Friday, December 30, 2011


I don’t deal well with anxiety. I suppose not many people do. But I really really struggle (see previous blog about Panic Disorder). And if you know me at all, or have read my blog, you know I have a big week coming up (see previous blog about my fear of planes). On Tuesday, I’m getting on a plane for the first time in 10 years and flying across the country to California. Now don’t get me wrong, I am SO excited. But still, the anticipation leading up to the trip is a little bit killer. I’ve been doing fine and not really thinking about it up until today. But it just seems like there’s so much going on right now, I can’t help but being a little a lot overwhelmed. Right now my aunt and my 2 sweet younger cousins are here. They are so much fun and seriously the most adorable children in the world, but they are exhausting. On top of that, I have my CAN state license exam in the morning (yes, on New Years Eve). I don’t know exactly where the testing facility is, or what skills I’ll have to perform, or how long I’ll be there, or what exactly to expect, and that makes me nervous. And then on Monday, I pack up and leave home and head back to Charlotte, where I will then unpack and repack for LA. Tuesday is flying day. Then a nice, hopefully relaxing, vacation in California, before we fly back the morning of the first day of classes. A slight bit of poor planning on that one? Perhaps. I don’t even know what campus my classes are on. I don’t know the classroom, the professors name, or what books I might need. Not to mention that I have 2 online classes that I don’t know how to access. So yes. Yes, I am a little bit stressed and a little bit anxious. And since I pretty much suck at compartmentalizing, I’m thinking about all of these things at the same time. So, if you don’t hear from me for a few days, don’t worry; It’s probably my brain just exploding.

The Loss of a Friend

Today I experienced a nursing school first. I found out that my first patient died. She was on hospice when I was assigned to her and was 91 years old, and we knew she wouldn’t live forever. Honestly, there were days when I’d show up for clinical half expecting her to be gone. But she was always there, with her one closed eye and crooked smile; with her constant singing of “Take It Off” and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”; with her love of hair appointments and BINGO and hatred of her bed alarm and having to use the “hoppa”. She was a sweet and funny old lady with tons of personality in her little body. And the best part was that she was a former 2nd grade teacher, so she was always willing to let me learn. She was patient with me as I gave my first shower, my first bedpan, my first tooth brushing, and my first bed bath. She was patient and always told me how I was doing. I will always remember her, because of her unique personality, but also because she was my first patient as a nursing student. I’m sad that she’s gone. She died last Thursday, apparently, and didn’t even make it to Christmas. I bet she loved Christmas, with all the sugary treats and presents and special activities. She may be my first patient to pass, and I know she won’t be my last, but a little part of her will always stay in my heart. Rest In Peace, friend. Thank you for being a good teacher, all the way up until the very end.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

30 Goals for the New Year

The new year is fast approaching and I haven't come up with my list of resolutions yet! Honestly, like everyone else in the world, I make resolutions that I keep for about a week, and then I feel terrible about myself when I can't keep them. I bite off more than I can chew. I forget the baby steps, and when I mess up once, I give up for good. I'm an all or nothing type girl; I like things in black and white. But not this year! This year, I found an article called "30 things to stop doing to yourself". It's an amazing article, and I wanna share the highlights with you here. And no, I'm not going to try to do all 30 things this year. But if I can keep a few important ones that I am most guilty of in the back of my mind and work on them little by little throughout the year, I'm gonna call that a success!

1. Stop spending time with the wrong people.
2. Stop running from your problems.
3. Stop lying to yourself.
4. Stop putting your own needs on the back burner.
5. Stop trying to be someone you’re not.
6. Stop trying to hold onto the past.
7. Stop being scared to make a mistake.
8. Stop berating yourself for old mistakes.
9. Stop trying to buy happiness.
10. Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness.
11. Stop being idle.
12. Stop thinking you’re not ready.
13. Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons.
14. Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work.
15. Stop trying to compete against everyone else.
16. Stop being jealous of others.
17. Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself.
18. Stop holding grudges.
19. Stop letting others bring you down to their level.
20. Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others.
21. Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break.
22. Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments.
23. Stop trying to make things perfect.
24. Stop following the path of least resistance.
25. Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t.
26. Stop blaming others for your troubles.
27. Stop trying to be everything to everyone.
28. Stop worrying so much.
29. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen.
30. Stop being ungrateful.

