Sunday, January 25, 2015

On Loving Yourself

You know the drill. Press play and read. 

Today I'm 23 years, 3 months, and 5 days old. I don't know how many minutes or days that is but I've learned one thing during that time. 

Life is hard. 
Like, really hard. 

And lately I've had a really crappy time dealing with how hard life is. How hard it is to have a job that is far less than what I dreamed. How hard it is to fight for a relationship and for a person I care about with all my heart. How hard it is to drift further and further from friends who used to be an integral part of my life. How hard it is to keep my head up amid all the challenges and changes. 

I've been battling some pretty intense feelings of inadequacy and self doubt lately. Sometimes I feel like a failure. Sometimes I feel unloveable. Sometimes I feel worthless. Sometimes I feel like my life is never, ever going to look up.

But this week I had a few experiences that helped remind me what's important in life.

It all started on Wednesday when I stumbled upon Dove's Love Your Curls campaign. As a natural curly haired girl, I curiously watched Dove's video, which said that only 4 in 10 girls like their curly hair. 

I used to be one of those 4 in 10 girls. I grew up hating my curly/wavy/untamable hair. It was frizzy and messy and different and all I knew was that it didn't look anything like other girls' hair. I longed for silky smooth, stick straight hair. The kind you see in movies and in magazines and pretty much everywhere. So I straightened my hair every. single. day. 
Then one day I got fed up with the 2-hour daily beauty routine. I stopped straightening my hair. And it was terrifying. What would people think of the real me? 

Fast forward to Saturday morning. I sat in a house in Heber, situated among about 60 other young people. I held a blank plaster mask of my face and was instructed by our guest speaker (a psychiatrist) to write all the things I show to the world on the outside of the mask. Then, to write all the things I hide from people on the inside. 

I was surprised how easily the words came to me. Within 20 minutes the outside and inside of my mask were covered. 

As I sat there reading the words I wrote, I felt a sudden wave of embarrassment. What if someone saw what I wrote? What if they made fun of what I thought of myself? What if they didn't agree? What if everyone around me thought I was stupid? I shielded my mask from the other people milling about. I couldn't let them see the real me. I couldn't let them in. I couldn't risk rejection.

Then it dawned on me. 

It doesn't matter if other people agree with me. It doesn't matter what other people think of me. It doesn't matter if other people accept or reject me. All that matters is that I agree with myself. What I think of myself. That I accept and love myself. 

I think there's this epidemic among millennials where we place so much of our self worth in other people's hands. We let our Twitter followers and Klout scores determine our happiness. We rely on our friends to validate how great we are.  We wait for the perfect job and the perfect relationship to make us truly happy.

Which is the stupidest thing ever. 
Just like I got fed up straightening my hair every single day in high school, this weekend I got fed up worrying about other people's expectations. Just like I got tired of hiding my real hair, I've grown weary of fretting over how much other people love me. 

So I've decided to start loving myself. 
I've decided to start loving my crazy, curly, wavy, untamable hair.
My muscular thighs and big butt that took thousands of squats and hundreds of hours on the tennis court to build.
 My brown eyes that most of the time wish they were hazel.
My need to relax and recharge completely alone.
My love for serving other people and helping others even when they resist.
My fondness for cheesy soap operas like One Tree Hill and Friday Night Lights.
My strange obsession with finding the perfect song to go with every blog post.
My meager social media following.
My drive to advance myself in my career and build a successful future. 
My love for good company and conversation.
My tendency to over-plan and over-analyze. 
My insatiable desire to travel the world. 
My obsession with cowboy boots and leggings.
My inability to not worry about the future. 
My desire to be blissfully, eternally happy. 
You, too, should jump for joy
Life is scary. It's hard and painful and I can't blame anyone for wanting to hide under a rock for the rest of forever. But we can all make it a heck of a lot less scary by loving ourselves. By accepting who we are and letting the world see us as we really are. 

