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Journal Entry 3: 30 Days in Cali…

I’ve been a bad blogger …again. I hope that every time I add to my Journal Entry chronicles, I am not self-confessing my lack of interaction. But yes, I’ve been a bad blogger again.

I’ve been scared. I feel like I’ve used that word a lot since I’ve started my journal entries – but this time around, I’ve been scared that I would jinx the happiness.

These past 30 days have been the best days of my life. 

I promised to myself at the end of 2016 that 2017 was going to be my year – my year to do what’s right for me – my year to be strong, to adventure, to make life happen for myself. I was worried that moving to Cali could actually result in me failing that. I was in a new place with one person to call my friend who had her own life to live. I worked from home, which isn’t the best way to make friends. I had no way to get around, not that I really knew where to go. The cost of living was haunting me. I was scared. I was scared of failure and loneliness.

But then it all so quickly started to fall into place and all that fear went away. And then I was scared to write. The words being printed indefinitely on paper made me feel like they would be left there as a closing and make it all come to an end. I would be jinxed. But before this I ran around the entire house knocking on every piece of wood in sight – so, here goes nothing…

They say that when things are meant to be, they work out in mysterious ways. A large part of me wants to believe that that’s true – that this move was meant to be, that everything happens for a reason, that secretly our inner being knows what’s right for us and gets us there, eventually.

This experience for me thus far has been a fairy-tale… And maybe, just maybe, it’s not a fairy-tale at all – maybe it’s just how life should be, I just haven’t lived like this yet …until now.

Since the immediate second I stepped foot into Santa Barbara I’ve been taken in by my loving cousin who would tear down bridges for me (…literally). She brought me into her world and made me a friend to everyone she knew. I was worried that, like being in a relationship somewhere new, I would then in result be living her life instead of one of my own – but oddly enough, I wasn’t.

I have new cousins who aren’t my cousins at all but have me over for family dinners, and don’t second guess my company when I crash their Sunday beer pong games (even without the OG cuz), whose kids run around calling my name to jump on the trampoline and take silly selfies with me. They add me to their group texts, invite me to movie nights and for glasses of wine and hunt down bagel bites with me at every Starbucks in town.

The same goes for every other friend of my cousins that I’ve been introduced to – I can now call them my own. Every day, without fail, someone is asking me to hang out. Fashion shows, bottle service and sparklers on my birthday, classy parties in giant houses in giant hills, photo-shoot’s, signing my first lease, consuming my body length in burritos, sun bathing on beaches with palm trees in them…

I took my first shot of tequila, drank more in the past 30 days than I have conclusively in my entire life, champed through an oyster shooter and even ate cow just for the sake of the In-N-Out experience.

The list goes on… I went into this experience very scared, overwhelmed, sad… I set my expectations very, very low and did some burying of the excitement I did have. I forced myself, instance after instance, to not get my hopes up.

So now I ask you – Is it really true, when they say what’s meant to be will be? Or is it that we (I) tend to aggressively overthink things into such intense mannerisms that we destroy all sense of hope and expectation until we take the risk, so that it has to end up being more amazing than we anticipated? Maybe knocking our expectations down (not aggressively, but you know what I mean) is what we need sometimes to be grateful and remind us that life and people really are amazing? (Not to get confused here – I mean, get out of your own inner fairy-tale of expectations – I don’t mean let people treat you like sh*t).

I’m not exactly sure what direction I’m going in with this post, because there’s so many different things I’ve learned in my 30 days of this new life so far – So I’ll give you the sum of it:

1. Life is what you make it. Plain and simple. 2. YOLO 3. Take the risk. ALWAYS. 4. It will all work out. 5. If you’re scared to do something that you really want to do, just do it. Chances are at the end of the day it will be one of the best decisions you have ever made. 6. Be kind. Smile wherever you go. Let things roll – it’s usually useless to get worked up. And don’t forget to make friends wherever you go. 7. There really are nice, inviting, friendly people out there – sometimes it just takes time to find them. Don’t let any selfishness and ignorance you’ve experienced with others bleed into your judgments of humans as a whole. 8. Even if it’s not what you want in the moment, force yourself to do what’s best for you (we all have that little gut monster telling us what’s right). You will look back, even in a weeks time, and thank yourself for it. 9. Always be genuinely you. No matter how weird or imperfect it is. If you are raw from the get-go, then your friends will be your friends – everyone will love and choose to have you around for the crazy human that you are, not who you think they want you to be. 10. Look at everything, and yourself, as a constant learning experience. Take it in – all of it.

