Revelations (Part II of Who I am. Why I am.)

Alright, I still have a lot of explaining to do. In my second post, I talked about my best friend and I going to a rather life-changing concert. If you need to refer to that first, please feel free.

Anyway, after the concert, I felt like a new lens had been placed over everything I saw. I felt like I was on one of those Claritin commercials where the little strip gets pulled off out of the corner of the screen and suddenly everything is really clear. I had a clarifying Claritin moment. Suddenly I wanted to change everything. I wanted to touch everything around me and change it. I wanted to touch abstract thoughts and twist them up into little knots of ideas.  I had felt the sincerest form of kindness radiate out of a person (in this particular instance, Alfredo Flores’), and I wanted to pay that forward. At that moment, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life making others feel that way.

Secondly, I felt like I was fulfilling some kind of step in the path I’m on. I felt like I was supposed to go to that concert, and I was supposed to meet Alfredo, and I was supposed to have a Claritin moment. It all felt like I was picking up a line of figurative Cheerios one by one until I was led to something. I thought my journey of pivotal moments was over by then. I mean, what else could have been more influential than that?

Well, I found out. Jacklyn was trying out for The Voice in Chicago (she didn’t make it all the way through, but she got darn close! And has the voice of a sugary angel, I might add), so I decided to go with her. Our pivotal/Claritin moment from the concert had inspired her to move to Seattle to pursue her musical, world-changer dreams, so spending some time together in Chicago was our last hurrah before she left.

We thought we’d be spending our time on the Mag Mile, in that shop-til-you-drop fashion. Instead, we ended up sitting on the cold, January concrete with some people who were homeless. I literally cannot explain how it changed my life on this blog. In fact, I’m writing a book about it at the moment, which will be named something like Homeless or something more creative when I get the chance. There’s probably a book out there by that name already anyway.

Regardless, the concert gave me the notion that I’d be spending my life making people happy, and the trip to Chicago opened my eyes to which people that would be. The people I met were so beautiful inside and out, and had such heart-wrenching stories. It’s crazy how numb we are to those who are homeless or in need. I think sometimes we forget how human we all are. For example, there was Yvette. She was the first person I really talked to. As I got to know her a little more (after her tears dried), I found out that her one true vice was chocolate. She LOVED it and always chose it when we’d offer something to her. It was so adorable how her mood completely flipped when it was an option. I remember thinking that THAT’S how she really was; her true personality came out for that moment, and it was beautiful. Because she had fallen on hard times, that part of her was rarely unharnessed. I want to and will spend my life working to lift people up who have been shoved down.

I think the world is beautiful, but I think we mistreat it. I think everyone is a success story waiting to happen, but sometimes people need a push or some encouragement. I think there’s a lot of unnecessary negativity, but if we all give a little positivity, that can change. I think everyone deserves an equal opportunity, and I’d love to give it (ever heard of Pencils of Promise? CHECK IT OUT. That’s mostly what I’m talking about here… I’m also an English Education Major, so maybe that’s just me nerding out– I don’t know). I want to help change the world. Not in some narcissistic way; in fact, if I could stay in the background for my whole life, I’d really rather do it that way. I don’t need to be seen; I just need to do what I’m supposed to do. The way I see it, I was placed in this time in the history of humankind, and it would be a dishonor to my life to remain unresponsive to my calling. I have a responsibility. I want to help people. I want to hand out smiles. I want to bring a new perspective to others– to give them their own Claritin moment.

Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone

How do you deal with losing someone?

That’s a question I’ve thought about for a long time. I’ve lost a considerable amount of people in my life, ranging from actual death to simply drifting apart, just as many people have. For as often as it happens, I would think I’d be at least somewhat used to it by now. I’m not.

Two posts ago, I mentioned that I went to the concert with one of my best friends. Well, it turns out that the experience didn’t just spark my dreams, it set hers on fire too. It was only about a month or so after the concert that she called me and said she was taking the next plane out to Seattle. The concert was in October and she left in January.

Cue cheesiness: that girl is my best friend. We have a connection like no other connection I’ve had with a human being. I call her my soul friend (kind of like soulmate, except without the love part). It’s not easy trying to conceal how sad I get sometimes. We used to do the craziest, most ridiculous things. I miss it so much.  I miss when we would go buy kids’ shirts at Walmart and wear them because they had Transformers on them. I miss talking like Dr. Evil. I miss the time we spent in Disney together. I miss the spiritual bond we had (we still have that, but conversations are just so different over the phone…). I miss the endless conversations that only paused because we fell asleep. I miss conversations in my living room by the Christmas tree.

It’s funny how such simple things which hold little significance suddenly become the most important things in your life after you’ve experienced them with someone you love.  Some days it’s hard to walk past the living room and not imagine the two ghosts of us talking, laughing, crying, listening to music, and singing. Sometimes I don’t like to be reminded of her because, even though it starts out warm and nostalgic, it quickly turns into that weighted-stomach feeling.

