Monday, October 15, 2012

being passive aggressive is the new pink...

Confrontation is a scary thing. You have to put yourself out there, stand up for what you believe in and even say things you know the other person does not want to hear. You make yourself vulnerable. Heaven forbid you say something that you cannot backup or you show a side of yourself that you did not even know existed.

Often times, I believe people mistake the need for anger and fighting when it comes to confrontation. There are other ways of confronting someone. There is a negative connotation that comes along with it all, there is no way around it. Yet, a confrontation does not always have to be a negative thing. Some people can have concise, adult conversations and discuss it in a mature manner. Some people cannot. The real question is, how do YOU handle it?

For me, I know that I am not good with quick confrontation. I need time to process my thoughts and feelings. I need time to figure out what to say and how to best express myself. I am not good on the spot; other people are. I like to take a step back, look at all the possible angles and figure out what I am really feeling.  I weigh all my options and make calculated risks. Then, I like to calmly talk to the person I may have a problem with and figure out the best possible solution. I do not like to leave things unresolved. That is not how I am.

Others, enjoy and relish in the absurdity of making someone else feel small. The anger gives them a rush and in a moment of not thinking clearly, they say things they do not mean or will later regret. This is who I was when I was a teenager. I thought life was a dramatic TV show and I would slam the door or walk out yelling the meanest thing I could think of at the time. Unfortunately, some people never grow out of this stage in life. Luckily, I did (for the most part, I mean, every once in a while it just feels SO good to slam a door, am I right?!).

Then, there are the people who do not confront a situation at all. There is no communication. They just cut you off and think if they ignore the problem, it will go away. I understand that it can be a terrifying thing, to confront your feelings, but in order to grow up and learn how to deal with life, we have to do it, right? I would rather someone tell me the truth and hurt my feelings now, than never say anything to me at all. Maybe it is too much to ask? Maybe it is selfish of me to want this? Maybe it is not?

How do you guys feel? Would you rather confront a situation, leave it be or have an all out fight? In the heat of it all, maybe fighting does accomplish something? I would rather do that, then say nothing and be a coward.

In a way, this is my passive aggressive way of confronting an issue at the moment. Sometimes, you do not have a choice in whether or not you get to talk something out; you have to just let it go and carry on with your life, no matter what you may be feeling.

It is just really unsettling to not resolve an issue. In this instance, at least I know I have done all I can.

You know I never stay in one place for long...

AC out.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Letter to the Future: Remembering 9/11

Dear People of the Future,
       There are moments in history during your formative years in all generations where one can recall every waking detail of a certain triumph or tragedy. For example, the JFK assassination, when we landed on the moon, when the Berlin Wall fell, and for my generation, when 9/11 happened. I was fifteen years old, a sophomore in high school. I had stayed home that morning because I was up all night working on an art project and my mom had let me sleep in. I was eating breakfast and watching T.V. in the back room, when my program was interrupted. All of a sudden, I saw a plane crash into one of the World Trade Center buildings. Later, I would find out, it was in live time and it was the second plane that had crashed. I was seeing bodies fall from the building and tears started streaming down my face. I was stunned and speechless. I did not know what else to do but call my mom into the room. She was on the phone with my grandma and she told her to quickly turn on her TV.
            The next thing I knew, my mom was driving me to school. She wrote a note excusing my tardiness and I walked into choir class. My face was in shock and everyone was asking me what was wrong. Nobody knew yet, I was the first of them to find out. Twenty minutes later, a PA announcement was made, televisions were turned on and the class was silent. I will never forget my choir directors face, as her body fell against the wall in terror. Her daughter was going to NYU at the time and there was no way of knowing if she was okay or not. We found out later that she was okay but the smallest thought of loosing someone close to you is an unimaginable nightmare for everyone.
            Many people died that day and many more were injured.  In the weeks to come, we found a new spirit for patriotism.  America was pulling together and standing strong. Our hearts went out to those who had died, those who had lost people and those who had to stand strong in the face of complete destruction.  The terrorist attacks did more than spread fear; it spread uncertainty. Not only were the Twin Towers hit, but also there were two more attacks in Washington, D.C. America had to be stronger than it has ever been. Hero’s rose and the Fire Department of New York City became our hope for a better tomorrow.
            The 9/11 terrorist attacks were made by a group called al-Qaeda. They are an Islamic based terrorist group that had infiltrated four of our airplanes and their goal was to crash them into the World Trade Centers, the Pentagon and the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Fortunately, the plane that was to crash into the Capitol Building was high jacked by a passenger and crashed into a field instead. After the attacks, there was a tightened sense of security. Everyone was on high alert and the TSA cracked down on flying regulations. There was an increase in Muslim and Islamic racism and suspiciousness over Islamic looking people.  We were scared and the first reaction to this was to fear the unknown. 
            On September 11th, 2001, we needed a leader. In my eyes, President Bush Jr. did not do much. He was a horrible speaker and I felt no sense of comfort in his voice nor did I feel he was a huge presence in the rebuilding of America. At the time, there was much controversy over the mayor of New York City, Rudolph Giuliani, and there was little hope for him to be a voice for the city. Giuliani had cheated on his wife and announced the separation without telling her first and he had tore into an unarmed black mans reputation, as this same man was killed by an undercover cop[1]. Needless to say, his morals were being called into question.  However, with all of this in place, Giuliani rose to the occasion and delivered a sense of calmness to the American people during and after the attacks. It was said that Giuliani was the one who set the example for the fire chiefs that day1. Of course there were mistakes made and people were upset, but in a time of crisis, Giuliani did what he thought was best.  Whither or not this is completely true, from what I remember, this is what the public needed from a leader.
            Since the attacks, I have been to visit Ground Zero twice. The first time was a year after, in the fall of 2002. It is difficult to describe the visit. Everyone on the trip was haunted by the view. None of us really knew what to expect. I was Junior in High School and everything was so quiet. We were all so young and so far removed from the situation; it was a sobering experience as to what had happened just one year ago. Everyone wanted to pay their respects, but we did not know how. Finally, my choir teacher pulled out her pitch pipe gave us all our respected chords and we sang The Star Spangled Banner. Most of us could not get through the song without crying. At the end of the song, we realized that everyone around us had stopped what they were doing to take pictures or to record our performance, as well as pay their respects. This stunned us all.  It was way before the age of facebook, youtube and even the use of the Internet as a streaming device, so all I have left from that day is a pixilated recording and the memory. Which would not be enough for some, but for me, it means the world.
            The second trip was not as monumental, but the progress had spoke volumes.  It was now 2007 and the spirit and hope was inspiring. There were all sorts of commemorative plaques, sculptures and writings. It was incredible. You could read people’s stories and relive moments of terror. There were so many mixed emotions, both good and bad. I had taken more pictures than I had before and even tried to recreate others. There was this church that we visited in 2002, it was in the middle of all the destruction, but not one piece of the building or any of the gravestones were damaged in the attack. There was a fence around the church with candles, flags, pictures of the fallen, letters of hope, letters of sadness and flowers. My friends and I, in 2002, put a flag there with all of our signatures on it. I wanted to see if that flag was still there. After an hour of searching, I gave up. It was okay though, I knew that it had served its purpose and all I needed was to remember.
            Still to this day, I cannot believe that there is this much hate in the world. Ending this letter is difficult because I want to give you hope and I want there to be a sense of security in your time. All I can say is please treat others with respect and open your hearts and minds to all the ways people can inspire and help you through life. There will be so much good in your life and there will be so much bad.  All you can do is learn from the bad and know that everything happens for a reason. As cliché as that sounds, please know that not all reasons are good reasons. Whether or not you can find comfort in this fact, just know that you can make an impact with how you react.

