trash by taylor

home is what you make of it, i guess

bemis

The holidays are weird. They are a time where a lot of us get reflective over ourselves and pay close attention to those things we wish we could change (I bet those of you who know me are like, Taylor, you’re always reflective. I know, the holidays are my reflection period, with all of the calories). My friends and I haven’t been strangers to the reflection bug and the desire to make sense of what we’d like to change in the new year because let’s face it, 2017 was pretty awful.

This year I fell in love. I fell out of love with long-held ideas and desires. I grew my hair out. I lost my cat for a few days, and she came back. Most importantly, I spent a large chunk of time wondering if I could cure my longstanding dissatisfaction by moving back to Bowling Green, the town where I went to college, and “grew up” in more ways than one. The place where the best doughnuts are, and where there is still a record store in the shopping mall.

Continue reading “home is what you make of it, i guess”

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one year later

me

It’s officially been one year (and a few days- Procrastination is my middle name!) since I started my blog. This picture was taken in the library of my college, exactly where I started my blog; I was supposed to be doing spanish homework I think.

I had big dreams for my blog. I still do, but the dreams seemed to be much bigger then. Everything seemed to be much bigger to me one year ago. I was finishing my last semester of school that I would spend on campus, and my biggest focus was graduating and moving on into the next phase in my life; as cliché as it is, I wanted to have a career in radio and I was extremely hellbent on maintaining my relationship at the same time, eagerly ready to propel it into the next level- just because I thought that was what you were supposed to do.

One of my first posts on the blog was about my love for Gilmore Girls. I was extremely excited for the Netflix revival, which was supposed to air on Thanksgiving. I haven’t talked much about the revival publicly or even in conversation, because it resonated with me on a deep level. The thought of watching it evokes extreme sadness, which I think is a little ridiculous because it’s a TV show, and you’re not supposed to get “worked up” over something as trivial as a tv show.

I was so transfixed with the show. Each episode represented a season in a year in the lives of Lorelai and Rory, a decade after the original show’s conclusion. Watching the show one year ago was exciting for me due to the focus on time passage. I was happy to see changes happen to the residents of Stars Hollow, because change is a given. Ten years had passed, so of course there would be differences in the characters’ lives.

I had not yet began to feel stagnant in my life. I had a plan and I was taking the steps to follow it. In the revival, Rory’s life was stagnant and she struggled with trying to figure out what came next. She made various types of decisions and none of them seemed to fit together for her. One year ago, I watched the revival and couldn’t really relate. One year later, I do. I feel like I’m Rory. Among other reasons, it’s hard for me to watch the revival because it feels like we’re taking a deep look into my current situation.

Before you tell me this period of the unknown isn’t permanent, I know that. I feel extremely defensive when I talk about feeling stagnant because you’re not supposed to feel this way at this point in time, when it feels as if everyone around you has a plan. I do not give myself credit for modifying my situation in life because I knew I needed change; I trusted myself. I knew I needed to figure my life out and make new discoveries before I committed myself to what I viewed as permanent situations.

I wasn’t very happy a year ago but I stayed in a place of unhappiness because I thought you were supposed to have a plan despite however negative you might feel. Sometimes I miss where I was a year ago, but that’s only because I miss the idea of having a plan. I know some of you might be thinking, “well, make some sort of plan if you are so unhappy about not having one!”

I’m doing that, I promise. What is most important about taking the time to make a plan is to take some time to figure yourself out. I really really needed to do that. I’m going through a period now where I’m getting to know myself better as a person. I’m learning something new about myself daily, and frankly, I don’t like some stuff I’m finding out about myself. However, it’s still important for me to come to these conclusions, because they will serve me well in figuring out the “next step” in my journey… whenever I figure that out. I wasn’t thinking a lot one year ago. I am now, and as cliché as it is, I’ve learned to tell myself, “where you lead- I will follow.” (UGH I AM SORRY)

 

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october (the month where i discovered mushy peas. does anyone want to hook me up with some)?

babymarsha

October was a MONTH. Not just a month, but a MONTH! I normally do a “favorites” post at the end of the month, but I forgot last month and just really didn’t feel like I had a lot of “favorites” in October. It was sort of the beginning of the fall season and I have a “thing” about hating fall because I have an unexplainable fascination with time passage, and I associate it with sadness; I honestly had zero expectations for this month.

