Sweet 16

5 years ago minutes before I turned 16 I asked my closest friends to write me a letter that I would open on my 21st birthday. We sat in a huge circle in the game room of my parent’s house joking about how I’ll probably still be single and hoping I would figure out what I want to do with my life by the time I’m 21 because apparently, I had no idea. To be able to say that the letters remained unopened through 4 moves and my nosey ass is honestly amazing. Knowing that I would get to open them today forced me to look back on what my life was like in 2015 as a soon to be 16 year old. I was a sophomore in High School that had procrastinated drivers ed so much I didn’t even get my license until the April after my 17th birthday. I remember picking up balloons with my mom for my party crying in the car because it would be the last birthday I had with both my parents under one roof. I remember feeling like the anger I had towards them would never go away. Minutes before 16, I had never been kissed or had a boyfriend but I constantly thought about it lol. I don’t think I ever said more than hi and bye to my little sister on a daily basis. Oh, and I wanted to be a dance officer on Indianettes more than anything. I remember wanting so badly to be wanted and liked by those around me and how scary the future seemed. I was such a go with the flow of life, take things day by day kind of girl (unless it came to my future kids’ names lol, then those were for sure set in stone) I don’t think I had the slightest clue as to where I’d be at 21. Turns out I really didn’t.

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Jan 31, 2015

Dear myself,

Hello. So right now you’re sitting on the floor of your game room 4 minutes before you turn 16. Your whole life is about to change and you don’t even know it. Your parents are divorced and possibly remarried who knows. Don’t worry you’re on track to graduate college… well maybe. If you haven’t studied abroad yet, DO IT. If you haven’t kissed a boy yet then lord help ya cause the past you hasn’t either. Maybe you are madly in love with a boy who knows. I just hope that you’re happy and doing what you love. You’re surrounded by so many friends right now (Sarah, Kelli, Maddie, Brighton, Kaylie, Carley, Camryn, Emmy, Presley, Lauren, Taylor, Allison, and Macie). You know life is kind of in a sucky spot right now and hasn’t gone quite like you wanted it to. If you haven’t forgiven Mom and Dad by now then do it. They won’t be here forever you know. You’ve lived a good life but the truth is you’re just getting started. Live your life to the fullest, please. Look back on your time in High School and laugh @ how stupid you and Lauren were. You should read the book that she wrote for you, it’s a good one. If you’re fat… go lose some weight and get fit… maybe then you’ll get a boyfriend?!! Honestly, I don’t even know what to say to you it’s kind of weird talking to yourself.. myself… Idk.. my head hurts with all this thinking. Anyways I hope you are able to really discover yourself and remember what life was like with the help of these letters. Hopefully you’re still friends with all of these people. Know that you are so loved and somebody out there wants you so never give up or settle for less. When you’re sad look up Channing Tatum on google or whatever you use now in 2020.

Love always,

You, yourself, I, me, myself…

Screw it

-Rhyse Smith

Honestly expected myself to write out something wayyy longer than that, but I’m glad I kept it short and sweet because I’m still a total ball bag over here. It kinda feels good knowing that I didn’t make some grave expectation of what 21 would look like. I like knowing that the only pressure I put on myself was to be my happiest.

If only y’all could read the letters my girls wrote to me. I am a wreck. My roommates can hear me laughing and crying from a room away, they probably think I’m insane. I legit have had to take breaks from reading some of them I’m so emotional. Life is just, crazy. It goes so so fast and I don’t know how to feel or act. There are letters from people I talk to now every single day, letters from those I keep up with and admire from afar, and letters from those I never thought I’d be living without. Like I said, life is crazy. I can’t believe how messy life seemed at 16. I knew even then that relationships change as you get older, I mean that’s to be expected right. I had hoped I’d still be just as close with everyone there, but I know it’s okay that I’m not. However, I wish I had better understood how important the girls in that circle would be to the life I live today.

Image 2My squad, they know who they are. I’ll keep it short and sweet but I talk to God about y’all often and I am forever grateful for the 7 of you. My good luck charms, family, constant support, a lifetime of memories, and so much more, y’all know I love you. Even though we were all skeptical in the letters we wrote 5 years ago, I’m proud to say that if anything, the older we get the closer we become. My Indianettes, what a ride that was. While it wasn’t everything my 16-year-old self imagined it would be, it’s an experience I know I’ll never forget. I still catch myself walking on step with people and doing different stand routines in my head when the songs come on. I change the station any and EVERY time dream on plays, lol legit PTSD from that one. We make walking tacos at work all the time, and Yeah by usher will forever have a special place in my heart.

