Welcome To Texas!

Welcome To Texas!

My First Experience In Texas
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What got me most was the heat...

I never truly understood it when my dad told me that it would be hot! I figured, at thirteen and living in the Ohio summers, I would have been prepared for anything. Maybe some slight sweat that a few bottles of water would have quenched, maybe a little wipe off the brow, but NOTHING prepared me for the heat. My father had said that it would only be a short vacation since his doctor told him that he needed one. (What my father didn’t tell us was that the doctor actually told him that he needed to move to a warmer climate after his heart surgeries). We had just gone through a very harsh winter with icicles, snow storms, and the need for salted driveways and thick wool coats galore. So with my mom, my brother and I, we got into our small four door car and made the road trip to San Antonio, TX. The overall plan was to just visit for a few weeks. My father had recently contacted a friend of his that lived in San Antonio who had invited us to stay at his place and to also visit a few places in Texas. So we made the very long trip from Columbus, Ohio to Texas.

I don’t remember too much about the drive up to Texas until we got to the beautiful scenery; we passed many treks of farm land and hills with the occasional siting of roadkill. My brother and I were sitting in the back, me with my Walkman and head phones listening to a mixed tape I got a week before, and my brother doing the same thing except drawing in his sketch pad that he took everywhere. My parents were in the front, my mom was reading an inspirational pamphlet, and my dad was focusing on the road as a cassette tape of Expose played on the speakers so loud that even with the windows down and music playing in my ears, I could still hear it.

The windows were down because the air conditioner in the car had stopped working about a month prior. My father hadn’t worried about it since the summers in Ohio weren’t particularly bad, and driving up to Texas wasn’t a bad idea with the windows down. It allowed for fresh air to enter the car and blow in our faces. To top that off, it was relatively cool and not a rain cloud in sight. Then we hit Texas.

It was like we suddenly entered into some invisible wall, and everything drastically changed. One moment, we were enjoying the cool air, and the next minute, we were thrown into a blistering furnace. And IT.WAS.HOT. My clothes started sticking to my skin like I had emerged myself into a bath, and sweat dripped down my neck and forehead. I had a bottle of water near me that I hadn’t touched for about a few hours that I instantly started chugging as if my life depended on it. Looking around the car, I could tell my family felt the same way though my brother summed our feelings up quite nicely.

“It feels like we are going through a blow dryer”, I remember him saying. And I would have laughed, if I hadn’t been focusing on my water, but yes, it literally felt like we were going through a blow dryer; to which my father replied, “Well, that’s Texas for you”, an introduction that, to this day, I am sure he was aware of what to expect. Of course, I never brought it up to him.

No sooner had he said those words that we saw it. It was seven feet long and in big white letters on a green background with the Texas flag showing. "Welcome to Texas", it said. They should have added "Prepare for Torturous Heat". But now, almost fourteen years later, I am still here. I’m still not particularly fond of the heat, but I haven’t found another place to call home... and I don't want to.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Ian Baldwin on Unsplash

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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I'm Not The Person I Was In High School And I'm Not Sorry I Changed

I'm sorry, the old me can't come to the phone right now.

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If those who knew me in high school hung out with me now, they probably wouldn't recognize me. If my friends from college hung out with me around two years ago, they probably wouldn't recognize me. It's safe to say I've changed... a lot. I definitely find the change to be for the better and I couldn't be happier with the person I've become.

In high school, I would sit at home every night anxiously waiting to leave and go out. Now, honestly, going out is the last thing I want to do any night of the week. While everyone in college is at a fraternity party or at the bars, I prefer to sit at home on the couch, watching Netflix with my boyfriend. That's an ideal night for me and it is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. There's nothing wrong with going out and partying, it's just not what I want to do anymore.

I craved attention in high school. I went to the parties and outings so I could be in Snapchats and photos, just so people would know I was there. I hung out with certain groups of people just so I could say I was "friends" with so-and-so who was so very popular. I wanted to be known and I wanted to be cool.

Now, I couldn't care less. I go to the bars or the parties if I really feel like it or if my friends make me feel bad enough for never going anywhere that I finally decide to show up. It's just not my scene anymore and I no longer worry about missing out.

If you could look back at me during my junior year of high school, you probably would've found me searching for the best-ranked party schools and colleges with the best nearby clubs or bars. Now, you can find me eating snacks on the couch on a Friday night watching the parties through other peoples' Snapchats.

Some may say that I'm boring now, and while I agree that my life is a little less adventurous now than it was in high school, I don't regret the lifestyle changes I've made. I feel happier, I feel like a better person, I feel much more complete. I'm not sorry that I've changed since high school and I'm not sorry that I'm not living the typical "college lifestyle." I don't see anything wrong with that life, it's just not what makes me happy and it's not what I want to do anymore.

I've become a different person since high school and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a lot that's contributed to the change, but my boyfriend definitely was the main factor as he showed me that staying in can be a million times better than a night out. My interests and my social cravings have completely transitioned into that of an 80-year-old grandma, but I don't regret it.

Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can bring a lot more happiness and comfort. The transition from high school to college is drastic, but you can also use it as an opportunity to transition from one lifestyle to another. I don't regret the lifestyle flip I made and I couldn't be less apologetic about it.

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