Thoughts & Feels

The call of the country

I’ve always been open to a variety of music, but since moving to Syracuse I have been inexplicably drawn to the country stations on the radio. I know country music as a genre tends to be pretty polarizing. I’ve never had a strong opinion about it one way or another, but lately it seems to perfectly fit my long drives to nowhere roaming around the farmlands, cutting through the mountains and weaving around the lakes of central New York. They also match my mood lately; a little bittersweet, nostalgic about love gone awry…hoping it will still work out somehow, feeling like it must.

Here’s what I’m feeling lately:

Like I loved you -Brett Young

Die a happy man -Thomas Rhett

In case you didn’t know -Brett Young

See you tonight -Scotty McCreery

Runnin’ outta moonlight -Randy Houser

Leave the night on -Sam Hunt

Play it again -Luke Bryan

I don’t want this night to end -Luke Bryan

Small town boy -Dustin Lynch

It goes like this -Thomas Rhett

Get me some of that -Thomas Rhett


The death of a dream

It hurts letting go of something that once held so much promise. Losing your best friend, your boyfriend, and the man you thought you had a future with all at once is so damn hard.

But this is old news. It’s already been nine months. I should have been able to move on by now, right? He shouldn’t be slipping into my thoughts on a still daily basis. There are so many things I do everyday that still remind me of him. It’s not fair.

I loved him. I really did. I also fought against being with him. I’m not entirely sure why. In part, I think I was afraid of it turning into something real and solid and important. But it had been real and solid and important, until it wasn’t. Another part, I think, felt rushed by him and, sue me, I’m a little resistant to change when it’s not my idea. He knew what he wanted and being with me wasn’t important enough to give me time to catch up. I wasn’t worth the risk. His goals were more important. To hell with wasting any more time on me because I wasn’t quite ready for him and marriage and kids. Then he left and didn’t turn back. No room for compromise. No room for growth and discovery. No reason good enough to meet me in the middle.

Truthfully, I can’t work with that, but I want a family. I know I never said that to him and I couldn’t because I didn’t know it yet. But I want a family. And I want it with someone who isn’t afraid to love me outrageously. Who knows I’m the only one for him. Who knows I’m worth waiting for and fighting for. Who doesn’t make me feel less important than everything else he wants in life. I want to love someone with my whole heart for my whole life. I don’t want to be a victim of my own cowardice, or someone else’s.

It’s not something I need or necessarily want right this instant, but it’s something I want. The dream of having it with him is slowly dying.

Giving myself to him in a field of wildflowers, getting married in the clearing behind his parents house, creating our own home, exploring new places, shoe shopping, driving to no where, starting a family, cooking meals, sharing a life with him, the exciting and the mundane, the best and the worst…it’s time to let all of that go, isn’t it? Because me dreaming about it isn’t going to make him love me enough to make it happen and I won’t settle for less than all, for less than equal partners. I used to think we’d get there. We had a lot of the right pieces fit together. But I’m getting used to disappointment.

For now, I’m finding my own way and right now, that’s enough.

And one day, hopefully some day soon, I won’t feel compelled to write about it anymore. I guess that’s how I’ll know I’ve moved on.


Because I knew you

It’s not particularly novel to feel reflective at a major turning point, but this thought has been tumbling around my head the past few weeks and it’s time to give it proper dues: I have been so damn fortunate, in every stage of my life, in the people that I have met, befriended, lived, learned, explored, worked, fought, and crossed boundaries with.

For every great experience I have had, it almost always comes down to the people.

It’s true. I’m one of the lucky ones. Blessed with one of those families that was built on a rock solid foundation of mutual love, respect and belonging. I didn’t start to realize how rare that was until high school and it really does change everything. It is the best and most precious gift I’ve ever been given.

I’ve always made friends pretty easily. One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is how to let people go and that it’s natural to outgrow some friendships. My very best friend growing up was three years younger than me and lived two houses down the street. During the summer we used to be out the door by 7am, ready and raring to go. We both had crazy active imaginations and would have fun dressing up and inventing games, pretending to be everything from wild animals to rock stars. We’d write stories, choreograph songs, have snack time and adventure time. Scrape knees, climb trees, build forts…we did it all. In seventh grade when I realized we were growing apart, it broke my heart. We were everything until we weren’t, but looking back on it, I know I was touched by a beautiful kind of magic.

