Personal Life

Stop Making Excuses

Monday October 23rd, 2017 started out as a pretty good day for me. My mom informed me that morning that I would be able to come home for the weekend since they were not able to come up to Valparaiso to visit me for Family Weekend. Mother Nature made her monthly, albeit unwelcome, presence known right on time. I survived my 8 a.m. Theology exam and returned back to my dorm room after my 9 a.m. English class to work on some homework before lunch. Everything was going as it typically does on a Monday until 7:30 p.m. came along.

I was sitting at my desk watching Netflix on my laptop, waiting until it was time to leave for The Lighter meeting (Valpo’s student Literary and Fine Arts Journal). When the clock showed 7:30 my phone rang and my mom’s name came up on the screen. I answered right away with a “Hey, what’s up?” Then came my mom’s unstable voice when she asked, “Are you sitting down?”

My heart immediately went to my throat, thinking something had happened to my dad, my siblings, or another immediate family member. I cautiously answered with a timid “Yes, what’s wrong?…”

She then went onto tell me that my brother’s closest friend since elementary school and someone who had been like a brother to me, had passed away suddenly. I abruptly broke into sobs that wracked my body and instead of staying at my desk, I stumbled over to sit on the floor next to my bed. The tears would not stop and Mother Nature being partly in control of my hormones did not help one bit with keeping my emotions in check. I was in shock and not in shock at the same time. I definitely did not understand why it happened.

I woke up Tuesday morning with swollen eyelids from crying so much and not sleeping (thank goodness I did not have an early class). At first, I thought it had all been a dream, but one look at social media proved it was not. So of course, the rest of my week was spent trying to keep my mind off of it. I think the hardest thing was not being able to go home right away; the fact I had to wait four more days until I would be able to see my family was not sitting well with me. Luckily, I have an awesome roommate that helped me and was there for me, but it was still difficult nonetheless.

Several times throughout the week I kept thinking back to the time a couple weeks ago where I thought about messaging him, seeing how he was doing, and just checking up on him. I ended up deciding not to send any message and now I deeply regret that decision. Now, it is too late to reach out.

I know you probably hear it a lot and I know I have heard it a lot. However, I now understand more fully just how important it is. Does a thought cross your mind to message/text/call someone you have not talked to in a while? Make that thought reality. Send that message or text, make that call. None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow and no matter how sad or depressing that statement is, it is true.

Life is too short. Stop making excuses for not sending the text or not making the call. Even if the person on the other end does not respond, at least you can feel better knowing you tried to reach out.

I am not only speaking to you, dear reader, I am also speaking to myself.

So, please, stop making excuses.

~Lex

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Personal Life

When Life Knocks You Down

 

Sometimes we may feel that life just keeps throwing consistent obstacles at us that seem like they have no way out. Lately, and especially in these past few days, this is how I have felt. Fall break was not long enough at all (only a mere 4 days) and after returning to campus, everything is being piled on me all at once. I have an exam in one class tomorrow, an exam Monday, an exam next Thursday, a group film paper project, and will soon have an essay project to work on in my English class. I am someone that stresses out very easily, obviously, so all of this is too much of a weight on my shoulders. I feel very overwhelmed and it is hard for me to look at and think of the positives in my life. However, after the dreadful time I had last year adjusting to college life, I have been working on focusing on those positives and trying to create a mantra that I attempt to follow…

Amidst all the negatives going on in my life, I try and take time to reflect on the positives:

  • I am alive (yay!)
  • I have a family that loves me and supports me in anything I do
  • I may be blind in one eye, but at least I still have great vision in the other!
  • I survived my freshman year of college
  • I have a room to live in and a bed to sleep on
  • I have food to eat and water to drink (cannot forget about the essentials)
  • I have friends that care for me
  • etc. etc. etc. etc.
My mantra that I try my best to live by is this: Take life one day at a time
  • I admit I struggle sometimes with this, but whenever you make it through a whole entire day, give yourself a pat on the back!
  • Looking too far ahead in the future, especially focusing on the stressful aspects of the future, is not good for your emotional and physical well-being
  • Having a planner is a great way to stay organized! You can write down tasks you need to complete each day and then once you complete a task, you can check it off and feel super accomplished!
  • Taking life one day at a time is really helpful, even though I know it is super hard to do

 

Stress is something no one likes, at least I do not see how one could like being stressed out. We have different ways of coping with this stress and it varies from person to person. Most people have things they do that are considered “bad habits”. Some of the most common ones are biting your nails or shopping until you drop. I have my own bad habit and it is something I detest.

