An Extremely Late Post

With my ever-elusive twenty-first birthday finally around the corner I’ve been thinking a lot about my past year. Since turning 20 I gained friends and lost others, broke my own heart and had my heart broken, got a new phone, new tattoo, lots of new shoes and more than anything: new lessons. I went to Hard Summer, Nocturnal, Escape, Audiotistic, Countdown, and Cocahella. I’ve seen Fleetwood Mac, Brockhampton, Blue Face, met Cody Ko, started (& graduated from) intensive therapy, watched my best friend graduate and laughed (& cried)… a lot.

When the clock strikes midnight on my twenty-first birthday I’ll be with my best friend at Odesza’s finale show — after missing their shows three times and eventually accepting that seeing the Moment Apart a tour was simply, impossible. It’s a sugary sweet way to bring in what I hope will be an equally sweet year. I am excited to keep growing and exploring this amazing life in the coming year. In the end I am nothing if not Cody Ko’s biggest fan so without further ado —  here are 12 things I learned while being 21. (I know, I know but I didn’t learn 21 insightful things this year. I learned like how to button pants to make them tighter and how to sell clothes online but I don’t think those things are worth writing a blog post about.) (If you want to learn more about either of those topics hit me up though and we can discuss.)

  1. You already have everything you need, you just have to believe it

This was a big one for me and basically changed my entire perspective on life. I know, groundbreaking. It seems like a simple idea but it’s a powerful thing to truly believe that your capabilities stretch as far as your own imagination. Own your power.

2. Protect your energy

So now that you know that you have this amazing galaxy of endless possibilities within you don’t you want to take care of those little stars? Some people might not be looking for your energy at the time — that’s fine. Some people want to drain your energy without offering any in return — cut that off. Surrounding yourself with positive people will always put you in a better mood than hanging around people who exude negativity.

3. You are not your emotions

Another radical, life-changer here. I used to fly over my emotional handlebars about any little thing. Spilled milk would devastate me, an argument would obliterate my self-worth — I was volatile and dangerous, mostly to myself. I explained this issue to my therapist and she looked at me and said, “you have the power to control how you feel,” as if it was obvious. I doubted her and told her that was hard, potentially even impossible. She responded with “you only say it’s hard because you haven’t thought to try it,” and she was right (obviously). You’ll never be able to control what happens to you but you can always choose how you react. If you don’t want you life to be devastated by a small inconvenience then don’t let it be. If you don’t want to be lonely, then see it as quality time with yourself instead. You can make as much positivity as you want — the good news is that it’s free.

4. The only way to truly love yourself is to truly be yourself

I used to be terrified of drawing attention to myself and the thought of being noticed made my palms clammy. I wore unassuming clothes and shied away from most social interaction. I had a constant monologue in my head telling me that my hand placement was weird or my eye contact was awkward or my walk was funny. It was exhausting and miserable. But ever since I’ve been fostering positivity I’ve been wearing what I want, laughing loudly, meeting new people and dancing when I walk. And what if people don’t like it? Well I don’t really care because that’s none of my business. My business is my happiness and my happiness alone and I will never again stop doing something that makes me happy to try win over the opinions of others.

5. There is always someone if you need someone

This is one I’m still looking at the flashcards for some days but I’ve been trying. I didn’t have many close friends before college so a lot of the time I still feel very lone wolf about my issues but I’m trying to be more open. People love you and there is always someone willing to give a hug and a listening ear. Talking about it really does help.

6. Don’t be so hard on yourself

On my journey of healing (I know, I know, yoga guru here I come) I was often frustrated at my slip ups and set backs. It’s hard to see the bigger picture in the moments where you’re sobbing on your bathroom floor and feel right back where you started but the progress is still there. Mental health is tricky and the brain is the slipperiest eel in the whole ocean — it can be hard to hack the computer that literally programs your entire being. But that’s okay. Because as long as you remember that you are on a journey towards positivity, the days will get easier. And the tears will stop and you’ll dust off your knees and keep going.

7. The good times don’t last

But that’s okay. Because the bad ones don’t either. My advice for the good ones is to write it down, take a picture, try really hard to soak it all in. Let the moment change your life. Relax your shoulders from your neck and imagine you’re exhaling all the bad things that happened before that moment. Let it be transformative and special because it’s your life — anything can be noteworthy. And that’s the story of how my life changed at Coachella while walking through the rainbow tower (lol).

