look @ me now

Rule #5 – get lost

Today I’m here to tell you a little life story. The story of college. The story of actually hating every aspect of my life. The story of how I got here, to today. The story that’ll hopefully make you feel a little less alone.

So for starters I sort of skipped out on the whole college process so to speak. I didn’t tour many schools and I didn’t apply to very many either, mainly because I thought I had a narrow search of where I wanted to go. For the majority of my senior year I was going to be a Razorback; that was until I decided to be mad at the world and go as far away as possible which ended up being the University of Nebraska. When people asked me why I was going there I legitimately didn’t have an honest answer for them. Needless to say August came far too quick and I  wanted to be somewhere else before I even got there. So talk about rough. I found myself  feeling so alone and out of place. Obviously Nebraska is no Texas and while everyone may be Nebraska nice, I just wasn’t into it. It was never really a sense of being homesick, but when you hate where you are the chance to be anywhere else is pretty remarkable. Just picture it– 2:00 am blasting my Moms phone until she wakes up, and then when she finally calls being able to get absolutely nothing out through the obnoxious tears that seemed to be never ending. This happened at least 3 times a week, for months…M O N T H S people. And when I wasn’t crying to her, my pillow was getting some serious pillow talk. Exhausted. Scared. Helpless. That just about sums up my first semester of college. Heck my first year. An experience that I thought I would love and thrive in, L O L.

Perspective 

I spent sooo much time and energy hating everything that I honestly forgot what it was that made me so miserable in the first place. I should’ve tried harder. Tried to keep an open mind. Tried to find the things that I liked and grow to love them. I think when we get in this state of “it’s all bad” we choose to forgo any possible good. I was surrounded by so much good. Even more so, love and support. So find that. Find the thing that makes leaving your dorm worth it. Find the thing that distracts you long enough to forget that you’re “supposed” to be sad. {lol s/o to Pi Phi for Monday night dinners & giving me people like Fran and my momma Hannah, talk about sending me some angels ;)}.

One night I was sitting in my friends Fran and Mckenna’s room surrounded by people I had come to adore. These were people I had convinced that I was leaving at the end of the semester, people I had taken for granted. I had been constantly telling myself that transferring was my only option. Things changed. I changed. How could I possibly leave them? What reason was so strong to make me leave? The fact that I let myself be miserable? The thought of having no idea what I was doing? I didn’t know. Heck, I still don’t know. And that’s 100% without a doubt O K A Y.

It’s easy to get caught up in an idea or thought. A dream. I had pictured myself going out of state for school for as long as I can remember. When what you thought you wanted turns out to be something different you sort of lose yourself. Lose yourself in so many ways that you can’t imagine being able to put yourself together again.  Everyone always talks about how you really find yourself in college, but I feel like that statement misses the point. You’re supposed to get lost. You’re supposed to mess up. {Granted, I hope you don’t spend your entire college experience making miserable mistakes.} Those instances make you stop to look at your life. Look at where you’re heading, where you are, and where you could be. The moments where those around you either lift you up or tear you down. That’s when you know. That’s when the picture you see in your head of the life you want becomes a little less hazy.

It gets better.

So I found the things and people in Lincoln that made me feel inspired and excited enough to want to stay. But it would’ve been okay if I hadn’t. Finding YOUR best fit is so important, and whether it’s where you are or somewhere else, go there for you. I let myself give everything the school had to offer a real chance and without that I’m not sure if I’d still be here. I’ll admit, when I got ready to head back to school this year I was anxious. Afraid of getting to that place again. I got here and it just felt right. My roommates, Brooke and Mckenna, bring so much to my life that I never knew I was missing– aspects I’m so grateful UNL brought me. I don’t know if it’ll feel right for ever, but it does right now and boy do I love to see myself say that.