When I get stressed and even sometimes when I am just bored, I pick at the skin around my fingers. I know, it is a terrible habit to have and yet I have lived with it my entire life it seems like. During middle and high school, I would have friends come up to me, see the multiple band aids, and ask, “What did you do to your fingers?” I would always respond with, “Oh, you know, the darn scissors got away from me again” or “I just have some nasty paper cuts.” When in reality, I had picked at my skin with my nails and was trying to cover up the damage. Did people know that I was lying and know what I truly did? I have no clue. I hate myself for doing it and sometimes there will be periods of time where I do not do it and my fingers look great! All it takes is for one little stressful thing to happen or for my hands to get really dry and I am right back at it again. This bad habit of mine is something I have never shared with anyone, except for my closest friends and family.

So if you have a bad habit similar to mine or do exactly what I do, I feel your pain and if you ever want to talk about it, please reach out. I love listening and will carve time out of my schedule if you need to be heard or just need to vent about something. When life knocks us down, we have to do our best to not let it hold us down, but rather pick our selves back up.

Please visit my contact page if you would like to reach out or have questions!

~Lex

 

College

College Pet Peeves

My Sophomore year of college has begun and wow, has it been crazy! Crazy enough that it has been weeks on end since I have published a post on here and for that, I sincerely apologize. I promise to try my best to post more, but on that note, it will most likely be more spread out instead of weekly. This past week however, a lightbulb inside my brain went off for my new topic…drumroll please…

College Pet Peeves!

This list could probably go on forever, but I am going to highlight some of the most important ones on my personal list:

  • Being sick on campus

This pet peeve does not count for those students that are commuters and get to go home and live through the illness there. No, this pet peeve is for those of us that have to suffer in our dorm rooms without the ability to go home and fall dead into the comfort of our beds. I have had a bad cold this past week and all I wanted to do was jump in my car and make the almost two hour drive home. Alas, I could not 😦

  • Waking up early

Last year, I was lucky enough that my earliest class did not start until 9 a.m. and that was not even until second semester. However, this semester, I have an 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This means my alarm is set for 6:45 a.m. those mornings and I am barely surviving. For all of you college students out there suffering through 8 a.m.’s, I feel your pain.

  • Being a picky eater

My taste buds do not allow me to enjoy all the delicacies of food cuisine that exist in this world. I am a very picky eater and it shows when I am on campus. My meals continuously consist of either pizza, chips, pasta, cheese quesadillas, or burgers/fries. Sometimes, fruit makes it into the mix. Yes, I know, I am not a healthy person. When I am at home, I have more variety and am able to eat more foods that are healthy. Do not blame me, blame my taste buds. It is biology!

  • Rude Classmates

You all know who I am talking about, even if you are one of them. I am speaking of those students that talk while the professor is talking and obviously do not care that they are distracting other students. I did not earn scholarships and get student loans in order to attend this almost $50,000 tuition college just to talk during class and not learn. So it always boggles my mind those people that do just that. I had this issue in my psychology lecture class yesterday with a group of three girls sitting in front of me. It got so bad, in my opinion, that I felt like there were hidden cameras in the room and I was on the show “What Would You Do?” Please, do not be that student. Not only for yourself, but also for those students around you.

 

Obviously, like I said before, this list could go on and on. Do you have any college pet peeves that I did not list here and you wish I had? Comment them down below 🙂

~Lex

 

Miscellaneous

Fictional Characters: Can’t Live With ‘Em, Can’t Live Without ‘Em

Raise your hand if you have ever felt personally victimized by the fictional characters that have been brought into our lives through television, movies, and books…

55662362f92cfd0c7e82e030ed793ff8--funny-stuff-funny-things

I can definitely say that I have felt personally victimized by them more times than I can possibly count. This past week I completed the entire 7 seasons of Sons of Anarchy and I can unashamedly say I shed tears almost every episode. So when I was in the middle of sobbing during the final episode, a lightbulb went off in my brain as to what my topic should be for my next blog post. My immediate thought: “Write about fictional characters and how they make you sob.”

However, they make me feel more emotions than just sadness all the time. Anger, sadness, happiness, and surprise are just some of the emotions that fictional characters bring out in me. I will start out liking a character and then think to myself: I could never dislike, or even hate, this character! Then sometimes that character does something and my feelings of like turn to feelings of passionate dislike. Hate is a bad word and I try not to use it so I say passionate dislike instead, but sometimes I slip up. I mean, how could I even hate a fictional character? They are not even real and yet I am still stuck putting my entire soul into their storyline and feeling like the world is ending when something wrong happens. I can also be found raising my voice at books (inanimate objects) when certain characters are being frustrating.
Other moments I can be found smiling without even realizing it because, gosh darn it, fictional characters can also make me really happy.

So yes, I feel personally victimized by fictional characters A LOT, but I have survived and will continue to do so since I do not think I could live without the storylines that the writers of movies, television shows, and books allow us to be a part of.