8. If you love something, dedicate time to it

This seems like common sense but when people get busy it tends to be the first thing that’s forgotten. Love only grows when watered. I used to think I had nothing to dedicate my time to because I don’t have what some would call “traditional hobbies”. I don’t play sports or video games and have fallen significantly off my reading books for fun game. But there are things I love. I love music, so once a week I dedicate a couple hours of my time to sitting down and seeking out new music. I also take the time each morning to have a dance party in my room each morning before getting ready. The dance party sometimes involves working out, sometimes not. Either way, starting every day doing something that I love makes me happy and affects my mood throughout the entire day.

9. People will treat you exactly how you think you deserve to be treated

Okay maybe not 100% of the time (there’s always that one asshole) but generally speaking. If you think you’re not worth anything, people are going to treat you accordingly. The only way to avoid getting trampled is to stand up for yourself and what you deserve. No one else is going to do it for you. Like I said earlier, own your power.

10. Time alone is crucial to a good relationship with yourself

My ex boyfriend would be laughing hysterically if he ever read this but here it is in writing — you were right. One day I woke up and it suddenly clear to me: if you need to spend time with a friend to have a good relationship then why don’t we treat ourselves the same way? The more time you spend with yourself doing things that make you genuinely happy (for example: singing in the shower, doing your makeup, eating an entire bag of hot cheetos in bed at 3 am, etc.), the more you’ll enjoy it and want to do it more often. Every morning and night I take a couple hours to myself to relax and do the things that I want to do, exactly how I want to do them. And I can finally say that I now truly do enjoy being alone.

11. It’s okay to not have it all figured out

This is one I’m still having trouble believing but people keep saying it to me and it keeps working out so I guess there’s something to it. Appreciate the process and don’t rush too much to the finish line. Whatever is meant to be will be and everything happens for a reason. These popular maxims all seem to have the same undertone that reassures us that there is a plan for our lives and the universe will relentlessly move us towards that path.

12. It’s okay to eat cheetos for dinner

Obviously. Also when dipped in nacho cheese you can add the element of heat which is makes it then consistent with traditional dinners.

Opening Up About Mental Health

This is something I’ve been struggling with the idea of for a couple weeks but I think being on the upswing is as good a time as any to finally do this. I am finally taking my mental health seriously and getting help in all areas of my life. And I have to say- it’s working. And it’s working really well at that. I am not pretentiously stating that I am healed and I am the savior for those who are still healing. That isn’t the case at all- I am still healing and still learning. I still have bad days and hard days but my perspective of them has changed. I now know that there is always progress being made and I am willing to put in the work to see those changes. I now know that it’s okay if I still cry now and then about what has happened to me these past weeks. Because I finally believe that the hurt will pass and better things will replace it. I know that it is incredibly difficult to stay positive amongst all the pain of the world but here’s how I’ve been going about it.

 

Therapy:

My weekly therapy sessions have been one of the most influential things on my journey of healing. Admitting how hurt and broken I was terrified me, and opening up about it was even scarier. But her advice, guidance, and perspective have opened my mind to new ways of healing. One thing that has really impacted my life is her idea that the mind, body, and spirit are all connected. When one is hurting, they are all hurting and when one is strengthening, they all are. It is important to nurture all three elements so that one doesn’t strain itself trying to carry the dead weight of another. Overall, she’s helped me learn to not be so hard on myself and that has completely changed my outlook on my journey of healing.

Appreciating myself:

This seems like common sense but taking this seriously and being mindful in these moments has transformed how I go about my day. I thank myself for every single thing I do for myself. Whether it’s brushing my teeth or buying a smoothie- I am constantly acknowledging all the little ways I love myself. Taking time out of my day to do these things has also been influential. In between classes I sit in the grass and write and, in the mornings I make sure to give myself enough time to see my roommates before I leave. Making time for these small moments of joy throughout the day has changed how I go about my day and my attitude throughout it. These things have helped me realize my value and the confidence to no longer accept a lesser standard than I deserve.