Some of my closest friendships to this day are with people I bonded with in high school. The cross country team, my crazy band of misfits, gifted me with five deliriously special people that I’ve now been friends with for almost half of my life. And I had one of the greatest summers of my life so far with my other girl gang and while I don’t talk to most of them anymore, one of them is basically the sister of my heart, no matter how long we go between seeing each other.

If I could relive a year of my life, it would be my freshman year of college and the reason is squarely on the shoulders of the ridiculous and amazing people that I exploded into being with that year. Such a huge year of becoming. From a handful of certain classmates to the crazies that I dormed with, I cannot imagine a more perfect year with more perfect people. It wasn’t without its challenges, but every day I woke up on fire. So damn excited to see what else was in store. I only keep in touch with a handful of those people now, but they’ve all touched my soul.

My year of grad school gifted me with an interesting mix of people. I am so glad I walked toward and not away from that rambunctious group of weirdos blocking the hallway. Over four years later, my life has never been the same.

After graduation, I had a somewhat unique year of retail experience largely working with my friends and a great team of people. I actually learned a lot during this year, even though I was pretty depressed about how long it took me to find a “real” job, and it was largely in part to the new people I met.

And then comes Manzella, the heart of why I was inspired to write this post. For the past three years I worked at a marketing agency as a project manager. I won’t lie to you, it was not my favorite experience. But damn did I learn and grow personally and professionally in ways I couldn’t imagine. I was given unusual opportunities and earned the respect of great people. I worked with executives at major companies and contributed to a team of truly impressive creative people who I’m fortunate to also call friends. I gained so much; a mentor and a friend that I hope will be a part of my life forever; an exceptional, open-minded boss who trusted me implicitly and wants me to succeed, even if I have to leave; a creative director who gave me room to grow and learn to manage, and also took an active interest in me as a person; account executives that considered me a surrogate daughter. And more. So much more. I am so damn grateful for having had this experience. It was often uncomfortable. I knew it would be when I started. But I had no idea how much these people would come to mean to me or the impact they would have on my life and it’s something I don’t ever want to take for granted. I wouldn’t be moving forward without them.

So, if you’re one of the good ones (and I believe you are), thank you. Thank you for pushing me, pulling me, raising me, berating me, changing me, growing me, loving me and quite simply being with me. It has made a world of difference.

To quote Wicked:
I do believe I have been changed for the better, and, because I knew you, I have been changed for good.

As I start this new chapter, I’m excited about the people I’ll meet and the new friends I’ll make. Who will change my life? Will I change theirs? I hope this is an overwhelming season of becoming.

Let’s begin.


Love is brave. You are not.

Sometimes I feel like Severus Snape with his tragic unrequited love for Lily Potter. Except we’re (unfortunately) not wizards and you used to love me back.

You didn’t used to be so afraid of disappointment. You thought we were worth the effort, until you changed the playing field and simply gave up.

The part of me that I’m not proud of still hopes to hear from you. Hopes that you’re plotting how to get me back. Hopes that you never stopped loving me.

But the realistic part of me knows that you are selfish and that you’re a coward. That cowardice runs deeper than I ever realized while we were together–and I don’t respect that.

Love is brave…so, I guess you didn’t really love me. Otherwise you would have figured out how to keep me in your life. I wouldn’t have been the only one trying to make things work.

I do have to say thank you though. I wouldn’t be starting this new chapter if it weren’t for my own brave pursuit of what I thought we could have been. And even though you won’t be part of this next chapter, maybe especially since you won’t be involved, I know it’s going to be one of spectacular transformation and growth.

So, thanks for giving up on me. It pushed me further.

P.S. I am likely well rid of you, but I’m keeping your damn socks.


Those moments when…

You feel most alive. When your soul is leaping from your skin. When you feel like you can take on the world and be the very best version of yourself. When you escape the confines of your brain and become all heart.

