Being Human

I write what it means to be human. What makes us similar and different all at the same time.

Okay I know I have been off the radar a little the past couple weeks. A lot has happened so you guys might get bombarded with a few articles the rest of the week. Well, in the past two weeks I have moved out of my parents home and started a new job. I know what you are thinking, moving out and getting a new job is nothing special. However, for me, I have been living at home going to college for the past four years, and in the past year, I have had trouble with making changes to my life. In essence, I have been too scared to actually take the leap into the unknown. As I have struggled with my anxiety in the past year, one of the biggest struggles for me has been to try new things.

It is absolutely terrifying to jump into the unknown, and for me, as my anxiety has gotten worse over the years, it has been an even bigger struggle to take those chances. I have missed out on dating opportunities because I was too scared to be hurt again. I was too afraid to go out on my own because I was afraid of failing and not being able to make it. I was scared to go back to school because I had failed so many times. So, yes, this moving out experience was a big deal to me, and I’m still adjusting, but it has been a great learning experience thus far.

Why tell you this? It goes along with not everyone is perfect, but also in correlation with that, it is the fact that all of us are afraid of something. It is true that it is harder for some of us to overcome those fears but when we do it is one of the best feelings in the world! That feeling of accomplishment and realizing that you are no longer scared of that thing anymore. I had that experience as I was moving out and starting this new job.

One of my favorite quotes says, “When it feels scary to jump, that is exactly when you jump. Otherwise, you end up staying in the same place your entire life.” Everything can scream at you that the jump you are about to take is crazy and not worth it, but if you really want to get somewhere in your life, you will take that leap. You have all had that nagging feeling that something needs to change in your life, whether that is moving, changing jobs, or whatever it is. And yet, too many of us just shrug it off as if it just a silly notion. It’s NOT! Go after that nagging feeling! Make the change you feel like you need. Take the leap, I promise that everything will turn out well for you. If it doesn’t work out, it is a learning experience.

Here is to taking that leap and making the changes we wish to make in our lives!

I have never been one for goodbye, not of any kind to be quite honest. They make me super emotional, as I’m sure they do everyone. I’m not just talking about the goodbyes of losing friends or what we typically see. I am talking about all the goodbyes that we face every day. The goodbyes of situations, friends, family, our pets, etc. We go through goodbyes almost every day of our lives. I have never been good at any of them. Some I am definitely more emotional about than others.

Today I had to put one of my best friends down. He was the sweetest dog, even though he could be a little grumpy a lot of the time. He liked things a certain way but we understood each other. So last night I held him as tight as I could telling him I loved him then this morning as my mom took him away I couldn’t keep from crying. Now I am sitting with my other best friend. She is cuddled next to me, and I don’t think she quite knows that her best friend isn’t coming home. I can only imagine her heartbreaking when she realizes that he isn’t coming back and it makes my heart hurt even more.

That is my trouble with goodbyes. I put myself in other people’s shoes on top of my own and try to feel what they will feel making me feel even worse. The only upside is that I know what other people are feeling when it comes to goodbyes, it still sucks though.

I guess all I am trying to say is to not take goodbyes for granted, you never know if it will be the last goodbye you say. Make them count no matter how hard it is. The pain sucks I know, but that means that relationship meant something to you and that counts for everything. It is a part of the human experience. It is a part of being human.

It is safe to say that most of us have thought about this many times during our lifetime’s, sometimes within months or even days of each other. We are told that we will find out who we are during our high school and college years. We will know where we want to go with our lives and find our true selves. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I feel like a toddler trying to learn how to talk. I have no idea who I am or where I want to go in life.

Besides, the question is loaded. There are so many interpretations that sometimes I think we get overwhelmed. You take hundreds of quizzes on which personality type you are, who your best match with, what your best career choice is. How are we supposed to know who we are when there are so many directions to go in?

I think our struggle isn’t in trying to find who we are but the pressure that is put on us to have ourselves figured out by the time we graduate college, and for a girl like me living in Utah being surrounded by my Mormon culture, it is a little overwhelming. I know I am not the only one out there that feels this way. People want you to go out on missions, get married, start a family right off the bat. The list could go on and on, and as I get closer to my mid-twenties the pressure increases.

So, how do we alleviate this pressure and actually focus on the things we want to without being attacked or be able to find who we are without all that pressure? The sad truth is that there is no way to get away from the pressure. The answer, however, is simple. We ignore it. I know, it sounds too simple, but it is the truth. How we find ourselves and at what time we find it is up to us not anyone else. The funny thing is that we will slowly change over the years and as long as we are happy with who we are in that moment then we shouldn’t stress about who we are going to be in the future. You don’t know who that you will be in the future. You can have an idea as you work towards those things you want in life, but you will never honestly know who you are.

