Me On Stage Covering The Pixies

How I Became a Renaissance Female

From the time that I was a young lass up to now, I have wanted to be a million different things. The first thing that I wanted to be was a doctor, mainly because my dad said that it would be a good profession with prestige that would make me a lot of money. It didn’t hold my interest as an energetic seven-year old, though, so I had to come up with a new idea.

Next, my interest switched to being a fashion designer. Excited by my career choice as an eight year old, I began to hijack all of the spare socks lying around the apartment so that I could cut them up “innovatively” and place them on my Barbie dolls. I began reading fashion magazines so that I could get a look at the latest styles. That lasted a good three years until I concocted yet another new idea: modeling.

I looked at the women in the magazines and was entranced by the glamour of it all. As an 11-year-old preteen, I was fascinated with how confident that these women were in front of the camera. In my mind, I couldn’t do that – but I was determined to try. My consumption of fashion magazines reached massive levels, and I even found a photographer in my hometown that was willing to do photoshoots with me for free so that I could get practice taking pictures. It was great! Now, all I needed to do was apply to colleges in New York City, get into one, and get my modeling career off the ground while going to school.

At some point during high school (while still holding my dreams of modeling), I also became interested in politics/running for office. I started going to local political meetings and doing fashion shows/pageants so that I could indulge both of my interests. The plan was to major in political science, which I eventually switched to communications, and finally landed on finance – mainly because it’d make a lot of money while giving me important knowledge to use as a politician.

I did not get accepted to any NYC colleges that I applied to, so I ended up having to come to Pittsburgh. I figured I’d ride things out here, find a rock band to join (I love singing/playing guitar) & leave after I was done w/ classes to go to NYC. How wrong I was! I got to work on a couple of campaigns & became disillusioned with politics. I worked in the restaurant industry for about a year because I like cooking, but discovered that I didn’t like it enough to do it as a job. I did a couple of nonprofit service years, and decided that I should probably make money at some point in my life. After a brief stint doing sales of technology (& learning invaluable sales skills along the way), I then decided to learn programming so that I could have a skill that is invaluable to most any employer. I learned by doing a three-month course that taught me a lot in a small amount of time.

If you have made it this far in the article, you have probably seen that my interests have taken me all across the map. It seems entirely chaotic. That’s because it has been. What I have discovered about myself along this journey to find professional happiness, however, is this:

  1. Do not be afraid to try something that you are interested in doing. Even if you don’t succeed, it is better than a lifetime of wondering ‘what if’. And if you do succeed? Just know that your ability to move ahead despite your fear got you to that point.
  2. Every job/profession that you engage in over the course of your life has something to teach you. 
  3. You will be one heck of an interesting person, and you’ll have millions of stories to tell your friends/significant other/children/anyone else, by saying yes to the eternal pursuit of happiness. 
  4. Finding professional success is a lot like dating: you’ll only succeed if you dive in headfirst & keep trying until you find what you are meant to do. And that will happen eventually.
  5. Embrace chaos. Life will never be perfect. There will never be a right time for anything. “Stop trying to find logical answers in an illogical world.”

 

Where do my interests lie these days? Well, I have rediscovered writing, so I’m contributing more to my blog. I am also working on a creative nonfiction book and have several other writing projects that I am doing. I do freelance web development. I have a wonderful boyfriend with whom I am (finally) looking to move out of Pittsburgh next year [when he is done with his licensing exams] so that I can be closer to a stronger fashion industry  and so that he can be closer to a stronger design culture for his profession. My friends are pretty great. I have been through a few dreadful times recently, but am finding my way back from those.

I have accepted that my life will always have some level of chaos, but as long as my relationships with others are strong, I’ll be fine.

