Why I’ll Never Be Tan

Dear Reader,

A lot of my friends are very into spray tanning right now. I totally get it–your skin looks clearer, your teeth look whiter, your muscles look more toned. Plus, it’s not like they’re using tanning beds or actually harming their skin. They’re just getting spray tans once or twice a week so they can feel a little more confident. I’m really not knocking it.

But the other day they were talking about how they have to plan their workout schedule more meticulously because they don’t want streaks, which could come if they sweat a lot on the same day they go to the tanning place.

This reminded me of my junior prom. I had gotten a spray tan earlier that day and decided, that night, to watch the second-to-last episode of The Office. To this day I am still so thankful that it wasn’t the series finale–otherwise my face would have been royally messed up. This episode, however, just jerked a single tear that ran down my cheek–and freicken stained my face.

Remembering this, I made the comment that I probably couldn’t spray tan regularly because of how often I cry. They looked at me kind of funny, maybe a little skeptical too, and asked, “Really? You cry that often?”

And yeah, I cry at least once or twice a week. Sometimes if I’m in a weird spell I’ll notice that I’m crying daily, but those only come around every so often. I really don’t think it’s that bizarre, though, because as I thought about it, I realized that I cry way more because of the lives of others than because of my own.

In fact, more often than not, I cry at the lives of fictional people. When Callum died in Noughts & Crosses and Anna and Elsa grew up without each other in Frozen and Clay discovered that he forgot his own son in One Tree Hill, I shed an absurd amount of tears. And even after the screen was off and the book was closed, I cried. I would just think of these storylines and feel such an overwhelming sadness.

Ugh, especially Clay. His storyline messed me up for days.

These stories just grip me. And these damn writers know just how to work it. The stories they create grab a hold of my heart, and sometimes they’re nice to it and I leave feeling fuller or happier, but other times they just toy with it. They squeeze it until I think it might burst–and I have to remind myself that these are all characters, being manipulated by their writers.

Still–Clay was in such a state of stock when his wife suddenly died that he blocked out his son for six years.

I’m seriously starting to cry again. But it probably doesn’t help that “When She Loved Me” is currently playing from my Spotify.

Jesus, maybe I do this to myself. Maybe I just surround myself with really sad shit as a subconscious way to access these emotions I don’t normally feel.

Or maybe not. Who the hell knows.

But I was thinking about this because I came across a quote the other day that said “you can’t protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.”

I don’t do it intentionally. It’s just that not a lot of sad things have happened to me–and I’m truly lucky and grateful for that. I don’t even think I cried when my parents sat us down and said that my mom had breast cancer because we knew her chances were really good–and she’s doing great now! I’ve never lost a loved one (touch wood) and can count the funerals I’ve been to on one hand. I’ve never been dumped or cheated on or had my heart broken–but I’ve also never been in love. And no one’s ever been in love with me.

The other day my friend was telling me some of the stuff she’s been through–stuff I could never imagine happening to me or having to deal with.

And now I’m watching Thirteen Reasons Why where all these teenagers are complaining that the teachers have no idea what they’re going through, and I think I’m about to be grouped in with all of them. Because high school wasn’t really hard for me, but it wasn’t easy I guess either. The biggest things I dealt with were my ADD and self-confidence stuff, but that’s all child’s play. I didn’t really see bullying or peer pressure or rumors getting out of hand. I just sort of floated by.

I think I’m still just kind of floating by. I don’t want a ton of bad shit to happen to me or anything. I understand I have a really cushy life and I’m thankful for all the things I could be taking for granted–the fact that my parents are still alive and together. The fact that I have a sister who is my best friend and a family that is overall supportive. I have friends and I get good grades and I have hobbies and interests.

I cry a lot, but I’m not sad. Or maybe I am.

But I’m also happy, I think.

At this point it kind of just feels like a default setting, and I’m just waiting for it to change.

Hopefully one day soon.

Hopefully this isn’t one of those “careful what you wish for” things.