What are some of your resolutions or goals for the new year?

Monday, December 26, 2011


So tonight I went over to my friends house to “hang out”. I always love going to her house for a few reasons. One is because she has a sister and 3 brothers, so there’s always a lot of people. Two is because we’ve grown up together, so her family is like my second family. And three, because there’s 5 kids in the house (and someone usually has a friend or two over. For example, on Christmas there were 13 of us all sitting around one table at one point), so it’s very exciting and loud, which is the complete opposite of my only child household. Usually when I’m there we watch movies, eat, or do a back massage trains (exciting, right?). But tonight we wanted something different. So tonight we had the genius idea of playing Sardines. If you don’t know what Sardines is, it’s kind of like hide-and-seek, but better. So me, Christine, Emily, her boyfriend Jeff, and her little brother David, all played an epic game of Sardines. Now, I could go into detail about who hid where and who found who. But the real interest is the hide-and-seek phenomena. So riddle me this, why do you always have to pee right when you are hiding? Like seriously? You could go to the bathroom right before the game starts, but the minute you hide your bladder immediately swells and feels like it might burst. This causes you to be extremely uncomfortable while crouching and hiding somewhere and also leaves you with that panicky internal battle that goes a little something like this: “oh crap. Should I pee in my pants or should I leave my awesome hiding spot to go to the bathroom?” Well, let me leave you with this nugget of wisdom. Don’t ever leave your hiding spot. Ever. The minute you do, you don’t have to pee anymore and then you’ve given up your location for no reason.  

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness: Day 11

Merry Christmas Eve Eve! Today was a much better day than yesterday. I went to lunch with a few friends, and got to meet one of my friends husbands! Then I exchanged Christmas presents with my best friend, watched my new Season 8 of One Tree Hill, and went out for ice cream and light looking with my parents. And NOW it's almost Christmas eve! Today for my "Random Act of Christmas Kindness" I fed some strangers parking meters. My friend and I went downtown to meet our other friend for lunch, so when we parked I fed our meter and the meter next to ours, which only had 2 minutes left. I know it's a small act, but there's nothing I hate worse than getting a parking ticket, especially a few days before Christmas!

Also, I'm going to keep trying to blog these next few days, but things might get a little crazy around here with the holidays coming up! Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope yall have the most wonderful holiday :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness: Day 10

Today I was not kind. Today I failed. Today I did my chores and grumbled the whole time. I didn't go out of my way to be kind to anyone. I actually cursed under my breath at other drivers on the road. So, I was not kind. The only reason I'm admitting this to you all is to show that not everyday can be perfect. I'm not proud of today and I'm not proud of the fact that I didn't take time out of my day to do something nice for someone. But I'm human and I mess up and fail sometimes.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness: Day 9

Here it comes! Christmas is just a few short days away! It's already day 9 of my Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I still am having a really hard time feeling like it’s Christmas. It could be due to the fact that it was in the 70s today or that Christmas is on the weekend, so my Dad doesn’t get any extra days off work. Maybe it’s because we haven’t driven around and looked at lights, or sat on the floor and watched a Christmas movie. Whatever it is, one thing that always gets me in the Christmas spirit is my mom’s baking. This year she’s made chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookies, Christmas mints, chocolate and candy cane covered pretzel sticks, butterscotch bundles, mini cherry tarts, white chocolate covered peanut butter ritz, and some kind of bread. I’m hoping these goodies will help get me in the spirit! So for today’s random act of Christmas kindness, I decided to share some of these delicious goodies with the mailman. I fixed him up a plate with a variety of treats and wrote him a little card thanking him for all of his work. I wrapped it up and left it in the mailbox for him to get! When I went back later to check the mail, the goodies were gone, which is a good sign! I hope he’s enjoying them and that they are helping him get in the holiday spirit too!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness: Day 8