Rest In Bliss

I can sense it in my bones
The desire to evolve from a
Life of chasing, constantly seeking
Something that matters to persons
Other than Me

Death to the forces that
Tell me to mount a ladder to
Nowhere, while sacrificing my
Personal happiness, a thing which we
Only have the right to pursue, not necessarily
To take part in

I worry about the side effects, I
Wonder about the outcome, I
Ponder the aftermath, I
Decide not to trouble myself with
Concern for Others and their beliefs
My mind is weary

My spirit has been ignored;
Duty calls, and this time I must answer
Or risk the quiet demise of the substance that I call my
Life – Perish the thought!
My back is turned away from societal norms
If we all must pass from existence, then
I shall pass in happiness and, when that time arrives,
I shall rest in bliss

 

 

Embrace The Chaos

We’re all crazy, everyone’s crazy
Only a touch though
Just a tad
Chaos, chaos, chaos
And I’m not afraid

Disorder is my friend
I’m a little devil
Wreaking havoc in people’s lives
Trouble, trouble, trouble
And I’m not afraid

I am mayhem
My gift is causing trouble
Push them to their limits
Madness, madness, madness
And I’m not afraid

I don’t make any sense
Not even in the slightest
There is no order
There is no control, only
War with the typical
And  it is a battlefield
And it is scary
And I’m not afraid

 

 

 

Robin Williams: Laugh To Keep From Crying

On the one year anniversary of the death of comedian/actor Robin Williams, I wanted to post something that I’d actually written as a private journal entry. I wrote this last year, a few days after his death – and I was impacted by his passing in a surprisingly personal way. Looking back on the time since I wrote that journal entry, I have grown a lot as a person (and continue to do so). My search for personal fulfillment is ongoing, but reflecting on Williams’ death was a powerful catalyst for me to begin my process of changing for the better. The entry is a bit sobering, but I hope that you will read this and enjoy it.

“As I sit at my desk at work with about 3 ½ more weeks to go, my pondering of a certain current event gives me pause. Robin Williams committed suicide this week, and it’s hit me pretty hard for a few reasons.

When I heard the news about Robin Williams, I almost fell into the “This News Has Nothing To Do With My Everyday Life, So Why Should I Care?” trap. It would have been easy to write off his death as something that happened to a Hollywood actor that I wasn’t particularly passionate about. But, then I realized that he was in Bicentennial Man, Dead Poets’ Society, and What Dreams May Come – three movies that I hold pretty close to my heart (though they’re not absolute favorites), and I began to feel a tinge of sadness. As I read more news on Williams’ death, I really began to ponder the significance of this in relation to me. Here was a guy that was rich, successful (by most peoples’ definition), and beloved by all that knew him – but it clearly wasn’t enough. He kept a smile on everyone’s faces by making nonstop jokes – a comedian, if there ever was one. He needed an audience – he craved an audience – because he seemingly didn’t want to be alone in his own company. And he drank, did drugs, and battled depression until finally taking his own life.

I say that this gave me pause because it made me ponder my life up to this point. Before my good friend Katia moved back home to Seattle from Pittsburgh, we had dinner in Station Square before walking across the Smithfield St. Bridge into downtown to our next venue. I was practicing vulnerability by talking about a few of my issues with her (which I never do with anyone); at one point, she asks me “Do you ever laugh to keep from crying?” I was thinking “What an odd question for her to ask!” and I said “No”, & gave an explanation as to why that was/is the case.

Then, Robin Williams commits suicide and I realize that really, he laughed throughout his entire life – and made others laugh continually – so that he could avoid crying. He preferred an audience because if he was alone, then it would force him to face his demons. It would force him to face himself, and that was something that he just could not do. Thus, he became addicted to alcohol & drugs because those substances helped him to live with who he was, both in the present and in the past. And really, it’s quite remarkable that he lasted until age 63. It’s a testament to his perseverance and his willingness to live despite his lack of self-regard. Everyone else liked him, so it didn’t matter to him if he liked himself or not. The danger of this feeling, though, is that once someone makes a decision to live for others without ensuring their own happiness, said person has to constantly be around other people in order to feel fulfilled. Why? Because making others happy is the only thing that makes them happy. It makes them feel whole. It makes them feel complete. But if you cannot complete yourself, then what happens when there is no one around? When you don’t have the shadow of others to hide within? It’s not even hiding behind someone – god knows Robin Williams was no shrinking violet – but hiding within others in order to hide from yourself.  

