may.

And just like that, I’m done.

When I say done, I mean primarily done with school. Exams have come and gone and BOY am I so thankful for that. This year kicked my ass (in a great way) and I’m ready for a new perspective, especially this summer.

I’m now toggling between life at home and packing up an apartment and it’s been pretty fun so far.

You don’t really realize how stressed you’ve been until all of it is lifted almost entirely at once. Sure, it hasn’t completely gone away, and there are a new genre of stressors to worry about (all the prep for going out of the country, etc.), but for some reason these are *insanely* preferable that those of academia.

read/reading // Finishing Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey, one of my all time faves. For a time that requires energized focus now more than ever, this book is getting me back on track.

writing // down my packing list. And trying to come up with a reasonable plan for what this space will hold in the coming months.

learning // that it isn’t going to be 100% all the time. You can’t be on all the time, you can’t be hot *all the time*, you can’t expect perfection. Sure, there are spikes of highs and lows, but what’s important is to be ever cognizant of where you are and how you’ll connect your current step to the next, and how you can do the best you can with what ya have (:

doing / working on //

  • packing! [my life up at school and bringing it back home, then from home for abroad]
  • doing design for an upcoming conference in October about teaching learning technologies!
  • PACKING for my STUDY ABROAD IN IRELAND THIS YEAR!! 😁😁😁🎉🍀
  • Going outside more and trying to be healthy
  • shaping up my portfolio
  • Recording instrumentation and vocals for the first time ever in studio for a university project [!!] I was able to work with such talented, committed people and I am so proud of the work they put forth and how it turned out!

eating // too much gelato [can’t complain!] Not enough actually healthy things. Can’t wait to get back into the flow of things before I ship out, cuz we all know that Europe may not put on the Euros but will put on the pounds *weak laughter*

drinking // yikes  Not enough water! Again! Wow! Surprise!, Peach (and lime) daiquiris, milk, and my favorite local mochas (((:

listening // to a whole host of things! Please see below: [*Disclaimer: I put the new Taylor/Brendon song on here almost ironically, let me know what y’all think, but it’s just too gosh darn catchy and I don’t know what to do now that it’s in my consciousness]

being inspired // by the weather, the art my friends are creating, and travel blogs [!!!]. Also by the athletic/fitness ventures of some of my people ^_^

laughing // at the weirdest videos I used to make as a kid.. just last night my best friend and I found some really OLD shit that I had created [for school and otherwise] and WOW what a trip down memory lane HAH.

thinking // that “life is far too simple to be complicated”. So I’m thinking that I need to simplify more. De-clutter. Drink more water. Eat less complicated things. Spend less time on social media. Not let people unworthy of your time live rent-free in one’s head. The usual. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

trying // get down to it! To re-align the goals, and focus on the positives ahead. There is so *so* much bounty right in front of me! Why let the past creep up all obnoxious-like if it’s just gonna be is detrimental to growth, to seeing the bigger and better that is the here and now [huh crazy]? And with a whole summer program and senior year ahead??

Come on Lily, get your head out of your ass.

We ain’t got time for that.

There’s a line straight out of the Compline prayer that has traversed my lips countless times:

It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be.

It’s like John Lennon stepped into the book of common prayer y’all and slapped some sense into the evening meditation, whispering words of wisdom:

We’ve been there. We know what we know. We saw the warning signs.

We know the patterns that will likely follow (sending prayers in advance), where the line of tolerance is, where facades of character broke down, what better looks like, and the better that lies ahead, and what we need to get *done*.

Letting it be is peace.

Letting it be is freedom.

hoping // to have the time and patience to amend my taxes, finish some leftover coursework, get some more time in outside running, get back into a blogging regimen and spend more time in the sunshine (:

loving // this somewhat consistent warm weather, the absence of academic deadlines [!!!] I’ve been able to run a lot lately and it feels. So. Good!!

praying // for my friends and family, for those who are in transition right now, for those going through a tough time, for safety as I embark on these next few weeks, for patience, for those watching, for motivation and a renewed sense of purpose, for tact, and for resilience.

Here we go, May. 

Damn, I’m excited.

xx

imposter.

It feels fake.

It’s funny— I just watched the respective parts of the Tati/James Charles stuff and it left me mentally and emotionally exhausted on their behalf.

And I just got to thinking about loyalty, respect, reputations, expectations, kindness, etc.

More importantly I got to thinking about what I want for myself in all of that.

I was lucky to have left my phone at home all of yesterday while I enjoyed Mother’s Day with my favourite people. There was a lot of clarity, heightened sensation, and just an overall sense of calm I hadn’t felt in a while.

Stark contrast with this morning, which featured me basking over my feed of my personal grids, featuring highlights and moments I’ve captured since the fall and beyond.

I look at past photos centralized around scapes, food, people and animals

And compare what was, with what seems to be, and what is

And it makes me disappointed.

To know that I felt like I was compensating

For not “being enough”

For not “offering enough”

For not “having enough value to pursue”

For not being the sweet end of some transactional deal and feeling a pressure to be “okay” with transgressions towards me that I know will probably just repeat themselves down the line, toward someone else.

And so my posts, I feel, have gravitated towards myself, my appearance, etc.

Vain, self-centered, overfiltered, disgusting. You can’t win.

Part of it, I tell myself, is that I went so long neglecting myself for others, and only now am I emerging from behind the camera.

Part of it, I partially want to admit, is part of an unabashed, grand, flex-scheme, like something out of Legally Blonde.

