No answers and a lot of maybes on adulting

No answers and a lot of maybes on adulting

Every diploma, every internship, every accolade was meant to lead up to the pinnacle moment where I became the adult I had been training to become. Except that did not happen. Days shy of 23, a year out of college, still an intern and living in my aunt’s attic on a pull-out couch I am not the picture perfect idea of freedom and success that I imagined. Rather, this stage of my life feels more like an end of episode SNL sketch with a professional athlete: uncomfortable, way too long and without a clear punchline.

The most frequent advice I had received about the college to adult metamorphosis was that no one knows what they are doing and everyone is faking it until they were making it. In essence: it just sort of happens. Thus, I put on my big girl sweatpants and geared up ready to sprout some wings. Just like Hilary Duff in 2003, I thought “Why Not?” might as well find my “Inner Strength,” because everything has to be “So Yesterday.”

Regardless of my preconceived perception, there was no cosmic shift, no puzzle pieces falling into place and definitely no evolution to report. My preparation for a smooth sail down the path I created turned quickly into a stumbling, daunting rock trail and I did not pack my helmet and elbow pads.

Seeing many of peers reveling in adulthood with posts about travel, engagements, new homes and more importantly puppies–it is easy to get discouraged that my current version of adulting is defective. I turned to my closest friends and asked them if they felt like adults. The responses ranging from many flat ‘no’s, multiple ‘not even kind of’s and one lonely ‘kinda.’ The best response said by my dear friend Annie: “No and I’m a mom.”

If the majority of the people I surround myself with don’t feel like adults then why are we all trying to pretend like we are?

I can without a doubt say that in the span from college to now, I have pushed the spectrum of emotions on both ends; I have felt total elation and I have had days where I could not get out of bed. I thought that I could blame outside variables into the pressures and stress I am feeling, but they simply do not exist.

The only person trying to force this mold of expectation was me. I have been pedaling through this last year trying to figure out how to get to the top of the mountain looking for all of the answers without acknowledging that maybe frigid peaks are not my thing–I do not have adequate snow gear.

What I have realized is there is no hidden key that’s going to unlock the final boss standing between me and my dream job, my dream city or sleeps filled without anxiety dreams.

I don’t have any of the answers in my own life, I don’t know where to find them, and I definitely don’t even know where to start looking, but maybe that is OK. This adulthood thing never seemed like a suitable fit for me as a child, and maybe it never will. Maybe the best way for me to figure out my adult version of life is to take it as it comes.

Two of my favorite phrases from my mother are “everyone goes at their own speed” and “everyone’s got their own shit.” Ain’t that the damn truth. Although it seems like there are certain milestones in place to be adulting correctly, know that everyone goes at their own damn speed and has their own shit to deal with. And maybe that is just fine.

For those who with similar scrapes and bruises, find solace in knowing that you are not alone. We can ride this confusing life together. Bring your helmet though, we are going to need it.

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Be kind. Be you. Slay.

A lapsed catholic lesbian’s opinion on religious freedom laws

A lapsed catholic lesbian’s opinion on religious freedom laws

After coming out last September, the world became a more colorful place. Living in a world where I am not constantly checking my gayness at the door allowed me tap into a new found happiness and confidence that I did not know existed. People in my Catholic community of Tulsa, Okla., were accepting, loving and supportive. Many of the most devout Catholics I know—including my mother—did not bat an eye at my sexuality. On the contrary, many were genuinely confused as to why it took me so long to bust out of the closet in full rainbow garb.

The influx of “religious freedoms laws” is a harsh reminder why my closet seemed more spacious than it was. Since the founding of our nation, religion has been used a bargaining tool, justifier and legal aide for the harshest forms of discrimination. After what seemed like ultimate progress in a monumental win for the queer community last June, there was immediate and dangerous backlash from GOP state leaders in Indiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma—just to name a few—passing laws to defend their constituents “religious freedom.”

In the past two weeks, the formation of more “religious freedom” or “anti-LGBT” laws have received national attention including North Carolina’s HB2, Mississippi’s HB 1523 and Georgia’s HB 757. The bills in North Carolina and Mississippi were signed into law, but Georgia’s Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed House Bill 757 due to the consequences it would have on the Peach State’s economy. North Carolina’s extreme anti-trans law has led for the state to lose major expansion with PayPal and has been threatened by numerous companies. The corporate backlash and threats expressing their grave dissatisfaction with these bills is the moral standpoint in which many would hope that their state, local and religious leaders would adopt.

