I’ll Pretend to Have All the Answers

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25 Things to Start Doing Today

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day and FLOSS. It’s important.
  2. Compliment a stranger. It can brighten their day.
  3. Hold the door open for the person behind you. 
  4. Take responsibility for your actions.
  5. Stop putting your career first. Your career is great, but so is having a life and appreciating time with your family and friends.
  6. Tell the one you love, you love them. Often.
  7. Express yourself with authority. If you don’t believe in what you’re saying, no one else will either.
  8. Declutter. You don’t need all of the possessions you’re holding onto. Getting rid of what doesn’t matter and keeping what does will change your life.
  9. Don’t be afraid to travel. Even if that means you’re going to do it broke.
  10. Care about something or someone more than yourself. Yes, cats count too.
  11. Spend time with your loved ones. They’re gone too soon.
  12. Cry when you’re sad and laugh when you’re happy. It’s okay to feel things. If you’re waiting for someone to tell you that, there ya go.
  13. Learn a new word each day and try to use it.
  14. Let go of the past. This includes old partners, bad habits, grudges, and even memories that hurt.
  15. Live in the moment, with a bit if caution. This is not a #YOLO type idea, what I mean is this: if you see a pretty sunrise, stop for a moment and enjoy it. If your family member is sick, call into work and spend the day with them, it’s worth it.
  16. There are a million reasons to not do something that’s a bit scary, focus on the reason you should. 
  17. Love yourself unconditionally, without being conceited.
  18. Love others unconditionally, without being foolish.
  19. Offer support to those around you. You never know how much they may need it and they may never ask for it.
  20. Ask for support when you need it. Life is hard and we can’t go through this alone.
  21. Don’t apologize if you don’t mean it. Unless you’re actually sorry, don’t say “I’m sorry.” Don’t apologize for being excited about something or for not knowing the answer, yet.
  22. Count your blessings. Use your fingers and toes.
  23. Say one nice thing about yourself each morning. It gets easier with practice.
  24. Never speak ill of your partner. Don’t let the last annoying thing they did, be your next topic of conversation with your friends.
  25. Don’t take yourself too seriously. We’re all still learning.

-LP

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Guest Post: You Were the Easy Target

It takes two to tango, the bully and the victim.sergey-zolkin-403.jpg

If you’ve ever wondered why you were or are being bullied, odds are, you were confronted by a sea of coddling explanations. Generally, the explanation describes bullies as dysfunctional and the victim as being in the wrong place at the wrong time; but, if you’re bullied repeatedly by different people in different situations, this explanation loses it’s credibility. There’s an itch and anxiety that takes over your being when you come to terms with the fact that these explanations do not fit your situation. What I decided to do was change the question. I no longer ask why was I bullied. I now ask, why was it exactly me who was bullied.

If you ever suspected that you were bullied because you’re fat, ugly, awkward, quiet, small, or smelly then I am just going to come out and say it; sometimes it’s true. Our faults could have very well played a part. Facing the truth causes pain, but its magnitude pales in comparison to what you will endure if the bullying never goes away. Give yourself the green light to be vulnerable as you read this, because I’m here for you. I promise it’ll make sense and who knows, maybe you’ve secretly been wanting to hear the truth all your life.

Don’t underestimate your opponents. Bullies are smart. They command and read social situations with extreme prowess. Bullies pulled the trigger on you and on me, based on one thing alone:

They knew that they could get away with it.

We wouldn’t put up a fight. They knew our friends wouldn’t stand up for us and that their friends wouldn’t reject them for it. They probably could even smell that we wouldn’t tell anyone about it. The answer to why you were chosen as victim is a simple one; you were an easy target.

I’m not saying that their actions are excusable because we’re different; however, we have to realize that sometimes we aren’t completely blameless and their bullying wasn’t just some fluke. We have faults, like everyone else. Unfortunately, they zeroed in on those less than perfect parts of ourselves and made us feel terribly time and time again.

If you’re like me, coming to terms with that answer will be met by a sigh of relief. I stood out because I was awkward and looked funny. The trigger was pulled because I was small, timid, and because my friends were spineless cowards who wouldn’t stand up for me.  Once you’ve figured out the components that made you an easy victim, you’ll know what to fix.

I apologise if this comes off as harsh; I want you to know that my intentions are pure and genuine. I don’t want us to be easy victims anymore. I want us to lose the anxiety in the background that’s keeping us back from what we desire. I want us to become life affirming, to fight for ourselves and to have better, more courageous friends. I want you and me, dear reader, to find love, happiness, and security in the world again.

I’ll end with a lyric that stood out to me throughout these years:

I’ve got another confession to make
I’m your fool
Everyone’s got their chains to break
Holding you.
Were you born to resist or be abused?
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?

-Owner of dat IP

I’m Your Built-in Best Friend

Being your big sister will always be my favorite job.

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I spent four years of my life waiting for you.

20 years ago mom found out she was pregnant with you and I was ecstatic. I told literally every person I saw that I was going to be a big sister and how excited I was to meet you. I loved you from the moment I knew you were alive, even if I wasn’t quite sure what it meant when mom said she had a baby in her belly. I remember sitting on the sofa when you were big enough that we could feel you kick; I always put my hand on her tummy and talked to you. I’ve always wanted to be the best big sister I could be, but you didn’t come with an instruction manual and I’ve been learning along the way.

