Thoughts by a Wannabe Not So Wannabe Blogger

Thoughts by a Wannabe Not So Wannabe Blogger

Wow. The world has changed so much but also so little in 2020. It is not as if these new issues, new changes, new challenges are barely emerging but more that they have come to light. Humanity, our society, as a whole has been put under a spotlight. I haven’t liked what I have seen or felt. It overwhelms me and saddens me. I am glad that certain things are now being more publically fought for and change is being demanded but it is a lot to comprehend all at once. It is a lot to find a place and purpose in all of it.

I highly contemplated disconnecting from the internet completely – to avoid the stress and pressure to appear real, genuine, kind while being politically intelligent and correct. I have always felt apprehensiveness in promoting my own contributions to the internet, but especially now is it harder to share.


Also Read:Thanks COVID-19 pt. 3 (And Easter)


I have been at a loss at what to do concerning this little corner of the internet that I created for myself. I had a vision of it being a fun, full of light, place where I could share and experiment and help people while possibly make some money while doing it. But it is also easy to lose that vision to all the other feelings that appear when you share yourself to others.

I have never considered myself a writer, as I have never embodied or related to the “writer stereotype” you see on TV, in books, and at school. You know that person who is constantly working on their next debut novel and/or majoring in Creative Writing in college. I consistently received B’s and C’s for my papers in school. I majored in Music, avoiding as many classes that involved writing. Probably because I hate editing and revising while sticking standards. I don’t want to write a book or the next news breaking article.

But I love writing. I journal. A lot. Filling one each year. There are mostly filled with thoughts and feelings about boys, family drama, and questions about my future. A lot of times I feel like Anne Frank when she wanted to edit and revise those entries that revealed any sort of naiveness or youth. I do feel joy and relief to write it all out and it gives me a chance to contemplate as well as appreciate my world, but these entries are not written to share with the world.


Also Read: Thoughts by a Human…


I get passionate about things, ideas, books, and excited about my adventures on trips. And sharing those things usually turn into words in a text or an instagram caption. Those photos and videos that captured memories that I still dream about sit on my phone and I just have to share them. Because they make me happy.

This blog, when I started it 7 years ago on Blogger.com (remember that??) was intended to be another journal of sorts. But one that was visually pleasing, reader engagement-based, and even business-like. Full of consistently planned posts and Pinterestable graphics – essentially a journal worth the public reading. But it turns out that is not realistic nor interesting to me.

But you know what? I refuse to let all of these feelings of self-doubt and fear stop me. I LOVE to write. I love my little blog and this corner of the internet that I have created here at this website and on my social media profiles. I love sharing and seeing other people’s thoughts and art. I love learning from other human beings. But it is also fun. I enjoy writing these posts, designing graphics and headers. I enjoy posting and commenting and using this corner for good even if it only reaches one person, myself, per post. Well I enjoy it without the self added pressure.

I’m going to keep doing this – whether I have readers or likes. I am no longer going to worry about money or stats. I will start disengaging from the millions of articles titled “How to Build a Blog in 2020” and “How I Made X Amount of Money in 3 Months BLOGGING” on Pinterest.  Now don’t get me wrong, when those things increase or I am inspired by these articles I feel an immense amount of joy and drive for this corner. There is also validation in my hard work. But mostly I love meeting new people and feeling that my world extends farther than my bedroom desk, especially now. I would rather have that fuel my work.

So… Thanks for the Adventure, Blog. I knew that this process would be hard at times and require some soul searching occasionally. But it’s worth it. I am excited to see where this goes. I am excited to share, create, research, read. I am excited to be publically passionate and supportive of other artists and writers. What a world 🙂

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Socials :       Instagram / Facebook / Goodreads

 

Thanks(giving) for the Adventure

Thanks(giving) for the Adventure

With the Thanksgiving week ending and everything quickly switching to the full Holiday season, I want to quickly share some “Thanks” on my corner of the internet.

And I won’t lie but what inspired this post, besides the yearly social media posts that occur during Thanksgiving week… World Kindness Day was awhile back. In memory of Mister Rogers in his adorable red cardigan, who shared the message that all deserve to be loved and all are valued, no matter our differences. I, personally, learned many subtle life lessons from Mister Rogers when I was little and I am just glad that they are still being remembered and shared.

“The greatest thing we can do 

is to help someone know that they are

loved and capable of loving.”

– Mister Rogers

So…

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Thanksgiving 2019… Things I am grateful for…

  • Health – my body is pretty incredible. It’s been through a lot and has some scars inside and out. There are some things that are happening that are a mystery to me, but my body is still thriving despite it. Love your body – faults, quirks and all.
  • Family – family is always something to be grateful for. Whether they are blood or not, my family is the reason I keep going. There is something about a group of people loving and supporting you unconditionally. They may also bring some pain and sadness, but there is always unconditional love being spun around.
  • Friends – my friends are my family. They are everything. They are the ones who have seen me at my best and my absolute worst. I can’t think of the words of how I want to express my love for them, so this will have to do. I love you, my friends! Go find yourself a good friend, and keep them. You won’t regret it.
  • Community – there is something special about feeling like you are truly a part of something. Whether that be through music, work, religion, the internet, and so on and so on. People are amazing and we can learn so so much from each other. Please, if you are lonely, know that you deserve a community. You can find one or create one with those around you. If you have one, bring others in. We all deserve it.
  • Kindness – so little can go such a long way. One thing can inspire so much. I appreciate every little act, smile, and word given to me this past year. And in trying to share more kindness myself, I am finding that I am kinder to myself and I recognize the little moments around me. See the kindness, and add some kindness to your world around you.

