Check Mate

Am I just a box that you need to check? Am I just something to say you’ve done and then you just continue down your to-do list? Am I a task that you’ve completed today and now can move on from? Is that really what I am?

I hate that these are thoughts that are running through my head. I really, really do. But I can’t control them. They are not necessarily prompted by one person, so don’t worry, this isn’t going to call you out. But girls do it. Guys do it. Friends do it. Acquaintances do it. As much as I hate it, other people’s actions and thoughts have been influencing my general mood. They have been influencing how I feel about what is going on in the world around me and how I feel about myself within that world. The nuances of how people interact, between myself, strangers, friends, professors, the best baristas (you catch my drift), has been in the forefront of my mind. And the way that people interact with one another, and the “purposes” for each interaction, can be kind of unsettling.

Anyone who knows me would dispute this whole form of self thought right now, but here we go.

“But people like you,” they’d say.

“People pay attention to you,” they’d assure me.

“People think you’re a good person. People want you to open up to them and get to know you.”

Sounds like the start to solid friendships or relationships, right? It would be, well, it could be, except for one trend. Except for how when people get what they want from me, regardless of what that end goal is, they drop off. Like see ya. Sayonara. I’m walked over, used, and left to figure it out on my own. Left questioning what it was about me that screwed up and what I need to improve about myself to avoid that happening again. What threw someone else off, what made me awkward or uncomfortable to be around and why I am the way I am. Sounds dramatic, I know, but is it really dramatic if that’s my internal monologue?

But you know what, no…

There isn’t something about me that needs to change. It’s not fair for someone else, regardless of how relevant or not they are to my life, to make me feel like a bullet point on a to do list. I’m not a box that needs to be checked off and moved on from. I’m not someone to be crossed off a list once I’m won over, not someone to be walked over or used for my “purpose” and pushed to the side.

But that’s how it feels. Once I allow my feelings to show, even the tiniest bit and I become honest or open, people check me off as a challenge completed, a task done. As soon as I put down any wall or allow myself to just maybe feel anything, that that’s enough to make someone feel accomplished. With “friends” that’s harder to come to terms with. Once someone gets what they think I can offer them, they check me off their list. I’m “beneficial” for one thing or another.

I know that not all people are like this. I know that most people are not this harsh or rude or this negative. But even to be treated like this by one or two people really devalues how I feel about myself as a human. It would do that for anyone. It reinforces the negative feelings that I have toward myself which is unfair. The reality is that it’s human nature to care what people think about you and to want to please them. It is natural to take what other people think into consideration. The issue is when it becomes that those opinions are how you feel about yourself.

I think this is why I might put up so many walls. This might be why I don’t allow myself to “feel feels”. I don’t allow myself to open up because of this…this pattern. I know that feelings are human, but how can something that is supposed to be so natural be so hurtful to the person that I am? How can it make me feel so genuinely crappy if it’s something that I’m just “supposed to have”?

Be considerate as to how you treat people. Don’t just use someone for one thing or another. Those are real people with real feelings and to treat someone like they are just a task or something “completed” is not fair to that person or to yourself. But also, be open to letting people know how you feel. Even though I may not be at that place, I encourage you to try. Be vulnerable. Let yourself recognize your feelings.

DO be kind.

DO be considerate.

DO be the best version of yourself and find what makes you happy. 🙂




Mending the Sky

Well, this is the first time that I’ve taken pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) for this type of expression in a while. It also marks nearly a month since I flew home after being abroad for nearly two months. This summer was the UD Chorale World Tour 2017 We Can Mend the Sky. And we did just that. It was hard to keep up with my writing while so distracted by not only the music, but friends, adventures, nights out, days rehearsing, performances, shwarma pizza, lavender fields, and taking in each and every experience possible in that short time.

Now I did say that the tour was called We Can Mend the Sky. Sounds cheesy, right. Especially since it was the name of a song that we had been singing all year, a song that this group of people (that I honestly could never replace) knew inside and out and internalized well before this experience, or so I thought. But, I can truly say that I didn’t really know the weight of the song until one of our performances in Israel. And with each performance after, there was more meaning attached to the text and melody alike. Without conversations with both strangers and those that I thought I knew, eye opening experiences to cultures other than my own, and even the simple interactions that transpired, I would never have truly understood the song’s power. I mean it was capable of bringing nearly all of us to tears after we had sung it one hundred over – that has to mean something, right?

…mending the sky…

Personally, I remember sitting around in our hostel in Israel while so many people were gushing about how life changing everything was so far after being abroad for only a week and thinking to myself,

“How am I supposed to ‘mend the sky’ if I can’t even mend myself?”

