Sunday, June 30

A few weeks ago I read an amazing book by Ellen Hopkins, a long time favorite author, called Impulse. You can read the review I wrote for that book here. (Also... take a peek at the comment section. Yeah. THE AUTHOR COMMENTED WHAT IS MY LIFE!?)

This book is about three teenagers who end up in a medical rehabilitation center after each trying to end their lives. All three characters struck me deep in my heart. They were so hurt and they all felt so alone. I loved each of them but today I was reminded of Vanessa.

In the book Vanessa tries to slit her wrists. Luckily her brother finds her and she is rushed to the hospital just in time. She's been a cutter for some time and it is hard for her to shake that impulse to feel the blade ease her skin apart even in the rehab center. She even goes to such extremes as to hide a paper clip in her room to prick herself with if she needs. It made me so sad that she felt so alone and that there was no other option than to let her troubles bleed through her skin.

One of my favorite parts of working in the cafe at Barnes and Noble is the opportunity to develop relationships with some of the regular customers. They are so nice and they remember me from when I was 16 and working there. They get the same drinks every week, they are so sweet and polite, and they also tip pretty well usually.

There has been one couple that has been every Sunday for the past few months. The boy is a huge teddy bear with a kind scruffy face and big open arms and an even bigger smile. His girlfriend is gorgeous. She looks like a gothic snow white. Her face is a cameo pin framed by her onyx hair and apple red lips. Her skin is perfect like porcelain and her style is flawless. She always rocks a stunning black sun dress, a different dress each week - each one better than the last. She wears shoes Lady Gaga would be jealous of- high black boots with studded heels and killer height. She has the deathly hallows tattoo on her arm and wears Bellatrix Lestrange's animal skull pendant around her neck. She's amazing. I wish she was my friend. She also has amazing taste in books. She's always reading a superb novel each Sunday, different each week as well.

Image via Flickr
They are an odd pair, the two of them. But you can see how much love constantly passes between them. He's her protector and she keeps his life vibrant and forever changing. I love them. Guys. I want to date this couple. They seem so happy every time they come in. They chat with us and always leave a clean table.

Then a few weeks ago, Snow White wasn't wearing her jacket. The white skin across her arms was covered in red exclamation points and angry red raised mountains. They cascaded across her forearms and up to the top of her cap sleeves. I was amazed she would even let them show since there were so many. I was shocked someone as kind has her was hiding a secret like this. Many of them had faded a bit but the cuts were deep; these scars would last her a lifetime.

I hid that I was looking at her arms and made them their drinks and took them out to the two of them as they sat holding hands and reading. She looked up at me and smiled a closed mouth, but no less warm and open smile. "Thank you so much," she whispered. I smiled back and left them to their Sunday date at the bookstore.

It broke my heart that a girl that sweet and lovely was ever in a place in her life that she felt so alone and so in pain. It's clear from the scars that she's lived with pain for quite some time and is just now getting better. I am so sad that she ever felt the need to call on a blade to be her only sense of relief and comfort. She's such a beautiful woman, just like Vanessa in the book. No one deserves to feel that amount of pain alone. No one deserves to feel alone period. 

Image via Tumblr
Even through how sad I felt for her past, I smiled for her future. The fact that she isn't hiding her arms means she is a fighter. She is healing. She knows she is loved and she loves deeply. You can see it in her eyes. She has seen Hell and she has returned from that visit a stronger person. She's a warrior and a saint. It made me love her big scruffy boyfriend even more. He cares so much for her. I can't help but imagine him holding her when the nights get long and hard and the metal starts humming in her heart again. He will cradle her and absorb her tears and she will do the same for him. Love is so beautiful and so cathardic. I'm so glad they have each other.

Image via Tumblr
It still breaks my heart to know that not all of the people who struggle like Snow White are able to heal the way she has. I hate that there are still people who feel like they have to face this life alone with nothing but a razor at their side. I am so sorry if anyone reading this feels this way. There are people in your life who love you and even when life seems unbearably hard, the sun will rise in the morning. The long nights will pass, even if it takes years. The bully's will leave and you will be left standing strong.

