31 May, 2012

So Damn Much More.

I have dreams, and they're a lot bigger than what I feel like I can handle at times.  I used to be really confident that I could do whatever I wanted to, for I was a big fish in a small pond.  I graduated third in my class of 581 (with weighted grades).  I took all honors, College in the Schools (CIS), and Advanced Placement (AP) classes.  I even asked my counselor if I could transfer health classes in ninth grade because I felt like I couldn't handle being in such a normal leveled class.  My head was entirely too big to fit on my neck.  Not only did I get all A's except for two A-'s, but I always rocked tests without studying.  I got mostly 5's on my AP tests, even for one of the tests that I didn't take the class for.  I went into college with sophomore standing, and I was planning to graduate with a 4.0.  Then I realized something: college is hard.  Also, a lot of people at my school graduated with the same type of rep as me.  So now I had to realize that I have to work for what I want.  And I might not get it.  Realizing this was really hard, because I started to feel like a failure.  If I wasn't the best, I felt like a failure.  I have come to realize that I don't need to be the best, I just need to be the best I can be.
With my new lack of confidence academically, my new goals and dreams feel like they're too big for me.  However, these are my dreams.  If I don't try to reach for them, that's even worse than failing.  So here I am, writing down my goals, because that's the only way to make them real:
I am going to graduate college with some degree of honors, and I am one day going to make the news of my school, whether it be the front page of the website or the newspaper, because of some sort of accomplishment I make.  I am going to try my hardest to get a Fulbright scholarship, and do research overseas somewhere for a year with a brilliant professor.  I am then going to go to graduate school at a really good school outside of Minnesota to get my Ph.D. in some sort of psychology, all while teaching undergraduate or doing research, so I have to pay a lot less than full price.  I am then going to be a kick ass professor and change lives, all while researching kick ass things in psychology.
Well, there you have it.  Those are my dreams.  And I haven't even added the "I want to get a boyfriend and potentially get married someday" and whatnot into the mix.  This post was more for my sake than yours, because I know it doesn't matter to you what I do.  I've just realized that I need to kick myself into gear, because these dreams are really impressive.  If I accomplish half of what I want, then I'll have a pretty kick ass resume.  Oh, and sorry Tara for the excessive use of the term "kick ass" in this post.
Here's another song to leave you with.  It's my theme song, and I listen to it any time I feel like I can't do what I want.  But you know what? I'm a hell of a lot bigger than my 5'2" body gives me credit for.  This song just makes me remember that I was made for a hell of a lot more than a boring, average life.  We all are.  I was made to dream, and dream big.  This song just makes me excited for the future, rather than terrified that I'll be rejected and fail.  I just need to remember something Jillian Michaels has taught me: You are strong. This is easy for you.  There is nothing you can't do!


It's OK not to be OK.

There are key moments in life that test you and truly push you to the breaking point.  It can be the decision to end a relationship, being heartbroken, or the end of a chapter in life.  We as humans like stagnancy; we find change to be a scary thing.  However, these key changes are not only good, but necessary for us to grow to be the people we truly want to be.  Being stagnant does not do any good.  Stagnancy causes us to become arrogant in thinking we are as good as we can be; we lose our ability to see areas for improvement.  These key changes are some of the hardest moments in our lives.  These are the moments that define who we really are.  I know from experience, as I have just ended the most difficult and life-altering year of my life.  The worst times bring out someone's true personality.  I'm going to be the first to say that I don't like who I was this year, and that I feel like these bad times brought out the worst in me.  However, these times have also made me realize what is truly important in life.  I have realized that I do not need people in my life who are going to bring me down, especially when I bring myself down enough as it is.  The people who truly matter are my friends and family members who will love me unconditionally, and are willing to give me a second chance if I need it.  I am not perfect, and I need people in my life who realize that and are forgiving at times.  I have also realized that I cannot be truly happy without being truly happy with who I am.  Though I am not there yet, realizing that I need to love myself before I can really love life has helped me become a more positive person.  I have started realizing that the little things are the things that truly matter.  The time in my life that I wish I could have just skipped over is the time that has affected my future the most, and I hope for the best.  I feel like I am truly a better person because of this experience, and I am much more of a forgiving and loving person because of it.
However, I am not ending the chapter of my life that is Sophomore Year saying that it was 100% awful and I wish it had never happened.  A lot of amazing things happened this year that I am so thankful for.  I got to go to China, which I have made clear were the 3 most amazing weeks of my life.  I got to grow even closer to Tara, both because I got to have her by my side all through China and because she let me cry to her over absolutely everything.  I got some amazing friends that I wouldn't have had otherwise.  And whats best, I really like who I am now.  If I hadn't gone through the hell that was this year, I would be such a different person.  And I really prefer this me to the old me.  So, even though I had to go through hell to get there, I'm at a great place in my life.  A place I wouldn't be in if this past year hadn't happened.  Of course, I have to thank all of my amazing friends who were there for me every time I needed it, and my counselor Wendy, for making it possible for me to get to this place.  It can only go up from here, and I have huge dreams for the future.
I really wanted to share this song with you, because its the song that got me through this year.  Honestly, I have yet to hear a song that has spoken truer to how I was feeling.  Doesn't hurt that her voice is killer.