Hopefully I don’t look back at this post and cringe at my glaring privilege.

Here’s hoping.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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HAPPY VS. SATISFIED

Dear Reader,

Lately I’ve been waking up around 7 or 8 every morning, completely exhausted, but I’ll force myself to get up and go on with my day (forgoing my daily nap, I might add) until I decide it’s time to turn in–well, until Sarah decides it’s time and I follow suit. This is normally around 10pm, but I never fall asleep before midnight.

Instead, for those two hours (sometimes more like four hours) I think about life. Obviously. Because that’s what people do when the sun goes down and the world gets a little quieter and they’re forced to be alone with their thoughts.

Tonight’s topic of choice (I mean, not that I have much say in where my brain wanders) is life in general and, well, the pursuit of happiness I guess.

It kind of started with me thinking about where I want to go in life. I still want to be a teacher. I still want to write novels. I’m on pretty solid paths to both of these careers, I’d like to think, but I’m not ready for that stage yet.

I’m only (almost) twenty–and actually, maybe that’s why I’m having all of these thoughts. All of these clichéd, angsty thoughts about how much I feel like I just don’t fit in anywhere and how much I continue to crave the approval of others. As much as I hate to admit it, I care way too much what people think. I want people to like me and when they don’t–which I always feel like they don’t–I curl up further into my shell where the wheel of self-deprecation is turning faster and faster. The repeating thoughts of how annoying or awkward or ugly or stupid I am just repeat like overused mantras.

And maybe that’s the root of my problems, but that’s not even the main subject of what I was psychoanalyzing tonight.

All I kept thinking to myself was, I am so unhappy.

Just repeating, over and over, I am so unhappy playing like a record in my head until I decided to abruptly rip the needle from the groove and force it to be silent. Because I had a correction: maybe I’m not unhappy, maybe I’m just not satisfied.

After all, I have plenty to be happy for! And I know that’s not exactly how it works, but if you look at my life or you walk a day in my shoes, you would find plenty to smile about. So why is it that I find myself crying the minute those days turn to night?

I must just be unsatisfied.

I still see myself as a pretty ambitious person. I haven’t necessarily given up on my big dreams from my childhood (besides, well, the lounge singer in England or the cellist in the Broadway pit). And maybe I’m just living a wildly unfulfilled life, but I’m twenty. I still have plenty of time to get to those big plans of mine.

But satisfaction isn’t happiness in the same way that unhappiness isn’t dissatisfaction. You can be satisfied with a performance and still be unhappy in the same way that you can be happy and not yet satisfied.

Ah, we’ve reached the part of the post where the rambling becomes mundane and repetitive, so I better wrap this up.

This isn’t a post about depression and this isn’t a post to say I’m going to kick myself into gear and finally try to get some fulfillment out of my life (though I probably should).

This is just me trying to get my thoughts down in order to understand where I’m at a little better. And I think we’ve all come to the conclusion that I’m just another average twenty-year-old girl who’s trying to gain some kind of control on her life, all too aware that she’s just another cliché.

Sorry for the word vomit.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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CURRENT OBSESSIONS

Dear Reader,

A good friend of mine and I always joke about how part of the reason why we’re such good friends is because of our obsessive nature. I think that’s a recurring theme with people in our generation–the tendency to become immediate fangirls when finding new things that peak your interest.

At this point in my life, there are many things that I’m mildly obsessed with–that all of a sudden seem to occupy large parts of my brain–which is a little worrisome. I mean, surely they’re taking up space that could be used for my Linguistics class or for memories that I’m forgetting.

I don’t know, I think about memory a lot because mine seems to be so bad. (Side note, apparently this is an effect/symptom/personality trait of people with ADHD. So that’s fun.) (Double side note: sorry for the sporadic nature of this post. I think both my coffee and medication just kicked in at once, which almost always leads to word vomit such as this).

Anyway, I decided to make a list of my current obsessions. To spread the love, you know?

Enjoy.

