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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[SBL2K16] #12. WATCH THE SUNRISE

Dear Reader,

I realized that I never actually gave you guys the finished list of what Sarah and I expect to complete this summer, so you can find that here.

#12 on that list is to find the best place in our hometown to watch the sunrise/sunset. We had this place in mind called “420 park,” but it was pretty disappointing to say the least. First of all, it’s not a park. It’s just a little clearing that’s sort of out of the way, so I’m sure it’s perfect for high schoolers to come and smoke weed. It’s not quite ideal for the sunrise.

Still, we woke up a little after five and drove to it and recorded some stuff, so I figured I’d at least edit it into a video. Besides, Sarah got a sweet timelapse of the sunrise (it’s better on her twitter because she puts it to the song “Catch & Release,” so check that out here if you’re interested.)

I’m just currently a little frustrated because I have this nice camera that I’m a little too incompetent to use and I’m spoiled at school with Adobe Premiere Pro, so being at home with nothing but iMovie (and my sister’s laptop because mine is lame) is annoying. It’s easy to use and everything, I just want it to look nice. I want to upload high quality shit, ya feel?

Anyway, no one started out as an expert, right? And the best way to learn is by doing, right? These are the mantras I repeat to myself on a daily basis.

So here’s the final product, if you care to watch.

Of course, none of this matters. Because at the end of the day, Sarah and I had a great time going to the “park” and having a nice conversation while we watched the rising sun on a blanket near the river.

I’m loving life, I’m loving summer, and I’m sorry I can’t better capture that for you, but I’m also glad I have the perspective to love where I’m at in my life right now.

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

FINDING THE HAPPY

Dear Reader,

I’ve been reading a blog lately, and I think it’s bad for me.

It is a blog of someone I went to high school with–someone who is going through some very real things right now. He doesn’t know that I read his blog, and I probably won’t ever tell him because I feel like I’m invading his privacy in a way. Plus I’m going to try to stop.

He uses his blog as a journal. As therapy. Which is great! But it’s also very real. Uncut. Raw. Dramatic, but also serious. And just downright depressing. But I read it and I relate so. Much. Not with the cutting or the psych ward or the anorexia. No, he has very real problems that I am not about to sit here and pretend like I understand. But I relate to the social anxiety and the self loathing and the depressing thoughts and the overwhelming feeling like you’re drowning and you don’t know whether to stay or go and all you want is someone you can turn to.

And often I find myself inspired to vent my own feelings after reading posts from him. I just finished reading about his awful birthday this year, and I almost made a blog post about my own. About how I cried so much on my birthday this year. How I walked in the rain because it was so fitting somehow. And how I told everyone who asked that “yeah my birthday was good! Uneventful, but good.”

And then the next day I got blackout drunk.

But I began thinking about this blog post and I realized the turn that my blog has taken. I went from writing “Motivational Mondays” at 8 in the morning to “Late Night Thoughts” at 3am.

But I don’t want that. I have my journal for that. I want this blog to be something different. My latest post was a “thank you for 300” and I sincerely mean that. I like sharing cool things with people on the internet. I like it when people follow me and like my posts and comment and relate. And while I can still use is as this therapy and this creative outlet, I don’t want it to turn into this mess of depression.

Here’s the bottom line. Whenever my blog thrives and is filled with happy posts, I do okay. Not every minute of every day, but it generally means that I’m in a happy period of my life. But when I wallow in self pity, things go bad.

So I’m making a change. I’m going to make a conscious effort to notice the good in my life. I’m even thinking of taking part in #100HappyDays. tumblr_m6yho4FApm1ralymko1_500It’s not about ignoring the bad days, it’s about finding the the singular positive moments in each day.

And, hopefully soon enough, it won’t even seem like I’m looking.

Sincerely,

Sammy

WHY GENERATION Y IS UNHAPPY

Dear Reader,

I read a really good article yesterday called “Why Generation Y is unhappy.” I encourage everyone (especially people around my age) to check it out, but I’ll just summarize it for now.

Basically, the new adults are finding themselves to be really unhappy and they can’t quite figure out why. But when we analyze how we’ve been raised and the kind of environment we’ve all grown up in, it makes perfect sense.

As Tim Urban (the author of this article) brings up, we’ve been raised to believe that we are special. That we all are special. Unlike our parents, we went through school being overly encouraged that we can achieve anything. “Anyone can be president” is a phrase I heard a lot throughout elementary school–which, upon reflection, is kind of weird because why is president the best job we can think of anyway? I think there are much more ambitious dreams we could have and, honestly, no one I know even really dreams of being president.

Anyway, that not only results in outrageously big dreams and unrealistic goals, but it sets the foundation for a lot of entitlement issues. Everyone goes through school thinking that they’re special. But that literally cannot be true. It is impossible for everyone to be special.

And then Tim says: “Even right now, the GYPSYs reading this are thinking, ‘Good point…but I actually am one of the few special ones’–and this is the problem.”

I actually laughed out loud in my student center, because I couldn’t stop that thought from crossing my own mind as well.

Another quote that struck me directly was when he explained his term for all of us in this category: GYPSYs.

“A GYPSY is a unique brand of yuppie, one who thinks they are the main character of a very special story.”

…….

I don’t know how long you’ve been reading my blog, but that’s how all of this began. I thought of myself as the protagonist in a rather unfulfilling story, and I wanted to change that. I wanted my story to be great.

So I was kind of taken aback (and embarrassed) that Tim had me pegged from the fourth sentence.

And that’s the thing–reading this post was weird. I mean, he was calling us GYPSYs delusional, and then proving it! And I knew all of this to some extent, but I didn’t really want to face it. And I was reading it thinking, so what? I should give up my dreams and realize how average I am and then I’ll be happy? That doesn’t make any sense.

