Easter Lovin’

Hello y’all and happy Easter (if you celebrate)!

Also, I apologize for the southern y’all, but I just can’t shake it since being back from Selma.

Anyway, happy Easter! I’m not sure why, but lately, I have been reflecting a whole lot on my past year. And actually, thinking about it, I know exactly why. Last year, I wrote a blog post on Easter that was basically talking about how the holidays were so different as a twentysomething – there was no more Easter Bunny, no more colored eggs, and worst of all, no family love around. I love school and my job is great, but last year, being away from everyone I loved was hitting me hard.

This year, things are looking a little different. I facetimed with my parents this morning, I called my grandmother, I had an amazing brunch with a really good group of friends, and then I went to see my sister to catch up, see a movie, and have a nice Easter dinner. And now, I’m here. Writing this blog. It really is amazing to see how much can change in one year. Last year, I felt completely isolated and alone. This year, I was surrounded by friends, family, and love.

And fittingly enough, I’m listening to one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite musicals – Seasons of Love from Rent – as I write this.

“How do you measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee, in inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife, in five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
How do you measure a year in the life?
…measure in love.” 

And friends, that is the difference. Last year, last Easter, was 365 days ago. I lived in a different apartment. I had different friends. I was taking different classes. I had, for all intents and purposes, a completely different life.

What changed was my mindset. My perspective. This Easter, I am choosing to live in love.

Last Easter, after I wrote my semi-emo forever-lonely blog post, I received an outpouring of love and support from all of those around me. I just didn’t see it. A friend sent me a care package, two friends called me immediately after I posted the blog just to check in, people asked me about it the next day…it was just great, but I didn’t see it in the same way. This year, I’m in a place where I can not only feel the love around me, but I can share it. I can give love to others to acknowledge my own appreciation. But, admittedly, that is hard to do when you aren’t in that place. So for all who are reading, here are some reminders.

  1. Love yourself. Love others. In that order.
    • Last year, I was not in a place to share love. My well was empty, and it needed some serious refilling. I needed to focus on myself first, so then I could learn to see and appreciate all the love that was surrounding me.
  2. Take off the blinders. 
    • Last year, I was only able to see what was right in front of me. Looking outside that perimeter, there is so much more. Most of the friends that I have (still) are not in the same city as me. And the friends that I do have here this year are only friends because we are able to have a deep and genuine connection. Everyone else can step. But family is still family, even if they are five hours away. Taking off the blinders can help you see all the surrounding love that might not be in your physical area.
  3. It’s not easy.
    • Just because I’m in a better place this Easter doesn’t mean that last year was a picnic. Being open-hearted means being vulnerable, and even to this day, that is one of the hardest things for me to be. It’s scary. But through love, it is possible.

So with that, I am spreading all the Easter love this year to all of you today and every day!


The Ghosts of Twentysomething Past, Present, and Future

I feel like every single blog post for the past month has been about the new year. Well, why break the streak now? I hope you’re not tired of it, yet. Maybe by February I’ll think of a new topic…

But for this week, I have one final thought on 2016. At least, for right now. As the new year is well underway, I’ve been surprised by the number of times this year I’ve been visited by ghosts of my past. Skeletons in the closet, if you will. And most of these skeletons, surprisingly, have been from relationship-type situations. The worst. This week alone I responded to a four-month-old Facebook message from an ex, was laughed at by someone when I told him I only wanted to be friends,  and gave out my number to this cute guy at Starbucks.

Well, damn. That is a lot to happen in one week! Especially for me, someone who is chronically single, someone who uses the answer “nonexistent” when someone asks me about my love life. And yet, from these three experiences this week, I’ve learned something from each one. They’ve all signified something important about my relationships…the past, the present, and the future.

