eats

Holler & Dash- Nashville, TN

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(The “Chicken, Set, Go” biscuit from Holler & Dash)

I had never been to Holler & Dash or had heard of a “biscuit only” restaurant until recently, and I’m really sold on the concept after my first visit! I went to Holler & Dash with my best friend for the first stop of my Birthday Extravaganza a few weeks ago, and I’m glad we chose H&D for our first stop! The atmosphere is very laid back; it reminded me of being in your friend’s kitchen if it had enough room to fit tons of people! It’s bright and inviting, and really sets the mood for a perfect Sunday brunch!

I ordered the “Chicken, Set, Go” biscuit because I couldn’t decide what type of mood I was in. The combination of honey and jalapeno on top of the chicken provided the right mix of sweet and spicy so I didn’t have to make that decision! Holler & Dash offers many other menu items that provide a combination that might sound weird on paper, but make me really want to go back.

If a place doesn’t have plenty of coffee options, I’m not likely to survive my meal. Luckily Holler & Dash has a ton of cool (literally and figuratively) coffee options. My best friend and I are massive coffee drinkers, so the appropriate action was to order the Stumptown Nitro Brew, which made for my pal’s fifth cup of coffee for the day! She said the experience was alright, but it might’ve been disrupted by her large daily coffee intake. The cashier warned us that it was going to be a doozy. I’m definitely going to order a cup for my first cup of the day sometime.

If you’re into a place for a quiet brunch with friendly staff and a sunny atmosphere, Holler & Dash would make a good choice! Check out their website here for a full menu and location list! I hope to continue writing about food. I dig eating, so I don’t think this will be the first and last post you see of some good eats!

favorites

Trash by Taylor’s July favorites

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This is my first “favorites” post and I’m pretty excited about it! July was a good month. I’m a little biased because I was born in July and love the heart of the summer! I’ve gathered a few things this month that have gotten me through the heat and the thought of getting older and life decisions; I always get really pensive around my birthday, and I think a lot about change. My favorite stuff this month has helped with change and the idea of moving on, and they have definitely helped with the process!

Things

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Don’t Stress Meowt Journal from Charming Charlie: I’ve been keeping a journal since I was in the fourth grade, and this birthday gift was  a pretty purrfect contribution to my love for the kitties! The journal also features a cute “C” bookmark charm for Charming Charlie, to keep your place for when you get tired of writing various C words in your journal.

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Vanilla LED Candles       from TJ Maxx: I’m going through a big LED candle phase right now and these are pretty perfect. They come with a timer and a remote, and they’re really relaxing and make me feel like I’m getting stuff DONE.

July TV Favorite (and quickly became favorite show of all time)

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I started Breaking Bad at the end of May after everyone else in the world, and it was phenomenal and I have no idea WHY I waited four years after its conclusion to start watching, but I’m so glad I got around to it. I finished the show two weeks ago, and I don’t think I’ll be the same person ever again or watch TV quite the same. If you’re able to watch the show with your grandmother, then I HIGHLY recommend you do!

Music

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I made a mini playlist of my discoveries this month featuring Sun Seeker, HAIM, Liza Anne,  Leon Bridges, and selections from the Baby Driver soundtrack, because good lord.

I hope you enjoy some goods and sounds for your summer! I’d like to do this every single month. What are you into this month? Give me a shout and let me know!

 

 

 

trash by taylor

throwing a fit about zits

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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.

trash by taylor

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.

trash by taylor

23 Things I learned from being 23

 

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(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. 

 

 

trash by taylor

The One Where I Got A Tinder And Then Realized I Was On A Break From My Real Feelings

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I’m very behind on my blog and very sorry about it! I don’t really know how to start this post, but I feel like that is a pretty good summary of the month I’ve had. I’m feeling really behind on absolutely everything, and I’m feeling pretty sorry about it as if there is an expiration date on when you are “supposed” to catch up on the internet and other miscellaneous happenings in your life.