These laws use religion, and let’s be frank here, Christianity, for blatant discrimination, but none as transparent as Mississippi’s HB 1532In it, the new law states in Section 2 that:

The sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions protected by this act are the belief or conviction that:

(a) Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman;

(b) Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and

(c) Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.

It’s hard for my brain to process that these abhorrent words so flagrantly stating bigotry were passed in 2016. I am saddened for the people in Mississippi and like-minded states who are now legally allowed to be discriminated against simply for their existence.

As someone who grew up attending Catholic schools and church, who has studied the bible and who knows many members of its faith, I want to express that these laws do a disservice to Jesus’ teachings of acceptance, love and peacefulness. But regardless of the way one interprets religious text, our laws must continue to evolve excluding our individual understanding. We are supposed to be a secular nation founded on the freedom and safety of all its people. Passing these narrow-minded laws into action systematically tear holes in the national fabric of our country.

The statistics for the people in the LGBT community, especially the trans community, who are mistreated, verbally and physically attacked and who contemplate or commit suicide are staggering and these laws have done nothing but applaud and welcome more discrimination. Using religion as a shield for bigotry is archaic, misguided and damaging to the American people. As Abe Lincoln stated: “my concern is not whether God is on our side, my greatest concern is to be on God’s side.” The bible should not be used as a bludgeon to justify laws or actions in condemning an entire group of people, rather we should function in its virtues of inclusiveness, loving our neighbors and treating others with respect even in disagreement.

Every day I wear a necklace adorned with the state outline of Oklahoma. Not because I can overlook the glaring institutional homophobic and transphobic issues with my home state, but because the people that I know that live inside those lines have helped me become who I am as a proud, open and happy gay woman.

Be kind. Be you. Slay.

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Valentine’s Day with your woes

Over the years of asking my friends and family about blog topic ideas I have come to the realization that there is a commonality in their perception of me and with the concept “write what you know.” I thought the questioning would lead to something along the lines of my 2016 predictions, the ratio for a perfect BLT or my opinion on the time jump on Pretty Little Liars. I was wrong. Thus, let us begin with a concrete fact: I have been single for 22 years. If you excel in math, then you will count that up to the summation of my life. That is 22 years of being single on Valentine’s day—not that I understood what that meant for the first 12 of them.WOES

Recent studies show that depression and anxiety rates among young adults spike during the first two weeks of February, according to single white girls with social media accounts. Disparaging the holiday of Valentine’s Day has become a social norm to be likened to the word “literally” and the act of twerking. Everyone is doing it, but now it’s more out of habit than enjoyment.

Regardless of the shade V-Day gets it is actually a pretty dope Roman Catholic holiday celebrating St. Valentine, the patron saint of engaged couples, happy marriages, courting traditions and epilepsy.

Do not fret, this is not a post exploiting the consumeristic nature of V-Day or the deep sadness brewing inside my unloved heart. On the contrary, this is a declaration of love for a day meant to celebrate just that.

Love is a truly beautiful thing. It typically gets romanticized to epic gestures or flamboyant weddings, but in reality, love is just a solid, deep feeling of affection. I feel love for my family and friends, my deceased childhood dog and for Leslie Knope. It’s a form of human affirmation that we aren’t horrible monsters and that others do want to be around us. But “love” gets muddled to romantic partnerships. That the most concrete form of acceptance is finding your one true soul mate, having forty babies and dying holding each other in the bed you shared for sixty years. And that could sound appealing—and maybe even ideal—but typing that statement made me cringe a little.

One of the greatest love stories of all time, Romeo & Juliet, has taught me something very important: don’t fall in love at a young age if you don’t want to deal with the drama of double suicide. Honestly, it taught me that things can get messy in a romantic relationship, whether it’s a disagreement on dinner plans or killing your boo’s cousin in a duel.

This realization led me to embark on a modern love story for the ages: falling in love with myself. It’s less of a cheesy Cosmo suggestion and more of an annoying way of stating that everyone should focus on themselves if they have that luxury this Valentine’s Day. Sometimes there are too many distractions in our lives to really sit down and enjoy our own company.

Regardless of the pressures by societal timelines or binge-watching Rom-Coms, do not feel guilty if your perfect way of celebrating love is being alone. Straight up, I love hanging out with myself. It usually involves two different kinds of meats, a hefty glass of beer and trying to mimic the spiritual voice of Beyoncé.