You can do WHATEVER you want and be WHOMEVER. The choice is yours, not the silly little quizzes that you take or what people tell you. If you’re going to be the next American novelist or the first person to Mars, then you make that happen. You get to choose who YOU want to be. It is up to you to make that happen. Are there going to be obstacles in your way as you move towards who you want to be? You bet your ass there is going to be, but those obstacles will help you grow and learn as an individual. You will slowly become the person YOU want to be, and with it, you will learn who you are. It takes time, but it is well worth it in the end.

If any of you have noticed the 2000’s have been getting increasingly opinionated and 2017 rolling into 2018, we have seen a storm of them coming through. Women are standing up against the abuse that has been going on in the working world for far too long. Students are speaking out against violence. Our social media threads are filled with the opinions of people who want to be heard. We are all shouting our opinions in a hope to be heard, but how many of us are taking the time to listen and learn about the subjects we are screaming about?

I’m not saying that all of us are ignorant of the subjects being discussed, but too many of us are too quick to judge one another because not all of us have the facts. Not all of us are willing to listen to the facts. This stubbornness is what causes so much disagreement and discontentment among us. We aren’t willing to listen to one another and we more times than not believe we are right and the other people are wrong.

It’s hard, trust me, I am one to talk. I have extreme opinions, and there have been times in my life where it has pushed people away because I wasn’t willing to listen or considered someone else’s view. Yes, you are entitled to your opinion, but your opinion is NOT fact. Unless you have evidence to support your opinion, then you are no more right then the person you are stating your opinion too.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once stated, “People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.” How we view the world and share our opinions reflects who we are as an individual. It’s not bad to share your opinions, but if we take a minute to consider how our opinions reflect us, I think we would be more hesitant and more careful in how we express them.

I know, we all want to be heard, but there comes a time and a place for our opinions. There is also a way in which we can express our opinions without seeming like complete assholes. We may still end up sounding like assholes because again, people will be entitled to their opinions of their own. So all I am trying to say today is to be careful with your words. It’s like the concept that the pen is mightier than the sword. It’s very accurate and you never know who you might stab unintentionally.

I am going to show my true colors today by starting out with an analogy from one of my favorite video game series. I don’t know how many of you know the Assassin’s Creed video game series, but your main character can do what is called a “leap of faith.” This leap consists of your character jumping from ridiculous heights into piles of hay or any kind of pile of leaf matter. Scientifically, as far as I know, this isn’t possible without breaking a few bones. However, I am not going to get into all the details of it. What I want to talk about is the act of taking a leap of faith. This character fearlessly leaps from a building into the unknown. How many of us would try to do that? Let me tell you that you do it every day, it is just not as cool and a video game character.

Every day we make the decision to take a leap, never knowing what is going to happen that day. We can get a pretty good idea based off of the things that we try to schedule, but overall we have no idea. It’s scary, and sometimes it doesn’t always work out as planned.

 

How many of you feel like you aren’t moving forward in your life? Maybe, you feel like you are going backward? Okay sometimes you may go backward, but overall you are moving forward in life. It may not always be at the pace that you want but you are still moving forward, and sometimes the direction you thought you were going isn’t the one you are supposed to be going to you change directions.

I believe that once we start high school or even middle school that we are taught that we need to start working towards something for our future selves. We need to start thinking about our college careers and what we want to go into. We need to start saving up money to live on our own. The list goes on and on. You graduate high school thinking you know everything and that you can’t mess up now as you start your adult life. Wrong.

I started my college career ready to be away from home and prepared to start a new adventure. I struggled hard and pretty much ruined my college transcript my freshmen year of college. I didn’t get along with my roommates, and I had a hard time trying to make new friends. Overall, my first year of college was a disaster. I came home from my first year of college disappointed and frustrated with myself. Things didn’t get much better after that in regards to college. I have been off and on attending the university close to me, but I don’t have the same vigor and drive I did in high school for academics. Not to say I don’t enjoy learning, but the university style just wasn’t clicking with me anymore.

Here I am now, five years after graduating high school, with still no college diploma, and what to show for myself? Many people will say nothing, that I am going to be working as a waitress for the rest of my life. I was disappointed in myself for a long time and felt like I hadn’t accomplished anything worthwhile. I have changed my outlook though. I have learned that there are so many more avenues to life then going to college and getting a degree. Every job you take or want to do doesn’t require you to take years of school. Okay, some professions do, but if those aren’t the fields you want to go into, then you don’t have to.

In a world with so many advances in technology and so many professions, you can be whatever you want to be. You just have to put your mind to it! You have to take that leap! Yes, you will have setbacks, that is a part of the learning curve of life. We will not learn to be better if we do not make mistakes or have setbacks. It is what makes us better!

So, instead of being too scared to take that leap off the edge, take a chance. You never know what you will find at the bottom.

