Recalibrating My Life

Recalibrating My Life

The 40 Day Challenge to myself
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If you know anything about me, or read my last article, you know that I’m currently in the middle of a shit spiral of perpetual stuckness.

Like a stuck-in-a-pale-pink-wad-of-bubble-gum kind of stuck.

A help-I’ve-fallen-and-there’s-no-chance-in-hell-of-me-getting-up kind of stuck.

A Tom-Hanks-in-"Castaway" kind of stuck (OK, there are more people and fewer volleyballs, but you get my point).

I’m not growing as a person, and, simply put, the college that I chose a year ago isn’t the college that I belong at now.

Because of this, I've been thinking a lot about what makes me happy and ways I can incorporate those things into my life (and I know they won’t solve all my problems, but they’re definitely small distractions from the shit spiral that will help me make it through these next couple of months).

List of Three Things That Make Me Happy:

  1. Babies.
  2. Good smoothies.
  3. A lazy day cuddled up in my cozy bed.

So, I got a job working with kids, I made myself smoothies, and I spent more days in bed.

But, at some point, the days in bed changed from my source of happiness to my source of sadness. They didn’t help me get unstuck, and I would argue that they were contributing to the shit spiral because I wasn’t making a conscious effort to socialize and talk to people (and, as an extrovert, socializing is everything to me).

I felt off-kilter.

I felt like a car stuck in neutral.

I felt like a clock with jammed cogs.

I felt like my life wasn’t (and currently isn’t) what it needed to be.

I haven’t talked much about attending a Christian college as a non religious person, but I can tell you that it’s tough. Especially coming from my background where I was constantly told that my nonbelief in hell was what was going to send me to hell (don’t ask me how I can go to a place that I don’t believe in. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one).

However, attending a Christian college has its perks (I know, that was a shocker to me, too).

If you didn’t know, it’s currently the season of Lent in the Christian faith.

I don’t know much about it (except I’m pretty sure that I tried to participate in it when I was really little by giving up chocolate, only to eat a chocolate bar a couple of hours later, shrug, and then continue eating my candy), but I know that it’s 40 days of giving up a thing that prevents you from having a meaningful relationship with God (with breaks on Sunday, because who the hell wants to give up their favorite thing for 40 days?).

Now, as a non religious person who still believes in God, I know that God and I are on good terms.

We’re homies.

We’re buds.

If I got drunk at a bar, God would hold my hair back while I puked (which, yes, is impossible, but just go with it).

I don’t lack a meaningful relationship with God; I lack a meaningful relationship with myself.

Thus segues us into Emma’s 40-Day Recalibration Project.

Forty days of doing everything in my power to make me feel like myself again.

Forty days of giving myself (and not my insecurities or anyone else) the power to change my life again.

Forty days of face-to-face conversations, not face-to-phone-face-to-phone conversations.

Forty days of recalibrating my life.

I want to be present. I want to be mindful. I want to be alive.

The list of things that made me happy was easy to come up with. The list of things that make feel alive was much harder.

None of my happy things cause goosebumps to spread up and down my forearms.

None of my happy things are the reason I get up in the morning.

None of my happy things are going to relieve the heavy weight I feel pressing hard on my chest, preventing slow and even breaths from entering my raw and burning lungs.

But the things that make me feel alive do all of those things.

List of Things That Make Me Feel Alive:

  1. Standing on a stage in front of people, commanding attention.
  2. Doing things that push my body past the limits I set for it (aka, anything that makes me feel like a powerful, badass bitch).
  3. Traveling.

So, in the next 40 days, I’m going to try to get my life back on track (well, at least as close to ‘on track’ as you can get to 40 days).

List of Things To Help Get My Life On Track

  1. I’m going to work out every day except for Sunday (because my body needs to rest).
  2. I’m cutting out sugar because it makes me feel run down and just generally blah. If you don’t believe me, ask my roommates. They made brownies and mini cheesecakes yesterday, and I refused both (my younger self screamed in horror at the missed opportunity of sugary goodness, while my older, wiser, and more mature self sat on my hands and got distracted by movie night with the girls - and, OK, I screamed a little on the inside, too).
  3. Less Netflix, more reading and writing (except for Thursday because of TGIT, Monday because of "The Bachelor," and Sunday because I have a shit ton of other shows that I need to be caught up on).
  4. I’m going to stop allowing my fears to define me (And that’s why I signed up to do a sultry, burlesque-type dance in front of the people at my college for one of our traditions. I’m determined to show everyone that I’m not going to let my fear of getting judged for being the “fat girl” prevent me from doing the things that I love - plus, my curves are beautiful and need to be shown off).

I’m not sure where this recalibration project is going to take me, but I’m hoping that it gives me a small light to keep me going until the summer.

I’m hoping it forces me to have meaningful conversations with people.

I’m hoping that I can write a couple chapters of the book I’ve been writing since freshman year of high school.

I’m hoping that it makes my body feel powerful again.

And, yeah, I’m definitely hoping it gets me unstuck.

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.

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Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.


I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.


I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.


As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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