College is scary, new, overwhelming, underwhelming, fulfilling, lonely, and sooo much more all at the same time. It’s weird dude, and you’ll probably find yourself in a time where you don’t know if you’re where you’re supposed to be or what the heck you’re doing. I promise it happens to us all at some point, so don’t think you’re alone in this. We all get lost, and we all get found. So take your time. Find what you like, discover what you hate, and take it all in. Grow from what you learn about yourself. Get involved– you’ll never find new things to like about where you are or what you’re doing if you stay in your room all day…believe me I did that and um yeah don’t recommend it.

Don’t focus too much about actually “finding who you are,” just begin to put yourself first when you feel lost and the discovery will come all on its own.

Best of luck this year my friends 🙂

RJ

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Amigas Cheetahs

Rule #4- Go The Distance

Today I was looking around at all of my middle school besties admiring how close we’ve stayed through out the years, and then it hit me just how rare our relationships are. I mean its not everyday you feel the same way about someone at 19 as you did at 12. I’ve come to learn that long term friendships are like marriages. How I know that when I’ve never been married is besides the point, but just go along with it. When you enter the realms of a “serious” relationship or friendship whatever it may be, you’re bound to experience rough patches or periods of growth and change. Now you can either come out the other side or spend eternity going round and round in the same circle of the same arguments and jabs. Who knows maybe the friendship was only meant for a brief portion of your life. We so easily disconnect from those around us simply because we refuse to put in the effort to keep the wheels turning. So often you hear about high school relationships falling apart once the tassels been moved. Whether it be a boyfriend, a girlfriend, or your best friend— distance is hard, heck just going through different parts of life with someone right by your side is hard. No worries though, I of course have a tip or two or you know 8 to help you through it.

Soul Sista’s :

Be Genuine

Be yourself. I have definitely found myself acting like an entirely different person simply because I thought thats how I had to act to have certain friends. Think about it, if you’re constantly pretending to be something you’re not for the sake of someone else–is it worth it? A strong and lasting friendship is built on honesty and trust. You’re true friends will love you for you, and you’ll want to be you around them.

Their Opinion vs Your Opinion 

You can’t expect all of your friends to have the exact same views as you on everything. Where’s the challenge in that? Be open minded. They may like alternative and hate country, but that doesn’t make country bad. Respect their opinions, and they’ll respect yours. Surround yourself with a judge free zone.

Soap Box 

Having a group of people that will let you sit and rant to them with complete attention is e v e r y t h i n g. Being able to be heard and understood by those you respect the most is beyond fulfilling and healing.

Talking Stick

Now it doesn’t happen often, but one thing that’s blessed my friend group has been our “talking stick” interventions. Basically any time there’s been a legitimate issue, we all meet up and give each other a chance to talk about what’s bothering us. Everyone gets a chance to be heard. Talk about the best group hug ever.

Stay in Touch

The easiest way to lose touch is to stop interacting, so don’t. My friends from home and I legit talked to each other everyday my freshman year lol. Talk to each other as often as you can. Fill them in on your life, it’ll keep them apart of it.

Alright, so I realize it’s not common to keep the same friends for forever. You may grow at different speeds, different paths, and maybe for different reasons. Its okay to grow apart. It’s important to remember that everything happens for a reason. People were placed in your life for a reason. Maybe you needed them to get through something; maybe they needed you. No friendship is an accident. The lessons you learned could be pivotal for the rest of your life. So L E A R N from them. Don’t make the same mistakes, same patterns. I will say when you find the right people, you’ll know that they’re never going anywhere. The people that’ll love you through it all. The people that will laugh with you, cry with you, and the people that will sit and say nothing with you. You don’t have to see them everyday for them to stay your best friends. When you do see them, you’ll pick up just where you left off– almost like you were never apart at all, and it’s the greatest feeling. They’re going to challenge you, cherish you, hate you, love you, annoy you, best of all– They’ll change your life.

For all the “babes” :

 Communicate, Listen, Be Heard

When it comes to any relationship, especially a long distance one, communication is key. Things said over the phone can so easily be misinterpreted. Take the extra time each day to make sure they know you’re thinking of them. DON’T EVER let yourself swallow whatever it is your feeling simply due to fear. Let yourself be heard loud and clear, and do the same for them.