I'll be the first to admit that letting people see who we really are is terrifying. After all, what if they don't like the real me? But the truth is, it doesn't matter if anyone likes the real you. All that matters is that you like the real you. I think if we could all love and accept the real us, the world would be a happier place. A more content place. So what are we waiting for? 

Let's all go be happy. 
Dat hair doe. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Summed Up in 33 Photos

Press play. Read. Look at pretty pictures. Enjoy. 

I honestly have no idea where 2014 went. Up until two weeks ago I kept telling people it still felt like summer. I mean, it was in the 60s in Utah, after all.

Not having homework or classes or finals or semesters to worry about has completely distorted my sense of time. I still don't really feel like it's winter, and I certainly don't feel like Christmas should already be over. 

Nonetheless, 2014 is coming to a close. Which means it's time for my annual New Years blog post. 2014 was a crazy roller coaster of a year, and I found it super hard trying to figure out what I wanted to write. So I decided not to really write anything. At least not at first (stay tuned for a second blog post in a week or so!). 

Anyway, I realized that I took a ton of photos this year. Between my photojournalism class and all my roadtrips and other adventures, I took 5,000+ photos. So what better way to commemorate my year than with a post with my favorite photos of the year? 

I had to take a "weather photo" for my Photojournalism class but I was on a really tight deadline at The Universe so I literally ran outside, took this, and called it good. And I think it turned out pretty swell :) 
Weather photo take 2! 
I borrowed a fancy lens from The Universe, snuck into a women's basketball game, and snapped a few pics for my action assignment! 
I just so happened to sneak into the Gonzaga game, which was a nice little stroke of luck! 


So I didn't take this picture, but it's representative of a DREAM COME TRUE for me. So deal with it. I got to attend The New York Times' Student Editor Workshop, which was actually kinda disappointing. But spending the day at The Times was absolutely incredible. 

Also while in New York I wandered around and took cool photos like dissss. 

For my final photojournalism project, I spent an entire day with missionaries serving in the Utah Provo Mission. It was SO COOL but SO EXHAUSTING. To see the final product, click here


Anna and I went to Moab and it was pretty cool. 

Then Fenton invited a bunch of amigos over to his cabin, which was glorious and wonderful and glorious. As you can see below, we got really muddy and saw a pretty rainbow. 

THEN after getting dumped I roadtripped it home with a few friends and we went exploring around Eureka. 
Abandoned mines and pretty sunsets. 
I made it a goal to go to the temple every week during the summer. I guess views like this made it that much easier to do :) 

But I super like this picture! 
Also, the Muir Woods are cool.

This could be my favorite picture from the entire year. Just maybe. 

AUGUST WAS A SUPER DOPE MONTH. Like, I can't even begin to explain August's crazy adventures. 

First I got to roadtrip it home to Sheridan, Wyoming! 
My hometown is ten times cooler than your hometown. End of story. 



Although this isn't the BEST photo ever, it represents easily one of the best moments of my entire year. We were driving down the 101, racing through Big Sur so we could catch the sunset. After parking the car on a turnout and sprinting up the road, we scaled a guardrail and watched the sunset on the edge of a 20-foot dropoff. #YOLO. 
I hiked Mt. Timpanogos in the rain. Which was stupid. Don't ever do that. Just trust me. 

Look at this cute boy that I convinced to date me. 

My friend Ben asked me to shoot some pics for his cookbook. So I did. 
Sometimes you're just in the right place at the right time and you capture really pretty moments. Like this. Moon. Sunset. Mountains. Temple. The world is beautiful. 

I got lazy in December and didn't take very many pictures. But I promise it was a super dope month. 
Like a billion lights all on one tree.

All in all, I balled hard in 2014. I look forward to balling even harder in 2015.
Stay tuned, folks. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

5 Things Summer 2014 Taught Me

Press play. Read. ENJOY. 

When I started writing this post, I was lounging in leggings and a pink ombre hoodie snuggling in literally the softest blanket ever. Sherlock was on, and in the background I could hear thunder roll. I looked outside at the cloudy sky and the rain falling down.

