Archive | February, 2012

Sink Or Swim.

29 Feb

Last night I listened to “In My Veins” by Andrew Belle on repeat for a while. Though this is an incredibly sad song, it got me in the right mood to write…or really just read through what I’ve written so far on my book. Though I’ve been neglecting working on my book for the reason of being in midterms week, I don’t think that’s the full reason. I’ve written down lots of ideas (in terms of certain memories) that I want to include in my book that I haven’t yet. However, I’ve come to realize that these memories are some of the really hard ones. Ones that either brought me incredible amounts of pain or just stick out because I remember every detail when I’d rather not.

Though I understand that a huge part of my book is facing all of these memories again in order to find some “closure” of sorts, it’s not easy. It takes insane amounts of courage on my part. And even though people have told me all my life how courageous I am, I never really know how to respond to that. I mean, I faced what I did because I had to. In my mind, it was the only choice. Sink or swim. So, I don’t exactly view it as courageous, but more along the lines of necessary. Writing about these difficult memories not only brings them out of the box that I’ve kept hidden for so long, it brings out who I really am…which is defined by what I’ve been through and how I’ve overcome it all to get to where I am today.

In a way, this book feels like another “sink or swim” moment. I’ll either be able to flesh out all these memories and get them written down, or I won’t. Though I don’t want to even give myself the option of failure, I’m just taking things one day at a time. Though my hope is to get my book published one day, if I don’t it’s not the end of the world. Even though I want my book to impact others, I think the biggest impact I’m looking for is the changes that I’ll see within myself. I’m writing this book for me and no one else, so if I end up understanding myself better but not being able to get my book published, then that’s okay. If anything, I will have proved to myself that even though my childhood was rough, I needed to face it all in order to get to where I am today.

Tuesday’s Tunes: Tracy Chapman.

28 Feb

I realized yesterday that I have yet to feature one of my favorite artists on Tuesday’s Tunes, Tracy Chapman! Ah, I just love her music! I also am just really drawn to her lyrics. They hold so much emotion and so much passion. Plus, I just love the sound of acoustic guitars, and her voice + the acoustic guitar is amazing!

Though my favorite song by her is “Give Me One Reason,” I thought I’d featured another equally enjoyable song of hers. Here are the lyrics to “If Not Now.”

If not now, then when?
If not today,
Then, why make your promises?
A love declared for days to come,
Is as good as none.

You can wait ’til morning comes.
You can wait for the new day.
You can wait and lose this heart.
You can wait and soon be sorry.

If not now, then when?
If not today,
Then, why make your promises?
A love declared for days to come,
Is as good as none.

Now love’s the only thing that’s free.
We must take it where it’s found.
Pretty soon it may be costly.

‘Cause if not now, then when?
If not today,
Then, why make your promises?
A love declared for days to come,
Is as good as none.

If not now, what then?
We all must live our lives.
Always feeling.
Always thinking.
The moment has arrived.

If not now, then when?

Though I know that this song is focused on finding love, I feel like it can also apply to the concept of life and living. What better time to start living your life than right now? After all, this moment is the only one we can be certain of. We might as well make it count, right?

Study Snacks.

27 Feb

Yesterday, I wrote about studying and my favorite way and place to study (since it’s midterms week). However, I forgot to mention a very important thing: study snacks! I mean, studying requires alertness and focus. Best way to achieve that? Not be hungry. Hunger can make you crazy, meaning that when you’re hungry it’s hard to focus on other things, like studying for midterms for instance.

Today after class, I headed to Ingles to stock up on snacks for this week. Here’s what I got:

  • Cascadian Farm Organic French Vanilla Almond Granola–Yes, long name, but I’ve been on a granola kick for a while, and I’ve found that a bit of natural flavor is more appealing to me than just plain granola.
  • Smuckers Strawberry Jam–I’ve also been on a peanut butter and jelly kick recently, and I ran out of jelly this morning. I have yet to try organic jelly. Not sure why. I guess sometimes I like to stick to what I’m used to.
  • All Natural Jalapeno Chips–I love jalapeno-flavored anything, so jalapeno chips are a must. This brand, Food Should Taste Good, is new to me. I’ve had the Kettle Korn organic jalapeno chips, but I thought I’d try a new brand out today!
  • Strawberry Banana V8 Fusion Juice–V8 Fusion is one of my favorite juices (and strawberry banana is my favorite flavor!), and you can’t have all these yummy snacks without something to drink, right?

Alright, I better get to studying. What are your favorite study snacks? 

Study Sunday.

26 Feb

Well, today started off with a trip to the Dairy Freeze, my favorite ice cream place that’s near Kayley’s house in Virginia. They have amazing milkshakes! Anyway, after a little more chill time with Kayley, I hit the road for the 4 hour car drive back to Asheville. I’m pretty wiped now, but I’m happy to be back!

