Maybe living for the moment isn’t everything?

As soon as I step out of the building I realize how strange I look.

 

I am on my way to a wedding, and I’ve pretty much mastered the technique of driving without A.C. and still looking mostly put together.

My makeup is done

I have a nice black dress on with some pearls I haven’t worn in a while

Heels in hand, I walk comfortably down the hill in worn brown sandals, my hair braided back in pigtails.

I see one of the camp staffers do a double take, and it takes me a second to realize why: I look like a maniac. Half of me is completely prepared for the wedding, and the other half won’t be put together until the car ride is finished (because who really enjoys riding in heels, or doing your hair only for it to get ruined by open windows?).

As a side note, I really love driving in North Georgia. Scratch that, I love living in North Georgia. I can’t say I don’t miss the beaches, the familiar roads, and all my favorites Florida spots, but after three years of calling Georgia home, I can say without hesitation that it truly is. The curves and hills that once made me nervous are now common, though my car has had an increasingly hard time getting over them. Bird calls echoing in the mountains long before I see the sun, cold rain storms that cling to the trees and leak out across the valleys, secret swimming holes filled with freezing freshwater, and I only have 3 semesters left. Granted, most of my friends only have 2, and my 3rd will be spent abroad, but it seems just as I’ve earned the right to call this beautiful place my home, I’ll be moving on.

So as I’m driving back through the mountains from the wedding, cursing myself for not bringing make-up wipes with me because I only enjoy it for the first 20 minutes or so and after that I’m just focused on remembering not to wipe it off, and I’m wishing I wrote more of it down. The memories, that is.

When I first moved 10 hours away from my family, a wide-eyed, eager 18 year old, I took it all in through experiences. Every moment of that first year was packed full with meeting new people, finding new places: “go, go, go, don’t stop because if you do, it all might disappear. You’ll blink and you’ll be graduating.”

And I’m very grateful for those experiences… I just don’t remember them half as well as I wish I did. I wish I had taken the time, at least once a week, to write it all down. All of the firsts that I no longer remember, like who was the first upperclassmen I met? Or when was the first time I had a boiled peanut? How long did it take before I had timed how long it took to walk to each of my classes? Who was the first college friend that I cried in front of? My friends are really great at filling in the blanks for me, but still… I wish I had written it down.

So now I’m on the edge of my Senior Year, and I’m promising my future self to dive in and take advantage of every moment… and write down as much of it as I can. Because experiences are even better when I can remember the small details that bring me back to the exact moment.

As always, thanks for reading my wandering thoughts!

Happy Friday! ūüôā

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I Dyed My Hair Blue

That’s right guys, I went from the same color hair I’ve had my entire life (never-been-dyed-sorta-blonde-but-also-brown) to a nice blue color. And this is how it went.

The idea pretty much happened like this:

I was sitting with a friend, discussing how we both were feeling a little boxed-in, a little antsy, but too broke to get the tattoos we wanted, and too busy with work to spend time on a decent adventure-drive. And then it struck me.

I’m 21 years old.

I have eight piercings.

I have one tattoo.

I’ve jumped off cliffs and changed majors.

But for 21 years I’ve been too afraid to dye my hair.

So I turned to Kara and said, “What if I dyed my hair?” to which she replied,

“YASSSSSS! Let’s do it tonight!”

The timing is perfect: after this year, I will be working in a professional (ish) setting. I will be having serious interviews, and I’ll have even less free time than I do now. Even better, it’s the summer, so if it looks terrible only the 8 people on campus will have to see it! So we went to Walmart, I bought blue hair dye (I originally wanted purple but changed my mind, and I’m so happy I did), and that night we bleached my hair in preparation.

After nervously checking my hair the next day, I was surprised to find no damage (yay for really healthy hair!) and we went in with the blue. (Hair bleaching photos below)

Those last 20 minutes of waiting to see what it looked like after it was set and washed was terrifying: I was half-convinced I had made a huge mistake.

(First layer of blue, second layer of blue)

However, a few days later and a little bit of touching up and I’m delighted to say that I have no regrets. I really hope it stays in for awhile though because I love it but I have no money to keep it up. For the first few days, every time I would pass a mirror I would stop, smile, and squeal,

“Oh my gosh, I have blue hair!”

I’m living the mermaid life, guys.

Anywayssss (there is a point to this more than a random little life blurb), I have noticed something interesting.

I work the front desk at a gift-shop that is also a welcome center to the coolest waterfall ever, so I ¬†meets and talk to hundreds of people every week. During the summer we are especially busy, and I’ve meet some of the nicest and meanest people I’ve ever interacted with in my life (I would say it’s split 80% nice and 20% noticeably rude).

I’ll be honest: I was very self conscious the first day I walked in with blue hair. Going into it, I was pretty sure this would attract a lot of negative attention, which I didn’t think about until I pulled into the parking lot of my work the next morning. However, my assumption was incorrect.

Sure, I’ve had some interesting reactions, but overall, what I’ve noticed is this:

Genuinely nice people are nice/nicer.

Angry people are angry/angrier.

Across the board, I’ve had just about the same amount of angry people come into the store, who use my hair as a way to vent, and the same amount of nice people being especially nice and expressing support and encouragement for my hair.

And guess what?

I live in the south. I live in the “Bible belt.”

The people who liked my hair were really young (like 5). And really old (like 80). And American. And Korean. And German. And Mexican. (We get people from all over the world all the time, one of the perks of the job).

The people who gave me looks and made snarky comments were really young. And really old. And American. And Korean. And German. And Mexican.

