69 Days

We’re in the countdown stages now, folks. Ben and I are moving across the country in just 69 days. And I’m starting to wonder what I was thinking. Not in the “reconsidering everything” way, but rather in the “is that even enough time to redo everything” way. FOr better or worse, our lease is up in 70 days and we’ve already filled out the “intent to vacate” form. So where does that leave us?

Well, in a time of great transition, apparently. Both of us have a very busy summer ahead, and it’s all for the sake of making our move smoother. We’ll be traveling nearly 800 miles to relocate in yet another college town (albeit, one that’s 6 times smaller than the one we live in now). I’ve used Google StreetView enough to realize that it’s nothing like I’ve been expecting-and that that’s okay. I knew when I applied to places that I wanted a change, and that’s precisely what I got.

Anyway, I’ve also begun reaching out to people to ask if they’d like to meet up one last time. And I’m making a couple journeys to my hometown for similar reasons, but on the whole, it’s time to break away.

When I was in high school, I told everyone that I’d leave Ohio and I’d never ever come back. I was so full of hostility towards the state that I couldn’t see ever staying here. And yet, 6 years later, I’m only just preparing to leave. And that’s okay. My intentions, although not at all as furious as before, have not changed. My parents are both from this area, but they met out in the west. Ben and I met here and we’re off to the west as well. Not because I feel a sense of destiny to our pending location, but because I need to go.

I had a hard time explaining to Ben why it was that we needed to leave Ohio. I explained it poorly for the first several times. (He wasn’t opposed to the idea, he just didn’t know why I was so insistent on it.) I’ve never been out of Ohio for longer than a small family visit every now and then. I’ve made stops in the surrounding areas: WV, TN and I’ve even been to MI, NC and TX (we flew). But never more than just a few days, as I said. And when I proposed Seattle (not where we’re headed, however), Ben didn’t quite understand why I desperately needed to go to a place I’d never even seen. So I’m going to try and explain it to you. Thankfully, it’s more coherent that it was the first few times.

I’ll be honest, I feel a little lost. Like I don’t really belong here. I’ve felt that way for many years. Like being at a friend’s house and knowing you’re not home, but staying there for a long time. It’s warm and inviting, you never feel like an intrusion, but ultimately, you feel an increasing need to move on. One day, you finally can’t take it anymore, and you announce you’re ready to go home. But your home was burned down, and that’s why you’d been staying with them. You know that the place you belong is somewhere, but now you have no idea where it is. You just want to find it and be at peace.

That’s how it feels.

I struggle a lot with the idea of destiny. I flip between feeling worthless and feeling destined for greatness. Especially when reality sets in and I have to look at all the choices I’ve made as a pathway to where I am now. Surely, the amount of struggle means that I’m going to do something great, that I’m going to change the world, right? But in the end, that’s not a guarantee. I can work towards it, and I am, but it may not happen. So what then? Because I’ll be honest, some days it feels like I’m needlessly suffering if I can’t change everything.

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So in these next 69 days, I’m going to be working on my manifestation skills, honing them into reshaping the way I think. I will be big.

That’s what a friend and I’d been talking about lately. How we only ask the universe for the things that we desperately need and no more. But it’s never really working in our favor. Because we weren’t born to be timid and weak and hushed. We were born to be wild and courageous and loud. So I’m done asking for the bare minimum. I want the world. I want all of it-the good, the bad, the happy, the frustrating-all of it. Not because I am entitled to it, but because I am stardust and if I can make universes, surely I can be big enough to change my own destiny.

Single Digits

So if you follow me on instagram, I’ve been doing a daily photo with #HowIMetMyGraduation. I try to take pictures of things that sum up my day, mean something to me, or otherwise spark my interest. And Because I’m now officially just 9 days away from finishing my degree, I wanted to do something (probably hard) fun. I’m going to describe my undergrad degree using all 26 letters of the English alphabet. So uhm, here goes nothing.

