CHOOSING TO BE HAPPY

Dear Reader,

It is currently 4:15AM and I felt the need to write. So, I sat down at my computer, made myself comfortable, and the words started pouring out.

Except I am not going to publish those words.

The entry I just started (but didn’t dare complete) just crossed the fine line from venting about problems to coming across as clinically depressed.

SO: I decided I wouldn’t stand for it. Yes, college is hard. Yes, I’m terrified of failure but continue to slack. Yes, making friends is not as easy for me as I thought it would be. YES! Okay? But I am DONE writing about that. (Disclaimer: I’m not done for good, venting still does help me deal with a lot of my issues.)

Tonight I’m done. Why choose to be anything but happy? Why give in to the late-night thoughts and allow myself to drown beneath the stresses and the self-pity? When, instead, I could be happy?

So this week I am only writing happy entries. Or maybe the next seven entries in sequence. I’m not sure yet, but the point is, my blog is changing. When I came to college, my tone drastically changed from optimistic and enthusiastic to depressing and hopeless. “I’m excited about everything!” changed to “oh, woe is me!” And writing turned into something that made me sad instead of happy. And I get it, it’s good to be in touch with your emotions–the good, the bad, the ugly–but I’m trying a new one for a while.

I’m going to be happy.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS: You know that girl, Meghan Trainor, who sings “All About That Bass?” Well I just discovered a song of hers that I find to be even better.

College Lesson Learned The Hard Way #2

Dear Reader,

Everything in my life is a mess and everything is falling apart.

Dramatic, I know, but let me express my emotions how I want to so I can have the tiniest bit of clarity once it’s all over.

I am a messy person and I hate it. I would love to be clean and organized and punctual but, unfortunately, I am none of the above. First, let’s talk dorm room.

I am rooming with my best friend from high school who is, apparently, an A-type person. She keeps her things very clean and puts everything in their right spot immediately when she’s done using them. We’ve discovered that this is because she studies best in a clean environment. Which sucks for the both of us because I constantly live in a messy environment. So even though I’m not trying to, I’m making everything harder for her. Which is the very last thing I want because I feel that it adds tension to the room and, ultimately, I feel like an inconsiderate prick.

And there’s the whole sanitary issue. I’ll drop a bag of crackers and clean them up later. I’ll do my laundry only when it’s overflowing and I’ll dry it only when it starts to stink up the room. I’ll spill wax, forget about it, and then remember to clean it once it already hardens. But then I won’t know how to clean it so Jaden will clean it herself. Ultimately, I am just an unpleasant person to live with which is awful for my roommate and I and probably everyone else around us. And we’re not even getting into my outrageous sleeping habits right now.

Then there’s the planner: what every college student needs to survive these next four years. I bought one. I also bought a desk calendar and a wall calendar and I have my google calendar set up. But I don’t use any of these consistently. So I miss meetings and opportunities and sometimes I show up to class twenty minutes late because I thought it started at 2:30 instead of 1 and realized the fatal mistake during my, what should’ve been relaxing, lunch break.

And there’s my computer in general. Documents and files everywhere. Tons of folders marked “important” or “organize later,” that I never open again. And there’s all my websites that I go to: tumblr, pinterest, wordpress. Of course, these are, more or less, irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. But, still, I’m so inconsistent it drives me mad.

Then there’s all of these relationships. People who I sincerely want to remain in contact with. People I want to visit or go to concerts with or just talk to every once in a while. Friends, family members, even old staff I’ve been meaning to email for months now. I just never get around to it. And I never get around to texting back and I can’t really explain why. I just don’t know how I’m supposed to keep track of everyone that is important to me when I can’t even keep track of where I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing on a daily basis.

And, finally, there’s all these projects. I guess wordpress could count. Decorating the dorm could also count. As could my sudoku-a-day calendar and my write-a-letter-to-your-future-self project. All of these projects end up unfinished. Or I return after abandoning them for a while. And then when I look back at everything–when I open the letters on my 18th birthday; when I read old Sincerely Sammy entries that promise “big things” for the future; when I walk into my ugly unfurnished dorm room, I get depressed because of the failure that is my life.

