This summer has been one I hope to never forget, for good and bad reasons, but we’re going to focus on the good (to summarize the bad: health issues, financial aid issues, awkward encounters). The chorus of “Good Old Days” by Macklemore & Kesha (which I totally recommend you listen to) perfectly describes my summer… even with a full time job.
Something I’m so happy I did this summer was learn a lot about myself. This really came to light with any conversation I had with my grandparents, especially when I got frustrated or was super moody. One thing I’ve learned about myself is I use my age as an excuse and a reason, if that makes any sense. When I don’t know anything or how to handle a situation, I say, “I’m only nineteen,” and when I want to be able to do something or prove I can handle something, I say, “I’m nineteen.” Another thing I learned is I have to recognize and own my weaknesses, so I can fix them. One of my weaknesses is my genetics; I’m literally having to fight characteristics passed down through my DNA, and it’s very hard and frustrating. Sometimes I have to fight hard emotional and mental battles because of the characteristics passed down to me. I feel absolutely horrible every time that part of me shows; being the super emotional person I am, I cry every time. I can’t go into too much detail right now, but I promise everything will come to light very soon.
On an even more positive note (because learning things about yourself and how you are viewed is a good thing), I have come to love my body again. A couple of years ago in February, I finally fell in love with myself– personality wise (minus the aforementioned characteristics in my DNA; I hope this is all making sense). However, I haven’t really loved my body since I played soccer, which was quite some time ago. I’ve never really felt comfortable in my skin (which is probably why some of the clothes I wear are a size or two too big); however I am ending this summer feeling comfortable as ever in my skin. I love my body; I think it is incredibly beautiful. It’s such a relieving feeling accepting your body and feeling comfortable in your own skin. A combination of exercising and being surrounded by tons of positivity has definitely played a part in my love. I took pictures of myself with my stomach sticking out as much as I could make it and me sucking it in when my abdominals were very freaking sore, and I love every single photo (minus the state of my hair and the face I’m making; I took these photos as soon as I woke up instead of putting in effort to actually look great).
This summer was also really good because of my job… well, the people who work there. I’ve made really cool new friends and acquaintances that I am a thousand percent sure I will never forget (especially since I’ll be back when fall semester ends). There were also some awkward moments at work that will probably never escape my mind (as much as I kind of want them to). Two of those awkward moments consist of me being caught dancing by customers. Once was by a group of three guys (who weren’t too bad on the eye), and the second time, the customer said I had nice dance moves (lie) and told me to “keep on dancing.” Another time, I kept running into the same customer and even helped him figure out what kind of moving boxes he needed. He needed to run to his car for something, and I almost backed into him; to make the moment more awkward, the customer literally said, “This is really awkward.” Then he came back and a couple of my coworkers made us both uncomfortable by teasing us about it; I definitely think I was more uncomfortable them him. It was so awkward and embarrassing; I wanted to be swallowed by a black hole. To end the entire situation, he came through my line, and while I went through the process of finishing the transaction, we made kind of weird, awkward conversation (I tried to make it as nonchalant as possible, but I was internally cringing). We literally talked about horror movies. The icing on the cake: he asked how to pronounce my name and shook my hand. That was it. You kind of had to be there to feel the awkwardness. Anyway, these awkward moments and the simple joy most of my coworkers bring me are things I will treasure for as long as I possibly can.
When I wasn’t working, I dived into different things, including TV shows and activities. I finished Volume 2 of Dear White People, which did not disappoint, and season one of Marlon, which provided the comedic relief I needed at times. I’m currently watching season one of All About the Washingtons and plan on watching season two of Riverdale next (even though I heard it was pretty bad). I also read The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, which is sooooo good. It’s an amazing book that I think EVERYONE should at least make an attempt of reading. It’s going to be a movie soon with Yara Shahidi, aka my favorite person ever, and I can’t wait to see it. Speaking of movies, I’ve watched a ton of movies and listened to lots of albums this summer; reviews on all of those are coming soon.
Besides the self improvement and wonderful job memories and media consumption, there were several memorable activities I took part in that made this summer even more incredible than I anticipated.
Vance Joy concert
I finally went to my first concert!!! It was so amazing, and I was so close to the stage. I was an obvious concert newb, but I still had the time of my life. Going to a concert for the first time is such a fantastic feeling, and I wouldn’t have been able to experience it without my friend Maria. Honestly, most of the stuff on this list I did with her, which makes this summer *that* much greater.