Hamilton the Musical: This has been getting a lot of hype recently and this morning, I finally understood why. Sarah had me listen to a few songs (beginning with Helpless/Satisfied which is perfection) and then she explained the rest of the musical to me and we both swooned over the voice Jonathan Groff and it was beautiful.

Drunk History: What educational fun! I mean, who knew that Woodrow Wilson had a stroke and his wife had to run everything for his last years of his presidency and was basically the first woman to become president?? Not me! Until I watched that episode of Drunk History.

Tumblr/Journaling: Ugh. I love Tumblr. I have one that’s primarily funny and fandom reblogs and another that’s more personal and is just soothing or thought-provoking or just makes me happy to look at. This one inspires a lot of my (handwritten) journal entries and makes me feel artistic, even though I’m really not.

I do really need to organize them, though, and change up the formats a little bit. They’ve been the same way for years.

Jim and Pam: I’ve been re-watching The Office and oh my god, Jim and Pam. They give me true hope that I will someday fall in love with someone who is my best friend and makes even the most mundane tasks worthwhile and just makes my world a better place to live in. Them being fictional might be giving me unrealistic expectations, but I love them nonetheless. And honestly, I just really want to find my own John Krasinski.

Thinking about the Future: I have a lot of things going for me right now and when I look to the future, I’m really excited. Growing up is terrifying, but I feel like I’m at a point right now where I don’t have to worry about being 100% on my own, and I can still be young and stupid and make worthwhile memories that I’ll tell, I don’t know, somebody someday.

Today is just a really good day, you guys. It’s beautiful and sunny with a nice breeze and Sarah’s here with me and we have plans to visit our niece and cousin’s baby tomorrow and I’m sitting in the suite with the windows open and my Lolla playlist going and I just know good things are going to happen.

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Sincerely,

Sammy

HIGH ON LIFE

Dear Reader,

It’s true that life’s a roller coaster, but right now’s a good part. And I’m not thinking about how long this is going to last or what’s inevitably bound to go wrong. I’m just enjoying the ride.

Second semester is great. My classes are really interesting and applicable to my future careers, and I’m at the point once again where I’m excited to do my homework. That’s how you know it’s good.

I’m taking a teacher leadership class and a class about learners with exceptional abilities. The people in them are so cool and the conversations that are stimulated by our readings each night are so interesting and it just makes me so psyched to have a class of my own.

My hardest class is probably linguistics, which is an 8am twice a week, but at least I have one of my closest friends to help me through it. And my easiest classes are for my journalism major, but I think that’s because I’m so excited about them (sidebar, I realize that I’ve been using this word a TON so far, but I looked up synonyms and I’m not about to call my classes arousing or thrilling, so we’re sticking with this.)

One of my classes is about feature writing, which is honestly just making me look at everyone as a possible story subject, which is so cool! It really makes me want to pull a HONY and start going around campus asking random people questions.

The other journalism class is about sex and the media and some of our future units revolve around Missy Elliot and Nicki Minaj, so that’s clearly an awesome class, too.

I’m also currently working on an article with a professor and classmate that will be published in an Educator’s Journal, which is something I’m already SO proud of, and we’ve only done the research!

As great as the present is, though, I am SO pumped for the future. I’m going to Gulf Shores for Spring Break and Hilton Head again this summer and I’m currently DREAMING of going to Vidcon in June, but we’ll see if that actually happens. Whether or not it does, though, Sarah and I have some big things planned that are SURE to happen.

But I get to see her along with the rest of my family (and my dog!!!) this weekend when I go home and I’ll get to go to Parker for coffee and the junior high to see little ones put on “Bye Bye Birdie” and maybe I’ll film a video but who knows.

I’m just loving life and it’s about time that I share some positive vibes on this thing.

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Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. If you like that picture, you might like the other 20 ones I shared last fall. Revisiting that post makes me happy. 🙂

{VIDEO} MY PILL JOURNEY: KELSEY DARRAGH

Dear Reader,

I went to the doctor’s today and I had an entire blog post written about it, all ready to post, but I decided to save it. At least for now. I’m just trying to figure out my feelings at this point and I normally don’t push “publish” unless I’m certain of my thoughts.