So I guess here’s the lesson: before you come to college, clean up your life. Life gets a lot crazier in college and if you’re already a hot mess to begin with, every passing day becomes more and more unpleasant.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. I’m digging this song: Fences – Arrows (feat. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis)

Why I Love Maps

Dear Reader,

I love maps. They’re informational and inspiring and easy to get the hang of. If you use them correctly you can get anywhere you want in this world, and if you use them incorrectly you might just find the adventure you’ve been waiting for. After all, sometimes mistakes are just blessings in disguise.

When I was in eighth grade I had this history teacher, Mr. Hamann, who would give us map tests. These tests served many different purposes, as he pointed out to us at the beginning of the school year. Of course, they were a part of the curriculum, and they did teach us good study habits and test-preparation skills, but these map tests meant so much more than that.

Mr. Hamann told us that when he was a boy, his father would take his family on road trips where the children would sit in the front seat of the car with a map in their hands and he would ask them, “where do you want to go?”

And they got to decide.

If they could navigate to their destination of choice, that’s where they got to go. Ever since then, maps became so much more magical to me; just living off the belief that if I know how to get there, I can go anywhere in this world.

And I’m not talking about money. I know that I can’t just hop around the world, going from place to place, living different lives in New York City and Paris and London. I know that my money would eventually run out (very soon, actually), and I’d be stuck in Ohio for many years to come, but there’s this idea that keeps me hanging on.

If I research it and spend my money wisely and really know where I’m going and what I want to do when I get there and what experiences I need to have before forcing myself to come back home, I could go to Thailand or Luxembourg or Jamaica and really see the world. I could really go anywhere if I wanted to, I just couldn’t go everywhere. Not financially, really. Not yet.

But it’s more than that. Sure, maps show you the big picture and help you navigate across the globe and help you gain a truer perspective of your surroundings, but you can also zoom in. Maps can show you the hidden gems that are in spitting distance! And they can show you how to get there.

And, as the saying goes, it’s not always about the destination. It’s about the journey.

So I love maps. They’re instruction guides just as much as they are reminders of what’s out there and what’s around us. And I’m looking forward to hanging one right above my bed in my college dorm, against my roommates request (sorry Jaden), to inspire me every day. One look will remind me what’s out there and will motivate me to do what I need to do to get there.

And I will get there. One day. I’ll get out of this place and I’ll see the world. Until then, I leave you with this quote (if you know where it came from please let me know!!) that perfectly sums up all of my feelings about this subject.

“Please understand, I have been waiting to leave ever since I figured out there were roads willing to take me anywhere I wanted to go.”

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. Maps by The Front Bottoms is my current obsession in the music realm and obviously relates to what I’ve been trying to say for the past twenty minutes.

You All Need To Listen To This Song

Dear Reader,

I found a song today that I need to share with everyone.

Today I was working out at the rec center and I was getting kind of tired and bored near the end so I decided I would only do twenty minutes and then let myself get off. Then, at 19:54, this song comes on:

Stampede (Original Mix) – Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike vs. DVBBS & Borgeous

It’s all instrumental with the occasional voice saying, “stampede,” but it is so good. It’s not necessarily a song I would listen to all the time or play with my friends or anything, but if you’re looking for a good song to work out to, or especially a good song to finish your workout strong, I would highly recommend this one.

Well, that’s all I have for today, but let me know if you guys have any other songs that are good for working out! I need my playlist to grow.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. 10,000 Hours by Macklemore is another good workout song. And I especially like Stolen Dance by Milky Chance because it’s five minutes long and a really good song for the elliptical.

Everything is Worse at Night

Dear Reader,

I don’t know why, but when the sun comes down and you’re alone with nothing to do but think back and reflect on everything you’re doing, everything that’s happening, everything you’ve done–that’s when everything comes tumbling down.

At night, everything is such a big deal. You analyze everything that’s happened in your day, or some days you only analyze the bad, and that’s when the shit hits the fan. You start to think that everyone hates you or everyone is judging you or you just come to the conclusion that you’re wasting your time. And you think of how these days are going by so fast and you have so much to do! You think about it all at night, and it kind of freaks you out.

But then a miraculous event occurs–the sun comes up.

It happens everyday, folks. The sun rises and the world is filled with light and you walk outside onto the beautiful Earth and something’s different.

Nothing changes, really. You still have all the same problems. You still feel ugly, you’re still not talking to your sister, you’re still running out of time. But something happens. Anything. And it gives you hope.