Now there’s an elephant in the room. By room I mean my head because I’m sitting here procrastinating talking about someone that means so much to me knowing how upset I’ll probably get thinking about her. Inside my little white box is an oddly shaped oval of folded paper with hot pink writing all over it. It’s taped to a purple notebook labeled Summer 2015 bucket list with an additional book on the back. I’m not going to lie, while I had been looking forward to reading everything everyone wrote I really didn’t know if I was ready to open this one. I knew it would make me reminisce and miss a friendship that I am now without. I’m not sure if I was afraid to regret what’s happened in recent years or if it was just knowing the loss I was going to feel from the two people that made that silly bucket list book. Like I said earlier, relationships change as you get older. Laureeeena, I never in a million years thought I would open that letter without you sitting next to me… let alone going without having a legitimate conversation for well over a year now. How in the heck did that happen? Shit is crazy. Pair if you’re reading this and if you’ve made it this far, yes I’m crying big tears but I know you know that. In your letter, you asked me if I ever think about you, and the answer is yes. All the time. I think growing apart was probably bound to happen to the girls that were somehow never sick of each other. I’m sorry if my own ego or lack of effort helped in that, because I know it did. Rice and Pair, a friendship for the ages. The person to talk me off a cliff the night of the divorce news. The first person I told every first-time story to. The person that made leaving Texas okay. The girl that sat with me at 2 in the morning when I was crying like I am now, except for entirely different reasons. I like to think that everyone memorialized in this box had an equal part in getting me to where I am now, but if I’m being honest with myself I know you were probably the biggest. Wow, I wish I had the right words. When I think about my childhood it really doesn’t amount to much until I get to when you’re there. I’m not really sure if this is appropriate for me to post on the internet but then again when do I ever do what’s entirely appropriate. Rice Tice and Pair, two girls that truly needed each other. I think we’ve both grown up beyond who those girls were but know I hold them both near and dear.

CRUISES

Wowza. Well y’all if you ever get a chance to have your friends write you a letter to your future self, DO IT. It’ll make you laugh, maybe cry, and definitely allow you to reflect on the great life you’ve lived or maybe the great life you’re going to live.

To my 16-year-old self,

First off stop worrying about boys, there will be a few that come along shortly so hang in there… but don’t get too excited cause you’ll be single at 21 so they clearly don’t amount to much. The friends you had then are either even better friends now or they’re a part of your life that you cherish deeply. ImageYou’ll end up rooming with one of your littles and your pi phi cousin and it’s pretty much history from there. Prepare yourself for lots of screaming. Their friendships are going to mean everything to you and don’t ever let them forget it. They’ll be the 2 people you look up to the most. For real though, if you could be half the people they are you’re pretty much set. Forever undeserving of the gift they are in my life. They legit just made you a double-layered heart-shaped red velvet cake like what the f**k. Squad will soon become a vital part of your every day being and you’ll remind them often. Your little sister, someone you never thought you’d actually miss will become a friend. How stinking cool is that. She may seem lame to you now but trust me her at 16 is way cooler than you ever thought you’d be. That divorce thing. I often forget how upset that used to make me. Don’t worry though you forgave mom and dad a long long time ago. In fact, you grew to be proud of them. So proud of the people they were able to become without each other. I bet you never thought you’d be happy things worked out the way they did. Trust me, two homes are way better than one. I still have no idea what the heck I’m going to be doing with the rest of my life but I’ve got forever to figure it out. One day at a time. You’ll go through 3 different majors, but have no fear your most likely going to graduate on time… lol yes mom and dad scold you when you joke about that. Oh and don’t worry Grandma is now the ultimate Facebook sharer and her Instagram comments are unmatched. You’ll go to school far far away and develop an unhealthy obsession with food. Who are we kidding that’s no surprise. I still love the way I am though, so eat all the cosmic brownies you want. The next five years are truly going to be something else so get ready. You’re right this whole talking to yourself thing is pretty strange…

All my best,

Me Myself and I

Five years. I think I thought this would be enough time for a significant amount of change to happen for these letters to hold a different meaning. While a lot has changed I think in most ways my life is still very much the same. I still have no clue what I’m doing. I’m still cheesy as ever. The dysfunctional phase of my life is something I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow. I mean I’m using my passport to get into the bars tonight if that tells you anything. But life is perfectly imperfect and I wouldn’t change a single thing. If you haven’t found yourself where a younger you imagined you’d be. If life hasn’t amounted to the greatness you had hoped for… who cares. I think it’s almost better to have rewritten a story you imagined for yourself. What determines great anyways? Fill your life with those you love. Do something that makes you feel worthwhile and I promise you’ll excel. You determine exactly how your day is going to go and exactly what gets to affect you, nobody else. Things may be out of your control but your response to God’s plan is what matters. So I guess what I’m saying is… if life somehow becomes a picture you don’t like, erase what distracts you and add value where your vision lacks. Here’s to being a 21, single, procrastinating, Instagram obsessed, child at heart gal from good ole Keller, TX.

Happy happy birthday to me!! I know I’m making 16-year-old Rhyse proud.

-RJ

20 things I learned before turning 20

I know I know, I hardcore sucked at posting once I got to school last semester 😦 But have no fear, I’m going to do my best to get back to it because ngl writing about nonsense has been greatly missed lol. So in case you didn’t hear I turned 20 last week…. boy does that feel weird to say. I also haven’t been able to sleep a whole lot the past couple nights, superrr glad that didn’t stay behind with my teenage years. Anyways, staring at the ceiling got me thinking about the different things I hope to take with me into my twenties and I figured I’d share them all with y’all.

  1. embrace your weirdness

  2. eat the honey butter chicken biscuit dang it

    Now listen, I totally agree that you should be eating within moderation and a decent balance of good/bad is pretty vital to live a healthy lifestyle. BUTttttt if choosing to have frosted flakes at midnight, Freddy’s for lunch + taco bell for dinner (I did that a couple of days ago whoops), and eating the brownies your Dad refuses to stop buying puts a smile on my face then I”m doing it. Sure, I’d probably look a little different if I cut out those things, but food is one of the greatest gifts in life people, freaking let yourself enjoy it 🙂

  3. ask for help

    I’m notoriously bad @ this one. There’s no sense in ever going through things alone though, that’s kind of the point of having other people in our lives. So let your friends help you out, and most importantly don’t be afraid to let em know you’re struggling.

  4. happiness doesn’t come from other people

  5. be your own best friend

    This really ties into #4, but you can’t expect your own happiness to stem from anyone but yourself. The people and things in your life should only heighten the happiness you already experience. Get to know yourself. I take myself on a date at least once a week lol… no joke I order food from somewhere, drive around until my throat hurts from singing too much, find a spot to park, put on a YouTube video and eat my meal. May sound pretty odd to most people, but times without conversation and little thought keep me sane. Highly recommend.

  6. makeup is over rated

    Embrace what you’ve got. I seriously applaud the people who are able to wake up and put on a full face everyday, because I seriously don’t know how they do it. Maybe that’s just the lazy in me. Seriously though, we’ve all got dark circles and imperfections. Covering them up won’t make them go away. However, if you ever get your eyelashes legit kicked off your face…. false lashes are good. Yep, those suckers are worth it.

  7. everyday is borrowed time

    You are never promised a tomorrow, today could quite literally be all you’ve got. Make it count.

  8. IMPORTANT: if your car windows leak….check the weather a l w a y s

    I will never not be paying the price for this one 🙂

  9. my favorite part of life so far has been watching my family become my friends and my friends become my family

     

  10. say yes more

    Something I really focussed on last semester was saying yes. I honestly forgot what it was like to constantly be busy. So say yes to the unexpected things, say yes to the things you know you’ll regret not doing. No point in ever wondering what if.

  11. what you’re thinking is what you’re attracting

  12. learn to save, but don’t forget to splurge

  13. God & Jesus

    I could do a whole post on how important it is to have Faith in something, literally anything. But Jesus is what got me to 20, highly suggest you check him out.

  14. sad songs, rom coms, nothing wrong with a good cry 🙂

  15. ride the wave

    Life is a thing and it happens

  16. self-doubt will be your creative doubt

    Honestly I think this is why I stopped posting for so long…I started comparing myself to other people I followed and just felt uncreative in general. It all starts with what you’re thinking, especially what you think about yourself.

  17. care, but give no F*cks

  18. certain things will never be the same, but that’s okay

    This one is definitely something that’s hard for me to wrap my head around. My friend Kelli put it best, “everyone in your life was put there to teach you something.” Whether it be big or small, every relationship you have has some sort of purpose. Every little struggle or big accomplishment didn’t just happen for the hell of it. So… so what if things aren’t like they used to be. As hard as you may try to and as badly as you may want certain parts of your life to go back to the way they were before, maybe it’s not meant to. Nothing wrong with that.

  19. Stop Complaining

    I am the definition of a complainer. But listen… If we have time to lay around sulking about whatever it may be than we definitely have time to get up and do something about it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Y O U are responsible for your mood. If you hate how you’re feeling change what you’re doing.

  20. Texas sunsets, nothing beats em

    I’m such a sucker for a sunset, especially a TX one. Not just because of how magical they are (yes I just said magical) but they just embody so much. A beautiful way to end any type of day.

I think that pretty much sums everything up. I could probably go on to talk about the importance of Dr. Pepper, cheese it grooves, laughing at yourself, boys in sweat pants, and all things Marvel but we’ll save that for another time. I encourage anyone reading this to take the time and do some reflecting. What parts of your life have you loved, what could you have lived without, you know the usual. Maybe it’ll spark the change you’ve been looking for.

Here’s to the next 20 years my dude #thisis40

Stuck in a Funk

old grapevine (55 of 101)

The past year has been a constant worry of ” what the heck am I doing? ” for a number of reasons. Between adjusting to college and continuously taking a wild guess at what it is I’m supposed to be doing with my life, you could say I’ve been rather lost. For a while there it sort of felt like I had just been going through the motions instead of living through the moment. I don’t know about you, but when I get in a funk I tend to let myself stay in the funk. Sooner or later the funk gets old, and for me it got old real fast. Learning how to pick myself up took a lot of work, but I definitely grasped a few pointers a long the way.

Realize 

Acknowledge that things aren’t the way you want them. Be willing to take the necessary steps. Things will never change if you continue to do everything the same.

Perceive

How you feel about or see yourself typically dictates how you’re going to carry yourself in day to day life. So something that I’ve been doing is making sure that I start my day feeling confident and eager. For some that may mean taking extra time in the morning to get ready. For me, that’s purposely setting my alarm earlier than I need to so that I have time to just lay in bed a while. For me, thats more often than not, throwing my hair in a bun and dressing like I’m heading to the gym even though we all know I’m not. But in that I feel myself. As long as you feel comfortable and ready than it really doesn’t matter how you got there. When you believe in you others will too.

Surroundings

If you’re surrounded by negativity  every day, that negativity will eventually manifest it’s way into your routine and atmosphere. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to surround yourself with people and things that both lift you up and inspire you. I put little messages and various quotes up in my room, at school and now at home,where I knew I’d see them first thing every morning. I used them as my daily reminder to aspire for positive thinking.

Find your people. The ones that laugh with you, cry with you, and especially the ones that fully indulge with you on all things ice cream. When you find them, keep them close.

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Work it Out

Never, and I mean n e v e r, keep what you’re feelings bottled up. Get that shit out. Holding it all in is going to get you absolutely no where, trust me. Writing things out has always been my go to when it comes to expressing how I feel or changing my mood. Theres something so therapeutic about putting your raw thoughts on paper or just writing about something completely random to take your mind of whats bothering you. I even “work out” sometimes when I just need to sweat the toxicity out. So tell your best friend, write it down, or even run it out, just get rid of whatever negative energy that’s holding you back.

Put Yourself First

Take the time to take care of you. Go for a drive with the windows down and jam to some old Taylor Swift without a care in the world. Relax. Take a breath when you need it and push yourself to reach for more. In no way is there anything wrong with choosing yourself every once in awhile. So do it, I promise it’ll be worth it.

Here’s to becoming the best you!

RJ

  • Pics By ~ Brighton Forsgren

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