Friday, June 19, 2015

I dabble

I used to think that I obsessed over outrageous things more than anyone. But then once I dated a boy who would dive into hobbies and get COMPLETELY obsessed, and he made me realize that maybe I don't get fully invested and obsessed, I just dabble in a ton of different unique hobbies and interests.

But then I reconsidered a second time, and why the heck can't I do both?? I dabble in so many random interests, but I also get so passionately obsessed with each and everyone of them. When I decide I like something, I jump on and and truly LOVE it. I often move on and gather new, weird passions, but I never loose the many loves that I've had in the past.

Here is a list of some things that I have dabbled in and passionately love and will geek out about if you bring them up to me (this list is probably not comprehensive):

  • Harry Potter
  • watching and playing volleyball nonstop
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • finding and sitting on good benches
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Doctor Who
  • college football
  • social theory of poverty and delinquency
  • playing board games
  • Star Wars
  • Super Smash Brothers
  • watching parades
  • Weezer
  • reading fantasy books
  • hiking
  • collecting Pez dispensers
  • watching the playoffs of any sport
  • Arthur
  • lemonberry slush with nerds from Sonic
  • twitter
  • BeyoncĂ©
  • quoting Disney movies
  • anything Olympic related
  • So You Think You Can Dance
  • chips and salsa
  • dance parties

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

That time I was unemployed

I took a crazy, terrifying leap of faith at the end of January and quit my job without the slightest inkling of where I would work next. It felt right to leave my job, however hard and tear-filled it was, and I just had to go and trust that the Lord would take care of me. I wasn't completely unemployed - I did odd jobs here and there and they were awesome - but I couldn't find a full time job for almost 3 months and it was hard.

A few things I learned while being unemployed:

If you apply enough time, you can get very good at ANYTHING
I taught myself to crochet this past December, but once I didn't have a job, I dove in head first and went crochet crazy. I watched countless YouTube videos and bought skein after skein of yarn. I made scarves galore, hats, a single mitten (I didn't love it do I didn't make the second), and attempted a crochet beard/hat combo.

I will never get sick of doing puzzles
You stick me in front of a TV and turn on the never ending stream of shows on Netflix, and I could do puzzle after puzzle and still ask for more. I prefer 1000 piece puzzles to 2000 piecers - just for future reference if anyone ever desires to get me a gift.

Living in you parent's basement after you graduate college is awesome, but only if it's for a limited amount of time
When I first moved in with my parents, it was only going to be for a couple weeks - a month tops, but I ended up staying for 3 months, because I couldn't find a job. It was fantastic to live with my parents and my brothers again, and to get to know the youngest brothers better because they were so young when I moved out and they didn't really remember living with me. Family is so important. However, it is also so important to move on in life and be independent and living in my parent's basement was not the answer.

Through trials (like not getting a job) there are still HUGE blessings
Early on in my unemployed state I realized that I had an amazing and rare opportunity in front of me: I had nothing to spend my time on except to focus on bettering myself. I decided that this was the perfect chance to form habits that had always been hard for me to form because I felt I didn't have the time. I made it a priority to take care of myself both spiritually and physically. I won't lie, I didn't do very well with the whole working out a being healthy thing, but I did go running a few more times than usual. But I did take the time to not just read but really study my scriptures daily, make sure daily prayers and conversation with my Heavenly Father were a priority, and attending the temple once a week. This is honestly the only thing that kept me sane.

I'm pretty sure I say this in almost every blog post, but life is crazy and unpredictable. I never know what's going to happen next and I am so grateful for all of my experiences, no matter how outrageous and dumb they feel in the moment. I started a job in mid-April that is the perfect job for me, and I'm so pleased that I didn't find anything else before this job came along. There are always hidden blessings, and sometimes you don't see them until later, but God knows and that' what is most important.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

a bit on mental illness

I'm pretty sure this is about to be a soapbox post. Sorry in advance. But not that sorry.

For nearly a year and a half, I worked at a treatment center for teenage girls with emotional, mental, and behavioral issues. I interacted with so many amazing yet troubled girls who just wanted to be understood and loved. I learned so much about mental illness, more than I ever did while reading about it in textbooks in college classes.

Today I was reflecting on this experience and thinking about how mental illness is still so misunderstood in our society. While I personally have not suffered from a mental illness, I have worked very closely and had some very hard conversations with some people who do struggle with mental illnesses. While reflecting, I ended up thinking about one girl specifically that I have worked with. She has severe depression and borderline personality disorder. I started thinking about all the conversations we had where she would be fighting with her own mind, struggling to regain control. I wanted to try to put into words what I observed in these conversations with her, as well as conversations I had with other girls with similar issues. I do not claim to know what it is like to have either of these disorders, but I wanted to put into words what I have observed in conversations with clients and what I perceive is going through their mind on a daily basis.