I sit around trying to promote positivity and healthy self-talk and self-love, but the truth is, I’m just as cracked as anyone else. I was doubting my abilities to help anyone or be a liaison to the world around me as I was told I was because I couldn’t even fix my imperfections or the things that I have so much anxiety about in my own life. I couldn’t  make myself happy at the snap of my fingers. I couldn’t isolate what was making me upset. I couldn’t understand why the past year had been so taxing for me,  so hard to talk to anyone about – even those closest. How in God’s name was I going to mend the sky? Fix the problems? Make any form of a difference – even the smallest difference – on strangers or people i knew?

…mending the sky…

In the world as a whole and on a personal level, it sounds like a crazy task. Sounds like something only the exceptional can do. Sounds like something that I definitely am not capable of.

The secret though, is that it really isn’t that crazy. Mending the entire sky, yeah, that’s going to take a lot of work. A lot of people. A lot of kindness. A lot of love. But when people come together to do something that they love, create something beautiful, talk to strangers, experience the world, display happiness – it doesn’t seem so hard. The positivity and impact are almost…simple.

I’m not going to sit here and say that the two months away were easy by any means. I can’t do that truthfully. Tour was overwhelming in both positive and challenging ways as was just being abroad in general. There were times when I wanted to just sit down at home with my family for an early dinner at 5 pm followed by a Rita’s run with my sister or wake up in the morning to find a note from my mom saying that she went to a tennis drill and would be home in an hour or come downstairs at night to see my dad sitting on the couch watching Antiques Roadshow or American Pickers. There were times when I struggled to learn music, felt that my efforts weren’t really helping anything, prayed that I wasn’t being too irritating to my friends – looking back pretty typical stuff. And at the end of the day, I wouldn’t have traded this experience or any aspect of it for anything else. I grew to know the people that I had been singing with and sitting in classes with and saying hi to for the past year so much better. I felt comfortable talking to anyone in the room around me. I learned so much about myself and can recognize the ways that I have changed. I can see how positivity from others influenced me and impacted me so strongly. I understand how each person has an impact in the world around them and how each action has a reaction. And how we all have a purpose. It sounds cheesy, I know, but it’s the truth.

To be honest, I’m not 100% sure where this is going nor was I when I started writing. I know I’m going to question where my train of thought was when I was writing this and why my thoughts were so scattered from one thing to the next. But I do know that these are all things that need to be said.

Because the thing is ‘if we come together, we can mend a crack in the sky’.

I’m glad you’re alive.

xoxo leigh



Uniquely Perfect Human

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I haven’t written here in a while. It’s been a pretty busy time for everyone these days, but for me I needed a personal hiatus from sharing my thoughts. And then today happened. Honestly, it’s been a great day. But as I was sitting drinking my coffee and being productive (so proud that I wasn’t just scrolling through instagram), a wave of anxiety ran over me. I got up from where I was sitting, walked around campus, and called my mom (the best medicine, obviously). It made me realize how closed off I’ve been with the people around me and myself lately.

It’s easy to be closed off. It’s easy to pretend like all is okay and that your life is swell and that things come easily. It’s harder to admit your weaknesses and, not only to recognize them in yourself, but to accept them.

In the past few months, accepting my weaknesses has been a goal. I literally have a checklist in my bullet journal (OCD, I know) that includes things I need to do every morning and one of them is just that: self-love. Like many people these days, acknowledging the things that you love about yourself can be difficult, especially with there being so many things that we are supposed to be doing all the time. Life can get in the way of focusing on the most important things, sometimes. For me, it’s accepting myself for who I am, including the body that I have, the emotions that can make my head spin (both in good and not so good ways), and recognizing that I’m not going to be good at everything — and all of that is okay. Granted, I haven’t mastered this self-love thing just yet and I don’t think I fully will for a while. It takes time and effort. I get annoyed with myself when my mind fills with anxiety and it compromises my abilities. I am not super accepting of those moments when I can’t put forth 110% of my efforts. I don’t like when I make mistakes. I don’t always love what I see when I look in the mirror. Yes, these are all things that I’m not good at, but I’m trying to work on them. Honestly, just accepting where I am in the process is good enough. Accepting that this will take time is good enough.

There are some things that you just can’t bear to muster out to anyone else. I get that. There are some things that some people, no matter how much you want to tell them, will just never know about you. Some things you keep to yourself. I know I have my things. There are a few things that I barely admit to myself, but it’s those things that help me build a stronger relationship with myself. Once you can accept the things about you that you don’t want to tell others — that only you know — you grow stronger with your self relationship.

People don’t know everything about my story. That isn’t because I don’t trust them, have faith in them, or love them. But because it’s so difficult for me to tell someone everything. I struggle telling myself. For God’s sake I took a break from writing to take a break from my own thoughts. Instead of believing in the voices of shame, love yourself for those things that you make you feel a little lesser than.

