Sunday, January 26

getting the heck out of dodge

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As far as I'm concerned, when your best friend gets her heart broken, it only means one thing: it's time to get the hell out of dodge. It also means being joined spontaneously by your other best friend and road tripping home to Idaho. When you have parents that offer up being designated driver for the night, buy breakfast and dinner, and provide a cozy place to have some serious girl talk time, there really is no better cure than a week long escape from Montana with da girls. Key words: no boys allowed.

It's hard to watch people you care about go through hard things. It's hard to lend your own perspective knowing that when you've been there before, you know that nothing anyone says is really going to help or make sense right away. The only thing to do is listen. And drink a few margaritas. And dance. A lot. And enjoy the heck out of your friendship with your fellow gal pals. Because damn it, is there anything girls can't accomplish together?

p.s. I have no idea why I look so pregnant in this photo. I am definitely not. Note to self not to pose like this again in the future in front of a camera.

Tuesday, January 21

Yellowstone and Bozeman

This weekend I decided on a moment's notice that we should go to Yellowstone National Park. I loaded up on the pistachios and hats for this occasion, piled into my boyfriend's car for our second "road trip" together, because seriously, what else is there to do with a six week long winter break? Are you going to go to Yellowstone or are you going to go to Yellowstone!?

"I'm going to bring my new camera and take so many cool pictures!" I said to myself. Until I realized into day two of our mini vacation that I'd left it on my living room floor. And without cell phone service and a forgotten phone charger, it was a completely picture free weekend spare the photos I took of the hot springs in Yellowstone, my boyfriend's cat, and the most epic Billiards team you've ever seen. Because obviously.

So, no pictures were taken to document the weekend. And all I have are the memories of eating a lot of breakfast food with views of some of the prettiest mountains I've ever seen, voyaging downtown Bozeman being shown favorite local bookstores and music stores, meeting the parents and seeing old stomping grounds, and being within 3 feet of a full grown elk.

It was the best weekend. I have nothing but a few crappy iPhone pictures to show for it. I was fully immersed in the moment all weekend long and I loved every second of it.
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Friday, January 17

better, not bitter

Today, "what could have been" looked me in the face. And boy, did it have a lot to say in very few words. It caught me completely off guard, of course, as I was mid-chew into my Boston Creme Pie donut but that's exactly my point: it's only when you're scarfing down a pastry enjoying how sweet your life really is that your past stares you in the face and you realize just how far you've come.

I'm not bitter towards my past because long ago I realized how thankful I was for it. I'm not bitter towards the years I spent studying something I hated and the time I wasted worrying too much about what other people were doing instead of worrying about what I was doing. 

Another friend of mine said to me this week over coffee, "Remember that conversation we had when you were studying for your physics final?" Yes, yes I did. Distinctly. It was a conversation that jerked me back into reality and gave me what courage I could soak up to make some definitive choices about nearly every aspect of my life.

I wondered later this afternoon how much of our lives are dictated by our own actions and how much is dictated by the actions of others. I wouldn't be where I am today if not for choices other people made and I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't stopped to listen to what my friend was telling me that day on her living room floor. It made me realize how much is out of our control and how, in the end, that is sort of an amazing thing. We can't know the effect someone else's choice will have on us until months or even years later, but undoubtedly they do have the ability to send us far away from the path we meant to take. Wouldn't life be boring if everything happened our way? And consequently, how much about ourselves would we never find out if things happened the way we planned? There are so many layers and hidden strengths buried beneath our own doubts and opinions about what's best for us that sometimes the only way for things to get better is for things to happen to us. The only things we can control are our own reactions. 

So, my sweet sweet past, thank you for showing me that I am more independent than I knew. Thank you for showing me that I have the ability to be a bad ass bitch when I need to be. I have a voice to be reckoned with. Thank you for showing me that I was deeply unhappy and needed to change. Thank you for shoving me towards a new haircut that I'd keep around for years to follow. Thank you for showing me, too, that I don't always need a big push from another person's choice to do something. I can get there on my own, too. Thank you for revealing that somewhere inside me is someone that is more courageous than she knew. And thanks for all the good memories, too. Not all of it was bad, in fact, most of is was pretty good. And it all turned out for the better.
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Tuesday, January 14

advice from my mom

(1) When looking for love, simplicity is key. Complicated is overrated. You want to be with someone who is certain they want to be with you; no questions asked and without mind-games.

(2) You are the only person who can know if something is right for you. Trust your gut.
finished_45 My mom is all knowing. At least, she has yet to be wrong about something. She's always right. She may not know it, but I hope someday that I am half as wise as she is. She also may not know that I'm taking careful notes of everything she tells me. Thanks, mom.


Saturday, January 11

it was a good hair day

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My life this week has been a bit scattered and everywhere this week.

For starters, I spent four days in Missoula "homeless" since I got a ride and forgot my car keys in Idaho. It was a convenient time to forget my apartment keys seeing as our bills were already a few days late and my boyfriend's parents were in town. Thank goodness for friends with empty apartments and boyfriend's with their keys.

I signed TWO contracts with brides this week to take their wedding photos this summer and I could not be more exhilarated. The spontaneous purchase of my new camera over Black Friday that cost my entire savings has, well, already been paid for over again. So. That's great news. Major financial weight lifted off my shoulders knowing I can afford rent for the next few months again.