And in that moment I knew summer was over. And it made me sad.
Never stop wondering. Never stop wandering.
So I decided to write a blog post about quite possibly the best summer I've ever had.

Let me start by saying I've never been the biggest fan of summer as a season. I hate being hot and I hate being sweaty, and I'm all but incapable of tanning. Therefore, I generally find it hard to enjoy summer. 

But this summer was different. After having a miserable summer last year in Provo, and after being dumped right after this summer started, all I wanted was to turn things around. All I wanted was to be happy. To have fun. To let my problems melt away. So I vowed to make this summer super dope. 

And I did. 
Panoramic selfies FOR the win.
Santa Cruz pier!
GETTIN MUDDY!!!!!!! ^^^

I went on five roadtrips. I went to San Francisco for the first (and second) time. I ran over 100 miles. I made new friends. I went to the temple (almost) every week. I threw some wicked awesome parties. I moved out of Provo. I stayed up way too late. I saw some of the prettiest sunsets ever. I lived the dream. And most of all, I learned some new things, including: 

5. Utah is beautiful.
I spent four years going to BYU, and during most of that time I took Utah's beauty for granted. 

This summer I was constantly reminded just how beautiful Utah is. How many other states have deserts filled with red sand and rock formations, beautiful forests, rocky mountains and beautiful canyons?
Arches NP :)
I have no idea what the answer to that question is but yeah, Utah is pretty cool.

4. Actually, pretty much the whole world is beautiful. 
I didn't venture off anywhere too exotic this summer. I only made it to California, Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada, and Tecate, Mexico, but those places were enough to remind me that this world is full of big, beautiful things. 

Next time you're feeling sad, go outside. Get some fresh air. And appreciate just how freaking cool the world is.
It feels good to be lost in the right direction. 
We all dream of far away. 

Sunsets and ghost towns

3. Endorphins are the key to healing a broken heart. 

I grew up playing sports, so I'm no stranger to the rush endorphins give you. I've always known how good it feels to set a new personal record and how fulfilling it is to take all of your anger out on the court/field of your choosing.

But this summer I found myself in need of something more than a rush. I needed comfort and I needed to heal (do you like how dramatic I make this sound??). So I took to the streets. I bought a new pair of really pretty orange running shoes, a sweet Under Armour tank top and matching shorts, and I just ran. And ran, and ran, and ran until I felt better. Until I forgot about the pain. Until I realized that I am more than my feelings of inadequacy and doubt.

So go. Get out there and just run. I promise it'll make you feel awesome. 
Beautiful scenery makes running prettttttty worth it.
2. People are nice.
I know with all the awful things going on in the world today it's really easy to believe that the world is full of evil, awful people who are selfish and mean and who just want to watch the world burn. 

But one morning in late August I woke up in a stranger's house in the Hollywood Hills with a golden retriever at my feet and realized that people are, deep down, basically good. People who had no reason to open their homes to my friends and I (aka a bunch of scraggly looking kids wearing snapbacks) showed me that compassion, empathy, and goodwill do still exist. 

I had countless other experiences this summer that were evidence of the same thing. I'll spare you the details of all of them, but the point is people are awesome and you should go get to know some new ones.

Llamas are basically good as well ^^^

1. YOLO. 
But for real. You only live once.

Three of the roadtrips I went on this summer took place in consecutive weeks, which was absolutely insane looking back on it. I had to work 10-hour days throughout the entire month of August to make up for the time I was missing, which sucked at the time, but it was all worth it 'cause YOLO.

You're not always going to be young and free enough to hop on a plane bound for California and a weekend of unpredictable adventures. You won't always have the opportunity to roadtrip it to your hometown and hang out on your best friend's ranch for a few days. Your family won't always be around to have reunions and barbecues. So seize the opportunities you're given while they're there.

Life is way too short to not live it to the fullest. 

Love these boys!
Love these people!
Looooove this truck :) 
So go find it!!!!