Dear Obama,

Dear Barack Obama,

I’m sorry I never gave you a chance. I scoffed at your family photos. I listened to the rumors being spread about your birth certificate. I reposted photos of you with a cigarette hanging out of your mouth and shamed you for not being a better example. I made fun of your wife and her platform of healthy eating along with the masses who cried, “keep our government out of our children’s vending machines!”

It definitely wasn’t because I don’t care about politics. I went to my first organized political event when I was about 5 years old. It was the inauguration of Dirk Kempthorne, Governor of Idaho. I mean, have you ever heard a more republican sounding name? Just wait, because the second political event I ever went to was only three years later for “Butch Otter, Lieutenant Governor”.

I waved signs for Larry Craig and Mike Crapo. I nodded along and chimed in with indignant, “yeahs” while my family called the Clinton’s snakes and cows. I regularly told people that Ronald Reagan was my favorite president. I was 5 months too young to be able to vote for McCain in 2008 and I actually CRIED when he lost. A trip to the grocery store that evening and a box of L’Oreal hair dye later, I had black hair because I was in mourning for our country.

Forget about the fact that I knew nothing about you or McCain before you ran for President. I felt like I knew which one of you was best for the country, and for me, based on what I heard other people say about you. I knew McCain had militiary experience and was quite a bit older than yourself, so that was a duh. How could anyone lead a country if they hadn’t served in the military? SHEESH.

Fear of being on the wrong team kept me from reading anything positive about you or your family. I scoffed at anything your wife said about health thinking she needed to stay out of my business, but not really noticing that I felt insecure about my own health and someone from the “enemy” might have something about health figured out that I could really stand to listen to.

I’m so sorry and so sad that I spent almost a decade with my mind and my heart closed off to learning of the kindness and compassion that you and your beautiful family possess.

I’m sorry I never welcomed the change you hoped for, even though I had no idea what it was you were even changing. I made a decision to hate you out of ignorance. I was 17 years old. Now, 8 years later, I am a different person religiously and politically.

Let’s say that I never changed my political beliefs. Let’s pretend that I still wished McCain had won all those years ago, I still really missed out on embracing and cerebrating the history that you’ve made. I chose to believe the fact that we elected the first ever black president was unimportant because I wanted to hate a ridicule you along with the rest of the conservative right I was a part of.

The truth is, you and your wife are amazing people. You are positive and inspiring, and your words are empowering. You’re imperfect, but never claim to be the opposite. You are fun loving and respectful, and you believe in the goodness of other people. Those are traits I wish I practiced more often in my own life.

All this to say, I’m sorry for hating you as a person for so long and spreading that negativity to others. It makes me wonder how many other people I have done this to, and how much unkindness I have participated in without realizing. This letter is about judgment and fear and how the words of those we trust can impede our ability to allow others to make a difference in our life.

I know we don’t know each other, and we probably never will, but I think it’s important now that I apologize for refusing to see the humanity of someone and to fight to make them seem ugly, bad, worthless, dangerous, unkind, or evil without having reason to.

So I hope that if I were ever to meet you or your wife or children, we could shake hands and be friends.

Sincerely,

Me

I Need an Adjustment

Well, well, well….

It’s been a little over 6 months since I’ve written so I guess I’m right on schedule for this post. Eh?

It is amazing how much and also how little has changed in this time. We have changed jobs, roommates, homes, cars, friends…yet I am still stuck in many of the same ways I was. It’s funny how long you can carry you ISH with you.

This place doesn’t feel like home yet, if you were thinking of asking.

The ever persistent plague of anxiety and depression is familiar enough but just uncomfortable enough to keep me from feeling rooted wherever I may go.

So this last year of life has just been about learning to adjust. Constantly adjusting inside and out. My way of thinking, my view of the south, my expectations for behavior (mine and others), my home and belongings, my own personal look. Man, it’s been a ride y’all.

I know this doesn’t really count as an update, but I do intend on stretching my writing muscles and using this beautiful space. If not for my approximately 5 readers, but just so that I know I’m not wasting the internet’s best domain name.

Love from Nashville,

Jess

I’m Fat Now

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

To everyone who has noticed that I’ve “gotten bigger since I got married”…

You’re right. I have.

