To my sounding board

To my sounding board –

Thank you.

Thank you for being the person that you are. We may not be the best of friends like we used to, but I know you’re still there.

Remember when we were in that place, though? Just friends up way too late laughing about nonsense? Texting constantly? We talked about the simple things, the funny things, the annoying things, the most random of things. You teased me, joking about how I drank way too much coffee. And I rebuttal, questioning the number of “risk behaviors” you partook in. I called you a dork and you agreed reluctantly, but swore me to secrecy: – Mr. “Too Cool” didn’t dare admit that. I could tell you whatever was on my mind. You made me laugh at myself. You told me that I needed to stop worrying, give myself some more credit, and be the fun version of me. Little did you know how hard I was trying.

We told each other everything, things that no one else knew. You were my sounding board, my dumping ground for the random thoughts that scattered my brain. But you didn’t know just how much I kept to myself, how much I left unsaid about the monsters in my mind.

Our friendship was easy. It was nothing complicated – until it was. You had me falling. Something about the way you made me smile even when I was so annoyed, or laugh when I really just wanted to crawl into bed and cry. I never told you that, though. But I fell, a little bit – well, more like I tripped or stumbled, but nonetheless it happened.

And so did you. But be both knew it wouldn’t work – we were just meant to be friends. Nothing more. And so came my awkwardness, the distance, the fading of feelings that once were at the front of my mind. Just like that – disintegrating.

And then I remembered what you helped me forget. I took three steps back as the monster of chemical imbalances returned to the forefront.

I spiraled so far into my own depths that I didn’t want to talk about what was going on with anyone. I didn’t want to admit how low I was. I didn’t want to think about how hard it was to get out of bed or focus on my assignments or put a smile on my face which once was so simple. The last thing I wanted was people’s pity or for anyone to question my strength or capabilities.

I should have told you then. I should have remembered that you were my sounding board. I should have talked about how unhappy I was and how much I didn’t like who I was. How hard I was trying, but could only bring myself to go through the motions. How nothing was working and I found myself feeling broken, constantly worrying, and struggling to understand where I belonged. I should have told you that, for the first time in my life, I didn’t want to be around people. That I had  never experienced feeling utterly alone. That I was filled with so much crippling doubt and thinking thoughts that never in my life I thought I was capable of having.

But I didn’t tell you. I didn’t say anything. I would say that I lost a friend, but that doesn’t do it justice. I lost the person that was helping me to change for the better. My own mind and self talk pushed me away from the one person that I would have talked to. Instead, I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t talk about it. I suppressed any and all emotions and kept going as was expected of me.

People started noticing that something was different. I was different. So I had to. I had to talk to someone.

That someone was you.

I reached out to you just asking if we could talk. And the moment I asked, I dreaded the conversation ahead. I knew we couldn’t go down this road. I was uneasy at the thought of admitting my struggles out loud. I retracted it, playing it off as if it was a joke – as if I was fine. But you said,

“Don’t be like that. Just tell me.”

So I started to. We were talking and I mean really talking. I vaguely said,

“I’m just not the kindest to myself. I don’t deserve it.”

That statement stood there in the stale air for what felt like centuries. There were no typing bubbles and was no quick response. No reassurance that I was fine.

I immediately took it back and said I didn’t want to bug you – after all, we weren’t close anymore.

But then you said,

“What do you mean? I thought we had the type of friendship where we could just talk about things even if we haven’t talked in a while. Just pick up where we left off, ya know?”.

And it was then that I knew. I didn’t lose a friend. I didn’t lose my sounding board. I turned my volume off, not giving you any sound to bounce off of. I was the quiet one. Not you. I didn’t allow you to know. I didn’t let you see that side of me, the side that I tried so hard to hide from everyone.

So thank you. Thank you for, even in my silence, teaching me more about myself and helping me to grow whether you realize it or not. Thank you for being the lovely, reliable, risk-taking, and dorky jackass that you are.



My Fairy Godmothers

I’ve been writing a lot lately.

It hasn’t been put out there for the rest of the world to see. I needed to write for myself. I’ve needed to let myself complain, process, whine, and stress while not necessarily always looking for a silver lining all the time. I needed to write to heal, not necessarily to teach.

All of the writing has gotten me thinking, though, and thinking in excessive amounts (cue many headaches). The more I think, the more I write and the more I write, the more I think. I’ve been questioning what it means to inspire, what it means to create a sense of community and trust, what it means to be there for someone else. I created this space for my own thoughts to be released into the abyss that we call the internet, and, yes, ideally wanted my words to reach others along the way, maybe even help them, motivate them, instill some kind of confidence in them – dare I say even inspire them?

But who am I to inspire someone else? I’m a 21 year old girliepop – nothing too special about that besides just being myself. So telling myself that I was going to write to inspire felt so fake. I’m not qualified to “inspire you”. I’ve been grasping at straws to even inspire myself a lot of the time these days. I’ve been pulling from so many different avenues to try to feel something within myself. I by no means am qualified to “inspire you”.

Instead, I reached out to the people that I cling to when I need help or love or comfort. It’s like they are the fairy godmothers of the past 21 years of my life. I asked the people in my life who inspire me for their advice, what they would say to someone to make them feel something, anything, what they would tell a younger version of themselves, what they will tell their children one day.