      Alaina Clarke

For this assignment, I did use an article from the New York times:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I am afraid of NOT living up to the sterotypical artist.

Right now, at this late hour of the night, I lie awake while thinking about my fears and what is holding me back. Most importantly, what is holding me back artistically?

It is one o'clock in the morning.

If I were still in art school, I would be knee deep in charcoal or metal shavings, with no sign of stopping.  I am an artist. I want to be an artist. I want to be so much more than I am right now.

Of course there are the obvious reasons I am not advancing in my actual body of work, for example, I am broke and I do not have the means for a studio. So what am I doing instead? I am making beerings and painting/designing greeting cards. Where as I am, in fact, being artistic and using my talents for something, I am just not sure I am confident in it actually being art, instead of just being crafty.

I believe I am scared that by making my beerings, that I am not doing my degree justice. I am falsely representing my fellow metalsmiths by making these cold connected, production line earrings. I do not think my friends know what I am actually capable of making and that hurts my feelings. Yet, it is my own doing. I am not making what I could  be making. I think I have all these grandiose ideas and then they never become anything but ideas.

I want to preface these next words carefully because I know I am talented, but I feel as though I have let a part of myself down. I feel like I let a piece of you all down. I know I was never, am never and will never be a stereotypical artist, however, a piece of me really wants to be. For example, I rarely drink coffee. I am not a tortured soul. I have a very active social life outside of the artist community. I do shave my legs/armpits and bathe regularly. I eat organic, but only because I was raised that way. I like to dress in current fashions.  I am happy with my life. I believe in Jesus Christ Our Lord and He is my savior. I like to take care of my body and I do not smoke anything. I do not starve myself because I am so focused on making my art. PBR is disgusting (not to mention I cannot drink it because of Celiacs). I want to work out. I love pop music AND country. End of Story. I am sure, given more time, I could think of at least one hundred other facts that would label me even more of an outsider in the artist community, but for now, this will have to do.

In undergrad, there was a few of us who branded ourselves, art school outcasts. We just never fit in with the others. Of course we got a long with them, because they were all wonderful people, however, we were not on their list of invites.  Looking back, I think that might be a good thing. Or, maybe not. Whichever way it was, I do not wish it different.

I guess I am afraid of not living up to the stereotypical artist. I am afraid that my passion will soon be doused in a vat of water, drowned, because I am too worried about trying to stand up on my own two feet and support myself. I know there is nothing wrong with that, yet part of me wants to throw everything away that I have worked so hard to become and move to a place where all I can do is make things. It is quite a fantasy land, this I know. A place where I have unlimited supplies and I do not have to worry about money or paying the bills or keeping up with people or caring so much. I would like to divulge into myself and become selfish and not have a care in the world. I know I would be absolutely miserable with out human interaction, but sometimes, just sometimes...