I kept meaning to write some separate posts for events that happened in October and unfortunately I  felt like I couldn’t write because they affected me really hard. Tom Petty passed away suddenly early in the month. He is probably my second all time favorite artist; he and the Heartbreakers are responsible for creating a big chunk of my life’s soundtrack. I don’t think I listened to any music not featuring Tom for two weeks afterward. It’s a waste to mention his music ruled my entire month! I’m planning to write a more detailed post about my relationship to his music.

The biggest event (and shake up of my life) happened at the end of the month, and I’m so thankful to say it has been resolved! My cat went missing one Sunday night and was AWOL for six days. It was really devastating because Marsha has always been an indoor cat, and none of us had left the house or opened any doors leading outside. It was one of those events we couldn’t explain; she had somehow made her way into the garage and out the door. She won’t fess up to where she’d been, but she came home the following Saturday, running full speed into the garage… I had seen her run into my old doll house out of the corner of my eye and discovered it was Marsha, and not a possum! I don’t think I have cried more in my life and I am definitely so much more thankful for the wonders of the universe. I’ve long struggled with the idea of relying on unknown powers above us and I’m worried about coming across as pretentious or hypocritical, but I have definitely felt an influence of protection from the universe. Marsha was not hurt at all and she was relatively unscathed from the experience. She has been home and has relaxed for nearly a week, and I am still literally crawling on the floor behind her and showering her with kisses!

No matter what happens, I always have time to discover new music and create new playlists! Here’s some stuff I’ve gotten into this month:

 

The M. Ward track was discovered via the credits of the new Patton Oswalt Netflix special which is highly recommended and has the Trash by Taylor Seal of Approval (I’m never going to do that again). It deals with the constant universal confusion of living in the era of Trump, which of course is something I deal with on a daily basis. Oswalt also speaks candidly on his grief over losing his wife last year; I was touched by Michelle McNamara’s mantra for life and kindness in this world, “it’s chaos. be kind.” I’ve thought about this nearly every single day since watching the documentary.

Of course I’m still watching my favorite, “This is Us”, and bothering everyone with my weekly post-episode sob-by exhale. I’m currently binging (sorry, Ford) season two of “Stranger Things” and it has been incredibly helpful with getting me into a Halloween mood amidst a lot of grief.

My outlook of life has been better during the last few days and I’m thankful for it. I’m getting excited for this year to be over! cheers, y’all. hug each other! kiss your pets! if you’re me, listen to someone else besides George Jones!

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i went to a salt cave and was not salty about it.

saltlamp

My 2017 can be defined by a few very specific factors: graduating from college, Ryan Adams’ discography, anxiety over politics and the safety of the free world, and my introduction to the serenity brought on through salt lamps. Some time in the summer, my grandmother started raving endlessly about how she had heard about the calming sensations salt lamps could bring to you, and how they have been proved to help with anxiety, and let me tell you, I would try absolutely anything to aid my newly emerged consistent  anxiety.

Pretty soon my Amazon recommendations were filled with salt lamps. Between my grandparents’ house and mine, I am in a room with a salt lamp in it every day and I truly feel the positive effects from spending time in a salt lamp lit place. A visit to a salt cave was a definite after I ordered a salt lamp for my bedroom and began to notice I was sleeping better.  Amidst all of the changes in my life this year, I’ve really started to appreciate anything that can bring on a sense of calmness and serenity. By the time October rolled around bringing a vague sense of my least favorite season of the year, I was beyond ready to let some things go while surrounded by miles of salt and shiny lights.

I had no idea what to expect from a salt cave. I was really excited to discover you are sitting in zero gravity chairs during your session; like most, I’m happiest when I can have the minimum amount of physical activity. The floor below is covered in endless white salt, which you navigate while wearing plastic bags over your socks; of course I had to remember some dumb harrowing memory of my first Kentucky snow when I got stuck in a deep snow bank and no one helped me out, but was quickly relieved salt doesn’t restrict your movement.

Lights are dimmed for your entire session and you are given a salt pillow and a blanket after settling into your zero gravity chair. For someone who has an awful relationship with gravity, I was really surprised at how easy it was to become one with the chair. My favorite part of the experience was the zen music played through your headphones. I have always been one of those people who struggled with the serious healing power that zen music can bring to you when you are in the right moment. I’m one of those people who has trouble controlling their laughter in serious or nerve-wracking situations, and I was nervous I was going to succumb to my notorious giggle fits I’m famous for at parties and the very occasional church service.

