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.
Go on a walk with no destination. Flip a coin when you get to a corner to decide if you’re going right or left. You’ll know you’ve reached your destination when your head finally quiets down. Sit down on a park bench and soak up the crisp winter air and think watch as life and death become one – the last brown leaf dancing in the wind as the first pink buds on the cherry blossom trees sprout.
Go to a concert, but don’t stand in the pit. Grab a seat and a greyhound and listen but more importantly watch. Live music from afar is something everyone should experience. It’s less claustrophobic and more out-of-body. Watch the people around you. Spot the couples. Figure out which song is “Their song.” Spot the singles. See the looks on their faces when the band plays their big breakup song. Find the oldest and the youngest person in the audience. How magical is it that music brings them all together? You couldn’t have seen that from the pit.
Make a to-do list for the year. Fall in love, land a job, tell him/her how you feel, save more money, buy a car, clean out your garage, face a fear. . .fill your list with the things you’ve wanted to do but never had the time. If you write it down you commit it to memory. Commit it to memory. Cross something off your list every month. Every day.
Sit at your desk and turn off your airport and write. Say see ya later to Netflix and Facebook and whatever the fuck else you seemingly “need.” You don’t need to be connected to your 500 facebook friends. You don’t need to watch another episode of How I Met Your Mother. The second you admit it is the second something great will come to mind. Spend the day in your room doing nothing but writing. Take breaks to pee and eat cheese and make some tea but other than that you don’t need much. Put on your favorite playlist and write. You’d be surprised by all the words you keep hiding in the back of your head, and how quickly your fingertips pound them out.
Take a picture every day. Your favorite coffee mug. Your best friend. Your textbook that you’re pouring over (while you’re disconnected from the Internet). Capture your life and then in 20 years you can show your kids what life was like back in the old days.
Read. Voraciously. Read the news, read the Bible, read a textbook, re-visit your favorite book. But read. The more I read the more I want to write. The more I want to explore the world of the written language. The more I forgive myself for not being a lyricist or a poet or a painter or whatever. Because I realize that not everyone was meant to be those things. Some people were meant to soak those things up. I’m one of those people.
Laugh. But also cry. Cry at a movie or alone in your room or on a walk in the rain or in the arms of someone you love. Crying is good for you. Let it out. And then laugh. Laugh so hard that it hurts your abs to sneeze the next day.
Listen to your friends when they say “hey you should listen to this cool new band I found.” You’re probably not going to regret it. If you do, it’s three minutes of your life. Three minutes. Life is precious, but I’ll bet whatever god you do or don’t believe in will tack those three minutes on to something great. Like a great movie or a perfect date or a prolonged kiss on your front porch. These things even out.
Say I love you at least once a day. But when you say it, mean it. Say it to someone you really do love. If it’s heavy on your tongue then you’re probably not used to saying it which means you probably have some catching up to do. Call your mom. Your sister. Your grandpa. The L-word is one of the few four-letter words that we should use more often. Replace it with hate. You probably don’t hate tomatoes, you just don’t like them. But you probably love your best friend. And you should probably tell him.
Go for a hike and when you get to the top of the peak yell like Leo in “Titanic” that you’re the king of the world. Because in that moment you are. Soak up the view and inhale the air and bottle up the feeling of accomplishment and save it for a rainy day and think of all the things you’re capable of.
You. You’re brilliant. You’re stunning. You’re talented. And you probably need to hear that more often. So go. Go adventure. Go explore. Go make your list and cross things off of it. Because at the end of it all, you’ll look back and you’ll sigh and you’ll smile and think about how after all that, life got a little lighter. And your smile got a little wider. And you feel a little bit more infinite.
“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.
I’m here in the UU chewing on the end of my pen like it’s a steak or something. One of my arms is sunburned because i was only halfway in the sun at lunch today. I should be reading media history, but I can’t. If I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t want to ruin this good mood. I don’t want to squander the butterflies in my stomach. I want to hold onto this magical medley of emotion as long as I can because really, this feels swell.
Butterflies? Yeah, they’re the dickens. But at the same time, they’re the best.
I just want to dance. Maybe even line dance? Weird.
Just thought you all should know? yeah. Okay. Have a lovely day. It’s almost the weekend!
