No Quote Will Sum it Up..

I find myself writing this on a plane, like a lot of my posts lately.. I guess flights give me space and time to think.

I’ve had a very trying past few weeks, and was prepared to write about a life altering event that my family and I went through, but it seems.. I don’t know.. like it’s not my story to tell; therefore, I’m going to vault it. I do want to talk about something else though. I want to talk to you all about friendship. It sounds so silly as I type it out. I feel like the term friendship is so arbitrary at this point. Like.. what does it even mean? To be friends with someone? Before yesterday, I firmly believed that caring about someone with everything you had would be enough, and I have sadly learned that it is not.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I have the most truly amazing people in my life. And if anything, yesterday brought to my attention just how important they are, and I’m not sure that I deserve them. But I cherish them. To Lauren and Ethan, I love you more than life.

I used to feel bad for my friends that were so guarded, unwilling to let people in. How miserable that must be, to see the worst in people from the start. But now.. well, I think I’m starting to understand it, and I’m just late to the party. Lucky for them to have figured it out so early on and save themselves tremendous heartbreak.

I know that you’ll never read this, but I’m going to write it to you anyway, so it’s out in the universe. Maybe if it doesn’t help us, it’ll help someone else.

You came literally crashing into my life at a time when I needed someone like you the most. You helped me find a version of myself that I thought I had lost. I love you. For everything that you are. For you, you are freedom, Jameson and ginger, and under eye freckles. You are late nights and laughter.

You are enough.

I don’t presume to actually know you. I see a lot under the surface that you’re unwilling to show me, wounds that you pretend don’t exist and treat secretly when no one’s around. And maybe I’m wrong, maybe you’re fine. Regardless, you became very important to me in such a short time. I’m not sure what’s to become of us now, but I pray to whatever is out there that this is not the end of our story. I’ve been replaying what happened and trying to figure out how I should’ve done it differently. I think to myself, if I had just let it go, not have gotten upset, not have expressed out loud to you that I was upset, none of it would’ve happened. I wouldn’t have spent my last night in my city for what might be the last time we see each other in an ocean of drunken sadness and disappointment.

I’m sorry.

I have another friend, one that also came into my life fairly recently who has proven herself to be quite the insightful little bitch 😜 and she suggested that I write today. She’s literally only seen me in some of the worst times of my life and she has absorbed all of it and returned to me only love and support. I see myself in her, bringing me what I try to bring to my friends. And I will make sure that she never goes through what you’re putting me through right now. I will show her that her care for me is enough, despite fights or disagreements. And I hope that she will remain open and unguarded, like I used to be. She reminds me daily that everything happens in the way that it’s supposed to. If we’re to work through this, we will. If we’re not, we won’t.

The ball is in your court bubba. Please throw it back.

Please.

Come and Find Me..

“You think you see me, don’t believe your eyes. That’s just a shell I left behind.. I’m no runaway, this is just a game I play. I want you to find me.” -Unknown

You know… you’d think this self discovery bullshit would have an end date right? Like eventually, you’ve got to figure it out to a manageable extent.. but you never do, do you?

I’m finding inspiration in a weird place right now. It’s 2am, in New York, and I’m sitting outside during my break from the hospital. The scene is something more beautiful than I can express in my limited writing capabilities. Empty intersection, changing street light, giant trees lit up by university lights swaying in a breeze bringing the perfect amount of chill to the air. Cigarette smoke looming around my face and a beautiful song in my ear, peace. I love this city. I love how contradictory it is. It’s loud and gross and crowded, and then it’s this. It’s addicting, never knowing what you’re going to get.

The poetry of it is a little more than I can bear right now. I love this city because I am this city. I’m loud and messy and annoying, I am peaceful and beautiful and silent. This city is confused with who it is and what it stands for, as am I. But maybe that’s just it. The confusion and contradiction is what ultimately makes it make sense. The difference between this place and me is that it owns its dysfunction. It says, here I am in all my fucked up glory, come and explore, see what you find. It’s not insecure, it’s not constantly trying to find a niche to fit nicely within.

I can learn from this place.

Mads.

Delicious Ambiguity

Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity. -Gilda Radner

Delicious ambiguity. I read this quote and immediately thought, “that’s what’s going down in history for me. Millennial Lived for Delicious Ambiguity“.