And when you can no longer hide from yourself, you look for ways to run away from yourself. You search for a means of escape. Since it is apparent that one cannot run away from his/herself (because “Wherever you go, there you are”), one stops to think,” There has to be another way. There has to be another way. So if we can neither run nor hide, then surely we can at least forget, right? Well, not quite. But there are substances that will help us to temporarily do so. That’s where mind-altering substances come in. Here’s the kicker: the effects of these substances are not indefinite. If one wants to forget about oneself for longer periods of time, then you obviously have to consume the substances for longer periods of time – and more often. The relationship between your level of substance consumption becomes directly proportional to your ability to relax in your own presence.

At some point, though, the ability of mind-altering substances to satisfy this need of a person to “forget” becomes its own prison. You realize that you have not truly escaped your demons; they have simply caused you to run from one prison to another. Either one faces his/her own demons, OR one escapes under false pretenses. Avoidance cannot become a permanent state of existence. If you avoid any part of yourself, then you are avoiding all of yourself. If you are avoiding all of yourself….then, I guess someone that wants to forget can claim “Mission Accomplished” for the time being. But then, if one is avoiding something, wouldn’t that imply that the thought of what one is attempting to escape is at the forefront of the mind – even if that thought is framed in terms of getting away from the original issue? So, avoidance DOES NOT WORK. Mission NOT accomplished. But this prison of Avoidance seems preferable to facing one’s original problems, for whatever reason.

Once it becomes obvious that Avoidance is impossible, and that neither running nor hiding is feasible…..there is a choice to be made: either summon the courage to face one’s problems, or rid oneself of the source of one’s issues. If the source of one’s issues is someone else, then steps can be taken to disassociate from that person. If, however, you are the source of the issue, and you still do not wish to face your problems head-on, then suicide becomes the go-to solution. It’s sad, but it is all too often the option that people take when they deem their problems ‘unsolvable’ (to use that term in the broadest sense possible).

All of this is to say that living for others (rather, through others) without ensuring that you are happy is an extremely slippery slope to embark upon. To answer Katia’s question (even though she’s about a few thousand miles away now…..yes, I do laugh to keep from crying. I do tell nonstop jokes because I feel that it is an easy way to relate to people. I grew up being beloved by my parents and siblings, but rejected by much of the rest of my family (not all of them). I was beloved by my community due to my high level of academic achievement and my ambition to move forward in life, but rejected by many members of my high school graduating class because (insert reason). So it stands to reason that I did not grow up having an intuitive knowledge of how to relate to my age group. They either really admired my achievements or envied both my achievements & my ability to make my community proud of my accomplishments.

Enter college. I used my musical taste, my expansive sports knowledge, and my intuitive ability to be hilarious to be liked. And I pretty much do the same thing now (six years after the start of my freshman year @ Pitt), though I’m learning to relate to my friends now on a more authentic level. Feelings have never been easy for me to share with others, but I’m (very) slowly learning the ins and outs of authentic vulnerability. Instead of laughing to keep from crying, I need to learn to drop the mask of humor. I need to simply cry sometimes instead of glossing over my feelings and pretending that all is well, which is my typical style of being. Robin Williams’ life and death both have nothing to do with irrelevance, and everything to do with my life as it stands.

There was a senior citizen that saw me at the bus stop this morning in my neighborhood with Leana as I waited to go to work. Every time I see her, she makes a point to tell me that I need to make it a priority to take care of myself in addition to caring for everyone else. She then goes on to tell me that women often put everyone ahead of themselves to the detriment of their own health and happiness. Her cautionary tale that she told me involved her daughter who, after spending her whole life caring for her family & children, realizes that she has cancer and only lives five months after the diagnosis. Her daughter died at the young age of 45 because she ignored all signs that her health was failing until it was too late; she was too busy tending to others to care for herself. And how timely it was for me to see that woman this morning. After that conversation, and after speaking to my site director at work about needing to tend more to getting my own life in order, and after viewing Robin Williams’ life/death through the lens of my own life’s current trajectory……I believe wholeheartedly that it is time for me to begin concentrating on facing my demons – after I nail down exactly what those are. I cannot continue wanting to run away, because it is impossible to run away from oneself. I cannot hide within others anymore because my support network is rapidly changing (and continues to). And I cannot practice Avoidance any longer because it has caused me to feel numb to the point of not even feeling alive – and that is certainly no way to live.