The biggest news of the past month is that I FINALLY graduated college! Everyone goes to school at their own pace, of course, but I was feeling really odd about going an extra year when most of my friends have graduated and gone to ~bigger~ adventures in life. I know I’ll eventually get to whatever I decide to define my ~big adventure~, but I know I am overthinking this particular post college endeavor. Overthinking most every aspect in my life is action I consider to be a frequent activity of mine, which brings me to my spontaneous decision made over the holiday weekend, which turned out to be a mistake in what I’ve deemed to be “The Age of Taylor Overthinking Absolutely Everything.”

I signed up for Tinder. (uh oh.)

Don’t get me wrong- I have heard accounts from friends and internet neighbors of Tinder being a very good experience. However, these Tinder success stories are generally from people who feel as if they are emotionally ready to make the leap to swiping right. Friends, let me tell you, I’ve been pretty sad over the past few months and I’ve gone more into detail of my struggles in previous posts, but I have not made peace with most of these struggles. I am having a very hard time with the idea I am supposed to have it ALL figured out by my college graduation and at the point of approaching my 24th birthday. In addition to work, financial, and personal success, I’ve felt various amounts of social pressure to “get out there” six months after the break up of a four year relationship, as a form of “having it all.”

Downloading an app might sound like a pretty mindless action but it turns out, that is where the “mindless” aspect stopped. When I started to swipe through photos of dudes who were located near me in all of their filtered splendor, I started to feel incredibly insecure over the photos I had chosen for my profile. What if they could see all of the chin hair I struggle to frequently maintain?

When having conversations about Tinder with friends while I was in a relationship, I honestly felt turned off by the app’s vapid nature; you’re only exposed to photos unless you both “match” with each other, to which you can read a person’s bio and have access to their profile. I don’t consider myself to be someone who struggles with words, but writing my Tinder bio felt like brain surgery and decorating my middle school locker; it felt like I was orchestrating the most complex lie ever; I was definitely not ready to reveal to anyone that I sometimes delete Facebook posts when I have the feeling I’m not being witty enough. My ability to be somewhat witty is one of my favorite parts about myself; I felt as if I had to choose one defining characteristic about myself and turn it up to eleven.

Nothing I put in my bio was a lie. I talked about my love for cats and black coffee, and how I considered myself to be good at puns and telling jokes, but I’m not ready to reveal to anyone that jokes and puns have gotten me through a huge bout of depression. I made a Beatles reference and I think some people thought it would be a good conversation starter. I’m not ready to start arguing about whether “Abbey Road” or “Let It Be” was considered the final Beatles album with anyone except my ex boyfriend. That is OKAY.

I talked to a few nice guys. I really did, but I was always too thrown by the “what are you looking for” question. I know they were referring to the reason why I was using Tinder, but I couldn’t help but feel like a fraud because I’m NOT READY for any of the reasons why people use Tinder. And by god, THAT IS OKAY. One guy in particular I really enjoyed talking to wanted to know if I blogged about weird encounters I had with “Tinder dudes.” I knew what he meant, but I couldn’t imagine doing that. We’re all trying to engage with other people and make good impressions, so something I consider to be “weird” or confusing might just be how people make conversation- totally normal human interaction, and I am not comfortable admitting to this person that I’ve gone to some great lengths to avoid human interaction because I have felt very sad.

I’m still figuring out the next step in my life especially since I’ve just graduated and I’m about to embark on a new transition of having to buy more blazers instead of the preferred black t-shirt. My biggest goal is to finally figure out that it is FINE to be figuring out what you are comfortable with and whether or not you are READY to embark on something new in life. I still need to write in my journal when I’m in the middle of crying over my ex boyfriend. I still need to listen to Marshall Crenshaw’s “Whenever You’re On My Mind” when I’m dealing with my feelings over my first crush since I was in high school. I’m not really okay right now, but I know I will be later on. If I need to take time for myself and watch “Legally Blonde” over and over while eating McDonalds, I’m going to do it.