Please reach out if you ever feel alone. There are people who will listen, I promise you. Never feel so alone that you feel like you can't come back from it. Fight that impulse to punish yourself and instead use your arms to embrace each other, not to harm yourself.

Stay lovely, everyone. You are loved. You are all loved. 

Image via Tumblr

a reminder

A Bazooka in my Chest

Friday, June 28

So. I have finally torn my eyes away from Grey's Anatomy long enough to post something that's been pulling on my brain for weeks. More like... with help from Grey's Anatomy I finally have a metaphor that suits what I've been feeling for weeks.

Remember that episode of Grey's where the paramedic has her hand in a guys chest and then they find out that there is live ammunition just waiting to explode inside of him? Then Meredith goes and is the best human alive ever by placing her hand inside his chest when the paramedic freaks out. (Real quick... remember when that paramedic was Christina Ricci? What even...?) This episode had me crying like a child. Granted, I have cried about 95% of the time while watching Grey's. I can't with this show. I can't with life. It's all too much.

Image Via
I'm moving to Salt Lake in one month. One month. Not only that but in one month, I'm starting a new job, leaving an old job, leaving home, leaving my dogs, leaving school. All of this is awesome. All of it is exciting and I'm thrilled about it. I've been aching to move into Salt Lake since I came home from Cedar City a year ago. So why all this anxiety?

It's like high school graduation. You spend three years knowing it's coming and even in the last month of your senior year, it doesn't feel real. Then the next thing you know, you're standing in front of your mirror in your cap and gown.

That's what all this feels like. I've known it was coming and I've fought so hard for it to come. But now it's here and I'm so scared. I'm scared of leaving familiarity and jumping into a new world. More than living in the city, I'm afraid of starting a new job. I've trained for dental assisting for a year now and I'm good. I'm really good but I'm still learning. I now get to jump into an internship and continue to learn and then I'm working. I know they don't expect me to be perfect but what if I don't live up to the expectations? What if I'm not ready or capable?

And I have to relearn to live on my own again. I lived in Cedar by myself for two years and loved it. I loved the independence and the freedom to be an adult. But I've gotten used to coming home to the house I grew up in. I've gotten used to my old bedroom. I love the way it smells and I love my dogs being here with me. Now I get to live in a new house with new people in a city I've never lived in. I love Salt Lake and I've experience it a bit, but living there will be different.

I'm scared of not making friends in Salt Lake. I have some friends there but what if I'm not a city person? What if Salt Lake hates me and the people there don't like me? I'm afraid of being alone and unliked.

I've never been one to be afraid of change. I embrace change and I smile and work through it. So why am I so afraid this time? I'm just so tired. It's anew kind of adult tired. Stress tired. I am constantly in school and working and when I have any free time I just want to lay in bed and cherish my last days in that room. And rest my body in hopes that my mind will let itself rest. But it won't. It's on a constant loop of worries and things I have to get done before I move.

I just want to be ready. I want to move slowly and steady enough to embrace this new chapter while not missing anything of my old chapter. I want to slowly remove the bazooka in my chest cavity before the worry eats me up. Any advice as to how I can do this, let a girl know. I'm sick of feeling like I'm in limbo. I don't want the anxiety to overshadow the excitement and possibility anymore.

This was super rambly but I think my brain needed to purge. YAY PURGE BRAIN.

Also.. If you don't already. Watch Grey's Anatomy. It will change your world. K. Bye.

Image via Tumblr

Hump Day Jams

Wednesday, June 26

Well, today was amazing and I think we all know why.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY!!!!! We are moving forward people, one small step at a time. I'm so thrilled for those who are now granted equal rights. Some of my closest friends are gay and I am so happy for them on this day.

So here is today's song, from the mother of equality herself. Enjoy this wonderful day, my friends.

Image via CNN

ALSO watch this video some awesome people made. It's the best. Equal rights for all.

I can't get over how funny that video is. Enjoy :)

Thanks Sam

Tuesday, June 25

Frodo: I can't do this, Sam.

Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By right we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.

Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam? 

Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for. 

Thank you, Sam. Your words are always the greatest comfort. 

Image via Tumblr

Utah Arts Festival

Saturday, June 22

I had the pleasure this weekend of going to two days of the Utah Arts Festival down in Salt Lake at Library Square. Never have I had so much fun and been surrounded by so many amazing works of art by some of the most creative and talented people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. We were surrounded by sun and soul in the heart of the city and honestly it was the best day ever.

On Thursday night I went with a blogger friend of mine, the lovely dovely Shelby, and my best girl Niki to see a local band play. They are called Holy Water Buffalo and they were awesome! It's been a hot second since my last concert and I had forgotten how much I love live music. It seems like I always do that though. I forget how amazing it feels to have the loud beats jump starting your heart and the vitality of the crowd infusing with the air and making the night glow electric.

The band is local, a few boys from Heber and they were a delight and they all had the most glorious hair I've ever seen. Straight up. Check out that cutie on the keyboard. He was our favorite to watch because with every note he struck on those keys, his lion's mane struck back. They were all so passionate and I felt honored to be able to watch these boys do the thing they love the most. They were having so much fun and their passion was palpable. They had no inhibitions, only heart and zest. It was awesome. (ALSO... saw a blast from my past and it blew my mind, but that's a private story. HI SHELBY HI)

I just never want this festival to end. I don't want summer to end. I want more summer nights filled with music and friends.

On Friday my beautiful friends Kat and Dixie invited me to go back to the festival again and explore the booths for the day. And when I say for the day, I mean for the day. We got to the festival at 3 and didn't leave until about 9 and we spent the entire time in and out of booths, fawning over the artwork and the artists. We made an effort to go inside every booth and tried to cover as much of the festival as we could. I think we missed maybe two corners but we did see a great deal of vendors. 

We stopped and looked at each individual booth, never skipping one. The variety between the art and the crafts was so inspiring. There was amazing paintings, crazy metal sculptures, hand crafted jewelry made from old car parts and fire extinguishers, breathtaking photographs, dancers flying across the glass surface of the library, and everything in between. I could have spent many more hours winding through the labyrinth of artists and getting lost inside paintings. 

I walked away from the festival with two paintings and a beautiful ring. These pieces touched my soul and I couldn't leave the festival without them. They are gorgeous and captivating and perfect.

Buy her things here. They are amazing!
How could I pass by that ring without slipping it on and falling in love? It felt like Cinderella slipping on the perfectly fitting glass slipper. It's sensational. 

The first painting I bought was one of the first I saw as we started our tour. Part one. The artist was incredibly charming and handsome. If I wasn't a huge wimp, I would have asked him for his number but then I got distracted from flirting with my eyes and occasional hip sways because this painting caught my eye. 

Visit his website here. This handsome guy is incredible.
Also I wouldn't kick him out of bed for eating crackers. Hi Derek :)
The colors were like a dream and it was both ominous and exciting. It's a sugar coated nighttime. It reminded me so much of the beautiful plantation house in one of my absolute favorite movies, Interview with the Vampire. Ever since I saw that movie years ago I've wanted a huge New Orleans plantation house. I walked over to the artist and asked if he could hold the piece for me so I could come buy it after I walked the rest of the festival. He slipped it between some other prints and told me it was based on the Oak Alley Plantation used in Interview with the Vampire. It was the house I thought it was; the house of my dreams. I thanked him for holding the piece for me and continued on way. Even through the rest of the show, that painting kept popping up in my mind. It wasn't long before I just had to go back and buy it and carry it with me, just so I could look at it while I walked. It's amazing. 

But the booth that won me over was called Curtner Art. My favorite type of art is anything with words as the focal point. I'm a writer. Words are my lifeblood. To me, text and typography are the most beautiful things I could imagine. I love pictures with words hidden inside of them, mixed media with words tattooed across their surfaces. I turned the corner, walked into this booth, and tears filled my eyes. They slipped down my cheeks as I was overtaken by his pieces. Pictures filled with words stitched haphazardly across the canvas. Words holding the painting together like glue. It was like this artist knew my heart and knew what I needed to see. I was set on a print of a couple lying across the grass with books scattered around them until I saw this piece. The tears started flowing fresh when this caught my eye. 