Those moments are so damn special.

I made the decision to actually go out to see a band I’d never heard of last night. And it was the best decision I’ve made in a while. Magic Giant, you’re doing it right. You guys are pure positive energy. Keep doing what you’re doing. Thanks for coming to Buffalo and thanks Leanne, if you’re reading this, for bringing me along!

I’m guilty of listening to whatever is easy, whatever the radio feeds me. There’s a comfort and laziness in that so I appreciate friends that introduce me to new music I wouldn’t seek out on my own.

Magic Giant, you’re a keeper.

Grit & Grace

I’ve been in this really good mental place lately and I hope it sticks around for a while after the ever present anger, confusion, and sadness of the last six months. It’s been a nice break. I feel more like me. Back to appreciating the small magic in mundane moments. I don’t know where my life is going or what changes the next few months will bring, but right now I’m feeling really grateful for the moment I’m in, even the less than ideal parts.

The boyfriend situation continues to be complicated, but I think this time apart right now is important. It’s just a feeling, but I think it will impact us in some big way down the road, whether we end up together or ultimately decide to let each other go. It’s hard going from living together and everything being awesome to only seeing each other once in a while. The ache is real. But I’m trying to put my trust in the universe.

The job is…weird. I’ve come a long way in 2.5 years. I am so, so grateful for some of the opportunities I’ve had and the relationships I’ve built, but there are days when I hate what I’m doing, hate being there, can’t see the worth in what we’re doing. I’m sure that’s just a reality of working as an adult, but I can’t help but wonder if I could do something more worthwhile with my life. And working 8:30-5, five days a week is never going to feel normal. My heart and my brain rebel against such strict structure. But, like most worthwhile things in life, it comes down to the people and I have a whole team of people that I love and respect and have grown with in some mildly dysfunctional ways.

110 Proof is doing better than I ever thought it would and I have my dad to thank for the latest opportunity that fell into my lap. I am editing a book, maybe several even, for a student he had over 20 years ago. This was my long-term goal. Editing a book was the dream. And now it’s my reality! Sometimes the world really does give you what you need.

I’ve been feeling strong. Physically. Mentally. Feeling very in tune with myself. This is often best reflected in my clothing choices during the week. I just love when an outfit perfectly expresses who I am or want to be on any given day. There is a small power in that and in the confidence it brings. This is me. Take note. And from my experience, people do take note.

I just ordered Mark Manson’s book, The subtle art of not giving a f*ck, a deck of tarot cards, and a vintage blouse from Australia. I’m trying to commit to taking a trip, but I hate planning ahead and I can’t decide if I want to do Utah/California, Ireland, or let my friends talk me into splurging on getting to Thailand. Right now I’m in that delicious stage where anything is possible. As I said earlier, who knows what the next few months will bring?

I rode a roller coaster to work today…

An emotional roller coaster that is. My iPod had me laughing and crying during my 20 minute drive. With the music on shuffle (and a few skips for good measure) here was this morning’s playlist:

Significance: This song was introduced to me by my old neighbors and best friends growing up. They moved to Texas a while ago, but the song never fails to remind me of our friendship and impromptu living room/basement/garage/backyard concerts.
Mood: Pleasantly nostalgic
Significance: I probably haven’t listened to this song since high school and man, is it emo. I found the lyrics to be particularly tickling this morning. “Please understand this isn’t just goodbye, this is I can’t stand you.”
Mood: Subdued hilarity
Significance: I just think this song is cute.
Mood: Happy
Significance: This song brings me right back to sophomore year cross country with some of the best people I’ve ever known having some of the best, most ridiculous times I’ve ever had.
Mood: Decidedly gangster
Significance: Queue the tears. Ugh. I sang this song at my high school graduation and it never fails to tug on the ol’ heartstrings. It always feels relevant and for some reason it hit me especially hard this morning, in the best way.
Mood: Poignant
Significance: Ed, thanks for leveling out my emotions this morning. This helped me pull myself together. Plus, I just love this song.
Mood: Grateful and spunky