It is incredibly important to allow yourself to try to let go of everything around you while you’re in a salt cave because salt can have some extremely positive physical and mental health benefits. As someone who very much enjoys being in control of herself and likes to have some idea of how to navigate her surroundings, I discovered a great deal about myself during the 45 minute session. Keep in mind the experience will be different for everyone. My mind just travels miles a minute despite being completely present within a situation.

I have trouble with meditation and I have not taken a nap since 2013, so here are some things I discovered about myself and thought about, during my first salt cave experience:

  • How did I ever survive the beginning of the Tower of Terror ride at Disney World?
  • Has David Lynch ever experienced a salt cave because Twin Peaks has definitely been influenced by salt lamps.
  • I really clench my jaw a lot.
  • Wow, my feet are fat and they feel like big weights.
  • Why is Tomi Lahren so out of touch with reality and how come Mike Pence’s head is so small?
  • Clutching the salt pillow really made me aware of how my muscles actually feel.
  • God, the Spice Girls were so influential.
  • Wow, do we really produce this much spit? Spit is like, some natural drink.
  • I am so glad there are no bats here.
  • I need to do this constantly!

Maybe with more sessions I will learn to completely give myself to the cave. Every body part was so relaxed, and as corn ball as it sounds, I was pretty amazed at some of the functions our bodies do naturally seemingly without any interference from our brain. If you’re able to go to a salt cave or buy a salt lamp, or use salt in your bath, do it. Absolutely do it. You will not be salty about it (sorry).

 

 

 

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it is not normal to cry into a sandwich about nuclear war: 2017 (so far) line-by-line.

bulletjournal

I am currently reading Theft By Finding by David Sedaris and have been incredibly inspired by his ability to keep a journal for a quarter century. I don’t know if I will ever write for this long, but I’m excited by the prospect. 2017 has been a year for me– I decided to document some bullets of my own journal writing because I’m always trying to preserve my fascination with the concept of time. It is the last day of September so I’m not blaming myself for lack of growth or anything; I’m excited by the prospect of more to come.

Continue reading “it is not normal to cry into a sandwich about nuclear war: 2017 (so far) line-by-line.”

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books, etc.

books

(here’s a sample of my growing pile of books on my bedroom floor. is this art?)

When I wake up every morning, my glance almost always goes to the pile of books on the floor of my room or next to me on my nightstand. I’ve got them divided into piles of “read” and “not read”, and I’m extremely careful to not let a single book spill into another pile. When I was in school, my growing pile of books were always on the windowsill, and I could always time my roommate’s sighs whenever I came back from the bookstore. My books during my college years were always spilling into different piles. If I looked at my book organization habits on a deeper level, I’m sure it would be really easy to come up with an answer to why books played such a pivotal role in how I perceive the world around me, and how they have become symbols of various points in my life.

Continue reading “books, etc.”

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freshMEAT: What I wish I had known when I started college

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(Me, following my first weekend home from college with clean clothes!)

I saw a tweet this morning from a girl who would be starting college in a few weeks. Her tweet struck me, and woke me up from this weird state of bliss and lit a fire; I will not be going to college in a few weeks. Ever again. That period in my life is over. College was now something I could refer to and file away as a “period” in my life. I can somehow relate to Twitter Girl’s excitement, like I was feeling it surge through myself, but at the same time, I could not feel more removed from her major transition.

I really do envy her excitement because I’m now in the period of looking at my freshman year of college in hindsight where I sometimes stay awake at night and wonder WHY I did THAT or HOW IN THE WORLD DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS ONE THING THAT WOULD HAVE SAVED ME SO MUCH STRESS? My first semester of college was among my hardest semesters of my college career and frankly, they were some of the hardest times in my entire life and I am so determined to make sure I can give advice to people starting college to prevent some of my craziest nightmares!

Continue reading “freshMEAT: What I wish I had known when I started college”

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throwing a fit about zits

zitfaceblog

Hi, internet! This is my unfiltered face and sometimes I really don’t like it. I’m thankful for Instagram because I can choose filters to take the focus away from my acne. Sometimes my mother will volunteer to use photo editing apps to take the zits away. This is my relationship with acne as a 24-year-old, and it’s definitely not the kind of relationship fourteen year old me would want to know I was (still) having with my acne a decade later.

