Selfies are about memories

  
  
  
  

  
   
I know. It’s funny to make fun of all the silly people who take selfies all the time. I completely disagree with those folks though. There was a time I went out of my way to avoid being in pictures. I hated seeing myself. It was entirely too easy to avoid being in the photos.

This all started to change when I was taking my son to New York City. I found a walking tour with a photographer. I realized how few pictures there were of the two of us together, and I desperately wanted them. This was the beginning of my commitment to my son to give him photographic evidence of our life together. I have never heard someone lament they had too many photos of their loved ones.

 

These photos and the selfies I have been taking with my friends and family are a way to demonstrate I care enough to want a reminder of our relationship.

There are so many people from my past I can barely remember. I have almost no photos of us together (that is if I am lucky to have any at all.) I will not live life that way anymore. I understand before we had instant access to a camera and seemingly unlimited electronic storage it was more difficult. There is no excuse now.

Trust me, most of the time I think I look horrible in these pictures. I got the wrong angle, my chin is super fat, or my nose is all wrinkled up. The people who know me know what I look like. They love me no matter what face the camera managed to catch. If they don’t, I don’t give a shit anyway. I am not totally made up and looking fabulous in all of these photos. I am just my most authentic self.

When I was choosing these photos I was deliberate about choosing memories I loved and not focusing on my perception of my flaws. This is hard for a girl like me. I tend to focus on all the reasons I should not be in the pictures.

Then I get a grip. Of course I should be in the photos of my life! I should get as many photos of me with the people I love as possible. We should really stop worrying about what we think people are thinking about us, and realize most people don’t care. We are hurting ourselves and our friends and family when we refuse to take a picture with them.

  

  
  

These are just a few of my favorite memories from this year. I have been so lucky to be able to go out and meet new people. I have had so many awesome adventures. These people are so special to me and I am excited to have photos I can reminisce over. I would not trade any of these photos for one airbrushed inaccurate representation of my life.

I have no intention of stopping the selfie craze. I refuse to hide from the camera anymore. I hope more of us continue this zany trend.

Selfies are about memories

Rocky Mountain High. Well, not quite.

My adventures continue to astonish me. I just got back after a long weekend in Colorado. It was my first time! I went to celebrate one of my mudder buddy’s birthday. It was fantastic.

Allow me to say, everyone should want to be in Colorado. It is breathtaking. Actually, it really is breathtaking, there is no freaking oxygen up there! I am convinced they don’t need the legal marijuana, they could probably just get by with the mild hypoxia. Sheesh. 

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You know I had to go to Super Target as soon as we got there. Jill and I were on a team together for the Mesa TM, so this was the ideal place for a selfie.

Here is the great thing about Jill, she thinks I am funny! That always scores bonus points in my book. We had a ball walking around Target and touching everything that looked the least bit entertaining. My mother would have killed me if she had seen me messing with so much stuff. If it had a lid, I opened it. If it looked prickly, I had to feel whether or not it was sharp. Sigh. I love Target.

The plan for the weekend was to head out west to Grand Junction for a wine festival with another of Jill’s friends, Sarah. This was bound to be an epic road trip. Sarah is a ball of frenetic energy. We played car games involving a certain body part and RV names. hehehe. Just three girls with a completely juvenile sense of humor. 

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#JillHasaHemi
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Go ahead and ask me why I am standing like that. I dare you. I am such a dork.

Lucky for me, the girls made it a point to show me the sights. Winding through canyons and going up mountain pass roads, holding on for dear life because I was certain we were going to end up like the rusted out car I saw crashed up on the side of a mountain. We wound our way up to the Continental Divide.

I was enthralled by all the mountains. In my naiveté, I thought we were going through mountains when we were in Golden. I still don’t believe those are just “foothills,” I would rather call them little mountains. Imagine me excitedly shrieking about rocks and the scenery for the next six hours and you pretty much have a pretty good idea of how the trip went. 