30 days down, a lifetime to go.

xx,

Al

 

Journal Entry One: You Gave Me A Sense of Purpose

I have been using my second blog, Deeper Than Words, to post my creative writing; poems, short stories, lifestyle and journal entry posts. I figured that from now on I will put more of them here. After all, no blogger is just one specific genre behind a computer – they are human, and you should see the human side of me too. So, I’m going to post a series of journal entries – meaning, posts where I reflect on situations I find myself in in life; posts about those moments when I take a step back from the situation and think about it more as a whole. These posts can get pretty personal and sometimes very deep, but hey, that’s a part of being a writer. You can’t really be a good one unless you lay it all out there on the table. So, here it goes. Journal Entry One…

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You gave me a sense of purpose.

You gave me a sense of purpose.

You gave me a sense of purpose.

The words continued to replay over and over in my head. “I… you know…” he stumbled, “It’s just when you were here you gave me a sense of purpose. I could have helped you. Or, well, I could have tried to. And now you’re not here and it’s just that I don’t have the incentive, the reminder, the bond with you that we have when you are around to remind me that I could have a purpose, that I could be good for something. It’s just hard. It’s hard.”

It hit me like one of those giant, unexpected waves I’ve almost drowned in on the shores of the Hamptons. The taller-than-you waves that curl over your body, that you might actually in reality expect but aren’t seriously prepared for even though you think there’s some way that you will indeed be able to handle its strength. I hated the waves. I hate the ocean but at the same time it’s my favorite thing. I’m afraid of it, and there aren’t many things that I am actually afraid of. It reminds me so much of this moment because this, too, this deep moment of honesty that had been stored for at a minimum of 4 years since I had been living away from my dad had been built up and then released over me. It hit me hard, and I tried to handle its strength but it brought me down anyway, and I was drowning in it.

I finally reached the top and felt the sun on my face. Gasping for air, I rubbed the salt out of my eyes, found my feet and buried them deep and hard into the sand below me and calmed myself. Sweet relief, sweet gratification, purity.

He knew it and I knew it too, that with the truth comes more truth. Before I could even speak he had filled in my words, “But I want you to live your life. That’s where you want to be and what you want to do and that’s what I want for you too, your happiness and to make your own choices.” I had my life to live and couldn’t change my destination or course to be what someone else needed rather than what I did. He understood me, and all at once I understood him too. I think I always did – I always knew this unspoken truth – it was just one that I wanted to stay under the water. I didn’t want to feel it, drowning me, yet it still did. And with the relief of it, I still felt the grains of salt burying themselves into my skin. They soon too will wash away, but I couldn’t help but think how unfair it was that they took me under in the first place. It hit me exactly how he didn’t want it to but needed it to all at the same time.

It felt unfair for him to throw that upon me. I am here and he is there and I wish every day for him to be better. I have tried with my kindest strength to be an incentive for his sobriety – calls every other day if not daily, understanding, loving tones, genuine love, kindness, motivating words. I thought that was enough but it never was and so I gave up.

Those moments, underneath, seeing glances of the sun shine through into the darkness as I searched my way to the top, the salt burning my eyes, are panic mode. Honesty is my favorite action yet the most unpredictable and breathtaking, for good and bad reasons of course, and instantly sweeps you off your feet and into panic. You see, that suffocating moment led me to a deeper understanding.