    “There are three ways to ultimate success:

The first way is to be kind.

The second way is to be kind.

The third way is to be kind.”

-Mister Rogers

  • And lastly…Adventures – life, in general, is an adventure. It is why I started recording my life on this little blog and named it the way I did. I am grateful for every adventure, big or small. Adventures with my mood (because that’s real), adventures with my health, music, relationships. Adventures with exploring and traveling. There is so so much to see and experience and learn.

So… Wear a cardigan, watch some Mister Rogers, share some kindness, read some books, find the beauty, explore the world around you and…

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Thanks(giving) for the Adventure.

My Scary Bucketlist Goal…

My Scary Bucketlist Goal…

With #worldmentalhealthday last week and the latest trends of #mentalhealthawareness I have felt the pull to share my personal experiences and thoughts on it. That was part of my list of original intentions of why I started this blog. (See my About page…)

But in all reality, I have been TERRIFIED. I have had posts planned and half written for months. I have been scared of any sort of backlash – legitimate opinions that I am not qualified to share because I am privileged with wonderful friends and family. My struggles are no where near as terrible and painful as someone else next to me. I have been scared of sharing what I feel is one of my biggest weaknesses, and the thing that I have been most ashamed of the past couple of years.

The truth is: I know what it’s like, for me, to not understand why I am feeling so sad in such positive and exciting circumstances. I know what it’s like to jump from overjoy to depression in the matter of moments. I know what it’s like to not be able to breath from anxiety. I know what it’s like to not be able to eat because my insides are curled up from panic. I know what it’s like to have panic attacks where I am physically sore for days after. I know what it’s like to sob. I know what it’s like to be in the dark. I know what it’s like to question my worth and value due to my mental health, which can be hard to explain to others.

Fear is one of the biggest attributes of my life and when I see friends and myself shying away from potentially incredible moments because of fear I’m usually the first one to say, “Go for it! Since it’s scary it will only be more worth it!” but that is much easier said than done. But I’m going to do it and make it part of my Bucketlist…

Do one scary thing.

It is a Bucketlist item that will always be re-added to the list, because there will always be something scary to do, share, say, sing, live, attempt, etc. Once this, sharing my mental health journey, is not as scary, there will always be something else to add.

So take a listen to those closest to you. Understand that you won’t always understand, but are willing to share love. Be a listening ear and be willing to share. Whether that be with yourself in a journal, to a close friend or family member, or a therapist (highly recommended!)

Please comment, message, share! I know connecting with others always helps me (so I may be being a little selfish in wanting to make more internet friends ;)) so please message away!

Follow on my socials at:

Instagram – @beccaanneclarke and @thanksfortheadventureblog

and Facebook

Thanks for the Adventure

Thanks for the Adventure, Scary Bucketlists….

Thanks SD

Thanks SD

This past weekend I got to escape my little life and hang out in San Diego with my sweet cousin, Lizzy! So here are some of the best moments from this past weekend…As well as places to see next time you go hangout in SD!

-The drive there and back. Yes, there was traffic. Did it take me 6 hours instead of 2 to getTaiwan there? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes! That drive is gorgeous. Seeing the ocean and open fields with open water behind it brings me sooo much peace. My anxiety goes away and overall I am so grateful I moved here, simply because I am so close to the ocean. So I highly recommend taking the I-5 or even the PCH (if you don’t mind more traffic). Preferably timed around sunset going north, and you are guaranteed gorgeous views no matter what. Then add some good music and podcasts and you are set.

-The first night there we ventured to La Jolla to see some Utah friends and to check out Opera Neo’s production of La Callisto. It was so good! Entertaining, fantastic acting, costumes and sets. The singing was incredible and the orchestra was phenomenal. *Insert more adjectives* Mostly I was in heaven seeing two of my favorites singing their faces off. I saw one of my favorite professor, got my Mason hugs that I’ve missed, and Paul kisses as well as met a few other cool singers. Check out OPERA NEO for incredible singing and opera if you are in the La Jolla area!

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The FANTASTIC singers, and my wonderful friends at Opera Neo!

-PACIFIC BEACH! My cousin lives right in the heart of it and she took me all around and Taiwan -2boy I’m glad she did. So much beach and sun that I was in heaven. We spent most of the day walking down the main strip (Garnet Street), eating food and checking out the little shops. I filled my book haul need at PENNYWISE BOOKS, scoring some bestsellers for just a dollar each! The vibe in PB is just what you need if you’re looking for cool, beach town, vibes with a fun bar scene. I would say its a perfect spot for vacationing 20 something year olds but also very family friendly. The beach was gorgeous and the weather was perfect.