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I love these grapes. Peaches and grapes make for some pretty interesting wine.
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Like my new bag? It holds three bottles of wine. You know, for emergencies.

Now, we had to stop to check out the wineries on our way.

The road trip across the state was fantastic. That night we went out to dinner and then went to check out the local “scene.” No details, but there was paint involved.

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Magical concoction served in a copper or maybe it was brass cup.
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Don’t worry, I called.
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Strange times. Glow paint. Guess it was fate I wore that shirt.
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The glow paint was awesome. We danced the night away! Best part of the night? Harassing the poor security guard who never smiled. Second best part? When he was replaced by the cute security guard with a beard.
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I have no idea why I felt making this face was necessary. The guy who painted it claims to have gone to “Art School.”
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Speaking of Art. There was all this random artwork on the street. I fell in love with this ostrich. We named him Art. I am not sure why Jill was trying to strangle him.

This trip was great! I have not even told you the best parts yet. Met some fantastically fun people, and spent the day laughing so hard. Adventures are fun.

Remember: It did not happen if you did not take a picture.

Rocky Mountain High. Well, not quite.

My Tribe did a Tough Mudder yesterday.

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Ahhhh. The hopeful expressions of the innocent. Just kidding. They know what this is all about. It’s Mudder Time! Colorado is the hardest course in North America. Yeah, I obviously stayed home for this one.

I bet you thought you were going to get away with never hearing about another Tough Mudder again. After all, remember how hard the last one was? Have you seen me at boxing lately? Hey! I have been working! And traveling. And resting. . . I know. I have to find a boxing gym. More about the latest in Adventures in Employment later. This is about my friends. 

Tough Mudder in Snowmass, Colorado. Right after Mesa, I had considered trying to train for this one. Here’s the thing, it is at a ski resort. Yep. They were climbing up and down mountains. Right. So, after my training plans fell through I graciously opted out of this adventure. My Kick-ass, awesome, brave, tough-as-nails tribe have never looked back. They had things to do.

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Wishing I were somehow there with them. #jealous

Details are sparse at this point and it is not my story to tell. However, I was having my butt kicked at work, all the while trying to sneak a peek for their progress occasionally. I was living vicariously through my Muddy Buddies.

My Tribe is filled with great people. We have no problem being authentic with each other and this is one of the best parts of having a group.

For your viewing pleasure: can’t wait to hear or hopefully even read all of their stories. 

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Hydrate and heal your broken bodies my friends.

The great thing about Tough Mudder is the way everyone even complete strangers, end up as part of a big family. The physical challenge is such a small part of this adventure. There are mental and emotional obstacles for so many of us.

In case you are wondering, my next Tough Mudder is in about a month. I am taking my son to experience this adventure with a HUGE group of lovely people. I know some of them, the rest I am excited to meet. Yep, it is still going to be hard. I am still terrified of heights. I am still fraught with self-doubt and anxiety. None of that matters. We have totally got this. 

My Tribe did a Tough Mudder yesterday.

You have cancer. I don’t know what to say.

I have entirely too many friends with cancer. Some have treatable cancer, while others have stage IV cancer requiring constant palliative treatment. It is horrible and scary.

Now, I see a lot of articles describing cancer from the patient’s POV, and a few from the perspective of the spouse whose world is forever changed from their loss. What about the friend? What about the coworker, who really likes you, and wants to help?

I am one of those people who has spent entirely too much of my life saying exactly what pops into my head. Most of the time this is not a problem. Well, not too much anyway. The part of me who would never intentionally say something insensitive kicks in, and I become frozen. I don’t know what to say. Typically when I learn of your diagnosis, my first thought is Are you going to die? 

I am a person who likes to have a problem or a puzzle to solve. Give me a task, and I will do everything in my power to help you out. I want to offer advice, but I do not know a lot about cancer and cancer treatment. It is not my specialty, and I do not like thinking about it. Cancer. That is a scary word. I have a new understanding of why the little old ladies whisper when they are gossiping about people who have cancer.

