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

 

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

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

Personal Life

My First Job

First off, let me apologize for not posting in over a week for those of you that keep up with my blog (keep spreading the word about how awesome it is! *please and thank you*). If this is your first time reading my blog: I appreciate the steps you took to get here and I hope you decide to take the time and read through my past posts and hit that subscribe button in the bottom right corner! I promise you will not be disappointed…

I have been very busy this past week and could not find a time to sit down and type out the happenings of my life or the thoughts that have flitted through my brain. A major event happened this past week in my life: I got my first ever job! I now work at a gas station and there is so much information to try and absorb that I always have this tiny part of me that is afraid of messing up. I already knew the people that work in gas stations work very hard, but I do not think I ever truly knew just how hard they work. Since I have started working, I can testify to just how hard and tiring the job is. Here are a few of the things I have already learned…

  • There are so many different types and brands of cigarettes. So. Many. I do not smoke so I had no clue just how many there are. I have been in gas stations plenty of times, but I never notice or really look through their cigarette supply. tenor2
  • My job is to work the register and help with the front of the store whether it be stocking, cleaning, or other side work. Since being at the register, I have really  started to appreciate the customers that use their credit or debit cards to pay because it just makes my job so much easier. idiva_gifs_things_a_person_suffering_from_anxiety_wants_to_tell_her_friends_8_1
  • Trying to change the trash outside while it is windy is one of the hardest things I think I will ever do. It. Is. Windy. All. The. Time. It is especially more difficult when you have to double line all the trash cans. It is a lot like trying to keep your umbrella under control during a windy rain storm…tRY4Rg
  • Ask questions if you are not sure what you are doing. It is best to have something done right rather than risking the task getting done incorrectly. zJDk7_s-200x150
  • Last, but not least, be kind and patient with all customers. No matter the mood the customer is in, take it in stride and smile with pride. Ha…see what I did there? I am a poet and I did not know it. emma-watson-laugh-smile

 

I only have two more shifts left before I am considered done with training for the most part. Am I nervous? I would not be me if I was not. Jobs are not meant to be “easy peasy lemon squeezy”. I am ready to tackle this next step in my life before going back to school and classes in August!

Any thoughts or comments? Type below or like always, shoot me an email! (Found in the ‘contact’ section of my blog)

~Lex

 

 

College, Personal Life

Decluttering for a Peace of Mind

Everyone has a pet peeve and sometimes even more than one. I have multiple, but for this post I will focus on one of my main pet peeves. The culprit: DISORGANIZATION/UNORGANIZATION. (There is a slight difference in meaning between the two words, but in my case I will be using both to stand for the same thing)

Right now, my room is the epitome of disorganization and has been for almost a week now. I just recently came back home from college for the summer and brought back everything that was in my dorm. I noticed first off that I was going to have issues unpacking, but the mountain I had to tackle became a lot bigger when I began to put away clothes. I could not get them all to fit at all! How did I end up with so many clothes??? I had to shove random articles of clothing in drawers that I would never put them in. My closet was overflowing and I felt defeated. A couple days later I came to a realization that not only were my summer clothes out, but so were most of my fall/winter clothes. For those of you reading this, do yourself a favor and store away your winter clothes when it is summer and the opposite for when it is fall/winter. I got lazy last summer because I was too busy stressing about my first year of college. It made a HUGE difference in my closet because just picking out a select few articles to give to Goodwill will not make a dent. Trust me, I tried that tactic first.

I still have piles of winter clothing stacked on my floor waiting to be stored away, but I have made bounds and leaps when it comes to the organization of my clothes and I will definitely be more mindful when I pack for my next semester at school. Even though my clothes may be close to decluttered, I still have crates and trash bags full of miscellaneous items to unpack from my dorm room. Because of this, my next step is to declutter my entire room. I am going to go through and make tough decisions on what things I should keep, give away, or throw away. Most likely, my room will get even more messier than it already is before it gets clean. If you could see my room right now, you would be wondering how I make it to my bed to sleep at night.

Overall, I am an organized person in all parts of my life. There may be times where I become disorganized, but I do not let it last for long. This organized part of me has slowly been losing its mind over the state of my room. I am going to declutter, declutter, and declutter some more until organization has won over yet again. Luckily, I received my new Life Planner by Erin Condren *pictured below* in the mail the other day and I cannot wait to begin using it. It will definitely help keep even more organization in my life.

 

Are you an organized or unorganized person? Leave me your thoughts and comments below or shoot me an email! I love discussing different ways to stay organized 🙂

~Lex

Personal Life

Time Flies By

It seems like just yesterday I was starting my 6th grade year at my new school and now my freshman year of college is coming to a close. We only have 7 days of classes left until finals begin and then it is summer break. It is exciting and scary at the same time. I always knew that time goes by fast, but life feels like it is going at the speed of lightning right now. Today I finished putting in my applications for summer jobs, or should I say my first job ever. I know I know. I am 19 years old and have yet to have my first job. That is because during high school, I was either dancing, playing soccer, or doing homework. I wanted to give my school work priority so I made sure to not overflow my already decently full plate. I like to give 100% or close to 100% commitment to all of my life endeavors. Now I am in college and having a job is not only a want, but a need and that is ringing ever more true as time ticks by and gains speed rather than slowing down.

With this realization of time flying by came a realization that I needed to put more positive thinking in my life. I always try to be pretty optimistic, but I definitely have my days where that optimism flies out the window. So I have turned some of my negative thoughts into positive ones and ever since then I have felt more content. Life is too short to let it be consumed by grey when it could be dressed up with color.

~Lex