Part of it, I inwardly fear, is that I have taken on a new obsession with a desire to “prove myself” [something I very clearly do not have to do but feel like defaulting to anyways].

But all of it—I know—is all wrapped up in a burning desire to move forward, full force, full speed ahead.

I feel it tug on my conscience every day.

Why, oh why, am I so wrapped up in a mess of square by squares that do nothing but enable FOMO, provoke comparison, and steal joy, all wrapped in hits of serotonin and a need to feel seen?

Great question.

It’s social media not antisocial media.

And yet, sometimes I feel like it’s nothing but the latter.

…But.

When I re-examine, once I’ve dropped my temporary, overt pessimism, I see a host of memories, a collage of moments so near as dear to me that having them all in one place to peruse through from time to time fills me with so much love for the things and people and memories I’ve been able to accumulate in my time here, none of which are forced into an aesthetic “theme”— rather, raging with vibrancy and color, to mirror how I perceive them.

And I want to hold on to that.

But the other thoughts loom, still.

I guess it’s just a matter of finding a balance of the two.

Honesty Hour: Free of Filter

Hi guys. So I’m thinking I may do this feature… just because let’s be real, the world does need more honesty.  I’m… feeling that more than ever.
A few minutes ago I watched this video of a makeup tutorial… but it was so much more than that.  I personally am not much for makeup tutorials, mostly because I don’t have time for such extensive makeup in my daily life… nor do I find it that interesting to watch other people do it… but this one was different.  (I’ll give a shout-out to VICKYLOGAN, you can check out her YouTube channel here) The vlogger, Vicky, touched on a ton of topics during a “get ready with me” vid, (which you can watch here) But I just got to thinking about some of the things she said about confidence, society’s expectations, loving yourself, and imperfections. She starts the video tutorial with no make up on at all and I have to say… I appreciated that so much.  To see someone in their natural beauty, to see that not all people are somehow china dolls all the time, to see that someone is comfortable in their skin and that they only pop into another one out of personal preference and not pressure or obligation….. It was inspiring.
And she’s totally right about the fact that our imperfections make us…well, us. And that “perfect” isn’t, and should never be, a standard.
So where am I going with this?
To be honest (ha, get it? Cuz it’s honesty hour) I don’t really know. All I can say is that I have felt myself… get caught up in all of it.  It’s so easy to just hop on Snapchat, or Instagram or Twitter or Facebook, see the filtered snapshots of the seemingly perfect lives of others and just feel really, really down about yourself. Or, to just go out there and make you want to be like someone else, or someone you’re not. And, once you do feel that push to go out and completely change yourself… once you have, maybe, what you feel like has been “for the better”.. You can’t help but blast it out there for others to see.  The pictures flow, freely, leaking out to all the platforms screaming “hey! I’m normal!” or “hey! I’m cool!” or “hey I look good!” “wow I’m stylish” “wow I’m this” “I’m healthy” “I’m happy” “I’m in love”…
It all builds up.  To the point where it’s a bit much.  It’s hard to know what any followers think… They’re judging only on pictures.  Your analysis becomes geared towards likes, follows, and favorites. And your perceptions of reality are, well, filtered.
Why is social media such a monster sometimes? Does anyone else feel like it has robbed their soul in one way or another?
I do.
I have to admit, I love Instagram.  The pictures are so pretty and I like how they’re perfect squares and how the feed can be so colorful sometimes… But what I don’t like is that it’s so unrealistic at times. There’s a level of superficiality that comes out and just takes hold and makes it reaaaally easy to compare yourself to other people…

I used to hate “selfies” with a passion… (Just the word makes me cringe…still..) My first reaction is that it was kind of a vain thing to do.  But what do I say now when I post them myself? And even more, when the filters are just piled on?

I compare my older pictures with some from now… they’re different.

And somehow, in one way or another, they’re tailored to other people.  Which shouldn’t be the case.
Why do people seek perfection? Call it artsy or whatever with all the filters (though I can’t judge because I love filters because they can twist a photo so many different ways) but life isn’t… filtered.
And I think you can eventually become addicted. Not just to the platforms, but the content and the content posted to said platform.

I say this, because I think I am.

As much as I don’t wanna be like “oh, I’m addicted I need to stop…” When it gets in the way of my productivity or when it just starts to change your views on things just a bit… it’s a bit much.

That being said… while I don’t wanna take a hard-core hiatus (though that’d probably be a good idea with all of my unproductive-ness as of late) I do want to try something.
Similar to my waaaaaaay long ago post about going “Unmasked” for 3 weeks or so, I’m gonna go unfiltered.  All posts, no matter where, will be free of a filter  Just to gain an appreciation those things that do not need a filter.  Friends, family, nature, and importantly, yourself.
Like Vicky says, everyone has something or some things they don’t like about themselves.  But the crucial part is learning to live with them, embracing them and being aware of them. Because like she says

“…All of that [makeup, clothes hair, imperfections etc.]… at the end of the day, it don’t matter because we all go to sleep in the dark. …Well, most of us– some of us use night-lights…. But when it’s dark and no body sees you… Do you love you?” ~Vicky

She’s very funny and down to earth, I highly recommend her channel.

So, my friends! Head out into this filtered world and just rip the filter off.  Love you, what is raw, what is real, what is most important to you… And I shall do the same. Again, I’m not hating on filters or anything, I just… sometimes I wanna view the world without one for a while.  To keep it in check.

And you’re invited, too! Feel absolutely free to follow me on my unfiltered journey and join me in my #freeoffilter endeavors: @stephaniesaysxo on Instagram & Twitter.

Love always,
Steph xoxo