Maybe sometimes it is the healthiest decision to relieve yourself of your deepest feelings, but for others that relief can leave a burden. But then again, maybe sometimes that burden on us can be turned into less of a burden and more into a deeper understanding and perspective into that persons thoughts and your relationship with them. I’ve come to learn that the truth will, at one time or another, be revealed whether it’s from the person themselves or through some other revealing that might not be as pleasant – and that’s in a emotional and literal way. But regardless, the truth conquers all. Maintaining a healthy relationship is all about communication – honesty, perspective, understanding. All of these things my dad and I had together, and whether the truth did drown me for that moment or not, it was the gentle rawness of his feelings, the truth of it all, that I appreciated more than anything.

I think that’s something we all can (or more so need to) understand and appreciate – that sometimes the pain of drowning for a moment brings us the utter beauty and appreciation of the fresh air pulling deep into our lungs, and the sun shining on our skin.

 

P.S. – Yes, the header picture is me on the shore of the beach (known as ‘The End of the World’) in the Hamptons, NY. I was on vacation with my family there. We stayed in a tiny, old little hotel that legitimately rested on the ocean shore. The 6 of us would step out of our one bedroom shack at sunset and listen to the waves pouring onto our doorstep. It was magical. And yes, I almost drowned. True story (but then again, I can be a bit dramatic). XO

 

It’s Okay to Have Half-Assed Friends…

It wasn’t until this past weekend visiting home that I realized and understood what a good friend really is. I was dreading the thought of it – being home without a car, staying at my Grandmothers depressing house, having nowhere to even go! I knew the general routine – I spent time with my family and that was that. Rarely did I go home and spend any time with friends from home. It had gotten to the point that they have gone on with their lives without me. Yeah, we still kept in touch and were the same good pals we always were when we did hang out, but my effort was the only one that was present. Relentless texts and calls, to the point my brother snapped, “Are you kidding me? No, do not text her again. Why do you even try,” with a sassy ‘ugh’ and an eye roll. I realized then that I was just making a fool of myself. So, this weekend in particular, I made it clear in advanced that I would be home for the weekend. I wasn’t expecting them to drop their plans at my beck and call because I just so happened to be in town. Yet as predicted, they never called. But it was this visit home in particular that I truly felt I needed them, their comfort, the distraction. And still, nothing.

I had arranged a ride from the airport from a very close family friend who I have known for years, mainly for being best friends with my older brother, but had grown closer to me in the past year or so. She was there to get me, and how grateful I felt. I was intent on expressing my gratitude and desire to spend the day together after I got in, and we did just that. We had spoken briefly of spending some time the next day together as well, but I knew how that went. People have lives, they’re not always there to spend time with me when I need to. Life doesn’t stop for me, nor did I expect it to. It was destined to not happen. And yet it did. She was my mediator for an awkward brunch, my reliable driver and laughter for long car rides to visit my brother, my puppy cuddling, relationship gossiper for the rainy afternoon and she even chose dinner with me over it with her boyfriend. It was all so nonchalant, so natural, so easy. I went away, back to my second home, content and looking happily on the weekends visit – something I didn’t think I would feel. It was then that I realized good friends do exist, and after twenty-one years, I finally had one.

I’m a hopeless romantic, which means I’m an over-emotional, over-caring love giver in all types of relationships I get myself into, and it has always been hard to remember that not everyone is as caring and loving as I am. I would drop anything and everything for someone I care about, and never felt like anyone ever did the same in return, but that’s just who I am. Through much stress and frustration, it is not till this very day that for the first time I’m really starting to understand friendships, on a level I never thought possible, which is why I share this with you…

IT’S OKAY TO HAVE HALF-ASS FRIENDS. Lots of people half-ass their entire lives. Yeah, no, this is no excuse and doesn’t mean it’s okay to have bad friends, but it takes a lot of understanding to realize that even some of the half-ass ones are good friends.