But not much is certain for me at this point. Except this video.

Buzzfeed had this “Mental Health Week” (which I loved) and this video is one of my favorites. I watched it within the first hour or so it was posted and about halfway through I realized that it was Kelsey Darragh telling her story.

I love Kelsey. If she’s in a Buzzfeed video, I automatically love it so much more. She’s absolutely hilarious, which is why she’s often featured in the “People Try” and “Debatable” videos. But she’s also so real and insightful, which is why she’s featured in videos like, “I’m Bipolar But I’m Not…” and this one: “My Pill Journey.”

I so relate to this story. Going into my sophomore year of high school, I was diagnosed with ADD. I think I tried four or five different medications because of things like my insurance or certain side effects like increased heart palpitations.

(In fact, it was that medication that led me to be diagnosed with POTS.)

And today I was given another prescription for antidepressants.

Because apparently depression and ADD have a venn-diagram-like-relationship in which not all depressed people have ADD and not all people with ADD are depressed, but when there is that overlap, medication tends to not have the desired effect. So you kind of have to take both to get what you want.

And that’s still what I’m trying to figure out: what do I want? What do I want to sacrifice in order to be happy? What do I accept as personality traits and what do I turn to medication to change?

That’s what my original blog post talked about, but it was kind of a mess because I simply don’t have the answers.

This video gives me hope, though. It comforts me and makes me feel not so alone. I’ve watched it over a dozen times and shared it with a lot of people–and today I’m sharing it with you.

I hope you enjoy.

Sincerely,

Sammy

 

{TOP FIVE} I LOVE THE INTERNET

Dear Reader,

It’s finals week here at Miami and all of my friends are finding new and creative ways to be unproductive. (I walked in on five of my friends playing on Webkinz at midnight yesterday.) But I normally stick to the basics: BuzzFeed, Facebook, YouTube.

large.jpgAll of these are plenty distracting for me, but they also bring me a few of my favorite things–things that I want to share with all of you. So the following are a few links that either made me laugh or smile or do some deep thinking or whatever. I hope you enjoy.

FOR EVERYONE WHO THINKS HERMOINE SHOULD HAVE ENDED UP WITH HARRY.

This is obviously first because IT IS SO IMPORTANT. I sincerely hope that this article doesn’t personally speak to anyone reading my blog (I’d like to think that we all happily ship Ron and Hermoine), but just in case, I need you to take a hard look at #28 (if nothing else):

“The idea of Hermione ending up with Harry is so terrible that it is literally the result of the most evil magic ever. Literally. Do you REALLY want to support the same ‘ship as LORD VOLDEMORT?”

So I’ll just leave this here.

BILL NYE TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD DEFUNDERS: ‘YOU LITERALLY DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT’

How can you not click on a title like that?

But seriously, I love how Bill Nye was this huge character in our lives (and science classes) growing up, and now he’s just this chill af guy dropping truth bombs backed with scientific facts wherever he goes.

HOW SHIA REACTED TO EVERY ONE OF HIS MOVIES

So I love Shia LaBeouf. I think he is a fascinating and complicated little weirdo and I love everything from Rob Cantor’s “Shia LaBeouf” to Sia’s “Elastic Heart” music video. And I guess some people didn’t know this, but he recently watched all of his movies in a marathon that began with his most recent. I checked in on this a few times (had it in a separate tab during most of my studies) over the three days, but now that it’s over, there are various recaps circulating the internet. I highly recommend checking them out:

http://www.ew.com/article/2015/11/12/shia-labeouf-all-my-movies-gifs

http://www.vulture.com/2015/11/how-shia-reacted-to-every-one-of-his-movies.html#

HE TOOK A POLAROID EVERY DAY, UNTIL THE DAY HE DIED

I read this article at least a year ago, but I still find myself thinking about it every once in a while. It still kind of hurts to go through the pictures, even though I didn’t know this man. But it’s an interesting thing–this project he did. It’s definitely worth checking out.

