Summer Bucket List

Today I received an offer to work in the Governor’s Office over the Summer. As thrilled as I am to have this experience, this means that my Summer will be a lot different than any other I have ever had. I won’t have Netflix days in front of the television or spontaneous vacations in a different state. In an effort to find the perfect balance, I’m creating a bucket list for a thrilling and relaxing Summer.

Time to get outside of my comfort zone and learn new things.


Summer 2014 Bucket List:
Go for a Hike
Have a Picnic in the Park
Make a Terrarium
Go See a Movie at the Drive-In
Watch the Sunrise
Research at Least One Major Policy Area
Write a Short Story
Read at Least 10 Books
Finish a Pintrest Project
Use a Pintrest Recipe
Go to a Show at the Fox
Write a Letter Once a Week
Visit With Friends in Atlanta
Learn a New Word Everyday
Practice Spanish (Seriously….)
Meditate/Do Yoga Twice a Week
Visit One Prospective Law School
Read the Newspaper Everyday
Go see Goats On a Roof
Ride the Atlanta Ferris Wheel
Plan Energizers for my Staff
Color Code My New Planner
Play Piano More
Do Something that Makes Me Uncomfortable
Go Kayaking With Tyler
Try a New Restaurant
Tattoo? (This one is kind of iffy…)
Go Snorkeling
Learn to Listen (Eh….)
See Bands that I Have Never Heard Of
Clean Tyler’s House (At Least Once)
Invest in a Work Wardrobe
Go to an Open Mic
Buy More Vinyl and Always Participate in Vinyl Sunday
When In Doubt, Wine it Out (Let the Sangria Flow)
Take a Picture of Something Everyday
Go Vegetarian for a Week
Submit Something to Underground
Do Something I Thought Was Too Hard


Off THA Couch: A Cool Project Worth Your Time

Off THA Couch

Watch the video. Read the info. Help them out.

So some people at my school are doing some pretty cool things. Check out the video and if you feel inclined, maybe toss them a donation on Kickstarter. This is a wonderful idea, and as a college student with a monotonous schedule, I relate to the problem that they are trying to dissect.

Often, we become so wrapped up in our routine that we forget to live, and we forget what these years are actually for. They want to ask people how they got where they are, and what they would change. If people can come together to make this happen, this film could be a powerful testimony of the lives of people just like you. CHECK IT OUT!

Know Your World

This post is in response to today’s Daily Prompt!

I grew up in a small mill town surrounded by second cousins and my dad’s high school girlfriends. I never brought a friend home whose parents didn’t somehow know my dad. I can proudly say that we have raised goats, peacocks, cows, and the occasional pet squirrel during my years. I graduated from a high school that had a 4 way tie for Valedictorian, and a Senior class of 280 max.

Until I came to college, I assumed that these factors were expected of a Georgia peach such as myself. While I lived only 45 minutes away from downtown Atlanta, it never occurred to me that people north of “the big city” (I live south of it) didn’t live just as I did. I wasn’t naive or sheltered. In fact, I’m was very well traveled, and considered myself well versed in the cultures of other states because of my dad’s job; ironically though, it seemed that I knew nothing about my own state.

I chose to go to college in downtown Atlanta because, as an 18 year old with what I considered eclectic interest, my small town had nothing to offer me. My father embraced this, but my other family members scoffed and claimed that I was “throwing myself to the wolves.” (I received about 5 bottles of pepper spray for graduation). Once I got here, I realized that my unique interests were now being catered at every block, but with that came the overwhelming number of people more hip than me who now considered me “the girl who didn’t understand” (How the tables have turned!). I also realized that everyone here was from north of Atlanta (Gwinnett County usually), graduated with about 500-700 people (whom they didn’t know), and had parents that were NEVER from the town they were from. Most of the students went to competing schools, or lived in the same suburbs. Meanwhile, I knew one person from my high school who went to the same college. It’s also important to note that the majority of my classmates moved on to the towns local community college.

*Side Note: people north of Atlanta refer to counties when talking of where they are from; people south of Atlanta refer to a specific city or town when talking of where they are from. What do you think of this?*

Now, I want to talk about the more dramatic differences between my two homes. Where I’m originally from, I drive. Here, we all walk. I would never walk a mile at home, but here, I do it often without realizing. I constantly meet people that are more interesting and intriguing than those I met the day before. There are bars and clubs here, or at the very least the occasional house (apartment actually) party. At home, we congregated around a bon fire after someone chopped down a few trees.

The most noticeable difference for me is that back home, I am in my small town USA, void of obvious economic differences. In Atlanta, I am often solicited for money or food or even just conversation from the homeless. This is something that I have been thinking hard about lately. I knew these things existed, but it wasn’t until I lived here that I realized the vast differences in areas that are just 30-40 miles from each other. That’s crazy!