A good friend is a different definition for everyone, but we all know the basic rules and that it takes caring and loving. It takes being there for that person when it really counts; maybe not for all of the weekend visits or random phone calls but when when they miss your birthday two times in a row, thats a deal breaker. When you need a shoulder and they’re never there, deal breaker. When you’re the one waiting all day to spend time with them and cancel all other plans and they go hang with other friends instead, deal breaker (yup, I’ve had to learn the hard way). These are pretty understandable things, but its tough realizing that not all people are going to be as caring as some, and they really just can’t. For many, it’s not in their genes. Not everyone is equal amounts of caring or giving or appreciative or reliable. And it’s not true, that ‘if they’re a real friend, if you really connect and bond and are soul mates, they will be the most caring and loving no matter what’ (this goes for relationships too). Its not like the movies for every person. It’s not all thoughtfulness and love and caring. they may not go to extremes for you like what you would do for them. It’s not taking it personally and understanding that that’s just who they are. It doesn’t mean that they’re not good friends, they may love you unconditionally, be there for you when it counts, and love you just as much as you love them, but don’t have the same level of understanding and ideals in terms of commitment and care that you do. But what makes people best friends are the ones who connects with you because you share the same level of understanding and desire in terms of being a good friend; they would do the same for you that you would do for them.

I’ve had a lot of half-assed friends. They most likely don’t see it as being half-assed, but i do just because I’m the type of person who gives it my everything, and it took my a long time to understand that IT’S OKAY, they’re still GOOD FRIENDS, they’re just not the same type of person I am. Any type of relationship requires balance and having needs fulfilled to make them flourish, but some people will never meet your needs and you either have to accept that they aren’t that type of person and love them anyway, or move on. Maybe you’re not the type to give it you’re all and wear your heart on your sleeve but you need a friend who is, and vice versa. It’s understanding the type of person you are, understanding the type of people you’re dealing with and what will come from the relationship, realizing what you need and accepting what you can’t have and loving them anyway. Man, life’s complicated, as are you and everyone else, and we’re all just trying to figure each other out, one step at a time. We’re all unique in our own way and it’s understanding peoples individualities that make it all so interesting. Therefore, always remember, everyone’s different, and it’s okay.

To the Regina George’s, the Cinderella’s, and all the Carrie Bradshaw’s In-Between…

I’ve felt very strongly about this topic since I moved to one of the richest areas in America, and never felt more compelled to write an article about it than I do now…

Since I was 18 and left home I have been, with the help of very close loved ones who I am so very, dearly lucky to have, living ‘independently’  without the support of my family and it has been hard. Unable to get a loan, shattered credit, ruined chances of financial aid for school, shi**y incomes and no qualifications. I felt like every time I tried to take the next step I hit a new brick wall. A few thousand saved and I finally get a car and it lasts me a mere year. The struggle between wanting to have fun and enjoy now and planning for a future. Arguments on the phone with financial aid officials, trips to the hospital with no health care. The list truly does go on. And I know I’m not the only one young in their 20s and struggling. But here, in this affluent area of families and their cheeky children who think their parents wealth is theirs, I do feel like the only one.

It’s a tiresome, grey day in the glorified Northern VA (NOVA, as they say) and I’ve come to a red light for a left turn to go down a road that leads to a secluded gated community (shock). A grey Mercedes quickly pulls up next to me (shocker #2… don’t you love my sarcasm?) and a blonde head leans forward from the passenger seat and onto the dash, peering at me (past the blonde driver, nonetheless… ok, I swear this is a coincidence; blondes in a Mercedes, shocker #3). She bursts into laughter and they rush away, so fast that before I am even fully around the corner, they’re already turning into the community. What just happened? Is my hair that messy? I mean, I am rocking a pony with a bit of a crazed curl today… but I thought it looked good? What was she laughing at?