Here's another song that I love about finding yourself, something I'm in the process of doing:

Here's a song that really gets me excited, because I'm really excited about MY Shadow Days being over :)

27 May, 2012

Why I Caved and Decided I Like Country Music

I used to dislike country music.  Nope, I hated country music.  I despised it.  I always said that it was the dumbest genre ever; I would actually say that I liked any genre of music except country.  I preferred screamo to country.  Yeah, that's how much I hated country.  I was lying to myself, because I was a huge fan of Faith Hill.  I would say she "didn't count".  However, my sister got into country a few years ago, and I subconsciously started liking it.  Then I got placed with my roommate Emileah, who only listens to country and Christian music.  So, here I am today, a fan of country music.  And I've finally figured out why.
I used to joke that country music was only about the singer's ex girlfriend, their truck, or their dog.  However, I've learned quite the opposite.  I've come to realize that country music is one of the only genres that sings about what really matters.  Mainstream music sings about drinking all the time, getting laid, and getting called... maybe.  Don't get me wrong, I love mainstream music.  It can be really fun.  But mainstream music makes me feel unimportant.  It makes me feel like I am a piece of meat and that no guy is actually going to care about me for more than my ass ass ass ass ass ass ass or my humps.  Popular male artists aren't vulnerable anymore.  There are very few true love songs nowadays.  However, country music doesn't make you less of a man for caring about a girl and truly being in love with her.  I'm in a time in my life when I feel unwanted and I feel like I'm not worth it sometimes, and songs like these are the songs that make me feel like its going to get better.  Songs like these keep my faith in love alive, because it makes me feel like I'm not the only person in the world who has this perception of what love is.  Though I still like to sing and dance to fun mainstream music, country music is what I need to keep my spirits up.  Plus, its really great to listen to a genre that isn't overplayed on the radio.


P.S. I decided to post today because it is my most avid follower's birthday and I know she LOVES when I have a new post for her to read!  Happy birthday Tara, I love you so much!

