2015: Year of the Chill Pill

In the spirit and time of the new year, new beginnings, and an increase in sales of self-help books, I thought I might talk about something here (No way! You’re going to talk about something?! On a blog? Ohhmahhgersh).

When things are just a part of who you are, you don’t give much thought to them. So when people used to say things to me, like “you’re so chill!” and “why aren’t you stressed out about this?” I make one of those “uh wut” faces and kinda look at them like “uh sorry wat you let things get to you?”. Maybe it’s because I’m blowing in the wind just trying to by or listen to a little too much reggae, but I try to fill my life with little bursts of happiness and to take away from the negativity, and maybe, you or someone you know who is suffering from stress, maybe these tips can help you beautify your 2015 and your soul! (Guys you can totally believe me, since blogging about stress requires all of the 0 credentials I have!)

  • Well the primary reason why I’m so chillaxed would be that it’s in my nature and I can’t really help that. 
  • The next would be that I try to surround my self with things and people that make me happy. Don’t think about trendy clothes, stupid diets dictating your dinner plate or funky iPhone apps. Those things come and go so much it’s hard for anyone to keep track. Just do what you want to do, eat and wear what you want to. It’s your life. Let go of grudges and past mistakes, holding onto them won’t make you a better person.  Less negativity around your life, less negativity in it.

    Someone needs to tell Josh that if he wants sweet tea, he can add a sugar cube himself to fix this whole problem and move on.

  • Focus on being mindful. So maybe yoga isn’t for everyone (Whaat?!), but do something else, like mediate, lie on your bed and wander your mind staring at the ceiling, light a candle and wonder where the wax goes. I used to always rag on my father for “meditating” when I was little, accusing him of napping instead, but now that I take time to focus on my body’s beingness, it brings to attention that your mind and body are different entities that work together and for each other. It’s kinda groovy when you’re doing cat-cowl poses and you can really feel the spaces between your vertebrae.
  • Be confident in yourself and your abilities! The weeks leading up to finals week were full of papers, exams, late nights, full days in the library, and some thoughts of “how will I ever get any of this done”. That’s when I would close my eyes for a moment, ask a nice stranger to watch my laptop and get a Chai while walking around I would tell myself, “You’re Claire. You can do anything. You’ve written a seven page paper before, you can do it now. You’re going to survive because you’re one spectacular human being who will end up being a fantastic teacher. Ooh plus there’s a really cute guy in line who keeps looking at your awesome beanie.”cutesmile
  • I’d then proceed to turn up Led Zeppelin and prance back up to my station in the library, moving along to “Kashmir”. While the other kids give me looks like “sorry is that little white trying to dance and drink her coffee in the middle of this elevator?”, I’d get into my happy place/mindfulness/completely ignore other people state of mind and go back to crank out some kinda paper, as I kept telling myself confident things.

    Dancin’ and singing’, and movin’ to the grooving’ Writin’ this paper, cause I am pretty awesome

  • There was one day all of the stress was really getting to me. School, life, work, etc I couldn’t really handle it. I hopped in my car and blasted some Dirty Heads and I screamed along with them, getting my emotions out, and just enjoying some reggae (May I add that reggae is really good music to soothe your soul in stress, like when Bob Marley said “Don’t worry about thing, ’cause everything is going to be alright“).
  • Understand your humaness–> you have your abilities and your limits, and can only do but so much. By the end of finals week, the day of two exams- the ones I was more apprehensive about, I was very zen. I had studied for a while, at that point knew sleepless nights and cram studying wasn’t going to help anything, and was about ready to accept anything (aka be done with finals week). I didn’t rush to get the exams over with, took almost all the time allotted, and didn’t get any hand cramps, either. And I ended up doing well, because I knew I could. 
  • It’s also important to understand that being stressed doesn’t do a bit of good for you or anyone else. It’s not eating chocolate, which you can justify it with antioxidants and feeling good capabilities, stressing yourself out only gives you headaches, a high blood pressure, and sometimes you can even get sick, so in 2015, for at least the sake of our health, can we give up being stressed?
  • Channel your Cesar the Dog Whisper and “live in the now”. Past is over, the future hasn’t happened yet (so no use in stressing over it), so take it as it comes. You’re not gonna get anywhere in life if you’re busy worrying about the past or future. It’s all about what’s going on now. It’s like your living life Realpolitik style, basing off the current situation. (It seemed to work out for Nixon/Kissinger and Otto von Bismark, and they were some pretty influential people. Also I don’t suggest using political ideologies in every day life most the time). 
  • The final point I want to make is the one I want to stress the most: Be a positive person. It’s going to make your outlook on life well, like a ~2 blessed 2 b stressed~ person, except one who lives like that and not the one who posts those things on the instagram. You could say, “Well, my dad died so that sucks out all the fun, I have to commute to college and not live with my friends, plus my cat thinks he owns me so I’m going to sit in the corner and cry a lot” or you could say, “My cat might have a Napoleon complex but he’s a pretty smart and agile thing for 13; maybe I don’t get the full college experience living with the fam, but I’m going to be one of the lucky few who end up with a degree; and I have the greatest guardian angel who watches over me.” Look at things on the bright side. Things could be worse, you could have the ebola.