As Valentine’s Day makes its bend around the corner, let’s acknowledge the important people in our lives with heart emoji-filled texts or throwback Instagram photos, but let’s also celebrate the person we should love the most. In doing this you will help foster a day of mass self-love. When people love themselves, it makes it easier to love others and for others to love you as well.

On a day intended to celebrate what many would consider the purpose of human existence, let’s wine and dine ourselves. We deserve love, especially from ourselves.

Be kind. Be you. Slay.


How my rights in this country will change by the end of this article

Written with immense help and words from my lovely cousin, Jase Tilley.

In my parent’s home, above my red, wooden mirror in my small, teal-tiled bathroom adorns a sticker. It reads, “in a world where you can be anything…be yourself.” A gift from my mother most likely purchased on a whim at the Dollar Tree. It is large and ugly, but its meaning has always lingered dear to my heart.

It is a beautiful sentiment for those who have the means and opportunities to choose their own path in life. When I was younger, I imagined that meant becoming the superhero I always thought I was. As time progressed, the paradox of this sticker left me disheartened.

In 1993, I was born an American citizen in the state of Oklahoma. I wouldn’t know this until the hormones kicked in, but I was also born a lesbian—a part of me that I have not shared with many people. Yes, I did struggle accepting myself for a short period in my adolescence, but a larger part of the reason I have waited until now to come out is because I thought the second I was true to myself would also be the second I would be open to discrimination.

This thought blinded me from the perpetual truth. I damaged not only myself, but possibly other members of the LGBT community by selfishly protecting my personal fear. Morgana Bailey, a human resources activist, gave a TED talk that crippled me. It was poignant, raw, and possibly hit me in the most revolutionary, tear-filled moment I have experienced. In it she says:

I’d always told myself there’s no reason to share that I was gay, but the idea that my silence has social consequences was really driven home this year when I missed an opportunity to change the atmosphere of discrimination in my own home state of Kansas.

In February, the Kansas House of Representatives brought up a bill for vote that would have essentially allowed businesses to use religious freedom as a reason to deny gays services. A former coworker and friend of mine has a father who serves in the Kansas House of Representatives. He voted in favor of the bill, in favor of a law that would allow businesses to not serve me.

How does my friend feel about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people? How does her father feel? I don’t know, because I was never honest with them about who I am. And that shakes me to the core. What if I had told her my story years ago? Could she have told her father my experience? Could I have ultimately helped change his vote? I will never know, and that made me realize I had done nothing to try to make a difference.

For those of you who have known me for a month, a year or a lifetime this may come as a surprise to you. The truth is that nothing changes for you. You may temporarily be titillated by the fact that I shared a secret, or confused as to why I am making such a big deal out of something so a couple months ago. Despite the liberal steps forward our country has seen over the last year, discrimination persists. As a result, something so personal, so consequential to ones happiness, becomes a defining characteristic through which our society views you. Instead of being a personal decision, matters of the heart are subject to public scrutiny, with devastating effects on the LGBT community, and the heart of our nation.

In some states there are laws in place justifying discrimination against people like me by hiding behind the guise of “religious freedom.” In states like Texas, Indiana, Alabama, Kansas and my home state of Oklahoma, it is legal for someone to fire me, prevent me from adopting children, not approve a home and refuse service because of my sexual orientation.

Plain and simple, there is a chance that I could be legally discriminated against in certain states. There will be no physical or tangible difference post-coming out, yet by admitting a singular part of myself, that lingering risk still remains. I am still the same human being I was before you read this article–except I may be sporting a little more rainbow. So does it really make sense that there are laws protecting people who think there is something wrong with the way I was born and no anti-discrimination laws protecting people like me just because I happen to be attracted to Beyoncé instead of Jay-Z?

I was raised in a Catholic home, attending Catholic schools through high school. I was required to take courses that aligned with the Catholic faith. What I learned in my years as a student from the teachings of Jesus Christ was the opposite of what I see conservative politics claiming they are trying to uphold.

I’m no expert, but it seems like Jesus was a cool dude. He taught about acceptance, love, sacrifice, and service. The bible has a couple verses about homosexuality and hundreds about acceptance. That’s like standing in a field of beautiful sunflowers and deciding to pick the only one that is dead and forcing people to smell it.

Although it may be time to get rid of the ugly sticker, the message will finally take shape for me. Today, I finally decide to be me in this world where we can truly be ourselves.