24 May, 2012

Keep Calm and Get Inked

I am a good, white, suburban, Christian girl, and I am obsessed with tattoos.
My father is probably rolling over in his grave right now.  He barely wanted me to get my ears double pierced, I doubt he ever would have been okay with me getting inked.  Especially at sixteen, which is when I got my first tattoo.  My father passed away from lung cancer when I was in seventh grade, and I just always knew that I would get a tattoo in memory of him someday.  So my mother went with me to get it done a week before my seventeenth birthday, and now I have his name in Chinese on my left shoulder.  Fast forward a few years later, and I am in the tattoo studio again, this time getting the words 'Awake My Soul' on my right food because it was the Mumford and Sons song played at my church during the service that inspired me to get baptized.  So here I am, recently turned 20, and I have two tattoos.  And I want more.
I love tattoos.  I would never get covered, I want to be professional if need be.  However, I just love the meaning of them.  The fact that something is so important to someone that they want to carry it with them all day, every day, for the rest of their life, is truly beautiful in my opinion.  I hate tattoos of Tweety Bird or something stupid like that.  Tattoos that have meaning and are done right are the ones I'm talking about.  I already have about four more tattoos in mind.  I don't know if I'll actually get all of them, but I've just come to this point in my life where I've realized what truly matters to me, and I want people to know.  I want to show off the fact that I am a believer in Christ.  I love my Chinese tattoo, because I get to pay respects to my father every day.
I hate straightforward tattoos. My tattoos (already existing and future) all have direct correlation to what they stand for, but its just in a different way so I have to explain it to you.  I love that my tattoos are just that, MINE.  NO ONE ELSE in the entire world has my father's name tattooed on them.  Someone else probably has the words Awake My Soul from the Mumford song, but I doubt anyone else has it with a Christian meaning because it inspired them to get baptized.  I also doubt that anyone else is going to get words from Le Petit Prince because of the reason I want to get mine.  My tattoos are my permanent statement of what matters in my life, and I do not regret them one bit.  Tattoos are a big deal and shouldn't be gotten on a whim.  But if you think it through and get it done right, a tattoo can be one of the best purchases you will ever make.
Il faut bien que je supporte deux
ou trois chenilles si je veux
connaitre les papillons.

21 May, 2012

Wit Beyond Measure is Man's Greatest Treasure


Happiness can be found in even the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.
Harry Potter is not just a book series.  I want to clarify that.  Harry Potter always has been, and always will be, so much more than that.  I have been an avid Harry Potter fan since the fourth grade, and I will be an avid fan until the very end.  I love integrating Harry Potter into my every day life because Harry Potter is so much more than a series about wizards and magic.  Harry Potter is a story of good triumphing evil, and it teaches so many important morals and life lessons.  Harry Potter has taught me the importance of friendship and love, and I will never get sick of reading those stories. J.K. Rowling is such a great author in that she has provided such detail to a world that is entirely her own; yes, she has a lot of writing issues (that I don't mind), but being able to make connections between the first and seventh book is an amazing feat.  She created characters that I have learned to love with all of my heart, and will continue to love. Always.  I know Harry Potter isn't real, and that I should probably get over it, but Harry Potter is my childhood.  I sobbed at the end of it, because my years revolved around when the next Harry Potter book or movie was coming out.  It was something I used to related to my friends with, and my closest friends that I have made were the ones who I am able to be myself around and be nerdy and giddy about Harry Potter with.  Harry Potter has so many characters with such strength, that I have learned that I am capable of doing amazing things.  Harry was just a random child who happened to be born at the end of July, and because of that he was forced into being Voldemort's arch nemesis.  He did not choose that.  And Hermione and Ron could have walked away at any time, but they didn't.  Hermione especially, taught me that I can be a warrior rather than the damsel in distress.  I know that a lot of Christians disapprove of Harry Potter, but I don't love it for the magic and whatnot.  I love it because of the character it has given me.  I will love Harry Potter until the very end, and I will read it to my children someday.  If they learn half as much as I did from Harry Potter, I will be a proud parent.