I ran (but mainly walked) a 6k, which is something I didn’t think I was capable of. It was a 6k to raise money for kids in need around the world. It was too good of a cause not to participate in the 6k (I try to give as much as I can), but doing any sort of physical activity out in the humid Tennessee heat was definitely a pain in my rear.
May 28th (Memorial Day)
Because I had more money than when I went the first time, I was able to do more. We watched the joust. I drank a really amazing (and slightly overpriced) strawberry banana smoothie. I threw axes, which was a totally hilarious fail. I did archery for the first time, which wasn’t as big of a fail as the axes; I definitely think that is a hobby I would like to pursue some time in the near future. We also toured the castle again. I made a fool of myself a couple of times (thanks to my loud mouth), but that’s nothing new. Next time I go, I’ll for sure dress up.
First day on the job
I was so lost and felt really nervous and anxious, and I was incredibly slow. Typical first day jitters, I suppose.
I wasn’t sure what subtitle to give this day, but I remember it so well and deemed it worthy of mentioning, even though nothing spectacular happened. My previously mentioned friend and I just hung out. We went to The Grilled Cheeserie, where I got my free milkshake since it was my birthday month. We also hung around at a park that had a really cool dragon sculpture that doubled as something for kids to play on. Later that night, we went to an Incredibles Double Feature, where both Incredibles 1 & 2 were played back to back. We also got a free cup and movie poster, which was a nice bonus because who doesn’t love free stuff? Also, if you haven’t seen Incredibles 2 yet, what are you doing? You need to see it as soon as possible.
Yep. I turned a year older, which is such a blessing; it was also Father’s Day. However, the thing that made the day great (besides it being my birthday and Father’s Day) is that I found out KJ Apa and I have the same birthday. The only other person I know with my exact same birthday (who isn’t dead) is a relative in my family; we’re “birthday buddies.”
I rehashed some old memories when I went to Maria’s house, and we tie-dyed together. I went for the crumpled tie-dye technique, and she did the spiral. We also watched a really boring movie together where the only good parts didn’t even happen to the main character.
This was such a jam packed but super tremendous day. Most, if not all, of our time was spent downtown. We went to the Frist Museum, an art museum here in Nashville. One of the main exhibits was closed because it was getting removed, so most of our time was spent in the “Chaos and Awe” exhibit. I also had to check in my backpack, which was an annoyance. Then we went to River on the Rooftop. Before the show started, The Vamps and Doug the Pug walked in front of me; I freaked out about it (mainly the pug because I love dogs too much) until the show started. I’m honestly surprised no one else saw them. Anyway, I heard The Vamps and Madison Beer’s performances, but I saw Alessia Cara. She was so great; the icing on the cake was she wore a Nashville shirt during her performance. Afterwards, we went to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. It was my first time eating any of her ice cream, and I got honey vanilla bean and coffee with cream & sugar, which was sooo delicious. I meant to sign up on their birthday list but totally forgot. To end the day, we went to see Won’t You be My Neighbor? I was an emotional mess during and after that movie. It was so incredibly beautiful and provided new light into the life of Mister Roger.
I went to see Ant-Man & The Wasp with my grandpa, which was great but isn’t exactly why the day was memorable. When we were buying our tickets, the lady at the ticket booth (who looked pretty young) asked me how old I was. That’s literally never happened to me before, and I didn’t know what to think of it. I guess I still look 12???
Last year I went to Ridgecrest for Black Church Week and was part of the Fuge camp. This year, I got to take part in the actual Black Church Week conference as an adult, and it was phenomenal. The entire week was amazing, and I especially loved having my cousin there with me as well as a more lenient schedule. My cousin is barely twelve, but she is one of my best friends; I hope that doesn’t change in the future. Anyway, a lot happened this year at Ridgecrest. Firstly, I ate a lot of chicken, and I’m still not the happiest about it because chicken is my absolute least favorite food (I would rather eat brussel sprouts or lobster). I went to three different sessions. The first one was titled “Why Her?” It was about women comparing themselves to other women and competing with other women. A lot of thought provoking stuff was said during that session, such as “The question isn’t ‘why her?’ It’s ‘why not me?'” Another thing the leader of that session said that’ll probably be implanted in my head for forever is “The generation after you reaps what you sow.” It’s something I’m starting to see in my life, and I try to keep it in mind with any decision I make. It was such an amazing session. The second one I went to was “The Single Life as God Intended” (or something along those lines). Being a single Pringle since forever, that was session I definitely needed. It was about the different stages we go through until we have accepted our singleness with content. The last session I went to “I Second That Emotion,” which was about the different amoral, “negative” emotions we feel and how we should handle them. I gained a lot of knowledge in that class and even admitted to wanting to commit suicide a few times in the past, which is the first time I’ve done that in front of a room full of people. I shed a few tears. Moving on, I attended a church service, Woman2Woman, and the women’s banquet (where the best thing to eat was the cheesecake). At Ridgecrest, I also ate a lot of coffee flavored ice cream. I hung out with my cousin at a couple of events they were having at the Fuge camp.