-We checked out WONDERSPACES -their “In Common” exhibition in downtown SD. So so so cool! Interactive art installations that involved light, sound, technology, fog, you name it. You wander at your own pace and there were employees every step of the way to explain the meanings. You could take pictures and interact with almost every piece. The theme of “In Common” was so prevalent and inspiring. I love anything that shows and reminds us that we are all human, experiencing this world at the same time. Therefore we do have the ability, and should, support and love each other no matter what. My favorites were the “Harmony of Spheres” by Foo/Skou simply because it was A cappella in an art piece and so much fun. “Confessions” by Candy Chang was incredible. In the most public spot of the entire space there were booths where you could anonymously write down a confession. They then would hang them all up for all to read. It was incredible to see how much we all have in common. So many confessions were about love, being in love, being heartbroken. Fear was common – fear to tell a close friend something or to make a change. There were funny ones, about peeing their pants or liking certain foods or TV shows. But all in all they were all human and relatable. Both the sad and joyous ones. I could’ve stood there for a hour reading each one.

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-FOOD FOOD FOOD! One of the best parts of any trip, weekend getaway, or night out is the food. To simply not have to prepare anything and the little joy of not caring about money and simply ordering something because it sounds good brings so much joy. We had SUSHI KUCHI our first night. Affordable, typical, and delicious sushi in a super fun environment. My cousin told them that it was my birthday, while I was in the bathroom, simply so I could witness the incredible display of Birthday Celebration that they offer. The next morning I had a sweet, little, iced Chai Latte at BIRD ROCK COFFEE while waiting for our table at CRUSHED – which was well worth the 30 min wait. I ordered the Daddycakes which was essentially pancake tacos filled with eggs, meat, and jalepeno peppers. Just the right amount of food in a fun, weekend, brunch spot. We ate snacks and got drinks along the water in downtown, and lunch on Sunday at FIREHOUSE. It’s a cool, two-story, restaurant/bar right along the beach of PB. There are relaxed sitting areas and constant water views. We had delicious Calamari with aioli and I ordered a tuna melt sided with garlic fries that was delicious. And of course snacks such as sour patch straws and chocolate bars were consumed.

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Just a blurry photo featuring delicious food and a gorgeous cousin!

-We consumed said candy while watching “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” where we laughed, cried and simply admired Leo and Brad then finished the night off by watching a Manson Family documentary. Luckily Lizzy and I share a fascination for the scary, sad, disturbing, and misunderstood topic of confusing people and moments in this world so we indulged.

Overall it was the perfect weekend full of laughs, sea air, humidity, girl talk, good food and just good moments. A weekend getaway is necessary and I will probably be making one every few weeks.

So…

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Thanks for the Adventure San Diego!

P.S. More Pictures and Videos will be on Instagram @thanksfortheadventureblog !!

July in Books

July in Books

As part of my Bucketlist goal #2, which you can read about HERE, I have been delving back into the world of books. I want to share which ones I have loved and hated and all of the in-between this past month.

You can also keep up to date with what I’m exploring on my Goodreads and my Instagrams @thanksfortheadventureblog and @beccaanneclarke !

So here is my #Julywrapup in books!

THE STRANGER BESIDE ME: TED BUNDY: THE SHOCKING INSIDE STORY by Ann Rule

Taiwan -4.pngThis was a hefty read. Over 500 pages of information and heavy emotions. It took me a month to get through it but totally worth it. It was absolutely fascinating. I have seen quite a few documentaries and thought I understood the darkness and mystery surrounding Ted. Ann Rule offered so much insight and information. It was beautifully written and easy to read despite the length, subject matter, and the immense amount of facts. But more importantly she brought so much emotion and light to the victims. Highlighting how terrible it was to loose those girls. Gave them a voice. Thank you Ms. Rule for sharing your side of the story and putting so much work and effort in telling the story of all characters to this story: including police forces, detectives, journalists, lawyers, judges, the families of the victims, and of course those who perished at the hands of Ted.

” ‘Conscience doth make cowards of us all’ but conscience is what gives us our humanity, the factor that separates us from animals. It allows us to love, to feel another’s pain, and to grow. Whatever drawbacks are to being blessed with a conscience the rewards are essential to living in a world in other human beings.”     -Ann Rule

PRIDE AND PREDJUDICE by Jane Austen

A classic, obviously. And a favorite of mine since I was in middle school. I HAD to read it Taiwan .pngagain to bring back the magic of reading. I wanted to get excited about the characters and completely transported from this world and after such a hefty commitment to Stranger… I needed it. Jane Austen just got it. She understood the human conscience so well therefore her characters are so relatable. The human emotions she describes are so accurate. It has been years since I read it last, and before I had dealt with real love and heartbreak but boy, she got it. I related to Elizabeth more than ever, and found quite a bit of comfort in Victorian England. Anyways, I loved it as always.

“Elizabeth had never been more at a loss to make her feelings appear what they were not. It was necessary to laugh, when she would rather have cried.”    -Jane Austen

“Elizabeth’s spirit’s soon rising to playfulness again, she wanted Mr. Darcy to account for his having ever fallen in love with her. ‘How could you begin?’ said she.
‘I can comprehend your going on charmingly, when you had once made a beginning; but what could set you off in the first place?’  ‘I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”    -Jane Austen (SPOILER… my favorite part….ugh)

Taiwan -3THE GUNSLINGER (DARK TOWER #1) by Stephen King

I did not like this one. At all. I read over half and had to stop. It was very slow and overall felt like a young man’s fan fiction. Apparently it’s like a “prologue” to the rest of the series, but it just did not have my attention. This was my first Stephen King novel, so I was sad to be so disappointed. I will though make sure to read at least one of his other more popular ones. So give your recommendations!