I’ve lived in this wild city for nine-ish months now and it’s been a lot of things. Bright, shiny, exciting, outrageous, a little.. ok a lot weird, and many other things. Most importantly for me, it’s made me very confused and conflicted. I’m here in NYC and I’m comfortable. I’m happy. I eat better, I take better care of myself, I feel challenged and intrigued on a daily basis. I could see myself here in the long term.

Then I go home for a minute. ALL these feelings come rushing back in. In Oklahoma, I’m also comfortable, also happy. My family is there, most of my friends are there, my animals are there.. it’s home, what more needs to be said.

So here’s the problem: in NYC, I feel at home, and I desperately miss Oklahoma. In OKC, I AM home and I desperately miss New York and the person it makes me feel like I am/can be. So what do I do? Is this the curse of being a traveler? I’m doomed to always missing someone, some place, some feeling? Will it get worse the more I travel? Most importantly, is it worth it to travel if it continues to make me feel displaced wherever I go? Are a collection of moments better than settling in and building something up?

I’ll have to get back to you with the answers to these questions, if I ever find them. Right now I feel a mix of the unfortunate and the blessed for my current way of life. Thanks for listening.

Mads.

A Traveler’s Education

I turn 27 today.. 27 years on this green earth and I feel like I’ve learned more about myself in the 3 weeks leading up to now than in all those years combined.

I went to Ireland again a couple of weeks ago and it was just as wonderful as I remembered. The country reminded me of my roots, as it does, but it also brought to light the changes that have occurred within me since starting this life of travel.

Mark Twain once said “Travel is fatal to prejudice”. I’ve always liked this quote, as I feel connected to it as a traveler that considers herself extremely open and tolerant of other people and cultures. The more I travel, the more this thought settles within me, yet at the same time, I have become less and less tolerant of my own culture. I recognized an air of near embarrassment when confronted with foreign perceptions of American ideals, American food, American politics (Don’t worry, we’re going to stay plenty far away from that one in this post), and other concepts.

What happens when you no longer feel pride in where you come from? We’ve brought this perception upon ourselves by thinking that every other country will cater to us and our needs when we travel. When I go abroad, or even just to another region of the US, I want to immerse myself in their culture! I want to try their food, drink their beer, listen to their music, experience all their differing talents. We all do, right? Everyone says that, but then why do we go through the trouble of flying a million miles abroad to bitch about the lack of ranch dressing and Dr. Pepper 🙄 and compare everything to how it is at home? So yes Mark, I agree with you that travel is fatal to prejudice, but for me, it’s also fuel for my burning inward prejudices.

After Ireland, I came home to good ol’ OKC for a visit, and what a time to be back in town. For those of you that live under a rock, Oklahoma has had a massive teacher walkout occur over the past nine school days. And may I just say FOR THE RECORD: It’s about DAMN time y’all. Once more a little louder for the people in the back: FIGHT👏🏻FOR👏🏻WHAT👏🏻YOU👏🏻DE👏🏻SERVE👏🏻 Whether you would like to acknowledge it or not, teachers make the motherloving world go ’round. To make them deal with hyperactive small people or moody medium-sized people on a daily basis, make them responsible for the education of our future leaders, AND take away all of their funding? Get out of here.. what did you expect to happen?

It was interesting for me, because coming home, I was prepared to hear a massive rally cry across the state and see everyone gushing their support in any way they could. You’ll understand my surprise when I got into my brother’s car at the airport and his first comments were about how annoyed he was with the walkout! You see, he’s a senior this year and knowing he’ll have to make up those days at the end of the year has effectively ruined his life. It’s funny to see that high school bubble in action when you’re an old geezer like myself. I can see now just how naïve I was to anything bigger than my own drama back then. I hope one day he’ll be able to look back and see how important this walkout was.

My Mr. Feeny in high school was a glorious woman named Rose Ann Neal. She made me love school. She challenged me, motivated me, respected me, and made me feel like I had nothing standing in the way of my crazy successful future. She gave meaning to literature, and frankly, to high school as a whole. I can say with absolute certainty that she’s a major part of the reason I went on to finish a Bachelor’s and a Master’s. BTW Mrs. Neal, if you’re reading this, I’m heading back to school for the third time next year, so thanks for that 🤓. Can you imagine if I had gone through school in classes of 35 kids? This whole post would be full of incorrect uses of there, there, their, then, and than! I mean, have you read anything on Twitter lately? THE INJUSTICE!

