Dear 2017

Dear 2017,

We’ve had quite the rocky relationship this year. . .

What started with hope and excitement changed rapidly throughout the year. I remember last New Year’s Eve celebrating the end of a rotten year (your ugly twin sister 2016) with some of my closest friend. We drank and smoked just a little too much to ensure that all our pains from 2016 were numb and just enough to bring us excitement of a new year!

2017 you started with a phone call from my Dad at 12:06am. The first time I’d heard my father’s voice after his lung transplant. I remember sitting there in the backyard, the cold winter air nipping my cheeks, as warm salty tears poured down my face. Little did I know that more of those salty tears would be poured across my face. . .This conversation last 10 minutes. My Dad’s voice comforting as I lied about crying. I hung up the phone that night with hope in my heart.

I started our relationship off broken and bruised from the year before. It’s not your fault those feelings were left over. After all they do say that time heals all wounds.

15871862_10206198032908372_8486431945882964500_nI took this picture exactly a year ago today. The caption when I posted it said “2017, I’m taking you by storm!” And I did! You put up a good a fight, but little did you know who you were dealing with.

I spent the beginning part of this past year focusing on myself. I was surrounded by some of my favorite people, I was back at school, I worked on amazing shows, and I was at peace with the ongoing war inside me.

A sweet boy and his dog wiggled their way into my heart. The relationship I had with him was exactly what I needed at the time. Looking back now I realize we were together because he needed me. The universe brought us together to show each other love is possible and to inspire each other. We may not have been a perfect match romantically, but through the relationship I gained a special and hopefully forever friend.

By May I was feeling on top of this world. I graduated with a BFA. That’s still weird and crazy to me. A piece a paper to unlock all my dreams and something I’ve worked endlessly for the last 4 years of my life. It doesn’t seem like I worked that long, because 4 years felt like 4 minutes.

In June I spent the entire month with my Dad. He was in the hospital. This is when I realized I’m stronger than I ever thought I had to be. I’m grateful you gave me this opportunity to make peace with my Dad and for me to just be with him. I spent most of this month trying to contain my emotions. Processing what was happening around me and realizing that ultimately the situation was bleak. That my Dad was most likely going to die sooner rather than later. Watching someone be consumed by a disease with no escape is no easy feat. I don’t wish it on my worst enemy. I didn’t have to witness this. I didn’t have to spend an hour and a half each way to sit in a hospital for 6 hours. But when you love some one who’s dying you put aside your own needs to be there for them.

With the end of June coming I said my last goodbye to my Dad with my brothers in the room with me. “Goodbye Dad, I love you. Get some rest and get better soon! I’ll come back to visit when you’re home.” His eye stared into mine watery as mine were. We both knew he wasn’t going home and that this was it. I kissed his forehead and walked away. A single tear rolling down my face. I headed back home in a stick shift car I had no idea how to drive. . .

I eventually learned how drive the stick shift, but soon realized shifting from gear to gear in traffic sucks. And where I live right now it wasn’t the most ideal situation for me.

July came an exciting time! We celebrated my parents finally getting married. Not with one wedding, but with two! Because in this family we can’t make things simple. Wedding number two, the cruise wedding, was an adventure. With all the fun and excitement came some family drama, because we can’t have nice things. I guess just another moment of you (2017) fighting back and reminding us “Hey, you all look a little too happy!”

The dog days of summer left me with way too much time on my hands and lots of rejection letters. I still manage to keep my head up. I was still on a high from adventuring with my best friend and getting him ready for his tour. The end of August came and my entire world was flipped upside down.

I took a chance a decided to meet this guy I had been talking to on and of for a month. We met and some how we clicked instantly. We continued seeing each other as the summer weather cooled into what we call fall here in the South. I fought my feelings for him every moment with him. I lost.