I wonder if other people feel as useless as I do when my friends or coworkers are going through this. I simply have very little to offer. Sure, I can be available if you need to talk, but wouldn’t someone who knows more about your situation be better? One of my friends made a poignant statement once, “Everybody loves you when you are dying.”

Yikes. I do not want my friend to think I am only there because they are sick. So, I don’t call. This leaves me feeling guilty. What are the rules? What can I do?

Some of the articles I have read have admonished well meaning friends not to ask “what can I do?” This person has had their entire life turned upside down, and they do not have time to find a task to feed your ego. Good point.

This leaves me with the same problem. I want to help. I would do anything if I could just make you not have to go through this, and I am powerless. I have seen my coworkers rally around our work family, raising money, and in general just being available. I find myself pulling back and suffering from intense insecurity. I do not want to interfere.

Even writing this makes me feel strange. My feelings should not matter, I am not the one with cancer. The thing is, I have feelings. I am sad, shocked, scared, and somewhat lost. If I have lost touch with you over the years, and I hear you have cancer, I want to reach out. However, then I am doing that annoying thing where people come out of the woodwork when there is a crisis. So, I just think about you, worry for you and your family, and reflect on the person I used to know. I stay silent.

There is no rule book for going through life. Now, we manage to stay connected to everyone we ever knew via social media. We are able to turn the world into that small town where everyone knows a little piece of everyone’s business. I wonder if this is part of why it seems like there is so much suffering in the world. We are exposed to more of it.

It is difficult to know how to offer support to someone who you know, but do not know well.

I remember people trying to comfort me when a very close friend died. They were using the common polite expressions. The one that infuriated me, “she is in a better place,” was not meant to upset me. I was infuriated. I wanted to scratch out their eyeballs. She was not in a better place, she was never coming back to the people who loved her.

Realizing the polite sayings can hurt, I am left with not knowing what to say. I want to ask so many questions. Are you scared? Is your family handling things well? Do you like and trust your doctor? What are you going to do? What are they telling you about the treatment? Are you in pain? How did you find out you have cancer? Did you suspect it was cancer before you went to the doctor? Did you miss the warning signs? Do you have a family history of cancer? Did you do something that caused your cancer? What are we going to blame this on? Why did this happen to you? SELFISHLY, is this going to happen to me? 

My intentions would be to simply find out where you are. I want to understand, and in my naiveté, I truly believe if I understood, I could help. It is unfortunate that it is really none of my business.

So, I am left with nothing to say. Fear leaves me paralyzed. I do not want to get in the way. So, I will throw some cash into the collection jar, buy a plastic bracelet to prove my support, and wish I could help. No, it is not enough, but sometimes it is all I have.

Here is my promise to all my friends:

If you need me, I am here. I may not know what to do but, I will figure out something. I may not know the socially correct things to say, and I may accidentally make an inappropriate joke, but I will care. I will not assume to know what you need from me, and I will not do things unless you ask me for something. I will not call you constantly to check on you, but I will answer the phone if you reach out to me.

I guess the best thing I can offer is a willingness to be there for whatever need arises.

 

You have cancer. I don’t know what to say.

It is rare for me to have no words.

 

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Looking more than a little tired.

I have so many things I want to say, and yet I have no words.

We are not guaranteed anything in life. We have a responsibility to let the people we love know how we feel about them. We have an obligation to be kind and to try to leave the world a better place. Don’t waste your life waiting for it to begin.

So, in the spirit of that sentiment, here are a few of the people and memories I love the most.