We have all been told at some point in our lives when we will find ourselves. Hundreds of inspirational quotes show you how you can “find” yourself. People say you that your twenties or the college years are the perfect time to, again, “find” yourself.  I don’t know about the rest of you guys but I’m coming up on my mid-twenties, and I still feel like I have no idea who I am.

Okay, so how do I combat this? How can I find myself and be happy with who I am? I could read hundreds of books or websites on how to live my best self. I could follow the latest fads for my “millennial” age. The list goes on and on. How do I know which way is the right way? My secret? I don’t have one, because I am never going to honestly know myself while I’m living. Why? Who I am now is not going to be the same person twenty years from now, hell, not even one year from now.

Have I lost you yet? I know I sound crazy, but when you really think about it we are always changing, sometimes it is for the worse and others it is for the better. So, why all this preaching about finding yourself, especially for those of us who are college-aged?

The world wants us to have ourselves figured out before we enter our career fields, not to be like the college freshmen who don’t know what the hell they’re doing. Truth is, you aren’t going to have it all put together by the time you enter your career. You are going to have students loans you are going to have to pay off, you need to start thinking of a healthier diet besides Ramen, and you might want to start thinking about looking to get a house.  The list goes on and on.

Instead of focusing so hard on trying to have your life completely figured out and know who you truly are, which you won’t, take the time to enjoy where you are now in life, wherever that may be. Some of you may be finishing college and getting ready to start your careers, others of you are starting families, traveling, whatever it is just be happy. You don’t need to know who you are completely because you are going to change so much within the next year.

Be content with who you are NOW. You have come so far to become the person you are now, and you should be so proud of that. The problem with trying to find yourself is that you focus on those things you haven’t achieved or that your life is lacking. Why put a negative spin on life when you have so much positivity in your life?  So forget all the millions of “finding” yourself quotes and advice, you don’t need them. You are who you are NOW, and that is something worth celebrating.

I want to take a moment to talk about an idea that seems to be continually coming up lately in my life. The idea of being perfect in our lives. I think this concept is especially prevalent for us young adults who are finishing school, starting careers, families, whatever it is. The funny thing is that this isn’t the first time that we have heard about this idea of perfectionism.

We are taught from a very young age about the idea of perfection. This idea that if we don’t strive for perfection in EVERYTHING, we do that we will fall short in this life, that we will achieve nothing. This belief is bullshit.

Who are we as humans, as societies to define what is perfect, and what is not? If you were to look up the definition of perfect, it states, “in having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics as good as it is possible to be.”

Notice the word possible and desirable in the definition. The definition itself questions that perfectionism is not always attainable for living creatures such as ourselves. It is not in our nature to be or define perfectionism.

Each person is uniquely different. Body types, sex, strengths, weaknesses, culture, you name it. There is so much to one person that there can be no definitive definition of perfect. Hollywood will tell you otherwise and give you an image to strive for. That isn’t perfection, and not everyone can aim for that image, nor should they.

Where am I going with this rant? Instead of striving for a false ideal we should strive for our better selves; to be happy with who we are and what we are trying to be. We aren’t always going to be satisfied with where we are. We are going to have those dark days where we feel like utter failures, that we are stuck in a neverending rut. Guess what? There is absolutely nothing wrong with that!! Sometimes it takes a setback for us to learn and maybe take a step back before jumping back into the fray of life. As long as you keep on trying. Don’t look at other people and compare yourself. You are not fighting for the same achievements in life.

Ever since I graduated high school, I struggled with my university studies and just finding a purpose in life. We all go through this at some point, and it is tough. I was told that I have to get a degree to succeed, that I have to get perfect grades to succeed in university. I am not stupid by any means, but I felt like I wasn’t getting the education that I wanted or needed and so I didn’t feel like putting in the energy towards my schooling. Almost five years later and after spending thousands of dollars trying to achieve something that I never really had a heart in. I gave up. I didn’t quit, but I took my time and energy to find ways to succeed in what I want to do without getting a degree. We can achieve whatever we want to, but like the concept of perfectionism the world tells us that we cannot succeed without a degree. For many occupations you cannot succeed without a degree, but for me I can.

So throw away that concept of perfectionism, you aren’t’ going to need it anytime soon. Whatever it is you want to go after in life, go after it in anyway that you can. Don’t worry about doing it correctly or like anyone else. You are your own person, and it is your life to live.

