When I Was 16

When I was 16

I went to a lavender farm.

The whole field was purple

and swarming with bees

and the scent enveloped me

in the most irresistible calm

I’d ever felt.

Now I try to bring that feeling home with me.

I put the purple flowers in the vase

on my windowsill,

I diffuse oil,

I imagine myself

walking through that field.

It’s never quite the same.

When I was 16

I took my first pilates class.

The instructor’s voice

was almost hypnotic

and the ceiling fan

was pushing waves of air over me

like some sort of great relief,

like all of my bad energy

was being washed away

and I suddenly understood why

there were people who believed

in the possibility of achieving enlightenment.

I don’t enjoy workout classes the way that I used to,

maybe I just haven’t found the right one.

I still sleep with my ceiling fan on

whenever I have access to one.

It doesn’t help me fall asleep

the way that it used to.

When I was 16

I thought my ten year plan

was a sure thing because

I’d written it in pen.

That confidence in the future

isn’t really something I go looking for anymore.

I know I’m going to look back on 22

and wish I could find some part of myself

that I left here, I just really can’t imagine

what part that is.

-EKJ

 

27 Things I love About My Sister

I’m lucky enough to call my sisters my best friends. They’re two of the most important people in my life. Obviously, I love so many things about them, so when it comes time to celebrate either one of them I take full advantage of the opportunity.

As it so happens, my beautiful, brilliant, sweet, successful, perfect sister Hannah is turning 27 today and I felt like a proclamation of my love for her was not only appropriate, but completely necessary.

With out further ado, here are 27 things I love about my sister:

  1. The way she does her hair
  2. How supportive she is of everything I do
  3. That she’s thinks I’m cool, even when I’m not that cool
  4. That she told her friends I’m cool, which was really cool of her
  5. She likes learning new things and is extremely knowledgable
  6. If I really like a book I can talk to her about it because she’s probably read it
  7. She’s really good at engaging with the people she’s around, and sets such a good example of how I could be interacting with others
  8. When I’m stressed out about something, she knows the kind of advice that I need
  9. When she was in fifth grade and I was in first she gave up her lunches to me almost everyday because I would forget mine. She’s done so much for me that I will be eternally grateful for
  10. We can sit on the phone together for two hours and not run out of things to say
  11. That I talk to her more than I talk to anyone else, even though we live far apart and both have our own lives going on
  12. She understands the things that I’m going through, because she’s gone through them too
  13. We get annoyed at the same things so I never have to feel like I’m going crazy over something that doesn’t matter
  14. I’ve always had someone to look up to because she is the best role model
  15. She always makes time for the people in her life, which I am lucky to be apart of
  16. I can borrow from her closet when I’m  with her
  17. She’s the one I go to for style advice
  18. She helped me paint the canvases on my walls
  19. She is one of the wittiest people I know
  20. She takes my opinion seriously
  21. People can tell us we look like twins
  22. I receive an OOTD from her every morning
  23. The way she presents herself as smart, pretty, and friendly all at the same time (honestly, it’s so impressive)
  24. The way she can make me feel better when I’m really down
  25. She asks me if I like the picture we’re in together before she posts it
  26. She made up a song about me and she sings it to me all of the time
  27. She sings me a lot of songs all of the time

 

The truth is, the list of things I love about her is never ending. I’m so thankful to have her as my sister and my friend. Here’s to many more birthdays of loving her.

Pictured: Me and my sisters posing in Nashville from this weekend! The birthday princess is on the right.

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It’s Hard to Stay Sorry

Sorry I compared you to the weather,

what a cliche thing to do.

Sorry for being affected

by something that surrounds me

& demands my attention,

something that I have to think about

almost every single day.

Sorry for having to base decisions on

the temperature outside.

To think that I showed skin

on a cold day

still makes me blush.

Sorry that I thought it might

have been nice outside.

I didn’t know that in winter

the shining sun doesn’t signify warmth,

like I didn’t know that some days

your smile doesn’t signify sweetness.

Sorry that every time you were mean to me

I imagined your mood changing colors like

a partially cloudy sky at sunset.

No, I didn’t think that was pretty.

Sorry that in September

I thought we were falling apart,

just like the leaves.

And I’m sorry

that I think of you

every time I see daisies,

those little things

I used to see as flowers,

which really are just weeds.

-EKJ

My Week Without Coffee

I’m a coffee drinker. I’m a HUGE coffee drinker. To explain just how big of a coffee drinker I am I’ll let you know that by the time I was in fifth grade, I was brewing the family coffee pot when I woke up in the morning. When college rolled around I might have drunk 4 cups everyday, maybe more if I felt like it. I didn’t just drink fancy Starbucks lattes either. I drank it black in the morning, with milk during the day, or with sugar as a sweet night treat. Any way it was served, I probably enjoyed it.

I loved coffee, but I also needed it. One day I tried to do an experiment with myself because I had decided my coffee drinking was becoming completely excessive. I figured if I could go one full 24 hour period, caffeine free, then I didn’t have a problem and I just wouldn’t worry about it. Unfortunately, according to my made-up standards, I indeed had a problem. The experiment lasted until 10am, at which time I had caved because I had a pounding -I can’t do anything but lie down- headache.

Cutting myself off cold-turkey obviously wasn’t an option. Instead, I slowly started to ween myself down. I cut it to a three cups a day maximum. Although, I tried for only one cup a day. Eventually (within the last six months or so) I got myself to a point where I didn’t need coffee everyday. I could skip a day with out my body completely freaking out. It felt good.

Then, this month when I was in Seattle (ironically, the coffee capitol) visiting non-coffee drinking Cutie Pie Boyfriend, I only drank coffee about three times a week.