So what I’m trying to say is that sometimes I think all hope is lost, and this country with its extreme diversity and passion is going to implode, this week I’ve been reminded that there will always be people looking for something to justify their anger/bitterness, but there are also a lot of decent human beings here too. They may not believe what I believe, or care about what I care about, but there’s still room to connect, have conversation, and promote conversation and understanding.

Blue (that is definitely gray in some areas) hair won’t change the world.

But conversations about taking risks, jumping on opportunities, and celebrating life at all stages?

That’s a start.

(Daily dose of optimism?)

Thank you so much for reading! If any of you guys have any hair-dyeing stories, or tips, or any thoughts on people reactions to piercings, tattoos or hair, I’d love to hear from you in the comments! Love you guys-

May your swords stay sharp,

May you seek truth always,

and may peace live in your hearts,

Julia

 

A toast to change, perseverance, and freedom

Guess who’s back?

Back again? (Help it’s been in my head for days)

As promised, I want to take a moment this week to type out (for me just as much as you readers) where my blog is headed!

It’s safe to say that, after two years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to write consistently, and how difficult it is to confidently post a blog. I found ¬†myself time and time again thinking “this topic isn’t interesting enough”, “this isn’t relevant” and “this isn’t something readers will care about.” And so I ended up deleting blogs and waiting for moment of inspiration so I could write something that would be noticed.

And some of that is important… just not for this blog.

More than ever I’ve realized I need to stop trying to force myself into a “blogger mold”, stop trying to make myself into something I’m not. Unfortunately, I’ve spent practically my entire life doing the exact opposite: trying to meet everyone’s expectations, believing that was the only way to be heard. Desperately striving to impress. Needing to prove myself.

Luckily, that’s starting to change.

As I’ve leaned into the Lord, and learned to trust, I’ve found incredible freedom.

As I study His Word, and listen to his voice, my heart feels free because, bit by bit, year by year, I’ve just… stopped caring.

Faced with a choice, or a compromise, anxiety would cripple me. I felt like a failure, always a half-step behind, almost-great but instead mundanely mediocre. And that still happens, but lately? Less and less.

I don’t know if it’s because high school feels so far away, but I can look back and laugh at what once terrified me:

My hair looking terrible several days in a row?

Obsessing over thick thighs that were made to crush my enemies?

Eyebrows that are neither thin and manageable nor thick and striking?

I think college had drained my ability to care about these things.

-SIDE TANGENT-

As an encouragement to young women (especially high schoolers) like me who struggle(d) so hard against the “If I were just a little less…” or “If I had just a little more…” mentality, I can honestly promise you that if you push on, it gets¬†so¬†much better. I’ve had the opportunity of talking to many 30/40 somethings, and all of them told me the same thing: it doesn’t matter how fit they were in their teens/twenties, the older they’ve gotten, the happier they’ve been with what they see in the mirror. But it starts with a choice. Keep on fighting–it only gets better, and that better day starts with right now, and tomorrow, and every day after that.

-Back to my point-

Those might be small victories, but you better¬†believe¬†I’m going to celebrate them, ¬†because it’s the small victories over the trivial things that lead to the powerful victories:

“Men are intimidated by you! And can you blame them? You’re too smart and opinionated for your own good- you won’t find a good man until you can bring that under control.”

Well I might not have caught myself a man, but my intellect and opinions have saved me from countless toxic relationships and are about to get me a Bachelor’s degree in both English and Counseling Psychology, so I think that worked out in my favor.

“You’re wasting your time getting an education at a Christian College. No one is going to respect that. Good luck getting a job in the real world.”

Yeah, I mean, going to school with people from all over the world, having connections on virtually every continent, and studying under people who have decades of hands-on experience might not be considered “real-world”, but… oh, wait.

All that to say: I want to continue to break molds and push boundaries. I want to keep on using this blog to show you guys (as best I can) that Christians still have opportunities to make a difference in a world that desperately needs Jesus, and these opportunities have nothing to do with passing out tracks and voting republican. It’s about finding your gifts and passions and running with them, and harvesting the beautiful investment that Christ has been preparing for us.

So, no, not every single one of my blog posts will be mind-blowing (even though I want them to be). But they will be real accounts of my life as I choose to live my best life without living it for me.

Thanks to everyone (there’s literally so many I can’t even begin) who has encouraged ¬†me to keep on writing, and helped me grow and change with each new year, and thanks to you guys for reading and enjoying the ride with me!

May your swords stay sharp,

May you seek truth always,

and may peace live in your hearts,

Julia

 

 

(A Little Over) Two Years

I can’t believe I missed my two year anniversary of starting my blog! 

That’s… kind of embarrassing!

To start, I just want to thank everyone who has been and is currently reading what I’ve been spitting out! It’s been an incredible ride, and I’ve learned SO much.

May 21st, 2015, I posted my first blog, and just in case you forgot, some of the highlights include:

1) Me trying to figure out what my blog meant to me, mainly finding my place in culture and appreciating it.

2) Admitting a lot of embarrassing things that are still mostly true 2 years later.

3) Missing several grammatical issues and stubbornly refusing (still refusing) to fix them because I promised myself I wouldn’t go back and meticulously edit things.

I know I haven’t posted in a while, but I promise I have been writing!

There’s been quite a bit stewing in my mind for some time now, (I have 3 finished posts in my drafts that I haven’t posted and it’s been MONTHS) and I’ve felt frozen for some time now.

A change is coming.

I’m not sure if it’ll be a name change, or a purpose change, but I’ve been doing some reflecting, and by next week (I’m a woman of my word!) I will be launching into a new stage of blogging! 

Once that initial change happens, I’ll be posting my saved-up blogs and sharing about the incredible last few months I’ve had (because let me tell you, they really have been incredible).

Thank you again for reading, happy adventuring to you!

Julia