Is it wrong to think this way? I have given so much of myself to so many things and in return, I would like just ONE thing. Sometimes, I do not want many things that I am good at, I want just one thing I am great at. I would like more of a focus in life. I would like to not be so self conscious and  insecure that I am not up to par. I guess that is how we all feel sometimes, but in the end, we go with the flow, we continue on our journey and do not look back. We cannot focus on what we could have done differently, we must focus on what we can change so that we do not disappoint ourselves in the future.

I must stop. I am digging myself into a hole and I need to quit feeling so sorry for myself, there are far greater people who are worse off than I. Please take this as you must and until next time...

...since you know I never stay in one place for long.

AC out.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Everything is coming up roses (and full circle)

OK, so it has been a while. I am dreadfully sorry for that, however, my life kind of changed drastically in the past three weeks.  I wish I could have had one of those self narrators who would  translate my thoughts into blog form, I guess you will have to settle for the abridged version instead (lucky you!).

The move back to Michigan was almost effortless, except for the part where we had to move all of my stuff into a pod and then try to fit the rest into my car (and the small fight with UHaul because they did not have their crap in order). Yet, at this point, let us just say that Blue Lake has taught me how to pack up a car for an entire summer, so I was able to fit just about everything into my car, minus a few futile things.

*side note*
My NC friends threw me an AMAZING goodbye party. It was one of the most thoughtful things that has ever been done for me! It was a whole party of gluten freeness! Down to a whole fridge full of gluten free beer! I was just floored. Not to mention the post-its that were hanging from the ceiling with kind and very thoughtful words about me. We had a lot of fun and it was truly a force not to be reckon with! :)
*end side note*

This time, the drive home was calm. I can drive about eight or nine hours before I need a legitimate break. Lucky for me, I have a friend who lives in Dayton, OH, which was exactly eight point five hours away! :) The drive was so calming. I did not hit any traffic or run into any kind of problems, not to mention I was making INCREDIBLE time. When my eight hours were up, I stopped and had dinner with Charis and needless to say, it was exactly what I hoped it would be. It is so nice to have friends where, when you have not seen them in a while, it does not really matter. You pick up right where you last left off and it feels like you hang out with them on a daily basis.  We found a little pizza place that had gluten free pizza and settled down to chat for a while. It was a nice break AND she got to meet my gremlins! :)

From there I only had three point five hours until my parents house. I got home with time in the evening to spare to actually spend time with my mom and little brother (who is not so little anymore) before I had to drive them to the airport for their Florida vacation! I stayed to help with the dogs and let my gremlins settle into their temporary new home.  Then my other brother came home (he lives in West Virginia) to take care of the dogs the rest of the time AND to be here when my dad got home from Japan!!! Jimmy and I shared a meal together for the first time (just the two of us), in what seems like, ever! He grilled some hot dogs and chicken and we had a feast!! It was incredible!

Next up was Grand Rapids. I was finally home. I came back to familiarity, one that easily filled me with the most joy I had encountered in a long time. Do not get me wrong, I LOVED North Carolina and I was good there, I was happy, just not as happy as I was to be home.  I immediately fell right back into the swing of things. I walked into the Gardens for the first time in two years and it had felt like I had never left. There were so many familiar faces! It was an incredible feeling and a bit of an ego boost to realize that so many people missed me and was glad I was home, not to mention, remembered me!

My first night of work, the only thing I could not remember is what side the spoon went, when placed next to the knife (it is on the outside btdubs). Other than that, I fell right back into place. A lot of the servers have changed, but it is still the same game! We work as a team and help each other out! It is great to be back in a place where I am confident in what I am doing.

When you have made up your mind to do something and that something has not actually happened yet, you can somewhat be uncertain if you are making the right choices or not. My whole journey, of moving back to Michigan, was never in question for me. I knew I was making the right decision, I just never realized HOW right this was going to be. I feel so alive and free. I finally feel committed to a place.

Since I have moved back, on top of having a place to live, a job to come back to and friends and family who love and support me, I have received an internship with Avenue for the Arts, a non-profit art organization that holds events and reaches out to the community! I have also made Grace Face Designs legitimate! I am in the process of owning my own business!! Grace Face Designs, LLC!! The paper work got in on Friday, so I just have to head over to the bank and make it all legal!

Everything is just coming up roses! So those are the big events to report. I have about a million and one topics that I am ready to cover in blog posts! Now it is time to hop back on the bandwagon and get to it! :) Are you ready for it?!

I am in an ever changing life, so stay tuned! You know I am never in one spot for long!

AC out!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Quick Update on my Obtainable Goals

 I plan on writing a more in-depth post tomorrow. I have a lot on my mind and I do want to share, but for right now, I want to update you on my goals, for it has been two months and I feel I am still holding on strong.