PEE WEE FOOTBALL TEAM LOSES FOCUS WHEN WHIP NAE NAE PLAYS

I STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW SOME PEOPLE HAVE NOT SEEN THIS VIDEO. I’ve referred to this video, on multiple occasions, as my favorite video on the internet. I stand by that statement.

So those are the random links that I’ve thought about making blog posts about before but I never have. Though I guess this counts.

I hope you enjoy, and I hope you have places of the internet where you can turn when you need to smile or think or reflect. And I hope some of those places lead you down dark, dusty tunnels of the internet that lead you to gifs of Shia LaBeouf laughing at himself.

Sincerely,

Sammy

{ESC} BOOK FOURTEEN: MORE HAPPY THAN NOT

Dear Reader,

This isn’t the fourteenth book I’ve read this year, but I’ve been really slacking on book reviews. So I’m getting back into the swing of things with–I kid you not–the best book I’ve read this year.

If you’re not familiar with the way that I do most of my reviews, I hate spoilers. So, I try to give as little information as possible, while still recommending the good books that I stumble upon. The reason is because I absolutely love indulging in a story with absolutely no idea where it will take me.

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So here’s what I will say: I am in a class this year that is helping us future teachers be able to implement different reading material into the curriculum in order to relate to more diverse audiences. All I knew of this book was that it is about a guy who is coping with his father’s suicide with the help of his girlfriend, but he starts becoming confused when he starts talking to this new guy.

Sounds kind of interesting, right? Eh, maybe not. I even thought it wasn’t the most gripping story before I read it. But I honestly couldn’t put it down and started gasping and making exclamations when things happened–which is how you really know I was lost in the story. I even cried in the suite (discreetly, I might add) because I couldn’t hold back. Who knows how many tears would’ve come out if I were alone.

But I really, really don’t want to say more–not that there’s not more to say, but because everyone gets one chance to read this book for the first time. And I have a problem with over-promoting my recent obsessions to the point where they can’t possibly meet the expectations of those I recommend them to, but I don’t think that’s the case with this. I truly think this is a story that will stick with any reader for a long time. I think it’s shocking and touching, but also heart-breaking as well as eye-opening.

Basically, I’m just really excited to use this in my future classrooms and I can’t wait for the conversation it’s sure to provoke. And I understand that this book deserves a much better review, so I’ve made one. It doesn’t have spoilers necessarily (don’t worry, I won’t give away the ending), but if you don’t want to read a book with such little information, then you can go ahead and check it out here, using the password: esc (I hope this works… I’ve never done this before) 

Anyway, I really, really hope you read this. And I hope you love it as much as I do because I certainly played it up enough.

Sincerely,

Sammy

HAPPY SUCCESS

Dear Reader,

Quick timeline: Sammy hears over and over that college is hard and first semester (more or less) sucks. She understands but decides it will be different for her. Sammy goes to college. It is not different. Sammy gets sad. Sincerely Sammy quickly fills with sad posts written in a dark, depressing dorm room. Sammy decides that for one week at least she will only write about things that make her happy. Said decision is successful.

I know I don’t write that much, but my last five entries have all had one central theme: happiness. Despite the many times where I wanted to just vent and get down on myself for wasting away my days and being a slob (among other things), I turned to things that made me happy. Lists, pictures, videos, advice. Because here’s the thing: it’s so easy to dissect your life and pick it apart until it’s apparent that it’s falling apart–but it’s just as easy to pick one thing that makes you happy, sit down and write about it, and then share it with others.

Now, I’m not saying the rest of my entries are going to be me saying, “life is wonderful! Here’s why you should smile!” It’s still helpful for me to get the bad thoughts out of my head–and could be equally helpful for people to read and take as advice. So if you actually follow me consistently (which, in that case, wow! I didn’t know anyone did that besides maybe Marissa or Kassara): yes, you may be seeing more posts about me learning hard life lessons or describing why I hate being photographed, but you’ll still get the happy ones!