And then it hit me like a slap in the face; I’m driving a ’98 Volkswagen Cabrio and they’re swinging around the streets, platinum locks and rap music oozing out of the windows, and here I am, next to them. Why else would she have been staring at me laughing? She definitely couldn’t have been hating on the hair, it was a chaotic masterpiece to say the least. I felt disordered… They just laughed at me…!? And I didn’t even get a chance to flick them off!? I felt like they were Jessica Simpson in Public Affair 

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Or yet worse… the mean girls from White Chicks…

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And I was Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids

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Exactly… hilariously ridiculous to everyone else but taking myself way too seriously.

Alright people I know, there’s no reason to get butt-hurt over some snobby young girls in a Mercedes their Mommy and Daddy got them, and I’m not, but I’m sad. I’m sad for our generation. I’m sad for those girls. I’m sad for my adorable Cabrio named Val. I’m sad for the girls that do grow up getting bullied and real-hurt because of girls like this. As I walked in the door to see my boyfriend I moaned, “I hate young girls in this area. They’re such snobby, rich kids,” (…aka giphy

 

…) and he stopped me. “I’ve lived here longer than you have to find out for myself that there are a lot of people like that, but there are a lot who aren’t. Most of the people I know aren’t.” And of course I rebutted, but only because he made me realize I was being just like them. I was assuming all girls here are like those two (& the many others who I’ve met that are the same… I mean, I did have a point) but he was right. I was generalizing all girls in the area to be snotty, just like those girls were generalizing me to be a (clearly outrageously funny) loser. I was committing the same evil.

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So I write this to everyone, not just to the people who are struggling to be independent in their early 20s while their supported friends and randoms are driving in their parents Mercedes, or even new Toyotas; not just to the people who are obnoxiously flaunting their parents success, or the humble people who have nice things but aren’t, this is for all of you and everyone else. Be humble, stay humble. Be sweet and thoughtful and kind. There are a lot of people who don’t have nice things because they have chosen to make poor decisions in life, then there are people in life who don’t have the nicest things because they’re living a completely different life than you and are working hard every day to create a better life for themselves. There are people who have beautiful expensive things because their parents work hard so their kids can live a life filled with them, but also taught them the moral values of being a good person. How would I know if they were or weren’t a good person by the car they drive or clothes they wear? (unless they are laughing at you from their window…l o l ) Respect that. Respect that everyone has a story to tell and never judge a book by its cover. Be grateful for your assets, big or small, and just always, always, always be kind. You never know what someone else may be going through and how much a small pinch of kindness can change everything. And lastly, to the bullies who think their parents money is theirs, who think money makes you better than others, you’re losing out. You’re losing out on all the things that money can’t buy; respect, kindness, and the people in life that you’ll meet that come along with those values.

(*drops the mic*)

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(I swear, we really are the same person)

Alex

 

 

 

 

 

 

50 Questions You’ve Never Been Asked

I found this cute list of random questions that I thought would be a perfect little ‘get to know me better’ post, and decided it would be a great little train to start.

So here’s how it works. You have to thank who nominated you, comment about something you thought was interesting about them, and then answer the 50 questions. After you’re done, nominate 5 new people!

So here it goes….

1. What’s your favorite candle scent? cinnamon 🙂

2. What female celebrity do you wish was your sister? this is a hard one.. I already have an amazing sister. But I’d say Taylor Swift. I don’t look into many celebrities personal lives, or personalities per day. I enjoy them for what they do. But I’ve seen a lot of the sincere things she has done for her fans and she seems pretty down to earth, plus I love a song with some great lyrics!

3. What male celebrity do you wish was your brother? Like I said, this is hard for me because I don’t look into their personal lives, but I went through a phase where I watched tons of interviews of John Travolta when he was younger (because I’m obsessed with Grease) and he seemed like a super sweet guy. And would probably have some cute guy friends (; haha

4. How old do you think you’ll be when you get married? Hopefully I get married between 26 and 28.

5. Do you know a hoarder? hahahaha no. But I tend to keep random silly things because they hold a tiny memory. And shoe boxes, I like to fill them with stuff hahaha but no. no hoarders.