Hello sweet readers! Today is day 8 of my “Random Acts of Christmas Kindness” and I have an extra special story behind today’s act. This morning I sent an awesome Star Wars puzzle to my special friend Aiden. I decorated the box with Christmas drawings and attached a little note. This is no ordinary puzzle though; it’s a Darth Vadar/Luke Skywalker transforming puzzle. How cool is that? Especially for a 9 year old boy. I figure a special kid needs a special puzzle. What makes Aiden so special? Here’s a little bit of his story:

The journey started out with a little 8 month old needing a liver transplant, and now it is about a little boy enjoying the second chance he was given on the day he was transplanted. With prayers, wonderful doctors, and hope for the future, we will get through the difficult days and celebrate the wonderful ones.
Meet Aiden. He is an incredible and courageous 9 year old. When Aiden was just an infant, he was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia, which is a rare liver disease in which about 250 children are diagnosed each year in the US. He then underwent a Kasai procedure, which is an operation to create an open duct so that bile can brain from the liver. In this surgery, the durgeon removes the damaged ducts outside the liver and replaces them with a piece of the baby's own intestine. The new duct allows bile to pass from the liver into the intestine. It only has about a 33% chance of success to last longer than 5 tears. However, 8 years later, Aiden is beating the odds. Aiden's story is one of survival, hope, and courage. At the age of 9, he is one of the happiest children you will find. Yet he continues to struggle. He has a condition called Dysautonomia and often lands in the hospital. Luckily, Aiden has amazing support from his sweet younger brother and his caring and wonderful parents.
It seems silly to try to sum up sweet Aiden's life in a short paragraph. He has had a life full of ups and downs and is honestly one of the bravest people I know. If you want to learn more about Aiden's story, you can go to his Caringbridge site or the Crowdrise site I've created for Team Aiden. Personally, I would recommend starting by going back and reading his journal entries on his Caringbridge site. It's like the most amazing and inspiring book you'll ever read!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness: Day 7

Less than a week until Christmas! Isn’t that crazy? Today was the 7th day of my Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. I’ve had a Port City Java gift card in my wallet for a few days now and knew it was time to give it away. So I stopped by PCJ to get my usual decaf vanilla iced coffee and to drop off the gift card. After getting my coffee, I sat down to look for someone who could use the gift card. A few minutes later a teenage girl walked up to the counter and I knew she would probably appreciate it. As a kid, you don’t have a lot of your own money, so I figured this might be helpful for her. I know I spent a lot of time and money at PCJ when I was in high school! So on my way out the door I stopped and tapped the girl on the shoulder. I get really awkward when talking to people I don’t know, so I probably sounded like an idiot. But I handed her the gift card and said “Here ya go. Here’s a $10 gift card. Merry Christmas!” and left. The girl looked super confused (which is totally understandable) and kept looking at her friends to see if they knew what was going on. It was pretty awkward, but I guess that’s okay. As long as she enjoys it!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness: Day 6

Happy Sunday, friends! Today was Day 7 of my Random Acts of Christmas Kindness, and it was challenging. The main challenge was that I didn’t wake up until 2pm, so that kind of cut my day short. After finally dragging myself out of the house, I went shopping and to a movie with my Dad. My plan was to give someone a $10 gift card to Port City Java, but it just never happened. When I got home I decided that today’s random act would have to be something I could do from home, since it was late. So for today, I donated money to “F Cancer”. Mozilla Firefox just launched a crazy awesome holiday campaign and is donating $25,000 to the charity that raises the most money. You can check out more about “F Cancer” and how you can help here: So I might not have left the house to do my random act of kindness today, but I did help an organization work towards their goal of raising money. And you could do the same!
I got another e-mail from Alyssa today. Here’s what she had to say:

"So for today I took Christmas cards to the Children’s Hospital and the VA Hospital. But I didn’t just buy cards and drop them off. I decorated the envelopes, wrote in all the cards, and made little inserts with inspirational quotes on them. It took me about 5 hours in total but it was more than worth it. The staff was super grateful and thanked me a million times at each place. It really made me smile. It feels so good to make other people feel good even if it’s something as small as a Christmas Card."