Spring Break starts this coming Friday, so this week is consists of quizzes and midterms. Bleh! Thankfully, my midterms aren’t until Thursday and Friday. However, I study best with notecards, so today and tomorrow and part of Tuesday will be spent making tons of notecards since I want to do well on my midterms. Though it’ll take a while, it’s a relief to know the best way for me to study.

My ideal study spot: coffee shop with notes and notecards, plus my computer and headphones so that I can listen to my Itunes. The library is a close second, but sometimes it’s a little too quiet. I also love drinking coffee and snacking while I study (if only it wasn’t already 6:15 or I would make some).

Anyway, sorry for the short post but I’ve got to go start making these notecards before I get too sleepy!

What’s your ideal study spot?/What’s your favorite study method? 

Learning To Love Myself.

25 Feb

I’m visiting one of my best friends, Kayley, in Virginia this weekend, and we’ve spent the last few hours talking about our lives. We talked about my book, and Kayley said “Amelia, not many people can do what you’re doing. And hardly anyone can do it at 19.” And though I understand that, her next question caught me off guard. We started talking about happiness and love, and Kayley asked me if I loved myself. Through my tears, I told her that I didn’t know. I didn’t know how to love myself

People tell me all the time that I’m a happy person, and I am. However, there’s a difference in being happy and loving myself. I mean, I like to think that I love myself, but when asked the simple question of whether I loved myself, I couldn’t even choke out a simple yes. Since August, I’ve done a lot of soul-searching. I’ve begun to try to find myself. Being in Asheville has really helped that. I’ve found restorative yoga. I’ve discovered how much meditation helps me feel grounded in the moment, in the now. But one thing Kayley pointed out tonight was that learning to love yourself isn’t immediate. It’s a process, and it takes time. Waiting is hard. And so I’m not exactly a fan of the fact that it could take me a while to learn to love myself.

We talked about my book for a while, and Kayley actually read what I’ve written so far because I’ve wanted her feedback since she knows me really well. The advice she gave was to include more personal experiences. Even though I’ve included a lot, at this point the majority of my book is also explaining to others that they can come to enjoy their lives. Anyway, Kayley did point out that when she read it last night, she had to hold back tears. Some of the memories that I’ve included so far she didn’t even know about, so it impacted her. That made me feel good though. I mean, isn’t that what we as writers want? To touch people. To impact them. To reach them. To connect, even for a minute.

Another thing Kayley pointed out as we were talking about my book was this: “I can’t imagine the pain you went through…and I can’t imagine what you’re feeling all over again, but you can do this. It’ll probably be one of the hardest things you’ve ever faced, but I believe that once you finish it, you’ll know what it means to love yourself.”

I met Kayley during my freshman year in college (when I was still at Wofford), and she’s one of the most incredible best friends I’ve had. She supports me through everything, and I know that I can always count on her to help me realize what’s important. Though we are very different people, we’re also a lot alike. Through our talk, I’ve realized that since I faced so much physical and emotional pain when I was younger, I’m scared to allow people to love me since I don’t want to feel anymore pain. I feel like the majority of the issue is that I need to learn to love myself. Yes, I’ve already said this, and it seems really easy to say. But it’s not quite as easy to do. I mean, I said that being happy is different from loving yourself. Happiness is being cheerful and enjoying little things and trying to find the joy. But loving yourself…..that’s remembering all the crap that’s happened in your life, but still being able to say that you’ve loved all of it too, not because it’s been easy, but because it’s taught you something. And that’s what I need to work on. There are things that happened in my past that I still haven’t quite come to terms with, but I’m trying. I’m beginning to learn that once I love myself, it’ll allow others to love me just as much.

Photo Friday: Sunset And The Blue Ridge Parkway.

24 Feb

I captured this shot of the sunset a few days ago, and I just had to share it with all of you. I’m a lover a trees (if you haven’t already noticed), and I love the look of the line of trees in the distance.

Yesterday the weather was unseasonably warm, and I needed to clear my head. So I thought, what better way to think through things than with a drive on the parkway. I captured this shot from the first lookout that I came to, and I just can’t help but be breathless. The beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains has always had a sort of magnetic pull on me. Seeing views like this reminds me of the beauty that surrounds us, even through the hardships of life. Though sometimes it’s hard to see the good things, they’re there…even if they are sometimes just a glimpse…a fleeting moment…that brings you back to love…and to life.

The Apartment Stage.

23 Feb

About a week ago, something exciting happened. I signed a lease for my first apartment! I’ll be living there beginning in August with 2 of my friends, and I’m so excited! It’ll be nice to escape “dorm life” and be able to have my own room (that’s a decent size) and bathroom. And a kitchen! No more cafeteria food for me! I’m looking forward to being able to decorate and cook. Ah, it’s going to be so great!