I went through a terrible break up once and stopped eating real food for 3 weeks, or maybe longer. All I ate were Doritos and coffee. I am really not exaggerating. But I felt like I looked awesome. Now, looking back on pictures, I think I must have finally achieved my magical goal weight. I have never had an exact number as a goal weight. I figured I’d just know it when I’m there. But that’s not true because even in those dark days when I was so sad that I could barely keep anything down, I still thought I was fat. I still looked at that time as a chance to reinvent myself. I could finally become the thin, cool girl I had always wanted to be. Now that I didn’t have a boy to go to dinner with and eat ice cream on the couch with nothing would stand in my way. The weight I look back at now, while not “skinny” in the way we think we need to be skinny, looks almost too thin. Then again I would have said, “I can still be thinner.” Couldn’t we always be just a little bit thinner?

Now look at me. I’m 40 pounds heavier then my lowest adult weight. I don’t really do anything about it. I have bad eating days, and I have normal eating days. I have weeks where I think I’m really gonna build a habit. I meal prep fresh veggies and nuts and fruits. I’ve even gone through a few smoothie phases. I recently had a gym membership. I saw a trainer once or twice a week for a couple of months. When I started gaining weight and couldn’t stop thinking about the numbers I quit. Sometimes I work out in my living room while watching tv. Other times I work out while watching an exercise video. Other times I just practice squeezing my abs and clenching my butt cheeks while I’m driving myself to work. Every time I do one of these things, I always think, “If I can just do this X many times per week, I’ll weigh X many pounds and then I can put pictures of myself on social media or attend a social event and I’ll prove people wrong.”

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
My body is a bikini body.

See, I have this belief that girls are so absolutely aware of my weight and my size and the shape I take up in my clothes that they’ll base my well-being and my happiness off of my appearance. Like my success as a wife is determined by what size jeans I wear and if they’re bigger or smaller than the one I wore the last time my friends saw me. I have this image in my mind that all the ex-boyfriends and crushes I’ve had stalk me on Facebook and think about how I used to be hotter.Before I continue I just want to clear something up. I know that other people weigh more than I do. All I can do is speak from personal experiences that shape my perception of myself. In my world, I’m fat. This is the reality for pretty many girls I know.

I am fat.

I’m so afraid that someone notices I’m fat so I notice it on others too. I’m constantly searching for other bodies that look like mine to justify the pounds I carry.

So for any ladies wondering, I’ve gained 2 cup sizes since high school and 4 pant sizes. Yet I fear that each time my husband says I look great or he likes me the way I am there are 3 more girls noting my weight gain.

I feel like I’ve been trying to keep it a secret. Covering myself with my husband’s shirts, wearing sweats all day, layering hoodies under jackets, buying baggy and loose fitting shirts. If I pretend not to know I’m fat maybe no one else will? But what’s worse is someone thinking I’m fat and believing that I don’t know. What kind of crazy person would just walk around being fat and not caring about it?

Well, me.

Here I am telling the world that I’m fat and I just want to not care about it anymore. I’m already reminded every single day when I put my clothes on and something doesn’t quite fit. Every time my bra digs into my back or shoulders or when my pants tug at my waist. I am releasing myself from the real or imaginary tally sheet in the minds of my friends, acquaintances, former friends, enemies, and strangers.

My marriage is great, even though I’m fat. Sometimes I eat my emotions. Sometimes I don’t eat because of my emotions. I just don’t want to give an eff ANY. MORE.

I’m gonna wear the clothes, and take the picture, and not give a damn.

 

 

*Update: Since so many of you have mentioned that you love the swimsuit I’m wearing in my photo. I’m wearing the Cocoship Retro 50’s Halter High Waist Bikini Carnival print in XXL.

When You Give Up On Quitting

118H

I have felt like a dried up well of creativity for a long time. For so long in fact I started wondering if I was even creative at all anymore. As a child I used to draw all the time. I think I had a natural talent in it but when I finally started going to school and being around kids instead of in my homeschool bubble, I realized there were others who were better than I was so, I quit.

5633ba5fabdc0f754da4e659

In high school, I wrote poetry with my best friend in a notebook we shared. Someone found our notebook and made fun of it and I was so embarrassed. Shortly after, my grandma found some of my journaling and said it was ‘depressing’ so, I quit.

College brought to my attention the fact that I wasn’t as good of a student I always thought I had been. I was truly under the impression school was my “thing”. Now I could barely force myself to write a 3 page paper the night before it was due. Yet, there were people winning teacher-led contests for having the most handwritten notes in a semester.

This is not a post about being homeschooled, nor is it about me finally realizing my true talent, and its not really about comparison either. Although, all of those are stories in and of themselves and may found themselves being told another day.

