I’ve always believed that I had a certain path, that there was one thing I was always supposed to do. I’ve always, my whole life, wanted to be an actor. And I moved away from my home to try and be that. Lately, I’ve started wondering, “why?” Why do I want to be an actor? And I’ve also wondered why I haven’t given up that dream. It could be my ego, or it could be completely legitimate reasons. But how on earth do I figure that out? I’ve spent a lot of time working on my ego. Realizing that it does, in fact, exist (despite how much I hate to acknowledge that). I let my ego control a lot of things. I don’t like to admit failure. I don’t like to be publicly embarrassed. I worry what other’s think of me, often. I started to wonder why I continue to dream of being an actor when there are so many other things that I am capable of, so many other things that I truly care about.
I realized that my life doesn’t have to be already written, and that I can change my mind if I want to. Maybe if I change my mind about pursuing a career in acting, maybe that’s not a failure. It’s completely possible that I could find something I wanted to do more. I’ve been so stubborn on my path to being an actor that I’ve refused to even consider another option. I didn’t want people to think of me as a failure, even though I never really tried as hard as I could have. I’m not saying that I am letting go of that dream just yet, but I am saying that maybe that’s not my only path.
I went away to Yosemite for a week with my boyfriend and his family last week. I had never in my life experienced beauty like that before. I had never hiked 8.2 miles to the top of a mountain and then hiked another 8.2 miles back down. I saw things that I had never seen before and it made me realize how much more I haven’t seen of the world, and also, of myself.
I’m the one who put myself in that box of being a certain idea, a certain type of person. I was the one with the expectations. I had this idea of who I would be and it’s quite possible that I could have been closed minded about that, and that’s totally okay. I am who I am, and maybe there are different paths that I can take. I am on a journey of understanding myself, and I love the epiphanies I’ve had along the way. The things that I’ve become passionate about are somewhat intriguing. I started watching The West Wing and I realized that I care about politics (I know, strange way to figure that out), and I went down to OccupyLA. Where I learned just how much I care about politics. I learned to start speaking up about the things that I care about in my personal life. Human rights, women’s rights, body acceptance, what we’re putting into our bodies, the way the media is manipulating us in many ways and many more. I want to do something about these things. It’s quite possible I should have taken my mother’s advice when she told me to go to school for journalism. But let’s be real, hardly anyone really knows what they care about when they’re 18. If you did, I’m jealous of you.
Anyway, my point in simple. You’re allowed to change your mind. You’re allowed to follow more than one dream. You’re allowed to become whatever type of person you want to become. The things you learn you care about through life may surprise you, just go with it! You’ll live a more satisfied life if you get to know your ego and put it aside and begin to ask yourself, “Why?”
You don’t have to be the person that everybody else expects you to. You can really be the person that you want to be.
It’s the time of the year when there are new beginnings. Fall is on its way, which means the school bells start ringing. No matter how old you are, school can be a rough environment. Not all the time, but it certainly can be; especially in your teenage years. High school is a jungle of people trying to find themselves and figure out what they want in life. Certain things that happen on that journey may or may not lower our self esteem and make us feel bad about ourselves. From bullies, to cliches, to down right crummy relationships, it’s no wonder teens are angsty and frustrated with the world and themselves.
You may see people sitting by themselves at lunch, while a crowd is laughing under their breathe. You may know that one guy in your science class that no one has taken the chance to get to know because he seems different. Even the girl who is the Regina George (Mean Girls reference) of the school is hurting inside. Everyone is searching, wondering, and hurting, they may just hide it differently then you.
And if you are the girl sitting alone, or the different one in class, by no means does that define you. If I could change one thing about high school, it would be that people feel the need to let how they are treated in high school define them for life. The people I found at lunch alone are the most amazing people I know today.
Guess what, HERE’S THE SECRET…the sooner we see that we are worth loving, the road gets so much easier! And once we realize it about ourselves, we can spread the love and make others feel loved as well. How awesome is that to have the satisfaction of knowing we are worth loving, loved, and share with others that they are as well.