I texted my best friend this morning and told him about my decision to delete my Tinder. I called it a “world I was not ready for.” It could be at some point in time- I won’t rule it out. I’m sure it’s a really life changing app with the ability to have amazing potential for someone, but my brief swipe with it has taught me to remember that I have to take care of myself and remember that I, myself, have amazing potential to move forward and make positive changes and make room for some good and engaging “Beatles vs. Stones” arguments (“Exile on Main St.” is my favorite, but I can really get behind the cheesiness of the “She Was Hot” video.)

 

 

 

 

music, trash by taylor

Who Makes These?!: My love of mix tapes

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I feel like this post has been a work in progress for ages, and you might feel the same if you know me, even a little bit. It is common for me to wake up every morning and my gaze turn to a pile of dusty cassette tapes on my shelf. Some days I look back on them with nostalgia and other days, I just look at them and wonder why I ever stopped making mixes on cassette. I felt like they became such a part of my identity, even before I knew what an identity was.

My story with mix tapes has a beginning, middle, and an end, like all stories do. However it’s a story with a bunch of noise in between and I think about continuing the story often. I can recall images of childhood glances toward my father’s big cassette cabinet, where every tape featured his incredibly meticulous handwriting. I can recall an image of sitting on the floor of my new boyfriend’s dorm room, sprawled out with CD’s, in an attempt to show him what I could do; Mix tape creation felt like a secret talent. I don’t remember what I put on that first tape for him except a song by The Clash, but I do remember I never made him another tape for the four years we were together. I struggled with how much time he spent making his own tapes for me, especially when we were in a long distance relationship. He was attempting to write a story featuring Gordon Lightfoot and They Might Be Giants songs, and I guess I realized I had stopped “writing” by then.

My story with mix tapes isn’t all sad; it’s a story of joy, laughter, questions, confusion, and a whole batch of emotions I can’t make sense of, but they are all perfectly outlined on the tapes I’ve made. I was inspired by an article I saw recently from NPR about conveying the right message when making a tape (specifically, how to not “look like a creeper”). When I read the article, a story immediately came to mind from high school where I had given a mix to a guy I’d really liked. I don’t think we had anything in common except for our mutual love for music. I made and gave the tape pictured above to him, which he examined closely and proclaimed “WHO MAKES THESE?!” I was really upset because I realized this was the first time I had realized making tapes had become my favorite way of expression. I was the “who” in the situation for the first time.

I specifically remember making this tape for Dude No. 2 (the number two is very significant. I didn’t like him as much as I liked Dude No. 1, and he was also a piece of number two). I’d considered the mix just to be a mix of songs I really liked but this tape was probably the first and only tape where I did not construct a mix full of meaning. My very idealistic teenage self searched for meaning in absolutely every lyric, and I spent hours agonizing over how the person giving me the tape felt about me, and what possessed them to put a certain song on the tape. I drove my friends absolutely nuts with the constant squealing and questioning over the next few years of tape looping; something they chose to slowly reveal to me much later. 🙂

I’ve got a ton of mixes and a ton of stories to tell through songs so I’ve decided to dedicate my next few blog posts to these tapes and stories. Some have been long worn out and some of them are still going strong with new mixes being created, and a few are really cringe worthy and give me feelings similar to the stomach flips I felt after dropping my beloved purple boombox in an elevator while moving. I consider that to be the “end” of the story, but there is a ton of feedback in between for your listening pleasure!

“Who Makes These?!”

December 2009

Side A:

“Shabby Doll”- Elvis Costello & The Attractions

“Beware of Darkness”- Concrete Blonde

“Wendell Gee”- R.E.M.

“Can’t Get There From Here”- R.E.M.

“A Million Miles Away”- The Plimsouls

“Candle In The Wind”- Elton John

“The Bucket”- Kings of Leon

“Hey! Hey! Nadine”- R.E.M.

“Burning Down”- R.E.M.

“All The Young Dudes”- World Party

“Skin Deep”- The Stranglers

“And Your Bird Can Sing”- The Beatles

“Other Arms”- Robert Plant

“In The Mood”- Robert Plant

Side B:

“Take A Chance On Me”- Roxy Music

“Everywhere At Once”- The Plimsouls

“Love My Way”- The Psychedelic Furs

“(I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear” Blondie

“Mirror In The Bathroom”- The English Beat

(note: “Mirror In The Bathroom” was apparently the only song he liked).