It’s strange though. It’s strange to think that I’ve hit an age to have an apartment. It feels like just yesterday that I was living at home and having my brother drive me to school. It’s crazy how fast time flies. Anyway, I’m excited to be able to enter the “apartment stage” of my life. The great thing about the apartment complex where I’ve chosen to live is that it’s only about 2 minutes from campus, which is really convenient. Also, it’s as close to downtown as it is when I’m on campus, so it’ll be nice to know that I won’t have to drive further to get downtown.

I’m just excited to embrace my inner homebody. I’ve always felt like a homebody at heart, but I also love being able to get out and do things. I’ve been able to be a homebody this year, but only on a minimal scale. I live in a single room that’s in a dorm on campus, so I get cabin fever really quickly since I have such a limited space. Therefore, it’ll be nice to have much more space starting in August.

Ah, so exciting! I can’t wait to start this next “phase” in my life.

Book World Disconnection And A Review.

22 Feb

I’m a huge bookworm. That’s a fact. However, I’m lagging behind on my vow to read more this year. Currently, I’m only on my third book of 2012. Granted, I am a college student, so I get cut some slack, right? Anyway, I miss the book world. I’m drawn to books like kids are drawn to candy stores, and it’s hard knowing that I’ve got bigger priorities than diving into a book. responsibility can be quite a bummer, but that’s life.

Anyway, last month I started Room by Emma Donoghue, and I’ve been disappointed. Here’s the synopsis from Amazon.com:

To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it’s the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack’s curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer. Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating–a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.

It’s been hard since I heard so many great reviews about this book, but I just wasn’t grabbed. I felt like I got further into the book when I read the synopsis than when I read 50-60 pages of the book before deciding to give up. I have a pretty short fuze when it comes to books. I love the read, but if I’m not grabbed relatively quickly, I lose interest. I’m sure some people enjoyed this book (obviously), but I just couldn’t get into it.

On the contrary, I started Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides a few days ago, and it’s incredibly interesting. Though I’m not very far into it, I already know that I’m really going to enjoy it. Here’s the synopsis from Amazon.com:

“I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974. . . My birth certificate lists my name as Calliope Helen Stephanides. My most recent driver’s license…records my first name simply as Cal.”
So begins the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City, and the race riots of 1967, before they move out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.

I’ll definitely be reviewing Middlesex once I finish it, so stay tuned!

Tuesday’s Tunes: Alison Krauss and Union Station.

21 Feb

I’ve always felt a strong connection to Alison Krauss, and I think that’s because my parents played a lot of Alison Krauss and Shawn Colvin in our house when I was growing up. Anyway, on April 28th, I’ll be going to see Alison Krauss and Union Station in concert with my mom, and I am beyond excited. Her voice is incredible, and I can’t wait to experience her music live.

I like the majority of Alison Krauss’s songs, so it’s hard to pick just one for today’s Tuesday’s Tunes. I think I’ll go with “The Lucky One.” Enjoy!

You’re the lucky one so I’ve been told
as Free as the wind blowindown the road
Loved by many, hated by none
I’d say you were lucky cause I know what you’ve done
Not a care in the world not a worry in sight
Everything’s going to be all right
Cause you’re the lucky one

You’re the lucky one always havin fun
A jack of all trades a master of none
You look at the world with a smiling eye
And laugh at the devil as the train rolls by
give you a song and a one-night stand
And you’ll be looking at a happy man
Cause you’re the lucky one

Well you’re you blessed? I guess
By never knowin which road you’re choosing
To you the next best thing to playin and winning
Is playin and losin

You’re the lucky one I know that now
Don’t ask you why when where or how
You look at the world with your smiling eye
And laugh at the devil as his train rolls by
give you a song and a one-night stand
And you’ll be looking at a happy man
Cause you’re the lucky one

Well you’re you blessed? I guess
By never knowin which road you’re choosing
To you the next best thing to playin and winning
Is playin and losin

You’re the lucky one I know that now
Don’t ask you why when where or how
No matter where you ride, that’s where you’ll be,
You can bet your love won’t follow me,
Just give you a song and a one-night stand
And you’ll be looking at a happy man
Cause you’re the lucky one…

If you’re not familiar with Alison Krauss, check her out! Her voice is simply beautiful.

Motivational Monday.

20 Feb

I feel like it was just Monday. Does anyone else feel that way? I’ve been slow to get up and get going this morning. Anyway, since I’m lacking energy this morning, I thought I’d share a few quotes with all of you that have helped boost my motivation in the past.

  • The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.-Eleanor Roosevelt
  • All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.-Henry Ellis
  • Every man dies. Not every man really lives.-William Wallace
  • Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.-Victor Kiam
  • Wherever you are, be all there.-Jim Elliot
  • The best way out is through.-Robert Frost
  • Adopt the peace of nature–her secret is patience.-Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.-Maya Angelou

Happy Monday everyone.