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I love this picture so much. This costume was logistically more difficult than I thought it would be. He was the perfect little mummy.
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May as well continue with the Halloween pics. Look, it’s my baby brother- wearing eye shadow! Looking tough Bubba.
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I would not go to school with crazy witch hair and makeup. I did not want to be seen ugly. (One of my family’s favorite stories.)
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I can’t believe it has been so long. We did it! One of my favorite pics of my BFF and I.
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Good times with my dear friends. Love these women so much.
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Me and my little buddy. My nephew, Kyle. I love this kid so much!
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Tough Mudder Adventures. I can’t wait for the next one!
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Me and my other nephew, My Squishy.
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Kurt and I before the Tough Mudder. He basically held my hand, and let me flirt shamelessly with him all day. Love all my superhero friends. It certainly helps how easy on the eyes he is.
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My “little bro”- Trevor and my brother, also named Trevor- are two of the nicest guys I know. I am a lucky girl to have all these great dudes in my life.
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I vote for: it’s always a good idea to get a selfie with the guy in chains.
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This is one handsome dude. I love his heart. I do not know how I got to be so lucky with a kid like him.
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Fun times with fun friends.
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Hanging out in Memphis.
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Just because we don’t have shot glasses, does not mean we don’t do shots. However, the lack of a corkscrew- did lead to wine bottle breakage… Live and learn.
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Love these peeps. You guys look so cool.
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Me and my beautiful mom. She’s pretty much awesome. I am lucky to have her.
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My first time! With Sushi, get your head out of the gutter…
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Ty and Granny… He played my favorite song for his talent show. The Entertainer from one of my favorite movies: The Sting.
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Just a girl and her dog. This was Cinnamon. She was the bomb-diggity.
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Ty’s first time! …. With Sushi!!! NYC was so awesome. I am so glad I got to share the experience with my favorite person in the whole world.
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Just us grandkids with Mamaw. Always a good time. I love it when she is game for selfies.
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Just one of the random things I miss most from my other job…. getting to take random selfies with this hottie. (He is Shannon’s husband- I always send them to her….) It makes me smile.
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Oh, my Gracie Belle. She is the coolest cat. Moody, temperamental, and my sweet girl. She nurses on my blanket, and she is always glad to see me when I get home. Her sister Bonnie Blue on the other hand…. not so much.
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My girl Brooke, who refuses to bleach my hair ever again… because the bleach makes me cry and whine… and then I demand to go dark again after the wounds on my scalp heal. Love that she humors my many whims when it comes to my hair.
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My dear brother and sister-in-law. Trevor and Robin, you guys are a good example of what a decent marriage should be. You love and respect each other every day. I love that you two found happiness with each other.
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My four guys. I always wanted a “red-headed step brother,” JT, thanks for making that wish come true.
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I love having all these strong, beautiful, brilliant women as my friends. I think I may have the best group of people in the world. I am indeed a lucky girl.
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Selfies are always better when you are wearing shades.
Yeah…. now, we are all professionals and responsible for real human lives. Scary thought.

So, what’s the point? Well, my life is meaningful because of all these people. There are a lot of other people who mean the world to me too. I am lucky. We have to remember to love our people. Don’t take them for granted. My heart is with my family in California tonight. I will be sending you all the loving vibes I can. I love you guys!

It is rare for me to have no words.

Do you wanna be my friend?

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Hi Dave. May I call you Dave? Please? I think you are pretty fantastic. We could be friends.

Okay, I admit it. I am one of those annoying people who fantasizes about famous people. I actually size them up and wonder if they would be a good friend. Now, most people know I am obsessed with Dave Grohl. I am pretty sure he would fantastically fun to hang out with. I am also convinced he would like me and my friends. Oddly enough, as I write about him there is a commercial for the Foo Fighters to be on The Today Show. Funny, because watching The Today Show is what prompted this post. 

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This is one of my favorite movies EVER! I love a good coming of age story.

Remember that scene from Almost Famous where Billy Crudup hangs out with some good Topeka people? That may be one of my favorite fantasies. Come on! Who wouldn’t want their favorite star to come hang out with them at a party full of their friends? Perhaps minus the acid trip.

