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November 21, 2017

I Am

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I am 5’4”.
I like opals.
I love cheese.
I like autumn.
I love scarves.
I met Weird Al.
I love Instagram.
I like floral prints.
I am an aquarius.
I am a Ravenclaw.
I hate working out.
I want Swig always.
I love the mountains.
I like peppermint tea.
I hate dark chocolate.
I like the color yellow.
I love giving presents.
I want to write a book.
I don’t like high heels.
I document everything.
I love hand-written mail.
I don’t like peanut butter.
I hate putting on makeup.
I have naturally wavy hair.
I have a lot of best friends.
I own way too many socks.
I am obsessed with candles.
I am a pro Facebook stalker.
I refuse to wear pencil skirts.
I am stupidly afraid of sharks.
I only like kettlecorn popcorn.
I have to have my nails painted.
I have one brother and one sister.
I am both a cat and a dog person.
I miss my cat when I’m not with him.
I like vegetables a lot better than fruit.
I wish I could be a professional blogger.
I almost always have my water bottle on me.
I am annoyingly sentimental about everything.
I shamelessly love everything about Taylor Swift.
I am always tired and I always want at least a 3 hour nap.
I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I drive my dream car and the only thing I’d rather have is a red Chevy truck.

Yours truly,

November 18, 2017

Why Having a(n Older) Brother Is the Best

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I obviously write about my sister a lot, but surprise, I have a brother!
And I'm always seeing posts about the importance of sisterhood and how great it is to have clothes to steal, but I feel like somebody needs to point out how great it is having a brother (and in my case, an older brother), so here goes.

  • They have friends that you can crush on when you're like 17 (until you get older and realize that they're actually just as weird as your brother, so ew)
  • They give the best hugs
  • When you really want Sonic and it's like 9 PM and you don't wanna drive there you say "hey can you go get me Sonic" and they (usually) do with little restraint (sometimes)
  • Same with Chipotle
  • Same with venti peppermint hot chocolates from Starbucks (in case any of y'all were wanting to know my Starbucks order)
  • You can try and marry him off to all of your friends so that they're forced to be your friends forever (this one is super important and thus far I have been unsuccessful)
  • You can still steal their clothes??? Hello big t-shirts??? Who needs a boyfriend's closet when you have your brother's to steal from when he goes off to college???
  • When you have one brother and one sister and two bedrooms in a house, you share a bedroom with your sister until your brother becomes an adult and leaves the house and you take his bedroom and he's left with the homemade Murphy bed in the laundry room when he comes back to visit
  • They think they're really smart (and they are) so they usually know all the answers
  • He's got your back
  • (I don't know why I keep switching between he and they but I can't stop and I won't stop and I'm not sorry)
  • When he leaves on his LDS mission for two years, he drops you off at your high school and says "okay I'll see you in two years!" and doesn't make a big deal of things
  • When he travels places he brings you back the best souvenirs
  • If you message him and say "hey can you buy me these llama socks" he does
  • When you tell him "tell me you love me" he does that too
  • Maybe this is all just my brother because he's the best
  • I guess I love him

Yours truly,
November 07, 2017

Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 18

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At the ripe old age of 22, I am basically an expert at life (not). That being said, I do remember my late-teens with slight regret and a lot of awkward fondness. Here's what I wish I knew when I was in that stage of life full of confusion and self-doubt.
  • I wholeheartedly believe that people can change. I'm not saying that all people want to enough, or that all people will, but all people can. Whatever it is about yourself that you feel is holding you back, you can and will get better. Whether it is your mental health, your grades, or your weight: let me personally say that I believe in you. It may take time, but we were "not put us on earth to fail but to succeed gloriously" (Richard G. Scott).
  • It's okay to ask boys on dates. I know, I know, a girl likes to be swept off of her feet every now and then, but in my experience, boys are usually too thick to realize how stinkin' cute you are most of the time. Sure, you may end up scaring some off with your forwardness, but do you really want to be with a man that is scared of a strong and confident woman? (I sure hope that the answer is no).
  • Don't drop all of your high school friends for your college friends. Alternatively, don't lose opportunities to meet new people because you're too invested in your hometown relationships.
  • You can have solely platonic relationships. Let's say it again for those in the back: You can have solely platonic relationships. Don't listen to what people say and don't convince yourself that you like someone just because they are the opposite sex and you are close.
  • Just because you're now an adult and stuff doesn't mean you have to stop wearing bright colors and graphic tees. If I'm online shopping, I 143% guarantee I am looking at graphic tees. And yeah, I want to buy everything cat-related in the little girls' clothing section. Who said adulthood has to be boring?
  • You're supposed to be the leading lady of your own life.
  • The way that you speak to yourself matters. Do not tell yourself, "I can't do this" or "I'll never get better." You are your biggest critic, but you can also be your biggest cheerleader. Don't let yourself be the only thing holding you back.
  • One really good shirt can make you feel a lot better about yourself than a lot of mediocre ones. Don't spend all of your money on clothes that you aren't sure about (guilty).
  • Write down your memories. Seriously, I know it's annoying and your hand cramps, but just do it. I have the worst memory and I'm so glad I've been documenting things in my current relationship, mostly because I can go back and prove my boyfriend wrong on when something occurred, but also because I can prove him wrong on something that may or may not have happened. Just kidding, it's just nice to be able to look back and laugh at how he told me he loved me when I'm having a rough day.
  • Read my blog. Har har. But seriously, because I'm awkward and slightly funny so I can probably make you feel better about your life because I don't seem to be doing too poorly.
  • Love yourself with all that you have.
Yours truly,
October 23, 2017

