Fishers Farm Lane, Apt D2

What causes you to remember your past?

For me, it’s usually songs. I relate and live through the lyrics so intensely that it anchors me to certain moments in my life. Sometimes its big moments: the song that made me start learning guitar, Kevin and I’s first big fight after I moved to Charlotte, my college graduation. But often times its seemingly irrelevant moments like studying for zoology in college or getting ready for work in the morning. The music imprints itself on my brain and creates my own version of home movies whenever I hear them.

This week, A Drop in the Ocean by Ron Pope played on my phone at work, and immediately, I was back in my first adult apartment. It was a brisk fall day and my windows and back patio door were open, and the breeze smelled the way perfect October days smell: crisp and clean and earthy. There were pumpkin and cinnamon candles burning in every room.  I had a caramel apple spice in my hand and was dancing through the apartment while haphazardly attempting to clean. My husband (then boyfriend) was probably either in the shower or back at his own place for the morning. Ron Pope was on repeat.

It was 11 AM on a Monday but I swear I could smell those candles and feel the breeze on my face. It’s been 5 years since I’ve set foot in, or really even thought about, that apartment but I realized I was incredibly home sick for my old home.

Looking back now, I find it funny I can have such longing for a place I spent one year of my life in. Especially because I spent every day living in that apartment counting down the days until I moved out. I knew at the end of both our leases, Kevin and I would find our own place. We had spent two years dating long distance and the idea of finally living with him had been something I thought impossible only months before. It was all I wanted. Instead, we rotated between our apartments and I grew frustrated and impatient. One of us always seemed to forget something important at the apartment we just left, which resulted in a constant back and forth. Truthfully, our apartment complexes weren’t even a mile apart but at that point in my life it was just another reason we should have already been living together. I began to have a love-hate relationship with my apartment and what it represented: a contract that kept me from living with Kevin.

In retrospect, it was a good thing we didn’t live together right away. After 2 years of being together once a month, it was borderline overwhelming to see him everyday. It changed everything about our relationship and felt as if we were getting to know each other all over again. Being the introvert that I am, I regularly need “me time” and it would have been almost impossible to get in my apartment. I think we both needed our own safe haven; a place we could each escape to when we needed some space or some quiet. Ultimately, that’s what my apartment became: my safe haven.

It was a tiny thing, but that apartment on Fishers Farm Lane was 625 square feet of all mine. For the first time in my life, I was completely independent. I had a job, my own apartment, and responsibilities. If I wanted to, I could completely screw up my life and my credit score. Thankfully, I did neither! But I thrived in my freedom, financial and otherwise. Being my first job and living alone, the above mentioned financial freedom didn’t include a cable bill, so I spent hours pouring over Netflix shows, both awful and entertaining, which is how I found the Ron Pope song.

That song brought up so many memories that I’d forgotten. I decorated for the holidays. I had family and friends come to visit. I laughed so hard I cried. I also cried so hard I eventually laughed at how dramatic I was being. I cooked and entertained people. I studied for licenses I needed for work. I celebrated Kevin’s 25th birthday there. I built a “fort” in the living room. I loved there. I lived there.

It may have been a cramped apartment, but there was so much love and happiness squeezed in between those walls. It was home.

 

The only pictures I have of my apartment
Rearranging the furniture to build a fort
Packing up to move out

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Simple Loves, Volume 2

I’ve been planning on writing the second part of my Florida trip but decided to save the post for another day. I woke up this morning with such joy in my heart and wanted to share the simple (and not so simple) loves that are currently driving my life. 

Quiet Mornings

I have always been a morning person. For the most part, I don’t even need coffee, I just hop out of bed and I’m ready to go. Occasionally it’s hard for me to remember not everyone exists the way I do. I’d spend the eary hours getting increasingly irritated by how much time was wasted waiting for others to get up and get caffeinated.  Some weeks, I’d wake with self created stress, determined to cross as many things off my to-do list as possible, without even taking a moment to breathe. It was exhausting from the moment I leapt out of bed and it showed. An hour later, I’d give my husband a lackluster good morning as he smiled and mumbled he loved me, while half asleep and adorably rumpled. When he wanted to snuggle, I’d snap and say how much time we already wasted and there were things to do. It was unhealthy. So instead of getting frazzled and anxious at 6 am, I have been focusing my mornings on love and self discovery. There is something about being curled up with a cup of tea, enveloped in silence while the sun comes up. Even just 30 minutes alone in the mornings, whether I’m writing or simply sitting there, recharges my batteries and sets the mood for the day. I can appreciate how Kevin’s face lights up when he sees mine first thing in the morning. Instead of snapping at the little things, I spend more time being grateful for what I have in my life. I don’t always remember to focus on self-care and self-love, but these mornings inspire me to make myself a priority. No area of my life will thrive if I don’t allow myself to first. 

Bullet Journaling

I am surrounded by technology: my phone is normally within arms reach and there are tvs and radios in most rooms of my house, but I do my best to disconnect when I can. I still feel the need to write things down; to put pen to paper and let my thoughts tumble out, fast and free. My house is littered with notebooks overflowing with important dates, to do lists, and thoughts that have no where else to go. So when I heard of bullet journaling, I was intrigued but hesitant. I’m not artistic and I’m also a perfectionist. I’ve been known to throw out a to do list (or 20) just to recreate it neater and more organized. It could be a disaster. But since I will literally find any excuse for a new notebook, I decided to give it a chance. And I am so glad I did. It gives me a creative outlet that I crave, allows me to blow off steam, and have something functional to organize the sometimes chaotic life of mine. 