-Trust in God and myself more: I have been reading scripture and praying a lot and have been talking about it with friends. This has definitely helped a lot. It is hard to explain how this is working in my life because it just is.
-Let go and let God: This part is pretty amazing. Even though I have not given up much control, I have put faith in the fact that God has my back and will not let anything happen to me that I cannot handle.
-Be more patient when it comes to matters of the heart: I have to be honest, I am still struggling with this a lot. Rome was not built in a day...right?!
 -Become more confident when I speak: I have pronounced A LOT of words wrong and I just go with the flow because they sound real if I do not stop and correct myself.
-Stop apologizing for unnecessary reasons: I still apologize profusely, however, I have caught myself in the act quite a few times and I feel as though I have cut down on the apologies.
-Become more organized (even if it is organized chaos, it has to be better than what I am living in right now!): My mom did come and visit and help me pack up a lot of my room, so I feel as though, for right now, I am more organized...although, I cannot find my TV remote control...hmmmm
-Take smaller steps with bigger issues: Not going to lie, this is not going so well.
-Stop biting my nails: I can truthfully say that I have only bitten ONE nail since the new years. I am doing pretttttty well with this one!
-Run 3 miles by March: Unfortunately, my knees are not fairing well with running. I thought this might be a problem and I am still not giving up, it just might not be by March...which is something that I have come to terms with and am a.o.k. with.
-135: 148
-Apply and get into GV for their MPA program: This one might take until next year. I have to take some pre-graduate courses. I am re-enrolled in Grand Valley and can sign up for classes March 20th, so that is a step forward!
-Write more: My blog is written proof! (pun intended)
-Read more (I am open to suggestions, please!!): I am not reading as much as I want to, yet, I am reading more than I have been.
-Finish art projects and VERY belated presents: Small stepping stones and they are on their way to being finished.
-Get my right and left splits back: So.Freaking.Close.
-FINALLY get my middle splits: A little bit further away than I would like to be.
-Finish FAFSA: I did finish FAFSA. However, since I am a non-degree-seeking grad student, I do not qualify for financial aid through the institution until I am a degree seeking student. So, I am now opening up a fund for Alaina's Going Back to School, please send money, scholarship! You will not be disappointed if you donate!

more tomorrow, you know I am never in one spot for long.

AC out.

Monday, February 27, 2012

& Guest.

It all comes down to that, does it not?  Your 'plus one', the pretentious '& guest' and of course the 'and where might your date be?'

When you are not dating someone, it is hard to find a date to a wedding. Especially one that you are standing up in. Do not get me wrong, it is a wonderful honor to be standing up next to the beautiful, blushing bride as she commits her life to one person for eternity. I love all the mushy, gushy stuff.  Believe it or not, I am a romantic.  However, when you are single and going to a wedding, what are you suppose to do? Who are you suppose to bring?

There is always that awkward "well, there is this really cute guy that I am sort of, kind of in to", but then you do not want to ask him because it is a wedding. I mean, come on, we all know there is an undertone of inviting a guy you are not dating to a wedding, hell, there is an undertone of inviting the guy you are dating. It is almost a catch twenty-two. You want to invite someone because you know you are not going to know anybody else and the few people you do know, already have significant others. Then, you do not want to invite someone because you are standing up in the wedding and he will be forced to sit with people he does not know at the ceremony and then what are you supposed to do with him while you are taking pictures with the wedding party?  Then will he be sat with you at the wedding party table? Or will he then have to sit with more people he does not know and wait for your civic duties to be over? Will he then, whisk you away to dance and dance and dance, or just be really annoyed because he was basically arm candy and a safety blanket the whole night?

I just really hate 'plus ones'. I do not know if it is because I am cynical and single or if it is just because I am standing up in too many weddings. Either way, I am uncomfortable with it. People assume that you are dating someone because that is what everyone else is doing. I appreciate the gesture, I really do and I understand why it is there, but is there not more pressure when you are single to find your '&guest' because it is implied that you should  have one?

I know I have never been one to completely fold to societal standards (I would have settled a long time ago, if I had), but I am really getting sick of all this 'plus one, & guest' stuff. If you do not have your '& guest', then are you not a prime target for a set up? AND you know we are not all lucky, like in Hitch at the end of the movie when the grandma is choking and the dashing, handsome grandson comes to rescue her, all the while sweeping the young dame off her feet. Maybe it is because I am single, maybe that is my problem.

Ha. Haha. I want to say that I am proud to be who I am, &Guest-less and all, but I really do not want to be sitting down at a table by myself when everyone is dancing to a slow song.  Maybe, I just need to be open to meeting someone at the wedding, but is that not kind of sleezy? There is an undertone for that one too...if you know what I mean. I also do not want a pity date either. Just because I am writing this, fellas, does not mean I would like you to up and volunteer to come with me, I would have asked you already if I wanted you to come as my date.

Stupid. Pretentious. & Guest.

stay tuned. I am never in one spot for long.

AC out.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Life comes at you fast...are you ready for it?

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to be "growed up". I wanted the fancy apartment (yes, you heard me right, apartment...I have always wanted to be a city girl), the big girl clothes and of course, the successful job that let me travel the world. I am now twenty-six years old and figured, I would have that life by now.

I think people use the phrase "in a blink of an eye" too casually. I know that life comes at you fast and as "growed up" as I wanted to be, that phrase just does not come into my vocabulary (unless you want to count right now...but I am not using it in the context it was intended for, so does that cancel it out?).  It has been a long road, but we have to realize that I am ONLY twenty-six years old. I am not suppose to be at that point in my life, where I am ready to settle down or am I?

I guess it just all depends on who you are and what you really want out of life. I look at my life and I realized that I have already done so much. I, then, start to compare myself to others and their accomplishments thus far and how old they were when they reached their "success".  However, that is not what is important because we are all on our own path. We all strive for different things and are put into different circumstances because that is who we are and what we are suppose to be. Some people strive to be wives and mothers, others strive for a career and some are just so content with failing, they sit in a hole of despair and thrive on the negativity that their lives are not going anywhere. A lot of people these days strive for the family life AND the career life.Yet, I am none of those people. I am me.