 

 

NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro

This was a, “It was good. I didn’t LOVE it. Probably won’t read it again.” I can see why itTaiwan -2 has won awards. The story was interesting, and the writing overall very well done. For the longest time (like the first half of the book) I couldn’t figure out whether it was a historical, dystopian, or plain Jane fiction. I did eventually feel connected to the characters, but there was not an overwhelming need to know what happens to them. It would be a good book to start conversations about culture, humanity, and how humans view each other. I’m glad I read it, and I would recommend it but not an absolute “stay on my bookshelf” read.

“I think of my pile of old paperbacks, their pages gone wobbly, like they’d once belonged to the sea.”    -Kazuo Ishiguro

“I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast, And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The currents too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart.”    -Kazuo Ishiguro

I AM MALALA: THE STORY OF THE GIRL WHO STOOD UP FOR EDUCATION AND WAS SHOT BY THE TALIBAN by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

Taiwan -5.pngEver since seeing the documentary of the same name and hearing about her story, I have wanted to read Malala’s memoir. Overall, what an inspiration. I think it is important to be aware of the world, other cultures, as well as other people’s struggles. It brings into perspective what is actually important in life and how lucky we are. I admire Malala’s bravery and dedication to what she has decided is her life’s purpose. Education is important and should be given to all. Violence and discrimination for power should be stopped. It was not the most engaging read, but inspiring. She gives a look into her beliefs, religion, culture, country, fears, joys. Yes, like many others, would relate it to The Diary of Anne FrankMalala is on the top of my list of inspirational people on this planet.

“Education is neither Eastern nor Western, it is human.”    -Malala Yousafzai

“Some people are afraid of ghosts, some of spiders or snakes – in those days we were afraid of our fellow human beings.”    -Malala Yousafzai

“We human beings don’t realize how great God is. He has given us an extraordinary brain and sensitive loving hear. He has blessed us with two lips to talk and express our feelings, two eyes which we see a world of colors and beauty, two feet which walk on the road of life, two hands to work for us, a nose which smells the beauty of fragrance, and two ears to hear the words of love.”    -Malala Yousafzai

BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by Lisa Wingate

Loved loved loved this book. This was by far my favorite read all month. So many Untitled design-23gorgeous passages. The mystery is engaging all the way through. The human relations are real and beautiful. I liked the switching between time and characters. The message of love, family, and courage thrives all the way through and leaves you inspired at the end. I caught myself squealing, laughing out loud, and crying throughout. The historical significance is interesting, sad, and important to acknowledge. Overall such a good story and book and I will recommend it to everyone. As well as keep it on my shelf..

“I shush my mind, because you mind can ruin it if you let it.”    -Lisa Wingate

“Life is not unlike the cinema. Each scene has its own music, and the music is created for the scene, woven to it in ways we do not understand. No matter how music we may love the melody of a bygone day or imagine the song of a future one, we must dance within the music of today, or we will always be out of step, stumbling around in something that doesn’t suit the moment.”     -Lisa Wingate

“A woman’s past need not predict her future. She can dance to new music if she chooses. Her own music. To hear the tune she must stop talking. To herself, I mean. We’re always trying to persuade ourselves of things.”    -Lisa Wingate

So here you go…a July summer month in books…here’s to the next month!

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Thanks for the Adventure Books!

Bucketlist update: 11/52

Thanks Rusty Screws

Thanks Rusty Screws

I’m gonna be honest. It has been a stressful week for me. Anxiety is real and sometimes I need time to be a potato, think about life or not think about life, and not punish myself for not accomplishing my long list of weekly goals (like an extensive post about Taiwan).

Someday I will write about my anxiety and such. It is a thing that many experience and I want this blog to be an open space. A space where I can share my stories and talk to others who have stories to share.

Today’s story is going to be part of a series that I want to call “Becca’s California Adventure…” *insert glowing letters and a echoing booming voice* Which will be a series of adventures I have while exploring life in Southern California.

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If you do not know, I am a person who feels like she gets herself in strange and sometimes painfully funny situations. Whether they be self inflicted or just the universe gifting her more stories to tell . I feel that I am a character on a comedic sitcom. Just imagine Jess from New Girl and you’ve got it (or so I’m told.) I may share some older ones from my life pre-blog, but today will be one that happened just this week.

As part of the “things to do when you move” list, enduring the DMV is one that I wanted to check off as soon as possible. My goal was to take the written drivers test, receive a new license, and register my car – all in one go.

*WARNING* Government websites tend to give conflicting information. So after four hours and $300 lighter, I found myself with a new license but one signature and smog check short. Although they (the lovely DMV employees) did assure me that my next visit would be much shorter.

*WARNING* Government employees tend to give conflicting information. I showed up a few days later with more papers in hand and the idea that I would only be there for maybe an hour…

During DMV Round 1, I was told to come back and drive up to “Lane 1” where they would take the rest of my papers. I did not need to come inside…

I pulled up to “Lane 1” and sat there for about 10 min watching teenagers in the cars next to me practicing their hand turn signals and nervously watching the door waiting for the next test instructor to emerge. I rolled down the window and turned off my car. Another 10 minutes pass and I decide to go inside.