But then I got to the end, where he gave three very important pieces of advice.

  1. Stay wildly ambitious. Good, because I don’t think I’d be able to give up my dreams if I wanted to. (And I don’t want to.)
  2. Stop thinking that you’re special. I especially like what he said to clarify: “You’re another completely inexperienced young person who doesn’t have all that much to offer yet. You can become special by working really hard for a long time.” So, I may not be special now, but it doesn’t mean I won’t ever be.  
  3. Ignore everyone else. This might be the hardest advice to take, just because it’s so difficult when you see your peers (and people much younger) going off and living lives that you wish could be yours. But by ignoring others, I can truly focus on myself and what I want to accomplish.

So that’s my take on this article. Definitely still check it out if you haven’t already! And, if you’re in generation Y, I urge you to stop trying to write a story that will rival that of your peers, but just write one that will make you happy.

That’s what I’m going to try to do.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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THE FOLLOWING MAKES ME HAPPY

Dear Reader,

I’ve recently been going through my “favorites” on Youtube and, let me tell you, there are some hidden gems in there that I have completely forgotten about. So, I thought I’d share some videos that either have me laughing out loud or smiling at my screen like an idiot.

NEW GIRL REMIX

This is an act of genius that definitely deserves more views, but, all jokes aside, this might be my new favorite song.

WISDOM TEETH ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE

If you think you’re a hot mess, I promise you, this video will give you some much-needed perspective.

WALK THE MOON – SHUT UP AND DANCE (MOVIE DANCE COMPILATION)

Perfection.

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION – LOVE HAS NO LABELS

I just think this is really important and heartwarming to watch. This is what I like to see.

YANIS MARSHALL CHOREOGRAPHY

I mean it’s three incredible guys killing a routine to a Beyonce medley. In heels. What’s not to love?

ALAN ANDERSEN

I don’t know why it’s named this but it’s a dad calling out every person who slips on this ice as they come around this corner. And it’s hilarious.

GOPRO HERO4: THE ADVENTURE OF LIFE IN 4K

Honestly, I could spend all day watching GoPro videos. But this one is just amazing.

Well, I hope you all enjoyed, and I hope your days are treating you well. Let me know if there are any awesome videos out there that I’m missing.

YouTube makes me happy.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. 🙂

RAMBLINGS AS I TRY TO FIGURE OUT WHAT I’M DOING WITH MY LIFE

Dear Reader,

The other day I found myself deeply analyzing every aspect of my life. I didn’t mean for it to happen, and it certainly wasn’t a good idea for me to continue, but I couldn’t stop. I sat there in class, re-living every small detail of my short, pathetic life, and I came to the conclusion that it is unusually, unspeakably boring.

For one of my English classes, we have to write essays Personal essays, lyric essays, digital essays. We’re learning all the different ways you can tell a story. But here’s the thing: I don’t have very many stories to tell.

My first was about the state championship game, but it was all about how I was an irrelevant, forgettable member to this amazing team. It was about how confused and undeserving I felt through it all and how I, to this day, don’t know how to feel. In fact, it wasn’t much of a story at all. I played soccer, I was just decent enough to continue with varsity, and they won the championships. I wrote about my inner thoughts and feelings and analyzed how it all made me feel and how my life will be spent trying to accomplish more than this feat that I wasn’t really a part of.

My second story was about the root of my insecurity issues. Once again, not a story. Just some comments that have been made over the years, the changing of my mindset and the way I see my reflection in the mirror, and how I act nowadays.

But these aren’t stories. 

I don’t have a story.

And that’s kind of why I started this blog–at least that’s what I said. In my first post, I said that I don’t have a story, but I want one. I am a protagonist in a novel that is going nowhere. But just once I want something spectacular to happen.

But those things don’t just happen. At least not to people like me.

So the other day I was looking up personal essay ideas because for my third essay in my English class, I have no idea what to write about. And that’s when these realizations hit me.

The experience of overcoming a fear. The proudest moment of your life. Your most fortunate day. A visitor that you can’t forget. A special morning. A kiss that meant a lot.

I read these ideas and nothing came to mind. Nothing. Sure, I’ve had good days and proud moments, but nothing story-telling worthy.

And there were other ideas that should’ve made me feel fortunate that they didn’t prompt a memory. The hardest news you had to deliver. The ugliest thing you’ve ever seen. When you needed a hug. A disastrous date. The breakup of a friendship.

Nothing has happened to me.

I’m eighteen years old and I haven’t felt true pain or true happiness. I haven’t done anything worth writing about and I haven’t learned anything worth sharing. I’ve never been head-over-heels in love and I’ve never been heartbroken. I’ve never been addicted and I’ve never overcame an evil. I’ve never needed to be strong and I’ve never broken down because I’m weak.

I don’t want a broken home or a problem trusting people because I’ve been hurt. I don’t want to hate my simple life, but I can’t help be bored with it all. I don’t wish for all the sorrow in the world unless it can help me feel truly happy–a feeling that I don’t think I’ve yet felt.

So I don’t know where I’m going with this. Just like I don’t know where I’m going in life, I guess. I’m not going to go smoke crack or drop out of school or stir up drama in my life.

I don’t know what I’m going to do. I just know I have to be careful.

Because right now I’m searching for something more out of life. After all, it’s supposed to be this indescribable stream of events that make you who you are and teach you more than you could ever learn in a classroom.

But for me it’s entirely underwhelming.

And I know that if I look to make it more, I’m going to encounter plenty of sorrow searching for joy.

I just think in the end, it could be worth it.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. The best cover of Hey Ya (by Outkast) that I’ve ever seen/heard. Enjoy.

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