I refuse to choose a permanent solution to a temporary problem, because what would be the point of that? That is one “solution” that has not even crossed my mind as being viable during this turbulent time for me because there is an answer. There is always an answer, and it is unfortunate that a great man like Robin Williams could not see that. That answer might hurt, it might be gut-wrenching…it might even cause you to feel at times that your life isn’t worth it. That your life isn’t worth all the trouble…but that DOESN’T MEAN that your life isn’t actually worth it. Because it is. And if you can reach just one person with your story, if you can impact just one person’s life in a positive way, then your life is/was worth it. Robin Williams’ life was worth it. He touched millions with his laughter, his humor, and his genuineness as a person. But it can’t just be about touching others and neglecting yourself in the process. You cannot make others happy as a means of avoiding your own issues. And that is where Mr. Williams went wrong. And that is where I have unknowingly gone wrong for so many years. I have continually given to others until there was no more left to give to myself. But I have not given others the gift of knowing who I really am. I have felt neglected, ignored, and insignificant, but blamed everyone except for myself. I am only now realizing that I was neglecting & ignoring myself while expecting others to not do the same to me. I have been holding others to a different standard than I have held myself, and that just isn’t fair. I laughed to keep from crying, and then blamed others from not knowing about my desire to cry. But if those of us that subscribe to the “humor to relate” school of thought can learn to drop the mask – to let go of the fear of doing so – and to simply be authentic & real, we’ll be a lot better off for it.

To be or not to be? I’ll choose “being” every time.”

Talk Soon,
Liberty ❤

Dirty, Gritty Bushwick

In Defense Of New York

Ten days after my arrival back in Pittsburgh from the bubble that is New York, I’ve had time to reflect on my ‘almost 1 week’ stay in the City That Never Sleeps. And here are my takeaways:

1) New York really doesn’t sleep. Packed bars in Manhattan at 2:30am on a Thursday? Completely normal. Street food at 3am? Go right ahead. Sightseeing/taking pictures in the dead of night? I looked so normal. In Pittsburgh, I would probably be stopped by the cops & asked if I am soliciting at those hours of the night.

2) The Metro makes Pittsburgh’s Port Authority look like child’s play. My first night in New York, I got bored around midnight. I grabbed my bag, hopped on the L train in Bushwick, & headed to Manhattan. Stayed there for a few hours, then went back to Brooklyn to go to sleep. I am a permanent insomniac, & NY understands my tendencies. It doesn’t judge me; it simply plays along. (“Liberty, go to that karaoke bar in central Manhattan. Go to Bryant Park. It’s only 2am. You KNOW you want to. It’s only an L train ride away.”) I should be able to go where I want, whenever I want, & public transportation should be expansive enough to accommodate those preferences. Pittsburgh, step your game way up.

3) Times Square is just, well, ugh. I’ve been to New York twice now, and I was fairly amazed the first time that I saw Times Square at 3am (and subsequently had a large slice of New York pizza to celebrate my trip with my Pitt friends). The second time around, I have to say that I was not impressed. AT ALL. From business vendors trying to sell you everything under the sun because they assume you’re a rich tourist to the lack of real personality to basically everything about the place, to say that Times Square is the worst is a gross understatement. If you’ve never been to NY, fine, go & see for yourself. If you have, then really, you know what I’m talking about anyway. Don’t even waste your time.

4) Brooklyn is where it’s at. Williamsburg, Bushwick, Crown Heights, Bay Ridge, Williamsburg (yeah, I love Williamsburg; about 60% of my time was spent between there & Bushwick)…..there’s something about Brooklyn that Manhattan simply does not have. I believe that Brooklyn has more personality, the people have more character, & it’s a generally more authentic place (read: not pretentious). Don’t get me wrong, Manhattan has its perks (shopping, MoMa, Central Park, convenient subway stops, Greenwich Village, etc.), but the prevalent NYC borough doesn’t really do it for me. It’s ok, but would I choose it over Brooklyn? Hahaha…NOPE.