I wait in line to check in with the DMV Greeter, as I like to call them. He immediately hands me a number. I try to squeeze in an explanation of what I need. He tells me to wait for my number.

I will say though that majority of the DMV Greeters and Employees were generally pleasant.

I go out despite the number to sit in “Lane 1,” again watching anxious teenagers with their anxious parents. My car is turned off, I have the window down, and I read a good 20 pages of my book. Which I don’t mind in all reality. The DMV employee finally emerges after about 45 minutes of waiting, inspects my car, just gathering information that is on every other sheet of paper and she tells me to go inside.

I sit inside again reading my book for two hours. I watch the numbers climb slowly to mine. I hear a loud conversation that a woman has on speaker phone. I watch a teenager walk back and forth studying the drivers handbook. I reach the last 20 pages of my book as I get the text that my number is 15 min away. I start reading faster and faster, feeling the pressure of the clock. That anxiety kicks in. I finish the book I started in that very same room a few days before.

There is less than a hour before the DMV closes when my number is called. It’s the same man that was my “greeter” during Round 1. He looks through every piece of paper carefully as I explain the situation. He slowly takes out the staple. He starts typing on the computer. It truly felt like that scene from Zootopia. He asks for my license and hands me a heavy envelop with a screwdriver.

I walk outside as quickly as possible to replace my license plates with the beautiful, white, California plates. I go to the back and notice that the screws securing my Utah plate are a dark brown coloring. I hope for the best and start spinning the screwdriver. Dark dust begins to fall but it turns easily.

I move to the last screw and I try to spin. Using all of my strength as I had with the last one to get it to move. Instead it felt like butter. Every attempted spin would result in the screwdriver scooping out more metal, slowly changing the shape of the screw. Yet it wouldn’t move. I call my Dad in a panic, mostly just to vent and express how ridiculous I felt. I break off the plastic frame in hopes that I can unscrew it from behind the head of the screw. There is 20 minutes before the DMV closes… I feel sweaty, panicked and I can’t help at laughing at each stare I get from cars driving by.

I run inside with the rusty screw in hand. My Round 1 DMV greeter friend is working with someone else and I stand there awkwardly. He assumes I’m done and hands me my license back. “Do you have pliers? My plate is stuck…” and I hand him the first rusty screw. The lady he is helping, her eyes get wide and she says, “Oh noooo…” He doesn’t even look at me and pulls out pliers from his desk drawer.

I run back outside. Call my Dad again. Sweat is pouring off my face. The pliers simply peel off the outer layer of the screw, sprinkling more rust dust. I banter back and forth with Dad. There is one minute until the the DMV officially closes. I see the jolly police officer (if Santa was an officer he would this guy) start to close the door and I run. He simply smiles. I appreciate happy people.

I stand again awkwardly waiting for Round 1 DMV greeter friend. He looks at me and I simply shrug holding one Utah Plate, one California plate, one envelope, two screwdrivers, one pair of pliers, one rusty screw, and a stack of papers. The “Oh no” lady from before looks at me with empathetic eyes and a bit of a grin.

Round 2 DMV greeter appears and is asked to help me. He looked at my stack and sweaty face and simply said, “Go home honey. Do what you can to get it off.” He hands me my license and I leave. Grateful for happy, jolly, DMV employees who are willing to break policies for poor people such as myself who simply can’t function normally.

It is a few days later. I have since visited Ace Hardware, spent more time in a sunny parking lot, spoke with multiple kind people who probably just felt bad, and found my new car mechanic. I have one beat up Utah plate (which I will surrender to the DMV, don’t worry law abiders), two California plates properly attached with special screws that will not rust, and a story that seemed worthy enough to put on the blog.

I will also say I have gained an appreciation (again) for kind and jolly people. As well as an observation that at government facilities we are all in the same boat. We are all just people trying to accomplish what the government requires of us, without sacrificing our whole day and sanity.

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So…

Thanks for the Adventure Rusty Screws. And Utah weather for causing said screws to rust. And California weather for simply adding to the comedy that was already happening.

 

Thanks…Waitress the Musical: an Essay

Thanks…Waitress the Musical: an Essay

In honor of my favorite Broadway show Waitress, which announced its closing date this morning, I thought I would share my experience with it New York, 3 years ago. Like for so many others, this show changed my life. Thank you Sara Bareilles and the entire production team, actors, singers, musicians, etc. who were all involved in creating this incredible show. Here’s a bit of me to share my appreciation.

*This is a portion of an essay that was originally written in 2017*

JUNE 8, 2016

NEW YORK CITY

It was our third day in the city. I wake up to the sun shining on the next-door apartment buildings in the middle of SoHo, with a view of the bridge in the distance. Our hotel room is unbelievably small but still comfortable for three people. Three small beds fill the room decorated with silver and purple hues, leaving just enough space to walk to the bathroom. The bathroom is white and bright and it somehow felt like the largest space. There is a window over the bathtub that swings open overlooking the same apartments, giving a view into the city life.