One Win Isn’t Worth 1,000 Casualties

Don’t stress the minor details. Sometimes a battle isn’t worth the war if you know what I mean. It’s funny, I think we let ourselves seem pissed off or upset with our significant other over the stupidest things as a way of coping with the fact that we miss them. Don’t be stupid, tell them you miss them.

Enjoy Your Time

It’s easy to jam pack your reunions with fun filled adventures, but it’s important to just spend quality time with your person. It doesn’t always have to be about the bells and whistles. Make sure you truly love the person you’re with and not just the idea of a getaway weekend.

In the end, the distance can be worth it when it’s something you’d rather be doing as opposed to being without your person entirely. Don’t put yourself through the distance if you’re just doing it to say that you did it. Remember the big picture.

Friendships are hard. Relationships are harder. Being apart sucks, but surrounding yourself with the people that lift you up the most, the ones that make you better– is s worth it.

RJ

p.s. I love you squad 🙂

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Hasta La Vista

Rule #3- Think About You

Alright ladies I know each of you reading this have definitely had your far share of heart break or struggled moving on from someone at some point, maybe even right now. Whether it be a celebrity that decided to marry his costar, John from Oozma Kappa who in fact is notactually single, or giving everything you had to a boy who changed his mind {thanks t-swift}, point is we’ve all been there in one form or another. I think we often feel like there couldn’t possibly be anyone else out there and in doing so we force ourselves to believe that things are working or that we can’t live without said person. Allowing yourself to let go is tough, getting yourself to take the necessary steps is scary, and the process can absolutely suck. Don’t worry though, I have a few tips to help you along the way.

Is It Time To Say Goodbye?

Listen To Your Girlfriends

Speaking from experience, I know it can be a big pill to swallow when your closest friends try telling you about how much your boyfriend may suck, but hear them out. These are the people that are solely looking out for your best interest and they are 9/10 times making some solid points. Personally, I think we get so defensive because they’re saying what we’re too afraid to admit. That being said it’s important for you to be able to realize that things aren’t okay on your own, just don’t hate your friends for being right in the process. #HoesOverBros

NEVER Become A Doormat

There is nothing worse than letting someone walk all over you. This can happen by the way they talk to you, the way they make you feel, or even the way they make you act. Speak up for yourself. Take a second. Constantly belittling yourself or altering what you stand for doesn’t have to be your reality. You’re allowed to say no. You’re allowed to want to be needed back, to be missed. You’re allowed to be exactly who Y O U are no questions asked.

You Can’t Change Who They Are

Here’s where it gets legit people. They are who they are, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I think we often make up this idea in our heads of who someone could be or who we think they should become. We put so much energy in telling ourselves that one day they’ll reach said potential, that we often lose sight of what the relationship has actually become. It’s okay for someone to be the wrong person, somewhere out there is the right person. Don’t waste your time holding onto the fact that things could one day be different. As much as you wish for someone to change the only one that can truly make it happen is them, so don’t pressure yourself.

Know Your Worth

Regardless of how you may feel or what you may think, you’re so worth it. Don’t let them make you believe otherwise. After hearing something enough we let ourselves believe what we’re told. We let boys get away with far too much, and for what? The title, the occasional feel good moment, or is it to subsidize our fear of being alone? Put yourself above it all. If you’re constantly doing nothing but making excuses for him, get the heck out of there. Boy bye.

How To Make It Hurt A Lil Less–

Delete All Contact 

It’s going to be impossible for you to get over somebody if you’re constantly seeing them on your feed, keeping the snap streak alive, and continuously responding in a meaningless conversation. How are you supposed to move on if they’re always in front of you? Out of sight out of mind. I know it may feel extremely extra but it’s totally okay to block them on EVERYTHING. When you’re ready you can go back and undo it all {or don’t}. You’ll be pleased to find yourself mindlessly scrolling past their pic instead of fully indulging in a box of cosmic brownies covered in your tears.

In Your State Of Mind You’ve Got Some Tears Left To Cry

Cry it all out. Stop for a snack and honestly just grab a roll of toilet paper…and then cry some more. I promise you’ll feel 1000 times better.