What I’m trying to say is, travel, teachers, and the Oxford comma are important.

😘 Mads.

Beautifully Complicated

“Compassion is all inclusive. Compassion knows no boundaries. Compassion comes with awareness, and awareness breaks all narrow territories” -Amit Ray

I learned a hard lesson this week. I met someone that, for reasons I don’t yet fully understand about myself, became very important to me in a short amount of time. It’s hard for me to write this post because I plan to explore some of my own issues as I write it. I have found myself often latching onto people that I think need saving, and how presumptuous of me to think that I, in all my fucked up glory have anything to offer these people, right? What makes me more “together” than these souls I find myself longing to help somehow?

Nothing. This is what I’m starting to see. But let’s take a break from me for a moment and get back to the soul in question. I’ve become taken with this person because of this very intense dichotomy I noticed pretty early on between the outward presentation and the inward reality. On the surface, the world is seeing a messy, quirky, open-minded person that seems unfazed by all of the misfortunes they’ve experienced/brought upon themselves. Yet within just a few hours, this facade shattered to reveal someone that is so intensely sad, it makes me think of a tragic statue in a rainy courtyard.

I sensed this overwhelming air of defeat and fragility, and as I dug deeper and deeper into this person (because I’m a pushy, ignorant, brat), I just found more and more complications. I figured that this overwhelming need to protect that I was feeling would be the driving force in the others in their life as well, but I was shocked to find the opposite to be true! This shattered, broken person I saw to be so obviously screaming for love and acceptance and help, was treated by their peers in a way that worsened my attachment to the idea of saving them. How could they not see it? How can they be so cruel to someone that’s so broken?

Back to me for a spell. My internal dialogue starts going into overdrive. Am I falling into a trap? Am I so utterly insightful that I’m seeing through all the bullshit these other people are blinded by and seeing the true person underneath, making me their only hope? Or am I the ignoramus that is falling for this person’s instinctual manipulative behavior that gets them the attention they want? What am I risking with either direction.. on the one hand I could make a real difference in somebody’s life that really needs it. On the other, I look like an idiot when it turns out they were right all along and I played right into it.

With this particular case, I risked my intellectualism and dignity and did everything I could to make it clear I wanted to help, to be this person with which they could crack it all open and feel accepted. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work. I’m still not sure whether my assessment of this person is correct.. but I know now that whether it was all an act or not.. they didn’t want to be helped. Or maybe they did, and then changed their mind.

I think there are a lot of these people out there, that don’t want to be helped. Maybe they’re comfortable in their misery, or too scared of what it will be like to live with accountability for their actions and feelings. Whatever it is, I feel true sorrow for them. Everyone should have at least one person in their lives that allows them to be exactly who they are all of the time, who makes them feel adequate and accepted. I don’t think I’ll ever stop trying to help these people, for whatever reasons about myself in which I remain naïve, but one day it’s going to work. I firmly believe that my incessant digging and meddling will one day pay off by helping that one person that wants it.

Is this the right ending to this post? Or am I supposed to end it with the very stereotypical Millennial response of “time to let it go and start caring for myself instead”.

Thanks for unpacking all of that with me, you guys are the best,

Mads.

Is It Hopeless?

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obselete” -R. Buckminster Fuller

I’d like to start by saying that I have this group of friends from my undergrad that are so many things, things that range from absolutely amazing to downright stubborn. These friends vary in their degrees of fortitude and apathy, ambition and ease of presence, and I adore each of them for being who they are, despite the times that I grow very frustrated when decisions they make, driven by who they are, upset me. Since moving to NYC, I’ve become closer with some of those friends, for many of them live here, and I’ve grown apart from some due to distance and life, as it goes.