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness: Day 5

Happy day 5! It’s finally starting to feel like Christmas around here! I braved the mall to do some last minute Christmas shopping (along with half of Wilmington, apparently), we finally put up our tree, and we went downtown to eat dinner and look at lights. Between the Christmas festivities and the random acts of kindness, I am really starting to get into the Christmas spirit! On the way home from the mall today, we passed a homeless man on the side of the road. He was holding up a sign that caught my eye; it said: “Homeless, not Hopeless”. Now, I don’t know this man’s story or his situation, but I also can’t imagine being cold, hungry, lonely, or homeless ever, especially during the holidays. I knew when I saw him that I had to do something. So I pulled up to the stoplight, which was luckily red, reached into my wallet, grabbed a few dollars, handed them to my friend Christine, and told her to get out and give them to him. From what I could tell, the man seemed very thankful. His face immediately lit up, and even if just for a second, his eyes seemed a little brighter. Christine jumped back into the car before the light turned green and we pulled away just in time to hear the man yelling “Merry Christmas!” It was good to see how appreciative he was, and also really cool to see how much Christine enjoyed it. She was excited to be a part of my Christmas giving, which made me more excited too. All in all, it was a really great day. I hope it was for that man too.
In other giving news, I got another e-mail from Alyssa today. Here’s what it said:
“Pay It Forward Day 2: Pay for someone elses coffee at Starbucks. The girl behind me was so surprised. She kept asking if I was serious and kept saying "Wow. Thank you." It felt so good and made my day. Im still on a high from that.”

Since I didn't think it would be appropriate to take a picture of the homeless man, I decided to use the picture that Alyssa sent me. Yay Starbucks!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness: Day 4

Well, it’s day 4 of my “12 days of Christmas giving” and it didn't go exactly as planned. But I think today’s lesson is that nobody’s perfect. I woke up early this morning to drive to Greenville, NC to watch my best friend of 16 years graduate from college. It was so much fun and I’m so proud of her! But because I was traveling and busy all day, I haven’t had time to actively participate in a random act of kindness. I was feeling kind of bummed about this and the fact that I "failed". However, I then got an e-mail that made me feel much better! I received an e-mail from a girl named Alyssa informing me that she was going to participate in the Christmas giving project. She then e-mailed me to tell me she bought some toys to deliver to Toys For Tots. I’m so excited!
Okay, so maybe I didn’t directly do a random act of kindness today, but it felt good knowing that someone else was inspired to participate in these random acts! So I’m gonna say that I didn’t necessarily ‘fail’ today. I just participated in a different way. I’d like to think I supported and inspired. I spent the day supporting my friend and celebrating her graduation with her, and I helped to inspire someone else to give. So maybe it’s not perfect, and maybe it’s not exactly how I planned, but today was still a success in my book!

Here’s a picture Alyssa sent me. These are the toys she purchased to donate. THANK YOU so much, Alyssa. You are amazing and you are making someone’s life a little brighter!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness: Day 3

Today was the 3rd day of my “12 days of Christmas giving”. I’m not gonna lie, I had a crazy travel day and spent the majority of my day packing and unpacking and driving across the state. I wasn’t really sure where or when I was going to fit in my random act of kindness for the day, however, I seriously considered the fact that I didn’t honk or gesture at anyone while driving to be pretty kind. But really, I knew I needed to do something, so as I pulled into Wilmington I stopped at the grocer store to pick up some roses for my mom. She’s been stressed planning and shopping for Christmas and cleaning for company, so I thought some flowers might be a nice gesture. When I got home, I grabbed the bouquet, put them behind my back, and snuck in through the garage door. When she came down to meet me, I handed her the flowers and said “Merry Christmas, mom!” She seemed really surprised and happy. She immediately found a vase and cut the flowers and now they are being proudly displayed in the kitchen. It was a small gesture, but I think it was definitely the thought that counted with this one!