I guess my point is that there needs to be a balance. When I first came to college, post after post was like “this is hard. Here’s why I feel sucky all the time.” So I did a 360 and started saying, “I’m going to choose happiness and you should too! Here’s how!” But now I’m just going to have a better variety.

So I’m writing this entry to announce that this happy overload is over, but not gone for good. After all, I’d say it was pretty successful.

Sincerely,

Sammy

{TOP 10} HOW TO FEEL HAPPY AGAIN

Hello dear reader,

It is 2:53 on a Friday morning and I am taking a short study break while waiting for my laundry. The last entry I posted a few days ago was about how these next few posts are going to be happy. So, continuing with the theme, I have decided to make a list of what to do if you’re sad. (Also, side note: I just put it under the category of “Top 10” because I love lists. So I might start making posts like top 10 songs, top 10 awesome moments that happened this month, top 10 best pickup lines I wish someone used on me. We’ll see how it goes.)

Now, when I think of the feeling “sad,” I divide it into two subcategories. There’s the feeling of sadness where you just want to watch films that end happily, but are so gut-wrenching in the middle that you bawl your eyes out into your carton of cookies and cream ice cream. When you want to listen to playlist after playlist of sad songs that tug at your heart strings and pull the tears from your eyes. When you want to analyze every sense of the feeling and embrace it all.

Then there’s when you feel sad but you want to get better. You’re far from the self-pitying mood and just want to be happy again.

Here’s me top 10 favorite things to do when I’m in that mood:

1. Listen to happy songs. Inspiring songs. Optimistic songs. Stupid pop songs that are just enough in your range that you sound fabulous singing along. Songs that remind you of fond memories and happy days. I recommend songs that remind you of summer (One Republic always does it for me) or your childhood (the Barenaked Ladies bring me back. Cheetah Girls too.) OOH and never underestimate a good Disney song. Phil Collins, man. Enough said.

2. Workout. Sure, you might feel like death during it, and you might look like death afterwards, but you’ll feel great when it’s over. I actually haven’t found many feelings better than that of pride when you’ve accomplished a hard workout. And, sure, the next day you may hate every staircase you encounter, but there’s something so gratifying about feeling sore.

3. Go out into the world. There is so much to see. So much right outside your window. Find some woods, or a path that’s hidden away somewhere. Admire the architecture of the buildings you pass on a daily basis. Watch a sunrise or sunset–two of the most breathtaking events that we get to witness on this Earth and they happen every day. Search for the beauty and you should be able to find it without much effort.

Helpful hint: dress appropriately. Winter is stunning. Everything is coated in a layer of pure white, and if you’re up early enough and are lucky enough to catch the world when it’s pristine, you’re golden. That being said, it’s not going to be much fun to stare at the snow if all you can think about is your purple fingers and the lasting effects of frostbite. So just be smart. Wear tons of layers when it’s freezing, opt for a sundress or not shirt (if you’re a dude) when it’s hot and humid. The world and it’s natural elements are beautiful, sometimes you’ve just got to prepare accordingly and endure it to witness it.

4. Puppies. If you have one at your disposal–perfect! And actually, all animals can work for this one. Just snuggle up to your choice of cuddly companion and channel all your love into them. I choose dogs and puppies because I feel their love to be best reciprocated, but if you have a friendly cat or ferret or cow or what have you, by all means go for it.

If you’re like me and you don’t have your best animal friend with you at the moment, I present to you the next best thing: Cheri’s Preferred Puppies 24 Hour Puppy Webcam.

I am currently near a town by the name of Hamilton. In said town there is a pet shop that literally displays their puppies in the window. As if driving past that wasn’t the highlight of my day, I came home to discover that these puppies’ lives are broadcast at every hour of every day. I’m happy to report that they are currently awake and playful as ever.

Disclaimer: this may make you feel more sad–especially if you don’t have a  dog. It might make you wish you want one and you might end up feeling lonelier than ever. Just be careful.