Fueling my mind, body, & spirit:

I have always been a snacker and I have finally accepted that this will likely always be the case. However- switching my snacks to healthier alternatives like multi-grain crackers and dried seaweed has made my body feel stronger and less lethargic. Also adding a smoothie into my diet as a mid-day alternative to coffee has helped me feel refreshed without the added jitters from caffeine. I have also started working out daily, as a concentrated time spent purely on bettering myself. It is incredible how much going to the gym has improved my mood, cleared my mind and helped me find my confidence again.

Cutting out multi-tasking:

There are certain things that require multi-tasking such as cooking or taking notes while listening in class. However, there are certain things that require our full-attention yet, we are reluctant to give it. This is because society has trained us to believe that the ultimate achievement is productivity. Because our brains are used to working on four things at once, when you try to focus on just one, you may feel your mind floating away to think of three other things. Overworking our brain repeatedly creates a pattern of anxious thoughts and it limits our ability to be mindful. I am making small changes to try and train my brain to slow down and give each moment 100% of my attention. It’s almost impossible to have a tirade of negative self-talk when you’re so focused on the positive aspects of a moment. Every day I have a ten-minute walk from where I park my car to my class. When my life was falling apart I spent this walk anxiously worrying and often it lead to me crying before I even made it to class. Now, I make a conscious effort on this walk to just enjoy my music and literally smell the flowers. And you know what? I haven’t cried before class in weeks.

Absorbing affirmative media:

This is a smaller task but I think it’s a helpful one, nonetheless. I listen to a variety of music and read a variety of media. I’ve noticed that when I read poems or listen to songs that I relate to, I feel so much more hopeful. It is so comforting to hear a lyric that makes you realize that someone has been where you’re standing and they made it out alive. I have been listening to and reading things by artists who have struggled with mental illness and it helps to know it is possible to be productive through the pain. There is such great art that has been made from the darkest pains and this has inspired me to work through my own pain in a productive way. Also, there are so many great podcasts that deal with mental health and many are made by successful businesswomen. Their advice and perspective have been super beneficial for me.

The biggest change I have made is my perspective and that was accomplished through all the above steps. Struggling with mental health has been the hardest challenge of my life but to finally be able to say that I am making serious and permanent changes makes me feel so proud. When faced with the task of “feeling better,” the sheer vastness of the problem is at odds with the implied simplicity of the solution. This is an overwhelming task and it is so hard to want an immediate solution that simply, doesn’t exist. Every single day I fight, from the moment I wake up, to the moment I go to bed to remember to be mindful in all things. It is hard work and it is constant work but the results are undeniable. I haven’t felt this much like myself in years. I’m writing with passion again, I’m excited about taking care of myself and, I’m inspired constantly. There are still bad days but now I know that my life is still hopeful and exciting regardless. To anyone struggling with mental health: don’t give up. It is okay to start broken, scared and beaten. Just start, from wherever you are and keep moving forward. I promise, it will get easier.

Raving Advice

Lately, I’ve been attending more rave events and I’ve learned a thing or two both from my own mistakes and the advice of others. Overall, I can’t recommend these events enough. The DJ is engaged with the crowd and the majority of people are incredibly sweet. There are also great moments to bond with the friends you went to the event with.

TIPS:

  1. Bring Water!!
  • I can’t stress this one enough. These events get hot and with all the dancing you’ll be doing, you want to make sure you’re hydrated. Also, a lot of events have free water stations so bringing in an empty camelback or water bottle will serve you well.

2. Bring a fan

  • This goes along with the first tip but when I say these events get hot, I mean they get HOT.

3. Take Vitamin C a few days before and after the event

  • With all the people at these events, there is bound to be tons of germs flying around and since you’re not getting a good nights rest, you want to make sure you don’t get sick.

4. Bring a bandana

  • Once you get dust in your throat and nose, you’ll be feeling that for days.

5. Bring a long sleeve for later

  • The walk back to the car will feel like the longest, coldest walk of your life- might as well be cozy.

Self Care

This is something that everyone struggles with and in today’s modern age of constant comparison, it can become almost too heavy a weight to carry. This past year was really eye-opening and showed me that this is something I need to make more of an active effort to make time for. It can be easy to get swept up into everyday life and it can quickly become a habit to stop making time for yourself. In this post, I’m going to discuss some of my favorite ways of showing myself self-love.

