some things happen for a reason.

ripple effects.

you decide to go get coffee and sit for awhile at a coffee shop you’ve never been to. you’re nervous to go, but you do it, and you find yourself pleasantly surprised by a friend you haven’t seen in a long time.

you go online to find a book you really want to read and come across a better one that’s cheaper and it’s by an author you’re going to meet in three months.

you speak french and love political journalistic writing and go to a university reception to do those things. you meet a student whose three majors are french, journalism, and politics.

i’m not saying life is perfect, and i’m not saying everything is meant to work out in your favor. i’m saying we, on this beautiful planet, are all interconnected. there’s not necessarily a reason for you to step in the mud, but there might be if the person to help you get your foot unstuck is the love of your life.

we may not have destinies or fates or grand plans, but we definitely find ourselves in situations that simply could not have happened had we not made a decision that led to that point. what things have happened to you that you felt were meant to happen? how would your life be different if they hadn’t happened?

so many pieces of the past make up the lives we have now. the language, the upbringing, the culture, the education, the access to knowledge… life is insanely cumulative. i believe that’s why some people don’t think they can change their lives.

they may be taught, from a young age, that they always fail at everything. the more they’re told so, the more they believe it. then, when they go to do something world-alteringly important, they may chicken out because their fear of failure has been encouraged from a young age. it’s just like water erosion. just a few drops, yes? but enough time passes, and rock disappears forever.

that’s why, too, we think life sucks. a family member passes, and we ask, “why does _____ matter if this happened?” insert god, living, love, passion, growth, trying… whatever the matter seems to be. it’s not the fault of god, life, love, passion, growth, effort, or any other scapegoat you might come up with. because life is cumulative. and if you’re going to tell you that god made all this happen to you, then you’re telling me that this isn’t your life. you’re telling me you’ve made no decisions, chosen no paths, and done absolutely nothing.

we aren’t passive creatures. we have emotions, convictions, desires, fears… we do not go gently into that good night. i’m not saying that your decisions killed your grandparent, but i’m saying the world happens and is going to continue to happen for as long as it does. we don’t even know how long that is.

so because the world is going to continue to happen for an undetermined amount of time, i’m offering up this solution: live. live every day, and never stop living until you’re dead. and then fertilize the earth with your corpse and let the next people live. it’s kinda crappy, that it works this way, but it does, so live a life of living life.

nobody and nothing made this awful thing happen to you, the thing you’re thinking about. it’s not your fault, it’s not god’s, it’s not the person you want to point fingers at… it’s the fact that life goes on. you’ve only got a little bit left, though, so move on from what’s hurting you and let yourself live the rest in peace.

let yourself have peace. ❤


self expression and its effect on me.

Recently, it’s been on my mind that I express myself a lot more than the normal person. See, on a daily basis we come into contact with all sorts of people who enjoy very different activities. Some like making music, others taking photos, writing, interior design, film, acting, working out, meditating, cooking, minimalism, zero waste . . .

And usually, the average person has a niche, right? Well, all those things I listed above are things I am prone to doing on a regular basis. Yup. This year alone, I’m zoned to lead a foreign language club, copy edit for my school newspaper, perform in choir and theatre, take a college level English class . . . Seriously, I’m just an overscheduled mess.

But you know what? I really enjoy all those things, so I don’t take any of them off my plate. It does, however, affect me. So, how?

  • I’m busier. I don’t always have as much time as I’d like, as I’m running around doing all of the things. I may not have as many days to spend with friends and family during the average month, so I definitely have to make sure I’m keeping up my relationships. I also have to be an introvert, because if you’re someone who needs constant companionship, it’s hard to keep up with so many projects and tasks.
  • Speaking of tasks! Productivity is essential. If I couldn’t keep up with my tasks or projects or events, I would fall apart! Being so deeply involved has made me an excellent planner and prioritizer. Does that mean I don’t still procrastinate? I wish.
  • The renaissance girl. They’ve been called scanners, multi-potentialities, multitaskers, but I prefer the renaissance girl. It helps to have so many interests because if I want to try something new, it’s likely I’ve tried something similar already! My comfort zone is virtually nonexistent because I step out of it so much. Additionally, to high school/college students specifically, scholarships tend to roll in when you’ve got a lot of activities under your belt!
  • Knowing what I want to do with my life. The answer isn’t always clear with this one (ask my mom, who just recently figured out what she wanted to do), but I believe that I was able to zero in on my real calling by exploring many avenues. What I’ve learned is that if you can’t figure out a career with your main interest — such as underwater basket weaving — see if you can combine it with something else. Maybe you also have a passion for marine life, so you join an organization that helps clean oceans. And when you make a stop, then you can weave your baskets. (That was a stretch, but you get where I’m going, right?)
  • I’ve met so many people! All of my clubs, activities, initiatives, creative outlets . . . It’s helped me meet so many amazing and influential people. Each person that you meet can teach you something new, and you should always seek out mentor-ship for whatever you do. (I’m looking at the turtle-loving basket weaver.) My favorite self-help author, Brendon Burchard, likes to say that “you never have to start from scratch.” I agree! The tools are there when you’re around people who do what you do! Don’t use it as competition, use it as a learning experience. Because if you’re better than everyone in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

Comment below and let me know what your interests are! I want to know.

❤ -rachel

just a regular morning.

The alarm rings at six-thirty AM. I take a moment to orient myself, turn off the Shins‘ lyrical voice, and swing my legs over the side of the bed.

The sheets cling to the soft fabric of my leggings, almost begging me to stay, but I don’t let that happen because, as we all know, if I do, I’m not getting back up any time soon.