A Sample from my Bullet Journal

Labor Day Weekend 

Seven years ago, my husband, then boyfriend, told me he loved me for the first time. (I only remember the date because every year I get a reminder that X years ago I posted “ahhhh so happy this weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” on twitter). A million “I love you’s” later and that memory still brings me such warmth. I woke up this morning, joyful, and spent my quiet morning reflecting on our relationship. This amazing man I share my life with has grown so much in the 7.5 years we’ve been together. We both have. And so has our relationship. I can barely recognize the girl who was so indescribably happy to finally say I love you back to the boy who made her heart race. There was so much we didn’t know and couldn’t possibly guess about our future. I didn’t realize how much my love for him could grow or what it would even mean to become equal partners on the good days and the bad. There has been dreadful fights and ugly, mascara stained tears but there has also been more laughter and love than I even thought possible in a single lifetime. I didn’t know where we were headed 7 years ago, but I’m so thankful it led here. 

Engagement Photos, 2014

A Little More Love

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” – Martin Luther King Jr

My parents raised me to love, to treat people equally and with respect. It’s difficult to understand a world in which others didn’t learn that lesson, but that is the reality we face. 

Every day I read another example of an injustice, of others being treated like less than human for the so called rights of others. Every time I turn around, I see hate. Hatred of peoples color, religion, gender or sexual orientation. 

For the past few years there has been a persistent ache in my chest. My heart hurts. More often than not, the hate I witness overwhelms me and drowns me in my anger. It’s sometimes so strong I struggle to even breathe and I’m left with nothing but questions. How can fear and hate appear to constantly win against love and human decency? How could I possibly even consider raising a child in this world one day? How can we change the endless cycle of hate? How can I do more?

Thanks to the internet, we have 24/7 access to people who aren’t afraid to share their hate filled opinions. They can bully and blame all they want without having to show their face. This week, I read plenty of venomous comments and I needed to step back and remember that just because the hateful people are loud and conspicuous, it doesnt mean we all feel this way. 

I keep quiet sometimes because I don’t know what to say. I hold onto my words because I want them to matter and am afraid that anything else will do an injustice. But saying what I believe is more important than how I say it. 

I believe in equality. I believe extending rights to other groups of people don’t diminish the rights I already have. I believe  being different makes us stronger. I believe in the right to self expression. I believe a good person is a good person regardless of the God they pray to. I believe in the beauty of all skin colors. I believe that love is love in any form. 

And I believe if we all love a little bit more, we can leave this world a better place than we found it. 

Simple Loves, Volume 1

Have you ever watched a child play? Like really play? It’s such an innocent and pure display of happiness. Their giggles shake their whole body and the laugh is always infectious. (If you’re ever having a rough day, Youtube baby giggles. You won’t be in a bad mood for long.) They can be entertained for hours from the simplest thing. It makes me envious. How many times have I let myself appreciate life like a kid? 

Today, I write this post aggravated. I’m annoyed at nothing in particular and just downright grumpy. I could sit here and complain about all the menial things that don’t really matter or I can act like a kid in the best possible sense. 

I choose to let the simple things I love in life make my day. Instead of complaining about work/men/life/insert-any-mundane-thing-here, I will focus on the simple loves that keep me going. So here we go; some of the summer things that I’m currently enjoying. 

Lake Days: Pontoons. Tubing. Floating. Beer. Friends. It really doesn’t need any more explanation. 

Pool Days: I’ve always been a little insecure at the pool. Mostly because of bathing suits. But this year I decided to embrace my body as it is and enjoy myself. And I realized reading at the edge of the pool will always beat reading in the house on a hot summer afternoon. This past weekend we went swimming with my nephews and I realized that the smallest things can create the biggest memories. Also – this face: 

Summer Salad: Is there really anything better than fresh vegetables in the summer? The one I currently can’t get enough of is from Shauna Niequist in the Magnolia Journal magazine. It has fresh cucumbers, raw corn, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, feta, dill and basil and if this salad doesn’t define summer, I don’t know what will. 


Grilling out with a house full of friends
: I’m an introvert. I’m happiest sitting in my home, braless and in yoga pants. But lately, I’ve been gathering family and friends around the table and couldn’t be happier. Especially since the gathering is usually around the said summer salad.


Puppy Snuggles
: I’m a cat person but we got an adorable puppy back in April and there is much to be said about coming home to a snuggly puppy after a long day of work. Also, my phone storage is gone because puppy pictures. 


Memoirs
: This year I made a resolution to read more nonfiction. Some of it is historical, some medical, but mostly I have been enjoying memoirs. The last one I read was “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier” by Ishmael Beah. If you are ever looking for a book to put your problems into perspective, this is it. 

So that’s all for now, but I’ll leave you with one of my favorite videos of a laughing baby. Hopefully this will inspire you to laugh and enjoy the little things a little more today. 

Baby Laughing over Ripped Paper