Monthly Archives: March 2015

Lesson #252: I can’t.

3/30/15.

I was going to write about something fantastic and unexpected and thought-provoking that happened to me today,

but I think you’ll have to forgive me.

I’m currently in the corner of the library trying not to break-down because I am exhausted mentally and physically after driving back to school three hours this morning, going to class and work all day, seeing a friend’s show and sitting through a meeting, catching up on emails, doing an internship application, creating a survey for a group, preparing for an interview, and not studying for a science exam that I have tomorrow morning.

Usually I can pull through, but today I just can’t do it.

So I won’t.

And that takes the cake for the lesson today:

Sometimes, you just can’t.

I mean, let’s be real here. We can’t always “can.”

And that’s now. Today.

So I’m giving myself permission to throw my hands in the air and say “tomorrow.”

It’s just not happening.

I wish there was a way to tie this one up with a nice pretty bow–

but there’s really just nothing more to it.

When you’re done, when you’re worn out, when you can’t,

let yourself be just that.

You’ll figure out how to pick up the pieces when you can.

Day 252.

Lesson #251: Earlier than later.

3/29/15.

Get what you need, or what you want, earlier than later.

Because later usually means it won’t be there at all.

Nothing is promised.

And you know what they say—

better safe than sorry.

Day 251.

Lesson #250: Talk about fear.

3/29/15.

Talking about what you fear the most can actually release some of the fear itself.

Most of the time, you aren’t alone.

And when you realize that, you’re past the scariest part of it anyways.

Day 250.

Lesson #249: Going home

3/27/15.

When your mind, heart, and soul needs a little boost,

there really is no place like home.

Day 249.

Lesson #248: Tatro-fied.

3/26/15.

Let’s just talk about the fact that Jimmy Tatro, internet sensation and 22 Jump Street movie star, was standing two feet in front of me tonight.

I am part of my school’s event program board. We bring entertaining events, shows, comedians, and speakers to campus. And I would say we out-did ourselves on this one.

We don’t get to meet every entertainer one on one, but one of the perks of working the events is that us peasants get to be in their presence.

This was a very special show for me, because YouTube is a very special community to me. I’ve been making videos for seven years now, and as a YouTuber, seeing other YouTubers follow their dreams and doing it big is awesome. Even when you don’t know the person personally, it’s a special kind of bond that content creators share—ask anyone who makes videos.

And at the end of the show, Jimmy was standing right in front of me. We made eye contact. Yet NOTHING CAME OUT OF MY MOUTH.

I was too ridiculously star-struck and idiotic and scared to open my mouth and say “Hello, I make YouTube videos too, but I’m way less cool than you.” Because how stupid and pointless does that sound?

Anyway, we took a group picture and said thank you and then he left, and now I will never be able to say hi, because I’m an idiot.

I didn’t expect him to go look up my videos tonight and watch them or share them, but I just wanted to be cheesy, and tell him from a small creator to a big one how awesome it was, what he was doing.

And that’s obviously not happening.

So lesson learned.

When you get a once in a life-time chance? Who cares how crazy you look. Do it. Because it won’t ever happen like this again.

Ugh. Take it from me.

Day 248.

Lesson #247: Movement. (Or, That time I saw Selma)

3/26/15.

Tonight I finally saw Selma.

It never gets easier to see things like this.

Ever.

I’m pretty sure I’ve never cried so many angry, heart-broken tears during a movie in my entire life.

Seeing what black Americans went through in the past to earn us what we have today seems unfair. Not just the mass cruelty that occurred, but the fact that people lost their lives in the pursuit of it all. The fact that they did this for us, for the future of America—but what have we suffered in comparison? People willingly and unwillingly died for what we have today, and yet, we didn’t even know them. We never will.

It rattled me. But the good things always do.

Reading about history on a page and seeing it portrayed in front of you are two very different things.

Keeping in mind that not everything is 100% accurate, the representation of it all—visually—is still a very powerful thing.

What I love about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s story is his persistence.

Most articles and textbooks paint Dr. King as a fearless leader, and no doubt, he was.

But what I loved about this specific portrayal of his life and his works is that it showed multiple sides of Dr. King. Not just his fearless one.

The film demonstrated that Dr. King, too, was scared, just like any of us. He called a friend in the middle of the night in tears, telling her he needed the Lord to speak to him. He marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge with hundreds of followers, only to turn around after bowing down. He didn’t always know what to do. He didn’t always know how to act, or react. He was human.

But he was strong. He was articulate, and eager, and passionate, and hopeful. When President Johnson wouldn’t change the law, Martin didn’t stop there. He just knew he had to start elsewhere. (It seems like Dr. King knew all about Lesson #245, hehe.) He was smart. He was strategic. He did what was uncomfortable. He raised hell. He found another way. And he did this all while remaining true to his people, and true to his faith. Fear was real for him; it was there, but it was conquered. And with that, one man changed the world.