Complimenting Big Girls

Everybody loves compliments. Compliments are inherently said to make other people feel good. I will never refuse one if anyone wants to tell me I am pretty. Or cute. Or beautiful. But is there a way for someone giving a compliment with good intention, actually do the opposite? You’re damn right there is. It happens to us big girls all the time. So let’s tackle some not-so-compliments and shed some light on this issue.

“You have a pretty face.”

How I will respond: “Oh, how sweet. I am glad to know that the rest of me is impossible to look at, but at least I got my face, right?” Probably followed by a soft smile.

Let’s break this down: I know you have zero ill-intent when you are telling me that my face is pretty, but think about how I will perceive that and think about the other times you have said that to people with slightly higher BMI.

What you should do: Be extremely specific — e.g. you have a glimmer in your perfect eyes that I have never seen before, your nose looks like it was sculpted by Donatello or your smile could make Beyoncé jealous. Or simply say, “you’re pretty.”

“You look good. Have you lost weight?”

How I will respond: “I haven’t been on a scale in months, but highly doubtful. I showered today. That could be the difference.”

Let’s break this down: I always look good. At any weight. You probably do too. If I was trying to lose weight you would know about it. I have tweeted every single time that I have been at the Colvin and good luck trying to find when the last time that was.

What you should do: Only make a comment if it is significant weight loss, you heard they were trying to lose weight from the pizzavine (like grapevine, but different gossip crowd), or they explicitly bring it up to you.

“Hey wanna get food? I figured you would be down!”

How I will respond: “Yes.”

Let’s break this down: That’s fair. I would like to go with you, yes. I do not think this has anything to do with my weight, but rather my love for food.

What you should do: Keep asking. Please.

“I watched Bridesmaids and you remind me of that big girl.”

How I will respond: “Like Melissa McCarthy or Megan the actual character in the movie? Thank you if it is Melissa McCarthy, but please never speak to me again if you mean Megan.

Let’s break this down: Melissa McCarthy is a beautiful, hilarious woman who I would be honored to be compared to. Megan is a tragedy — who is hilarious on the big screen — but a terrifying human being if you were to actually meet her.

What you should do: Even if you mean Megan, tell me you mean Melissa.

Film Title: Bridesmaids

Truth is, a compliment is a compliment. I understand that usually when people say these things, it is intended to be sweet and sincere. I really do appreciate them and I would love for y’all to keep sending them my way. I will try to reciprocate them if I can think of any.

“Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top,” – Meghan Trainor

The Zombie Apocalypse and Dinner Conversations

As a child, I was often concerned about villains breaking into my home — too many video games — so I became accustom to planning an escape route to safely get out of my house along with informing and aiding my family in the process. My plan included a slingshot and throwing a chair out the window. Would have been successful if Doctor Octopus every tried anything stupid. Since I have matured into a young adult, I have stopped worrying about something so childish and have aimed my focus on the precautions I would take when the zombie apocalypse happens. Based on all of my extensive research on zombies, including: Warm BodiesI am Legend, ZombielandWorld War Z, etc., I have concluded that there are three important questions one might ask oneself in preparation when mindless, brain-eating ex-humans try to devour your insides.

  1. What will you wear? Think practical and stylish. Like camo cargo pants that can unzip into shorts.
  2. What is your weapon? There is no unlimited ammo, so plan wisely. Tanks are also not an option. Katniss is a badass with only a bow, so I think you will be fine.
  3. Who do you want by your side? Not a companion that you love so dearly you cannot leave their side, but someone who will help keep you alive. Like Bruce Lee or Al Hashemi. Yes, you can bring a dog. But not cats.

Maybe not all of the essential provisions needed for a zombie apocalypse survival, but it is important to at least have a basic knowledge of what you will need to acquire immediately when your diseased friend tries to eat your face. After I answered these questions for myself, I was curious of what my family and friends would do as well. Thus, began my quest to find out what the people I loved would do when the day comes. Just in case you are also someone who believes that there  is a possibility that a widespread disease will overcome humanity, I advise you to at least answer the questions above.

Now when you have finished asking yourself these important questions, it is time for the fun part. Go to dinner with your favorite people. Sit them down and tell them you have something very serious you need to discuss. Ask them the previous questions. When they laugh at you or say something negative to you, scold them politely or punch them in the throat. This is a life or death matter, and should be taken as such. Since you were the moderator of the question, you then get to rank your friends deaths in order of their responses. For this very brief moment in your life you will act as the Grim Reaper. You are welcome for this opportunity.