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Happy Birthday, Daddy

As much as I love the month of May, it’s really a struggle to get through. Along with exams and other end of the school year plans, May also brings my father’s birthday and death date, ten days apart.

But I believe in celebrating life, and the precious, glorious time I had with Daddy, never mourning him. That’s why I am choosing to write about him on his birthday, not on the fifth anniversary of his death.

Daddio was the oldest of five boys, a regular Richmond hippie growing up in the sixties. He was a theater boy at Benedictine, kicked out by headmaster Father Adrian Continue reading

Another Angel

It’s funny how things happen. Friday morning I was supposed to get breakfast with Alison but my car wasn’t working, so I stayed home until my mom could take me to class. And since I was home, I was able to answer the phone when my uncle Tim called in the morning. I was nervous when I saw his name on the caller ID, he was with my grandfather, who was at the hospital and not doing well. “Claire, I’m going to put you on speaker, is there anything you’d like to say to your grandpa?” My mind swarmed, I had no idea what to do, so I said the first thing that I could grab, “Grandpa? It’s me, Claire. I love you!”

My mom called me after class to let me know that Grandpa passed away that morning. Continue reading

Little Angels

Jack Johnson was serenading me in the car this morning, but instead of telling me about how he was going to make me banana pancakes, he asked, “Where did all the good people go?” Jack, I found them. They’re in VCU.

Let’s first go back to Monday. I had just left my advising appointment in Hibbs, which lead me to the compass, where a group of people stood around, holding signs that read “Love 21”, holding baskets of candy and one guy played the guitar. Omg my kinda people: they’re giving away candy. So I did that slow walk where you want them to come up to you, and one of the girls grabs me, “Hey do you have a minute?” Well of course, I always have time for people who want to give me free food! I’m in college, right?

Twenty minutes later, this girl, Megan, is still going on to me about how radical Jesus’ love is and she’s jumping up and down in excitement about how we can have that love- and love 21 people in 21 days with little sweet surprises. While she talks about how she wants to go to a nunnery for a year to be like St. Clare of the Sacred Heart, I hold back my Catholic nerd that’s dying to correct her- St. Clare of Assisi, Cathedral of the Sacred Heart- I’m also trying to think of a way to end this conversation because I only wanted that piece of candy. “Claire, can I pray for you?” Well I don’t really think there’s any way for me to say no.

“Dear Jesus, please watch over Claire and help her share your radical love with everyone she meets. She has a beautiful heart, she truely cares about people. Help her with her academic plan here at VCU and with her artistic abilities” Hold the phone Megan. How did you know I’m an artist? She continues praying, and I notice something about her. Megan doesn’t even go to VCU, and she’s standing around in the cold, praying for people she doesn’t know, and giving them food. Yeah, I was questioning her sanity for a couple minutes, but she’s here because she just wants to spread love to people. A world of peace and happiness. And guys playing the guitar with candy. Megan and I dig the same hippie world. Spread the sugar, spread the love.

Then today. I was too busy thinking about how splendid it must be to be married to Jack Johnson during my morning commute that I didn’t even notice that my car was having a hot flash. I was five minutes from campus, just passed through Carytown and across the Boulevard, so I turned to the first stop that I found- a slightly sketchy convenient store. Steam was coming out, I was flipping out, so I ran into the store “MY CAR IS OVERHEATING”. The male customer looked out the window, “Your radiator is leaking” and he and the cashier ran out with me. They looked at my car, and the cashier called the mechanic who works behind the convenient store a few times; I called Momma Bear a few times until she answered, we talked, she talked to the cashier, and we deemed it best that I leave the car with him, the mechanic would be showing up soon. It was past nine o’clock, that Italian quiz wasn’t going to be happening anymore. I walked inside the store, the cashier let me take a free drink, and the guy filling the Doritos said he would be heading up to VCU and offered to give me a ride there anyway. I accepted, it was sure a lot better than walking those few blocks up.

I got to school a-okay. The cashier called us later and said the mechanic would finish it by two, and I made arrangements with my so sweet friend Brad to drive me to get my car later, until Mother had my car towed to our regular garage, who finished it by the time she picked me up and took me to get it around 5:00.

So Jack, I found the good people. They’re more of the angels that bless me everyday, and they’re in VCU. Megan is a little angel for just trying to spread the good love everyone is entitled to and deserves, not this hate in the world. The little cashier is another angel for working so hard to try to get my car fixed and the Doritos guy deserves a little halo for letting me hitch a ride (even though that was a little sketch). Grazie to angelic Brad for being so nice to offer to drive me, and to my momma for paying for the bills and coming to pick me up. And an amazing shootout to Forest Hill Garage t fixing my car in no time! I really appreciate all the love I received from all of you. It means a lot to have strangers and good friends offer you warm words and help when you need it or don’t. I don’t really deserve this good karma. How can I ever repay you in anyway?

You gotta be careful when you got good love

‘Cause them angels will just keep on multiplying

-Jack Johnson, “Angel”