Yesterday was the memorial service for Gram. She will be missed dearly. The whole family was there, many who I haven’t seen in a while, as well as friends of hers who it was nice to meet for the first time. The service was just what she wanted (she literally planned it out before she passed away!) We sang her favorite hymns and I read one of her favorites, Psalm 100. People shared delightful and amusing stories of her. Afterwards, there was a slideshow and a collection of photos from her life. There was also some of her favorite foods — ice cream, pie, and candy. And we did the Schnitzelbank in her honor! Her spirit was certainly present through all the laughter and celebration of her life!
Today, I turn 25-years old!
As I reflect upon these past twelve months, I feel I have made a total transformation. I’ve learned a lot and I continue to grow each year. As you get older, you can either get bitter or get better.
You should never judge what the universe has handed you. Everyone is unique and we all experience different situations. You should never compare your life to others, or the life you picture in your head.
You should be grateful for everything that gets thrown your way, everything you experience. The universe gives you gifts and it would be rude to decline or criticize what is handed to you, even if the packaging is falling apart and the gift is not what you pictured in your head.
If you open your mind wide enough, you can be thankful for each gift — without judgment. You were born to live a special and unique life. You were not born to fit a mold or do what everyone else is doing. You came here to get messy, get dirty, get scars — not to be perfect. It takes a lot of bravery to enjoy your life.
Thinking positive or negative is a choice. When you are down in the dumps, just let yourself feel the pain. Let yourself think that your life is miserable and always will be. Ride those waves. You will be surprised to see that it is only a matter of time before you feel refreshed and happy again.
I have thought a lot about expression and how we express ourselves. I realized how much I appreciate genuine emotion, even if it comes out “negative.” I understand why I act the way I do. I’ve thought a lot about how my unconscious actions can affect others, and how I can be more conscious of my behavior. I’ve thought about how we stand up for ourselves and how we draw boundaries. I’ve reflected upon good intentions that get interpreted negatively.
I feel like this is the year that I had to rebuild my confidence, tare it down and start from scratch. I’ve embarrassed myself so many times but I don’t regret it. I’m proud to say I’ve put my soul out there, and I’ve been judged and shamed for it, but I grew through it and learned how to defend myself and value my own opinion over anyone else’s. If you aren’t making a fool of yourself, then you’re not even living. You have to take risks and chances. People will be intimidated at worst, but inspired at best.
I’m ready for a new beginning!
I write a lot — especially as of lately. I have published hundreds of posts on here. I feel shy about a lot of them and some even make me cringe. But that is what art is all about, yes? –Putting your raw self out there, vulnerable to criticism. My ego doesn’t always like it: counting all the likes/comments/views, worried about putting things out there that might make me look bad or doesn’t seem good enough. It’s a soul thing.
There are a select few posts that I am proud of. So I’d like to go back and reassess them, noting what I like and what has room for improvement.
Recap: I reread the classic “The Scarlet Letter” and decided to recap the story from Hester Prynne’s view, which I find so fascinating. No other book has been able to capture themes of guilt, shame, and judgment so distinctively. It opens your mind and forces you to reevaluate right vs. wrong. There is no true hero or villain. The husband, who deserves the most pity at the beginning of the story, turns out to be the evil one in the end. The priest, who seems to be most despised by the reader in the beginning, ends up being the truest and most noble figure in the end. And Hester Prynne experiences a deep shift in character, going through a punishment that she may not have deserved, yet greatly benefitted from somehow.
Highlight: I jumped into Hester Prynne’s shoes to get a full feel for this story. After reading it from a bird’s eye view, I wanted to experience it through Hester herself. So I even went so far as to purchase an early modern period costume and dress up.
Critique: I definitely could’ve made a longer post. It feels somewhat rushed to me. Generally, it’s good to keep blog posts short because most readers are looking for something quick and light. But I’m so passionate about the book that it deserves an essay. So in the future I may rewrite it and add much more depth to it, although I’d have to reread the book again.
Recap: As the title suggests, this is a book review. It is completely nonfiction, however the hard facts are still full of drama. This book was difficult to read, as it is very dry. It was an extremely enjoyable challenge. I did a lot of highlighting (as well as a lot of page-skipping…) Obvious to the title, the book follows the separate lives of Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony, and how their lives eventually intersected.
Highlight: I’m proud of how much work I put into this. This is a meaty post. It took so much time and effort. I did a lot of editing before I finally published it.
Critique: As much as I was fascinated by the romance of Cleo & Antony, I wonder why I did not put more focus on Cleopatra’s story. A little while back, I purchased a nonfiction book that solely targets Cleo herself, and I’m planning to write an even better post about that one. Because life is not just about romance, it’s also about individuality!
Recap: “The Love Witch” is one of my favorite films! Why? One word: AESTHETICS! Nostalgic and dreamy vibes, accompanied by dark humor and witchcraft. The main character, Elaine, is an absolute monster. Yet for some strange reason, she possess a surreal quality of magic that everyone lusts after (including me — yes, I’m obsessed with her aesthetic.)
Highlight: My intention was to provide a light synopsis of the film to an audience that has yet to see it. Therefore, I did not want to give away and details that would spoil the plot line. I wanted to encourage others to watch it. I think I did pretty well at capturing the film’s aesthetic.
Critique: There’s still a lot more that could have been said. If I wasn’t worried about spoilers, than I would have dove much deeper. The character of Elaine is quite fascinating. I may write a post analyzing her character, which will require me to completely spoil the ending.
Saturday night, I went to NYC with my family to see Jerry Seinfeld do stand up! It was absolutely hysterical and my face hurt from laughing nonstop! It was joke after joke after joke. He was so lively!
Also, they were recording that night for an upcoming Netflix special! We’re gonna be on Netflix! We’re gonna be famous (kidding…sort of)!!!
Beforehand, we had dinner at a really nice Italian restaurant. I had a margarita pizza and a “high tea” drink. For dessert, cheesecake.
I’m in NY this weekend at my parents’ house, and I brought Venus! We are headed to NYC this evening to see Jerry Seinfeld standup. Her and Norman will have the house to themselves tonight. I let Venus free roam around the backyard for a little bit since she doesn’t get much outdoor time lately.
I was trying to brainstorm what I would write for this week’s Throwback Thursday, and coincidentally my old high school buddy, Sam, sent me these ancient pictures of us!
This is us from a senior year class trip to upstate NY where we went on a beautifully strenuous hike. Everyone else was rushing ahead while our group was the slowest because we were taking in the views. I can’t believe how many years it’s been; it feels like just yesterday.
This is us junior year, for my sweet sixteen! We went to Woodloch Pines (where I recently visited with my sister, last spring!) It was a small group of close friends. Good time had by all!
And this is us freshmen year! We were babies! It was at a football game back. We have always bonded over our love of Autumn! Actually, all three photos are from the fall season!
This weekend I flew to Chicago with my family to visit the brother. I have visited a few times before, but it’s been a couple years. The hotel we stayed in was very unique with a lovely minimal/rustic aesthetic. It had a rooftop bar with a beautiful view.
We went on an official donut tour on Saturday morning. We had a tour guide (Mimi) take us around several blocks, making stops at four different donut places for samples. Mimi gave us a lot of fun facts about the city. At the end, there were trivia questions, and I won a “donut champion” sticker!
My favorite place was “Ipsento,” which is Latin for “self discovery.” Their donuts are made with sweet potatoes. Here, we sampled a maple donut and my all-time favorite of the whole tour: the cyanne pepper donut! Sweet and spicy!
Traveling can be stressful and exhausting, but it was a good time! I’m already quite homesick and can’t wait to go back to my cat. 😺