The Importance of Getting Dressed in the Morning

After I graduated High School I started to question why anything was really important at all.  

Any of these things may have included:

Celebrities in the Media. Why do people play into the hands of big-name celebs who are obviously stipulating for attention? e.g. Miley Cyrus, Donald Trump . I still don’t get it.

Employment nowadays. I’m sitting in traffic on the way home from work and I look around me and wonder, why do we participate in the rat races that make up the job market economy? Whatever happened to individuality and self-reliance?

I know Ron Swanson would be proud.

College. More specifically 4-year college and questioning the glamour that comes with it (parties, greek life etc). How important is it all? Really? Cause if say you were allergic to alcohol then it seems like you wouldn’t have much to do.

 

Getting dressed in the morning. This is another one I’ve thought about which is probably typical of a quarter-system student with an 11-week long summer coming out of high school. That’s a long summer, and for the majority of it where I wasn’t working I spent the day in pajamas slipping in and out of a Netflix coma.

Cue Ty Oakley’s most relatable tweet ever:

tyler oakley, laptop, lol

 

After days drinking nothing but decaf Earl Grey and finishing Once Upon a Time I realized that some part of me was missing because I had let it go.

My confidence, my health… some of the key components to my own happiness had vanished because I was spending too much time on the internet providing my appreciation of scenes that were a part of other’s lives by double tapping, and neglecting to appreciate the life I had been given.

But Sydney…

 

Source: Pringlei on tumblr
Source: Pringlei on tumblr

how can these lovely pictures

Source: Sincerely Kinsey on tumblr
Source: Sincerely Kinsey on tumblr

have the power

Markus Haltmayr
Markus Haltmayr

to make you hate yourself?

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Simple. Because wishful thinking can be draining.

The days where I decided not to get dressed in the morning were the same days I let all the internet confabulation and rapid scrolling down news feeds define what I thought of myself… no makeup, hair in a bun, reblogging or favoriting pictures of waterfalls and berry smoothies. It seems innocent enough, until one realizes that the internet is a deadly weapon of comparison.

This is what all my time spent online had led up to and I was tired of staying in my pajamas. I realized that the key was to find beautiful content in the world around me.

Next week I’m giving a talk at church about charity. In doing research I watched this clip from the LDS Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson and it turned my world around.

(If you want to cut to the chase skip down to the underlined section)

My favorite quote is around 11 min when he says,

” A woman by the name of Mary Bartels had a home directly across the street from the entrance to a hospital clinic. Her family lived on the main floor and rented the upstairs rooms to outpatients at the clinic.

One evening a truly awful-looking old man came to the door asking if there was room for him to stay the night. He was stooped and shriveled, and his face was lopsided from swelling—red and raw. He said he’d been hunting for a room since noon but with no success. “I guess it’s my face,” he said. “I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says it could possibly improve after more treatments.” He indicated he’d be happy to sleep in the rocking chair on the porch. As she talked with him, Mary realized this little old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body. Although her rooms were filled, she told him to wait in the chair and she’d find him a place to sleep.

At bedtime Mary’s husband set up a camp cot for the man. When she checked in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and he was out on the porch. He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, he asked if he could return the next time he had a treatment. “I won’t put you out a bit,” he promised. “I can sleep fine in a chair.” Mary assured him he was welcome to come again.

In the several years he went for treatments and stayed in Mary’s home, the old man, who was a fisherman by trade, always had gifts of seafood or vegetables from his garden. Other times he sent packages in the mail.

When Mary received these thoughtful gifts, she often thought of a comment her next-door neighbor made after the disfigured, stooped old man had left Mary’s home that first morning. “Did you keep that awful-looking man last night? I turned him away. You can lose customers by putting up such people.”

Mary knew that maybe they had lost customers once or twice, but she thought, “Oh, if only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear.”

After the man passed away, Mary was visiting with a friend who had a greenhouse. As she looked at her friend’s flowers, she noticed a beautiful golden chrysanthemum but was puzzled that it was growing in a dented, old, rusty bucket. Her friend explained, “I ran short of pots, and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn’t mind starting in this old pail. It’s just for a little while, until I can put it out in the garden.”

Mary smiled as she imagined just such a scene in heaven. “Here’s an especially beautiful one,” God might have said when He came to the soul of the little old man. “He won’t mind starting in this small, misshapen body.” But that was long ago, and in God’s garden how tall this lovely soul must stand!

I cried at that part. Today I watched it again and I almost cried a second time, but then I caught myself and wondered why. It’s a lovely story that would make a great film, but there was another reason. It was the same kind of bubbled over emotion I felt when my mom sat me down one day and asked me why I seemed sad.