This is my attempt to both understand and explain what may be going through the mind of a person with depression and borderline personality disorder. As with any mental illness, there are good days and there are bad days, but this pattern of thinking in circles and unconnected thoughts seems to be something that happens to a lot of the girls I've worked with. I can't even imagine how difficult it is to try to control those thoughts and that is why I am in this line of work - I want to do everything in my power to help people figure out how to help themselves.

It is so difficult to live with a mental illness, and I have so much love and compassion for every person I have worked with that struggles with one. I just want all people to understand a little bit more, so they can be a little bit more accepting. Mental illness is a real issue that so many people struggle with, live with, and succeed with. I think it is so important for everyone to look at themselves and see if they can be more understanding and compassionate in regards to mental illness.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Evolution of my curls.

I have fallen in love with my hair.

This is not a thing I ever thought I would be able to say, but it is one of the truest things I know. I'm going to explain to you my journey over the last 12 or so years of my life that brought me to this acceptance of my hair.

I was not born with curly hair. My hair was actually very, very straight for the first 10 years of my life. And then puberty, as it is prone to do, effected some huge changes. Suddenly, my hair was wavy and just seemed to be getting curlier. Being a bit of a tomboy already, my solution for dealing with curly hair at 11 or 12 years old was to pull it into a pony tail and forget about it.
We're digging deep in the archives for this baby. Here is 8th
grade Jennie with her awesome crunchy curls and braces. 
It was hard time for all of us. 
Through middle school and high school, my hair just kept getting more and more curly by the year and I had no idea how to handle it. When I say my hair was getting "curlier," what I mean is it was just getting frizzier and more terrifying. I didn't know anyone that had curly hair, so I had no one to instruct me in how to care for it, so it was a hot mess. When I let it go free, it was a giant frizz ball. When I tried to put product in it, my hair became nasty crunchy waves plastered to my head. There was no in between and I didn't know what to do.
Please excuse me at the awkward age of 15. Thanks. Also excuse the crunch curls
on my head. No pictures of the frizzy version of my hair, because I was self
conscious back then and never let pictures be taken of it.
The only solution I had for my struggling curls was to straighten my hair. And that's what I did everyday of my life. I scorched those natural curls as straight as they would go nearly everyday. Probably once every 3 to 4 weeks I would get brave (or lazy) and try out the curls again - but to no positive effect. So I lived my high school years with straight hair, denying the very essence of my hair personality.

My freshman year of college I finally realized that the crunchy curls were happening because the mousse was too heavy and I needed something lighter, and that enhanced my curls a ton. They still weren't the best, but much better and I started going curly more often. That year I was about half and half in curly versus straight hair.
Frizzy and awkward. But not crunchy!
Decent. But frizzy and not living up to its full potential.

And then that blessed summer happened.

I was teaching swim lessons that summer, so my hair was getting wet everyday and I did not have the time or patience to straighten it every single day. So I declared it the summer of freedom, and I let the curls run wild and do their thing. Coincidentally, this was also declared the summer of headbands and I swear I wore a headband to keep those wild curls out of my face every day that entire summer.

I came out of that summer with so much love for my curls and how fun they are. I read a bunch of blogs giving me some really helpful tips and tricks for caring for my curls. Did you know towel drying makes curls more frizzy and it's better to just use a t-shirt? I swear by this now. Did you know it's better to diffuse your curls with your head upside down? And only diffuse 50-75% of the hair and then let the rest air dry? I can attest to the truthfulness of these things. So much trial and error that has been so helpful in my life!

Curly hair was WAY easier and faster than straight hair and after that summer, I vowed to wear my hair curly more often. As it turned out, I just stopped straightening my hair all together. I have MAYBE straightened my hair once a month for the last 4 years; it's probably closer to once every two months. I feel like the longer I go letting my hair just do its thing, the curlier my hair has become, and I love it.

These curls just define me and I feel like they very accurately represent my personality. and CURLY HAIR IS SO EASY.

I love my curls. Seriously so much. I feel like over the last few years I've grown into them and realized their full potential. I think it's so important for people to embrace their natural beauty. If you have curly hair, then free the curls. If you have straight hair, then you rock that baby, because I've wanted that for more years of my life than I care to admit. JUST BE YOU. Seriously, that's all you can ask for and that is THE best way to be happy in your life.

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