A dark cloud loomed in September. This is hard for me to forgive you for, but I’m working on it. You took my father in September and shattered my heart. I spent the end of this year slowly picking up the pieces. I was in a dark place and that guy I mentioned earlier helped pull me out of it. Little does he know this. I fought my through the darkness in September and most of October.

Another one of life’s twist happened in the end of October. I ended up going to a wedding with the guy I had been dating that solidifed my fate. Neither one of realized that we were falling for the other. As my next job loomed above us and the uncertanity that we could make it through 8 weeks a apart.

I moved to Tampa for a small contract. Not knowing what I was gettign myself into. This time taught me so much professionally. Even though the entire experience was a headache I wouldn’t change a minute of it. This job taught me that I’m good at what I do. It also taught me how to stand up for myself without being direspectful.

I returned to North Carolina to spend the holidays with my family. I somehow fell more in love with the guy I’m dating. (Seriously, I’m in trouble..) I’m ending the year with my parents as we are all sick and the boy is working. It’s only fitting that I end 2017 this way.

Overall 2017 you put me through some shit and our relationship was toxic. But I am grateful for you. Without you I wouldn’t have experienced so many new things, met so many new people who have changed my life, and I wouldn’t have learned forgiveness.

2018, I’m coming for you! 2017 set off a spark in me that’s has turned into a roaring fire. This is the year I obtain dreams instead of chasing them.

With Love,

Bre-nana

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Week Day Vegetarian

In my goals for 2018 post I mentioned this. That I wanted to go week day vegetarian. I first came across this concept when I stumbled across this Graham Hill’s TED talk. I’m a huge fan of TED talks and NPR podcasts and such. Here’s the video below if you’re interested. It’s about 4 minutes. This first came to be in 2010 when he gave the talk and since he’s released a book. (I haven’t read it yet. . .)

For years I’ve listened to my friends talk about vegetarianism. There was even a brief moment my freshman year of college where I was a full fledge vegetarian, but only because I had no idea where the dinning hall was getting their meat from. And lets just say getting sick off of it once is a good enough reason to never eat questionable meat again. . .

Anyway, my Facebook feed is constantly full of friends who are vegetarian or vegan. I work in theatre community and it’s super common that in a room full of people I can almost guarantee that at least 3 in the room are on a veggie diet. So with that being said i know where to go for some resources. Thank goodness!

When I first went vegetarian it was because I didn’t really have a choice. The food I was eating was making me sick. Let’s be real though, that year I ate mostly cheese pizza and the occasional salad. . After that year of living in a dorm I ended up moving into an apartment with a full kitchen. Which meant I would be able to make my own food. Thus I went back to eating meat. However, I quickly realized that buying meat is expensive on a college student who doesn’t work budget. I began cutting out meat from my diet. at the time I mostly would eat chicken or look closely at what was on sale if I wanted to eat meat in a dish. Since moving back in with my parents I haven’t really had to worry about buying groceries because well parents. . . (I swear I’m not lazy!) But I have been noticing how certain foods make me feel.

I’ve done some research. I’ve watched Supersize Me, Food Inc, and Food Matters. (All I believe are on the Netflix) These documentaries all about how what we eat affects us directly. I’ve known this for years and I’ve witnessed it first hand with my brother. (Seperate story) We are literally killing ourselves with what we put into our mouths. So I’ve decided to take control of what I consume.

When I asked people why they’re vegetarian or vegan I’ve gotten so many different reasons. Here is what some of my friends said.

” I mostly went vegan for animals, but have since learned that animal agriculture touches on so many other issues, such as environmental issues, human rights, feminism, etc.”

“I did it for the planet! It also helps me stay away from fast food and sometimes is an incentive to eat more vegetables.”

“I’m mostly vegetarian because I’m poor.”

I was curious why people have gone veg and it’s interesting to me that it’s cheaper to be.  I knew all about the health benefits and how it benefits my wallet. But it being good for the environment was shocking and I’m still learning about. I didn’t realize that livestock farming creates so much greenhouse gases. It’s still something that I’m trying to wrap my head around.