Hobbies

Making time for hobbies is a great way to love yourself since these are likely the first things to be sacrificed when life gets busy. Two of my favorite hobbies are reading and photography. This summer I’ve been taking time to myself to read a little every day. This is a great use of my time since it also helps to improve my writing, so I’m really killing two birds with one stone on this one. Photography is a hobby that inspires me while also getting me out of the house. Nature always makes me feel more like myself and reminds me how small my problems are in comparison to the vast universe.

Skin Care

The time I spend over my bathroom sink before bed is sometimes my favorite part of the day. There have been times when I compromised on my routine because people told me it took too long and I was anxious to go hang out with them but I have since realized the true importance to taking this time for yourself. Washing your face clean after a terrible day is a therapeutic experience on a whole other level.

Therapy

Therapy is something I have always been super open about talking about because I think that’s an important step towards breaking the stigma around it in order for people to feel comfortable in seeking the help they need. My therapist has helped me realize how much the people in my life have affected me and that not everything that goes wrong is my fault. She has taught me that I deserve to be treated better, that I am resilient and that it’s ok to not always be ok. Whenever I am about to make a decision I think about what she would say about it. This helps me every day because unhealthy behaviors become habits so in order to improve your mental health, you have to take a serious look at the motivations behind the choices you make.

Music

Whether I’m laying in bed or dancing in front of my mirror, music is almost constantly playing in my room. I think it’s the best way to either relax or get hyped up. It’s also a fabulous way to get out of your own head a little bit. Every night before bed I watch this Frank Ocean Blonde tribute video that relaxes me while also reminding me of all the beauty of the world. It also reminds me of my friends and happy times in my life so that’s a plus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5WWyyYG018 (Frank Ocean Video)

Meditation

I use the app HeadSpace to meditate. I have a whole other post dedicated to it (to be released soon) but I think this is also a perfect place to mention it. I take 10 minutes each night to sit in silence, being mindful of how I feel and how my day went. This is also a great thing to do if you feel a panic attack coming on or are overwhelmed with negative emotions. It clears my mind and helps me re-focus on what really matters. HeadSpace is a great tool for meditating because it teaches you tricks to help you be mindful throughout the entire day.

Stuff to do in the Summer

The air has gotten markedly warmer, the flowers have bloomed and most people have ventured out of their winter hibernation. With the warm months already upon us and even warmer ones quickly approaching, I thought it seemed like a good time to share some of my favorite activities for the summer.

  1. Beach

Being from San Diego, this probably seems like a ridiculously obvious recommendation but I’m going to make it nonetheless. There are few things in life better than falling asleep on a beach towel under the warm sun, skin still slightly sticky from the ocean. If you can find a beach within walking distance to shops and taco shops then even better.

2. Hiking

This is another obvious one but like I said, that’s not about to stop me from writing it. The best hikes are those at sunrise or sunset, just make sure to not be doing a dangerous hike in the dark.

3. Thrifting

I know this is something that has recently gained a lot of popularity with youtubers but as someone who has thrifted for a very long time, I truly can’t recommend it enough. After a successful thrifting experience, you’ll go to a normal retail store and wonder why everything is so expensive. You just have to give yourself a good chunk of time because thrifting is something that can’t really be done quickly- you really have to look through everything to find the best stuff. Some of my favorite tips are to go in with an idea of an item that you’d like to find and to keep an open mind- anything can be cut, hemmed or taken in. Plus, it’s so inexpensive that if you mess it up it won’t be as bad as ruining a new item.

4. Concerts

These are awesome experiences any time of the year but there’s something special about a summertime sunset concert at an outdoor venue. Watching the sun set behind the stage as you feel the cool grass underneath you is the meaning of summer to me. (Also, if you ever have the chance to see Bleachers in concert you should definitely go, they’re incredible live.)

5. Eating Outside

This is a weird one but in general I like being outside at dusk during the summer so I highly recommend requesting a table outside anytime you eat at a restaurant during the summer. Bonus points if you can hear/see the ocean from the table.

Bad Days

Question:

What’s the difference between a dirty bus stop and a well-endowed lobster?

Punchline:

One is a crusty bus station and the other is a busty crustacean.

 

Less than perfect days or just plain old no good, very bad days. They happen to even the most “glass half full” of us, no matter how hard we try to avoid it. I have certainly have had my fair share and have developed somewhat of a “sad routine” to make it a little more bearable. Something my mom always used to say after a bad day is “the best part about today is that it’s over” so I circulate a lot of these things around bedtime.

