A self-fulfilling prophecy

Working with high school students has many joys and pains, but I would not trade it for anything. Over the last several months I’ve been helping at a high school camp off and on and it has been some of the most fascinating people watching since my last trip through the LAX airport. 

An anecdote, today a group of kids came up to me giggling profusely to ask if I was dating the other staff member. I said ‘no, we are just friends. Why?’. Their classic high school response? “But you and ___ sit together every day and talk a lot quietly.” (yes, because we are talking about you children..) I laughed and moved on, but I forgot how wonderful it is to be young and naive where simply talking to a member of the opposite gender could be date worthy. 

The main observation I made; however, was how wonderful children are at being a self-fulfilling prophecy. I work with bands and anyone in the music world knows that each instrument has its “stereotypes.” My other staff member told one section that the low brass was kicking their butts with technique, the kids answered “yeah, that always happens.” SO FIX IT. I work with flutes a lot and every time I corrected them or they messed up they would double over and giggle about it for five minutes. Girls, it is not cute. Why is it that I correct a female of another section and she says “yes ma’am” and fixes the problem but I tell a flute player and a fit of giggles ensues? Why do clarinets always struggle the most with technique? Where do these ideas come from and how do we let kids realize they can be who THEY are and not just fall into this habit? 

I am completely guilty of this, I laugh mistakes off, flip my hair, and let people call me a ditz because I, in fact, play the flute. Reality? I am quite smart but my mouth gets ahead of my brain and those mistakes I make are not that funny. I have worked consistently over the blast year to be more than my stereotype, (Not “just” a pretty girl in heels) but it can be challenging because we are consistently told this is how ____ players act. 

So I challenge you, next time you see a child misbehave and you think “they are only 2” or “well it is a freshmen boy”, hold that child to a higher standard. Kids are remarkable beings capable of so much if we just believe in them. Stop boxing our children in and making a world of clones because those children turn into people like me; people who need a break from life because they are so burned out trying to be an expectation.

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Not “just” a pretty girl in heels

When I came up with the idea for this blog, it had nothing to do with my plans to leave the country or leave my “perfect” life. In fact, I had no idea yet that I was going to leave! My original idea for this blog was to challenge how we portray ourselves and judge others. 

I wanted to tackle this issue because of a comment Mr. Maryland made. In an effort to find out more about him I was asking him about a hobby of his and he says “haha like you would understand if I told you”. Uh not cool dude. So after I told you all these sports I used to do and watch you still think I can’t possibly understand yours? I was fuming. I wanted to say “oh so pretty girls in heels can’t understand skateboarding?” I didn’t say that, but we never really talked again after that conversation.

What that conversation did was push me over the edge with feelings I have had for a long time. 

Why can’t I be genuinely interested in sports, rap, building things, [insert ‘masculine’ task here] just because I typically dress very feminine? Why does the way I dress automatically make me exempt from “non-girly” interests?

What does being a girly girl even mean? Or tomboy? Do you know one single person that is exactly as they appear on the surface? Are YOU? People do not fall in one box or the other. I like to look nice but I also like to be casual and just hang out. That does not make one ‘personality’ or the other fake, it just means I go with what I want to do that day and not what everyone else wants me to do. Yes I show up to finals with my make up and hair done and dressed well because I FEEL better when I’m put together, especially when I’m tired or sick. I enjoy looking nice. My heels ARE comfortable 90% of the time. “Dress comfortably” does not mean the same thing on any given day to me. 

So ladies, stop assuming because I dress well I’m stupid or shallow. Gentlemen stop assuming because I dress nice I’m high maintenance. In return, I’ll not assume your sweatpants make you somehow “less” than me. If everyone just stops trying to project a certain image and starts just being themselves, as backwards and contradictory as that person may be, we will all likely find a lot more happiness in truer friends and more honest relationships. 

If you can’t take the time to figure out that my heels don’t make me whatever screwed up idea of a girly girl you have, then frankly you aren’t worth my time.

The Leap

The last few stories have been my attempt at explaining why I finally put this blog together. I’m tired of being predictable and saying I am strong and independent when I am not, and finally I got the push I needed to take a leap. What’s the leap you ask? 

When I graduate college I am moving to New Zealand for a year. Really, it will happen.