For me I’m doing it because it’s good for my health. I like the taste of meat, but I know for me eating it too much, or with every meal makes me sick. For Christmas Eve the boyfriend smoked a 19lb prime rib. (I know huge…) I had a third of a piece that was the portion cut and after I felt lathargic and too full. (But it was sooo good!)

My second reason is because of the animals. Pigs and cows are some of my favorite animals. If I could have them in my life as part of my family I would! (But that’s like a 20 year commitment and I don’t know where I’m going to be in 3 months soo.) But animal farming has been proven that practices are cruel to the animals. That conditions aren’t would what we would want to put our own pets into. This breaks my heart.

My last reason is because it helps the environment. I’m all about finding ways to help the enviroment. Our planet is our home and we’re killing it. I recycle and try to be mindful of my waste. I take short showers. I try to walk or use other sources of transportation. After reading up on how livestock creates more emissions than cars. It only seems right that I make this change.

I’ve always wanted to go vegetarian, but every time I tried I’d fail. For me and I think most people we see diets as one way. You’re either a meat eater or a veg. There is no happy medium. I’m happy I’ve stumbled upon this. I’m a huge advocate for animals so it only makes sense that Monday – Friday if it has a face that I’m not eating it, but that on Saturday and Sunday I can still have the bbq that my chef boyfriend has prepared for the football gathering! After all I do live in the South.

As I begin this journey I’ll try to post the recipes that I make. Please comment any of your favorite recipes or tips!

Cheers friends! Peace and love this year!

My 18 Goals For 2018 – Not Resolutions

I’ve never been one for resolutions and I don’t really like that they’re called that. Resolution makes me think of solution or resolving. Is there a problem or problems I didn’t know about? Why does it always have to be something negative like losing weight?

But as we approach the end of 2017 and soon to be the beginning of a new year I can’t help but think about what I’d like to accomplish. So here’s my goals, hopes, aspirations, whatever you’d like to call them.

1. Move out of my parent’s house – Not that I don’t love living here rent free and having my Mom cook for me every day. . . I just feel slightly silly that I’m 22, I have a degree, and I still live with my parents. But also I miss living on my own.

2. Go somewhere that’s not Charlotte, NC – This slightly piggy backs off #1. I love NC, but it’s time for me to explore other cities.

3. Go week day Veg – “What’s that?” you might ask. . .It’s week day vegetarian. As in Monday – Friday all my meals would be of the vegetarian variety. Saturdays and Sundays I would splurge and allow myself to eat meat. When on my own I normally eat a vegetarian diet, because it’s cheaper. But recently I’ve been reading how it’s better for your health, the environment, and well I love animals.

4. Yoga – I recently just finished a 30 day yoga challenge. At first my body was sore, but as I eased into my practice the soreness would fade. I also didn’t realize how much tension I was holding. I’m not saying I’m going to become a Yogi, I just would like to practice it more.

5. Create a better morning routine – Everything I’ve read from being successful to being happy has said something about making sure you have a solid morning routine. Right now mine is wake up, check phone notifications, make my bed, brush my teeth, and then coffee. But the motivation to actually get up out of bed takes like 30 minutes.

6. Hike/ be outside more – I used to hike more and somewhere along the way I’ve stopped. I miss it. For me nature recharges me and something I know I need to do more of.

7. Read – After graduating in May I started reading more. I forgot how much I enjoy reading when it’s something I picked up for pleasure and not because someone wants me to write an analysis on it.

8. Experience more art – I’m a sucker for a good museum. I haven’t taken advantage of going to them many of them. I like going and reading everything the walls have to say. It doesn’t just have to be museums. Plays, dances, live music, whatever it is I want to fill my life with more of it. Preferably art separate from whatever gig I’m working on. I want it to be something that inspires me.

9. Jump out of a plane for my 23rd Birthday – Go big or go home?! This is something on my bucket list and something I was going to do when I turned 21, but unfortunately the money I saved for that at the time had to be used for something else.