 

trash by taylor

i had a really bad migraine at church

 

laughterI’d like to preface this by apologizing, because I still feel the need to apologize before writing about difficult subjects especially when there are feelings I’m still working through about Big Issues and Changes I’ve undergone in the last six months. This post was inspired by a sociology project where I was instructed to go deep into a memory, and recall as many details as possible in hopes you can uncover some new details about your memory and feelings. This recollection is about the first time I went to Sunday school as an adult.

 

why didn’t i eat breakfast this morning? i rolled over too early to answer a phone because i’ve been instructed to sleep alone because jesus might not like it if i had someone else roll over and try to wake me up. i’ve walked into church this morning like a turtle- i walk like a turtle anyway, i think. my head was tucked under my neck, like the time i was once told to hang my head because my boyfriend and i were both registered democrats. i can feel the stupid fluid building up behind my ears like i’d jumped into a pool so i could have a cheeseburger later after swimming lessons.

my significant other drove like he was bored. he drove to church like he was bored with the system- or so i thought at the time. he’s not my significant other any more but he’s okay with me writing this because we’re nice to each other, and he knows i really admire his driving. he was really bored that day because i swear he could tell i was breathing like i was talking to myself in my head. stay alive, because a lot of people get solace out of weekly drives to church. it’s as big of an event like kentucky basketball. people treat their brunch like a holy excursion. like the one i was about to go on, but the coffee was too bitter. i will be too bitter if he rolls his eyes again. i can’t tell if he is in his own head, or he just knows i’m terrible.

services are services. i can disappear and be quiet like in a college lecture. i am good at sitting in the back and standing up and sitting down. i can lip-synch really well because i love pop music. i don’t know the words to these hymns but they’re hymns and i love words. i don’t have to understand. i like how words sound together. i like certain combinations of words, and i like how my boyfriend and i kind of were on the same page- he’d lip synch a little and i would a lot. but god, this morning, i was super hungry and i could see some black swirlies in my eyes prompting me to wonder if this was rapid aging?

i can go along and digest difficult situations, and there was a time i was comfortable because i could look into his eyes and he seemed to get why everything was so unrelatable and i have always concerned myself with fitting in. i really thought so, but this morning i had to go meet new people in a small setting, and i was warned and conditioned so many times before this. are they going to know that we’d listened to the first Clash album on the way here, and does jesus like punk rock? i really have a headache, woah.

i talked to my mom once about how i felt that the children’s wing of a church always smelled like urine and i was right today. i’m sensing a “cradle to the grave” vibe as i walk through the children’s hallway and question whether my apprehension had to do with the fact i was never a product of that notion. socialization has reared its ugly head on me now. i don’t want to go home, because i can handle this. i’m just wearing a skirt instead of the elvis costello t-shirt i slept in, and i would much rather vomit in my skirt that i guess jesus wants me to wear?

suddenly i have a ton of questions about the different stages in life as we walk into the classroom. all of our college age peers are tall, beautiful, and so very married- none of which we are. well, he was a little taller than me. god, i miss him sometimes, but i do not miss this. i really do not miss this.

but my point is- do we have to be all of these things before we’re able to get what we need from church? my logic and stereotypes tell me so, but also i am admittedly close minded due to previous experiences, and also because i will die if i don’t eat this biscuit that is hard as a rock.

the ladies are looking at me. they’ve seen me before, but they don’t like me because i didn’t press my boyfriend’s sunday best. oh, god, the wrinkles in his shirt are now really bothering me. why didn’t i iron his shirt before we left? am i supposed to? i wonder if they think so.

my boyfriend is slumped on this faux leather couch for the sunday school discussion. we’ve been here before. he just really doesn’t care (or so i thought) and he’s on facebook. i have the textbook dutifully spread open on my knees. am i supposed to “do” this? i don’t want to think like this! i know the answer already! i don’t want to think like this. i just need to eat this really rock hard biscuit. is this what jesus means by breaking bread?