A. Anthropology-my major. I focus on Cultural Anthropology, because I like to people watch.

B. Biology-This is what I spent two years of my degree majoring in. Because I was afraid of change.

C. Clergy-I am not only a wedding planner, I can officiate marriages too.

D. Diversity-I became Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Diversity for the micronation of Flandrensis

E. Education-which included the Calculus sequence, Chemistry, Psychology, Social Work and Political Science.

F. Fat-I gained some, but learned that my worth wasn’t a number.

G. GISHWHES-I learned how to cross the line between comfort and adventure.

H. Highway driving and conquering the fear.

I. Impair-we went through 4 (5?) cars in undergrad.

J. Journal-I started bullet journalling as a way to manage my symptoms.

K. Knick Knacks-I had to downsize 5 times since starting undergrad-for moving purposes.

L. Liberal-as in, I got liberally involved in politics.

M. Marriage-I got married in a classroom on campus just about 3 years ago.

N. Novels-I’ve started MANY, finished few.

O. Ohio State-this is where I’ve gotten my degree from.

P. Phlebotomy-I got my national certification by going to 2 colleges at once for a while.

Q. Queer-because I learned that it’s okay not to fit a gender binary-or even a standard array of sexuality.

R. Religion-I changed religions in college: from southern baptist/nondenominational Christian to earth worshipping pagan/hoodoo.

S. Subway-my first job. Followed by Rural King, Giant Eagle, and OSU.

T. Tattoo-I knew I wanted one, and for graduation, I finally got it.

U. Unhappy-I spent a long time being unhappy, because I lived in the shadow of the expectations of others before finding myself.

V. Victim-or rather, how to become a survivor of sexual assault.

W. Washburn-this is where I’ll be going to get my JDMSW (Law Degree and Masters in Social Work) in a little over 100 days.

X. Xenial-by definition, accepting-especially of strangers and foreigners.

Y. Youth-I’ve been in college the entirety of my early-mid twenties, and will be there until I’m nearly 30.

Z. Zombies? Zodiac? Zenith-meaning the most important moment, which for me is coming quickly.

 

Well, that wasn’t so bad:)

We’ll speak soon.

M.

The List of Buckets

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(Image from Google, Karen Boyes. I don’t own it-it was just cute.)

I have a hundred things on my mind right now, but that means that the best thing I could do is write down my bucket list. Not only had I mentioned I would earlier, but I most of the stuff on my mind has to do with that, so why not!

Now, I’m not sure any of you need the definition of a bucket list, but for sanity’s sake-A bucket list is a list of things that the individual would like to accomplish before they “kick the bucket” (die). And here’s mine.

  1. Whale watching
  2. Cliff Diving
  3. Learn to ice skate
  4. Learn to surf
  5. Swim in a waterfall
  6. Slow dance in the rain
  7. Witness a miracle
  8. Visit Canada
  9. Save a life
  10. Visit Ireland
  11. Visit England
  12. Visit Scotland
  13. Help turtles hatch and reach the ocean
  14. Be the starfish girl
  15. Eat pasta in Italy
  16. Eat bread in France
  17. See the Great Barrier Reef
  18. See Stonehenge
  19. Venetian gondola ride
  20. Get published
  21. Learn guitar
  22. Stand in the Sistine Chapel
  23. See the Mona Lisa in person
  24. Have lunch with a famous person
  25. See the Northern Lights
  26. Stand in a phone booth
  27. See Platform 9 ¾
  28. Visit Forks, WA
  29. Ride in Hot Air Balloon
  30. Zorbing
  31. Kiss under Mistletoe
  32. Live by the ocean
  33. Learn to scuba
  34. Make the perfect cup of coffee
  35. Learn how to make latte art
  36. Be fearless
  37. Own a 1967 Chevy Impala
  38. Make epic, award worthy cosplay
  39. Perfect cat eye
  40. Go fire walking
  41. Read a book in something other than English
  42. Visit every museum and zoo in the state I live in
  43. Visit Cueva de los Manos
  44. Leave a note in Juliet’s Wall
  45. Make someone smile more often than cry
  46. Be invited to a PowWow
  47. Stop worrying
  48. Stop micromanaging
  49. New Orleans Mardi Gras
  50. Swim with dolphins
  51. See Heaven’s Trail
  52. Give Christmas to a children’s hospital
  53. Replace my wardrobe with clothes I actually like
  54. Repay all the kindnesses
  55. Change the world

I know there are more-I’m just not entirely sure I could remember anything else. (Clearly haven’t mastered that perfect coffee haha!) But I think this is a pretty solid list-and I’m going to get started on it right away.