Stay safe my dear friends, we will survive together. Unless you have the last Twinkie.

Here are some of my favorite tweets, thank you everyone for the very thought out responses. You all know how to prioritize.

Choose Happiness My Dear Friends

I am a firm believer that happiness is a choice. It’s actually proven by science. Anyone can become a person that finds it easier to settle into happiness, rather than dwell in sadness. Smiling is easy. Laughing is wonderful. People are inherently good in their cores. So why are there still Scrooges that exist in the world? If you’re feeling down, please let me give you some advice from my happy heart.

“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” – Julius Henry “Groucho” Marx

  • Find joy in everyday things. Everyday routines slowly become more and more monotonous. Next time when you are brushing your teeth, give yourself a cool, foamy toothpaste mustache. Then shave it. With your toothbrush, please. When you are shampooing up your locks, check out what a mohawk would look like on you. Then decide it is a bad idea and continue to wash your hair.
  • Breathe. It ain’t that bad. Whatever stresses you are dealing with in your life, take a second and breathe. Literally. Like big ol breaths. It is proven to relieve stress. The less stressed you are, the more time you have to be happy. It’s almost Christmas, so the only thing you should be stressed about right now is if Santa Claus and his elves are going to be ready to fly around the world in a very short amount of time.
  • Show gratitude. Telling the people in your life that you are grateful for them is proven to make you happier. What a thought. Making other people happy helps you become happy as well. That sort of sounds like a theory for a perfect world. Go tell someone you’re thankful for them now and spread the happy bug!
  • Stop and smell the donuts. Screw roses. Donuts smell and taste better. If you need a quick happiness high, grab a sweet treat. But try not to over-indulge. I know from personal experience that one donut too many can send you from pure ecstasy to a disgusting, crying mess. Moderation is key, Sarah.
  • Spend some time alone. Spend just ten minutes alone with your thoughts. No smartphones, no Buzzfeed, no Netflix. Just you and your wonderful brain. Think about puppies, the beach or maybe something more spiritual like Beyonce. Whatever makes you merry. Go to your happy place.
  • Surround yourself with people that build you up. It’s easy to be happy when people around you aren’t negatively effecting your mood. Have friends who make you feel like they are lucky to have you in their life. People who look for the good in everyone and stray away from hate. It is easier than one would imagine to conform to other people’s emotions — even hatred. There are more people in the world who want to be happy, as well as see other people happy. Find them, and hold on to them tight. These are the people who will truly succeed in life.

“The most important thing is to enjoy your life — to be happy — it’s all that matters,” – Audrey Hepburn

Go laugh and be merry. Hug a dog. Kiss your grandmother. Play Beyonce’s new album (seriously though). Just be happy. It really is that easy.

Twenty Things to Do in Your 20s

Many of the most transitional phases of someone’s life takes place during their twenties. You could possibly be graduating from college, deciding whether you want to stay in additional schooling for some years, in the process of getting a job, spending some time traveling, starting a family, trying to create a serum to become a superhero etc. But with all of these important decisions it is also important to focus on your relationships, hobbies and most importantly yourself.

Throughout the different stages of your twenties — whether it be the first time you can legally drink or you have just had twin baby girls —  it is time to cross some things off of your bucket list. Here are some ideas for twenty-somethings to accomplish when there is time to set aside school, a job or family and live it up.