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Doesn’t she look like a fun person? I love how she presents herself and I am pretty sure we would have a great time.

Perhaps my biggest fan crush is still Sandra Bullock. I am CONVINCED she would love to hang out with me and my friends. I love the people who seem real. Yes, I am very aware they are just normal people. That is the point. So am I! We already have something in common.  This all started this morning as I was watching the rerun of The Today Show and Jenna Bush Hager was choosing with Hoda Kotb. She looked so cute in her yellow dress, and she seems so down to earth and fun. I found myself wishing I could be her friend. The first thing I would tell her is how adorable that dress was.

This image released by NBC shows Jenna Bush Hager on NBC News'
Obviously not this dress. However, still adorable. She comes across so friendly and open on air. I love watching her. I am still sure we could be friends. LOL

Now, I have real friends. Lots of them. I also have a whole tribe of new friends who I get to go on adventures with. So, why do I judge people on whether or not I think they would make a good friend? It is a good yard stick. So, what makes a good friend?

  1. Honesty paired with kindness. If I look terrible in something, tell me! It is highly probable I did not realize how off I was that day. However, if I am excited about whatever outfit, hairstyle, or makeup technique I have tried, please be kind. You may gently redirect me if I am way off, but don’t humiliate me. I am sensitive.
  2. Always up for a laugh or a cry. You have to be willing to be with your friends in good times and hard times. If you bail as soon as the good times are over, you pretty much suck.
  3. You like me for me. I am quirky at best. Some people enjoy my quirks. Others, not so much. It is okay if we don’t necessarily gel, but don’t pretend we do.
  4. You forgive mistakes. I am not perfect. I make lots of social mistakes. I am not comfortable in many situations. This is getting better, however I still need lots of reassurance and advice. I want to fit in and have a good time. Help a girl out.
  5. You enjoy getting my random selfies from time to time. Yep. I am a selfie girl. This is new for me. I went years avoiding the camera because I felt fat. I finally realized it is fun to take silly, not always flattering pics of myself. I share them with you to make you laugh. Or just to be funny. LAUGH! That’s the point. I am not shallow I think these selfies mean anything. It has become funny. The middle-aged chick taking selfies like a teenager. Jump in the selfie with me. It is fun.
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See? It’s all about having fun. Not taking everything so seriously. Friends are fun!

I spent years feeling awkward and just not fitting in. Then, I learned to just be myself. I have nothing to prove and I am a lot nicer when I am comfortable being me. It helps that I have surrounded myself with people who enjoy my company and laugh when I am being funny. They also laugh at times when I am not trying to be funny… oh well, you can’t win them all. 

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Well, you gotta mix the selfies up.
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One of my favorite pics of all time There is a video that was accidentally shot first. We were having such a good time.
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Yes, it is completely appropriate to force the waiter into out selfie shenanigans. Don’t worry, we tip well.
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It is all about having a good time. You can be there in the not so good times, but in the end- we are having fun.
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You know, Angela has been making me take pics for years. She may be the first person who insisted on chronically our adventures with a camera. So, thank her or blame her. Man- Yet another time I was horribly sunburned.
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Highly posed selfies are the best. You don’t actually think these funny moments just happen do you? Of course they do! Sometimes they are recreated for the camera… but where do you think we get the idea?
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Obligatory group pic! The pretty lady in white was about to be a married woman.
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Of course only one of us was ready for this photo…. This is part of the fun!
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We are about to get Muddy!!!!
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I wish Kristianne’s face wasn’t cut off… but, I think Angela and I look great! We were having such a good time.