I’ll let you in on a secret.

I’m tired of people telling me what I do and do not know, what I need to do to know things, how much I’m allowed to know. I’ve spent the last two decades being told I can never know everything, but being held accountable for everything regardless, only to find that every year or so, what I know is obsolete information. I may never meet the standards of knowing. But I’m ready for something else. If after 20 years knowing things doesn’t make me happy, I’ve got to change things. So these next twenty years aren’t going to be “knowing” years-they’re going to be “experience” years. I’m gonna do things, see things, live things. So that when I get to the next fork in the road, the only thing I’ll know is myself.

My GISHWHES Adventure

Hello everyone!

This morning at 2AM Ohio time, GISHWHES (The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen) came to an end. Which means I am officially allowed to show you all what we’ve been working on this week! It’s going to be an image-heavy post, there will be links to YouTube Videos and it’s going to be awesome. We find out who won in two months-ish.

First, you can find the complete list of items: GISHWHES 2016 List of Items. I invite you to take a peek around, read some of this massive to-do list. If you’re interested in what it is that we were doing this week, or if you might want to do it next year, this is a great place to start.

I’m going to try to make this organized. I’ll post the ones I did, with captions of what they were, then my favorites from my team, then links to the video items. That way it’ll at least represent some linear pattern.

I had to find a constellation in freckles. (Thanks honey!)

This one was to dress up in a flower crown and then fastforward time to “age” both me and the crown. I love my scarf-it’s SPN inspired.

I was raising awareness for My Hope Chest, which provides reconstructive surgeries for women with breast cancer. Excuse the sweat, it was 100 degrees outside! And yes, I was required to post it to my Twitter account during the week.

This one was to personify a street sign. I thought it was genius.

A not-so-well-known social injustice. And you bet I definitely believe it. The caption (if you can’t read it) says “The real social injustice here is people drinking a decaffeinated caffeine beverage. It’s like going to a restaurant and asking for a glass of diet water to wash down the entire diet cake you just stuck in your mouth.”

This one was hard! I had to recreate an old childhood photo. I don’t care what you say, I was a cute kid lol And I did this without stretching so ha!

I had to paint Zachary Levi on a pair of Levi’s jeans.

I was the coupon fairy, leaving coupons at the items!

This one made me laugh so much. I think it’s great. Time will tell if it really is or not.

This one took me the longest. One of my teammates wrote a poem in binary and I had to create a pattern out of the poem. It took almost 5 hours. MC stands for MIsha Collins-who runs GISHWHES. The bottom right is a Boat.

I had to plant a tree-and I chose to plant maple keys.
Here are my favorites from my team:

The item was “Rainbow Teeth”

An icon made from candy.

Defending the panty aisle.

Visiting a nursing home (or Misha’s grandmother) dressed as a pirate.

Dining in a 50’s themed restaurant dressed as Jedis-bonus points for being served by a sith. My favorite thing about this video is the guy in the background eating and staring.
Here are the video links:

Sinscreen Commercial: Sinscreen

Human Transformer: Transformer

GISHWHES Jingle (I did this one): Jingle

Carry On My Wayward Son A Capella (I did this one): COMWS

Bob Ross Paint Along (I did this one, but will be redoing it for realsies later): Paint Along

THis isn’t a video, but it’s a link to the crowd rise for what I talk about next: CrowdRise

Along with all of this, we raised awareness for Breast Cancer, Strokes, Vanishing Habitats and raised (as a collective movement) $200K USD for FOUR refugee families. One of them was the family of a little girl (aged 12) who tried do kill herself so that her family would be better able to feed her siblings.

