Good Morning, World.

Good morning, World!

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Moment of Clarity: The Important Things

To be reread on my darkest of days.


The seasons must be changing, or the stars aligning, or both.

I’m not just saying that because I forced my internal seasonal clock to think it was fall today, as you may have seen previously posted with copious amounts of pumpkin coffee and my favorite striped sweater, I’m also saying because I’m having an oddly perfect day of clarity today. SANS THE DEPRESSION that always shortly follows.

This. Is. Huge. Mentally, at least!


So here are the things on my mind that I feel I need to share.

1). Yaaaaaas, of course, you are going to die, you aren’t special enough to get to skip out on one of the life’s most important events, but if you don’t enjoy it to the fullest while you can what was the point to begin with?

Oh, and to answer your impending next ‘what IS the point of it all’ question, there isn’t, you make your own points.

2). Though it may seem obvious working at a travel company, I forget sometimes how important travel and it impacts on living in general is. That being said, I have planned my next 5 years (on the off chance I still am living my ‘kid-free’ life then), travel wise. I’m taking my boyfriend/fiance to Jamaica, my mother to Vancouver, my father to Ireland, and my best friend to Australia…well, here’s to hoping, at least.

3). Back to the kid-free thing….I hope I have to change my travel plans sooner than expected, that’s all I will say.

I need to teach someone the way I feel about life and it’s beauty and watch them live and be happy and free and have all the opportunities I did (and didn’t). I need a little baby Brent and Me to show the world what love is again (plus it will undoubtedly be the most gorgeous baby in the world with its father’s eyes).

4). Writing is seriously the only thing myself and my soul need to be doing, again, maybe obvious, but I forget how important/impactful it is to my wellbeing and creativity. Besides getting out what has been bottled in for so long, such as this post, I know my travel writing and novel aspirations will take me far. Have you read any of my She pieces yet? Take a look at a few, tell me what you think!

5). FITNESS FITNESS FITNESS. New life motto (yes, possibly a tattoo as well), HEALTHY, NOT HOT.

When I first lost all my weight in college I was aiming to be hot, to be wanted, to be what every man desired. I’m not saying that motivation didn’t work, I mean I did lose 105 pounds overall. However, today I’m becoming skinny fat, unmotivated, and most importantly, unhealthy. I want to get fit again, the right way, for my health, not for any guy or vain reason beyond that.

Healthy, not hot. Besides, will I, or anyone I know, be worried about ‘hot’ when we are 75 and swapping life stories? No.

6). I avoid working at work entirely too much, this last 20 minutes could have been devoted to office work instead of this blog entry, so back at it I go!

So, how was your day?

Are you there Autumn, it’s me, Danielle.

Countless poems, scented candles, and blissful evenings on the farm have captured the arrival of my favorite fall time friend perfectly, yet none so well as a rustic colored photo whilst sipping a, forgive me for being cliche, pumpkin spiced cup of coffee.

I donned my all-time favorite too-long sleeved striped sweater this morning, smelled the changing leaves coming through the thick fall fog on my drive to work, and decided that we could all use a little Autumnal Visual this Monday.

Here are a few of my favorite things…

She Watches

I am trying to get back into the swing of writing regularly on my novel, so bear with me as you read this chapter, it is just an EXTREMELY rough draft of what it should be. I need more elements of creepy, of that feeling of general unsettledness you get on a late, particularly dark night alone at home. There is too much going on here, or actually, not quite enough. Opinions and suggestions welcome (be brutal with me, this isn’t where it needs to be yet!)


 

Getting trapped inside was her worst experience thus far, even worse than her current experience of not having her fiance there with her while the world crumbled around her (she still wouldn’t think that he was dead, that seemed silly and unreasonable).

It was a normal day, a rather nice day, really, when it happened to her.

For a bit of background, this was the time in her life where she was single and had just graduated, her time spent enjoying her small home and her small life to herself, for the most part.

This particular day she woke up to her dog pawing his way up the edge of her bed, his awkwardly long body too big for anything subtle, a clear sign she had slept too long and that he needed to be taken out immediately. She stretched herself into an upright position and watched as the excited dog’s tail made several conductor circles in the air, a not so gentle push for her to hurry up.

She slipped on some pants and ran her fingers through her hair quickly, rubbed the corner of her eyes and stretched out her back, beginning her day with a rather positive pep in her step as she walked from her comfortably carpeted bedroom to the cold hardwood floors of her living room.

Cold hardwood meant cold mornings, which meant a new season was making itself announced in her house this morning.