6. Can you do a split? I did gymnastics and cheerleading. So last time I tried I could, but that was awhile ago sooo…… im not so sure haha

7. How old were you when you learned how to ride a bike? I don’t even know.

8. How many oceans have you swam in? One. Sad, I know.

9. How many countries have you been to? One. 😦

10. Is anyone in your family in the army? No.

11. What would you name your daughter if you had one? Mila

12. What would you name your son if you had one? Bentley

13. What’s the worst grade you got on a test? F lol

14. What was your favorite TV show when you were a child? Barney

15. What did you dress up as on Halloween when you were eight? I think I was Dorothy?

16. Have you read any of the Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Twilight series? I read all of the Twilight books and have to say, the movies are pretty awful.

17. Would you rather have an American accent or a British accent? British. My boyfriend is actually scottish haha

18. What is one of your strangest pet-peeves? I’ve had a question like this before. the answer is windshield wipers. It’s like I have OCD when it comes to them. It will drive me CRAZY if i’m not driving and the windshield wipers are going too fast when it isn’t raining a lot, or too slow, or are making a noise. And when I am driving I’m constantly changing them.

19. Are your grandparents still married? no

20. Have you ever taken karate lessons? no

21. Do you know who Kermit the frog is? yes haha

22. What’s the first amusement park you’ve been to? six flags my senior year of high school

23. What language, besides your native language, would you like to be fluent in? Italian or french. I have strong italian roots and think they sound beautiful when the speak. And french is also soo beautiful.

24. Do you spell the color as grey or gray? grey

25. Is your father bald? hahaha how did you know!?

26. Do you know triplets? yup

27. Do you prefer Titanic or The Notebook? the notebook i think…. i love them both so much!

28. Have you ever had Indian food? nope

29. What’s the name of your favorite restaurant? Don’s, but it closed 😦 (it was my grandfathers)

30. Have you ever been to Olive Garden? once, it was awful

31. Do you belong to any warehouse stores (Costco, BJ’s, etc.)? no

32. What would your parents have named you if you were the opposite gender? i was supposed to be a boy and that’s why my name is still alex. I have no middle name for that reason too.

33. If you have a nickname, what is it? Al

34. Who’s your favorite person in the world? Addison, my baby sister.

35. Would you rather live in a rural area or in the suburbs? rural

36. Can you whistle? sometimes, it depends for some reason haha

37. Do you sleep with a nightlight? no, it needs to be pitch black usually for me to sleep

38. Do you eat breakfast every morning? rarely actually, which is pretty bad :/

39. Do you take any pills or medication daily? no, sometimes a vitamin

40. What medical conditions do you have? none

41. How many times have you been to the hospital? 2 times

42. Have you ever seen Finding Nemo? yes

43. Where do you buy your jeans? anywhere I find a pair that fit right, I’m insanely picky about my jeans

44. What’s the last compliment you got? I can’t even remember the last time I got a compliment lol

45. Do you usually remember your dreams in the morning? usually. I dream every night

46. What flavor tea do you enjoy? i’m not a tea person

47. How many pairs of shoes do you currently own? i think 15, that i never really wear either

48. What religion will you raise your children to practice? none. I don’t believe in practicing religion. i feel it has too much control over the free mind. but then again, the mind is free, so believe what you like.

49. How old were you when you found out that Santa wasn’t real? i can’t really remember but maybe it was 13? I stayed up every christmas eve with my parents to help wrap presents as soon as i found out.

50. Why do you have a blog? I’ve always had a passion for writing and studied Journalism while I was in college; I’ve written my own songs and poetry since I was about 12. There was just every reason in the universe for me to do it. I have a passion for clothes, and thought what not a better way to get my self out there then to write about something that people will want to read, so I started with The Style Studies.

 

Here are the 5 blogs I nominate…

1. Plus + Beauty

2. State & Occupation

3. Lissa Elaine

4. Braids & Eyeliner

5. Aroon Melane

 

Have fun!

xo – A