10. Spend less time on social media – I’ve found that when I’m bored and don’t know what to do with myself I spend my time on Facebook or Instagram. I am addicted and I can find a far better use of my time.

11. Write more handwritten letters – Recently while going through some of my things I stumbled upon old cards and letters from my Dad. Seeing his handwriting is a way of reminding me he was here and he’s not all the way gone. Plus, snail mail is dying and who doesn’t like to receive a letter.

12. Pay off all my student loans – I just started paying back my loans a week ago. In fact I paid half my loans back with the money I’ve been tucking away over the last 5 years! (I’m a little proud.) But by this time next year I’d like to be completely debt free. I know super ambitious.

13. Meditate – This is something I used to do. There’s literally a meditation studio down the street that leads guided meditation that could make getting back into this practice easier.

14. Love more – With everything that’s happened to be this year and in general with our current society I’d like to spread more love. Hug my loved ones more. Tell the people who I care about how much they mean to me. Continue to build the healthy relationship I’m in. Show more compassion to my neighbors so that hopefully it spreads.

15. Eat breakfast – What’s funny is breakfast is my favorite meal of the day I’m just really lazy about it. Most days I drink a cup of coffee and start my day and the first meal I have all day is lunch.

16. Learn Sign Language – This has always fascinated me. I’ve always wanted to learn how to sign and I’ve never really had the opportunity too.

17. Learn how to play an instument – I’ve always wanted to learn how to play an instrument. I love music and all my friends play an instrument. I tried the guitar when I was little, but didn’t have the attention span. Maybe I’ll try something simpler like the Uke.

18. Stop obsessing over things I can’t control – This one is a BIG one for me. I obsess over things I can’t control all the time. It’s part of my anxiety. Like where’s my next job coming from? Why don’t I have a job yet? Do I have enough money? Where am I going? Will I be successful? All of this and more I want to cut out. Some of it is good for motivation, but most of it just turns into me well obsessing.

That’s it folks. These are things I’d like to accomplish over the next 365 days that the earth makes it’s rotation around the sun.

Let me know what some of your goals are. I’d love to hear them.

Writing To Find Myself

It’s funny that today’s writing prompt is Relate.

You see I started this blog back in May as a way for me to express myself and well because I’ve always loved to write. But some how it’s turned into so much more.

Eight months ago when I joined the blogging community I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Seriously! Some of you have suuuuuuper professional pages. (But that’s okay because at the moment this is one of my hobbies.)

I began writing a blog as a personal project. As I started exploring the blogging community I began to get extremely overwhelmed. “What the hell did I just get myself into?” There are so many blogs and different types of blogs. When I first started I often though “Do I even belong on here?” or “You have like no followers why bother?”

Then I realized the real reason I continued. I don’t have this blog to have thousands of followers or as a way to make money. (I’m still trying to figure out how that actually works . . ) Don’t get it wrong having a few more followers who actively read my stuff would be amazing. But this is my personal project. A safe place where I can write my thoughts, feelings, and opinions. I stopped comparing myself to other people and it’s made all the difference.

This has become a tool for me to cope with my Dad’s passing and well life over all. Four months ago when he died I felt alone, lost, angry, guilty, and a slew of other emotions. Writing it all out and having people respond to me was amazing. Here complete strangers from the depths of the internet were offering condolences, advice, or just saying “Hey, everything you’re feeling is okay!” For some reason hearing it from people I’ve never met made me feel a lot better than hearing it from the people who know me best. I’m still trying to figure that out.

I keep writing and posting because relating with so many of you has helped me these last few months. I’ve been soul-searching and writing for me has made it a little easier. I’ve in a strange place. I finished school and started building my career one brick at a time. I’ve fallen in love with a great guy unexpectedly and I’m slowly finding who I am as an adult. For some reason having the support of people I’ve never met has helped to build my confidence.