My Mom knew that today is important to me and she was already up, to allow herself theUntitled design-8 time to get ready. Diana, my college roommate and best friend, joined us for our NYC adventure after we spent a week in Boston with her. Over the course of the trip we had amazing food and fantastic shopping in used bookstores and street markets. We had already had had some adventures with attempting to push my mother’s wheelchair over the cobblestone sidewalks and the pot-hole filled streets of New York, but I wasn’t tired yet.

I created a time schedule for out day, including the time it would take to travel on the subways. I knew exactly how long we could spend in the 9/11 museum and precisely how long we would have for meals. This day was not going to be stressful, but magical, I assured myself.

The morning was spent in sunny weather and with a sense of somber reflection at the memorial. Despite my urgency to stay on time, I found myself alone getting lost in the photos and videos, the artifacts, and displays. After finishing looking through a set of photographs I found Diana looking at a display of papers. We turn to find my Mom, front wheels up and scooting through the exhibit, managing to not hurt any other observers. I check the time.

“Oh no. We need to go now to catch that train…” Diana agrees and we herd my Mom towards the exit. After a few wrong turns up ramps and into other exhibits we were finally directed to an exit elevator. The panic started to pulse, but was easily checked by my self reassurances.

The elevator “bings,” and as it opens a large crowd of children in matching blue t-shirts begin pushing each other into the small hallway. They are yelling and laughing at each other as they shake their hair and squeeze their wet clothing. Chaperones are wearing plastic rain ponchos and create more noise as they try to organize the groups. All I could think amongst the commotion was, Not on the one day we didn’t bring jackets or umbrellas… Diana and I look at each other and I push my Mom onto the elevator.

As we reach the exit my Mom pulls out a small umbrella and opens it. “Here Becca, you use the umbrella since you’re pushing me.”

“Mom, I can’t hold the umbrella if I’m pushing you.”

“Oh. Diana?”

“No, you can use it. Stay dry,” she replied with a smile.

Other patrons comment on the rain as they pull out ponchos and hide phones in pockets. The security guard opens the door and we begin running into the now dark and windy city. So here we are: Diana running ahead while navigating on Google Maps to find the nearest subway entrance. My Mom is sitting in the chair clutching her purse and the bag of souvenirs and books while holding the small umbrella. Then there was me, bent in half as I tried to navigate the chair over potholes, curbs, and crowds of business men. My eyes are squinting against the rain. About every half block I feel a stream of water traveling up the sleeves of my cardigan as the umbrella would slowly tip back.

“Mom, could you hold up the umbrella straighter.” I don’t even try to hide my frustration. “You’re dumping water all over me.”

“Oh I’m sorry! I’m sorry you’ve had to push all around on this trip. I feel so-” she stops mid-sentence.

“It’s fine. Let’s just focus on getting there.” I begin to feel bad, but I try not to dwell on it as we find a small staircase leading underground.

A steady stream of people are traveling down as we awkwardly help my Mom out of the chair and attempt to fold the chair as flat as possible. We disrupt the flow of traffic as Diana leads my Mother down the stairs and I awkwardly hold bags and carry the chair, hitting the fronts of my ankles every step. We receive stares and comments but I force myself to ignore them.

Untitled design-6Make up is smeared across our faces, our curls and pins so purposefully done that morning for pictures are out of place and gone. My cardigan is hanging off my body and water squishes in my shoes. We turn a corner and find ourselves on 47th Street and Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. The small theatre entrance is lit up with a flashing blue and pink sign. Waitress stares back at me. I had been waiting months to see this show.

I had first heard about the show over a Playbill.com announcement stating that Sara Barielles’ new show had opened in London and was set to open on Broadway. A quick Google search led me to Spotify and her original album with the same title. I listened to the album countless times, memorizing all the words and the nuances of her voice. I watched the movie, again with the same title, and fell in love with the story. I watched every press release and every video released during their workshops. The feeling of I need to see this occupied me. As well as the feeling of I need to sing this music.

I look up and think, I’m here. I was about to see my first Broadway show. I was about to see and hear one of my idols, Jessie Mueller. I didn’t care that I was wet and cold.

We reached the door and the usher pushed us inside the crowded entrance full of older couples. I suddenly realized the small lobby was ill suited for Mom’s cumbersome wheelchair, and I started guiding mom gently through the crowds, careful to make sure I didn’t bang into anyone’s ankles. I’d maneuvered nearly to the front of the line when a woman stepped back abruptly, crunching her leg right into the metal foot rests.

“Watch where you’re going!” she yelled out, turning to face mom.  “You ran into me!” Then she looked directly into my eyes and pointed, “You need watch where you’re pushing that thing.” She wheeled around and stormed away.

I stood there speechless, my hands gripping the wheelchair handles hard.

“Becca?” my mom’s soft voice broke the trance. She was looking up at me, concern in her eyes. I bit my lip and pushed her up to the ticket window, angry tears beginning to burn the edges of my eyes.

We enter the theatre and the smell of warm sugar overcomes us. Pie. The theatre smelled like pie. I steer us to our seats in silence, dripping and cold. The pages of the programs were gumming up and sticking to our wet hands.

I didn’t care. All I could think was, Why would someone say something like that to a woman in a wheelchair?

We sit down. I don’t even notice that I’m crying or the little jars of pie my Mom bought. I wish we were just back in the warm hotel room, away from these people, I thought for a moment—and at that precise second, as if on cue, the lights began to dim and the theater was transformed.

