Existing in August

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

*My blog is going through a face lift, keep with me y'all.

"I know when you are prioritizing yourself and when you are giving too much to others"... As my mentee / friend was speaking life into me this Summer...

One of the most common phrases in my industry of higher education, especially in Student Affairs, we say, "We don't exist to our family and friends in August". Eluding to the fact we are spending hours upon hours and weeks in a row working with no time off. I am not exaggerating when I say we are working from sunrise to the wee hours of the night...again, typically with no time off.

And talking to my dear friend A, who is in their first professional position, they said, "*$@% that. I am going to exist in August. I am going to exist to my friends in August. My life is not going to disappear in August"...

And as the last 6 teams I've prepared for some type of training in their essentially "summer camp" for 10 mos role, I can't believe I just didn't do that....exist in August.

It's so unheard of. It's almost rebellious...in all the best ways possible.

I've been in conversation in and living in this theme for the last year or two of peace, feeling whole, creating space, experiences over things, and all these mantras that without a doubt have instrumented my life into what it is...

But existing in August?

Now that certainly is about to be a challenge.

....I wrote the above the last week of July...Because I wanted to see if I actually kept my word...and although not exactly to a T, I do believe I created more time than I normally do to live life in August! AND you best believe I am going to celebrate that.

Existing in August:
Oakland visits...at least 4 times in August!
Oakland's First Fridays
San Francisco's Pro Soccer Team - Deltas

HA. K from Boston visiting!

Read through some books, wrote, and blogged

Reunited with Bae over Berkeley and challenges!

SLAY: Hip hop party for LGBTQ+, POC, and Allies
Ending August with D's goodbye party


California-versary Year 1: SoDak to LA

Monday, August 28, 2017

Whale watching trip with my parents in August 2011
August is home to so many anniversaries.

But I wanted to celebrate my California-versary first! 6 years, but going on 7 school years (I go by academic years) here in beautiful-beautiful California...literally up and down the coast! 

I want to honor August as a "fresh" start for so many educators and students starting another year, but I also want to honor people who are in transition, just graduated & a little lost..

In May, newly minted graduates are promised this wonderful life post high school, college, or advanced degree. 

But no one ever tells you about the growing pains of leaving home, or the home you created at college, or to not have access to all of your closest friends you've been making for 4+ years.

So, that is why I wanted to recognize my California-versary first.

August 2011: I was 22, barely finished college, I packed my belongings that barely fit in my car and drove from South Dakota to Los Angeles county. Besides being absolutely terrified, scared I'd hate my graduate program & never make any friends ... dramatic ... I also was homesick my first year.

I may had posted about all of these fun new adventures in Southern CA, but in that same caption, I'd also get back in my car nostalgic for college, the comfort of my parents, and the aching to be around familiar friends. I had also ended my first relationship ever in that season too - my emotions were clearly winning...

My Grandma had also passed a week before I left for Los Angeles and on top of that, I was healing from a broken leg that I broke 24 hours after my college graduation. I spent my summer in physical therapy, high off pain killers, grieving my first break up, and living in my parents basement. What a dream post college right?...

I was supposed to move to the Bay Area for 3 mos for an internship prior to starting a graduate program, but that didn't happen due to my broken leg.

When I arrived in Los Angeles county, I was living with a stranger. I didn't know anyone except for those I knew from pageants. My cohort in my graduate program were my only friends, but at this point I hadn't met most of them.

When my parents flew back to South Dakota, I sobbed in my new room. It hit me that they were just visiting and weren't staying. I had lived away from home often growing up, but I always knew I was coming back at the end of Summer.

That first year was rough. 

I cried all the time. I FaceTimed my best friend in Alaska on Friday nights for hours at a time. 

Other hard adjustments included being in a city that was starkly different from my rural upbringing. Everything cost money. There were no seasons. The list goes on.

In that transition, I wish I could say I found myself. But most of the first year was spent breaking me down to build me up again. It was a year of learning life was not about me..in some pretty harsh ways, but looking back in the most humbling and heart struck ways.

But I did have the most fun job - essentially community work where we employed college students into non-profits that benefited the community. I had a bomb boss who to this day, I can say has been a mentor and friend, someone who was on my final capstone committee, and recent Momma to the cutest baby. You can read her blog HERE.

Eventually, I became close with people in my graduate program. I now live for our mini reunions, group texts, random calls and reach outs, and I can say they are part of my home team. I rarely make a major life decision without their blessing and prayers first.

I explored Los Angeles and Southern California for everything it was. Whether it was a Disneyland pass, exploring every sandy beach, concerts at the Hollywood bowl, hosting visitors at least every other weekend for my first year there. Falling in love with monotone weather, ethnic food choices, and finding out how much I could be thrown into the unknown and come out with a #$%^ ton of experiences and relationships that would shape who I have been in my 20s.

It really is a Happy California-versary to me, even with year 1 in hindsight.

Sending love to all my students and people in their first transition out of school.
You are going to make it.
Be patient with yourself.

I always liked remembering all of my best moments were happening and are yet to come.
How amazing is that?

My almost proposal

Friday, August 25, 2017


Some people meet their sweetheart young, some are with their first love of their life.

I am not that person. 
I let a break up leave me bitter and detached. 

But a lot has happened in the last 2 years, and although I rarely think about this person now, all the cliches (Can people really change? & relationship timelines are trash!) I learned the hard way was from my relationship with this person. 

-

"I bought you a ring."
 Not something you wanted to hear from your ex post break up.

A few months after our break up (okay we broke up like 3, 5, who knows how many times), he let me know he had bought the ring. 

He said, it was right on time
 On time?

Our timeline of being engaged, living together in the city / me getting a job in SF, and married by the time I was 28 with a kid by the time I was 30.

I turned 28 in March, and although my life looks nothing like the life we projected, hearing he bought a ring based on a timeline (and I am sure out of guilt) made me re-think who creates these relationship timelines anyway...because they are garbage.

If a couple wants to get engaged after 3 months of dating, amazing. If a couple wants to be together and not get married, awesome. If someone wants to not do any of the above, it is no one else’s business.

So, in the last 2 years, I stopped caring about these imaginary timelines and unrealistic expectations that come with the "rules" of love.

Because does love really go by rules?

And because I am a secret rule breaker. I knew exactly what I was signing up for with this person...and I signed up anyway. I knew prior to my almost proposal that this person was not someone I'd marry, but I wanted to make things fit so badly because 1) It was on the "timeline" for my life and 2) I thought I could change him.

I thought I could make him settle down. I thought x,y,&z would make him change into exactly what I thought he should be.

Well, since that is not how love or relationships work, I learned that after several failed attempts to “make him a better person”, I FINALLY decided to listen to my home team and my gut…

So, I left. 

And after having a devastating year on top of a messy break up, I became bitter and detached. 
But at some point, I also started creating a life that I loved. One full of honesty, connection, and kept promises. I even let the bitterness turn into wisdom.

With time on my side, I also realized I loved that he was wild. I liked that he did not give one #$%@ about anyone but himself. And later I realized I needed him to give a few #$%@'s and maybe be less wild.

But that's not who he is. And that's not who I really want him to be. I would have never fallen so hard for him in the first place if we weren't so different.

So, I left; left for a life that I feel connected to, free of the societal upkeep and learning to love people for where they are and not what they could be. For loving myself for who I am, and not what I thought I should be.

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