And the niftiest thing to happen to me? 


So as you can see, I’m now a dual-citizen AND I have my knighthood. That’s definitely going on my resume. 

Alrighty folks, this has been my week. I haven’t shared everything that we did, as there were over 100 items we completed! But the important take-aways from this are that I absolutely had a blast, I helped people, raised awareness, found a side of myself I hadn’t even known was there and discovered that I’m actually really competitive.

I have some pretty documented social anxiety, along with other stuff, and for this week, it wasn’t a problem almost at all. I mean, I went to a library AT MY COLLEGE-where people know me and work with me-and wore a bra on the outside of my shirt for crying out loud. If that isn’t doing something crazy, I don’t know what is. 

I sent a message to Misha Collins before GISHWHES started, telling him why I decided to sign up. Well, more like responded to one of his Facebook posts about why people might not be signing up for GISHWHES. And you know what? He responded to me.


I looked at that screenshot before I started GISHWHES last Saturday and I looked at it again when it ended. I’d love-LOVE to win the grand prize. I really, really would. But I can’t help but feel that I have won. I celebrated my 2 months free of self-harm during the hunt. And although I know I have a long journey ahead, I have the blessing of Misha Collins-who is one of my “heroes”. So when I say that GISHWHES has given me more than I gave it, I don’t think I’m exaggerating at all. I’m going to send him a thank you letter (snail mail) as soon as I recover from the week of all-nighters, paint and crafting.

Only 365 days until GISHWHES 2017. I can’t wait!

Once Upon A Time

It was a slightly overcast day, but with enough sun to count as sunny. I woke up, smiled a bit, and headed to school and my then job as a tutor for the school. It was the end of April, and I was looking forward to the end of the semester. Ben, working in the same department, saw me as I walked in. I asked him what was on his mind, and we began to talk about the same topic that we’d been casually mentioning for ages: marriage. I thought we could just do a courthouse run when we went to get our marriage certificate, but the courthouse hadn’t offered them, and so we were still looking for a solution. I pulled the number up for the courthouse of the municipal we were in for classes (which was the next district over, and therefore a possibility). The judge DID perform marriages-by appointment only!

When would we like to be married?

I wanted May Day-a religious holiday about fertility and thusly good luck.

They only did Friday’s.

May second? Booked.

May ninth?

That was fine. We were scheduled for 9AM. Perfect.


The date was two weeks away, with plenty of time to break the news to our families that we were being completely serious (they’d known we would for about a year, but until we had something concrete it was always just up in the air.) We’d tried a December wedding, but it hadn’t panned out.

Fast forward to the Friday before our wedding-Friday, May 2 at 4:56PM. The Judge had been overbooked! And he wouldn’t even able to do our wedding!! No appointments available before our marriage certificate expired. Thank you.

It was the end of the business week before we were finished with our conversation. I could call no official until Monday, and that might be too late. So I began to try every minister, high priest, high priestess, pastor and anyone I had an email address for in the closest three counties. Most, as I had assumed, needed more notice. One had asked if we could drive forty miles to their Sabbat that same night, where they would love to do so, with less than an hour to get there-we passed, but I would have loved to!

Ben had been calling people with the same fervor, and emailing his professors (who are well known to be better connected than college students!) and lo and behold-one of his professors was ordained! Was he free on Friday the 9th? Yes! Would he be willing to do so? Yes! Perfect!

It wasa sunny Friday, the flowers were all blooming in the trees and it seemed like the perfect day for happiness. My parents and siblings, Ben’s dad, Ben’s best friend (and his parents) and a couple lost stragglers came to the classroom. My dad stopped off and bought pizza for everybody before we got there. In walked the professor, complete with a stole and robes, a brief case, and a guitar case. I’d never had Dr. Emens, but he seemed a nice enough fellow, and he was certainly doing us a kindness.