Angela, my best friend probably deserves some recognition. She has been essentially a photo journalist for as long as I have known her. I used to make fun of her for always having a camera, however she deserves credit. She was the first person besides my family who made me get in the picture. I am so grateful for that. It has allowed me to have a lot of memories I could have lost without the record. One important point: not all selfies have to flattering and at just the right angle. We need to stop trying to hide all our imperfections. They are just part of us. The people who love us, love us with our imperfections. They are well aware of those occasional skin breakouts. They know all about that funny face we make when we are laughing genuinely. They love it. Stop trying to make everything so perfect. Our people love us exactly as we are. If they don’t, they are not our people. Nyki, what is your point? You are rambling and for some reason walking down memory lane posting random pics on your plea for famous people to come hang out with you. Well, the point is our friends are the people who we pick to become part of our lives. We share our true selves with them. You can never love too many people. You just have to let them in. It is a good idea to get lots of pics, you never know when you will want to reminisce and enjoy a meandering stroll through your adventures and shenanigans with your friends. PS. If anyone knows Sandra Bullock, Jenna Bush Hager, Dave Grohl, or Vince Vaughn please let them know they are more than welcome to come hang out with me and my friends. I promise plenty of selfie opportunities, and we may just have to take a trip to Target. Why Target? Because that is what we do.

Do you wanna be my friend?

Ummm… is this what 35 is supposed to look like?

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Yes! It is a tiara. With Glitter. And, yes those are bubbles in my scepter. Why? Because I am a princess. Every one thinks so.

Seriously. What age is it when you finally have it all figured out? I really thought 25 would be it. Then, 28 seemed like it would be the year. Now, here I am at 35…. and I am still pretty much flailing away, and figuring it all out as I go. Sigh.

There is some good news: Every thing is awesome. I get to be and do anything I am willing to try to work for. That is a liberating feeling.

I am on a path of many wonderful adventures.

If you had asked me 20 years ago who I would be at 35, I would have been so wrong. Turns out, I am still the same girl. I only wish I had been a little nicer to her.

So, having a great time. Surrounded by thoughtful and hilarious friends. I promise you, I have never laughed so hard continuously before. Good times, Good beer, and I may have had lemon cake for breakfast.

 

Ummm… is this what 35 is supposed to look like?

It does not matter what you say. You are my best friend.

IMG_9279Sometimes in life we make mistakes. We inadvertently say things that are hurtful, or we forget about the important people in our lives.

Maybe it is just growing apart. Cross country relationships are hard to maintain.

My life is completely up in the air these days. I do not know what my future holds, and I am not even entirely sure of my goals. I have been totally wrapped up in myself, and I hurt my best friend.

She is the person I chose to be my family. She is my person.

I suppose I took it all for granted. I made mistakes, and they cannot be undone.

It is hard to be human. It is hard to maintain relationships. It takes effort. If you stop making the other person a priority in your life, the relationship can fade away.

Some of this is my fault. I doubt it is all my fault though. I have no hard feelings, I am just sad.

All of that said, here is the most important part. If you need me, I am here.

It does not matter what you say. You are my best friend.

Things I learned from my weekend away

IMG_9141Vacations do not have to be long, adventure-filled, money- sucking events. I left my house Wednesday night, and just got home a few minutes ago. I got to meet TWO of my friends, and I realized you can make meaningful connections with people who are many miles away. All it takes is a mutual commitment to be honest about who you are.

I also learned that I have extremely tall friends. I rarely feel short, tonight I feel short.

Writing about myself is going to be a mind opening experience. I have finally realized the moment that my life changed. I was sincerely shocked when I was writing about it. I had no idea. I am interested in seeing what else I learn about myself.

I am getting better at knowing how to behave in social situations, turns out all you have to do is be more social.

Most important, I learned that it is good to take time for yourself, and to go out of your comfort zone. I saw some interesting sights, and I had a fantastic time- all while not doing anything particularly exciting.

I am looking forward to the next time I get to hang out with these new friends, and until then I am grateful for text messaging, cell phones, and the internet. It is truly making the world a little smaller.

Oh, and one last thing- Podcasts are a great way to pass the time on a road trip. I listened to all of Serial, and several Nerdist Podcasts. I had a great time.

Things I learned from my weekend away