Life Is Not How It's Supposed to Be

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The plan: When I was in high school, I had big dreams. I was going to get a degree in art history and start my own non-profit and become a Congresswoman. I was going to go to BYU and get married at 19 (because that's what happens to everyone, right, and because I'm cute so it definitely has to happen to me). If I didn't get married I would go on a mission and learn a foreign language. I would graduate from college in four years and find a good salary job immediately and work my way up according to my five year plan.

My mom bought this hat in like 2003, like way before most of y'all thought NASA was cool
(I'm so cute, who wouldn't wanna marry this face?)

The reality: I studied family life and I didn't declare a major until I had too many credits and they forced me to. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, only after my GPA had taken a large blow (a blow so large that my GPA wouldn't be able to recover from it the remainder of my college career). The only date I went on my freshman year was arranged by my ward and a boy told me I needed to stop wearing baggy sweatshirts or boys wouldn't like me. I didn't go on a mission and although I took two semesters of Italian, the only word I really remember is "to eat (but really what else do you need to know?)." My sister passed away. I lost friends. I did get a good salary job right after graduation and was commuting from Provo to Salt Lake every day in the middle of winter, but they ended up downsizing after 3 weeks of me working there, which lead to my six-month long unemployment.

The hidden gems: After my sister passed away, I adopted Fonzie to help with my anxiety and depression. I am honestly convinced that he is the cat version of my soul-mate and I don't know what I would do without him. I graduated in 3.5 years and I loved what I studied (which can be seen by me recommending books about sex in marriage for my friends when they get engaged). I dated a boy for 19 months in college that I thought I would marry. That didn't happen, and as I'm writing this I realize it's now been over a year since he broke up with me and I am doing a-okay. I've been in a relationship now for 7 months and he is my very best friend and I never get sick of him (or his family) and I wouldn't want to be with anyone but him. Despite everything, I am happier than ever. My family definitely stopped taking each other for granted after Julian's death, and we have become so resilient in the past few years. I was miserable at my three-week job, and while job searching I did work at Old Navy for a bit and got the employee discount (holla). I eventually found two part-time jobs that I work at now, and honestly, I like that more than working one full-time, because I never really get bored since I get to completely switch what I'm doing in the middle of the day every day. I have amazing bosses who were so understanding when I went home for a while when my father passed away. I've made lifelong friends. I now live in the cutest little apartment that I get to decorate myself, and even better -- it's smack dab in the middle of my two jobs (which are basically across the street from each other).

My life is not going how I planned. This is not how it's supposed to be and I get frustrated often with how things have turned out, but I would be stupid to ignore the amazing tender mercies that have appeared all along -- things that wouldn't have happened without suffering, heartbreak, and many, many tears. Life is hard. It is so, so hard and I'm not pretending that it's not. But I'm trying to focus on the good, and most importantly, the amazing people helping me along the way.

Yours truly,

September 17, 2017

Rescuing Me

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I just wanted to share an excerpt from what I said at my father's funeral:

When I was about Kindergarten age, my dad took me and Julian to Julian’s friend’s house for food and swimming. I didn’t bring a swimsuit so I just sat on the top step of the pool while Julian played with her friend and my dad grilled with her friend’s dad.
Slowly but surely, I made my way onto the next step without notice. And the next. And the next. Before I knew it, I was below the water, unable to breathe and franticly trying to get afloat.
I don’t remember much else from this day, but I remember that my angel in Khaki pants jumped into the water and rescued me. That angel was my dad.
Little did I know that this would predict the way the rest of my life would go; my dad would rescue me – physically, emotionally, and spiritually – over and over again during his time on this earth.
And I have a feeling that now, while he is gone from us physically, he will still be my angel and watch over me.

Yours truly,
August 27, 2017

They That Sow in Tears Shall Reap in Joy

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My father passed away a few days ago.
My dad and I used to drive 20 minutes across town every Saturday without fail to get donuts and kolaches from our favorite donut shop.
He always came home from the grocery store with chocolate. I’m not talking about Hershey’s or Butterfingers -- he brought home Lindt truffles and Ghirardelli.
After church on Sundays, when we were younger, he would take me, David, and Julian to play tennis together at the park by our house.
I would go on walks with him and he would point out different kinds of trees and other plants to me. He was so, so brilliant. He knew about everything.
When I lost my glasses, or my notebook, or my favorite toy, Mom and I would look forever for it. As soon as we called Dad over, he would find it within a minute. He was always good at that.
When he traveled on business when we were young kids, he always sent postcards with planes on them for each of us. We were always so excited to see him when he was back. Those were some of the pure joy moments I will always remember.
He was writing a book. He was always writing. He had poems from long ago and gave me one to use to handletter and sell as a Christmas card.