I love the blogging community! Thank you all for being supportive of my ideas. I write to relate to other people. I’m telling my story in hopes that my story helps someone else or that they’re able to relate to it. I believe that everyone has a story to tell. So if you feel so inclined to tell me yours I’d love to hear it. I’m a pretty great listener.

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/relate/”>Relate</a&gt;

A Letter to My Past Self

Dear Past Me,

I was recently talking with my mentor about how I don’t remember if it was ever really discussed in class what exactly post graduation would feel like. . .If it was, i wish I had listen more.

It’s been about 8 months since I graduated. For some reason I don’t know if it was the Senior “high” or if I was just being naive, but I thought that I was going to land this amazing job right away. . .

I was waaaaaaaaaay wrong! It takes lots of hard work and time to get those really good jobs you hear about. There’s a handful who land a huge job right away, but the rest of us don’t and that’s okay. You will.

I had done really well at job fair. In fact one piece of advice I’d give is to have fun at job fair! Think of it as speed dating potential employers. I know what you’re thinking that slightly contradicting. What I mean is to treat it as an opportunity to lay out who you are and your craft in under 15 minutes. It’s a great way to practice your interviewing skills with constructive criticism. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or how the person sitting across the table from you got to where they are.

This is the first layer of your network. I’ll be one of the first to tell you that your network is really important. No, seriously! No one is bullshitting you. This is important. Almost every job I’ve gotten is because I knew someone. It really is about who you know. I know networking is hard. But here’s a tip for you – just talk about something, listen, and engage. Then don’t forget to follow-up. If someone takes the time to speak with you and gives you their card make sure you email them and don’t stop! Seriously, it pays off eventually.

The Dean and I had interesting conversation right before graduation last year. He was talking to me about my potential jobs and job offers. We both had agreed that none of them really seemed like the perfect fit. However, I remember sitting there thinking “What is wrong with me?” It seemed like everyone else had gotten all these awesome job offers, but me. He then brought to my attention the true point of Job Fair, which is networking, in case you missed my first point. . . The conversation continued about how sure some people were walking away with jobs, but most were only for the summer. This really sat with me and eased me a bit.

i knew that for me getting a job for the summer wasn’t really ideal. I needed two weeks in July for my parent’s wedding. Plus, my Dad had been sick on and off all year. Had I been working a job I wouldn’t have been able to spend all of June with him. Which I needed in order to mend our relationship.

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It’s funny the way life works. . . For most of the summer I spent it living at my parents house working with a local events company feeling kind of sorry for myself. Mostly because I was still holding on to a dream that I’ve since realized isn’t happening any time soon. I’m not giving up working for Cirque, but after being told that I would be working for them if I did X, Y, and Z (which I did! and then some) and still being rejected a total of 10 different times. This has actually turned into a running joke with me now. But Cirque wasn’t the only place to reject me.

I applied to the Alley Theatre. I had what seemed like a promising interview and then was rejected the next day. . .In July I had been approached about working at the Keen Company. Had an interview and it seemed to go really well. As I was writing my thank you email the next day I received the rejection. This one stung a bit.

Here I was seeing everyone I had graduated with moving on to bigger and better things. I watched my best friend prepare for his first tour and couldn’t help but think “Seriously, What is wrong with me?!”

By September I was really feeling down on myself and to top it all off my father had passed. However, after some grieving and the support of the people around me I decided I needed a change. I picked myself up and knocked the dust off. Sometimes life just happens.

I decided it’s time to just embrace it instead of fighting it. getting rejected countless times and my Dad passing all happened for a reason. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. Time is a tricky bitch. I’ve been lucky to experience my two favorite people being united and getting the chance to make peace with my Dad while he was coherent. These moments I’ll never forget and I’m grateful for the time I was given.

Whatever you believe in just know you have your own path. No body’s journey in this life is the same. You might walk across the stage in May with a job that leads you some place or you might not have a clue where you’re going next. Just know that something is out there and around the corner.

Love,

Present Me

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