I feel like I’ve become someone who is pretty vocal with letting you know her discontent with her acne. I know many of my friends know this story and are tired of hearing it, but it’s pretty crucial in my “journey” with acne, so, here goes:

Acne became a constant fixture overnight from the day I became a teenager. In 7th grade, I wasn’t popular at ALL and was bullied pretty badly because I was in the midst of exploring my personality and delighted in some pretty weirdo interests to my peers; I felt like the only 13-year-old after 1983 who spent her time preaching the gospel of Sting. When I started showing up to school with acne around the same time the other girls were starting to experiment with make up, I felt like it was the talk of the town at school; little red blotches spotted on Taylor’s face were totally not the result of a new shade of blush.

One of the most popular girls came up to me in the hallway one day and presented me with a bottle of Clearasil Ultra, which was THE hottest acne relief at the time, due to a large number of celebrity endorsements. I know the girl thought she was being nice and doing a good deed, but I threw the bottle in my locker and cried in the bathroom for the rest of the day. Worst of all, my Dad (who has also struggled with adult acne), thought my crisis wasn’t a big deal, and took the bottle for himself.

In high school, I discovered Nirvana and Kurt Cobain, and was really obsessed with Cobain’s quote in a Sassy Magazine article where he proclaimed “zits are beauty marks.” I wrote it over and over in my journals and on my mirror. I felt less alone when I discovered the My So Called Life episode where Angela Chase deals with acne. By high school I developed a pretty strict acne routine and tried almost everything I could get my hands on.

I still have a nightly skin routine I follow. Age has helped my acne struggles a bit, but I can’t completely rid myself of it. In fact I’ve almost completely stopped trying to rid myself of acne. I have also come to the conclusion that the pimples are not my biggest issue, it is the way acne is discussed and portrayed in the media, causing negative messages to be indoctrinated into our ways of thinking.

I like talking to people about their acne routines and remedies but I would really much rather discuss how to reform discussion about acne. What can we tell the younger generation about it to properly show acne isn’t the reason to skip school or decline plans out of embarrassment? Even today, I told one of my best friends to tape that picture above to his drum set so he could pound directly at my zits. The fact I’m still speaking and thinking this way about my acne is NOT okay. Are there even media outlets that exist these days which promote a healthy viewpoint concerning acne, instead of only limiting attention to skin routines or quick make up cover ups? Let’s start this discussion, if not!

zits are beauty marks. thank you, Kurt.

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dreams

 

I was absolutely CRAZY about dream analysis as a kid. There was a period of time where I wouldn’t start my day until I looked up key terms about my dreams on the internet; I HAD to know what it meant if I was having a baby on a baseball field! I have always been interested in finding hidden meaning in absolutely everything, which is exactly why I am writing this post about the dream I just woke up from.

I’ve generally never had trouble remembering my dreams. I often write them down if my journal is in reach, or I text someone as quickly as I can if I dream about them. I dream in color, and I remember the last time I had a dream in black and white was in the sixth grade. I still have the dream analysis book from middle school that told me it was rare to dream in color. Ever since then, I’ve tried to keep a better grip on my mind.

My dream this morning consisted of two parts. The first, I was in a cool media store with my best friend, who was playing an old video game while wrapped in a blanket; I don’t think I have ever seen him play a video game in the four years I’ve known him. I have dreams where I am digging through a vintage thrift store quite often, and I’m always looking for Spice Girls memorabilia because I’ll always hang on to a memory of being in Target circa 1997 and beginning my collection for the first time.

The next part of the dream is why I think it’s worthy of analysis, and relevant to my current situation, I guess. I was dancing around in my grandparents’ backyard, and it was as if I was watching myself do it. I was completely carefree (HA.) and threw myself on the ground after I got too tired of dancing. I made note of the sticks that were caught in my hair but decided to let them stay- something I wouldn’t do in real life! The next thing I knew, several people began walking out of my grandparents’ house, dressed in extremely fancy attire, and it quickly hit me I was supposed to be at A THING. I was supposed to be in my Sunday best DOING SOMETHING.

I then rushed up to a really fancy lady and started apologizing profusely for the sticks in my hair and dirt on my face. She told me it was okay, but sort of looked twice at me, wondering HOW I could have possibly forgotten the fancy event. I think my Granny sort of gave me a “you’re doing this AGAIN?” type of look. Apparently dream Taylor is fond of getting dirty and missing commitments.