So, the question that arises next is: What do I  want to strive for? 

It is always a loaded question when it comes to me. In the past, I have always wanted SO much for myself. I was active in sports, dance, art, youth group, a social life and had so many things on my plate at once, I could never decide what my true calling was.  I wanted to do this, I wanted to do that and I believed I could do it all. Then, I moved to North Carolina.

Do not get me wrong, it was the best choice I ever made, but I was forced to start over. I did not have the same support system I had in Grand Rapids. I did not have a college classroom to break the ice for new friends, I did not have GVDT (Grand Valley Dance Troupe) to work out my need to dance, there were not the same bars or the same friends and I lived by myself. I have spent the past two years building up relationships here in North Carolina, but my heart has always been in Grand Rapids. I think that NC was the best place for me to be because it taught me SO much about myself and the fact that I can rely on myself. More importantly, it brought me closer to God and with Him on my side and in my heart, I know I cannot fail.

My move helped me narrow down my goals and what I really wanted to do. I moved here for reasons and goals that have now changed into something completely different. Those new reasons and goals are leading me back home, to Grand Rapids. It is completely God lead and I am having an even harder time trying to put into words all the thoughts in my head.  It is hard to explain something that is God lead because it is a feeling that you understand if you get it. So, excuse my lack of explanation of what is going through my head at this moment because it is something so amazing and wonderful that I just cannot put into words. I love where I am right now and I am no longer going to put goals on when I need to settle down and have all my fancy "growed up" things, because I love to live my life and that is what I am going to do.

Life does come at you fast and you have to learn to enjoy the ride. If you do not, then you are in for a world of mass confusion and you will miss out on SO many stops along the way (ok, I know that sounds a little cliche and I LOVE to be cliche, so deal with it!).

Ya'll need to stay tuned, you know I am never in one spot for long.

AC out.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


What is your worth? What are you living for and who are you living for?

These are questions I ask myself all the time. I feel that no matter what, I will always be asking these questions and always be reevaluating my answers.  Here is the thing, everything I have done thus far in my life has been for me. As selfish as that may sound, it is true.  When I say that, I mean the big decisions. For example, which college I was going to go to, why I wanted to move to North Carolina and why I am moving back to Michigan.  My worth as a person can only continue to grow if I push myself to learn more about who I am and who I want to be.

When I say worth, I do not mean how much money you make, the value of your home or the material objects you own. I mean it as to who you are, what your "usefulness or importance, as to the world, to a person, or for a purpose"* is.  What is your character worth? That is the real question.

Your worth is a very broad topic because you can focus on so many different aspects of your life. I know when it all comes down to it, I live my life for Jesus. I live my life on Earth so that I may have eternal life in Heaven. That does not mean I do not sin or question my beliefs from time to time, but I do believe in the Lord God, Heaven and Hell, Creation, Science and all aspects of life. I am not here to judge you or tell you right from wrong. Yes, I am a Christian, but I am no better than person A or person B. We all make big mistakes, we all sin and we all fall. I guess there is one difference, it is that in the fall, I will be caught by God.

Another aspect of worth we can focus on, is who we are. I pride myself on being independent. I make my own choices and I follow my own path. I have never not made a big decision without weighing all of my options, making a list, checking it twice and making sure I have a plan for the follow through. My worth is what I make of it. Sure, I had the chance to go to a different college because my boyfriend was going there, but why make that big of a decision based off a guy? He dumped me the next month anyway, right before the first semester of senior year was over. I have my own big fancy dreams, if the guy was important enough and cared enough, he would have stuck around.

We all want to be loved. Is that not our soul purpose in life? To find that one person we can share our souls with? Sure, I am a romantic and I fall easily when I am attracted to a guy. I am a very passionate person, but I also get ahead of myself a lot. I ruin things and say things that may be misconstrued.  I say it because I want to be honest and upfront. It may be a little intimidating and against some kind of rule in "getting to know him 101", but what can I say? I honestly play out every scenario in my head of should-I-wait-or-just-tell-him-now? Sometimes, I am in a catch 22 situation and I just have to go for it, trust my own heart and not let others get inside my head. I feel I do these things and say these things to dig myself into a hole and say "well, if he is worth it, he will stick with it" or "sometimes you just have to let them go and if they come back, they are worth it, YOU are worth it."

It is a silly thing to do, to put your worth into how a guy loves you.  It is silly to say things you know he wants to hear and become who you are not, just to impress him. This is another thing I pride myself on and how I measure my worth.  I am me. I will not say that I like something just because he does. I will not agree with him just to agree with him. I have my own mind for a reason and I try to speak it, within reason, of course.  If I do not know something, I will admit it. I do not like to play games and I do not like to make decisions based off of a crush or a relationship.  I want to do what is right for me, first. Of course, if there was someone special, I would want him to stick around, but in the end, it has to be for me.  Who I am and who I want to be, should impress him and make him want to be with me more, rather than scare him away. However, I do have to learn patience because I know sometimes, people just need time to adjust to who I am.

So what is your worth? I ask you this because I want you (and excuse this cheesy and cliche line) look inside yourself and figure it out. We as people, need to stick together. We can only go as far as we are worth and what we are worth has unlimited possibilities because we can achieve anything that we want.

