Cars, Camdens, & Clutter: Some Thoughts on Counseling

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“Perfectionism means that you try desperately not to leave so much mess to clean up. But clutter and mess show us that life is being lived. Clutter is wonderfully fertile ground—you can still discover new treasures under all those piles, clean things up, edit things out, fix things, get a grip. Tidiness suggests that something is as good as it’s going to get. Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation, while writing needs to breathe and move.” -Anne Lamott

My car is disgusting. I clean it once a month, and yet it still becomes just a giant moving trash can trekking along Colonial Drive. Which is odd because I like to keep a pretty clean home. I get a weird joy out of doing the dishes, and as long as I’m keeping up with laundry, my room stays relatively clean. But my car is grotesque. Seriously.

I don’t think, as a kid, anyone ever put it into my head that perfection was accessible, let alone necessary. I’m grateful for that. Yet somewhere along the way it became something I desperately craved. I’m inclined to blame 7th Heaven. Something about the early seasons of that show really weirded me out. It always seemed like the Camden kids were perfect, they just had really crazy friends. THEY were good—such familial bonds! But the outside world in which they inhabited—man, those people had DRA-MA. And I know eventually that changed over the years (still in shock that Mary VANDALIZED THAT GYM) but it made a weird impact on me as a kid. I wasn’t as perfect as the Camdens and I wasn’t as dramatic as those close to the Camdens. I was some sort of weird middle ground that wasn’t being addressed by 7th Heaven, so therefore what in the world was I?

Normal. And I hesitate to assume that you are too, but I’m going to anyway—you’re probably pretty normal.

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“The picture can’t really capture this, can it?”

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Absolutely not. I don’t know how you capture it. That feeling in your chest when your heart is full to capacity, the peaceful state of a perfectly content brain or the tingly radiation of feet insisting on inching closer to something striking. You can’t bottle the level of joy found in a starry night on the beach or the level of familiarity found in a perfectly-timed and all-knowing glance. It is fingertips lightly scratching your back, floating on waves together and pedaling aimlessly. It is hot and fresh out the kitchen, oblivious stares from little girls and the smallest side salad you ever saw. How could you possibly summarize the heat lightning or the spontaneity behind a choreographed dance or the desires of infancy. The clinking of glasses, the observing of strangers, the diving into waves. The places you roll out of bed for with the friends you think out loud with.

I couldn’t tell you how to find yourself there–the ingredients needed or the route taken. I wish I could give some steps to acquiring it. The only thing I know to tell you is that you can’t encapsulate it. Because whether it’s a literal snapshot of a moment or an attempt at an all-encompassing string of words down the line, you’ll never quite feel like you’re doing it justice.

But I refuse to believe there’s any shame in trying.

As I Stare Down the Barrel of a Quarter Century

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I plucked a grey eyebrow hair last week. To say this created quite a cloud over my head would be an understatement.

I turn 25 on the 13th, and while I don’t think I’m exactly unraveling at the seams about it, I’m certainly aware that it’s coming. No, I don’t think I’m old, I don’t think I’m “not where I wanted to be by this age” and I’m far from having any sort of quarter-life crisis. I’m simply in tune with the reality that I’ve lived some life. And that greying early is a tough genetic situation to find yourself in.

I’m aware that that little girl in the pool has grown up into the fully functioning adult that I currently am. And that she grew up into a time when a majority of communication was done in the form of lists. So here’s 13 thoughts from this almost-25 year old.

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The Residual Effects of Being in the Top Eight Generation

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It’s been quite a few years since Myspace was even slightly relevant. So many years, in fact, that when I most recently logged in I received some sort of digital award for “Joining before Myspace was cool.” Nope. The correct word would be “when” in this scenario.

Despite the years that have gone by since Myspace was a daily part of my life, there is a lingering pang in my stomach and distorted thought in my brain because of its most destructive feature–the top eight. A literal list of eight of your friends in order of importance. For everyone to see and know where they stood. Always. I can think of few things more harmful to my hormone-addled, insecure, high-school brain.

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The All Nighters

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In college my friends and I used to pull all-nighters all the time. During the summer of 2011, I’d guess that I spent more nights awake and surrounded by friends than asleep in my bed. Every single one of those nights are sweet memories in my rear view mirror. No doubt about it. And there have been lots of other all-night(or really really REALLY late night) adventures that I’ve loved being a part of. But there have also been plenty of times when I’ve had to look myself in the barely-open-eyes the day after an all-nighter and admit to myself that it just wasn’t worth it.

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