In my New Years post, I talked about how I am going to work on my confidence. It is sad to think that too many of us hide under what I like to call the “confidence mask.” It is the mask that we put on for people to show that we are confident when we really aren’t. We all wear masks to hide who we truly are at some point in our lives, but I think the “confidence mask” is the biggest one.
Can I  tell you guys a secret? I wear my “confidence mask” way too much, it is like wearing make up every day. There are moments when my mask is a part of my real self-confidence but more times then not I hide behind that mask. Now I could give a million excuses as to why I am not confident, but the reality of it is, I am just not that confident in myself, and I want to change that.
One of my biggest struggles with being confident is in my writing. I have never felt confident in sharing my writing, but this year I decided that I wanted to have my writing shared whether people liked it or cared for it. I want to be confident in who I am as a writer, and that means being willing to share my writing with the world.
What are some things that you guys aren’t confident about that you hide behind a mask for? I know for girls there can be a million things that we hide behind because we want to be that perfect girl that the world expects us to be. Don’t be afraid to be who you are! You are who you are, and there are people just like you out there, but if you hide your true self, you are never going to know or connect with those people.

IMG_0869This is an extreme example but here is a picture from this past Halloween after I took off half of the makeup off of my face. The difference between my face and the makeup still on my face is kind of frightening, but it’s a perfect example of how much we sometimes hide behind masks.

 

Everyone wants to get to know the real you not the person you are behind the mask. So if there is anything worth working on this year, it is to be confident in yourself. Take pictures of yourself every day and find something beautiful about yourself. Find those people in your life that make you feel confident, whatever it is take off the mask and be confident in who you are because you are an incredible human being.

 

Happy New Year everyone!!
 As sad as it sounds, nothing says Happy New Year like empty promises to keep the resolutions that we made or to reflect on the previous year, am I    right? However, I  vote that we do things a little bit different this year. Instead of focusing on the person

fullsizeoutput_5e9that you weren’t in 2017 or making resolutions you know you aren’t going to keep, I want you to answer one question? Who am I  going to be in 2018?

This sounds like a trick question I know, but I promise it isn’t. We focus so much on the who we should be and try to be a perfect person. Let me tell you, no one is perfect nor were we meant to be.  So, instead of making the long list of things that you are going to do this year that won’t really happen, focus on who you are going to be this year. What are you going to do to make this year the best year for you? That sounds selfish I know, but sometimes we need to focus on ourselves, and if you really think about it, all those resolutions that you plan on making might fall into place on their own as your focus on being your best self.
For some of us, we aren’t confident enough in who we are. We look down on ourselves or don’t give ourselves enough credit for our talents. That’s my goal this year is to be confident in who I  am and the talents that I  have. I  am a writer, and I have been pushing that on the backburner for way too long, so for my 2018, I am going to make my writing my primary focus. Writing for me is like coffee, if I don’t get it, I don’t function. 2017 was a year of focusing on things that didn’t make me happy. As a result, I stressed myself out for nothing, and mostly because I  wasn’t writing.
The problem isn’t in making a million resolutions, it’s in the fact that we ask for validation from everyone else to be a better person or to try to be a better person. Let me tell you something right now. NO ONE ELSE’S OPINION MATTERS! Your opinion is the only one that you should care about. If you want to change then you do it for yourself; not for your family, not for your friends, hell not even for your dog. CHANGE FOR YOU. You are the only person that matters when it comes to change.
In this upcoming year ask yourself who are you going to be? Who do I want to be that I wasn’t in 2017? Before you know it, you will be making changes that you have wanted all along. Again Happy New Year and all best wishes on everyone’s new adventures!
Until next time,
KennKenn

I just returned from being in Seattle this past week, and even though I have been in my fair share of big cities, Seattle is different from every single one of those other cities I have been to. I don’t think you can get anywhere close to having the same people or culture in each city. I come from Utah where the biggest cities we have are Salt Lake City and Ogden. Those are the only cities where you will find skyscrapers. The funny thing about them is that they are nothing like the skyscrapers you will see in New York or any other big city. Our skyscrapers are miniatures in comparison.

Sorry, I’m rambling. I was in Seattle for four days, and despite the short amount of time I got to see so much and learn from the city, and it’s people. Known for Pike’s Place Market, you can find an open food market full of fruits and other foods along with a farmers market for vendors to sell their wares. All of this is on the waterfront which you don’t find very often in other cities. On top of the market, there are hundreds of restaurants, cafes, and shops for blocks!

We have tried fantastic seafood from Pike’s Place Chowder where the line is literally out the door from the moment you open to wonderfully exquisite seafood at Salty’s just across the waterway that overlooks all of Seattle. We hit SAM or the Seattle Art Museum which had its fair share of the weird world of art. Granted most of the art museums I have been to were in Europe. By far though the Chihuly Glass Art and Garden Museum were my favorite. There is nothing better than looking at sculpture, but when it is made of glass it is even more beautiful!

Overall, Seattle was a great place to visit, especially for the food and the people. It is so strange that you can go hundreds to thousands of miles away to a different city, state, or even country and the people and culture are so different. Seattle is a very “green” state in comparison to Utah, but that is what makes it so unique! As much as I loved being in Seattle, I don’t think it is a place I could ever call home. I’m not a big city gal. It is definitely worth visiting again though!

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