New Mantra, say this to yourself every day. Your own mindset and who you believe you are is everything:

I am not weak.
I am not intimidated easily.
I am not ready to back down from a fight.

I am strong.
I am independent.
I am worth it. 

Stay tuned, you know I am never in one spot for long

AC out.

*pulled from the definition worth from

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

To make Personal and Obtainable Goals, NOT New Year Resolutions

As I discussed in a previous entry, I made a few New Year Resolutions. I have decided to call them "Personal and Obtainable Goals" instead. Yes, this is a new year and I want to change, however, 6 months from now, are they still supposed to be called New Year Resolutions??

Anyway, here are a list of my perfectly obtainable goals:
-Trust in God and myself more
-Let go and let God
-Be more patient when it comes to matters of the heart
-Become more confident when I speak
-Stop apologizing for unnecessary reasons
-Become more organized (even if it is organized chaos, it has to be better than what I am living in right now!)
-Take smaller steps with bigger issues
-Stop biting my nails
-Run 3 miles by March
-Apply and get into GV for their MPA program
-Write more
-Read more (I am open to suggestions, please!!)
-Finish art projects and VERY belated presents
-Get my right and left splits back
-FINALLY get my middle splits
-Finish FAFSA

It is a long list, but I feel that I will be able to accomplish all of them. I do not need them to all happen in one year, but I would like to see most of these happen! They are all written on my mirror in my bathroom and as I start crossing things off, I hope to add more. That way I am always growing in different ways. I want to challenge myself this year and for the rest of my life. I no longer want to let my best be OK. I want my best to be my best. It is like a wise woman once said "I ain't settlin' for anything less than everything" (thank you Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland...that is right, I did just quote a country song).

So, look out world, one way or another, I am becoming a new and improved version of the old me! Ya'll know I never stay in one place for long!!

AC out.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

take me back to that place

I have this reoccurring dream, it is always a little different each time, but it always happens at the same house. When I was growing up, my grandparents had a cottage on an Island near Petosky. It is my favorite place in the whole world. I can still remember every little detail about that place.  Maybe, that is why I dream about it so often. There is a calming feeling that comes along with the cottage, it is surreal when I think about it now, but I still feel like I am there when I close my eyes and remember.

This time, when I dreamt of the cottage, there was someone with me. We were wandering through the house and I was showing them around. I wish I could remember who it was, but for the life of me, I cannot.  We were upstairs in the bedroom on the right. Instead of four beds, there were about 8 or so. I was standing on the bed, peering out the window onto the lake and it was winter. It looked like my cousins were trying to ski down the slope (in real life, there is no slope).  They were goofing off, so we went to explore the house a little more.

The house is always larger in my dreams than real life and in my dreams, there are secret passages and those passages lead to secret rooms. Sometimes the room is filled with books and a desk, like a study in a library, or one that looks like it could be from Beauty and the Beast. Sometimes there are staircases that lead no where, like a maze and you have to retrace your steps to figure out how to get to the next doorway.

One time the stairs lead to a huge waterfall where people were riding horses to the top and then jumping off, still on the horses. As long as one stayed on the horses, they would not go under water because of course, the horses could walk on water. There are other times where I am alone and I am searching for something. I never obtain it though.

This time, I kept jumping from staircase to staircase, in search of something. I am not quite sure what it was. After a while, my friend left me and I continued on the search all by myself. I want to say that in the end I find whatever it was that I was looking for, but I cannot. These dreams are quite troublesome.

The cottage was always a wonderful and glorious place. We were able to escape our lives for a weekend or longer. Out there, there was a limit to the amount of TV channels you got and when I was growing up, we did not have facebook, twitter or pinterest, let alone internet.  It was glorious. Those were the times! We had family game night, danced around to Queen, Kylee Manoge and The Beatles, we practically lived in the lake, whether it was fishing, swimming, boating or skinny dipping in the summer or ice skating in the winter, it was whatever we made it out to be. We went hiking and exploring; sledding and built so many snow forts, I have definitely lost count.

I usually like dreaming about it for a little while because in that one split moment, I am back where everything makes sense. I have escaped to a wonderland. Then, the dream starts to get weird and I do not know what to make of it anymore. As the day goes by, I start to loose more and more of my memory. I always dwell on the dream the next day. I cannot help it.

A lot of the times, I remember bits and pieces of the dream. However, most of the times, they are bits that I am too embarrassed to talk about.

stay tuned. You know I am never in one spot for long.

AC out.

Friday, January 20, 2012

It never rains when you want it too...

As much as I do not like storms or being caught outside in the rain, for wearing wet clothes is one of my biggest pet peeves (especially wet socks), there is more than just a literal antidote with the cleansing of rain.  It is more of a metaphorical meaning. Not in the sense of "it washes away the *insert emotion here* of the day before", but in the fact that after a rain, there is a clarity that we would not have seen without said rain.

Sometimes things happen to us to show us what we really need and somethings happen to show us what we want, but do not need just yet.  There is no shame in wanting something, unless that thing is something you are forcing.  It is always good to take a step back and see everything from a different perspective. In art, it could be because you have a skewed perspective or the wrong composition.  When you are able to take a step back and look at what you are trying to create, you give yourself a different angle, a new outlook. You can rearrange things and adjust your angle.  Then when you take that step back in to continue your work, you have changed your approach.  This new approach will give you something to work towards and live up to, but only if that is what you really want. Art can not be forced, it must be created with passion, hard work, consistency and love.  You have to be open to what it is ready to give and ready to learn.