See more of my favorite art EVER here.
It's me. It's me writing. She has my hair, my black desk, my necklace. She has my drive and my constancy. And those words. There are phrases hidden all across this piece. "show you" "Has a story to tell" "Makes ou feel" "all had to fit like a jigsaw puzzle" "The picture is only half the story" "Original art from the pages" I just keep finding more and more. I froze staring at this piece, tears welling in my eyes. I just stared at it, dumfounded. Nothing has ever stolen my heart like this piece. I was nervous about spending money on it when suddenly Kat turned to me and simply said "Emma you can't leave this here. It's you. Consider this a late birthday present. You need this piece."

More tears came and I can't thank her enough for this amazing gift. It will get a place of pride in any home I ever live in. 

I wish I had all the money in the world and could have bought something from every booth we visited, but sadly college is a thing. And gas is a thing. And I'm not Jay Gatsby. There is always next year and until then I can frequent the websites of my favorite artists and obsess over my favorite pieces. Here are a few:

This is made from tiny pieces of soda cans cut into circles.
They all hang separately like a cool disco ball of awesome art.
Find the artist here.

Blown glass ya'll. So cool.
Find the artist here.

Look at her eyes. This is charcoal on wood. UGH I WANT.
Find the artist here.

This is called "Nothing Darker than Light"
This artist was so amazing. She's like Dali.
Find the artist here.
American Flag made in a suitcase with shirts, ties, jeans, and change. WHAT.
Find the artist here.

A typewriter made of recyclable materials.
This is the same artist as the suitcase.
Very talented and very kind.
I just. I can't with this one.
Please visit the websites of the artists I featured here and if you can get down to the art show DO IT. It's an incredible event and not one of my words or pictures can do it justice. 

Thank you artists for sharing your gifts with me. You are lovely.

Hump Day Jams

Wednesday, June 19

What a wonderful week. It's a week like this that's full of little reminders of happy times of the past, present, and future that makes me love being alive. I've been reliving an old music obsession lately and this song has been slowly working its way up my iTunes top plays. I have loved Lily Allen since my 7th grade year. She's the cutest. Someone get her to make another CD. Two is not enough. Anywho, this song is lovely. So are you. :)


pretty little things

Tuesday, June 18

-sitting awake in a dark room, writing. The entire world is asleep but me. Late night musings:

-old hollywood
-lily allen
-sunlight filtering through old fashioned perfume bottles.
-cracking open a new notebook
-shadows on bare human skin

-perfectly lined eyes
-twisted sheets on a shared bed

-warm summer driveways
-marie antoinette

-flowing human limbs

Not Enough Sky

Saturday, June 15

"You can never have too much sky. You can fall asleep and wake up drunk on sky, and sky can keep you safe when you are sad. Here there is too much sadness and not enough sky. Butterflies too are few and so are flowers and most things that are beautiful. Still, we take what we can get and make the best of it."
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Yesterday I went to one of my favorite places, The City of Rocks National Reserve up in Southern Idaho. My best friend and I filled up my tank, and filled up the car with road trip junk food, and headed north toward the most incredible place. You drive for hours on open road with nothing but hills around you. Suddenly you turn the corner and find yourself in the middle of a massive valley littered with rocks and boulders the size of buildings. It's a literal city of rocks in the middle of the landscape. It's breathtaking and you feel like you are on top of the world. 

It's amazing how refreshed and revitalized you can feel when you are in the middle of all of nature's beauty, unencumbered by cell phones and networks. In her most recent letter to me from the field, my best friend Shelby talked to me a bit about that. She is in the MTC with nothing to do but study, no distractions. 

"Sometimes we study 14 hours a day. No, this is rea. And the thing is, it just amazes me that the human brain can DO that. We constantly clog our creativity with social media, smart phones, social norms. We've taught ourselves that NO ONE can POSSIBLY focus for a whole day. And that's just a discredit to the majesty of human possibility."