We had a traditional wedding, complete with prayers, vows that were based in a religion I had left, and the exchanging of rings. Then, at the very end, Dr. Evens sat down and asked if he could play a song for us. He chose “Good Riddance (Time of Our Lives)” by Green Day. We paid him, signed the things we needed to and then headed to our honeymoon-weekend (where we watched three seasons of Game of Thrones and the owner of the place we stayed picked wild flowers-which I dried (because they were my wedding bouquet).

It may not have been traditional, it may not have been the big and fancy wedding that everyone always thinks about, but it was unique, it was prophetic and it was the start of a wonderful marriage. And it was all completed at 4:30PM Friday, May 9, 2014.

Now, two years later, it is rainy (which I love!) and I’m sitting at the kitchen table with my huge cup of coffee, thinking about that day. I remember that I sat there thinking that I wasn’t nervous at all, that I knew I was making the decision that I’d made in my head a long time before.

There are some things you didn’t get with that version of the story.

I was 21 (and had been so for 5 months exactly). Ben was 20 (and had been so for a week under 5 months). I was asked within five minutes of getting married if I was going to have kids/when I was going to have kids/if I was already pregnant. 

Ben told my dad (and I later adopted the same reasoning for the people who asked why we got married so young:

I didn’t want to start our lives separately and have to make room for the other person. I want to start from absolutely nothing more than love and build a life together. I want to start out together poor and watch as our riches grow.

I’d always told people that when you know you love someone, you shouldn’t feel like age should stop you from spending your life together.

I chose to hyphenate my name because at the time I thought I wanted to go into academics and that way, if I published any papers, you’d know without a doubt it was me. I may not be directly going into academia, but I don’t regret splitting my name. Because it gives me an identity all my own. I use either name as I please, both for formal occasions and I am content.

So happy anniversary, my love. It’s been an interesting, epic, bizarrely perfect two years and I look forward to collecting more with you.

Big Bluish Black Thing

Today’s title is brought to you by The Lion King.


I wanted to step away from the somber news and do something a little more “fun”. I wanted to do a post on something that hasn’t happened in almost a decade: crazy planetary retrogrades. Now I know, it’s definitely not what a lot of people call science-or even believe in, but I do. And I think that if you are to understand a person, perhaps you should look at them as a whole, not just what they want you to see.

When I was little, my parents bought me a telescope and that changed the course of my life possibly forever. It wasn’t a high powered one, but it had little extensions and a star chart, as well as a tripod and two different magnification dials. I spent whole summer’s gazing at stars, watching comets and shooting stars and trying to “figure it all out”. I learned how to locate constellations, their names, their stories. And that is something that has stayed with me. I deeply enjoy the stars. They are where we all come from, after all. So it should really have come at no surprise when I started reading star charts and astrology maps and learned about the effect planetary motion could have on our behavior. And that is what I want to share with you today.


First, we need a couple definitions. Like retrograde, house, rulers, you know-the usual.

Retrograde: Having a rotational or orbital movement that is opposite to the movement of most bodies within a celestial system. In the solar system, retrograde bodies are those that rotate or orbit in a clockwise direction (east to west) when viewed from a vantage point above the Earth’s north pole. (Basically, when a planet appears to be moving backwards).

House: this are the 12 horoscope categories (I was born in December and am a Sagittarius)

Planetary rulers: planets assigned to the houses (Sagittarius is Jupiter)
Okay. So what was I talking about when I said a decade had passed? Well, turns out that there are a TON of planets in retrograde (appearing to move backwards) this month. And they have been messing with people’s lives, in specific ways.

The planets which are in retrograde this month are: Mercury (4/28-5/22), Mars (4/17-6/29), Jupiter (1/7-5/9), Saturn (3/25-8/13), and Pluto (4/18-9/26). (I grew up in the 90s-Pluto will ALWAYS be a planet. Period.) 