Have you ever felt personally victimized by fictional characters? If yes, comment below which ones and we shall discuss the wrongs done to us if I too, have been personally victimized by that character.

~Lex

 

Personal Life

Reading is the Best Medicine

Ever since I was able to understand the different combinations letters can make on a piece of paper, I read as much as I could. I started out with picture books and moved my way up from there. Junie B. Jones dominated my young childhood years, Harry Potter dominated my late elementary and middle school years (still does), and now I am most of the time found with my nose stuck in a good romance novel. I am a sucker for those, I will admit. However, I read all types of genres and I am not averse to trying out something new.

Back in elementary, my school had a reading program called AR or Accelerated Reading. You would pick out books in your level, read them, and then take quizzes to earn points. After you earned so many points, a prize was headed your way. In my case, I earned so many points and received all the prizes that I got to go as far as reading a book to a younger class in the library and also helping out a teacher of my choice for a day during my fifth grade year. The library at my elementary was my favorite place to be during my K-5 years.

As I grew older, my love for books grew right along with me. I still have my dollhouse bookshelf that is filled with books along with a new bookshelf right next to it filled to the brim as well. I only plan on adding more to the collection that I call my “mini library”. No, I have not read many classics, but you can bet I will be soon since I am in college and an English major! I was drawn to all the typical YA novels in middle school that either involved magic, vampires, werewolves, teen drama, or dystopia. Let us not be rude here, though. All of those YA novels I read are AMAZING and I do not doubt I will reread them again at some point in my lifetime.

Like I said before, I am currently and have been on a romance novel streak. One of my absolute favorite romance writers is Kristen Ashley. I actually just purchased one of her boxed sets today because I have always read her novels through my tablet. I am practically screaming on the inside just thinking about getting to hold a physical copy of one of her books and being able to read it that way. I have always preferred print over eBook, but until I have the money to splurge on the hundreds and thousands of novels I would love to have in my possession, free eBooks are the way I will go! Other amazing romance novelists include Stephanie Bond, Karen Robards, Jennifer Crusie, Linda Howard, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Tara Janzen, and so many more-it is impossible to list them all here. My mom is a huge fan of J.R. Ward and here in the very near future I plan on beginning her Black Dagger Brotherhood series – I am so excited to finally delve into these books you have no idea!!

Books give me life and I do not know how I would live without them. When you are sad, you can pull out a happy book and bam…mood lifted. Need to have a good cry? There are plenty of novels out there just for you. I read so much when I was younger that my parents would punish me after I got in trouble by taking away reading time. Those were dark times that I do not like to ponder. Once, during my early high school years, I was reading during dinner (a big no-no) and my dad grabbed the book right out my hands and hid it from me. I gave him the silent treatment the rest of the night, ha!

Will I eventually write my own novel one day? I honestly could not tell you right now, but I do know anything is possible in anyone’s life. You, my lovely reader, could write your own novel someday or become the next President of the United States because literally ANYTHING is possible if you put your mind to it.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars”

~Lex

Music

The Genius of a Songwriter

This past Thursday my family and I got to attend a concert. This concert was held at Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville, IN and did not start on time due to a storm that passed through. However, unlike the people that gave up and left/tried to sell their tickets, we stuck it out because nothing was going to stop us from seeing these amazing artists. This concert was called the Honda Civic Tour with James Arthur opening (sounded just like the album, oh my goodness I fell more in love) followed by Fitz & the Tantrums and last, but not least, One Republic came on and graced the stage (cue screaming). Not too long ago I became a pretty big fan of James Arthur and have had his album entitled “Back from the Edge” on repeat in my car. When it comes to Fitz & the Tantrums, everyone knows their one song that is on the radio all. the. time. but their other music is really good and catchy as well so I made sure to take a listen before the date of the concert. My ears have been listening to One Republic for years and years without having seen them in concert. When the day finally came, I was more than excited and the show was better than I could have expected…

Ryan Tedder is the lead singer of One Republic and if you do not know who they are or who he is please go to google and do yourself a favor. I shall post a group photo below for your enjoyment:

One Republic portraits - Sydney

First off, Ryan Tedder does not write songs for only his band. He has written and co-written several pieces with other major artists including Beyoncé, Adele, and Ed Sheeran. Ryan is just plain amazing so if you do not listen to One Republic, it is now obvious that you should. Pull out your smartphones, tap that YouTube button, and go nuts. During the concert, he sang “Halo” (Beyoncé), “Rumor Has It” (Adele), and “Happier” (Ed Sheeran). I love all the original versions of these songs and I now officially have a second favorite for each. If you would like to take a listen to Ryan performing these songs, shoot me an email and I can send you the short videos I took.