She hit the nail on the head beautifully. I feel like it is impossible to focus on anything for more than about an hour before the nagging urge to check Facebook sneaks back into my system. Nothing happens on Facebook in that hour, I just NEED to check it. 

But I don't though. It's more important to check back in with yourself more frequently than to check back in to social media. That's what this trip was about for Niki and me. We're busy this summer. I have school and work and an upcoming move to Salt Lake City. Niki works her little butt off and is so amazing and beautiful. 

But what keeps us busier than our real obligations is our busy minds, always working, always over thinking, always on loud. Even on the days we have off from work and school, we keep our phones by our sides hoping that that one special person will text us and make our day. We sit in or rooms dreaming of our future happiness, or past happiness, and stressing about all of the things we should be doing. We never stop.

Yesterday we stopped. We listened to to the world and we listened to each other. We heard our feet synch up with the rhythm of the planet we call home and we listened to the wind humming in our ears as it pushed the hair from our eyes, clearing our views for a brief afternoon. 

We talked about our hopes and dreams, our worries and regrets. The loves we haven't gotten over, the loves we never will get over. The sky seemed to suck away our sadness and as we sat on top of the world, overlooking the city of rocks beneath our feet, I felt refreshed. Sad to come back to society, but happy to have reestablished my connection with the world. I felt centered and at peace. 

There is not enough sky in our lives. Not enough natural beauty. We should all get better at checking in with nature instead of Facebook, listening to birds tweet instead of sending our own. I do love the connection social media provides but there is a deeper, more ancient connection sitting just outside of our doors. Spread your roots outside and connect yourself to the sky. 

You can truly never have too much sky or too much love. Go outside and let the sun wipe the tears from your cheeks. Go outside and let the grass hold you when no one else is there. Let the wind rock you to sleep. Go to The City of Rocks and throw your problems over the edge of the world and don't look back down. 

Stay lovely.


Thursday, June 13

-being barely awake at 5:30. roll over darling, you still have hours to sleep.
-sweet little puppy faces cuddling with you in the early morning light streaking into your bedroom.
-sunlit sky so bright so early and so late.  endless possibilities on those horizons.
-dew coated grass kissing your bare feet in the early morning.

-solitude and silence with the rest of the world still in its mid morning slumber.
-cold cokes in the sun soaked afternoon.
-hazy violet, velvet evening skies.
-the pavement sweating as your shoes slip off. you step onto the hot ground, cold winter feet thawing.

-secret smiles flitting across your face, memories of summers past.
-soft winds singing from their perches in the leaves.
-driving free and clear on the open road, middle of the night, no one's watching. no one's hearing. 
-disappear into the light. breathe summer in.

*all images via Tumblr

Hump Day Jams

Wednesday, June 12

Summer is such a refreshing season. Even if you are incredibly busy like I am this summer, the sun and the stars of summer skies call for slowing down and relaxing. Life begins again with the summer (Thanks Nick Carraway... I'm gonna throw my cares away this summer too. Hopefully I'll find my Gatsby.)

Great things are going to happen this summer. I cannot wait to see what they are.

For some reason this has been the only song I have craved all week. It's called A Lack of Color by Death Cab for Cutie. This is such a gorgeous song on what I'd argue is one of the best albums of all time. To me it sounds like summer nights spent laying out and relaxing on my driveway staring at the stars, dreaming for the future. Enjoy :)

I liked this cute little video. :)

And when I see you
I really see you upside down.
But my brain knows better
It picks you up and turns you around
Turns you around, turns you around.

If you feel discouraged
That there's a lack of color here.
Please don't worry, lover
It's really bursting at the seams,
from absorbing everything,
The spectrum's A to Z.

This is fact not fiction,
for the first time in years.
All the girls in every girly magazine
Can't make me feel
any less alone.

I'm reaching for the phone
To call at 7:03 and on your machine
I slur a plea for you to come home.

But I know it's too late,
I should have given you a reason to stay,
Given you a reason to stay,
given you a reason to stay,
given you a reason to stay.

This is fact not fiction,
for the first time in years.