How do you get over that? We are on opposite ends of the country. Who knows when we will see each other again. I’m so afraid of drifting apart. It’s been 7 months since she left, and I can only imagine the next 7 are going to go just as quickly.

People are hard to forget, I think. They come into our lives, change everything, then leave, and we are left holding the beautiful masterpiece of friendship they helped us paint. Do you hang that painting in the hallway and remember it with the first warm, then weighted-stomach feeling, or do you hide it in the storage room until you need to be reminded that whatever once was, really once was?

I really think only she understands a certain part of me. Do you have one person who you can talk to like no one else? A person who turns every day around for the better? A person who makes you smile no matter what? When that person is taken away, your whole life changes. I’m sure some of you know what I mean.

We’ll be okay. We’re on a crazy journey together, yet separate. We’ll never be anything but best friends. I just wish distance didn’t have to be so greedy.

Who I am. Why I am. (Imperative to understanding me)

I have a lot of explaining  to do. The first thing you need to know about me is that I’m a dreamer. The word “realistic” makes me cringe; it’s a word that sets off something fiery inside of me that makes me want to sit the person who dared to use it down and give a lengthy speech about how nothing is “realistic” (split infinitives suck sometimes). I’ve always believed in dreaming the impossible dream and working to achieve it. Besides things that are physically not possible to do (I can’t actually sprout wings and fly), I don’t think anything is impossible. Imagine what the Wright brothers had to say about the “impossible” task of flying; sure, they didn’t actually fly with their own biological wings, but they blazed a new trail, thought outside the box, and made it happen in a different way regardless of what was “realistic” or not.  For the record, airplanes blow my mind. What even. How.

Anyway, dreaming big has always been an integral part of who I am. Or so I thought. My world was turned upside down one day when I discovered that my “big dreams” had been small in comparison to the ones I’d unveil later that night. The following is the big anecdotal explanation of who I am and why I’m doing what I’m doing. If you want to fully understand who I am, well, here you go:  One of my best friends and I had been drifting apart this past October.  We’d been planning on driving to a concert together for a few months, even though we didn’t have tickets. I guess we thought we’d just try our luck to get in without them. We drove a few hours to the venue and waited outside to see if we could talk to any crew members or something (we knew that the crew hands out extra tickets once in a while to some very lucky people).

Please withhold your judgments and BEAR WITH ME, but it was a Justin Bieber concert. For those of you who might not exactly be fans of his, please hear me out. I like Justin Bieber because I respect his philanthropic view on life and because he really is an incredible vocalist (not because I think he’s “soooo hot” or want to marry him or anything). I love what he does for other people. If half the good things he did were in the tabloids (that really goes for any celebrity), I think his image would be very different. Anyway, I have crazy respect for his manager, Scooter Braun, and his videographer/friend Alfredo Flores as well. The things those people do for this world are mind-blowing and beautiful. I hope to join forces with them someday in some way.

Anyway, we waited for a long time outside until the concert began at 7. We knew we weren’t getting in since the concert had already started.  Jacklyn and I felt a little defeated, but we decided to talk to some of the security guards before we left just to pass some time before we turned around to go home. Just before we were going to leave, we saw Alfredo Flores segwaying past us through a gate. We called him over and he graciously spared some time for us. I am not the kind of person to fangirl, but I did momentarily. Alfredo Flores is such an inspiration to me; he is one of the few people who keeps me accountable for my mission and keeps me moving forward each day with every inspirational tweet (that sounded a lot less lame in my head). I was able to tell  him all of this and have a short conversation with him. Jacklyn and I were both very lucky to be able to express our gratitude for his efforts. We were also very, very lucky that he handed us 3rd row tickets to the show : )

It was a crazy moment. All of my and Jacklyn’s friends and family doubted us from the second we got into our car to go get tickets earlier that day. It was a slim chance. It really doesn’t happen very often. We even left late and didn’t think we’d be there in time if, by some chance, the crew would be handing out tickets. But you know what? IT HAPPENED. Not to mention that one of the most influential people in my life was the person to give them to us. You have to take chances– you have to dream the impossible dream. How will you ever know if you don’t try?

 

JDSCN0342acklyn and I have always wanted to be world changers: people who lift others up and bring a new, positive attitude to the world.  Before the concert, we were so comfortable in our suburban homes with our “easy” lives. We always talked about aspirations and chasing our dreams, but it was strictly talk. Never doing. We took a chance that night and it ended up changing my life. The moment following our interaction with Alfredo, Jacklyn said “How we react to this defines us.” I don’t think any truer words could’ve been said. In that moment, we realized our duty. What Alfredo had done for us–that feeling of hope, the act of reaching out to simply make someone smile– that was a responsibility we felt we needed to pay forward for the rest of our lives; it was and is heavy on our shoulders. Suddenly I saw everything in my life very differently: I was going to figure out a way to be my own Alfredo Flores or Scooter Braun. I was going to be a world changer. And no one, no thing, no force of nature could stop me.


DSCN0313

To be continued…