5) The 5 boroughs each seem to have distinctive personalities, which I have taken the liberty of naming:

  • Manhattan: “The Snobby Rich One”
  • Brooklyn: “The Cool Younger Sister”
  • Queens: “That Aunt That You Only Tend To See Every Once In A Blue Moon”
  • Bronx: “The Troublemaker”
  • Staten Island: “The Red-Headed Stepchild”, also known to be interchangeable with “Who?” (this one was way too easy to characterize)

6) I have never seen as many organic grocery stores in such a small radius as I did while in Williamsburg. Seriously, who even eats that much food? And who needs that much of the exact same thing in the same area? It’d be the equivalent of putting 10 Starbucks stores around Walnut Street in Shadyside (Pittsburgh). Now, I do love the fact that Williamsburg residents seem to be so health-conscious, but it’s a bit much. Spread out those resources, at least.

7) And what’s up with all of the 99-cent stores? Really, though, why?

8) I only saw one rat my whole time there. Maybe New York’s furry rodents were being kind to me and decided not to make an appearance, but I only saw one, and that was my first night there. Is NY’s rat issue overblown?

9) You don’t need a gym membership. Don’t be foolish enough to buy one of those. You’ll walk enough to keep in amazing shape. I walked more in one day in New York than I do in about a week in Pittsburgh.

10) So many bike rental stations – everywhere! And, due to dedicated bike lanes, it looks to be a lot more safe to ride bikes in New York. I love bike riding, but Pittsburgh scares the bejezzus out of me when it comes to doing so. I have a phobia of Pittsburgh drivers. You Pittsburgh people with cars scare me so badly.

11) To save money, buy your own groceries & cook instead of eating out for every meal. This might go without saying, and it applies to virtually every city everywhere, but eating out often is so easy to do in NY – it’s particularly easy to not realize that you’re doing it with regularity. I went to one of those hallowed organic stores in Williamsburg towards the end of my trip there & bought enough for three meals for only $13. Conversely, I would spend $18 on a brunch in Manhattan. Don’t be lazy, & you’ll save a lot of cash in the city.

12) People that say New York isn’t safe have apparently never been to New York. That isn’t to say that the city doesn’t have its sketchy spots – every city does. However, I walked around at all hours of the night without being seriously bothered once (except for catcalling, which is a completely separate issue). I never feared for my life. I was never afraid. In fact, I have been through sketchier areas of Pittsburgh and Atlanta than I have in New York City.

13) Also, the people aren’t all jagoffs. Whenever I’d get on the wrong train (which happened quite frequently my first couple of days there), New Yorkers were there and ready to help me to find the correct way to my destination. They might not all be saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ every second of the day, but don’t you think that’d be weird anyway? Just because someone doesn’t hold the door open for you every time that you walk up doesn’t mean that (s)he deserves to be vilified.

14) I’ve never enjoyed getting lost as much as in New York. Where else can you have such an adventure trying to find the place to where you were originally heading? I got lost so many times in Manhattan walking around that I just took in the sights until GMaps got me back on course (btw, GMaps was the cause of me getting lost about 70% of the time; Google, what’s going on?).

15) New York can be fun alone, but it is 100x more interesting when you have partners-in-crime along for the trip. I didn’t realize how much more fun that I had until I started bringing friends with me for my daily escapades. Grabbing dinner, sightseeing, finding our way around the city, and generally having others with whom to have conversations made for a richer experience. I believe that I would have enjoyed my trip regardless of whether or not I’d had others around, but probably not nearly as much.

