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

Stuck in a Funk

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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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I mean, Why not???

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I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t aimlessly using a notebook as my own personal outlet, seemingly keeping the content strictly between myself and the page. What I have to say may or may not hold any importance, but I’m hoping that my short 19 years have left me with some form of credibility. My life has been a series of growing pains that often seemed endless, and with that in mind I’ve decided to put the pencil down and bring my next chapters to life.

Here, I write to clear my head.

Here, my thoughts run rampant and the boundaries are transparent.

My hope is that others will relate to the struggle of an average millennial juggling divorce, friendship, the future, fuck boys, school, and the countless joys that come along with growing up. Lets not forget the struggle of trying {emphasis on the trying} to keep up with the latest trends, all things bachelor, and my ongoing marvel addiction. #Shawn&KaitPlsGetMarriedAlready

Whelp heres to me living out my inner Carrie Bradshaw, read as you wish…

I mean, why not?

Enjoy,

RJ

  • Pics By ~ Brighton Forsgren

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