Some things are hard to face. I can’t even tell you how many times I wanted to turn away from the screen, and close my eyes. I was scared and saddened, but stirred and inspired.

It’s good to be shaken up every once in a while.

Let things that make you feel, feel.

Movement is what starts it all.

First, within yourself.

Then, with others.

Day 247.

Lesson #246: You are seen.

3/24/15.

Bare with me.

Last week, I was told to come pick up a sketchy letter.

I got an email from someone I had never heard of, and that’s all it said. It didn’t say for what or from whom. It just told me the room to get it from.

Lucky for me, it wasn’t in corner of some dark alley way. It listed a familiar office on campus, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

I went to pick up the letter, opened it, and was gladly surprised to find what was inside.

It was a letter addressed to me from a group I had never heard of. They explained to me how my school, James Madison University, was originally an all female college. Over many years, the college has transformed into an multi-gendered university, from half a quad into an entire campus with two sides connecting across a high way. There have been additions, changes, laws, and growth. Because of the students who first stepped foot on this campus over one hundred years ago, the school has become what it is today.

They told me that today, my efforts are making this university stronger as well.

They wrote: “You have shown a passion for excellence and because of your energy, every individual that you have come in contact with has had a better experience during their time here.”

They told me that they chose to recognize me because the joy that I bring to my life and involvement is infectious. They listed all of my leadership involvements: my position as PR & Recruitment Vice President for National Society of Collegiate Scholars (which is weird, because not too many people know this about me) and my newly earned position next year as Senior Class Treasurer. What really freaked me out, is what came next.

They talked about my blog.

So hello, you could be reading this right now.

It didn’t say it was a secret society, or an organization, or a club. It was just a group of people, connecting, encouraging, and inspiring the leaders of JMU—from today, yesterday, and tomorrow.

It told me to report to a certain room with the 11 other selected peers at a certain time next week—which was yesterday night.

So I did.

And it was one of the most rewarding, inspiring, insane, incredible, and odd nights of my life.

I’m still not sure who chose us, or if they were present during the meeting. Nothing on any of the letters said the selection was a secret, but the mystery and anonimity of it all boggled us. One of the guys joked around, searching the room for hidden cameras. We left the door open, we shut it. No coordinators ever came. Only the 8 out of 12 people who showed up.

Even now, it still gives me chills.

You may be the next one nominated—so I won’t spoil all the fun.

But I will say that we were left with a note, a box, and a camera. And we had two hours to sit with each other, talk about our experiences, and create something. Anything.

I was put into a room with seven other strangers (some familiar), and that night we walked out with seven acquaintances—with seven friends.

Every one of us was a different year, or major, and had different achievements and successes to share. Everyone came from somewhere different— New Jersey, Connecticut, Africa. Everyone ended up at JMU for a different reason—and for some, like myself, it wasn’t our first choice. Everyone had a different dream, or passion. One was a tutor, one was a business owner. Some want to teach, some want to act, some want to design, or tell stories, or work in the government creating policy. Some didn’t know at all.

But I think it’s safe to say we all had one thing in common.

The passion to leave an impact on others’ lives.

And through this—we bonded and talked for two hours.

I learned so many things and heard so many stories that at one point, I was so moved that I almost cried.

I could go on forever about what we talked about, but I won’t.

So instead: my favorite part of the night was this one.

An incredible girl who I had the pleasure of getting to know better that night told a story about one of the most powerful things that has ever happened to her, and how it linked back to the situation we were all in that night.

She said that last year she was struggling with a lot in her life. She didn’t tell anyone, and mostly kept it to herself. One day, her roommate came into her room and said, “Hey. I just want you to know that I see you. I see that you are going through something. You don’t want to talk about it, and that’s okay, but I see it. Come talk to me whenever and if you’re ever ready.”

I can only imagine how powerful that must have been for her, because just hearing her tell the story moved me deeply.

“You are seen.”

She told us how that connected to this night. How this letter, to all of us, said: “You are seen.” We didn’t ask to be seen, we didn’t necessarily want to be seen, but we were. And we are. We all are. And sometimes, that’s exactly what we need.

We need to know that we are seen, loved, appreciated. It’s just human of us. Whether it’s a friend comforting us at our worst, or a stranger praising us at our best.

We are humans, and we need to be seen.

Knowing someone knows is an awfully great thing.

Tell someone—anyone today—that you see them.

Tell them that they are alive. They are real. They are important.

So.

One.

I’m telling you to step out of your comfort zone.

Yea, maybe you should go pick up a sketchy letter and show up to a room with strangers on a Monday night.

Two,

you are seen.

I see you, and you are loved.

Day 246.