my glances go around the room because i am searching for an understanding like these people are, but i don’t know if it’s really the same type of understanding. these other young ladies seem pretty nice. i smile softly, they know i am going to drink glasses of wine later as i whine about my experiences. i am really trying to understand this lesson about forgiveness and kindness tailored to the young adult, but damn it, if my boyfriend lets the Sonic the Hedgehog ring out of his phone speakers, like i could feel in my gut that he is about to do, i am not showing patience and forgiveness.

my inner monologue is so loud right now. it’s louder than this class discussion that it not getting off the ground. the teacher (professor? preacher?) is answering his own questions because he can tell we’re not going to be the first to speak because what happens if you get a question about jesus wrong?

i swear i am going to cry if this girl with the giant engagement ring doesn’t stop staring at me. i might throw a biscuit at her. my boyfriend says she transferred a few weeks later. she’s being judge-y as Dolly Parton would say, but good lord! i am too! please understand that i am an individual still learning her place in the world and practicing patience in her own way, and i am so sorry that my boyfriend looks so dissatisfied oops, i guess it’s my fault. so if i reject your invitation to the bowling night on wednesday, it’s because i am trying to open my mind and get over the rejection of living an uncrucified life, as my boyfriend’s mom would later say.

i ate my food and changed into some pants, but i’m still learning. i swear not to have any more headaches at church until i finally figure out who i am, and stop asking questions about others and their form of sunday morning solace.

trash by taylor

connection

writing

(I’m going to be using the word “I” a lot here, but the subjects at hand may not directly apply to me personally. we’ll see).

Why do I strive so much to make a connection with people?

What does connection mean anyway? I’ve been thinking a lot about how we “connect” with people as a society. Last night I decided to delete my Facebook where I had close to 700 “friends” or “connections.” I decided to delete the page as a whole, because I made the assumption that removing individual people would take a deleting personally, (like I totally would. Oh my God, I hate it, but I know that you deleted me as a Facebook friend in 2012 because we had a crush on the same dude).

That is a complete and total assumption. I know that people have the choice to define their friendships. For me, many of my relationships take place online, because I split my time between Kentucky and Tennessee, and many of my friends have moved around since graduation of some sort. However, what is it that makes some people have the opposite opinion of virtual “friendships” like the ones formed on Facebook, not being classified as being “real” or “legitimate?” Why did I use quotation marks around the word “friend” when I gave someone an explanation for starting over on Facebook?

(This part is definitely about me).

In the single day that I’ve had my new Facebook, I’ve wondered about various people that I could recall out of my nearly 700 friend count, and if they would notice I had made a new profile. Would they wonder if I decided to single them out and choose not to “add” them as a friend? Can a simple notice be defined as a connection? I think about countless people on a daily basis, and think I have made enough of a connection to think about them. Many of these thoughts happen without any type of interaction. Obviously they have left an impression on me, so I personally define an impression as a connection.

There is also the whole sense of mutual interaction taking place in order to create a connection; when we’re applying this scenario to Facebook, we can define it as a “mutual friend” connection. The word “mutual” defines some sort of interaction or engagement; two people have clicked with the intention of sharing something, so therefore you’ve made a connection.

This particular viewpoint has sent me into a tailspin in the aftermath of getting rid of my previous Facebook profile. What does it mean to connect with someone in this day and age of social media explosion? I can send you links over Facebook messenger until I’ve tore my fingers off and my Facebook algorithm has been severely thrown off. Does that even matter unless the other person acknowledges the link? Our seemingly collective social reliance on “likes” and page views seem to think so. After years of social media use and reliance for my daily connection to the world, I am absolutely 100% dependent on the so called phenomena of “likes” and unfortunately see them as an indication that a connection has been made. You liked my selfie? Boom, we’re connected enough for me to tell you that there is a scar on my nose from when I almost broke it in 8th grade.