The space surrounding the stage lights up. Towers of pies are spinning and a diner appears. The familiar, but different, music started. The curtain was raised and I was in another world. I didn’t care that some old woman’s phone started going off. I didn’t care that I could feel my toes squishing in the bottom of my wet shoes. I didn’t care that the air conditioner was making the skin on the back of my hands and neck chill, or that my tears hadn’t stopped. I was in the world of Jenna at Joe’s Pie Diner.

By the time we reached Act II, and Jenna’s husband has thrown his guitar at her, she has lost her last chance of ever escaping a life she didn’t want or deserve. She is also about to give birth. The entire theatre is entranced and the F# major chord fills the room. She starts singing:

It’s not simple to say. That most days I don’t recognize me…

In the seat next to me, mom gasps. In the dark of the theater, I don’t see the tears, but I can hear her sobs and sniffles. The rest of the theatre is sniffling, too and I am hypnotized by Jessie Mueller’s voice and storytelling.

She is lonely, but most of the time

She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie

She is gone but she used to be mine!

“That’s me!” Mom whispers, and I try not to think about it, try not to let the emotions overwhelm me, because I’m afraid I won’t be able to stop from breaking down.

My Mother lived through the childhood that you see in movies and books: childhoods that had nasty divorces and lack of love, with moments of joy and family. Filled with events that affected my Mom so deeply mentally and physically that I have never really been able to fully understand her. We have our things that we connect with, music especially but nothing deep. All I could see was the unfulfilled promises, the days where she couldn’t leave her bed because of chronic and mental illness, and the occasional fights we would get in when she tried to become involved in my life and threaten my independence.

In Act 3, Jenna sings of her realization that she is a completely different person than the one she was before, the one she liked to be. But she knows she can’t go back. I realized it in the same moment that Jenna did on stage: that I have felt that way too. We are alike: Jenna, my Mom, and I—and this sense made me feel closer to Mom than I’ve felt in a long time.

As the show ends we all stand and cheer. It was so surreal to see the human beings who changed my life and me in a moment. As the lights come back up Diana, my Mom, and I all look at each other. We are all disheveled from the wind and rain. Our hair is still dripping and our eyes are puffy from the crying.

“Becca I hope you are happy, despite everything we went through to get here.”

“Oh Mom I loved it. I really did love it. I don’t care about anything that happened before.”

“I’m sorry that I was crying through all of that. I just couldn’t help relating. That’s exactly how I felt when I had you. All I wanted was to the best I could for you. I hope I gave you what you wanted”

“You did Mom. You did.”

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JULY 2019

 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

I left that theatre changed. The rest of the trip wasn’t magical or full of ease. More adventures happened, including a stolen wheelchair from that very theatre… But I was changed from it all.

Waitress changed my life. I have seen it twice since that day in NYC and I would see it 10 more times. That song has had different meanings for me since that day. I have turned to it, cried to it, and jumped for joy because of it. I discovered my voice and myself singing it and I couldn’t be more grateful. Don’t worry… I’ll write about all that someday soon. But…

Thank you Sara B. Thank you New York. Thank you Broadway. 

Thanks for the adventure Waitress the Musical…

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Thanks SLC. Hello LA.

Thanks SLC. Hello LA.

A quick little update after a quick little vacation from the blog…

I have started the “next chapter.” The chapter that I have been wanting to start since I was in high school. Moving back to California.

I have always felt a deep connection to sunny California. Majority of my childhood was spent there. It is where a majority of holidays and vacations were spent. It has always been associated with happy memories, fun adventures, and have been wanting to move back since I was a teen. I was feeling anxious to take the next step. End the chapter of college and move to bigger things. Bigger opportunities and bigger cities. New people and new adventures.

Untitled designThat being said, I love and miss Salt Lake City. I love that city with a large part of my heart. I will miss all the familiarity that I felt from its streets and sights. I will miss the constant memories, both good and bad. It was the city where I discovered a big part of myself. I grew up there. I will miss the people. So much. My closest lifelong friends and loves are there.

 

What a strange experience to feel drawn to one place. Drawn to the excitement and the overall feeling of it being right. But then also feeling pulled to the old place. Parts of my heart was left in Salt Lake City, Utah. I feel that I am “from” there. It will always feel like home and I intend to visit as much as possible.

So here I am in sunny Los Angeles. I have got the same insecurities, anxieties, and fears but also excitement, hope, and determination. Also this blog 🙂

Thanks for the adventure SLC. Here’s to the next LA.

Thanks for the Bucketlist #1

Thanks for the Bucketlist #1

I think Bucketlists are important. Not only is it a list of goals, but it is a list of goals that can be as unrealistic as possible. I believe having goals are an integral part of life. Yes, having goals to reach success financially, emotionally, spiritually are all important. But a Bucketlist is a list of goals, well actually dreams. Lots of mini and big dreams that simply bring you joy. It is a list of anything. A list of things you want to see. A list of seemingly unachievable accomplishments. Some are simply reckless with no reasoning behind it. But at the end of it all, if you don’t achieve them that’s ok. If you do, it is worth celebrating. It is worth celebrating having a list of things for you.