I described to her how ugly I felt, inside and out. I felt like a hideous burden with legs. She just stared into my eyes and said so matter-of-factly,

“Sweetie you’re beautiful.”

I bubbled over then like I bubbled over at Monson’s story. Both reminded me that because God created us, he loves us and because of that we are innately beautiful and worth saving. Sometimes he sends people to love us and remind us of that. Sometimes those same people are the ones who help us get out of bed in the morning. In case you didn’t already get that, I’m trying to say thanks Mom.

The laws of superficiality seem to dominate how many of us view ourselves, and not just when we’re looking at god-bodied models posing magazines. The erosive effects caused by living in an appearance-driven world can break us down in subtle ways, eventually leading us to doubt our worth measured by social position, financial standing, and material growth.

When we can find the moral momentum to pull ourselves into a larger perspective, we can see that these laws of comparison are trivial.

No matter what your situation looks like, remember that you’re the chrysanthemum in the tin bucket. Regardless of disabilities, physical appearance, or social standing, remember that you’re a freaking chrysanthemum and don’t forget that life is better when you love yourself.

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Your soul painted by me

Have an amazing week lovely reader,

-SJT

Go See “Inside Out”

 I have one proposition for you all. 

That is, that the next movie you see in theaters will be “Inside Out” and you will tote with you anyone willing and capable of feeling emotions. Anyone. (Just because it’s a Pixar movie doesn’t mean it’s just for the kids).

In fact, the concept is an intensely thoughtful one that is sure to blow even the wisest of grown-ups minds. The concept, or at least my interpretation of the concept, is that emotions are so powerful. While at times their shifting and shaping may seem a burden during one’s emotional progress through life, our emotions are equally important and always working for us to help us cope with our surrounding environment… which can be even more unpredictable and burdensome than ourselves.

The emotions themselves are all played as human-esque looking characters: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust (featuring some familiar voices if you watch Parks and Rec or the Mindy Project). Their story is set in the mind of an 11-year-old girl named Riley, who lives her life according to their commands and absence-of, just like the movie implies we all do.

joysadSitting in the packed theatre, thinking through the movie as it was playing, I couldn’t help but wonder if this is really how emotions work? Laid out, it makes sense. Sometimes Joy drives a person to make choices, sometimes sadness, sometimes both or another emotion. This idea of balancing emotions one of the most universal of movie themes I have ever come across because who of us can say that we’ve never been angry or sad or joyous, or afraid, or in disgust?

We all have incredibly complex minds and with those we often forget that it’s okay not to stay positive all the time. In fact, (spoiler alert) sometimes sadness is the best motivator to adjust a course of action to something better for our well-being while the other guys take a backseat. In the end, they’re meant to balance us out and help us grow at our own unique pace.

Because we are all human (I can now confirm this because Dog with a Blog unfollowed me), we each have the potential to act in according to our complex emotions and then when the repercussions subside we can store all those beautiful memories for later because that’s the beauty of being human.

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SJT

Graduation, Episode 1

Today there is one question I demand to have answered by someone. That is,

Where did the time go?

In a few hours, I will have walked the long green stage wearing a white flowy camping tent with an empty diploma holder tucked under one arm and by then, my question still probably won’t be answered. All I can say for sure is that High School was one of the best four seconds of my life. To any of my teen readers living in them now, I beg you not to take them for granted. Each second during high school has the potential to drastically change what happens during the millions of seconds after high school, because the teenage years are powerful ones. They are a name for a metamorphosis which takes place in innocent children and warps them into opinionated, passionate, strong-willed young people. High School is the launching pad and really, takeoff only takes what feels like four seconds. That’s shorter than a vine…

Today as I walked across campus for probably the last time, I caught myself walking at the pace I usually would sprint at to get to class, (back before second semester when still cared about being on time). I caught myself in habit and stopped for a moment. It was then when I realized I didn’t need to rush anymore, not on this campus at least. Crunch-time was over, I had already won the race. So I walked slower, more thoughtfully, down my favorite alley which lies between the tennis court fence and the swimming pool fence. I love that alley so much, because when it rained, I used to stand there and watch the water collect in puddles on the tennis courts. On the opposite side and in another time of year, the swimming pool always made me jealous with its chlorine aura challenging the oncoming summer heat of spring. These are things I’ll hope to never forget, and if my memory fails me someday it’s comforting to know I have this.

Anyway, thank you dear reader as always for doing what you do best here. May your Thursday be as great as your Sunday.