16) It’s so easy to make friends there! In New York, I would talk with someone for about three minutes, and suddenly we were long-lost best friends. It was the greatest feeling being in a place where I felt so completely and utterly understood. My sense of fashion, my personality, my goals in life…everything clicked in an instant with others in the city. I felt so free, and so limitless. Nothing against Pittsburgh, because I also have wonderful friends here that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Both cities are great in different ways. Maybe it’s easy to meet new people in NY because there are so many of them 🙂

17) I think I have possibly found my next home. My relationship with New York has spanned many years. When I was in my teens, I wanted to be either a fashion designer or model and I wanted to move to NY to pursue my fashion career. When I was applying to universities, I applied to six places – three in New York (NYU, Columbia, & Fordham) – and got into none of my NY choices. I ended up in Pittsburgh, which has been an amazing experience in its own right. The University of Pittsburgh actually paid for me & a few of my classmates to go on a trip to Manhattan back in 2008 – it was only two days, but I took in as much as I could in that short period of time. To remain in Pittsburgh and pursue a political career would be ideal, since I have found that Pittsburgh residents hold many of the same values that my parents and I hold near & dear to our hearts. I truly believe that I can make a difference here, and that has been my primary goal all along.

However, if I find that I wish to take a different avenue in doing my part to advance society forward, I would like to do that from New York City. Pittsburgh has given me so much, and I will forever be grateful for that. I feel that I need to continue growing as a person, though, and from being in NY for the time that I was there, I believe that I would be a perfect fit for the city’s lifestyle and the goals that everyday New Yorkers hope to achieve now and in the future. I will continue to try as hard as I can to create the life that I have envisioned in Pittsburgh; my commitment to the city and its people remains intact for now. I find that there is an undeniable pull, though, that New York has gained over me. If it continues to pull, who knows what will happen? Until then….#Pittsburgh #Pirates #LetsGoBucs #LetsGoPens   

Talk soon,
Liberty ❤

You Know Nothing

Being Controlling….Can Actually Be Good?

“I don’t have all the answers.”

That one saying is what I am starting this new year off with. Previously, believing that I had all the answers to everything in life went hand-in-hand with my compulsive need to control the outcome of every situation in which I was/am involved.

See, the main issue with people that have a desire to control everything is that this tendency can lead one to believe that others can also be controlled. Any situation where other people are clearly in charge is a situation where you need to concentrate on one thing (yes, JUST one): controlling your individual approach. Let’s use the very simple example of applying for jobs as an illustration:

Let’s say that Jan has applied to countless jobs and had a few interviews during this process. Her job search began about three months ago, but she still has not landed a job. Now, Jan has a few options that she can take right now:

1) work herself into a frenzy worrying about her future due to employers not hiring her;

2) give up, because apparently she is not good enough to be hired by a reputable employer anyway; OR

3) figure out that if she has applied to this many positions, and no one has hired her, then she is doing something wrong – and adjust accordingly.

What should Jan do? Well, if she went with Option #1, it would be of little benefit because worrying isn’t going to bring her a job any quicker than if she found a way to relax.If she chose Option #2, well, she just won’t have a job and she won’t be able to meet her basic needs; let’s hope that she doesn’t choose that one.Option #3……well, I prefer this one. Here’s why:

Option #3 keeps Jan in the driver’s seat of her life. It allows her to not become depressed from over-indulgence in a pity-party of one. It allows her to see that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If one does nothing, then they will get no response. Similarly, if one takes the “wrong” action, then one will receive the “wrong” response. Jan can apply to as many jobs as she can, but if she is going about it in the wrong way, then she will not receive the desired result – securing employment.

Maybe it’s Jan’s resume that needs to be tweaked. Maybe Jan needs to network more (or, utilize her existing network more effectively). It could also be this: Jan has a stellar resume and great professional contacts, but she’s applying for positions that really aren’t a good fit for her talents. She could be applying for the correct types of positions, but in the wrong locations. Jan might even need to become a business owner and run her own business…….

Get the picture? If one continues to run up against obstacles in achieving one’s goal, then maybe it’s not “them”: maybe it’s you. I don’t mean to sound so harsh, but it’s absolutely true. And you may not even be doing something that would be considered to be “wrong”. You’re simply taking the wrong approach to achieving what it is that you desire to accomplish. In fact, I would venture to say that anything that we do not accomplish in life is due to us taking the wrong approach throughout the process. If you want a commitment from a love interest, but it’s not forthcoming, you’re doing something wrong (note: this does NOT mean to change the core of who you are in order to please someone else, but you do need to change the method by which you are operating). If you don’t have as much money as you need in order to live your desired lifestyle, then you’re doing something wrong – no one is oppressing you in any way; there is an action that you simply aren’t taking, and you need to figure out what that action is. If you aren’t satisfied with yourself in any way (either physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc.), then you’re doing something wrong. It’s as simple as that.