One activity I took part in (that I honestly wish I could do all the time) was zip line, and there was no sign of fear. It was a short line, but it was still super fun and something I never thought I would be able to do. Ridgecrest was just so incredibly fun, and I can’t wait to go back next year for year three.
Simple First Experiences
On this wonderful day, I ate Panera Bread and Menchies for the first time. This isn’t a huge deal, but I’ve literally always wanted to go to Panera Bread. I got a strawberry banana smoothie, a turkey bacon sandwich (don’t remember exactly what it’s called), and macaroni and cheese. Their mac and cheese is soooooo good. In fact, not even a week later, I went to Panera and only ordered mac and cheese. I also ate Menchies, which reminded me a lot of Sweet CiCis. Either way, it was really good too.
Unclaimed Baggage Center
Scottsboro, Alabama is the home of a semi-controversial shopping place, and I went to it and loved it. The Unclaimed Baggage Center is a place where people can buy other people’s lost/unclaimed items from their suitcases. It’s such a huge place with a small café in it and tons and tons of items. Honestly, I was incredibly overwhelmed with everything but really loved it.
There were tons of unused items and clothing pieces that still had tags. I tried on twenty-four items but only walked away with two; both of the items still had tags and were from Boohoo. I also got a pair of work sneakers and a few pairs of earrings. Many people don’t like the baggage center because of the concept of selling other people’s items, but they did a live demonstration about the process they go through; I also watched a video about it.
To be completely honest, Kentucky Kingdom wasn’t amazing, but the people I went with (my aunt, cousin, and cousin’s friend) made it super fun and hilarious and memorable. I went on quite a few water rides at Hurricane Bay and went on one roller coaster twice in a row. One of the rides at Hurricane Bay had a lot of drops but was suuuper fun.
However, I talked to quite a few staff members, and they weren’t exactly the nicest. Also, it was predicted to rain at 4pm, and they started shutting down all the food stands at 2:45pm; some employees were cleaning the windows, which kind of didn’t make sense since it was about to rain. They also shut down some of the rides but not all of them, which also didn’t make a bunch of sense. That whole situation kind of killed the vibe but didn’t ruin the fun I was having with my family (if that makes sense).
Also, another reason why this day was memorable (this might be a little tmi) is because I used a tampon for the first time… and I kind of liked it. It’s not a big deal, but I’ve always been a pad person. I never thought I would use a tampon, but the day came.
Madam Tussauds- Nashville
I went to a Madam Tussauds wax museum in New York and LOVED IT, and I was ecstatic when Maria and I went to the one they opened in Nashville. Since there weren’t as many people there compared to the time I went in New York, it was a lot more fun and enjoyable. There were also more interactive components, such as karaoke and instruments to play. The plan was to play mini golf afterwards, but A) it was way too freaking hot outside and B) we spent longer in the museum than anticipated (because it was just that fun).
Preaching the Word
I spoke at graduation on May 20, 2017 and thought that would be the last time I spoke in front of a large crowd until I took public speaking in college (which I have to do this semester). However, I delivered a message/said a sermon/preached/whatever the correct term is at my grandfather’s church (which is also the church I regularly attend) on this day. I was nervous before, during, and after my message and literally almost peed my pants on stage because I was so freaking scared. My message, titled “Distinguishing Good Company in a Corrupt World,” was geared towards the youth and young adults at my church; the focal verse for it was 1 Corinthians 15:33 (Christian Standard Bible version). It was about surrounding yourself with good people because we are influenced by the people we choose to surround ourselves with, and it discussed the difference between good and bad parents, friends, and church members. I spoke about God being the greatest company of all, and as youth, He should always be in our circle (right in the center). That’s just a brief summary of it; I actually didn’t get to say everything I wanted when it came time to deliver the actual message, but it’s already done.
One of my favorite humans and I will take a two-day trip to Cincinnati, Ohio as a final “hoo rah!”
More to come.