I’m telling you about these beautiful humans for a couple of reasons, and not the for the obvious one that they’re majority redheads (it’s a thing, in my life). The intense pride I feel when I speak about them and their accomplishments is overwhelming. These are some of my oldest friends, and we have stuck together and been there for each other over many years and many miles. Some have lived abroad, some still are*, and even though we’re all spread across the country right now, our connections are stronger than ever. My point in telling you all of this is to explore with you what friends like these should do if they feel one of their own start to slip away. Like, really slip away.

I have a tendency to frantically try and form traditions or push everyone to meet up in a certain place, hoping it will remind us what got us here in the first place, why we all became friends. It worked a few times, but as time has progressed, it’s been harder and harder for everyone to find the time. How do you tell your friends that you’re scared we’re all going to fall apart? That these friendships have been the capstone of the most important years of your life and to think of a future without them is physically painful? How do you tell them that you fundamentally disagree with a decision that has a huge impact on their life without risking the chance that they’ll run from you and that’ll be the end? You want to protect them and tell them how you see it from your point of view, but you know it’s not something they want to hear. Do you lie? Is it more important to protect them from themselves, or to protect the friendship that you don’t want compromised? I’ve been struggling with these questions a lot lately.

They say that it gets easier as you get older, but I don’t agree with that. The problems don’t become easier, they become different, and generally, they come with more to lose. As a Millennial, I see sometimes this mindset with people my age, that if you have a simple disagreement, screw it. You’ve got 1300 FB friends and 800 followers on Insta and Cardi B follows you on Twitter so pshhh girl you’re fine, people love you, you’re doing alright. I hate that. I understand it to an extent, but I hate it. Likes and follows aren’t gestures of love, they’re gestures of boredom or envy. I sometimes think I’m the only one that feels this way. The only one that takes these relationships so seriously.

So the question is.. do I keep fighting? Or is it hopeless?

*Shoutout to Mitch, still kicking ass abroad to this day!

Bitter.

“If you’re betrayed, release disappointment at once. By that way, the bitterness has no time to take root.” -Toba Beta

It’s been so long since I last entered the blogosphere. I can delightfully say it’s because I finally started my long-awaited contract! Now before you go around excitedly telling your friends about this random blogger’s new employment status, know that I have found this new hospital to be a completely glorified dumpster fire. I won’t go into detail on their practices because who of you really care about the technical nursing details.. Just trust me when I say it’s a very chaotic… unorganized… **trying to think of the perfect descri..DUMPSTER FIRE!! Actually, picture six rabid raccoons fighting over a pizza crust on top of a pile of burning trash. Got it? That’s it. Glad we got that out of the way (and you’re welcome for the visual).

Let’s discuss disappointment. I have a TERRIBLE habit of looking toward the future through diamond studded rose-colored glasses. I always think it’s going to be better than it is and then I’m faced with crippling disappointment time and time again. This isn’t always true, there are certain things that live up to their expectations… a $68 bottle of Austrian Grüner Veltliner, the greeting from Gracie when I come home in the morning, the New York MTA Transit System.. *HA! jk on the last one* but more often than not, I sit and wonder how things I had dreamt of going so well ended up going so wrong. How do we cope when this happens? How do we change our way of thinking to ensure it doesn’t keep happening day in and day out? You tell yourself you’re not going to let it affect you. You say things like “I work to live, not live to work” and whatever other cheesy one liners you can find to make yourself feel better. But what does that solve? You’re still bitter at the end of the day and over time that bitterness accumulates. You don’t even notice how bitter and closed-off you become because the process is so gradual.

I was watching Black Mirror the other day and in one of the episodes (S4E4 Hang the DJ – AWESOME episode, check it out, Joe Cole is great) the female lead says “What if all it’s actually doing is wearing us down (…) each time you get a little bit more pliable, a little bit more broken, until eventually (…) you are so defeated and so exhausted that you just accept it, you settle. And then you have to live the rest of your life convincing yourself you didn’t”. POWERFUL stuff guys. It’s disconcerting to think this is our reality. I feel like so many Millennials settle, whether it be for a significant other or a job or being in debt. We get tired or we’re just generally lazy and don’t think that we’ll achieve or be granted what we truly want. Instead of fighting, we just lay down and take it. Why do we do that?

I’d love to know what you guys think. I can’t be the only one out there terrified that I’m unknowingly bitter and settling for things that are not enough. Send me your thoughts.

Until next time,

Mads.