Moving On Is Okay

Boys will be boys, so let’s not have a complete meltdown when they move on before you do. Don’t stalk the new girl. Comparison is our greatest weakness. Just let it be. Yeah, I see you right now looking at her second cousins Facebook….knock it off.

What’s done is done

Part of moving on is letting go. Yikes. If you’re like me, you’ll let yourself sit and analyze every last inch of your relationships entirety. IT SUCKS BUTT PEOPLE DON’T IT. The past is the past, no sense in making yourself relive it with every mention of their name.

Treat Yourself

Buy those shoes you definitely told yourself you couldn’t afford a week ago. Change up your hair. Get that “revenge” body. Be your own distraction and stay busy. Do it all for you. Don’t focus your time on proving him wrong or showing him what he’s missing. Spend time on you and the latter will happen all on its own.

It Takes Time

Everyone heals in their own ways. Let yourself do it in yours. It could take you a week, an hour, or maybe a month or two. Regardless of how long it takes you, let yourself go through the whole process. Take it one day at a time. Just don’t rush into anything before you’re ready.

Now, all that being said I know not everything was bad. It’s okay to hold on to the good times as long as you remember the lessons learned through the bad. Break ups suck and getting your heartbroken is the worst. Take it all as a learning experience. Grow from what you did wrong. Understand how you want to be treated and hold yourself to it. Nothing wrong with a little bit of high standards and low expectations. If Carrie Bradshaw can get through a break up, not once but 28 times, you’ll come out the other side just fine. Remember they’re plenty of fish in the sea. Who knows maybe in losing him you’ll find yourself in the process.

Be strong enough to let go and wise enough to wait for what you deserve. Break ups aren’t always meant for make ups, sometimes, they’re meant for wake ups.

RJ

  • Pics By ~ Brighton Forsgren

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When life gives you lemons and then they’re sour

Rule #2- Add your own sugar

Do you ever stop to think about the things that happen to you, and get that WTF feeling or in my case OTM {only to me, because obviously your “hardships” couldn’t possibly happen to anyone else}?? I’m talking about the moments that stop you in your tracks and make you stare at the sky screaming “R E A L L Y”. The ones that swing you between hilarious chatter and embarrassing cries, you know depending on the day. Yeah my life is full of those.

Lets get a good laugh, shall we:

For starters people think my name is rice. I kinda look like I don’t have shoulders. I accidentally let someone shave part of my head. An 8 page paper has deleted itself from my computer an hour before its due….more than once. I have a pig/ Shih Tzu mix that legitimately sweats. I definitely slept through the ACT once. The inner thigh of my pants ripped on the first lap of the mile, and my P. E. teacher told me I had to finish running before I could change. One time I peed my pants on a friends front porch… I was 13! My entire middle school career… HA. I had to get 10 staples in my head, but don’t ask me how I cut it open because to this day I have no idea. Last but not least, my friends loved me so much that they removed me from our group message for over a year because I made their messages green :).

Just when you think things are going right they go left. A lot of things happen that could and honestly probably should ruin my day. Things that should leave me in despair and angst, hating the world. But what a crappy way to go through life that would be. I’ve found that wallowing in defeat and exerting all your energy on what went wrong instead of addressing the problem head on can be quite exhausting. Laugh a little. You may not want to but honestly it’ll be funny one day, so why not make it funny today. Laughter is the best medicine God ever gave us, and to make it even better it’s impossible to overdose. I’d be lying if I told you that I never let something bring me down, but I do my best to find the humor in every situation. I promise it’s easier than you think.

I mean it’s up to you. The only person that can ever make something feel like it’s the end of the world is you. Alllll you. Don’t get me wrong, you’re totally allowed to be pissed off or upset about something for a little while. I’ll give you like a 24 hour grace period. Honestly more like the 10 second rule, because I promise you your friends don’t want to hear about how you spilt orange juice on your white pants 5 different times in one day. Just get over it. Don’t sweat the small stuff. There have been so many times when I’ve been in a typically high stress situation, and I’m just chilling in it. I think my friends often get stressed out for me and my it’ll work out attitude kinda freaks them out. But that’s just it. Everything will always and I mean a l w a y s work out exactly like it’s supposed to.