Being homeschooled for a large portion of my education did mean that I didn’t have many to compare myself to. I may have had some unrealistic perceptions of my aptitudes in certain subjects. This is not to say that I didn’t have anyone to push me to learn or try hard. I had some pretty high standards set by my family. Really, I was already falling behind in their eyes. I was supposed to be on track to graduate at least two years early from high school. Unfortunately, I was just one year ahead :/  I was excelling at things that I didn’t even give a damn about to please other people and basically never doing a single thing for my own pleasure. Anytime I would find something that brought me joy and I was “bad” at it, I quit.

118H

I have spent a whole lot of my life running away from things that feel good and make me happy because I didn’t excel at them immediately. The shame from not being able to measure up to impossibly high standards for “important” things kept me from running ahead in the fun parts. Work first, play later, right?

Well, it’s time for that to freaking change. Because when will later be?

This week I have been making a conscious effort to open my mind and let ideas come. I’m tired of feeling about as shallow as a shower. I want depth! I want creativity and lucid dreaming and brainstorming and collaboration. I want to give ideas freely because it feels good to use my brain and not only when it serves a purpose in the “real world” and can pay the bills.

You know what has happened since I have opened up my mind?

I seem to have bloomed and found my soul.

Tell me; have you kept your creativity hidden? Do you let fear of being “bad” at something keep you from things you really love?

xoxo,
Jess

The Big Move: Pt. 1

Today I’ve been on this adventure for roughly a month and a half now. When we first left Idaho, we packed what we could fit in and on top of our car and headed out at 5:00 in the morning. First stop: Colorado Springs, CO! We figured that if we were going to take a road trip we should at least fit one friend in on the way.

A slightly drugged and mostly miffed, roadtrippin’ Lady Bird

I’ve been a member of various online groups and book clubs for the past couple of years and have made some genuine connections with a handful of really wonderful women all across the country. This trip just happened to line up perfectly with being able to meet my friend Laurie. She and her boyfriend hosted us for one amazing night at their super duper cute apartment. We unloaded our cat and headed in for the home-cooked meal and beers awaiting us. It’s not often that you meet someone after only knowing them through technology and they end up exactly as you hoped they would be. When we woke up and walked to Laurie’s favorite local coffee shop the next morning, it felt just like we had been friends for a lifetime and we just picked up chatting where we had left off on our last hypothetical coffee date.


Not my best photo, but totally road lagged(?) and blissed out from meeting this gal

After our whirlwind stay with Laurie and Kevin, we headed back out onto the road, and this time to Kansas City, MO. We arrived late in the evening and just went straight to our hotel, kitty in tow. We had just enough time to relax and watch a little tv before bed. The next morning had only one thing on the agenda before beginning the last leg of our journey. We need COFFEE. Shortly before our trip I had met up with my friend Stacey and she had gifted us with some giftcards to use on our trip. One of them happened to be a Starbucks card so we gladly used that. Unfortunately they hadn’t released their fall drinks yet, so I had to settle for a caramel macchiato instead of my salted caramel white chocolate mocha.

Just 8 short hours later we arrived at our destination, Hopkinsville, KY. Now, this was not our ultimate destination, but rather our temporary homestead while we searched for our own apartment in Nashville. We were welcomed by Connor’s mom and little brother and their dog Kamiah. Inside there were two cats as well, but they didn’t really care all the much about us.

While this ended up being just a short stopover on our way to having our own apartment, it felt so good to unpack our things and start learning how to call a new place ‘home’.

To be continued…

XoXo, Jess

photo via city farmhouse
photo via city farmhouse

P.S. A BIG BIG thanks to my Impractical Dreamers girls for encouraging me to write something today. Thank you ladies!

Where have I been? Pt. 2

11949344_10153095310877337_8293568940984070614_n

Greetings wonderful beings!

Phew! The last week has been craaaazy. But, WE’RE HERE! We made it safely to our temporary destination in Kentucky. Before I catch you up on all the latest happenings on our move I first want to catch you up on the second half of our summer.

In the last post I left off with Connor’s graduation. Around the same time we were moving out of our very first apartment. Now I’ll catch you up from that point:

June: 

Celebrated my first wedding anniversary! And we had our very first fancy weekend getaway/staycation. I watched a lot of “The Bachelor” with my friend Christina, listened to live music in Downtown Boise with Payton and Isaac, and CELEBRATED MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN IDAHO.