Why New Zealand?

I spent time there as a teenager (a total of 7 weeks over two different summers) and absolutely fell in love with the beautiful country and laid-back atmosphere. Also, compared to other places that offer working holiday programs, New Zealand is most affordable and most likely to survivable as far as temp jobs and living situations.

What am I going to do there?

I have told every person who has asked me in the last few years my dream is to be a ski bum for a bit after school. I am going to go do exactly that. Maybe I’ll be a ski instructor or liftie a bit, maybe I’ll bartend, maybe I’ll be a waitress or find a job/volunteer position teaching music. The main point is, I don’t care. Mostly I want to explore, make some money, meet new people and finally bungie jump and sky dive after logistics prevented it last time.

I plan on either going June 1st right after I graduate or working for a few months and going closer to October. The first plan would get me down there at the start of ski season and the second option would allow me to finish my trip doing what I love most. I need to see how finances shake out, job opportunities and gauge the parental reaction… I’m eager to leave now but that just isn’t an option. Check out the countdown to the right, it counts to June 1st and I’ll update it as I figure out my plans.

So I told you I’m going to do this. I’m torn between telling everyone and telling no one. Why tell everyone? Because then I cannot chicken out. Then there will be a bunch of people eagerly waiting to hear about my plans and what I’m doing. Why tell no one? I have a love for the dramatic and I think posting a picture of my visa and plane ticket would be a great way to announce it. Also, I know there will be people who think I’m making a mistake and I want to have my ducks in a row when I confront them. Most of all though, if I chicken out, I don’t want to be judged. 

For now I will limit it to telling my roommates (had to explain the mild anxiety attack I was having when I figured this out, as well as we are all at a crossroads in our lives so they sympathize), one or two professors for support and affirmation I suppose and then my older brother. My brother lived in Germany for 14 months on study abroad so I want to hear his opinion and ask his advice on breaking the news to mom and dad.

Ah Mom and Dad. Yes I am an adult and can do this without them. I have the money and the intelligence to figure it out. I have traveled extensively internationally with my family, groups and alone so I’m not concerned. The thing is, when I step onto that plane I want to know my family is 100% behind me. What I haven’t decided yet is at what point I will tell them. Do I just wait until I have a general idea of cost and survivability? Do I wait until I have a visa in my hand? Part of me wants to not tell them until it is done and set, while the other side of me thinks it is best not to blind side them. This is what I need my brother for, I hope he has a better idea.

So that is the goal, my leap of faith. Challenging myself and everyone else is what this blog is all about and that will be my biggest challenge. Stay tuned for more and please leave any advice you have!

My date with Mr. Maryland

At a friend’s wedding earlier this summer I met Mr. Maryland. My dad blatantly tried to set me up with him (he worked for a shoe company..how perfect?), but when we finally met I was…less than interested. As the weekend went on he definitely gained my interest (looks like a model didn’t hurt) and when he asked me on a date the day after the wedding I thought “why the hell not?”. 

So me, the girl who ended a 2 1/2 year relationship well over a year ago finally went on a date. I was thinking that since this guy lived 1600 miles away and was leaving the next day, what’s the risk?

The risk? He was amazing. Exactly I had ever looked for and failed to find out here in the wild west. Unfortunately, the next day I had some important meetings I had to look presentable (not sleep deprived) for, so like the good girl that I am, I kissed him good night and dropped him off before midnight. But it wasn’t that simple.

Looks like a model, entirely too sweet (even laughed at my awkward conversation about why we have good corn) and kisses that should not be legal. Every part of me wanted to go with his plan to “cuddle all night and just enjoy the time we had”. Did I? No.

So as I got up early to kiss him goodbye the next morning outside his hotel I kept thinking about how he was leaving, good thing I did not let myself get too attached by bringing him home. (no matter how innocent it would have stayed)

As we talked over the next couple days I was hopeful for just a great friendship. I am not into long distance relationships, especially not with a guy I barely know. Unfortunately after a few days it became evident he was losing interest and not making the transition to “just friends.” After one particularly forced conversation, I never heard from him again.