He knew how to fix everything. I know that everyone says that about their father but he was an engineer and a crafter. He had two masters degrees and loved learning.
When I was 8 or 9, he worked with me to get my ham radio license. I think I had to take the test four times before passing, but he was always kind and patient despite my multiple failures. Once I did pass, we used to get on the radio every Sunday night and talk to other ham radio operators in our stake. It was our special thing. At one of my jobs, I work with a bunch of trades guys and I had told them I had a ham radio license and they were all so surprised. I texted him about it a couple of weeks ago and he told me he was still proud of me for getting that.
He taught me how to drive stick behind the grocery store by our house. He didn't say anything when I stalled over and over again. When I was in high school, I drove his truck that he had bought brand new in 1980 -- it was twice my age. It was falling apart but we both loved it and we were both sad when we had to get rid of it.
He taught us to love to read. Even when we were grown up, we would sometimes have him read books to us before bed. He read Harry Potter with me for the first time. He bought me books and took me to the library and whenever he had free time he had a book in his hand.
He was just so gentle and kind. He was patient with all of us. He always came to me when I was crying and nobody else wanted to deal with me. I knew that he was on my side. He would always do his best to include me.
When I was in eighth grade, I decided to be rebellious and take German instead of Spanish. My dad was against it (he wanted me to take Spanish like David and Julian so that I could communicate with my mom's side of the family) but my mom convinced him to let me. He had served his mission German-speaking in Switzerland and it was nice having something so special in common (although I will say that after 5 years of German classes, I still didn’t understand most of what he said to me when he tried speaking with me in German).
On the 3rd day of eighth grade, I somehow convinced my parents to let me go to a German emo rock concert. My dad volunteered to go with me, and I’m convinced that it was probably the worst three hours of his life, but he didn’t mind because he knew it made me happy (Julian did mind, and never forgot how I got to go to my first concert so much younger than she went to hers -- but he always took her to concerts, too).

A few years ago my Bishop shared a scripture at the pulpit -- Psalms 126:5: "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." I have not forgotten this scripture since. I don't know why life is so, so hard, or why my family is having to go through this again so close to my sister's death. The only semblance of comfort that I have right now is imagining how excited Julian would’ve been to see him. I can picture the specific outfit she is wearing and her excitedly exclaiming “Dad!” She hated hugging, but I’m sure she would’ve given him the biggest one. I can’t imagine a happier reunion. For now, I will hold on to that picture, and just keep going on the best that I can.

Yours truly,
August 18, 2017

Life Through My Lens

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Always, but especially lately, I've hesitated before posting another picture on Instagram or sharing another post on Facebook.

I know that I share a lot of pictures.

I got my first digital camera when I was in 4th grade, and after that, until phones actually got good cameras, I literally always had a digital camera on me. I have always photographed my life.

The computer that my family had from probably about when I got my camera in 4th grade to about the end of high school died. My dad is very brilliant and is an engineer, so he is good with technology. He can't fix it. I think he's taken it in places as well, and everything on it is gone.

Thousands of pictures taken by 10, 11, 12 year old me are gone. Pictures with my best friend Alex from the years we still lived in the same state. Pictures of and with my sister -- although I'm sure they were few and far between.

I was talking to my boyfriend about this yesterday, and I mentioned that all of my Harry Potter dress-ups are on there. When I literally was Harry for Halloween. When my Mom made a legit, feather-trimmed Rita Skeeter costume that I wore to a midnight book release. All of the midnight movie releases I went to with friends and family are gone. And I started sobbing.

I am that annoyingly sentimental person who keeps tickets to the movies. I have programs from school events and little sticky notes people wrote me. I keep it all. And I will say, I do have a bad long-term memory it seems. I don't know if it is just because I've blocked out bad stuff, but I don't remember as much from my childhood as I'd like. And I wish I had those pictures to help me.

But because of Facebook, I have that random selfie with my sister that we took while waiting in the car while our mom grocery shopped. I have pictures of me and Sloan matching outfits year after year after year. I have pictures of that birthday when like four friends brought me balloons to school. And most importantly, I have those awkward, way-too-photoshopped mirror selfies from the MySpace days. And I don't regret sharing all these back then one bit.

So, I'm sorry if I'm a nuisance on your news feed. I have 30+ hidden Facebook albums from the beginning of 8th grade that I still look through. I'm not friends with a lot of the same people, even from a few years ago, but I like to remember. I know I post a lot, but social media is basically my digital scrapbook now. It's safe and always there for me to look back on. So be patient with me. Or if I'm that annoying (can't blame you), unfollow me. Because this is who I am and this is my life. Thanks for sharing it with me.

Yours truly,

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