Accept yourself for all of your flaws and try to love yourself as much as you can. As soon as you accept that you aren’t perfect, that your flaws are actually what make you lovely, you will feel more at peace and ease with the uniquely perfect human that you are.

xoxo leigh



A Night

I’m not one to want to discuss my story. I have made that very clear with the purpose of this blog. In my opinion, I should be able to write out the solutions and lessons that I learn and that should be enough to make myself feel more confident and better about whatever situation is happening.

Tonight is different. I am not exactly sure why, but it is. Something about it has come over me, and I don’t know how to make a lesson of it. I don’t know what the moral of the story is. So instead, I’m going to just say what’s on my mind.

I’m having a night. All of a sudden a huge wave of anxiety ran over me when I was sitting at work. Nothing in particular happened to spark it, but all of a sudden, I felt like I was crashing. I felt like my mind was racing from story to story but not understanding any of the plots along the way. I felt like I couldn’t understand what I was thinking. I felt anxious, uncomfortable, agitated, and more alone than I have felt in a long time. My stomach was turning in knots until I started to feel sick. These waves of uncertainty don’t happen too often, but when they do, the most agitating part is that I don’t know what brings them on. I don’t know the solution. I don’t know the answers.

I don’t like not knowing what to do. I don’t like not feeling in control of my situations. Yet I let those feelings affect me today.

I know I’m not alone. There is comfort in that. And you should know that no matter what you are going through, you are not alone either. No matter what your journey is, there is someone walking along side you, whether you know them or not. Take comfort in that. There is comfort in being able to admit to someone, even if I’m only typing it out onto the vast internet, that I’m not always okay. You don’t have to be okay for every second. But believe me, somehow you will be. You are not alone.

The Difference

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I want to make a difference.

That’s really all that I want. It seems easy to say that. I wrote it, didn’t I? It can happen.

I decided what I want to do with my life because I want to make this difference. When deciding what I want to study and what I want to do with my life, the most important thing to me was that I would impact other people. That I would have a positive impact on others, no matter how small. That I would be able to go home at the end of every day and know that I have done something that eventually will lead to good in the world.

But I’m finding that making a difference in someone else’s life isn’t really what I want. It’s the people that I think I will eventually help that are making a difference in my life. I’m not really making a difference in anyone’s life, but instead they are making a difference in mine. They are helping me grow and understand my purpose. It’s almost as if I’m being validated that my life has a purpose of some kind or has meaning beyond what I can imagine.

By helping someone, that person really helps me. This seems sappy, yes, but it’s true. We all want to lead the best lives we can. And to do that, I encourage you to take time to see how other people help you and to help the people around you. Don’t take one interaction for granted, but realize how every conversation, every text message, and every acknowledging smile, makes a difference in your life, no matter how small. By trying to make someone else smile, it may help you do the same.

Be someone that you would want to look up to and turn to. Be someone who wants to make a difference. By doing this, you’ll make a difference in yourself and that’s the most important thing.

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Gandhi

Faith In You

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Faith is “complete confidence or trust in someone or something”.

Believing in something can be rewarding and powerful. Just knowing that you are not alone can help you through. Someone else or some other existential being is in charge of your path. Your journey is not dictated by what you want at any given time, but instead is planned out for you in advance.

But searching for that faith can be more challenging. Believe me, I know. There are days when you don’t think you can find that strength or realize the hope that is there. But on those days, find the faith to be ok. Find the faith to hold on to yourself. Find the faith to push through the surface. Find the faith to remember your strength and the person that you are. That ok day will become better.

I have faith in you. I have faith in me. I have faith in our abilities to make it through. You are a strong individual and if you look toward your personal faith: whether it be in yourself, in a higher power, in your love for friends and family, or anywhere else, you will find that strength to be closer to the surface than you expected.

Have faith in you because I do.



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There is something comforting about being home. Maybe it’s the fact that I know when the traffic is going to be at its worst. Or maybe how I know when downtown is going to be insanely clustered with tourists. Or how it’s second nature driving down one winding road to the next. Or how I know when Starbucks is going to be empty and have room for my thoughts and me.

Or maybe it’s just how I know this place influenced me.

It influenced the person that is writing this.

It reminds me of where it started and where I grew up. It reminds me of the good and the bad and how i got through. It helps me remember the people that I love and the amazing friends that I made.It helped me mold myself into someone that one day I want to be proud of.

Look at your home. Maybe you love it. Maybe that home, that town, and those people make up your favorite place. But maybe it doesn’t. Maybe you don’t love it. Maybe you want to leave as so many people in my high school did. Maybe it isn’t everything like is written in a fairytale about how your home is supposed to be. But keep in mind that it shaped you. You’re strong and that is because of where you came from. It’s because of that street that you grew up biking up and down, that room that you cluttered with posters, that school that, at times, felt like torture, and that road that you drove down endlessly blasting music with the windows down. It’s because of all of that.

Never forget where you came from. Don’t forget the place or places that made you who you are and helped you get where you are now. The little things and the small places may seem like nuances, but they do add up to something. They add up to where you end up.