Yesterday, specifically, someone reached out. It was a girl I had met at a program before classes started who was really cool, but we got caught up in welcome week and sort of lost contact. But we decided to meet up and just the idea that I could be making a new friend, a real connection, very soon, makes me happy.

And then I went onto social media. Twitter, Yik Yak, I don’t remember, but it was funny. I simply looked at my phone and experienced people being their usual hysterical, ridiculous selves.

That’s all you have to do. Find the little things in life–the things that make a smile creep across your face so stealthily you couldn’t stop it if you tried. Find at least one thing every day and hold onto it until another something wonderful happens.

Now, I’m fortunate enough to say that  I’ve never had a suicidal thought in my life and I actually started writing this post because lately I’ve been really down in the dumps at night, and that’s when I write. And I write a lot. So I thought I’d write this entry because I don’t want any of my readers or friends to get depressed or concerned reading my posts and I don’t want my blog to be some negative whirlpool. So I wanted to share this little insight. Advice, if you will.

But the truth it, today is Suicide Awareness Day. Too many young people (and too many people in general) are feeling so hopeless and unloved that they’re ending their own lives. I can’t fathom how people can be pushed to this limit, or how their own peers and “friends” and family can be the ones to push them, but it’s a problem. As human beings, we need to be there for each other and just be nice.

Oh my goodness, just be nice.

I promise you it’s not that hard to smile at a stranger or compliment someone every once in a while. And I promise you that everything is worse at night. So just wait until you wake up and start a new day.

Sincerely

Sammy

PS. Here’s one of my favorite songs ever (the original and a lovable cover): Here Comes the Sun

The Beatles

Colbie Caillat

College Lesson Learned The Hard Way #1

Dear Reader, 

I learned something today, and it kind of sucks. 

You’re going to have bad days in college and you’re going to feel like crying. You’re going to feel like you’re not good enough or you’re not pretty enough or maybe you just don’t belong here. You’re going to feel all of this and it’s going to suck. 

But here’s the thing–you can’t do anything about it because you’re never alone. You can’t cry in your room because you have a roommate. You can’t work out at the rec center because you think you’re fat or ugly or whatever and people at the rec already look perfect. And you can’t work out in the room because, again, you have a roommate. Who sends pictures of you to your friends because it’s “funny” or whatever. And you can’t tell them that you’re not in the mood today. That today none of that’s funny, it’s all just annoying and hurtful. Because you see this pictures of your ugly self and you hate yourself a little more. But you can’t say that because you’re “overreacting.” 

And you just always feel like you’re being judged. Because you maybe you go to a school like Miami University. A school with a reputation of being pretty and smart. But right now you feel neither. You feel inadequate by comparison. Because one time your brother said you had cankles and you never noticed that before but it’s true, so now you see it every day. And another time two girls in your school with perfect bodies said, “If I ever have cellulite put me down.” And you didn’t know before that not everybody has that, but now you see that that’s true too. And every day you see these girls with flat stomachs and normal-sized calves and you don’t compare. You can’t compare. And in every picture you see of yourself it becomes more and more obvious. And in every picture you see it hurts a little more.

And it gets to the point where you hate pictures. First it’s full-body pictures because you aren’t tanned and you aren’t toned. But then you realize you don’t even have a pretty face. You have yellow teeth with a gap and a chip in the front one and you have ugly hair and weird freckles and are those moles? And the good days are the days where you give yourself a pep talk and you truly believe you look average. Or, better yet, you drink some alcohol and then you think you’re pretty. And maybe everybody else thinks you’re pretty, too, because they’re intoxicated and don’t know any better. But then you’re sober and you’re back in front of the mirror, hating yourself. 

But the worst part is that you can’t tell anyone. They’re not going to agree with you! They’re just going to try and reassure you that you’re beautiful but that can’t change your mind. It’s never changed your mind before so why would it change it now? 

I wish it was that easy. 

I could get a million comments on this saying, “don’t say that, you’re beautiful!” but none of it would matter. Not a single one. Maybe it would make me feel better for a second, but one look in the mirror would change everything. Because what I see is ugly in every sense of the word. And what I see, I believe everyone else sees too. And the only thing that matters is what I see, and what I believe others see. And I guess I just don’t know how to change that. 