5. Read. Sometimes I use this as a last resort. If you can’t find anything to make your own world joyful, why not enter a fictional one? Now, I wouldn’t exactly opt for 1984  or The Hunger Games. Some nostalgic books from my past are always good, though. They’re like old friends that you’ve shared all these memories with and when you go to revisit them, you find they haven’t changed. It’s refreshing. So, I’d choose maybe a book from the Magic in Manhattan or The Wedding Planner’s Daughter series, or possible a comic book like Calvin and Hobbes or Garfield. Oooh or Not Quite a Bride! I LOVED that book!

6. Write. Sometimes I’ll turn to my journal or blog (as you guys knows) and just rant. Sometimes this helps, sometimes I still feel sad. In that case, I often turn to my novel. Something that inspires me. Just another effective method I use to escape reality.

7. Be productive. Clean you room. Do your homework. Organize your closet. Make a list and check it off. Then you can just sit there, content and accomplished.

8. Play music. I am forever thankful that I know how to play instruments. Sometimes all I need is just a quick jam sesh–singing at the top of my lungs and banging along on the piano. I just have to remember to check and be sure that I’m home alone.

Disclaimer: Similar to #1, this is all about the music. I enjoy playing and singing along to “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” and “First Day of my Life.” One time my sister was in the hospital and I was terrified, so I sat at the piano and went through all of the songs in my repertoire. As soon as I got into the chorus of “The Funeral” by Band of Horses, though, I had to stop. I was sobbing. Seriously–ugly crying. Music is powerful. Proceed with caution.

9. Volunteer. Okay, volunteering is wonderful and helpful and very much appreciated, but I’m about to be selfish here. Volunteering feels so good. How I felt after working a soup kitchen is one of the single best feelings I’ve had in my entire life. I can’t perfectly explain it, and you might not understand until you do it, but there’s something about giving back that feels amazing. It’s like how on Christmas, you’re sometimes happier watching a loved one open their gift from you than you are when you open your gift from them.

So it sounds selfish for me to say that I love volunteering because it helps me feel good, but it does! Of course, there are other major perks, but the feeling I get after giving back is almost indescribable. So if you’ve been sad for a while now, sign up to volunteer at a soup kitchen or help abandoned or abused dogs find a home. Just help out in the community, even if the sole purpose is to make yourself feel better. Whatever gets volunteers on board works for most organizations.

10. Something to make you smile. This might be too broad to end on, but here’s what I mean: when I’m sad and don’t want to be anymore, sometimes feeling better is as simple as looking around. I keep a list of my favorite things on my desktop. I have lists of funny memories and inside jokes I share with my friends on my phone. I have saved messages and snaps that have been screenshot that are pure gold. Sometimes it’s as simple as creeping on yourself. Go back in time on your twitter or Facebook or tumblr and find old updates and things that once made you laugh. Just taking a trip down memory lane can sometimes remind you that there was once so much light in your life. It’s bound to return sometime.

Disclaimer: The past sometimes hurts as much as it helps. Reading old messages with people who’ve changed or people who’ve lost contact with you has never proven to me to be a good idea. Again, proceed with caution.

The most important thing, I find, is know yourself. Know how you’re feeling and know how to change your own mood. These are tried and true methods that work for me, but if you hate writing or can’t play music, find something else! If you don’t have a hobby, start now! I learned how to knit last week and it would probably be #11 on this list if I had made it any longer.

If I had to give myself advice, I’d say this is the perfect 10 things to do to feel happy again. But, if you’re reading this, there’s probably about a 50% chance you’re not me. So just try a few out, or find other quick sources of happiness in your life.

Just remember: no matter how bleak things may seem, they can always turn around. And they will if you want them to. That may not be any consolation, but if you’ve stuck with me this far, I’m sure you do want them to. Just have faith and reassurance that tomorrow you can start anew. You can control your own happiness.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS: This is one of my current favorite songs to sing: Text Me In The Morning – Neon Trees