My love and Me

The Riverside Inn

Fun couples date with Payton and Isaac

July:

We went to a lot of parties and visited with a lot of people this month. I spent lots of quality time with my “Birdies” from work. Connor and I spent Fourth of July with my best friend Chelsea and her husband, and then finished the evening with my other best friend Karlee who happened to be in town. My family from Oregon visited. We went to baseball games. I reconnected with an old friend whom I hadn’t seen in about 14 years, SAW THE DECEMBERISTS IN CONCERT, and I tuned in for the season finale of Kaitlyn’s season of “The Bachelorette.”

Birdies from Dutch Bros on Kelly’s birthday

A best friend kind of Fourth

Visit from Karlee

Getting our cider on at the Hawks Baseball game

Me with one of my oldest friends, Olivia! All the way from Alaska

August:

This was a month of tying up loose ends, visiting with loved ones, and having as much fun as we possibly could before we left. We spent a lot of time at this amazing bar called Press & Pony, saw more baseball games, at lots of chicken wings, drank lots of beer with friends, and had a mini road trip to see our family and friends on the west coast before we headed east. I religiously watched Bachelor in Paradise with my girl Christina. This was also the month of our goodbyes. This was our month of ‘lasts’, ‘firsts’, ‘gotta do before we can’t’s’.

Boise Hawks!

Beer flight at Crooked Fence Brewery

Us with Madi at Bandon Beach

Sunday tradition with Christina

First time at Barbacoa with the best couple ever

Last coffee at Banducci’s with Karlee

First college roommates, last dinner together

These were some bittersweet memories we built but I wouldn’t trade them for anything. The only part I would change would be how desperately tired I was toward the end. Connor and I were working every day and any time not spent working was dedicated to getting last minute things done before the move and visiting with friends.

I know this only scratches the surface of our last days in Idaho but each one of these pictures could have its own post. In future posts I’d love to go into further detail. My heart holds so many words for each and every person in these photos. I hope you’ll each stick around long enough to give me a chance to speak a few to you.

Until next time,

Jess

Where have I been? Pt. 1

11070382_346160485593727_7186173180415647646_n

Well hello, beauties!

I know, I know. It’s been so long. Am I still even blogging? Well, I haven’t been. But I’d like to continue. And I’d love to have you all continue to be patient with me and tune in from time to time.

So I’m sure you’re very curious to know why I’ve been absent so long and why I am choosing now to begin again. Short answer:

I’ve been dealing with a lot of anxiety lately. It started getting worse after I got married and continued into the summer. My typical response to anxiety is to cease all creativity because I get really caught up in perfectionism and obsessing which keeps me from actually putting anything out there. So I’m trying to reframe and create even when it’s hard and NOT being too hard on myself. I really want writing to be something that I carry on with in all stages of mental health.

There you have it.

You may be wondering, where have I BEEN this whole time? What HAVE I been doing? Well I’ll tell you:

February:

I quit one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had, which is saying something because I’ve had some really terrible jobs. I visited one of my best friends in Oregon & came back and at the most amazing job I’ve ever had.

Madi & Me before seeing “The Imitation Game”

March: 

I celebrated my 24th birthday and had one of the best parties with my very best friends surrounding me. I also bonded deeply with the rest of my coworkers at my first staff meeting and really felt like I belonged. I coordinated all the wedding day details for my former college professor and finished the month off volunteering at Boise’s annual Treefort Music Festival.

Me, Chelsea, Karlee on my favorite birthday so far

The best work family ever – Dutch Bros stand night
Genders – the cutest PDX band @ The Neurolux, Treefort 2015

April: 

I took my husband to Jack White’s secret $3 concert at the Egyptian Theater. We had two of only 750 tickets sold in a matter of only an hour or so. Lifetime dream of Connor’s come true.

My lucky wristband!

Our ecstatic faces before seeing Jack White LIVE in concert.

May:

This was mostly a big month for Connor. We celebrated his college graduation AND his 21st birthday. We also made the big decision to move to Nashville, TN. More information about that coming up in my next post! Just days after Connor received his diploma, we moved out of our very first apartment. It was a bittersweet month.

Lady Bird helping us pack

My cutie husband picking out his first cocktail

I could write a whole post on each of these memories, but since I obviously didn’t utilize this space during that time, I’ll skip on that for now. Just know that my heart is in each and every one of these snippets. So much has happened and I am deeply and forever changed. Even MORE happened during the summer. I can’t wait to tell you all!

Love,
Jess