In other news, I'm home now and I'm so happy! I can't wait to hang out with my family and friends and get our Christmas tree! Tomorrow will be another travel day, since I'm driving up to ECU to see my best friend, Emily, graduate!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness: Day 2

Today was day 2 of my “12 days of random acts of Christmas kindness”. (I need a shorter name for that, right?). Still excited about yesterdays giveaways, I was ready to go for today’s activity! I used the cookie dough I bought yesterday and made 16 delicious looking chocolate chip cookies. That’s right, I said delicious looking, not tasting, because I surprisingly refrained from tasting one myself. After the cookies were ready, I drew up a little Christmas card, signed it, and wrapped it with the cookies. Then I took the plate and card down to the front office building of our apartment complex and gave the cookies to my landlord. She seemed thankful, I guess. She’s not a very expressive person, so I couldn’t really tell. But she poured herself a glass of milk and unwrapped them, so I guess that’s a good sign! Even though I didn’t get much of a reaction, I still had fun delivering the cookies. I got the feeling that doesn’t happen too often in the complex, so it was nice to be able to do something different and nice. Tomorrow will be a travel day since I’m driving home to Wilmington, but hopefully I’ll find a way to pay it forward! I’ll let you know how it goes.

PS- I heard from another girl today. She made cookies to bring to her local firestation. How cool!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness: Day 1

So today was day 1 of my “12 days of random acts of kindness”, and it was awesome. I spent a lot of my day brainstorming some ideas for the rest of the 12 days and thinking about what I would do today. I decided that for tomorrow I would bake some cookies for our landlord, so I ran out to the grocery to get the cookie dough. While waiting in the check out line, I picked up a Food Lion gift card and decided that would be my random act of kindness for the day. I got to the cashier, paid for my dough, and got $10 put on the gift card. Meanwhile, in line behind me was a cute older lady who had a good amount of groceries. Before walking away, I turned to the lady, handed her the gift card and told her Merry Christmas. Her reaction was worth more than $10, for sure. She let out a little gasp and looked totally surprised. She kept saying “Seriously? Is this for me? Are you serious?” And after I assured her that it was for her, and wished her Merry Christmas a few more times, she began to cry. I knew I had to get out of there before I started crying, so I gave her a smile and walked away. As I was walking out I could hear the cashier saying “Wow. Wow. That was so nice. I can’t believe that just happened. That was so nice.”

Lesson of the day. It seems like a little kindness can go a long way. I hope that the cahier and the lady are inspired to maybe do something good for others this holiday season. I honestly can’t wait for tomorrow and another random act of kindness!

PS- I have already heard from 2 people that they've been inspired to do the same! Can't wait to hear about it!

Ho Ho Ho, Pay It Forward.

It’s officially 12 days until Christmas! This wouldn’t be a significant amount of time if it weren’t for the obnoxiously long Christmas song chronicling the 12 days leading up to Christmas. I don’t know if it’s the weather, or the fact that I don’t have a Christmas tree yet, but I have not gotten into the holiday spirit yet this year. So I have a plan to get myself in the Christmas spirit. What are the holidays all about? Jesus and cookies and singing and family? Yes, that too. But also, the holidays are about giving. So what better way to celebrate the 12 days leading up to Christmas then to practice 12 random acts of kindness- one each day leading up to the holiday! I’m going to try to go out of my way to do something special for someone everyday, whether it be buy a gift card for the person behind me in the grocery store, or donate canned goods to the local food bank. What better way to get in the holiday spirit than to help others? So for the next 12 days, I’ll be chronicling my own 12 days of Christmas. I would encourage you to participate too, in whatever way you can! Can you imagine how much happiness could be spread if a few people took a little extra time out of their day to help someone else. So let me know if you decide to participate! Even if it’s only one day, it’s better than nothing. Merry Christmas, friends. I can’t wait to update you on my holiday adventure!

PS- If you're in the Wilmington area, and would like to help, I'll be heading to the local food bank on Monday to bring canned goods. If you would like to donate any canned items, please let me know!

Merry Christmas, from little me and big Santa!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

One day at a time? Yeah right.