When I got back to Baltimore I came down with a cold and coffee just didn’t seem like something that was going to make my throat feel better. I was trying to kick the illness quickly because I’m traveling again this weekend. So, I just didn’t make any coffee. At all. All week. And you know what? I woke up fine. I didn’t have any pounding headaches. I didn’t really NEED to have the coffee.

Of course, coffee is still something that I enjoy. It’ll always be something that I like. My friend Thao gifted me some really awesome Vietnamese coffee beans for Christmas, and today I was starting to feel better so I decided to brew some up. It was absolutely delicious.

What I realized today, while sipping on my first cup of coffee all week long, was that the coffee was actually more enjoyable. I could function just fine without downing the cup, and so I took my time to really taste it. It was truly a great feeling to have something, for the sole reason of just wanting it, and not because I needed it.

 

 

Pictured: A cutie cat journal that I needed to share because I’m absolutely obsessed, also gifted to me by Thao!

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Snakes Aren’t Friendly

She shed me like old snake skin,

like I didn’t fit with the image

of what she wanted them to see

when they looked at her,

like I was too snug,

confining her to a space

that she just couldn’t stretch far enough in.

The thing is,

now that she’s reinvented herself,

surrounded herself in things that are new and shiny,

she hasn’t shown any signs of growth.

She may have left me behind,

but she’s still slithering

on the same ground.

And when she checks herself

for wounds,

to see where the venom leaked in,

she’ll realize she only bit herself.

-EKJ

Being the Inviter

Asking a semi-stranger, someone you just met or someone you don’t know that well, to hang out used to be SO HARD for me. In fact, I just didn’t do it. Instead, I would find myself in those situations where I would talk about hanging out ‘sometime’ and we would never end up committing. And the tragedy? I would always miss the opportunity to be friends with someone I know I could’ve gotten along with!

I’ve been lucky and have a couple of people in my life (Sweetie Pie Sister and Cutie Pie Boyfriend) who are great at reaching out and connecting with people. It feels like it’s part of their personalities, but after many conversations with Sweetie Pie Sister, I found out that she thinks it was more of a conscious decision for her. One day, she made the choice to be more social. To be the one reaching out. To plan and invite and make as many friends as she could.

Now, I’ve been working on this for awhile. Last year, when I moved to Seattle I took a small, but formative step forward. Whenever I was asked to hang out, go on a date, or show up somewhere… I said yes. I stopped making excuses when I felt too nervous. Was I ever outside of my comfort zone? Of course. But the thing is, I made real friends.

However, Friday night was the first time that I really felt like I have finally leveled up to connector. I reached out to a stranger with a mutual friend who just moved to my city and I invited a girl from my class that I had just met (who happened to be celebrating her birthday!). Said stranger is definitely going to be around again. Said girl was introduced to another girl from my program (who I also invited), they hit it off and hung out together the next day!

At some point, I just stopped being afraid. It was like, the worst that can happen is they say no. I remembered how hard it was moving to a place where I didn’t know anyone. I remembered how grateful I was for the opportunity to hang out with literally any other human being. I felt like the potential for getting a no was suddenly worth the risk of making something great happen.

The beautiful part about Friday was that it was so dang easy. There was minimal planning, we just picked location (an awesome inside beer garden) and time (8pm). Now my friend group is growing, I’ve checked one more local Baltimore hangout off of my list, and I felt great knowing that I did something to make a few people’s days a little bit better.

 

Just Imagine When I’m Busy

I spent

13

hours

alone today

with nothing to do

but sit

on the couch

and then

1 hour

with him

at the end of today

still,

not doing anything,

just 1 hour

of being with him

was enough

to equate

the summation

of my day

and allow

the outcome

to be good

and I know

it was that last hour

because

I’ve spent

more that one

13 hour,

nothing to do day

alone

and they

never

end

with quite

so much

content.

-ekj

Falling Down the Mountain

Spending New Years with seven seasoned skiers at a ski resort in Canada sounded like a fabulous idea. Before eventually coming to the point where I knew it was that fabulous idea, I had to deal with the fact that skiing is both hard and scary. You see, before this week I was not a skier. The mountains were foreign. Looking up at Whistler sparked an awe in me that could only come from something equally beautiful and treacherous. My natural inclination was not to allow myself to lean down into that slope. My natural inclination was to step back from the edge.

What I really had to accept in order to get back down to the bottom of the mountain is that if I was going to ski I was going to have to let myself fall because falling is exactly what skiing feels like. I had to get past this huge mental block. I had to trust that when I put all my weight on the right leg I wasn’t going to become a human bullet shooting down, I was going to smoothly curve around.

It took me a couple of days and there were a lot of actual tumbles and moments that I needed to stop and mentally prepare myself (and take in the view), but I did it. I looked down the slope, told myself it was okay, and I leaned into it. The rewards were indescribable. I started becoming more comfortable in the stiff boots and my fear started to dissipate.

2018 was filled with peaks and I definitely ended on one. If learning how to ski is an indication of how the rest of the year is going to go, it looks like I’m ready to take risks and face some fears in 2019.

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(bonus info: my ski instructor friend Jason said that the lift to the top of Whistler would be too spicy to go down the second day, but guess what?? If that lift was spicy, so am I. The third day I went up, took this photo, and I skied all the way down from the peak.)

You Too

I’m very excited to share that this is a guest post! My sister, who’s cutie lifestyle blog is Love, Hannah, sent me a poem a few weeks ago that I felt compelled to share here. The title is You Too and like me, I think that you too will be in awe of these words.

 

Lately, I’ve developed a bad habit of believing you feel exactly as I do.

That you too are longing for the warm nights where we can stay wrapped in each other’s arms.

That you too have imagined a future together.

That you too understand that chasing after this will ultimately result in some form of heartbreak.

But that you too, feel it’s worth it.

That you want exactly what I want.

-HMJ