The windows were all open, and she smelled immediately the intrusion of Fall in the room, the curtains lightly blowing around and the smell of leaves and pumpkin patches and oversized sweaters holding oversized coffee mugs in the air. She curled her toes in pleasure before continuing to the door, a quick motion sending the dog outside and to his post for the morning.

She herself went back inside for a moment to start some coffee and to grab a cigarette from the back of her hidden pack above the stove. She wasn’t quite sure why she hid them, it was only herself in the house and it’s not like she didn’t know she was smoking them.

She used to smoke quite a bit, during the time when she began college and was trying hard to be less stressed and more social. Now she only smoked every now and then, in specific situations that called for it such as after a great meal, a great book, or a great, well, you know.

But Fall coming into her home was a celebration all in itself as well, one that deserved a big cup of coffee and a big puff off of a cigarette, like a special tradition of welcoming one’s old friend into your home, with smiles and refreshments. 

Instead of taking her coffee black, as usual, she dressed it up for her guest with some hazelnut, as well as some pumpkin spice and cinnamon sprinkles, filling her cup and her morning with all the happiness she could possibly need.

Positive mornings like this were rare for her, she really wasn’t an early bird and she typically thought anything that happened before 9 am was probably entirely unnecessary and idiotic.

Fall, though, Fall was so different. She felt the same about rainy days as well, as well as still, snow fallen mornings.

When she finally forced herself to go inside and start her day, to leave her guest to continue on his way, she glanced at the clock and realized that she was about 45 minutes behind her normal routine, and that she would have to skip the shower and work in what she was already wearing, an excellent perk of working from home. Sometimes she didn’t even bother with pants, she just rolled out of bed and over to her computer desk, clocking in and working through the day without another glance at herself or her attire (or lack thereof).

More recently she liked at least going through with the routine of getting ready for a busy work day at ‘the office’, though, it made her schedule seem more regular and she liked regular more and more as time went on, she noticed.

So to keep the routine going she went to the bathroom, washed her face, brushed her teeth, and started to put on her basic makeup routine: eyeliner, mascara, lipstick.

When she was halfway through her awkward squinty eyed mascara application she heard such a loud boom from the next room that she couldn’t help but make a small scream, clasping her mouth in shock and dropping her mascara.

Her dog was barking, out of protection or out of fear she did not know yet, and her heart was racing so fast, her face glowing red with embarrassment at how scared she got so quickly. 

I mean, it wasn’t even a scary time of the day, you know like say, 1:23 am when any bump in the night is unarguably a ghost or a demon or an intruder ready to kill you. No, it was 8:55 am, her windows and doors were all wide open, and she could still see outside where the leaves were falling and a group of giggling children were slowly walking to their bus stop at the end of the road.

She looked around and noticed that the boom had caused a picture frame to fall from her bathroom wall, and the mirror in front of her to crack only in the slightest, at the very corner of the furthest section from her.

She slowly peaked her head out of the room and to the room directly behind the bathroom, her very well-lit and open office that she should not have been scared to enter at all.

Of course, she saw nothing once she was in there, and no signs of anything disturbed or knocked over. Her window panes were all open, but the screen storm windows were all still latched shut, her dog was steady at her heels, and her back door was still dead bolt locked.

So she could only think of her front door, where she quickly glanced, her house small enough to see it from almost any room in the house.

Again, nothing out of the ordinary.

She considered calling her father, only for a quick chat to calm her nerves as there was clearly nothing wrong with her house and she very well may be crazy, but decided against it with a quick glance at the unforgiving clock again.

She went back to the bathroom and fixed herself in the mirror again, quickly trying to apply her lipstick without getting it on her teeth in her rush.

BOOM.

Again, louder, closer, more mirror cracking.

Even more unsettling, however, was the fact that there was no dog barking.

She looked around the bathroom quickly, out the door to the bright front door, tried to calm herself down again.

Something was different, though.

The crack on the mirror was on the opposite side, larger than before, and though she had sworn she was done with her lipstick before the second boom, as she looked up into the mirror her face was blank again, unmarked at all, just as it was when she first woke up.

Her body was shaking she was so incredibly disturbed. She was not necessarily scared, being scared was a different feeling entirely. She was unsettled, her stomach hurt, she felt like she was going to puke, but not like she was in danger or was going to die.

As she turned around to leave the room and find her dog and take him outside where it was bright and there were people, she ran into a wall where the door should be, hard.

Only she didn’t see a wall, she saw outside, to her living room, just as you should in a doorway.

Again she tried to walk where it clearly looked like she could walk, and bam, she was stopped. It physically felt like she was walking into a wall, her nose smashing against something hard, and something invisible. She felt the blood rush to her face.