  1. The Ghost of Twentysomething Past
    • This is my favorite ghost. The Ghost of Twentysomething Past is the ghost that I have learned the most from. It’s also the ghost that can be the most painful, which is hard. And surprise, it never goes away. Ghosts of your past will always be a part of your life tapestry, no matter how many times you wash, rinse, and repeat. It’s up to you how you view it: a tarnished stain, or a beautiful new set of stitches. It reminds you of who you are and why you are here today. Maybe you aren’t with that person anymore, or you didn’t end on the best of terms, but there’s a reason for that. Looking in the past, it gives you the opportunity to reflect, learn, and grow. Hindsight really can be 20/20.
  2. The Ghost of Twentysomething Present
    • I find this ghost to be the most unexpected (yes, even more unexpected than the future). Here’s why: sometimes, the future is so far away that it’s not even worth making plans. The typical case of this is saying something like “I really want to wear a white bow tie on my wedding day!” when you’re still single AF. It’s hard to plan for the future if your present isn’t lined up first. So you go on a few dates, think it’s going really well, and then BAM. You meet someone else, something comes up, it’s not a good time. Whatever the reason. Which is why, in the Ghost of Twentysomething Present, it’s important to be as adaptable as possible. Things will always be happening. In the present, anything could happen at any moment, the script is still being written. Whereas the past is archived and the future is still blank. Life is a constant state of change, and you won’t feel it more than in any other moment but the present.
  3. The Ghost of Twentysomething Future
    • The ghost of excitement. New beginnings. Also, the ghost of anxiety, nervousness. Uncharted territory. The Ghost of Twentysomething Future leads to thirtysomethings, fortysomethings, and beyond. It leads to milestones. There are a whole bunch of stories from older thirtysomethings and fortysomethings saying that if they could give one piece of advice to current twentysomethings, it would be to prepare more for the future. That’s all fine and dandy, and I don’t necessarily disagree. But I also think it’s important to keep an open mind and not try to plan detail by detail. Be ready to embrace your future with open arms.

What’s most important in all of this, though, is that the past, present, and future are all a part of who we are, and help to tell our own individual story. It’s what makes us unique. It’s what makes us who we are. And for that, it is beautiful.

(Not) Spinning Out of Control

This week has been a freaking week, let me tell you.

In one week, I visited my sister, caught up with a friend from college, went to an LGBTQ dinner club, went on a really great date, played bananagrams with friends, started rewatching Parks and Rec, AND let’s not forget the best part…I MET LAVERNE COX!!! Yes, it’s true.

But despite all of those really great things, three events stick out the most in my mind:
1. I caught malocchio (the evil eye)
2. I lost my wallet
3. I “forgot” about a Starbucks shift and completely missed it

It’s the rotten apple idea. Why does one apple have to ruin the whole orchard?!

There’s a theme with my three rotten apple moments. I had absolutely no control over anything that happened. Although there were precautions I could have taken, the truth is, I didn’t take them. And in the moment, there was nothing I could do. I could’ve worn my Italian protection charm to bed every night, but I didn’t. I could’ve kept my wallet in my back pocket, but I didn’t. I could’ve triple checked the dates I was working at Starbucks, but I didn’t.

And when I caught malocchio, realized I lost my wallet, and got that call from work, there was nothing I could do. It was too late. Some may see this as a sign…”Michael, you are spinning out of control what the heck is everything okay what’s wrong how can I help?!??” STOP RIGHT THERE. Everything is fine. But sometimes, life sweeps you up. And when you’re being swept up in that tornado of life, here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Remember: some things are out of your control
    • Just reminding yourself of this can help. You can tear apart your bedroom, have friends and coworkers search your office, your room, etc. But damn, deep down you know that if you can’t find that wallet, you are out of luck. It’s not going to magically appear after you’ve searched up and down for a week. Once it’s done, it’s done. That doesn’t mean you can’t do anything at all, however, which leads me to point #2.
  2. Utilize your resources 
    • When I found out I had malocchio, I immediately texted my dad. I didn’t care that it was midnight. “Help! I have malocchio!” The curse had been cast, it was already done. But I couldn’t just sit back and let it take it’s toll. The next day, my dad called me and told me that my aunt in Italy confirmed that I did indeed have malocchio, and she was doing her rituals to cast it away. And it worked! Reaching out to other people in your spinning moments can be a good thing.
  3. Take time to grieve the situation
    • This sounds dramatic. “Grieve the situation.” But I’m totally serious. Just because something is out of your control doesn’t mean you can’t (and shouldn’t) talk about it. Everyone I came into contact with last week knows about my lost wallet. And when I realized I looked at the wrong date I was scheduled to work, I was with a friend over an hour away. “Okay, deep breaths,” she said, “And let’s talk through it.” And we did.
  4. Follow up
    • You can bet your ass I’m never going to miss a Starbucks shift again. And I’m going to (try to) be extra extra careful with my wallet next time. If there is any precaution to be had, do it. Try to avoid “a next time.”

Some may see these events as “spinning out of control.” But I’m choosing to see it as a growth opportunity. You live and you learn. Learn from the experiences that are handed to you, even if they are all your fault, or not your fault at all. There is always something to be gained.