20 May, 2012

Love is All You Need

A few nights ago I was given one of the best compliments of my life, and it really inspired me to think about what I stand for.  I was with my friend Kelsi, and the topic of religion came up.  I really dislike talking about religion with people who have different beliefs than me because a) I hate when people make fun of or belittle my beliefs and b) I feel like I don't know enough about the Bible and such to have a good conversation with them.  Anyway, Kelsi and I have differing opinions on God, and after telling her about my beliefs, she told me that she wishes more Christians were like me.  And I'm not trying to get all righteous, for I know that is a sin in itself.  I was just extremely flattered.  I hate when Christians are so in-your-face, my-faith-is-better-than-your-faith, so I just try to not be like that.  I just find it rude.  I believe that there is no possibility that anyone in the world can have all the answers, so why are we as Christians so conceited that we think we do?  And who are we to judge other people based on their beliefs or actions?  God is the only judge, according to the Bible.  There is a Bible verse that says that you should get the log out of your eye before you tell someone about the speck of dust in theirs.  This means that you better have your shit together if you're going to start pointing out other people's sins.  The Bible also says that all sins are equal, so no one can be judged for one sin but not another.  Liars are just as bad as murderers.  Both of these lead me to believe that I am not allowed to judge or 'condemn' people based on their beliefs, actions, or preferences.  God is the only one to judge, and in the mean time, it is my job as a Christian to love everyone.
You know what, Christians can be terrible.  So many Christians believe that because they have declared their faith in God and Jesus that they get to do whatever they want.  You know what?  That's not how God works.  The God I believe in is a God of love and forgiveness.  He will love you, NO MATTER WHAT.  However, if you are going to follow Him, it is your job to try and be a better person.  You cannot sin and say "its okay, God will forgive me."  He will, for He is WAY too kind and loving to us.  But it is your job as a Christian and a follower in Christ to aim to be a better person.  Too many Christians believe that they are amazing and perfect because they believe in God and Jesus.  You know what, I love Jesus, and I know I am a sinner and I do not deserve to be forgiven for a lot of the things I've done in my life.  I am blessed to have a God who loves me enough that He can just forget about some of the things I've done.  And I'm not saying that me recognizing this fact makes me a better person or Christian at all.  I just think that these self-righteous Christians give a bad name for the rest of us.  My goal is to be like Jesus, the one who protected the prostitute by saying "Let he who has not sinned throw the first stone".
I don't see why people can't be more like this and just love.  The world would be such a better place if everyone just loved more and hated less.

18 May, 2012

My Stereotypical "Who I Want to Fall In Love With" Post

This is my stupid, I'm a super romantic, and this is what I want in a guy post.  But not like, "I want someone who is tall, dark, and handsome", because honestly, I don't really care what he looks like.  I hope he's decent looking, and I hope that we would mesh well enough that our kids wouldn't look like monsters, but you know, that can be a lot to look for when you are looking for a genuine guy like I am.  All I really want is someone who is going to love me for me, and isn't going to try and change me.  I want someone who will appreciate my love for Backstreet Boys.  And you know what, my dream guy will sing me a BSB song that is relevant to our relationship, even if he's a terrible singer, because he knows it'll make my day.  I want a guy who likes that I love yoga for more than just because my ass looks fine in yoga pants (though I want him to appreciate that, too).  I want a guy who is going to kiss me just because he wants to, not because it's going to lead to more.  I want a guy who is willing to respect my boundaries and won't push them.  I've dealt with those losers who don't respect you, and they're just not worth it, no matter how nice they are otherwise or how good looking they are.  I want a guy who likes that I like to learn, and I want a guy who is willing to travel the world with me.  If he doesn't want to travel, it'll be a pretty lonely relationship.  I want a guy who is into music, because I don't understand people who don't love music.  I want a guy who either a) loves Harry Potter as much as I do or b) won't make fun of me for my love of Harry Potter.  He needs to like the fact that I love tattoos, and be okay with me getting more.  In general, he has to like and love me for me.  If he wants something different, then its not actually going to work.
Of course, I have things I want in a guy, like exact personality traits.  However, they're a lot more flexible.  People change in a relationship; I had a totally different type before I dated my high school boyfriend.  And now I want something different.  And maybe I'll date someone, it won't work out, and then I'll want something even different.  I believe that all people are wonderful, and I'm sure I could fall in love with many different types of guys if offered the chance.
So, in general, I've thrown all rules that I once had about guys out the window.  I am now looking for someone who is happy, loves life, and would find living life by my side interesting and fun.  I'm not looking for someone right now, but if it happens I won't be disappointed.  I'm just seeing what life throws my way.

09 May, 2012

Why the Great Wall of China was the best day of my life


He who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left.
I had no idea how much of an impact the Great Wall of China would have on my life.  I thought it would be cool, you know, seeing one of the great wonders of the world.  I have never truly understood the real meaning of the word awesome until this moment.  Take the literal meaning of the word, not the meaning we use today as a synonym for "cool".  Awesome means "extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear".  Well, I have never in my life been so inspired with admiration, apprehension, and fear in my entire life.