Stay tuned for pt. 2

-SJT

(via gregwasout on tumblr)
(via gregwasout on tumblr)

“Sale” Signs are My Favorite (My College Decision)

(If you’re a friend of family member wondering where I’m going to college and you’re here for the short answer, follow the fl✿wers and keep scrolling honey. If you’ve got a second and love a seamlessly incorporated animated disney expression gif or two you might want to stick around for the long answer. Either way, thanks for stopping by in advance dear reader, have a beautiful day)
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Imagine,  on the horizon, your neighborhood department store you go to normally for all your basic clothing essentials. You walk in. You look out over the sea of colored items on racks and just out of curiosity you peek at one of the price tags.

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You check another shirt, another pair of jeans, another shirt,

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Nothing costs less than $100, and you feel a little lost.

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You dig a little and come to find that the reason for the exploding prices in this warped and god-forsaken metaphorical world is because your ex- favorite department store has teamed up with hundreds of other big stores across the America to raise prices together under one agreement to juice out their consumers. Because they’re all doing it, there’s nowhere to get a shirt around town unless you have $100 dollars in your back pocket. You don’t have that kind of luck.

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You walk outside and press your nose up to the glass sullenly looking at the gum-spotted sidewalk. Cars swoosh by. You stare at the dumb paper mannequin’s inside. It’s wearing your clothes and you hate it in all of its paper arrogance.
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Then, the faintest glow appears in the back of the room. It flickers and fades, although you’re not sure if you saw it clearly. It returns again brighter, and it’s light grows and spreads in it’s corner. It goes out. You were hoping it was a sign. Suddenly, an employee appears walking briskly around the corner with an awkwardly shaped object tucked under her arm. It’s a sign! A neon sign! She sets it down, climbs up a footstool beneath the window in front of you, and installs the thing right above your head. Then she plugs it in and in an instant of a flicker, there it is. You step back to get the full view.

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“Sale items at least 90% off!” you gasp.

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You book it.

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 “WELL WOULDJA LOOK AT THAT!” you say,
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The shirts on the sale rack only cost $3-$10 and feature some of the highest quality basics you could ever need and/or want. That’s all you needed! Imagine yourself grabbing as many as you can hold in your arms and head to checkout, your total comes to $11.

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“Yussss” you think to yourself as you begin walking away.

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As you’re walking, an even stranger phenomenon begins to occur.  You hear raised voices coming from small crowds of people gathering. They’re some of the ones who had $100 bills and credit cards and bought clothes from the expensive racks, but instead come out with what appears to be discreetly ripped and subtly soiled linens. First appearing to be an overpricing problem, now looks like a rip-off scheme. People run back to the counter yelling, “This isn’t what I paid for!”, only to have “No Refunds” signs flashed in their face. There are riots outside, and yet the quietest ones walking towards the parking lot are the those who you suspect are just like you, the frugal winners of the department store race.

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If you figured out at some point that this whole story is my crazy way of making a point somehow, you’re right. Metaphors are fun. Almost as fun as finally using these aladdin gif’s I’ve been saving for months.

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 The Department Store might demonstrate the behaviors of the College Market and the sale rack could represent your own local bargain that is community college or junior college. Why? Here’s my experience, and I’d love to hear what you think at the end in the comments section.

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I found the perfect blouse at this secret sale rack; great color, fit perfectly, was simple enough to go with everything, and was miles below my budget. I found a community college with a lively campus, stellar reputation, and with an incredible film program. As if things couldn’t get any better, the whole box of glittery jubilee is on sale, a 90% mark down from the average private and state school, the kind of sale a girl can only dream of finding in an actual department store.

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It’s the best kept secret in the American Education System, which I think personally is a crying shame. It breaks my heart to think that there are kids under hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt that if given any other option would have gone the community college route, but instead are stuck spending the next decade or more spending their starting paychecks on loan payments when they could have gotten the same if not better education for one mammoth markdown.

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CC’s are nothing fancy or distinguished, but attending one for two years will be just what I need to complete essential general education and get my AA degree in Film Production. During which, I like so many others of my classmates may actually be able to make an income surplus by working through school. Flexible class scheduling is another great plus which would allow students to work a part-time job and gather those real-life adult experiences. Working and saving money will help make the cost of the last two years at a university after transferring several pounds lighter too. From what I’ve heard, being in debt doesn’t sound like any fun, and neither does not being able to drop classes without thousands of dollars go spinning down the drain… yet another plus to cost-effective education.

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This great article that Tom Hanks wrote for the New York Times is one of the factors that changed one of my parent’s minds (I won’t disclose which parent), but I highly suggest you dear reader take a one-click journey if you want to read more on this awesome topic.