Today I bought a map and started planning our trip to LA. I always knew I struggled with compartmentalizing, (and what sometimes appears to be neurotic OCD habits) but goodness gracious! When I start planning something, I can’t stop. It's all or nothing for me. I end up planning everything. Even things that aren’t related. Take tonight for example. I laid out my newly purchased map, got on my computer, got a few sheets of paper and some colored sharpies and went to town planning each day of our LA trip. Since we’ll be taking a cab most places, I tried to plan each day so that we didn’t have to do a lot of backtracking (cost, energy, and time efficient). The planning went fairly well (I hope), so then I decided to start a packing list. This is where the trouble came. I made a list of things I needed to pack for LA. Which then got me searching for my iPod, which led me to find some checks, which then made me think of how much money I’m going to need in LA. Which stressed me out. And I couldn’t find my iPod. So I went to make a note to ask my mom about money over Christmas break. Which then got me thinking about Christmas break, and presents I need to buy, and what I need to pack. Which led me to thinking about packing for LA again. Which stressed me out. Again. So I decided to take a step back and start in a new direction. I decided to look at our flight information. While looking at our flight info, I remembered that we don’t fly back until the morning of the 9th, which is also the first day of classes for the spring semester. This got me thinking about my spring semester classes. Therefore, I wrote out my schedule for my classes and thought about how I still needed to finish my nursing school application. Which stressed me out. So I decided to take another step back and go back to looking at flight information. After writing out every single detail of all of our flights, I thought about how I will definitely need medicine for the plane and how I need to make sure I pack that. Which brought me back to my packing list. Which stressed me out again.

You guys, I could go on and on. Literally. I sat on my living room floor for 4 hours on a Friday night planning every minute of the next 30 days of my life.

WHY am I thinking about Christmas break, LA, packing, airplanes, nursing school applications, spring classes, iPods, money, and presents all at the same time? Because I suck at isolating things. I suck at focusing at one thing at a time. So I have a tendency to look at everything at the same time and then get way overstressed. Does this happen to anyone else? Does anyone else have a hard time taking things “one day at a time”?

I feel a little like this. Biting off more than I can chew. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

30 seconds with yourself...5 years ago.

Someone posted a question on Twitter today that really got me thinking:

If you could call yourself five years ago, and had 30 seconds, what would you say?

Well, 5 years ago, I was finishing my senior year of high school. There are a lot of things I would say to my 17 year old self, but if I only have 30 seconds I better make it concise. So here’s what I would say:

“Enjoy the last few months of high school. Don’t worry about college. It will be scary at first, but you can do it. And it will be so worth it. Speaking of college, study. It will be better in the long run. Make sure you let your grandparents know that you love them, they won’t be around much longer. Go to your grandmothers funeral, don’t worry about finals and packing for Beach Project. Go to her funeral. You're gonna suffer a lot of losses in one year. It does get better. Always be honest and have a good work ethic. Be someone who is worthy of respect. You can’t expect others to respect you if you don’t respect yourself. If you need to take a semester off, do it. Your health is more important, so don’t stress out about it. Things are going to change, go with it. Nothing can stay the same forever.”

If you only had 30 seconds, what would you say to yourself 5 years ago?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

OTH Wardrobe Sale

Hello friends,
This past weekend was the One Tree Hill wardrobe sale. Since the show is wrapped, they took a lot of the clothes, shoes, and accessories and sold them to the public. It was fun to go to the studio and see the whole sound stage full of clothes! Everything was really well priced, and I had just cashed a paycheck, so I treated myself to a few things. People have been asking for pictures, so here it is:

Fantastic tan shoes. Obsessed. 

Amazing Dolce Vita heels. Thank goodness Joy Galeotti and I have the same size foot!

Purple, Blue, and Black skirt

The cutest little black dress. The back has buttons at the top and a slit down the spine. So cute.

Cute little green top. I mainly love this top because I filmed all day with Joy when she wore this shirt. It has some funny memories behind it.

Paris t-shirt. Worn by Kate

Sweet little Jackson's cape. I honestly love that kid (when he's not chasing me around the cafe with a butter knife)!

Super soft scarf

Gold flower necklace

So these are my purchases! I really wanted to get my Karen's Cafe waitressing shirt back, but they didn't have it. The cast and crew got to buy stuff the day before, so it either got taken by one of them or shipped back out to LA. It's okay, I'm very happy with what I did get!