I've reevaluated everything about myself and about the world after being sucked into 8 hour marathons of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. I've never sworn to be above much seeing as Taylor Swift is the most played artist on my iTunes and I own every season of Gossip Girl but I would be lying if I said I didn't think I was above reality TV. Well. I was completely wrong. I am not above it. If I could be Khloe for even a day....

I miss Missoula. I miss these mountains. I miss my bridge. I miss my friends. I feel genuinely lucky that Missoula is the place I'd rather be.

My sister is back in Virginia so once again I'm the "only" child at home again. I'm headed back to Missoula once again for the long haul this week and I just can't deal with 6 week long winter breaks anymore.

My mantra for the rest of the month is, "Maggie you NEED a job this semester."

I miss blogging.

My hair looked really good this day. I'm not sure this is a return to "outfit posting" at all. In fact, I'm positive it isn't because I suck at it, but when you have a good hair day.... you should ask your friend to take pictures of you and immediately post those photos to your blog? Guess so.

Wednesday, January 8

discipline

Dun dun dun.

I don't know where my voice went.

My 'voice'. What a stupid but powerful word used by every English major in every single creative writing workshop critique. Some days, despite my best effort, every word I write sounds fake and forced. Like, I'm trying to make lemonade out of my shoddy prose lemons but failing miserably, or some silly life metaphor like that.

You see. I don't believe in New Years resolutions. Never have, never will. When goals are too unattainable, I'll get lazy and quit halfway through (i.e. run a half marathon- reached nine miles and never ran another mile again). But if they're too easy, I also procrastinate and never do them either (i.e. write for ten minutes a day in my journal - nine days straight and then nothing for a month). There's a happy medium somewhere in there and last year I was actually able to achieve all of my New Years GOALS because they felt unattainable but not impossible. I made a to do list for myself and knocked those bullet items out like nobody's business.

This year, my goals aren't quite so far fetched. I don't have any 'big' goals for myself. I accomplished a lot last year and my goals are somewhat more long term ones I hope to accomplish in the next couple years at the moment. This year, I want to attack my nasty habits and flaws. It's one thing to move to a city alone for a summer and work full time, for example, but another to be able to do that but not be able to do simple things like take out the trash and keep my dirty clothes off the floor. Or eat servings of greens and fruit a day. Or establish routine in my life. Or work on those long term goals I have. What kind of adult am I if I can accomplish the big things and not the small ones?!

My goal for 2014 is simple and that is to focus. Focus on staying organized in my life because I seriously struggle with the little things. Utilizing some dang discipline in my life and sticking to it not because I want to, but because I need to.

Looking at the big picture of things, it's the small attention to details that can set someone apart from failure and success. I can't achieve the big things without putting in the extra effort to finish them. That being said, I want to write every single day in 2014. 750 words. Daily. Of anything.

I am trying. I'm determined that this is the year that I prove to myself that I really can do everything to achieve my goals. I can apply for the big internships and get them AND I can work on my own projects with long term end goals every single day. I can work every day towards something I might not see the success of for years. I want to prove to myself that I am passionate about what I am doing and I will do anything it takes to get there. Discipline. I won't be the majority that gives up because something gets hard and I won't be the majority that won't put in the last 10% to make something good great.

Have at me 2014 and this beautiful challenge in front of me. I'm armed and prepared. DSC_1208

Saturday, January 4

the start of 2014

For the past week, I've forgotten what it's like to have a sister who lives across the country.

For the past week, I've forgotten what it's like to have an alarm or how to put on eyeliner.

I've also sort of forgotten about the internet entirely. Oops.

This week, I felt grateful for parents that teach me gym glares to ward the wondering judgmental eyes while you're lifting 7 pound weights and that it's okay to listen to One Direction as a 48 year old woman. My parents are the coolest and by that I mean the least cool. And I wouldn't want them any other way. Growing up and getting to know my parents as people is a pretty neat thing. I see myself in them now in a way that 15 year old me would want to dye her hair black and spend more time at the skate park if she knew I'd turn out exactly like them.

Spending time with my sister has also been, well, humbling. You know what? I am totally an annoying older sister. I totally worry way too much about what she thinks of me. I totally love on her too much. But this realization is a good one. A great one. My sister is her own person and she rocks it. I am my own person and I need to rock it more instead of worrying what other people think.

My boyfriend traveled across the border to visit me this week. It was only about five minutes before he showed up on my doorstep that I realized I had never introduced a new boy to my parents before. Upon telling my dad he was coming his response was, "That dude is coming here?" I think he fully expected me to introduce him to another skinny-jean-wearing metro piece of eye candy so I like to think that by the end of the trip when my dad had texted his few friends to come over to meet my new boyfriend that he was impressed by the floppy hair lanky marching band geek I brought home.

Have I mentioned lately I'm a really big fan of nice boys? NICE boys? The boys I wrote off in high school when I wanted someone who would write me poetry and go shopping with me?

On his last day, I wanted to go somewhere I'd never been. It took only thirty seconds and a few texts to declare that we were going to go the Palouse Falls where apparently the world record for biggest waterfall ridden by a kayaker is held. 186 feet. We took my trusty Subaru on the voyage and thanks to my overpacking tendencies, we shared a bag of pistachio nuts which was our only means of food for the entire afternoon. Oops. We listened to the likes of Beyonce and Arctic Monkeys on the drive. We found the treacherous trail that took us to the cliff's edge of the 200 foot waterfall.

This world and this life are pretty great when you make the most of a single day's potential. I'm going to miss this winter break. I'm going to miss it so badly. Every joyous splendid simple moment of it with the best people in my life.
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