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Both Tom Hanks and the input of other’s I’ve heard have made me believe that a thrifted education at a CC is a great option, and the perfect blend of humility and brilliance. I’ve heard some of the best, most passionate professors teach at cc’s because they’re simply more fun.

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My plan is to go to a community college for two years, maybe get an apartment with friends, work part-time and find media internships along the way, graduate with an AA degree in Film Production, go on a mission for my church for 1.5 years, and then finally come back and transfer to a bad-booty Film School and go from there.  The goal is to be debt-free in ten years so that I can be free to travel and work with no recurring green money monster nightmares at night, and Community College will help me get that head start.  I also want the best possible education in my area of interest (Film), and attending a cc gives me a second chance at finding the right film school that I didn’t have a chance to apply to during high school.  I couldn’t be more excited for this chapter of my life that is so close to beginning I can smell the decaf coffee from here.

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If you or someone you love is looking to expand their academic horizons and for whatever reason is hesitant to head straight for the big or Ivy leagues, feel free to pass along this post or any questions you/they might have.

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Stay classy not sassy,
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-SJT

Bays, Biology, and Pygmy Bisons

Okay guys. This one is so important, I haven’t even taken a real shower yet… sitting here in my grimy travel clothes to get some important thoughts out. Let me tell you about a little camp, on a little bay, on a little side, of a medium-sized island, off of a big state called California. Lost yet? It’s the Catalina Island Marine Biology Institute.

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   Ask  yourself, if you had three science teachers who you absolutely adored, and they came to you with a plan to take a school trip to an island off the California Coast to go snorkeling and play with the Sea Lions, would you also stand up and salute the flag of the United States of America? Probably not, unless you were pretty patriotic and into that sort of thing… but you’d probably sign up wouldn’t you? Great! We have some common ground then.
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   Right off the bat we went snorkeling in blueberry-colored wetsuits. Loved it. A few hours later we went out again after the sun went down and when we had gotten the hang of it, we were splashing the water in the dark until we could see bio-luminescent glitter sparkling around our feet and arms. Later, we hiked to see the sunrise and instead of just that, we were given a morning light show featuring every color in the paint palette, complete with a molten-orange sun, which we realized was not the one moving, we were. For the first time, I actually saw the figures in the constellations as described by their names. A belt, a sword, a bull, a dog, there they were like glittering connect-the-dots with a series of confusing yet compelling stories attached. At another point, I thought I was really cool and painted the seascape while my feet contracted hypothermia in the sand. This morning, leaving, it felt like the final scene to a movie. We were piled on the ferry. We waved goodbye to our counselors and as we slowly slipped away, they waved back and dove into the ocean in waves.
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   Don’t you love being humbled by cool things? Nature for example. I feel like a krill or a plankton right now. I am nothing compared to everything, yet I am something and that’s important too. My religion teaches similar lessons, but it doesn’t sink in until applied and here was a prime example. I found peace in a place where I could accept myself and be boggled by Heavenly Father’s masterpiece at the same time.
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   Unbelievably sad on the trip back home, I wrote down some lessons I never want to forget. Mostly these are for me and my future self, but they’re also yours if you want them too.
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1) My she-homies and I were sitting on a bridge during some minutes of free time at some point with our feet dangling over a stream that led out to the ocean a few feet away, and ironically enough, we were talking about friends who we experienced bridge-burning experiences with and whether or not that was a bad thing. On one hand, some bridges have to go sometime, the “friends for a season” theory, and that can be totally okay and on the other hand, sometimes it’s better to work on the bridge and make it stronger.
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2) How important it is to stay busy, and not be idle. If you run out of things to do, leave your comfort zone. Be interactive with the human race. Push what you believe your limits are. Challenge old doubts and set new goals.
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3) Wake up early and crash hard each and every night.
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4) Kind of a weird but solid sea metaphor: Without Plankton, the entire ecosystem would crash and burn. Without the small things we take for granted, we wouldn’t be here. So appreciate them on a greater scale.
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5) Bison. I apologize, another metaphor. There are small Bison on the island, which are still huge creatures but I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. I thought the counselors were having an elaborate leg-pulling fest when I saw one dozing in the quad when we came into camp. They’re pygmy bison though, their structures have shrunk to adapt to a smaller ecosystem. So don’t be like the bison and get trapped on a metaphorically small island, like your house or a small community. Let yourself move and expand. Maybe that means travel, maybe that means reach out to people you normally wouldn’t, whatever the case; give yourself room to grow and build a larger character.
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6) Your 20’s are a time to go and have an adventure. Take care of your body and get good at what you love while not being afraid to learn something new. Mix it with seeking a great education, and don’t be afraid of smaller schools.
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7) Take advantage of all the natural wonders in your community. Earth is a gift, unwrap it.
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8) Friendship shouldn’t have age boundaries. Don’t prevent yourself from building those bridges just because they happened to be born a year that wasn’t same year you were. And if those bridges stay strong, it won’t matter in 10… 20 years, and you’ll be so glad you made friends with a fifth grader on the way to Catalina Island when he’s a rock star Paleontologist and great listener who you’ll be able to call and complain to someday.
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9) Any idiot can take a picture. It takes someone special to sit, watch, and wait and for something beautiful. Those memories will be more useful to you in your brain storage than in your computer storage. Then take the picture, but let the memory of the moment sit with you.
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10) And lastly, sometimes social media can make us feel like we can never be alone. Like when we’re walking by ourselves, and see a stranger coming from the opposite direction, that we need to pull out a phone and pretend we’re texting or calling someone. You know yourself better than anyone, so why not get to know your own mind and strengths before you put them out in front of the world? Work on not just building a self-esteem, but retaining it, so that eventually, you can be sure of yourself in front of anybody.
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Slideshow time! To set the mood:
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Thanks dear reader for doing what you do best here… have an amazing week!
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-SJT
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p.s.
Oh yeah, guess who said yes?utahlogo
   When the family picked me up from the airport they said that a big envelope had come for me while I was gone with a big red U on the front. We got to the parking garage where I opened it and started bawling into my dad’s shoulder. I’m going to college.
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Page 365 of 365, A Happy New Years Letter