I'm sad to see One Tree Hill go, but happy I got to be a part of it! Can't wait to see what comes to Wilmington next!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Overcoming the Past

I wrote my previous blog entry about overcoming the fear of the unknown and it really got me thinking about my past. I talked about going off to college and how big of an accomplishment that was, but I failed to mention my biggest and greatest accomplishment. I often overlook this time in my life as an accomplishment, because in the moment it was anything but. However, looking back on it, the hardest thing I have ever had to overcome turned out to be the most rewarding. I can confidently say that I am a better person for overcoming my past. So here’s a little backstory:
10th grade was by far the hardest year of my life. And now that I’m passed it I sometimes forget how hellish and awful it was. And as hard and awful and terrible and miserable as it was, I consider overcoming 10th grade to be one of my biggest successes in life. Yes, I know. 10th grade isn't really fun for anyone, but my year turned out a little bit different. You see, in 10th grade, at the age of 15, I was completely house-bound. It started off as the occasional panic attack and turned into full blown agoraphobia quickly. I couldn’t leave my house without having a panic attack. I feared everything. I was “hospital homebound” and did my school work from my couch. I got scared when my friends came over. I got scared being in the car. I got scared when the phone rang, when my mom left for the grocery store, when someone on TV coughed, and pretty much every waking minute. It was miserable. I remember trying to go to school and having to leave before I even made it to the parking lot. I remember trying to go to after school tutoring, not because I needed the help, but because I needed the exposure. I remember the awkward stares I would get from other students who wondered why I never came to class anymore. I remember hearing rumors that I had cancer. But most of all I remember thinking I was literally insane. I was uncomfortable and scared at all times. Can you even imagine how exhausting that is? It was the lowest point of my entire life. I didn’t know if it would ever stop, if I would ever feel normal again. I remember sitting on my parents bed crying and thinking “I just want to go home.” Keep in mind I was physically home. I just remember in my head “home” was always a place where I could be comfortable and safe and I certainly wasn’t feeling that way at home. Luckily I had some pretty amazing people in my life. Although I was too scared to have friends over, my friends still called everyday to check in on me. My chorus teacher, Mr. Horrell, would stop by on his way home from school sometimes to make sure I was doing okay. (He would always call first to make sure I was up for a visitor). He even let me come sit in his office to take the 10th grade writing test. He was so good with me and made sure that I knew that I could come to him at any point. And I certainly did once I started going back to school. Once I figured out medications and the agoraphobia turned into occasional panic attacks, I made my way back to school, slowly but surely. I took 2 classes each day instead of the usual 4. And I had passes to get out of all of my classes if I needed to step out and regroup. There were quite a few times when I needed to step out of class, and I always knew I could go to Mr. Horrell’s office and sit. I could leave any class I was in and go interrupt and he would stop whatever class he was teaching to give me the key to his office so I could go sit. I remember my mom would stay with me at school. She would drive me to class and then sit in the car while I was in classes, because I was too scared to be stranded at school and have her leave. I remember the herbal medicine she made me try. 2 drops of some disgusting bitter “natural anxiety relief” that I had to put under my tongue. I remember a lot of things about that time in my life. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I lost a lot of things that year- experiences, time, laughter, fun. But I gained some important things too. I learned that I am stronger than anything life throws my way. I learned that almost anything is possible with a good support system. I learned that courage can be hard, and at the end of the day, if you tried, that’s all that really matters. And I learned that when things look hopeless, there is always still hope. Always.

So I will leave you with a note that my chorus teacher, Mr. Horrell, wrote in my yearbook a few days before I graduated high school. (I still have to grab the tissues when I read it).