Image via Flickr


"I love you as certain dark things are loved, secretly, between the shadow and the soul."

Good Old Days

Sunday, June 9

"I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them."

Remember when that line was on the finale of The Office? Huge nope nope nope to the heart.

It's so interesting to listen to people in different stages of their lives talk about the good old days. In High School when I cried about a boy my mom would tell me that in college or in five years from now I wouldn't even think about these little problems. JOKES ON YOU I still think about all of it. All. Of. It.

Then in my first two years of college a lot of huge events came up that seemed like the end of the world. And guess what? I got over it. I don't remember the process of getting over certain events. I remember feeling horribly low and then suddenly being ok. The healing process was natural and now everything is just a dull memory that only surfaces sometimes.

I've always found it funny when people talk about "the good old days." Some people consider that to be high school. Some people consider that to be college. Everyone gets the college speech when they leave for their first year. "These are going to be the best years of your life blah blah lifelong friends blah blah experiences blah." What's interesting is that everyone I'm close with had a HORRIBLE first few years of college, myself included. I think part of that is because the experiences we had in High School were so powerfully amazing. We got lucky there, guys. Advanced theater for life.

But what really are the good old days?

One of my best friends moved to Arizona for college. She was home for Christmas and summer and I even got to visit her a few months back. But now her parents have moved to Arizona and we don't know when we will see each other again. The friendship is strong but sadly so is distance.

Last night was the last night the four of us friends were able to have together. As we climbed into my car from Mary's house it felt just like senior year. Only that was four years ago. FOUR YEARS AGO. What have I done with my life in four years? A lot, I know. But I feel the same. I feel different too. Growing up is weird.

Looking supreme at all ages. Niki made this swell collage.

At dinner we reminisced about the first times we all met, awkward school dances, first loves, first heartbreaks, starting college together but apart, and the eventual future unfurling before us. I love reminiscing but it always leaves a little lump at the back of my throat. I'm sad to grow up. I'm sad to move on. I'm sad to make new friends. The thought of not having some of these people that are in my life right now in my life in five years kills me.

But even through the fear and the anticipation there is so much excitement in my soul for the future. I'm moving to Salt Lake so so soon if all goes to plan. I'll be done with dental assisting school in about a month and a half! I get to start my English degree in about 6 months! I get to live on my own again! I get to meet new people and chance new dreams.

I do wish I knew when the good old days were so that I could pay more attention to them while I am in them. I should have cherished so many more of the times I had in the past but that's a little moot now. I have the opportunity now to cherish all of the moments ahead of me.

You really just have to remind yourself that even in the days that feel wasted or the times that feel as though nothing big is happening in your life there are little moments to cherish and remember. Little insignificant things are honestly the sweetest memories I hold in my heart. Graduating high school was amazing but watching the sun rise with my best friends the morning after is much more important. Being able to play Regan in King Lear was amazing but waking up every morning with my dog lying next to me is even more vivid. These small things are the most amazing gifts to cherish.

There is no such thing as the good old days, unless you let there be such a thing as that. Every day is a golden afternoon that should be cherished. You should love each chapter of your life just as much as the last. Sure they are all different; some are harder than others and some are more eventful but without that chapter, the book would be incomplete.

Don't let your days become the good old days without you being aware of it. Be ever present in your life and love every great and terrible, beautiful, moment in it.

John Green, continually nailing it.

Hump Day Jams

Wednesday, June 5

It's finally starting to feel like summer. It's so gorgeous outside with the clear blue sky and green trees dancing together. I'm so close to being done with school and I get to do my favorite thing and read outside!

Yesterday my best friend Niki and I took my dogs for a walk and ate the world's biggest corn dogs covered in honey and ketchup. (But really... don't knock this til you try it.) We had snow cones and made cookies and talked and laughed. Twas the world's best day.

Here's looking at you, summer. With a movie I watch a lot every summer. You could say I watch it for... 500 days... OK these jokes are getting out of hand and leading nowhere. I love 500 Days of Summer and it has the best soundtrack. I especially love this song. Perfect for some summer driving.