I woke up with a ton of questions. I’m going through what I would call a “post grad limbo period” where I absolutely do not have an answer for the “what’s next” question so please don’t bother asking. Keeping this in mind, I’m wondering if I’m extremely worried about missing opportunities because I’m not sure what is coming next. Is it more comfortable to fall and get my face dirty than to spend a lot of time having my hair done so I can go to events, as if they would bring some sort of importance to my life, or speak to some hidden desire for status. It’s definitely embarrassing sometimes to feel like I am the only one who is confused during this limbo period.

I also saw a cat in the window. I also think too much about everything, and perhaps my desire to analyze my dreams from a young age is a reason why I think too much about everything. Who knows? Dreams are weird. Hopefully my teeth won’t REALLY fall out.

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23 Things I learned from being 23

 

24thbirthday

(The visual description of me as a 23 year old. I’m sitting at my favorite coffee shop while wearing a shirt advertising my favorite bar; i spent a lot of time at these places, and they were very much havens for a strange time in life.)

My birthday was three days ago, and I kind of feel a bit more peaceful than I have in a long time. That is probably a weird sensation to feel on your birthday of all days, but I’m feeling fine with it. I have never felt a particular way about getting older or any type of way concerning my birthday; excitement for presents was the only sort of feeling I got out of it. This year was definitely different; I wanted it to be over as fast as it began.

I knew my 23rd year would bring about change, as most years tend to do. I had no idea, however, that the change would just keep. coming. Everyone deals with change differently. I am the type of person who is hesitant over even the tiniest of changes, so I am definitely not okay when the changes happening are of the life-altering variety. I have taken much time to pour over the lessons I have learned this year, and I am pretty proud of my progress. I’m nowhere near “over” many of the changes that happened this year and I have a long way to go. I know for sure I am almost out of my “posting ominous Facebook statuses and song lyrics phase” because I am able to talk about these changes. Here are 23 lessons/changes/gripes/discoveries/and more I have learned from my 23rd year of life. I hope you will enjoy them, and maybe relate to them! They are not in order, although they probably *should* be.

  1. It DOES NOT (IT REALLY DOES NOT) MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES YOU TO ACCOMPLISH A GOAL, AS LONG AS YOU STICK WITH IT: I finished college this year after five years of frequent uncertainty I would complete it. I made the decision to move back home at the end of last semester, so I could have the motivation to finish school, because I was on the verge of burnout. I’ve struggled with that decision many times in hindsight because I loved my campus, friends, and my identity at the campus’ radio station gave me roots, which was pretty much the biggest thing I wanted out of life (more on that later.) While I was on campus, I was really upset about taking a bit longer to graduate than most of my friends, and I knew the irritation had the absolute power to consume me and alter my plan. Moving back home and doing my homework at my father’s desk, like I did from Kindergarten through high school, gave me the ability to concentrate on my end-goal, which was to move on to a new chapter in life.

2. Life has a way of altering your plans: I have no idea where I got to be this way,     but I am one of those people who believes in making a plan and sticking with it and I have never let the idea that my plan might not perfectly work out ever cross my mind. I’m a stubborn person and I am especially stubborn when I am trying to hold on to an idea that may not work for me any longer. I am still working on realizing this and letting go. It is so important to keep an open mind and recognize the vast number of possibilities life has to offer.

3. It’s so important to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF:  I get way into my own head. Way into my own head. I have always been a firm believer in keeping a journal and I have done so since I was 10 years old. I think I learned how important it is to keep a journal for my mental health this year, because releasing your thoughts on paper in order to free some clutter in your brain is so much more important than doing it so your future self can react to your youthful mistakes. I lost a lot of sleep this year because I spent hours thinking at night. When I would write everything down, I noticed I was able to sleep soundly and process thoughts more clearly.

4. Goals are important, but make sure they are YOUR GOALS:  I always struggled with the idea that you are pressured to make career decisions while you’re still having to raise your hand for permission to go to the bathroom. I still remember sitting in an English class when I was 18, and having to take a test to determine my future career. and to take these results seriously. I fell in love with radio when I came to college the following year, but it took me four years to realize there will be people who will try to steer you in directions you know are not for you. It’s good to try new things and expand your horizons, but always stand your ground when you know what you are meant to do.