Each planet is in “control” of a house- Mercury (Virgo), Mars (Aries), Jupiter (Sagittarius), Saturn (Capricorn) and Pluto (Scorpio). This will either be a horoscope thing, or it is a behavior thing. Here’s the difference: As a Jupiter ruled Sagittarius, I generally have a fiery personality and am exceptionally loyal. As a general behavior, Jupiter is in charge of growth and expansion of a person. For retrogrades, we look at the behavior-not the signs per se (although, I’ll explain why you would look at the signs in a moment).

The behaviors that these specific planets are associated with are:

Mercury: communication, technology

Mars: actions, progress

Jupiter: unconscious knowledge, sense of self

Saturn: understanding, knowledge

Pluto: emotions, unpredictablity

When a planet is in retrograde, these facets of our lives are pulled more heavily into question-you may feel like you are fighting more because of communication issues, feel unsure about decisions made previously, rethink your education or life choices or just have spurts of emotions that comes out of nowhere. I said I’d explain how an astrological sign might come into play, and it fits in here.

A Sagittarius is a fire sign-which means (for better or worse) philosophizing and passionate. This (for me) means that I pour my heart into whatever task I decide on. When Mercury goes retrograde, I feel that the world is against me, that I have to fight everything just to get my proper options. And I usually have all manner of technology issues. When Jupiter (the planet that rules Sagittarius) goes in retrograde, I challenge everything about myself. Am I doing things properly, did I make the right choices in my life, am I headed inthe right direction? And with ALL of these planets in retrograde, I have not stopped questioning-I have debates about everything about my life. And that may be just timing, sure, but I think that it’s also because of the universe.

I do not think that retrograding is a punishment. It may feel like it, sure, but it’s actually a great life lesson. Sometimes you need to get a reevaluation in life, just to make sure you’re on the right track. And that’s great. Sometimes-in our current day and age-you need to disconnect from the normal hum drum of life and be forced to come to terms with your life, with your decisions. And I think that is a marvelously challenging thing. And while it may be uncomfortable, discouraging and painful, it is the most important, useful thing that may happen to a person. 

Here’s a screenshot of a quick Google search for more information:

It Got To Me.

I’ve got a blog scheduled for tomorrow (first time I’ve scheduled one!) that goes into detail about what I will speak on tonight. Tonight I am blogging as a mental purge. As usual, you can ignore it, or you can read it for what it is-me stumbling around, searching for answers. Today, though, I’m going to try something a little different. I present to you:

A Seed

I passed by the garden of the no longer living, their flowers an ashen pillared stone. I hear their whispers call to me, the wind bringing the weepings of those passed on. Regret thickens the air around me, my breath turning to crystals in my chest. A hand reaches out for me, the keeper of the gate claims I have no right to pass through. “Please,” I whisper, “I have already died while I lived. The feelings claimed me, the bondage of my emotions pulled me through the depths and I ceased to be years ago.” He eyed me wearily and nodded, his expression relaxing.

“It is so for many.” He sighed, the sweet tobacco smoke caressing my cheek. My path opened and I could see a single plot of earth undisturbed. My feet glided, the pain in my heart weighing down my steps, until I could barely move them. I reached my reservation, the tension in my body forcing my gaze skyward. I lifted my hands higher, the heavens leaning into my touch. I felt the sorrows of the years form rivulets on my cheeks, washing away the body I had outgrown so many years ago.

“Why?” My heart roared. “Why was I alone for so long? Lost in the ocean, I perished amongst the apathetic and the unconcerned. My blood was spilled for far too long, the agony never being relieved.” The sky above my split, lifting my chin as high as it would go.

“You had to enter oblivion to be made new.”The rumblings of sadness reached my ears just before the cleansing rain. With the last of my awareness, I watched the scars on my wrist become barky ridges. I closed my eyes at last, the sweet peace overcoming me as I’d begged it to for years.

What I had hoped for in death was given to me in life. The world which sought to bury me alive didn’t know that it was that very thing required to bring about the greatest transformation.

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(Image Credit: Willow, at Wallpaper Up)

The story came before I found the photo.