Also, happy birthday to my beautiful roommate/bestfriend/sister, Andrea (:
“Color my world with the chaos of trouble.” -belle and sebastian
Santa Rosa’s sultry summers never cease to amaze me. Early mornings, long nights, the heat lingering into the early morning, rustling my sheets as I toss and turn, incapable of finding a cool spot on my pillow. The heat lingering long into the night so we can sit outside in our summer dresses as the warm breeze carries our laughter. The heat lingering so that an icy cold touch sends an incomprehensible shiver down my spine.
The heat comes with the smell of sunscreen which contrasts with the fog that comes with the smell of sea salt. A windy drive accompanied by loud voices singing to the radio. Taylor Swift sings so we don’t have to. But we do it anyway. A fog so dense that we often can’t see the seagulls perched on the rocks that stand but 100 yards away, but we see them as they grovel for pieces of our fruit salads on the sand. A fog that paints the sky grey and traps us in a blanket of the loudest quiet one can find. One that can’t be found anywhere else.
The sand is pebbly and coarse but it warms my feet and goes straight to my soul. Each trip out here is a reminder of why I love it here and why I don’t think I could ever leave for good. The crisp cool air of MY beach can never be replicated by the white sand and warm waters of tourist attractions. I like my shark infested sleeper waves. My tidepools. My warm pebbly sand.
Home is where my beach is. The smell of the ocean enstills a happiness in me that cannot be found anywhere else. Ocean salt ocean air ocean plants and the mystery that comes with the horizon. When you can’t see where the water ends and the foggy sky begins. But you’re okay with it because you know you’ll never find that place. The world is round.
The ocean makes me nostalgic. It makes me long for a day that doesn’t even exist. One where this pebbly paradise was my backyard. Where I would walk in the mornings before school and find seaglass and shells and sand dollars. Where I could watch sea lions on the shore and whales breaching in the distance.
The ocean makes me weak in the knees. I believe in love because I believe in the ocean.
The ocean makes my heart beat. Because the waves lap at the shore and because as I breathe the salty air I know it will always exist. I will always exist.
When I find love, I hope he finds me at the ocean. My arms stretched wide awaiting the shock that comes when the seafoam toys with your ankles. A grin slapped across my face because there is no place happier than my ocean. Than my beach. My childhood friend. My home.
This morning I got to work after driving and singing love songs at the top of my lungs. I normally only do this if I have a crush on a cute boy or some crap like that. But that isn’t really the case at the moment. So I’m trying to pinpoint the reason why I feel so enamored right now and as I’m getting ready to be bombarded by campers I realize it.
I spent all morning thinking about slo. Going back, moving in, living with amazing people and giving tours and falling back into the routine I grew so fond of.
And I got jittery. Butterflies in stomach and everything.
That and I feel like I’m letting more things go that I needed to, and reaching out to new things. Old things…but if you’re revisiting old habits/loves/hobbies does that make them new again? I’m going to say yes, because I feel rejuvenated and different and therefore my experiences with these new things I’m being really vague about are new and different.
Gosh. I’m weird.
I just am in the weird place right now because I’m still really wrapped up in santa rosa and loving it here, but my excitement for September is overwhelming, too.
Instead of writing more, I’m going to post some cool videos because I’m clearly struggling with words right now.
it’s fairly obvious I’ve got love on my mind.
But you already know how I feel about that. So I’m going to go back to reading Harry Potter and thinking nice thoughts about nice people.
I hope you’ll do the same.
also, I have a huge crush on the guy in this video.
[watch that — before you read, after you read…just watch it.]
Weird right? But kinda nice. After nine months of never being alone, I’m soaking up my time in my own fortress of solitude. So when I returned home from a fantastic day of camp yesterday, I played guitar, ate some ice cream, gave myself a pedicure and watched “No Strings Attached” in bed. Sounds a little lame without a partner in super cheesy middle school crime, but it was relaxing.
The moral of that story is that sometimes alone time is magical. You get a lot of thinking done. and if it weren’t for the bits and pieces of alone time I got throughout the school year, I never would have made all the self discoveries that led me to the Happiness Project.
On a totally different note, I’d like to point out how magical it is when you reunite with an old friend and pick up right where you left off. It’s as though nothing’s changed and you just saw each other yesterday because your friendship is so natural and organic and . . . well, awesome.
So thank you, old friends, for never faltering. It’s quite nice.
If you haven’t yet, pick up a copy of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky. Get back to me in three days when you finish it. Think about how it made you feel. I think my life really started when I got sucked into the pages of Charlie’s story.