When I “graduated” college (more on that later…) the commencement speaker was Ben Nemtin, best-selling author and creator of the show The Buried Life. He spoke of finding success, of course, but also doing the things we want to in life despite feeling “buried” by the day-to-day parts of life. He spoke about having dreams and sharing those dreams with those around you. Them most importantly, persisting… All the inspiration required in a speech to thousands of college graduates that somehow still has resonated with me a year later.

Read his full speech here. (Highly recommend!)

So here on this little website I will start sharing my Bucketlist and hopefully sharing my celebrations as I start ticking off each of these new goals and dreams.

Item #1 is:

Consistently post on my crazy little blog once a week for a year

It’s going to happen. I promise to not talk down to myself if it’s not the same day every week. I will share the good and the bad. I will do my best not to worry about what others think. I will not compare myself to other “bloggers.” I will aim to share positivity and joy. I will share every adventure. I will simply do my best.

Join me in starting a Bucketlist!

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Thanks for the Adventure Bucketlist…Here we gooooo!

 

An Introduction…

An Introduction…

I want a add an introduction for Mister Jasper the Dog.

Jasper has saved me in too many ways. Too many to count and too many to list. But here is a part of his story and some of those ways that he has saved me.

Jasper is small, energetic and loving Chihuahua/Jack-Russel Terrier mix. (JACKCHI!) He was born somewhere in California in December of 2016. He was probably adorable and small with all the love that he currently has now to share. At some point he was abandoned at a park where he was probably afraid and untrusting. Luckily some rescuers came along and chased him around for a couple of hours. (Mister is FAST and he knows it…)

Then comes the next human in this story, Grandma. My Grandmother had recently lost another rescue Chihuahua named Pepe. She saved him and he saved her. She wanted another little guy to give her love and that she could drown in love as well. She found Jasper, who at the time was named Owen. She picked him for his coloring and overall demeanor of a shy, loving, and attention seeking lap dog. She knew that she needed to save him. She told me that the name Jasper just came to her, that it wasn’t after anyone or anything in particular. Just that his name was supposed to be Jasper. Which was strange, seeing that she likes to recycle the name Pepe.

That summer I was in Germany. My Dad and siblings were in California. Jasper was 7 months old. He was terrified of my Dad. Would bark, growl, and hide but he loved my sister.

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That first picture…

My Grandma admitted that he was too much for her. The example she used to me was, “He would pull all the bathmats out of every bathroom!” Yep. That’s accurate. My Dad offered to take him back to Utah as my parents had just gotten another dog, Chewy, who was the same age. He sent me a text with Jasper’s picture and I fell in love. I jokingly texted back, “I want him!” And then it began…

For awhile my doctor and I had discussed the possibility of getting a pet for my anxiety. I grew up with a dog, Brenna, who entered our life right when I was struggling with extreme anxiety as an 8 year old. She saved me too. My roommate/best friend had just gotten married just before I left for Europe and the possibility of living alone terrified me. It was perfect timing.

I got home and visited my parents. Our first meeting wasn’t full of sparks or fireworks. He was nervous but definitely gave me kisses. Over the course of the next few days he opened up more and would cry and anxiously paw in excitement when I would walk by the dog pen.

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Chewy and Jasper during my first visit

I left for Salt Lake City with a doctor’s note in hand to give my apartment management and admittedly a fear that it wasn’t going to work. I didn’t feel the overwhelming love like I had for Brenna. I was even worried that I wasn’t going to miss him.

The next couple weeks were agony as I waited for my application to get approved. I did miss him and the excitement of being a Dog Mom exploded. I told everyone and anyone and showed off the few pictures I had of him.

My Dad arrived to my apartment less than a week before the semester began. Jasper showed up nervous and with drool dangling from his mouth. We brought him inside to my large and lonely apartment, closed the door and put him on the floor…and he exploded. His personality shot out of his body. He began running around the entire living room, bounding on top of couches, the futon, and multiple bodies. He began kissing everyone. He started playing with his toys. His tail even twitched a few times.

My Dad exclaimed, “I have never seen this. He is a completely different dog.”

I don’t know how many times I have heard that since. Or how many times I’ve heard, “You two were meant to be.”

As cheesy and romantic as that sounds, to talk about a small dog that way, it is true.

It was meant to be. The next week after starting our adventure together some events happened in my personal life. My mental health spiraled out of control. I lost friends. I lost myself. But Mister Jasper rose to the occasion. I would not have survived those moments without him. He got me out of bed. He got me to smile. He simply showed me that love and joy were possible in his own unique and innocent way.

The rest is history. It took a couple of months for that special and unbreakable bond to form. I am still learning all of his unique traits, needs, likes, dislikes etc. But he is now my constant companion. He comes to work with me, to the store, to school, on road trips, hikes or any other sort of adventure I try to find. Everyone falls in love with him instantly. He gives an unlimited amount of kisses and has too many quirks to list here. His tail wags, or more accurately twitches in strange directions, constantly. People call him a “light” or “lightbulb.” He makes people smile. But more importantly I have him. I have a purpose with him. He makes me laugh and smile and gives me cuddles when I cry or just because. Yes I am talking about just a dog but he’s my dog.

I will share about him more. So just you wait…

So Thanks for the Adventure Mister Jasper….

***Check him out on Instagram @misterjasperthedog!

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