Since when has a number of “likes” on something become a defining factor of connection? Simply publishing or sharing something on social media is done for the purpose of wanting to make some type of impression. I have this blog because I want to write about my life experiences in order to make a connection with someone. My hope is to find some sort of mutual understanding. If you’ve gone through the same experience, I want to know about it! This notion is the honest reason as to why I am so bothered by my strong desire for mutual interaction. Why is acknowledgement via the internet so much better than a simple look or read? I don’t understand why the addition of the “like” button or the series of Facebook reaction emojis make social interaction so much more authentic, and why it seems to have such a strong presence in our relationships, whether they are virtual or in our reality.

Sometimes, we might not have a choice in our dependence on virtual connection. For two years, I was in a long distance relationship where our interactions were 75% virtual, and while it was difficult at times for me to not be able to physically touch my partner or to smell his neck that always smelled faintly of oranges, I never thought our relationship was any less authentic because our connections were almost exclusively virtual. I’m wondering if this is the reason why I feel so personal about virtual relationships or the idea of something shared. I’m probably still going to ask the question “what defines sharing” for awhile, but I’m just going to share this with all of you for now.

 

 

trash by taylor

i went to the mall today.

mall

(Picture credit goes to Tumblr.)

Tonight I’ve been sitting around and living in my personal corner of nostalgia. It’s sounding really ridiculous for me after writing that sentence, but I’m really feeling the warmth of the neon lights and weirdly distance smell of popcorn and hairspray which derives from my definition of nostalgia.

I went to the mall today with my mom and grandparents for our annual holiday shopping trip. I hate shopping; I try to avoid it to a comically insane level. Shopping for clothing is my equivalent to going to the dentist and getting a root canal done. I never enjoy going to the mall with my mother, except during the holiday season. There’s something different about the annual holiday shopping trip; everyone is in a good mood, and we’re all fine aimlessly looking around. The feeling definitely takes me back to weekend trips to the mall during my childhood.

I don’t know how it started, but there was a period of time where my parents took me to the mall every Saturday. I would walk around all of the stores and just stare at everything. For some reason the atmosphere was intoxicating for me. I loved going to record and media stores with my Dad; I remember the dark blue neon lights on the ceiling of Camelot Music. I think seeing those neon lights and associating them with my pure excitement over looking at music and video tapes is the source of my strong association of shopping malls and nostalgia.

My grandmother would laugh and call me a “mall rat” when she would ask me what I had done that weekend. I thought about going to the mall constantly! Escaping to the mall was always my biggest daydream subject whenever I would sit in my third grade math class. I was always so happy at the mall. It seemed like an entire different world; it was definitely an escape from my third grade hell which consisted of multiplication tables and church choir.

Overtime my favorite stores started to close, and they were replaced with other stores that didn’t hold my interest. I stopped going to the mall and opted not to hang out with friends when they wanted to go to the mall. It wasn’t until I went to college and discovered the mall in my college town. Its layout was totally similar to my old childhood mall, and its music rotation was almost exclusively 80’s music, which I’d always had an odd association with nostalgia. Older music provides me with a sense of nostalgia for a place I’ve never been. I’ve spent so much time wondering if that makes any sense?

I spent a lot of time during my freshman year of college hanging out at the mall with my boyfriend. We would go a lot on Saturday nights and just walk around. It was like entering a new world that was so much more innocent than the one I currently lived in. I slipped back into that weird longing for the mall like I had in my childhood; we would skip class and hang out at the mall when it first opened and we were alone with the early mall walker dwellers. We felt like the empty mall was ours.

I’ve often tried to explain to people how the inside of my brain looks. I’ve been so sure that my brain mirrors a shopping mall hallway adorned with neon lights and a faraway water fountain. After spending much time trying to analyze why I have always loved shopping malls, I still can’t figure out why. I think history has a lot to do with it. History and culture are two aspects that play a role in my personal relationship with the shopping mall, so it will always be an ongoing study for me. I guess I will always feel my history whenever I go to the mall.  the concept of the mall has and will continue to change, but it will always remain tucked away for me in a faraway metropolis in my head.