Every now and again, you will ask another fellow artist to take a look. You would like a critique, a whole new set of eyes to tell you that what you are doing is brilliant, exciting, new and innovative and of course, never been done before.  However, they may not always say what you WANT to hear. They will definitely give you a new perspective because their minds work completely different than yours. Of course, they will try to understand what you are doing and they may go along with your explanation, but in the end, they are going to see what they want to see and say what they want to say. You cannot control someones thoughts just like you cannot control their words, but what you can control is your reaction to such statements. Try to be open to their, hopefully, constructive criticism.  Take their suggestions to mind but remember to always follow your heart.

In art, we express ourselves figuratively, emotionally, literally and metaphorically (along with many more 'allys I am sure), but one thing we do not do is bring false pretenses to our work. (Unless of course, we do it on purpose, then that is a whole different matter entirely...).  We are constantly changing our minds on how the final piece should look and flow.  We know that sometimes, the best thing is to just let it be, walk away from it for a little bit and then in our own time, come back to it.

We are artists, even though we will tell you we are not dramatic, we are. It is because we are passionate, that we are dramatic. We are in touch with our emotions because they are those we are trying to share with the world. We, (and I should really just start using I, because, lets get real, it is ME who I am talking about here...), I am going to continue to be who I am and express myself with as much honesty and passion that I can.  I am creating new work everyday and I do, what I feel, is best for me.  It is "me" who I have to look out for and even though I do seek the constructive criticism of all of you, I have to remember to not let that influence what is in my heart so much that I loose sight of what I want.

And like I said previously, it may be what I want, just not what I need right now. So, I am stepping away from art for a while, in a bit, I will come back to it. I trust that it will always be there for me in some way, shape or form.  I want to focus on the tasks I have at hand to get myself back to Grand Rapids, to where I am being called. There, I will start creating again and I know I can count on my art to be just as fabulous as before.

Stay tuned, folks, for you know, I am never in one spot for long.

AC out.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It always happens when you least expect it...

Dear Friends, Fellow Blogger's and people who don't know me and are reading this,

I am determined to  have the most positive outlook I can and let me tell you, so far, 2012 has been a GREAT year. Yes, I know that it has only been 18 days, but everything that has happened to me within those 18 days, even the bad, has shown me that as long as you keep your head up and continue to truck on, nothing can go wrong.

It's all about being proactive, not reactive (right, Adrian Cook!?!?). Ha. There are many things that I have learned at camp, but none of them have stuck with me quite like being proactive.  Sometimes I may be a little too proactive, but who can blame me? I just go after the things I want.

I have recently come into a lot of happenstance circumstances. With everything working out the way it has, I have become so energized and I am determined to make that last. Not only that, but for the first time in my 26 years of life, I have WRITTEN down my New Years Resolutions. Normally, I don't make them, but this year, I want to improve on my way of life and I am choosing to better myself. Nobody is going to do it for me, so I am the one who has to start somewhere.  I heard somewhere that most people don't make New Year's resolutions because they "know" they won't stick with them. Yet, the people that do, about 50% of them give up within the first two weeks and then the rest slowly tapper off as well (do not quote me on any of the above information, I heard it a while ago and probably made up the 50% ratio...I believe it's higher, actually...but maybe not).

This will not be me. I have a list of my resolutions on my mirror. I wrote right on the mirror. That way I have to look at it EVERYDAY when I wake up and for light reading when I need it...
I feel so much better already. It is amazing what a "for real" positive attitude and some self motivation can do for a person. I have something to work towards now. Not that I didn't before, but now, it's real and I'm making it happen. Before, I think I was sitting on it because I was afraid of failure. Here is the thing though, I don't know if you know this, but nobody knows what the future holds. Sorry to burst your bubble! Ha. I know people say failure is "not an option", but when we fail, we learn from our mistakes. So maybe, in small ways, I will practice failure, that way I'll know what to do when if it ever becomes a big deal.

I think even though we, as people, know that we cannot tell the future, we still have some sort of glimmer or hope that the fortune tellers we call late at night, when nobody is around or that horoscope app you added to your iPhone, really will tell us when we'll find true love, get a promotion or find success in our newest weight loss program.  Truth is, people, our life is what WE make of it. I believe in God, the Almighty and I love Jesus. I believe that He has planned out my life, but there is only so much that He can do. At the end of the day, I am the one making the decisions in my life, I just have to make sure that they are with good intentions and I am following His guidance. God gave us free will for a reason. We can sit here and curse Him all we want, even if one does not believe in him. We think that "if there was a God", then he wouldn't let bad things happen. The fact of the matter is, He gave us free will and what we do with that is up to us. The question is, what do you do when those bad things happen and can you continue? Will you continue? You have to make the choice, you can either let this bad thing consume you, or you can do something about it and continue.

What you do, who you are and what you think are your own. Don't EVER let anyone take that away from you, but remember: Hold yourself responsible for your choices. You have nobody to blame but yourself if you fail or succeed. So choose to go on and choose to be the best person you can be. Seek council from friends, but remember you are the one who will have to make the final decision and make sure you are making it for yourself and no one else. Nobody can MAKE you do anything. You have the choice.