5. Take time to heal through media: It took me until number five to mention my break up I went through this year. I tried to make plenty of sense out of it through journal writing and blogging, but the best healing I’ve experienced has been through reading for pleasure and listening to music that reflected what I was feeling. I am so thankful to have discovered Daniel Johnston’s music because his way of writing showed me everything I was going through was RELATABLE and it was okay to articulate your thoughts, no matter how simple they might come out. Daniel Johnston breaks my heart in more ways than one, but I don’t know where I would be without ever hearing “Love is Weird.”

6.  Know when to unplug: On average I spend between fourteen and sixteen hours per day in front of a screen. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has felt this way, especially since January 20th. I have had moments where I have been anxious to leave Twitter alone for a few hours for fear that the world would implode because of 140 characters. After the inauguration, I dramatically deactivated my Facebook because I needed to get away from the constant storm of commentary. In a current climate where there are seemingly no boundaries left, I learned it was important to log out at the first sign of anxiety.

7. Be careful to not allow other people’s problems consume you: I will always be your friend that is willing to forego a night out for a night spent talking about anything and everything. My nature is to be the one to fix any sort of issue at hand, and advise you anything I possibly can to prevent you from feeling any further pain. This year I learned that it is nearly impossible to “fix”, nor is it really my place, to fix the problems of others. There have been way too many instances where I have allowed other people’s problems to completely consume me and do a number on my mental health. I will always love to offer any type of help that I am capable, but realizing there are limits to what I am able to give has been my biggest lesson of the year.

8. Doing things solo is good, and it sucks to miss something cool because you’ll be by yourself: When it is abundantly clear that you’re not going to be able to find a friend to go with you to that Cool Thing, it takes a lot less energy to go by yourself than it does to call that One Guy From High School whose phone number you still have, and ask him to go with you. Believe me, I have been that person who will scroll through her contacts multiple times because society has made me feel bad for going out alone. Sometimes it can be much more fun to go to a show by yourself; you can leave whenever you want! you can talk to whoever you want! You don’t have to talk to anyone at all! If you are able, please go do something alone.

9.  Reevaluate how you think and talk about your body: I have struggled so much with my self-esteem issues and I know that I will never be completely at peace with my body. At age 23, something inside of me told me to say “you know, I’m going to be real about how I feel. I’m not always going to be completely okay with my physical appearance, but it takes the wind out of me to spend time criticizing my body. I was made how I was made, and only my opinion matters.” You are the one who spends the most time alone with yourself; your mind and body belong to you. You make the decision to change or not change any element about you. Personally, talking about my body negatively to anyone has never brought me any type of satisfaction. If someone gives me a compliment to try to shut down whatever negative remark I put out, I am hyper aware of this fact. Taking the time to remember everything my body has the capability to do, has been extremely helpful for me to gain a healthier outlook on it.

10. That Person might not be That Person for you… and nothing you can do will change this fact: !!!!!!!!!!!!- Taking care of all of the relationships in your life is very important, whatever type of relationship it may be. Having an understanding of the roles these people play in your life is equally important, and sometimes it is incredibly easy to lose sight of a particular person’s place in your life, or wish their role could be bigger. If someone is not able to provide the emotional stability you need in your life, but they are better at being the friend who is brilliant at keeping you laughing: this is the friend they should be. Mourning over someone’s inability to fulfill a certain role in my life has been the biggest barrier in my life this year. It is absolutely OKAY if someone fulfills your life in another type of way than you might secretly wish they could.

11. Social media is really sweet but it can really suck!: There’s a picture of me floating around Facebook where I edited the size of my chin because I really wanted someone to “love” react to the photo- they did, but god, it made me feel bad. There are countless ways that social media has negatively impacted my life this past year. I am no exception at hiding my imperfections in Facebook pictures or in the content I post. I have silently (and loudly) complained about how I haven’t felt up to par with the lives of my virtual friends, because I was in school for a longer period, or I haven’t (yet) achieved a career goal. I’ve known presentation is not always what it’s cracked up to be, but it’s been quite difficult to understand since I have been going through a difficult time. I’m still going through a complicated time with social media, but I’ve gotten better at managing my Facebook scrolling.

12. The past should stay in the past: It’s natural to reflect on nostalgic moments or to look back on some things you have done or said that now make you cringe. The fact of the matter is- YOU are the only one still cringing at these things. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scrolled through my Instagram feed lately, where I’ve thought to myself, “I wonder if she remembers that time that I_______” She doesn’t. I promise. Also, if it didn’t work for you in 2009, there’s a strong chance seven years will not make a difference.