So life gave you a lemon and then it was sour. So what. You control how and what gets to affect your mood. Yes, you may want to crawl in a hole and cry for the rest of forever. Yes, it may seem like things are never going to go your way ever again. Its all part of life and you’ll always find your way back up. Most of all, your not alone in your struggles. Odds are the person sitting next to you has a lemon thats even more pungent than yours.

When life goes sour and makes you feel weak, add your own sugar and make it something sweet!!

RJ

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Thanks Bobby

Rule #1- Take full advantage of life’s by chance moments 

So last week my friends and I came across this tag-less dog {by came across I mean nearly ran over} whose hair was quite literally blowing in the wind #shedding and who quickly became the nights most wanted unwanted guest. After a trip to the vet we learned he wasn’t chipped, so the obvious next step was to go to Walmart to get pee pads… and the 12th employee we passed decided he wasn’t allowed in the store… yeah so can I get a clean up on isle 7 there seems to be a slight stench of BS stocking the shelves 🙂

Side note: Not sure why I just keep calling him dog cause his name is Bobby, but not just regular Bobby…Bobby with a “Ya just like yur faaatha” kind of accent, you know the one. Now was his name actually Bobby, definitely not… But did we care, yeah nope.

While he did steal our hearts and taking him around town was quite the show, we had no idea who he belonged to and he only booked a one night stay at the Rhyse motel, so things were looking rough for poor Bobby. Now get this…

Me: “Maybe we’ll see his owner out looking for him”

Bobby: **Sticks head out window and proceeds to have the time of his life**

Brighton: “Look there’s a guy on his bike”

Me: “Maybe he’s looking for Bobby”

Maddie: “He would not be looking for his dog right now on a bike… with headphones on?? ”

Bobby: **Extends neck**

Guy on bike, calls himself David: **Breaks real fast** “IS THAT MY DOG”

So long story short Bobby, who was actually a Charlie, found his rightful owner and we were left crushed and in the feels, talk about a ruff night. Maddie and Brighton ended up staying the night afterwards because you know it was past midnight and well #sad. Turns out we all stayed up until well after 4:00 a.m. just laying there talking about all things life. What a night.

It’s funny to think about coincidence and random chance. Funny how finding Bobby showed to be quite the adventure and yet Bobby’s not what I cherish most about that night. That night I made a pallet on my bedroom floor like a true middle school sleepover with 2 girls I admire with my every being. We went from talking about the deepest of things to learning how to properly moisturize, and I was truly present for it all. Present in a way of enjoying it. Enjoying a night that would have never happened hadn’t it been for Bobby. Present in a gift that Bobby gave us. A gift of innocence, solace, humor, and friendship. Even though I see Brighton and Maddie nearly every day, this was different. It reminded me how much I value the differences in each of us. Brighton is as go with the flow and charismatic as they come and Maddie is constantly yearning for the betterment of others, even bugs. More importantly this night brought me back to a place I hadn’t seen in a while, a place of pure content. I would’ve listened to the three of us talk for days on end never losing interest. Lord, I would go back to walking Bobby around in a grocery cart any given day.

Life is full of random encounters and coincidental moments. We more often than not miss out on making our “what ifs” and “could’ve beens” a reality simply because we never give them a chance. So give em a go.  Stop and help the turtle cross the street. Wave at the cute boy that you know is staring at you from the car next to you. Heck, pick up a lost dog for a few hours and grieve his loss like he’s always been yours. Do it all with purpose. Einstein once said, “coincidence is Gods way of remaining anonymous.” By an act of said coincidence I got a night that made me feel like a 12 year old kid again staying up late talking with my besties. I got a night that I’ll always cherish, a night that I didn’t really know I needed.

So take on the random encounters with full swing and pure intent. You just might get a night you won’t forget.

RJ

  • Pics By ~ Brighton Forsgren

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