I challenge you to start this school year with confidence that you and everyone around you is worth love. Sit with the people who are alone, they may turn out to be the most genuine, nice people you know. The science guy who seems different may have a sense of humor that will have you laughing out of your chair. And the Regina George may think twice before bullying .You won’t know how big of an impact your confidence may have on someone else until you proudly show it.
I am worth loving.
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Throughout life each of us come in contact with thousands of people. Many of them come and go quickly, rarely affecting our lives in a dramatic way. However, sometimes people stay and take time to make an investment in your life. They pursue a friendship. These people that we take on life with are often so constant that we take them for granted. Or at least I often do. This message is for them, for all the ones who have been there for us through every season of life and of the heart.
Recently I have been going through changes in my life, whether it is transitioning into a new job or college classes, making daily routines work, or letting go of dead weight. During this change it is difficult to make the time for close friends or have any social life at all for that matter. However, it is very important that during the week we make time for those who make time for us. In my eyes, that’s the only way we can continue to build better bridges.
I realized this last week. I started thinking that in order to keep good solid friends in my life, I had to meet them half way. I had to let them know they were important to me. This is something many of us struggle with; we ask, “Why hasn’t anyone asked to hang out? Why hasn’t anyone called or texted me back?” . I can’t help but to think.. ”Do these people know how I feel? Do they know I want them around more; that I want to make a better effort in strengthening your friendship.” Most likely not. So I will choose to reach out more.
A friend who I have looked up to for a long time had not been constant in my life. Yes, we had surface talks and said a couple “what’s up man, I miss seeing you,” over the past months but no real conversation. No real investment. So we finally found a time to sit down for breakfast and just talk about what we have been up to. Talks of relationships, life changes and even river tubing while we drank our morning coffee. Something was different than any talk we had in the past year. I realized how refreshing it was to talk about my ups and downs with someone who really cared and gave me feedback. That conversation encouraged me to start the day right, my friends light inspired me to shine my own.
That’s what a friendship is all about, encouraging and celebrating with each other. Picking one another up when we fall and most importantly, realizing the value of it all. Loving Loud. Those who are constant in your life, those who invest in you, and you in them, will ultimately take part in forming you to the person you become. Realize the people who go above and beyond to be there, I encourage you to tell them thank you. They may not know what they mean to you and to many others. “Iron sharpens iron”.
How often during the day do you see an opportunity to show a stranger an act of random kindness? For me, I see opportunities everywhere I look. Whether it be carrying groceries, lending a couple bucks to help a person pay for something, or even a small act such as opening a door.
In our daily schedule we move so quickly from point A to point B that we often miss the little things in life. We miss the chance to influence someone’s day in a positive way. Many times we are going so fast in life that we even miss saying thank you to someone who has help us. Each and every person looks for human interaction. It all leads to our need for community. The problem is, we are so caught up in their own lives that we don’t listen to the needs from others. We simply don’t notice. So in turn we miss out on little things that could allow connectivity.
Last year my sociology professor told us that for extra credit he wanted us to find one way to positively impact a random strangers day. It had to be an original idea, and had to take place for at least 20 days. I had a million thoughts come into my head, but then I pinpointed one. I chose to write three letters, for three people, for thirty days. Each letter had the same text, an “inspirational” message so to speak. I chose to give these letters to completely random strangers. I didn’t say anything to them when I handed one out, I simply gave it and walked off.
The hardest part about giving out these letters wasn’t figuring out the words to say, or the confidence to hand them out. It was the fact that I would never know what they thought. We all want a positive reaction to our actions. We all want some form of confirmation. But, is that really what this whole thing is about, confirmation that we are helping others? The truth is, we may never know how we influence others. The letters I wrote may have meant nothing, something or everything to the people I gave them to. I may never find those answers. For me though, that’s the point. If we ever want to impact this world, we must convey selflessness through our daily life. I don’t know about you, but for me that word is often a very hard thing to act out.
All in all, the simplest conclusion to this topic is that in order to ever impact, influence or change the negative in this world is one act of random kindness at a time.