13. Spend as much time with your family as possible. Your parents are COOL?!: I lived away from home during college and when I moved back home only six months ago, I would be shocked to know how much time I’ve spent hanging out with my family. Listening to advice from my mother and grandmother has helped me through some really difficult situations. I know it seems weird, but I never fully understood why my aunt would write “listen to the words of the people who came before you” in my birthday cards when I was growing up. It’s inevitable in some cases that you may disagree with some of their advice, but learning to approach those disagreements with understanding has been extremely helpful for me.

14. Do it. Good God, Taylor, just do it!: Back in January, I was strangely very optimistic for the new year. I was writing all of this stuff in my journal about clean slates and obstacles, and I proclaimed “obstacles don’t really exist. You just do stuff.” Seven months later, I don’t really agree with my slacker/cool beans way of putting this into words. I grew to really understand how I define the word “obstacle” in the last few months. Yes, there are factors that can get in the way of whatever it is that you are trying to accomplish, but if the goal really means a lot to you, you will do everything possible to achieve your goal. By far, one of my biggest obstacles this year has been over thinking DOING simple tasks; I am finishing this post almost a week after I started it, for example. I’ve been thinking too much about how I have been lacking in ideas. Knowing how important it is for me to finish this post and share these “lessons” with you, is much bigger of a reward.

15. CHAIN RESTAURANTS MAKE ME HAPPY. THERE I SAID IT: Fixating on how “uncool” it is to have a burning love for Applebees is much worse than some of the fried glory I happily consume. Living in Nashville again has made me feel unnecessarily queasy about my Applebees fixation because I’m living in the new cultural capital for COOL; hanging out with my best friends at Applebees has made me delay embracing the COOL BRUNCH GO-ER identity I sometimes long to have deep down.

16. Making lists can keep you sane!: In high school, I was known as the girl who loved High Fidelity because my identity was deeply rooted as the girl who loves and cares about nothing but music. The film popularized the art of making a list. Your Top Five Anything can be incredibly crucial to your identity and help you understand who you are. I think making lists just keeps me feeling a little less bonkers. My collection of lists on my phone range from the practical (important contacts) to the Taylor Swift (scattered lyrics about a guy). Organization isn’t my strongest suit, and I am confidant in understanding that making progress with my organizational skills could be a life long endeavor, so writing lists makes me feel like I’ve made some headway.

17. Start new projects. Sometimes it’s okay not to finish them, because they’re clearly lame: I’m not a musician by any means. At all. I wish I were. Good god, I’m convinced I would be the happiest version of myself if I could find the patience to learn some chords on that guitar I bought when I was thirteen. During the Spring, I was really sad and bored while finishing school, and I was in the middle of my first crush since high school, and I. JUST. NEEDED. AN. OUTLET. TO. MAKE. SENSE. OF. IT. So, I wrote an album’s worth of songs about the guy. The album was going to be called “songs about _____” and I told the guy what I was doing. I’m not too deep into blessing people, but god bless this guy, really. He laughed. I laughed about it while singing into my phone in the bathroom. I didn’t finish the album because it slowly evolved into an album of Madonna covers. I’m proud of myself for trying new creative outlets in an attempt to explore my capabilities. No, I’m not going to post the finished tracks on Soundcloud, Ford.

18. Memes are healing.

19. It’s PERFECTLY FINE TO NOT ENJOY THE IDEA OF DATING: Hey Taylor (and you. Hey, you): Just because other people think you “should” be dating right now because others believe it’s been “enough” time to branch out, it might not always be the right thing to do. Honestly assessing whether you are READY to get in there is so much more important than trying to meet society’s expectations about the amount of time you “should” be taking the time to heal in the wake of a break up.

20. Take advantage of everything possible on your campus!: While finishing school at home, I realized how much I really missed being able to have Chic-Fil-A whenever I wanted to. On a more serious note, I really wish I had volunteered for the school newspaper or the TV station, instead of being married to one organization. Acquiring  a variety of skills and understanding your definition of being “well-rounded” is something I feel like I lack.

21. Don’t cut your hair a certain way because a guy “hearted” the idea on Facebook.

22. Augusten Burroughs’ books rule.

23. It’s going to be okay. Really.