I have had friends or family visit or try to discuss school, and the first thing they always ask is, “do you get harassed by the homeless?” Personally, I don’t like using the word harassed (though I have been guilty of using it). I have been asked for money. I have been asked for food. But I have also been asked for casual conversation. People tend to look away or ignore homeless people when they attempt to speak to them (I’ve done it, sadly). Can you imagine how this makes them feel? They are treated as if they are the plague of humanity. THEY ARE PEOPLE. Today, for example, my boyfriend sat with a homeless man who talked about school, politics, and the recent snow. By the end of it, he said that he originally had the intentions of asking for money, but while talking he lost interest in that, and wanted to make the most of the conversational opportunity. Just think about that.

I still act cautious around the homeless because I have had friends who have been threatened or assaulted, but I also act cautious around well dressed men that stand too close at the cross walk. Being homeless shouldn’t make you scarier or any less deserving of “southern hospitality.”

All of this is to say, that even within my own state, I have experienced three different communities, each with their different standards and expectations; each with their different culture. Every now and again I will pick up my deep southern accent, and get picked on, but sometimes I go home and say “turn up” only to be glared at by my confused family. Is their any set standard of communication? The south is clumped together as a unit; Georgians are clumped together as a unit; But do we even know each other on that basic level? How deep does the divide go?

I wish that my skeptical family could understand these differences, and learn to embrace them as I have. I consider both my home town and Atlanta to be my homes. We often run in fear of what we find different, but the differences themselves are what represent our culture. How can you know yourself if you don’t know all of the facets of where you came from? My advice for the week is to try and embrace the differences around you. Know your world!


Shameless Lives: High Achievers in Families That Achieve Little

I’m a big fan of the Showtime series Shameless. The show is currently on its fourth season, and unexpectedly, it has taken a pretty dark turn in comparison to past seasons.

The show follows the Gallagher family, a dysfunctional group of people trying to make it in Chicago. The family is headed by their sister Fiona who manages to take care of 5 kids and teenagers while ensuring that her alcoholic con artist father doesn’t burn their home to the ground or sell it for booze.

As I come from a pretty disfunctional family (and I mean more disfunctional than is generally legally allowed), I was naturally drawn to the show. Actually, another family member recommended it to me after a long discussion about our mothers (not a hard connection if you knew them). I always related to the show because I saw myself as Fiona; the caregiver, making sure everyone survives, making sure everyone stays together. But this season is portraying Fiona in a new light. She is finally in a place where she can provide substantially for the family, and she screws it up without reason. The writers for the show have deepened her character, and they are showing that everyone has shades of their parents. As the most put together and responsible person in my family, I have seen myself lose a bit of control and spiral into the very things that I despise about my mother. That is why I appreciate the writer’s for having the balls to be honest (even though it breaks my heart.)

However, this isn’t a review about the show. Its a testimonial of sorts. Along with Fiona, there is the freshly 18 year old Lip. First of his family to graduate high school, (without much difficulty I might add; he’s a genius) Lip is struggling trying to make it in college. That world is entirely different than everything he left behind in his poverty stricken neighborhood. In his absence, his family has fallen apart. His brother is scouting out a liver for their dad, his 13 year old sister is dating a 22 year old (gross), his other brother ran away, and lastly, Fiona was arrested because Liam, the baby of the family, found her cocaine. Damn, right?

All in all, things are shit for the Gallagher family right now. Lip is just now finding his element in the world that he really felt he didn’t belong (i.e. college). But he has to choose?

I haven’t been faced with this choice in this magnitude, but every time I go home to my family, I feel more and more like an outsider. Every time we argue, I hear “She’s just trying to psychoanalyze us because she goes to college.” My family loves to brag about me and my accomplishments, but they often find themselves relaying false praises to their friends because, truthfully, they have know idea what is going on in my world. My education has become the butt of every joke, a punch line just to make me feel out casted.

My father, the only sane one (divorced family, lots of half siblings), calls this jealousy. He encourages everything I do, but still, when we are together, things feel different. We don’t communicate the same anymore either.

What does this? Surely it isn’t the limited education I am paying thousands for. How could a class on Moby Dick render me incapable of communicating with people that I share blood with? From my experience, it seems that people who get out, people who move on out of the cycle of low achievment, they are just a screwed as the ones who stay. My children will prosper from my accomplishments, but for now, I am forced to choose between two worlds. Which will I protect, and what will getting out of this life cost? How can we begin to communicate if we don’t speak the same language? I may seem like I’m being melodramatic, but if you have ever experienced this, you know.

It was through all of this thinking and watching and crying over the magnificence that is Shameless that I realized, I’m not Fiona. I’m Lip. I’m straddling both worlds: the one I want to be in and the one that made me who I am. In a few years, I’ll graduate and move out of state. My mom won’t have any company, and I will worry constantly about her bad habits, but I’ll let it happen. Does this make me selfish? Accomplishing my goals means letting go of them; letting them make irrational, irresponsible decisions. Is that selfish?

I plan to go home this weekend, and I’m sure I’ll have to play taxi driver from the local bar, and nurse when someone gets too rowdy with our dogs. But then I’ll go to bed, and study, and wish that I could tell them the truth about school and work and my latest paper. But I can’t, and that’s just a part of the shameless life that I’ve been brought up in. I want out, but what will I be willing to lose?