Yes I’m hurt. No I was not “In love” with some guy I went on one date with but I was hurt that a guy could be so sweet, so sincere and then just move on a week later. I do not understand that. From the confusion though I realized that my biggest regret was not my inability to be more engaging over text (I tried, you have to meet me half way though) but instead that I did not just take one night and be completely out of character. Would the pain now probably be that much worse? Absolutely. But I am so tired of predictability and boring and safe. 

After reflecting on this and moving on I realized that I constantly insist how spontaneous and strong I am, and in reality I stick to my safe routine. So Mr. Maryland I’m sorry you didn’t have the guts to tell me why you did not think I was worthy of even your friendship so suddenly; however, I am not sorry I met you. In fact, thank you for giving me the kick I needed to realize my perfect predictability is my greatest flaw.

Who I am

My last post sort of explained the basis of who I am and why I’m doing this but I want to tell you more about myself.

I want this to remain anonymous. For now, I am chicken. I am not ready to tell others of my plan or share my thoughts and frustrations publicly. This is all about me leaving expectations behind and I know there will be some people disappointed in me along this journey and until I have more plans solidified, I’m not ready to handle those people. For now, call me Rosie. Why Rosie? Because Rosie the Riveter was an icon, a person to look up to, a representation for a future generation. I am not beginning to believe I can compare to that model, but she closely represents what I want to do. No I am not feminist, but I do want to challenge society’s views of how we view each other.

I grew up in a variety of sports from “girly” ballet to more “masculine” sports. I was a musician and a scholar and this eventually lead me to a career in music education. Throughout college I adamantly defended my career to peers and family who thought I was “waisting” my intelligence. (Engineering is boring to me). I love my degree. I do not regret it. I love to teach kids. I want that to be very clear. What I realized was not that I disliked my career, I dislike the path my life is on. If I go straight into teaching I will burn out. If I do not go straight into teaching then it will likely be harder for me to get a job which will only delay getting into my final career (professor perhaps?). Realizing I’m okay with all of that is what this is all about.

I have a love for shoes. I own around 60 pairs but no, I am not a “girly girl”. (What does that even mean?) I love football, basketball, volleyball, skiing/snowboarding, and just about every other sport out there. I love to party on weekends but I never miss a class. I like to dress up and look cute but athletic shorts and a t-shirt suit me fine. I am bored with small town fashion and long for the wardrobe of a San Franciscan. I love adventure even though it scares me. I love hiking but getting to the mountain takes convincing. I strive to make everyone believe I am stronger, faster, prettier, more confidant and smarter than anyone else. Reality? I am none of those things. That would be my constant need for perfection though. 

So how does the “perfect” girl come to accept she is far from that? Well, that is what I am here to discover.

Parting With Perfection

Well hello there. This blog has been in development for awhile after thinking through changes in my life, the frustration of re-entering the dating world, and challenging expectations. I want to say challenging society’s expectations but that sounds so hipster cliche and that is not what this is about.

I am a college senior at a strong state school. I graduated high school with top honors and will graduate in the spring summa cum laude with everything set to have the perfect career. The catch? I’m tired of doing everything perfectly. No I am not saying I am a perfect person, far from it in fact; however, if you looked at my life you would probably say it’s pretty perfect. I have always done exactly what is expected of me and set myself to succeed should I choose to embrace the career waiting for me. Great respectable guys want to date me. (boring guys). My friends are kind, responsible people. (sometimes boring..) I come from a well off family that has allowed me to graduate with no debt, meaning I can pursue my graduate school dreams. (boring safe parents). I live in a town that is consistently rated as one of the best in America. (have you caught onto the trend?) I’m that pretty girl in heels everyone expects to smile pretty and be predictable. (BORING). 

That sounds boring right? Oh the suburban white girl leaves her easy life to “rough it” for a bit, always knowing she can fall back on mommy and daddy. No that is not what I want this to be. I want to challenge how every reader looks at themselves as well as women and men. Why we assume a girl in 5″ heels can’t love football. Why we try so hard to portray a certain image rather than just being who we are. The modern meaning of feminism. (And why I am NOT a feminist). Why girls won’t kill spiders and what genetics have to do with stereotypes. 

That is my perfect life, and this is my journey of how I will leave it all behind and challenge what everyone expects from me. This is my story of how I move past what I expect of me and force myself to be the person I want to be. 

This all came from a wonderfully awful date, to be continued…