I did go to that big sister class, but it didn’t prepare me for everything! Only for how to properly hold a baby, much to our mother’s dismay. I know you’ve heard the story about how I picked you up and moved you at a week old while mom was in the bathroom; she about lost her mind, but hey, I was qualified! I have the certificate to prove it.

I’ve messed up more often than not.

Whether it was that one time I fell backwards onto your head when you were a month old, or locked you in the house when mom took out the trash and I followed her outside, or when I locked you in the running car in the middle of winter while simultaneously locking mom and I outside when she went into her office to grab some papers. It might not seem like it, but I’ve always wanted to keep you safe (even when I wasn’t very good at it).

I was never scared when it came to protecting you.

You gave me a reason to be brave. Remember when dad had to stop me from charging at that kid down the road who spit at you? My tiny little fists were clenched as I stormed down the street after him when you came up to me crying because he was being mean to you.

“No one gets to pick on my brother, but me!” I bellowed at him; “PICK ON SOMEONE YOUR OWN SIZE!” It didn’t matter that he was way bigger than I was, because I was bigger than you and if anyone was going to get in a fight with that jerk, it was me.

That protectiveness will never change. 

When you inevitably introduce me to a girl who gives you butterflies, I’m going to do my best to love her as if she were my sister. She better be good to you because you’ve got the kindest heart I know; I pray she realizes that. I’ll be honest; odds are I’m going to be face-creeping the crap out of her. I will have scoured her entire Facebook profile by the time you’ve made it home from my place. It’s my job to thoroughly investigate that gal because you’re my little brother and I care more about you than I care about myself. Even when if it doesn’t always seem like it.

I’ve been spending my life trying to be strong for you. 

When mom and dad got divorced, we lost each other. I was busy going through puberty, dealing with liking boys, and adjusting to a life without both of our parents; I left you behind and I’m so sorry. I should have been there for you; I should have made sure you were okay too. I still remember when you came to me and asked me why we couldn’t live with mom and dad, together. You wanted your family to go back to how it was, so did I.

You were young and you didn’t understand what was happening. Life got way too hard so damn quickly. I felt completely thrown off by the divorce, so I can only imagine how you felt at 8 years-old when life as you knew it no longer existed. I left you behind; when my life started changing, you were too young to come on the journey with me, but I shouldn’t have let you fall to the side. I should have been there for you, but I can’t change what happened; just know that I’m here now and even if I seem far away, I’ll always be the one you can go to with your problems.

I’ll always love you in a way only a big sister can.

You’re my little guy, even if you are a whole head taller than I am. You’re growing up and it’s freaking me out.  You can call me “munchkin” it’s fine, I’m still oldest and therefore, I know best. At least, I pretend to.

I knew you were always watching, so I tried my best to be someone you could look up to; I know I failed more often than not, but I hope you’re proud to call me your big sister.

-LP

I Crave the Breeze

I’ve noticed as we grow, we try to tame the wild parts of ourselves.

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I realized this fact, yet again, as I was looking at myself in the mirror this morning, running my fingers through the halo of messy brown hair framing my bare face. At 15, I let the curls do their thing, but now I wake up early to smooth them into a more respectable form; I spend 10 minutes applying makeup to this face in order to “accentuate my features.” I spend a majority of my morning trying to transform into a version of myself that I’ve somehow grown into.

Why is it that as we age we feel the need to be tame? Is that just me? Surely, I cannot be the only one who feels like I’ve let go the colorful and crazy pieces of themselves. I was so eager to grow up; I wanted to have the freedom that came along with adulthood, but I didn’t realize how much would change and how quickly. I can’t stay up on the phone until 6 am and roll out of bed at 7 for work without looking and feeling like a zombie. It’s no longer “appropriate” to wear bright blue nail polish and 5 friendship bracelets on one wrist. I can’t even remember the last time I spent an entire day dancing around and eating chips by the handful without a care in the world. When did I last run for fun and not exercise? When’s the last time I spent the entire day in bed with a book and didn’t feel guilty about it? I still remember illegally piercing my cartilage at 15 and hiding it from my mother; over a year ago, I removed that little token of defiance. I think it’s time to put it back in.

But, now I actually separate my wash into lights and darks. I know how to properly iron a pair of trousers and tie the perfect Windsor knot (thanks dad!). I have to file taxes and pay bills. I realize how expensive gas is and why people complain about utilities; I can hold my own in debates about politics, religion, and culture, but truth is, I still know more about Harry Potter than I’d like to admit. I still toy with the idea of painting my toenails blue and when I’m feeling extra saucy I wear an anklet in the summer. Crazy, I know. I just wish I had realized how quickly life goes by; my dad always said that once you leave high school, time flies by. I always laughed at the thought, but as I walked across the stage at my high school commencements, I realized that I was closing another chapter and moving to the next.

On thanksgiving morning, I looked at myself in the mirror before walking out the door. I turned my head from left to right, pushed a strand of perfectly straightened, short, brown hair behind my ear, and looked into my spectacle framed eyes. I sighed when I realized that I’m no longer seventeen. Now let me explain; I don’t feel old, but I just caught a glimpse at myself and I look so different. I have faint wrinkles around my eyes when I smile and I wear diamond studs, glasses, and I do my hair and makeup each day. I don’t recognize myself. When I think about what I look like, I still imagine myself at seventeen. I still imagine the long wavy brown hair and the young, innocent chocolate eyes I once had. I don’t know when life morphed into this entirely new chapter, but the page turned so quickly, I must not have had the chance to notice this time.

-LP