Every song Ryan writes has meaning and when he sings, you can hear the emotion and the love that he has for music. He does not just go through the motions. He gives the performance his all and never disappoints. I made the title of this post “The Genius of a Songwriter” because that is exactly what Ryan Tedder is. He is humble, he is brilliant when it comes to songwriting and music in general, and he is not hard on the eyes either (bonus!). Ryan gives the world of music his heart and soul, so what more could we ask for? When One Republic came out and after they sang a few songs, Ryan confessed he was afraid that the show was not going to happen because of the weather, but then God said ‘let there be music’.

20170713_225704“I’m a sucker for pop melodies, things you can’t get out of your head” – Ryan Tedder

I know you are itching to go listen to One Republic songs now so I will conclude this post with lyrics from one of their songs…

Hope when you take that jump, You don’t feel the fall
Hope when the water rises, You built a wall
Hope when the crowd screams out, They’re screaming your name
Hope if everybody runs, You choose to stay
Hope that you fall in love, And it hurts so bad
The only way you can know, is give it all you have
And I hope that you don’t suffer, But take the pain…
Hope when the moment comes, you’ll say
I…I did it all
I…I did it all
I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived

~Lex

Personal Life

For the Love of Tap Dance

Last night I sat in my room with my mom while we watched this weeks episode of World of Dance. One of the duels was between Les Twins and Kyle Van Newkirk. Their styles of dance were on complete opposite ends of the spectrum with the Les Twins being more hip-hop and Kyle a tap dancer. Les Twins got to pick who their opponent was for this duel and during one of the brief interviews with them, it was obvious why they picked Kyle. Unlike most of the other contestants who chose groups or individuals to duel in order to be challenged, Les Twins chose Kyle because they had no doubt that they would win even though they did not come right out and say that exactly. They basically dissed tap and made me like them even less.

Now, I am not saying they are bad dancers because they are not, but their style is not my cup of tea and the attitude they had towards tap just did not sit well with me. In my opinion, a tap dancer should never have to go up against hip-hop dancers because the technique for each of the styles is so unique and different from the other. How can the judges possibly compare the two fairly? It is not possible. I say this because I was and still am a dancer at heart.

I started dancing when I was 3 1/2 years old at Becky Seamster Dance Studio and kept dancing with the studio for 15 years until I graduated from high school. The styles I danced included ballet, tap, jazz, musical theatre, and modern. I also tried pointe for a year, but decided that it was not for me and I was better off sticking to ballet. Out of all of the styles, however, tap was and always will be my favorite. Whenever I put my shoes on and stepped onto a stage or in a classroom, all of my troubles would melt away and all my concentration would be on the sounds I was creating with my feet. No other dance style could make me feel the kind of peace that tap dancing gave me.

Back when I was in middle school, the love I had for dance was so strong that I believed that I would go to college and pursue a professional career. Shortly after 7th and 8th grade, that all changed…After I hit a certain age and was old enough to go into the studio alone, my mom allowed me to do so without coming inside and watching my classes. I appreciated this because I liked being able to surprise her with what we were working on and it made me feel mature when I would go in alone.

However, most of the other moms were always in the waiting room watching every dance class. It came to a point where I felt like I was being judged because when I would sneak glances out the window, some of the moms would be watching me instead of their daughter and all I could wonder was what I was doing wrong. Then came drama within the competition team that I had joined my 6th grade year. To add on even more, I began to hear people talk about me. Not only some of the girls, but also some of the moms when they thought I could not hear them. I do not remember what was said exactly, but I do remember that from that point on my love for dance slowly started to dissipate.

I quit the competition team after my 3rd year as a member due to money problems and also needing a break from it all. During my year off, I missed competing and seeing all the girls head to Chicago for the competitions made me very jealous. The next comp season came around and my grandpa told me he was willing to help pay for the costs if I really wanted to do it again so I decided I would give it one more try. It was a fun season, but it also made me realize that my heart was not in it like it used to be. Something inside me that had loved dance with my whole being had been broken. That comp season was my fourth and final one. I continued taking regular classes and performing in the recital all the way through high school, but I knew I would never pursue dance in a professional way after that.

Yes, there are days I miss dance, but that is because dance will always hold a piece of my heart and I could never deny that. That piece of my heart mainly belongs to tap, however, due to that being the style I connected to the most and the one that came the easiest to me even with its challenges. I still love dance, but not in the same way I used to and as I have gotten older, I realize that is the path God wanted me to take. Everything happens for a reason even if we do not understand those reasons at the time. tap 5-1tap 2-1

So I would love to see Les Twins try tap dancing and then hear what they have to say about it.

Have you been watching World of Dance? If yes, what are your thoughts?

~Lex