We did not walk the area of the Great Wall where most tourists go.  The class was a Health and Exercise Science class, so the professors wanted to do something difficult and adventurous.  So we climbed the area of the wall that was deteriorating, basically.  I am terrified of heights, and there were areas where I literally could have tripped to the side and fallen off the side of the Wall to my death.  The steps were extremely steep, there were chunks taken out of the ground, basically we did not walk the Great Wall, we hiked.  We were given the opportunity to turn back, but I didn't.  Granted, it was at the easier part of the Wall, so I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  If I had, I probably would have turned around.  If I had been given the opportunity to go on the normal tourist part of the Wall or the part we walked, I probably would have chosen the easier path.  However, I didn't have a choice, so I took the path less travelled by.

The feeling of accomplishment when I finished the five mile hike was the best feeling I have ever felt in my entire life.  I was so high on life, I was so inspired by what I had just done.  I honestly couldn't stop smiling.  I wrote the largest journal entry of my entire trip about that day.  Those few amazing hours changed my entire perspective on life.  Because of the amazing feeling that conquering my fear gave me, I now want to conquer the world.  Nothing can stop me!  Before that day, if you had asked me what was the greatest day of my life, I wouldn't have had an answer.  Now I can answer.  This day will constantly be a reminder that I am stronger than I once believed, that I can do so much more than I once thought.  Though all I did was walk on a wall, the high I got and the feeling of accomplishment that came with it is important enough to me that I will never stop letting those few hours stop inspiring me to do anything I set my mind to.






Why This World Needs More Taras

I met Tara fall of my freshman year.  We just happened to be next door neighbors.  She is a very modest girl who knows how to have a great time without drinking, which is a quality I admire a lot. Tara and I became friends very fast, and her, Ellen (her roommate), and I became a very close trio not too long into school.  I convinced her to go on the trip to China with me ("Come on Tara, you can go to Italy any time you like, but when are you going to go to China?! Plus, when could you go to China with ME?!"  I'm very persuasive.) and we ended up being roommates for the three weeks.  If we thought we were close before then, we were even closer after, for we had some of the greatest experiences of our lives together.  We were the two most enthusiastic on the trip, we were both positive the entire time, and she didn't think my journal entries about my love for Chinese juice were stupid at all.  She took everything great about my trip and made it better.  My favorite memory of us on our trip was in our hotel in London: The beds were awkwardly close together, with space in between.  Most people pushed the beds further apart, getting them closer to the walls/doors.  Instead, Tara and I pushed ours together.  China/London was only the best three weeks of my life because she was there with me the entire time.
Tara is the greatest friend anyone could ask for.  Honestly, I doubt that many people in this world are as lucky as I am to have a friend like Tara.  Which is why the world needs more Taras.  This has been by far the roughest year of my life, and Tara has been there for every second of it.  I have stained her pillow and shirts with mascara many a'times.  I would come into her room, sit down next to her, and sob for ten minutes without actually telling her what is wrong.  She doesn't care.  She knows that I need her and that I will talk to her when I'm ready.  When I was debating getting back together with my ex boyfriend, I joked about one of my friends being 'Team (insert ex boyfriend's name here)'.  Tara said, 'I'm Team Madison', which honestly was exactly what I needed.  Tara does not judge me, she always listens to my side of the story, and she is always trying to make sure that I'm okay.  She will put her issues aside to take care of me, which makes me feel like a bad friend at times, but I couldn't have made it through this year without her.
Climbing the Great Wall of China together!
Tara is a positive and bubbly person.  She is not caught up in the same things as most college students, she would rather color and watch We Bought a Zoo than get drunk and go grinding.  And you know what? God bless her for that.  She focuses on the important things in life, like friendship, kindness, and faith.  She isn't going to have a huge wake-up call someday realizing that she's spent her life focusing on the wrong things, because she has always had her head on straight.  If you are having a bad day, Tara will always brighten your mood.  Its a fact.  Anyone who dislikes Tara dislikes happiness because that is all that Tara is.  God truly blessed me the day that he put us in rooms 304A and 306A.
I have had a lot of friendship issues growing up because of past experiences, and Tara has helped me over come them.  She tells me how much she loves me and how much I mean to her, which is exactly what I have needed this past year.  I have never felt so flattered or loved in my life as I did the time she wrote me a letter in my China journal at the end of our trip.  She is a Sigma, and whenever Sigmas write something Sigma or sisterhood related, they write in purple.  Well she wrote my letter in purple, and she told me that, though we are not actually sisters, she considers me her sister.  This girl honestly is one of the greatest people I have ever met, and I don't know what I would do without her.