I shift the music, changing it to a soft, acoustic-like playlist. It’s flowy. It wakes me up. I let it lull me to the laundry room to collect the dried things, then to the mirror where I make myself presentable.

I stare at the eyes in my own head, comb through the woven strands, with water wash the sleep from my face. And one deep breath for good measure.

Lemon perfume.

Time to take two seconds for myself, and I do: I roll out the blue mat and do a few stretches, and when I’m calm, I sit in silence. On a warm early morning, there is nothing so golden as thirty minutes of pure quiet.

My breaths match the rhythm of the dreams I had last night — I think, as I can hardly recall them. Strong legs help me stand to gather myself for the day’s challenge; I am grateful for them even if they aren’t shaped the way society wants them to be.

Inhaling, I open a window, gathering my senses and realizing the thunderstorm playing on outside. It’s so perfect, this day of mine, because it is completely mine.

Last few seconds before going downstairs… smile in the reflection. Tell yourself that “today will go how you choose it to go.” To the kitchen.

Fill up a glass with water. Down the whole thing, then get another, and sip it mindfully while you gather your thoughts on a page, or two, or six.

I recall the day before and remember that it’s okay to start over today. I am better today. I breathe out and in and out again, and I start the day.

Just a regular morning, yeah. Just a routine thing.

17 life lessons at 17.

  1. There’s nothing vain about taking care of yourself. It’s okay to feel attractive.
  2. Spend less time with electronics and more time with people/nature.
  3. Your self worth does not come from other people; it comes from you.
  4. If there are things that interest you, explore them!
  5. Smile more.
  6. Drink your water, eat your veggies, and take your pills.
  7. Find exercise that feels good.
  8. Go to beautiful places and soak it up.
  9. Your friends need you! Check up on them, talk to them, spend time with them.
  10. Saying no is okay, even if it’s hard for others to accept.
  11. Reading is something everyone should do.
  12. Search for what you believe in. I mean really define it and understand it. It makes decisions so much easier.
  13. Even when you don’t feel like it, finish your projects. Complete the hard tasks.
  14. Do something every morning and night that centers you when you wake up and calms you before bed. It’s called a routine, and you’ve needed one since you were born.
  15. Figure out a way to organize and plan your life . . . don’t stop until you do.
  16. Explore more music, movies, TV, and reading material. You’re one CD away from your new favorite band, one website away from a blog that speaks to you.
  17. You will get older much faster than you think, so take care of your body and do everything! Don’t take your flexible, healthy, active body for granted. Do everything.

The year of being 16 was quite a year of growth for me, growth that came from realizations and experiences and relationships. Hopefully you find truth in some of these.

-me ❤

why I’m introverted (and why I haven’t apologized for it).

Recently, I’ve been working through accepting something very prominent about myself: I’m an introvert. Now, it’s not that I think it’s a bad thing — not at all. I simply seem to notice that while I’m less inclined to spend large amounts of time with others, most people enjoy lively situations. Additionally, my activities include more social types . . . which makes it hard to explain to others involved.

Why am I not more social? Why do I shy away from big crowds when life gets the most exciting? Well, I can’t answer that. I can only tell you that the universe works in mysterious ways, and some people are extroverts, and I’m an introvert. That’s it. That’s what’s so hard to accept.

Because when I get to my morning commute, there are groups of people who love to chat together about what they did yesterday or how that movie was or who’s dating whom. It’s exhausting.

And when I do what I do best, sit and listen or think in silence, people question my well-being. Because it’s not normal to be quiet. It’s not acceptable to introspectively contemplate, reserved.

So it’s hard to accept that about myself. I think it’s important to surround oneself with people who are okay with your own habits and tendencies; otherwise, you begin to feel that your personality is wrong. And remember this: your personality is never wrong.

That’s all I have to share today. Take this and think.

moment of silence.

Five seconds. That’s all they get, five seconds.

Five seconds to remember the good times, and the bad.

Five seconds to think of all that mattered to them.

Five seconds, tick tick tick tick tick on the clock.

Then it’s back to our regularly scheduled programming, with chemistry tests and baseball practice and history essays.

Why don’t we hold a vigil? Is it too hard to take a day off from the typicalities? It’s normal to move on, yes. But it’s not normal to pretend as if no one has died.

D. I. E. D. Two people are gone. Like it or not, we must embrace that two members of our student family are missing from us. So is it right that we simply go back to studying and taking classes and doing homework?

For god’s sake, who can do homework when your friends are dead? 

But then again, what would they want from us? What if they want us to keep going, in their honor?

Maybe it’s okay. Maybe we should go back to the day-to-day. Maybe everything will be alright if we just keep moving. Keep going.

Just, while you continue to move, don’t forget to remember. Remember how funny Eric and Nathan were, how kind they could be, how good they were. Good kids who, unconnectedly, both lost their lives too young. Far too young.

As you go along, into your days and weeks and months and even years, keep remembering the good; don’t let it put a damper on your step for too long, though it’s perfectly okay to be sad. Be the remembrance that they deserve. Let yourself smile like they smile, laugh like they laughed, live like they lived; with good hearts and strength.

Love on a friend today. Love on anyone and everyone today. Say a prayer with a friend of a different faith, write letters with a possible enemy, make a pact to always reach out for help with someone you used to be friends with but don’t know so well now.

This is no time to fall apart, Titans. This is a time for strength in the Titan family. Strength around your own family, strength within yourself and your friends and faculty.

Be strong. Love loudly. Be proud of the ones we must remember. And keep going, for them.