Dear You,
Two thousand and fifteen. Have you also felt that the fifteen makes it seem better? Something about that odd number, is has something that 2014 lacked. Something inside me makes me want to say it’s more than just another year, more than a page turn.
There’s a voice in my head that whispers promises of a year more incredible than last, and I’m curious to see who else hears it. That’s all, hope that you dear reader, wherever in the world you are, have a safe and relaxed holiday. Take time for yourself and enjoy these last few minutes of 2014.
-SJT
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On College Essays and Lorde

She came out wearing genie pants probably concocted and designed by Coco Chanel herself in the ’60’s. Her mane was the manifestation of a New-Zelander Merida. Her smile lines made me melt. The bruises and shin splints from standing so long in the mosh-pit were worth it, cause we got these:

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This will all probably sound so dumb when I’m 41. But for now, we’re just a bunch of young people who find nonconformism the most attractive trait a person can have. Why do we love Lorde? Because her nonconformism is what we’d call “hip”. There’s no arguing because “hip” is to teenagers as shoes is to feet. and woman THE SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD spent two nights in Berkely with over 2,000 people under twenty. The point? The point is, the last month I’ve been perusing college websites, planning papers, making lists, all while mentally gaping at the fact that I have no idea where I’m going to be living a year from now. I’m supposed to have that figured out in five months while being in High School. Up until a month ago when adults pulled the unavoidable, “So where you thinking about going to–” the follow up would always be, “Oh well, you’ve got plenty of time don’t worry about that yet”. Up until a month ago it wasn’t time to worry. Now it suddenly is. The adult world is rearing it’s ugly head and yet, we’re still called “kids”, the same title of societal rank we held in preschool.

Why I think I find Lorde so interesting, isn’t necessarily her name, mane, or nonconformism. But rather, her inability to uphold any stereotypical teen traits whatsoever, despite her being seventeen. She’s created her own social spectrum, between young adult and adult. An old teenager, but not like a twenty-some-year old. She’s not attending public school. She has friends all over the world. She has a thing for designer clothing. Her songs are just– written from random throught-strings in her head and preformed with overbearing self-confidence that spills into her dancing. She can do all that because she’s Lorde. What are we doing here, sitting behind computers together? Well okay she probably does that too.

But the point is asking the question, colleges want you to know yourself before they adopt you as their own. But what if you don’t know yourself? What if you’re not as lucky as people like Lorde, to whom self-expression and self-explanation comes so easily. Putting yourself out into the world is easy. You take pictures, write blog posts, speak words, make faces, and you’ve communicated an idea. But colleges want you to find the idea that is you, the ideas that you think you stand the strongest for, the idea that you’ve created for yourself in the minds of others, to put into clear and interesting words what all of that is.

See the dilemma? When and if I figure this out, I’ll put an advice post out there. But for now if anyone has some words, encouragement, or good stuff on Netflix I can use as a distraction, that’d be great. (Freaks and Geeks is the current favorite, total irony I know)

Have a lovely sunday night dear reader. It’s good to be back.

-SJT