“You can’t truly know or love anything until you truly know and love yourself. I could go ON AND ON, as you know, but pretty much everything boils down to knowing and loving yourself.” – one of the wisest humans I know

“Comparing yourself to everyone else gets you about as far as you can throw a stone at a glass house. Life is much more enjoyable when you learn that beating yourself, your old self, is how you win in this world.” – the one who might surprise you

“Be kind to yourself. It’s not healthy to beat yourself up. Your best is good enough.” – the one who has been there for me

“Don’t sell yourself short. Follow what inspires you.” – the one who has helped me grow

“My mantra in life is ‘just be’. It has many meanings, but I struggle with falling into huge mind storms of negative self talk. Reminding myself to just be present, just be myself, and just be authentic really helps getting out of those moments of paralysis and doubt. There’s a quote I love and it says ‘No one is like you and that is your power’. Better things come if you just embrace everything that makes you unique.” – the one I admire

“Do what you want to do. Screw everyone else. Everyone else says you can’t. Or shouldn’t. Screw them. Screw all of them. Do what your heart tells you to and never look back.” – the one who calms me down

“Make yourself happy before you worry about making others happy” – the one who brings me back down to Earth

“Do not be afraid to be powerful. Do not be afraid to be seen. Use your empathy, your femininity and your emotion to move people. Do not let them move you. Take what once was seen as a flaw and prove it a strength. Prove them wrong.” – the one who brings out the best version of me

“The smallest action you take could have the biggest impact on someone else’s life.” – the youngin who is wise beyond his years

“Always be kinder than you feel.” – the one who brings me pure joy every single day

“Good things happen when you least expect it.” – the kindest person I know

“Regret is the biggest learning tool. Don’t regret a decision you made in your past. Use the knowledge you have gained to become a better person in the future.” – my rock

“Do what you want to now and love fiercely, don’t hold back. My go to quote is ‘you don’t have to be facing death to align your life with your heart’ aka do what you want now because life is short.” – the one I know will always be there

“Don’t give too much of yourself away. Be genuine, care for other people, but don’t let other people’s lives or situations effect you regardless of your relationship with them because ultimately your happiness with yourself takes priority.” – the strongest person I know

“1. Don’t take anything for granted. 2. Never go to bed angry. 3. Love only a few but with all your heart.” – the one who keeps me young

“Instead of worrying and dwelling on mistakes you’ve made, whether they be big or small, learn from them and don’t let them rule you’re life with regret.” – the one whose quirks compliment mine

“The best advice I’ve ever gotten was from my mom when she was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors said she had a 4% chance of surviving. She could have been so angry at the world, but she told me one day, her impressionable 10 year old daughter, that ‘you can’t change the cards you’re dealt – you can only change how you play the hand.’ You can’t control what life gives you, but you can control how you deal with what it does.” – the one I look up to more than she knows

“Take compliments and internalize them. When someone tells you that you’re smart or pretty, don’t shrug it off, but try to think that about yourself.” – the one who showed me a true and constant girl gang

“Be confident and proud of who you are, but also be open to criticism and willing to change for the better.” – the one who hears the music with me

“The world won’t always hold your hand, so you better learn how to stand on your own two feet.” – the one who makes me laugh

“Be curious. Ask questions about your past and your family. Ask challenging questions to your friends.” – the one who first taught me what a best friend is

“Take peoples’ opinions with a grain of salt. A lot of times other people will try to tell you how to live your life and that you’re doing things wrong. It’s important to listen to yourself above all else and do what you love. You don’t always have to take someone else’s advice. It is always good to have people around you who can give constructive feedback, but they are not always right and they are not always honest.” – the one I couldn’t imagine my life without

“Surround yourself with people who make you feel loved, and do the things that you love as often as you can.” – the most talented human I know

“You only have control on your actions, not what other people say or do, so there is no point in wasting your time caring what others think. You are always the one there to pick yourself back up, which means you are always stronger than you think, so don’t doubt or underestimate that. At the end of the day, just be nice to yourself.” – the one who truly understands always

“‘If you love life, it will love you right back’ is definitely my main mantra. We all go through stuff, but if you exert good energy into the world, it will bounce right back to you. If you’re enjoying your life and experiencing it to your fullest capacity no matter the circumstances, you will reap the benefits!” – the one I want to know better

“‘There is a crack in everything, that’s how light gets in’…because our experiences define us and sometimes we need to experience the horrible things in life to truly appreciate the good things.” – the one who has the most beautiful way with words

“Literally every moment that feels like the end of the world is not. You will always keep moving and if you feel like you can’t, you still always find a way to because everyone is a fighter inside despite what they may think at the time” – the one with the biggest heart

“To put it concisely, the one thing I know for sure is that things never stay the same. Some people can deal with it – I can’t. But it’s okay because change will happen anyway. And no matter how many times change ends up being bad, there are times where it ends up being good. And either way, you have to deal with it.” – the one I opened up to

“This life is a P R O C E S S. You will never be done, with learning, or growing, or becoming the person you want to be. Focus on the journey. It can be beautiful and so wonderful.” – the one who pushes me to be a better person

I keep reading these thoughts over time and time again. I felt, and still feel, so lucky to have all of these humans in my life. My fairy godmothers. It’s a reminder that I’m not alone. They are here for me, just as there are so many humans out there and here for you. I am here for you. Be kind to yourself. Sprinkle around some fairy dust.:)





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