The only way to change my view of myself is to change my exterior. That’s what I’ve realized, but that’s a lot harder than it sounds. Because you don’t go to the rec because it’s hard. And you say yes to the pancakes with chocolate chips because it tastes better than yogurt and fruit. But you would give everything to change the decisions you made today. And the day before that. And the day before that. 

But we can only move forward. And I’m stuck with the body I have because of these decisions I’ve made. But because that doesn’t change overnight, I’m stuck feeling like this for who knows how long. But how do you live in a body you hate? 

So you talk to your sister. Someone you think would understand. But you’re too hurt to be kind and end up hurting her feelings and then she says some things and then some things end up on twitter and then you start crying as subtly as you can in your room so your roommate doesn’t see. 

So I guess the lesson I learned is this: Self-confidence is not going to come overnight. And it’s never going to come without hard work. It’s going to get a lot harder in college and you’re going to feel a lot worse a lot more often. And I guess the lesson is that you’ve got to find some way to either deal with it or change. But right now it’s hard to do either. 

And the other lesson I learned is it’s best to cry in the bathroom because no one will hear you over the flush of the toilet. 

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. Here’s a fitting throwback for you guys: Don’t Let Me Get Me – P!nk

Something New For September (And Beyond?)

Dear Reader,

Starting now (and ending who knows when), I am going to be adding a little something extra to my posts. At the end of every entry, I will be recommending a song.

Now, first and foremost, I must say that this is in no way an original idea. Scott and Mitch do this at the end of every Superfruit video and Natalie does this on her own blog (which I am obsessed with, by the way, and will probably be talking about in an upcoming favorites video), and I’m sure many other people do this all across the internet, but it’s because it’s genius.

Music is very important to me. Sometimes I don’t know what to say, and sometimes even when I do, music says it so much prettier. And I don’t know if I’ll explain this right, but sometimes I don’t know how to feel. Or I’ll want to feel a certain way more intensely. More wholly. So I’ll listen to music. The impact it has is simply wonderful and it’s a shame when it’s take for granted.

So, I will now be recommending a song in every post I write. I’m sure that sometimes it’ll relate perfectly to what I’m writing about, and other times it’ll be completely random but beautiful nonetheless. But every song will be, in my opinion, worth listening to. I guess that just leaves it up to how much you value my opinion.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. Medicine – Daughter (I like to think of this song as my anthem, even though it’s kind of a soft ballad. I just completely relate to everything about it.)

I Don’t Cry In Movies Anymore

Dear Reader,

I’m not sure if I mentioned this before but I don’t cry in movies anymore. And I’ve been trying to figure out what this means. 

I used to cry during anything remotely touching. I bawled in every disney movie from Finding Nemo to Tangled. I cried tears of happiness whenever Jim & Pam’s story would play out. I even teared up during America’s Got Talent auditions because there was a male gymnast or something that followed his dream even though his parents didn’t approve because it was too feminine. But all of a sudden, I’ve stopped. 

I recently watched The Fault in our Stars and Rent. Story lines that are heartbreaking and tragic and tear-jerking. But not a single tear of mine was shed. 

So what’s wrong with me? Am I becoming heartless? Or am I growing up? I’d like to think not!

The other day in my journalism class we interviewed a soldier who is in the 82nd Airborne. These soldiers are always combat ready and this particular medic will drop into enemy territory to help our wounded soldiers survive and come back home. This man’s grandmother was in the room and broke down, crying, when asked how she feels about this. All she could muster was how incredibly proud she is of him and how he’s such a wonderful guy. When the pair left, our teacher explained why she had earlier stopped the soldier from describing his duty in more detail. “I couldn’t do that to his poor grandmother,” she explained. “I knew what was going through her mind: the fact that she might outlive her grandson.” 

And there I sat in class, tearing up because of how harsh reality can be sometimes. 

So maybe that’s it. Maybe I’m just having trouble believing in fiction. Sure, a love story between two doomed cancer patients is tragic, but how often does that happen? I’ve surely never seen it. I guess it’s just hard for me to relate unless it’s happening right in front of me. 

Sorry for this probably pointless post. Just another example of how the sole purpose of my writing is for my own clarity. Sorry if that’s not very entertaining. Thanks for sticking with me nonetheless. 

Sincerely,

Sammy