Her stomach was doing somersaults now.

She tried the opposite direction, the bathtub, the window above the shower head.

Wall. Yet, nothing.

She started trying both directions over and over again, eventually going so quickly and getting so frustrated that she was just banging herself against the walls, her arms bruising and her knuckles pounding as she went.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, unsettlingly silent and still hours, she stopped.

She stood in front of the mirror, huffing, and puffing, and she stared.

Her dog was there then, she noticed as she calmed down, only he was across the mirror, not by her side. He was sitting at the doorway of the bathroom, where the wall was. He was whimpering and crying, not like he was hurt, like he was alone. She tried to reach down for him, but she hit her fist against the wall again.

When she did this, however, he looked up at her expectantly, in the mirror, of course.

She looked forward at the reflection and studied the living room from the mirror, seeing that it was all as it was before, only situated on the opposite side of the room as she remembered.

She suddenly got very calm, stopped her heart from racing so much, and got such a sense of understanding that even her dog stopped whimpering, seemingly sensing the newly found calm in the room.

She was in the mirror.

The Impact of Travel

If you are given an opportunity to take yourself out of your comfort zone, try something new, and meet new people while doing so, you are so very lucky. That is exactly what I learned these past 6 days, as I got the opportunity to travel with my company to our annual SYTA (Student Youth Travel Association) conference in Orlando.

The 1200 different vendors and companies at this conference put so much time and effort into their passion for student traveling, it has had a huge impact on several young adults lives, something I never put too much thought into before this trip.

The effect that this program, and of traveling in general, has on students across the world is so amazingly incredible, I still get emotional thinking about the lives that have changed because of it, several that I luckily got to witness firsthand this weekend. I spent one day at lunch bawling like a baby as we listened to 4 brave students with difficult backgrounds tell us how much has changed since this program helped send them to Washington D.C, giving many of them experiences they would have never had before, in a place they had never seen before.

Not only that, but my life was changed as well. I met so many new people, stepped outside of my box, and became an independent, experienced, passionate traveler. I know this may sound deep for just a conference trip to Orlando, Florida, but the process of travelling in itself has opened my eyes to so much  more than I felt even just a week ago, and I got to experience more than I would have thought in a lifetime, from my first plane ride to my first heartbreakingly beautiful Broadway performance experience.

Thank God for travel, am I right?

Here are a select few photos I think describe the experience very well. 14054195_10154476474809066_6646745085560044885_n14100449_10154480594099066_2538586104168432748_n14102267_10154484090264066_8127707150332707470_n20160819_08044120160819_10051520160820_12164020160820_21001120160820_23010320160821_20541020160822_12024520160822_12131720160823_10201714079547_10154487008539066_2785570564424644005_n

 

Solo Travel

Tomorrow I finally get to do something I’ve wanted to do my whole life: travel far enough that an airplane is required.

I am both extremely excited and extremely nervous, the later due to the fact that I am an almost 25-year-old female who claims to be independent in most aspects, yet I have never travelled alone, or been apart from my almost 4-year boyfriend for more than 3 days since we moved in together (sad, I know, but he is my rock and my best friend). And while I am more than prepared to rock the networking scene and my 150 personal appointments at this point mentally, I am also insanely prone to anxiety/panic attacks, which is starting to worry me and put crazy mid-conference freak outs in my head that I am not sure how to handle just yet.

This is a big one, guys, and I am extremely pleased to share the journey with you all when I return, flying out of Kansas City tomorrow morning and landing in Orlando in time to make it to the beginning of the 4-day SYTA conference at the Rosen Shingle.

Here’s to new connections, new experiences, and new found solo confidence!

Obnoxiously Loud and Disturbingly Close

Sitting down to write another chapter for She this Monday is proving to be quite a difficult task, my mind is running so fast that I cannot seem to remember the ideas that pop up in the fleeting seconds before new ones.

Has anyone ever felt so….overwhelmed and consumed with their thoughts that they think they may scream out loud, just to reset and get some quiet up there?

I have spent my entire day planning my month at work and in bills, my business trip suitcase that needs to be packed in 2 weeks, my Christmas gifts for this year, my 3-year business and making babies plan, and even, I shit you not, my burial plans when I pass.

I cannot stop planning, thinking, making lists, and coming up with work and novel ideas writing-wise.

Feeling depressed and anxious for no reason isn’t the definition of crazy, not hearing myself think anymore is crazy.

Long story short, here are two very different, very nice pictures from my weekend instead.

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