  1. Create your list. Before you can accomplish all of your goals, you are going to need to know what they are first.  Know your limits, but be ready to push them. We are about to embark on a journey, so put on your big girl/boy pants, pack a water bottle full of muscle milk and start crossing some things off.
  2. Do something crazy. I know it is cliche to have skydiving on a bucket list, but might as well. Do something that is  physically and mentally challenging for you (e.g. skydiving, rock climbing, swimming in the ocean, running a mile, eating an entire cake) and maybe in the long run it will have a significant effect on you spiritually.
  3. Visit your childhood destination spot and experience it when you can legally drink. Places such as Disneyworld, Atlantis or a family lake house would be fun to revisit. Or if you have a more refined taste for entertainment travel down to Branson, Miss., and enjoy a magic show and Silver Dollar City.
  4. Build a piece of furniture. Only try this if you think you can handle a table saw without losing a finger or an arm.
  5. Create something for the public eye. Enter some poetry into a local contest, paint a still life of some fruit and display it at your university, choreograph a dance and post it on Facebook, or create a video of all of the good times of your friends and send it to them. Whatever motivates you to be creative, make something for other people to see.
  6. Study abroad or travel. If financially you can afford studying in a different country take advantage of that. If you cannot fit it into your budget travel to a city within 5 hours of you and explore what makes that city unique. Branson is only 4 hours and 18 minutes away from Stillwater. 5 hours 2 minutes from Norman. And only 3 hours 15 minutes from the beautiful city of Tulsa. So if anyone wants to go to Branson some time let me know.
  7. Make friends with different beliefs. Surround yourself with people who do not always agree with your opinions. You need people to challenge you and continue to make you question and define your beliefs. If you are a democrat in Oklahoma, you might not need any more friends with different beliefs. Just sayin’.
  8. Read a book from cover to cover that you would never initially consider reading. If you are really into Word War II nonfiction novels, then try out a sci-fi thriller. If you end up hating it, at least you tried something new and learned a little bit from Stephen King about being trapped under a dome.
  9. Treat your parents. After everything your parents have done for you, it is time to repay them somehow. If you just got your first job and have some extra money and do not know what to spend it on how about show some gratitude to your parents. You might think you need the latest Playstation 4, but don’t you think it would be more satisfying to take your parents on a cruise? Don’t abandon the idea of the PS4 though… it is supposed to be amazing.
  10. Have a girls/boys weekend. Go crazy. Have a no judgment weekend with people you know will let your freak flag fly.
  11. Be involved in your local politics. Know what is happening in the mayoral elections, check to see what public meetings you can attend and try one out, attend an SGA meeting or just keep up with your local newspaper.
  12. Learn something new about yourself. Do this by eating at a buffet alone. Do you still get three plates? Or do you feel uncomfortable about eating alone too much that you will pass on the stuffed crab pastry things. I recommend a Chinese buffet. Generally, there is slim to no judgment from anyone when you are there.
  13. Get a caricature of yourself. Have a stranger on a street point out all of your physical flaws and laugh at it when it is done. Realize that your biggest flaws make for the best cartoon.
  14. Spend one entire day without leaving your bedroom (unless you need to use the restroom or getting food). Although I have already crossed this off many times in my life, it is time to for an all day marathon of Game of Thrones, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Friends or whatever your favorite show is. Take your mind off of all of the things that are stressing you out and slip away into the journey of the Khaleesi.
  15. Make your home, dorm or bedroom exactly how you want it to be. Put up a Star Trek poster, have strobe lights in your kitchen, create a lava lamp centerpiece, do anything that makes your living space more unique and more inviting and exciting for you.
  16. Go through your Facebook photos and untag the pictures where it looks like you have had a rough night. As we all know, we live in an era where we are very public about our social lives. That means it is time to take down the picture of you holding up a middle finger and a bottle of cheap vodka. But save them to your computer so you can remember how much you used to suck.
  17. Karaoke. Go sing some Pussycat Dolls. There is nothing more appealing than singing “Buttons” to a group of strangers.
  18. Do a random act of screaming. When you are in a crowded public atmosphere stop what you are doing and yell something unusual. Make sure someone is recording you and then please send it to me.
  19. Express your love. Stop and tell everyone important in your life that you appreciate them. It will not take that long (because you probably don’t have many friends) and it will make the people around you happy.
  20. Be happy. Enjoy the little things and choose to be happy.

Grab a pen and paper and start crossing things off!

The Walking Dead

Walking to class may seem like a casual, tedious routine. But once you hit the the sidewalks and leave the comfort of wherever your journey began, things become awry. Thousands of people will join you in the uncertainty of exchanged glances and awkward half-waves. The adventure to class may be a lonely road for some of you, so let me help advise you how to successfully get to class without uncomfortable side-hugs or fist-to-high five clusters.