Getting down on yourself for failing isn’t very productive because that will only result in getting more of what you don’t want. In the well-known book The Magic Of Thinking Big, there is a chapter that speaks on the topic of turning defeat into victory. The general gist is that one should not accept defeat because there is always a way to get what you want out of a situation – if you’re open-minded enough to change how you’re going about getting things done. If you’re willing to practice self-accountability for both your successes and your failures, that is an astronomical step in the direction of becoming a more fulfilled, accomplished, and successful being.

Life isn’t about having control over everything – it’s about controlling only that which is within your individual scope. The only thing within your scope is your individual approach.

Talk soon,
Liberty ❤

Fun People

There Was This Party, And…..

It’s a pretty chilly morning here in the ‘Burgh, and cold weather makes me think. This morning, it’s making me think about “partying” (Partying on a Sunday? **Screeches to a halt**). Sounds random, but it’s not.

See, I get emails from an advice site called “A New Mode“. This particular email talked about how we sometimes make the wrong impression on people with our digital footprint. Facebook profiles/pics, Twitter thoughts, etc…can be the kiss of death for both jobs and relationships because let’s face it, we all research people online to get to know them better. If you say that you don’t, then A) you’re not telling the truth, or B) you have no access to the Internet.

Back to the original topic: wrong online impressions. Sabrina Alexis (she’s awesome, by the way) talked at one point about unflattering party pics and how that can lose you jobs and dates. Cue “my mind flashing to my past year of life”. I think that I partied enough in one year to last me for the rest of my life. I partied enough to make me hate partying and drinking. Having your friends escort you out of the bar to their house b/c you’re too done to go home alone will do that to you. Now, granted, I had a rough year (as anyone that knows me would attest to) and really just wanted to let off some steam, but I slowly began to realize that I was completely misrepresenting myself to everyone that knew me. The great part of this is that I was smart enough to not post any of my exploits on social media, but to both my acquaintances and my close friends that I hung out with I’d imagine that I was a ‘big ball of messiness’.

Cool story, bro, but where is this going? “

I’m a person that likes to have control of my life, and by partying/drinking as much as I did, I lost control at a time when I desperately needed it. But that whole experience was valuable, in a sense. I think that everyone should hit bottom at least once in their lives because it causes a lot of soul-searching and self reevaluation. I, for one, realized that I don’t even like crazy parties/drinking. I really like the social value of going out & being with my friends, though, and I’ve rediscovered many ways of doing that without having to go overboard with drinking and doing stupid shit like unknowingly hurting people that I really care about.

Example: going to community dinners in Highland Park with friends/neighbors. Another example: going to a restaurant for the dessert & tea w/ a friend, & not even looking at the drink menu. Yet another example: randomly having a ‘sing-off’ w/ a friend at the park & not caring if onlookers think we’re crazy. I could go on, but you catch my drift.

And it took me realizing how much I’d hurt others to want to change myself. I was hurting, so I didn’t realize that I was inadvertently hurting people. At first, I was just amazed that people cared enough about me to actually be hurt by me/angry at me. It then made me think, “If you have friends that care about you, you’ve got a responsibility to not be an asshole to them. If you are an asshole, just apologize. If you’re sincere, they’ll usually forgive you. It might take some a bit longer than others (a lot longer, really), but it’ll happen. Oftentimes, your relationships will emerge stronger from having been stretched to the limit.”

And if, by chance, you’re ever hurting, just remember this: it (whatever “It” is) might seem hopeless. It might seem never-ending. It will be excruciating at times. But it gets better. And those friends that you hurt along the way? Apologize, and keep them close. You’ll need them. Trust me.

Talk soon,
Liberty ❤