06 May, 2012

Feeling Classy in the Classics Department

Tea Time in the Classics Department
On Friday I went to work with my friend Kelsi, who works in the Classics department at my school.  I have never EVER thought I could be a classics major, but going into the classics department was such a cool experience.  All of the majors know each other by name, the wall is painted with some beautiful Greek building on it, and they have a board game (which I still want to play, Kelsi). They then had tea time with the Classics department, where a bunch of the kids from the department (majors, minors, and kids who just took latin or whatever for fun) ate amazing cakes and drank tea.  It was amazing.  No, I do not want to change to a Classics major, I still love psychology with a passion.  But it got me thinking about my entire college experience.  A few weeks ago, I was a Biology and Psychology double major, which are the two largest majors at my school.  There was no way in hell I could ever know every Psychology or Biology student, or even all of the professors.  The reason I chose a small school was because I wanted those relationships, yet I chose the departments that didn't allow as much for those relationships to occur.  Plus, I spent the first two years of my college life in science classes.  I was always thinking "I could be a doctor, maybe.  So I should stay on the pre-med track, just in case I want to."  However, the pre-med track is SO OVERWHELMING.  I ended up with a minor because of it, one that I will never use in my life.  I spent eight hours a week in chem/bio classes, NOT including lab.  Labs were their own classes in themselves; I was constantly staying up late working on lab reports or whatnot.  I honestly detest science now because of it.  Chemistry and Biology classes are great if that's your passion, but if its not, it squishes any interest you have in the subject out of you.  I wish I could have known going into college that I didn't want to be a doctor, because then I could have explored so much more.  Who knows, I could have loved classics.  Or art history.  Or history.  My friends always made fun of me for loving so many subjects, but I let my "potential pre-med interests" get in the way of anything else happening.  I always saw myself as graduating with a double major, and I could still do it, but I don't want to.  I want to double major in something that I'm passionate in, and I don't have time to do that anymore because of stupid science classes.
Sorry, this really is just me ranting on how frustrated I am that I wasted my time.

01 May, 2012

Namaste

I have had this strange obsession lately with yoga.  No, I'm not really able to do it that often because of school and stress (though those are perfect reasons to do yoga), but the idea of yoga just captivates me.  If all things work out for me this summer, I will hopefully be able to join a yoga studio and do yoga all the time.
I was a dancer in high school.  I loved dance because it was beautiful; it was the only art form I was good enough to participate in.  The body can portray so many different emotions and feelings purely by different forms of movement.  Dancing was a catharsis for me; I felt like I could express the emotions I kept deep within myself.  Yoga, to me, is like a slow motion version of dance.  I don't know how much I believe in the whole holding-your-emotions-in-certain-parts-of-your-body type of thing, but I do believe in the beauty and emotions of yoga.  Breathing in yoga calms my heart rate, calms my anxiety, but most of all it calms my spirit.  An hour of yoga truly gives me peace of mind.  Pushing my body to do things it could not do before strengthens my body, mind, and spirit.  That great combination of strength and flexibility makes me feel free, like I can do whatever I put my mind to, and capable.  Yoga makes me feel like nothing can stop me, especially myself.  Yoga has taught me to focus on the here and now, that I should not worry about things I cannot control.  This is a great accomplishment for me to learn, for I am probably the most anal control freak I know.  Learning that I need to calm down, take a few breaths, and focus on what I truly need to focus on, is probably one of the most important lessons I have learned.  I feel like this hasn't really explained my weird obsession in yoga.  I don't know how to put into words my love for yoga.  I feel like people who are so caught up in the world can't understand my obsession with the peace I have within.
Namaste
xo Mads
P.S. Someday I hope to be as good as this woman: