO.
The sun always seems to shine a little brighter with you. And my summer shadows feel longer and my heart skips a beat — sometimes two — once I cross your county line on the 101. Because I know, there’s only 32 more miles until I exit and we’re reunited. You’re my best friend. Or at least, you’ve brought me to some of the best friends I could ever ask for. Thanks for that.
And thanks for making sure Avila’s always sunny on my birthday. Birthdays by the ocean were too good to be true until I met you. I hope I’m not jinxing it by telling you this 20 days before my birthday. Consider this my sun dance.
Oprah didn’t need to tell me you were the happiest city in America. I knew when I was in fourth grade and I wrote a poem about my favorite place. I told Nana all about it. Most days I wish I could still tell Nana. Write more silly limericks about it. But I don’t need to write a limerick. I see it through the window when I wake up in the morning. I feel it when I finish a tour and people applaud. Or when I run into someone and they hug me like they haven’t seen me in ten years. Or when I go to a class I love. Or when I come home after a long day and my apartment smells like freshly baked banana bread.
Or when I’m at the top of a mountain with new friends and we YELL AT THE TOP OF OUR LUNGS. Because we can. Because we’re at the top of a mountain and we have the lung capacity to do so and we hiked to the top of this mountain and we’re together. Glued by our love of YOU, San Luis Obispo. Glued by the fact that you put a smile on our faces.
I wanted to write you a letter because most of the time I’m pretty good with words. But I guess I didn’t really need 500 words to tell you how I feel. But I wanted you to know, San Luis Obispo, that I love you. It’s more than a crush. It’s more than a “I want us to be better friends.” I love you. And I owe you one. I can’t thank you enough.
Thanks for the rain and the sun and the mountains and the ocean and the family and the thousands of reasons to wake up every morning. You’re the best.
But GOSH I can’t even find the right words to properly articulate how blessed I’m feeling these days. It was a rough few weeks, and I’m stressed out of my mind, but as I sit here in the library I’m across the table form Aaron, my Poly Reps mentee. I have a mentee! And I’m surrounded by love.
I wanted to write to you all last weekend when I three of my favorite people in the same place for a whole weekend. I hit this point where I was sitting in the car with all of them and it occurred to me that I really didn’t need anything else. I was so perfectly content. And two of my worlds had collided and meshed together. And it was perfect. And I went to bed happy and the anxiety I had felt all week had dissipated and I knew that no matter what happened, it didn’t matter because I was safely nestled between my friends. And nothing bad can happen there.
And then last night as we screamed and yelled in Mission Plaza to welcome our new Poly Reps I was so re-energized. I was suddenly reminded of why this organization is my family. All night it was all I could do not to just throw my arms around everyone and tell them i loved them. Because good gracious I do.
My soul sister put it so perfectly, “Sometimes when you see how much people love you, you cry because it’s just so sweet. Not because you’re sad anymore.” Dre is right. I wanted to cry last night because we were so unbelievably surrounded by love. Love in its purest, most genuine form. Like kindergarten love. The best kind of love. Real love.
Someone asked me the other day if The Happiness Project was still happening and it broke my heart a little because I know I’ve been terrible about posting lately. I’m still me, still full of joy and outpourings of love and an unquenchable thirst for smiles. I haven’t gone anywhere. I’ve just been trying to maintain the joy in my life. Once I feel confident in that again, I’ll bring it to you.
I love. So, so much.
When I finish my tours, I always close with this heartfelt little spiel about why I love Cal Poly. It goes a little something like this
“When I came to Cal Poly I wasn’t totally sold. But when I was wandering around with my mom and my new friends I had this moment where everything clicked. Everything felt right. And I knew in that moment there was no place I’d rather be. No place I’d rather spend my four years. And every day I wake up in the morning grateful for the decision I made. I love the classes I’m taking, I love my professors, I love the way I spend my time and the people I spend my time with. And I feel so unbelieveably lucky that this is where I live, and these are the people I’m surrounded by. . .and everyone deserves to love college as much as I do. Everyone should be as happy with their college decision as I am.”
And usually every tour it gets a little bit more true. But on Thursday, my spiel was interrupted by one of those people I’m so grateful for. And so I asked him what his favorite thing about Cal Poly was, and with a big grin on his face and a confident tone in his voice he said “YOU.” and continued walking home. And my whole tour group, which was a bunch of completely inspiring high school sophomores, awwww’d at how sweet my goofy friend was.
And in that moment I could see love. I could see my life not being held up by Atlas but being hugged by him. This was the best week I could have asked for, especially after such a tough weekend.
I told a friend of mine that this week was one where I could feel some radiant force in life. One that pulled me out of bed and into class and into the arms of people who loved me. I saw love as it reached out of my roommates’ and friends’ arms and pulled me into a hug.
And so we started rattling off all the other times in life when you can see joy and love and all these good things that make life beautiful.
Like when someone takes you in their arms and everything that ever made you sad suddenly disappears. Or when someone gets your 30 Rock references. Or Pandora plays the soundtrack to your life. Or when you realize just how much people around you care. Or when words effortlessly flow from brain to hand to pen to paper. Or when after a long day you come home to cookies being pulled out of oven. Or when your mom cracks you up on the phone. Or you find a passage in a book that sends you over the edge. Or people get things they deserve in life.
You don’t have to go far to look for love. If you can’t find it, you’re probably not looking in the right place.
Good hair days are good days in general.
listen to this:
I’ve always loved being home for the holidays, but it’s only Dec. 14 and I’m already home, which means I’m here while everyone else is taking finals/catching up with old friends/working/not hanging out with me. Not a bad thing — I’ve had some nice alone time. And a lot of time with the cast of How I Met Your Mother.
But today was a good one. I think what I love about home is that everyone here is so different. In the same room you have a kid who was raised in an extremely religious home, one who’s openly gay, and four different ethnicities. And what I love about being from Sonoma county is that everyone hears everyone out. Everyone wants to get to know each other and everyone is respectful. It’s refreshing.
Also, I know this may be odd, but I love knowing that there are people in my life that I could spend every day with and never get bored. I mean, of course, I believe in “the one” in the romantic sense, but I don’t think I’ve ever, until now, had friends who I could see every single day and still have something to talk about. I guess some people find their platonic soulmates in elementary school, high school, on the soccer team, but I found mine in college. Call me a late bloomer, but I like this feeling.
Other things I love: Running into old friends, finding the Christmas gift someone doesn’t know they want, music that sets a mood for your whole day, running in pretty places, puppies, when someone swell brings me coffee and says “oh no, it’s on me,” eating food that feels good, dark chocolate, hair cuts, feeling pretty, cuties (the boys and the clementines). . .
For best friends and routines. For being able to say “see you tomorrow” every day. For normalcy, even if my idea of normal is a little odd. For bear hugs and for people who love what they do. For feeling lifted. Because that’s what I felt tonight, lifted. Maybe it’s the scent of dryer sheets that clings to my bedroom or the taste of the tea I bought today but I feel like I figured things out and I feel like everyone around me is happy and I feel proud of MYSELF.
And while we’re all a little weird I’m so grateful that my friends and I are weird together. And when things fall into place and we’re just us and we’re doing nothing but still having a ton of fun…that’s when I know I’m in the right place, when I’ve picked the right people to spend my time with.
And that’s how I feel tonight.
So look around and think about the people you spend time with. Do they make you smile at the end of the day when you’re lying in bed and reflecting on all the events of the day? Tell them they do. Tell them that you’re grateful. Because wouldn’t you want someone to tell you?
Celebrate today. It’s a gift.
okay so I’m a little obsessed with the Head and the Heart right now.
Okay, now, you tell me, what makes YOU happy?
“You don’t have many bad days,” he said and he wanted to know why. What was it like, feeling infinite?
Like when Pandora makes the perfect soundtrack for your walk home.
When you remember that funny thing your best friend did years ago and it still makes you laugh.
and when five minutes later you realize you’re the only one laughing.
Like clean sheets and tea that’s just right and feeling safer in someone’s embrace than you would feel next to a police station.
Like a time when life was a little less heavy and a little more silly.
Like when you finished your favorite book for the first time and you sighed, and knew that this one, this book right here, will be your favorite even after you read the next book in your list.
Like going back to that book and having it still be your favorite.
Like running into an old friend and watching as his face lights up, and knowing that yours is doing the same thing.
Like the moment that you realize that someone values you.
The moment you realize
you’ve been infinite this entire time.
We spent the weekend together. Tears shed and arms around each other, our hearts on our sleeves. You thought we were close before? You thought this club was a family before? Look again. Today I redefined family and we redefined Poly Reps and tomorrow I’ll run into you in the hallways and my love for our organization will be amplified a thousand fold. Because at this point, I know too much about you all not to love you.
We took a retreat this weekend, to a farm on a hill with a rope swing and just enough beds that I got to share one with Kalli. I can’t quite put my finger on what made the weekend so magical but I can assure you that it was. Maybe it’s one of those “you had to be there” kind of things. Maybe it’s one of those “you wish you were a poly rep” kind of things. All I know is that I like it. All I know is that my heart is happy and that I feel so unbelieveably blessed to be spending my time at Cal Poly with people like P. Reps.
I can’t wait to start recruiting new members. I can’t wait to share this beautiful thing that I have with the world. I want you to be a Poly Rep, so badly. I want you to fall in love with this organization the way I have.
I want to hug life. As usual. But even more so than usual today.
That’s really all I have to say.
Life’s lovely, isn’t it?
Favorite artist right now:
ch-ch-ch-check it out
Today I was interviewed. Which is weird in the first place because I’m the one who does the interviewing. But was was even more unusual was that James wanted to interview me about the Happiness Project.
And through the course of the interview I was re-inspired, a thousand times over, to make you all smile. To keep up this blog and to reach out and to remind you that life is worthy of celebrating. Hell, life IS a celebration.
I never expected this blog to be widely read. I never expected it to actually impact people. I figured maybe my mom, and my best friend would read it. But that’s it. What I never expected was to be so fulfilled by putting text in this wordpress post. I never imagined that something as seemingly trivial as a blog would be such a source of inspiration.
I guess I don’t really know what I want to say right now. But I want you all to know that I do this for you. James asked me today why I started the blog. And I started it for you. I started it because I wanted to make you smile. Not because I wanted to change things or becuase I wanted some kind of gratification. But rather, because I’m full of gratitude. Because I hoped that I could remind you that you have something to be grateful for, too.
This interview business was challenging, too. Ask yourself right now – why do you do what you do? What is it about the club you’re in, the sport you play, the classes you take, whatever it is you do, that keeps you going? WHY do you do it? Thing about it.
Also, I want to take this time to share a quote with you. One that is near and dear to my heart.
“We accept the love we think we deserve”
I wrote this on the bathroom mirror today and it’s as much a reminder for me as it is something I think everyone needs to hear. Give yourself some credit. You deserve it. Stop selling yourself short. You deserve to be loved and cherished and treated with respect and pampered and you deserve the things you want in life. And you won’t get those things if you don’t realize that you DESERVE them. And the day you are a hundred percent certain that you deserve something great? Yeah, that’s the day that great thing will come waltzing through the door and introduce itself.
And if that’s not a reason to love yourself, I don’t know what is.
It’s almost the weekend. Go celebrate. Hug someone. Call your mom. Dance. Sing. Bake a batch of cookies. Hike to the nearest peak and scream that you’re the king of the world.
Because really, you probably are.