I don't mean to sound all preach-y, but the number one thing I am learning (even though my Dad has been telling me this since I was a wee, little one), is that we have a choice in EVERYTHING we do. We can decided to fight or we can decide to let go. Sure there are situations where it may not look like we have a choice, but if you really think about it, you will find a way to make a choice.

I am saying all of this because of the choices I am making, I want to make for the better, but sometimes, that just doesn't happen. It is what I am deciding to do after the fact and how I choose to help myself. Not often, but every once in a while, I let my friends influence my decision so much that I don't go with my gut. I know they are all looking out for me and their opinions are very important to me, however this time, I let them take me over. This wasn't a HUGE mistake, but it made me question some things and I hesitated. When I hesitate, I don't seem confident in my end decision. For that, I apologize. Yes, I went against what everyone was telling me not to do, but I wanted to do it. In the end, I should have been confident to know that it would all turn out OK and to go with my gut and tell you. It's not a decision that should change anything, now that I think about it all, but I believe it makes things a little more real. So, now I have to deal with that too.

Everything happens when you least expect it...or does it? I think you have to set goals and go after them. Along the way, things will happen that will surprise you and things will happen that you won't be expecting, but that is the beauty of life and things will happen no matter what you do, so you might as well make them positive.

Good Luck to you all and I will be posting every New Years Resolution I have, on this blog, so I can be held even more accountable than before. Make them known and then celebrate when the short-term ones happen and continue improving on the other long term goals. It's going to happen, ladies and gentlemen and it's going to be a GREAT year!

Make sure you stay tuned, for as you all know, I'm never in one spot for long...

AC out.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Ok, guys, I am completely re-formatting my blog and I'm making a conscious  effort to write more and not just updates on my life, but writing more for me. I was inspired by a few friends and I'm going to do it! BUT I do have a BIG life update for everyone, so, please, please, please read to the bottom and hang out a while! It'll be a good time! (and Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you all!)
This is the best way I figured I could let everyone know and that way, I don't really have to explain it a MILLION times!!

I have a big life update for you all and I decided this would be the best way to reach you! (also, I know some of you know this already, but you're going to hear this twice! Deal with it! haha). Since the beginning of the year (yes, it's only been two weeks) I have bee feverishly working to find a way to come back to Grand Rapids. I was in a bit of a car accident on my drive back down here (North Carolina) after Christmas and it put a lot of things into perspective for me. I am 100% healthy and I walked away with out a scratch, but I shouldn't have. Then, a few days later a blue lake family member, was tragically killed in a car accident. The loss of Nick, really shook me up. We weren't really close, but the fact (and not to sound selfish or dramatic) that he lost his life and mine was saved, really made me think about what I was doing and why I wasn't going after what I really wanted in life. Again, I know we weren't close, but he was apart of my Blue Lake Family and I want to honor his life by getting off of my butt and doing SOMETHING because I was given a second chance. I know a lot of my other friends were really close to him and I want to offer my sincerest condolences to his family and all of his friends.

Everything that has happened has given me a lot of things to think about and even though I really like it here in NC, and I feel that it was the right move to make at the time, I have found that I might have put some things on hold with out realizing it. I looked at what I really wanted to do with my life and I have decided to go back to school for Arts Administration. I want to be able to help others and I believe I can do that through art and creating a facility for people to express themselves. It turns out that North Carolina has programs for dance, theatre and music administration, but no visual arts programs! So, I went on a search and low and behold, they have a program like that at Grand Valley, my alma here is the next part of my story:

I was planning on starting the Masters of Public Administration program in the fall and have been working on an application for that. This decision has not changed, however it won't be in the Fall. In talking with the dean of the Public Admin program, we figured out what the best course of action would be for me because I don't have actual, professional experience, which is one of the requirements (unless you have an undergrad degree in PA). With that being said, I have re-enrolled in Grand Valley for the Fall of 2012 to take a few upper level undergraduate courses in the following: Leadership Dynamics, Public Administration, Grant Writing and Voluntarism & Nonprofit sector. These classes will give me the background that I do not have at the moment to have a fighting chance in the program. He said that I pretty much needed a 4.0 and I would have a shot at the MPA program. It has become a very competitive program and I am going to need time to show them that I am the best person to admit to the school.

So, this is what I am going to do. I plan on moving back to MI mid-may. I have a friend's place I can stay at in K-zoo for a few weeks, but I am planning on being in GR for all the summer art happenings and to do whatever I can to get myself familiar again with the GR scene! [:)] I have my job back catering and bar tending at the Gardens and my start date with them is June 1st. I also will be going back to blue lake for 5 days to help prepare the Art Colony for the summer program (with Heidi's approval, of course). I plan on diving into volunteering with every opportunity that comes across my lap. Then in the Fall, I will be starting classes again and working my butt off. I am determined to make this work. It is what I want to do, plain and simple. (ALSO, another really awesome thing, there is no record with GV that I ever moved out of state, so I will be getting in-state tuition!!!)

I'm really pumped and I can't wait to start this new chapter in my life back in Grand Rapids!!! Deep down, I've always known that I would end up back there...

Everything fell into place so seamlessly, that I know it is God's plan for me. I can't wait to be closer to family and friends and continue on in my journey.

Thanks for reading to the bottom! I'm sad to be leaving NC, but I'm really excited for what is in store for me!! 
Keep comin' back, because as you all know, I never stay in one spot for long  ;) 

AC out.