  • Pace. Everyone has their own pace that they walk at. Do not conform to someone else’s speed. It is more uncomfortable to walk behind someone at a slow pace than to pass them and possibly have to walk on some rough terrain. Do your own pace. If you think a swift jog might be the best way to go to class then hit that speed and keep on truckin’. You might not get a lot of human interaction other than stares or faint mumbles, but you have to travel at your own momentum. Maybe keep away from a dead sprint though. You might scare some squirrels.
  • Animals. Speaking of squirrels, stray away from all campus animals. At Oklahoma State University we have a plethora of fox squirrels and ducks. They are not the typical creatures you read about in your favorite childhood books. These monsters are more dangerous and clever than they might appear. There is nothing more awkward than being attacked by a duck at Theta Pond and trying to play it off like you are not scared of them. (They are also the only things that are legally allowed to drop some chocolate on sidewalks so watch out for that too, because they take advantage of it.)
  • Smile. When in doubt, smile it out. There are so many people on campus that you have potentially already met but cannot remember when, where or if that ever really happened. Assume that you know everyone, so you never make the mistake of ignoring someone that remembers you better than you remember them. If you do not know someones name, never guess. Calling someone a name that is not theirs is more offensive than Kanye West’s ego. Use nicknames like girl/boy, buddy, amiga/amigo, champ, etc., or just say hello.
  • Almost everybody looks good in sunglasses... Bless your heart Paige.
    Almost everybody looks good in sunglasses… Bless your heart Paige.

    Attire. Don’t dress up. Unless you are required to for class, work, a panhellenic chapter, etc. This is a personal preference. I do not want to be reminded that I woke up a little to late to have time to figure out that my entire ensemble clashes worse than the denim skirt/tight shirt era in middle school. Also wear sunglasses. Everyone looks cool in sunglasses. Unless you’re Paige.

  • Small talk. When you see a friend on campus it is always a very positive, exciting time. You probably want to hear about their weekend or if they watched the most recent episode of New Girl and saw all of the shenanigans that Schmidt has gotten himself into. Well, this isn’t the right time. If you stop and chat, then there is a possibility that you have messed up your pace or formed a barrier for other pedestrians walking. Keep the dialogue short with a quick “Miss ya,” or “You suck.” If something awkward arises from it, then just keep on walking.

Walk to class with your head up. Own a big smile. Say hello to friends and strangers. And don’t forget to watch out for duck shit.

Be safe out there friends.

Free Time: Guide to Joy

The stresses if college making you frown like my attractive friend Renee? Let's fix it!
The stresses if college making you frown like my attractive friend Renee? Let’s fix it!

College is once again in full swing. Mostly everyone has settled back into their hectic schedules of late night binge studying and Taco Bell. The freshmen are beginning to look less oblivious to campus norms, but are suddenly realizing that time management is more complicated than Miley Cyrus. The classes that were once impossible have been successfully dropped, allowing for time to participate in a club or sleep. The gym is starting to look like an increasingly unforeseeable lost desert that you have no intention of ever wandering into. Although there are all of these stresses throughout the week, there are those bright shining moments of free time that are as enjoyable as a molten lava cake at Sonic.

There is nothing I can do about all of the hardships of a college student. But I can advise you on how to better spend your short amount of free time. This guide to joy may be directed toward college students, but is definitely recommended for people of all ages.

  • Play. I know for me it is an instinct to take every drop of free time that I have and throw it into catching up on my shows. But put down the HuluPlus and go play. And ideal moment of play time would include some friends who are pretty willing to act-a-fool and who have an imagination the size of Diana Nyad’s endurance. You guessed it right. People who will let you indulge your fantasy of being a rock star and join your air band group for a jam session (now hiring lead guitarist and bass).
  • Cook. Try out a new recipe. Preferably something that has a lot of cream cheese and butter in it. Recipes are usually meant for two to four people so make a fun dinner for your girlfriend/boyfriend, your roommates or a dentist. Hell, make it for yourself and eat the whole thing. We have all done it multiple times.
  • Themes. If you are throwing a dinner party or just going to a party down the street, it is time to show some spunk by adding your own theme. I am not advising you to attend more themed events. I am pleading you to choose a theme for yourself and dazzle yourself and others by showing up where ever you are in a full blown karate outfit — green belt and all. Nothing is more exhilarating than knowing you do not have to put fancy or tight things on your body. Instead, you can rock that spirit animal shirt that is one to three sizes to big.
  • Cruise. Grab some buddies, hop in a car, put on Summer Hits of the 2000s and let the good memories roll right with you. As “Yeah,” by Usher fills your ears throw your hands in the air — unless you are the navigator of the vehicle. Sing loud and drown out the astronomy test that you just know is going to be the end of you. When people start to sing along with you at stoplights, then you know you are doing it correctly.
  • Read. My blog. Or other things I guess.

“It’s what you do in your free time that will set you free—or enslave you.
” — Jarod Kintz