So my challenge for whoever may be reading this is do you hesitate when opportunities to show love or kindness come up? Or do you notice the little things and take every opportunity you can to impact someone positively?
As you go out today to accomplish your busy schedule, remind yourself to LOVE LOUD and take a chance. Who knows, your action may mean all the difference in the world for someone.
I haven’t formally introduced myself, fellow SWL readers! I am Xanna, an eighteen year old Atlanta native. So we can get to know each other before I get started, here’s a few fun facts about me! I am a barista at my favorite local coffee shop. If I could be someone else for a day, I would want to be Laura Marling, Bon Iver (is that weird?), or Charity Rose Thielen. If I had to choose between a beach trip or mountain weekend, my heart belongs to the Blue Ridge Mountains. I write songs in my room. And I found So Worth Loving through mutual Atlanta friends!
Now that you’ve gotten to know a little bit about me, I have something to share that lays heavy on my heart. One word that can make someone cringe:
a n x i e t y.
Anxiety is something that can go from stressing about a deadline, to keeping us up at night and putting a damper on our daily lives. Either way, it is never any fun!
When I was in 9th grade, an adult in my life asked me if I was anxious due to constantly tearing at my clothes, biting my nails, and lack of focus, biting my lip, and never sleeping. She then explained to me that only insecure people ever feel anxious, and it would be looked down upon if I kept showing signs of anxiety disorders. As any ninth grader would feel, I was destroyed. I didn’t know what I was constantly anxious about, or even noticed it before she had pointed it out to me, but it was in my head after our conversation that I was an insecure person and that’s what was causing the signs of uneasiness. Going on through high school, still an anxious teenager, I always felt like something was wrong with me, as most of us did in those lovely teen years. To be honest, sometimes when I catch myself biting my lip or over thinking and worrying about a situation, I still get the feeling that it’s wrong to be feeling how I am - which only makes the anxiety worse.
But here’s the thing, anxiety is not anything to be ashamed of! I am still convinced that everyone gets anxious, nervous, and stressed sometimes. What it comes down to is knowing that being anxious does not immediately make you an insecure person. It makes you human. It does not make you less worthy of love. Because no matter what our emotions are, everyone is worthy of love and loving themselves. So next time you sense someone is anxious or uneasy, let them know you’re there for them! And remind yourself that anxious or not, you are human who can love themselves, and be loved in return - anxious or not!
The Spring cleaning season must be upon us! I’m not sure what struck me but I have been working down in the basement a lot lately cleaning and trying to figure out what exactly we all have. Would you believe there are still pieces of my childhood down there? Toys even! While some of the things are worth keeping, the majority of it needs to go. Most of the things down there never see the light of day anymore. They have served their purpose and are only cluttering up the basement.
Spring cleaning is great for our homes but it can also refresh our ways of thinking and how we see and treat ourselves. Have you ever taken inventory on yourself and the pieces of your life that do not need to be there? Now’s the perfect time if you haven’t! Bring on the Spring Cleaning: Personal Mode.
Maybe you have things in your life that have yet to see the light of day- the things that eat away at you every single day inside but are never able to make it past your mouth. The secrets. Maybe there are certain attitudes you carry around that could use a little (or a lot of) tweaking. Maybe feelings such as unworthiness, shame, and worthlessness are constantly on your mind. Bad habits? Unhealthy relationships? Insecurities? This list could go on and on… whether it’s filled with serious things that need to change or more simple things to work on over time. Whatever it is, I would encourage you to get at it, get inside your heart and mind, and clean it out! Sometimes the things we let ourselves believe and do can be so poisonous to us. There is no reason why we should be letting ourselves live in that poison and destroy our quality of life.
I know I have a lot of time that needs to be spent in the Personal Mode of spring cleaning this season and I hope that you will spend some time there as well. Personally, I know I can’t wait to let go of some of my poison and get it out of my life! It’s not going to be easy, but it will definitely be worth it.
Happy Spring everyone!
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