A cry sad day:

Step 1-

Put on Good Music: acoustic love songs

Step 2-

Cry it Out: it’s bound to happen so just let those salt streams run down your ruddy cheeks.

Step 3-

Skincare: once you feel like your eyes have appropriately leaked, do an even more intensive version of your normal nighttime skincare routine. For me, this really helps by being a symbolic end to the day. This is a great time for a face mask.

Step 4-

Zone Out: watch some stupid sitcom or comedy that is dumb enough you don’t have to think about it but is just captivating enough to get you out of your head. A personal favorite is That 70’s Show.

Step 5-

Pass Out Like There’s No Tomorrow: sleep in your favorite pajamas, with your favorite blankets and really nestle in.

An angry sad day:

Step 1-

Put on Good Music: angry rap or metal

Step 2-

Lace Up Those Running Shoes: I’m not much of a runner so I prefer to go to the gym and do a cardio-heavy workout with a lot of stretching after. I love making this a leg day because the ache the next day feels so satisfying. 

Step 3-

Get Steamy: take a long hot shower and when I say hot I mean it should hurt a little.

Step 4-

Hydrate: drink a ton of water because it will help refuel your body and give you glowing skin the next morning.

Step 5-

Pass Out Like There’s No Tomorrow: sleep in your favorite pajamas, with your favorite blankets and really nestle in.

Travel Tips

Question:

Why did the rancher give the pony a glass of water?

Punchline:

Because he was a little horse.

I am blessed to be able to say that my family does a decent amount of traveling. Throughout all these experiences I have streamlined a couple of pieces of advice that I follow myself in order to get the best experience possible. Hopefully you can gain something from them. Enjoy!

 

  1. Make a reservation for a meal after you arrive.

Airport food is generally overpriced and lack-luster. The best way to see a new city is to walk around and share a meal amongst the locals. Making a reservation before you reach your destination helps you avoid airport food and gets you a head start on exploring the city. Go to the hotel, drop off the bags, freshen up a bit and then either cab or walk to the restaurant.

This tip works especially well if you are traveling in a group because, in my experience, hungry stomachs don’t make quick decisions. Or if the hungry people do decide on a place to eat quickly, it’s probably not going to be the best the city has to offer. So research before your trip to save time and ensure that you all know where your next meal is coming from.

    2. Pack “freshen up” items in a carry-on.

I’ve learned from unfortunate experience that you never know when the flight gods will decide a sacrifice is in order. It’s when you’ve watched the empty luggage carousel go around three times and everyone else from your flight has left that you wish you would’ve had the foresight to do this. You head over to the help desk and they assure you that they will get you your bag by the next morning. In the meantime though, your skin is dry, you smell like an airplane and your mascara is smudged – and if you followed the previous tip, you have a dinner reservation to catch. All you want is your tried and true (and travel sized) beauty products.

Having your go-to items in a less than great experience like this truly makes the difference in how you feel moving forward with the rest of your day.

   3. Buy any tickets ahead of time

In this modern age of websites and apple pay, there are very few museums and attractions that don’t have systems for purchasing tickets ahead of time. You wake up in a fluffy hotel bed and look at your traveling companion and say “what are we gonna do today?” This tip helps cut down the time spent making a game plan for the day and helps make sure you really make it to the places you want to. Instead of waiting in line at the box office, you can spend that twenty minutes appreciating and exploring the attraction.

   4. Always carry a camera, always.

With increasingly amazing cell phone cameras, this rule is easier to follow than ever but I still feel the need to say it. Walking around a new city you just never know what you will see. I cannot even begin to compile a list of the peculiar things that I captured in a photograph that inspire me to this day- a steamed up window, ironically placed graffiti, a kid looking in the window of a toy store.

Along with this tip comes the one to always pay attention to the small stuff. The way water pools at the bottom of a condensation coated glass, a crumbling brick facade, a man holding his girlfriend on the subway – inspiration and beauty is truly everywhere. Places that locals frequent tend to make it easier to see so I recommend checking out public transportation, marketplaces, and parks.

 

As a closing note, I just suggest to truly appreciate every moment while traveling. Don’t let egos, a missed train or bad weather spoil your mood because you never know when you’ll have the opportunity to be there again.