              June 8th, 2007

Brooke, First of all let me say something that 3 years ago I wasn’t sure I would, WOW- YOU MADE IT!!!! It is remarkable, excuse me…you are a remarkably courageous and determined young lady. I am so proud of you for fighting with everything you have. Greatness is measured in different ways, and often confused by those taking the measurement. I would argue that your “fight to finish” is a TRUE mark of greatness, and ranks along side any award or acknowledgement that is given at Saturday’s graduation ceremony. I don’t think I would have done as well as you if faced with the same obstacle!! Rarely in a teacher’s career does a student impact the teacher’s life in a way that changes his approach to teaching and life for that matter, the way you have impacted me! I am a better person and teacher because of you. I appreciate your influence on my life. I have grown to value and trust your opinion and keen sense of judgment. Thank you for always being honest- unfortunately that’s a value that few people possess. I am confident you will continue to succeed because of the qualities I have already mentioned, and because of the ones that I have not. It’s nice to know that you are my friend. I am sad this aspect of our friendship has come to an end, but I am looking forward to the many great experiences yet to happen! Best of luck next year- I KNOW you will be fine! Thank you for 4 GREAT years!

                                                                    With much admiration and respect,

                                                                                                       Mr. Horrell

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fear of the unknown

"It’s okay to not know, but it’s not okay to not try."

I heard this quote today and it really made me think. It’s so simple and so true. Why are we usually afraid to try things? For me, it is usually a fear of failure or the fear of the unknown. But you have to accept that sometimes you might not know things, and that’s okay. As long as you don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you from trying. There are many times in my life where I’ve been scared of a situation solely based on the fact that I didn’t know exactly what to expect. And there are many times that I decided to skip out on things that probably would have been awesome. I think it was my freshman year of college when I learned that nothing is worse than missing an opportunity that could have changed your life. I was scared to go to college. I was terrified. I even remember yelling at my dad during move in and asking him how he could possibly leave me there. In my head I just knew I couldn’t do it. After all, I didn’t know what to expect. There were so many unknowns and I was scared. Sometimes I still think back to that. What would have happened if I hadn’t bit the bullet and stayed at college. I would have come home with my parents and missed out on so many amazing opportunities. I wouldn’t have had the same wonderful experiences or made the same great friends. Yes, I’ll admit, it was scary and it wasn’t always easy. But really it only took about a week for it to go from “unknown” to familiar. That was one of the first times I remember pushing past my fears of the unknown, but trying anyways. And since then I’ve done many more things that have pushed me out of my comfort zone. Not all have been such pleasant experiences, but I tried, and now I know. And I didn’t miss out. So next time you’re debating whether to do something or not, don’t let the fear of not knowing hold you back. Go ahead and try. And soon it won’t be unknown anymore.

PS- There is an excellent Meredith Grey quote that fits in perfectly with this:

A couple of hundred years ago, Benjamin Franklin shared with the world the secret of his success. Never leave that till tomorrow, he said, which you can do today. This is the man who discovered electricity. You think more people would listen to what he had to say. I don’t know why we put things off, but if I had to guess, I’d have to say it has a lot to do with fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, sometimes the fear is just of making a decision, because what if you’re wrong? What if you’re making a mistake you can’t undo? The early bird catches the worm. A stitch in time saves nine. He who hesitates is lost. We can’t pretend we hadn’t been told. We’ve all heard the proverbs, heard the philosophers, heard our grandparents warning us about wasted time, heard the damn poets urging us to seize the day. Still sometimes we have to see for ourselves. We have to make our own mistakes. We have to learn our own lessons. We have to sweep today’s possibility under tomorrow’s rug until we can’t anymore. Until we finally understand for ourselves what Benjamin Franklin really meant. That knowing is better than wondering, that waking is better than sleeping, and even the biggest failure, even the worst, beat the hell out of never trying.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Meredith Grey

I have a tendency to like the TV characters that everyone else finds annoying. Maybe it’s because I think I’m annoying and sympathize with the fact that they can’t help but be who they are--annoying. But gosh darn it, I love Meredith Grey. Yes, she’s whiny, and overly guarded, stubborn, and kind of whorish. But really, who’s not? She can be overly dramatic and sometimes a little “dark and twisty”; well, so can I. She has ridiculously thin and stringy hair, and has a hard time saying no; so do I. So yes, I sympathize, empathize, and love one of TV’s whiniest characters.

So here’s to you, Meredith Grey. Because we all have days when we feel like this…