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February 13, 2015
by Brittany
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Blog #72

They say there are moments which mark your life. Moments when you realize nothing will ever be the same and time is divided into two parts – before and after. For me, one of those moments came a little less than a year ago. I still remember everything about that day. It was a beautiful Sunday evening. The sun was peaking out through the clouds as it was setting over the trees, creating a picture perfect postcard view. The air smelled like rain from the afternoon showers and the weather was nice – not to cold but not too hot. We were all just sitting around the table about to have dinner and he just fell. He fell out of the chair and onto the floor. Just like that, he was gone. It was less than a second, maybe half a second, but it changed everything.

Losing someone you love is a hard thing to go through but having to watch them die, unexpectedly, right there in front of you is unbearable. And hearing the words “He’s gone” creates a feeling you didn’t even know you could feel. Your heart just drops. It’s like missing a step when walking up the stairs. It feels like that except it doesn’t go away. It stays there inside of you, this feeling of emptiness and pain. And it hurts. It hurts like hell. But that’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt. And you can’t escape it. You just can’t. Every time you think you are starting to feel better, something happens. You see something that reminds you of them. Or maybe you’ll hear their favorite song on the radio. The memories all come rushing back to you and you get stuck in this period of nostalgia and all you wish for is a phone that will call Heaven so you can hear their voice just one more time and tell them all the things you had left to say to them. And then it hits you so much harder than you ever thought it would. You think about the fact that you will never be able to hear their voice again, or the sound of their laugh, and see their goofy smile that comes out when they laugh. You’ll never again be able to feel the warmth of their hug or be stuck listening to the advice that you never wanted but they always gave you anyway. And also the advice you did ask for because you knew they always gave the best advice. And it’s even worse when they are not there celebrating milestones with you like your college graduation, or your wedding day, or the birth of your first child, and even the moment when your biggest dream finally comes true. You think you would find comfort in knowing that they are there with you during those milestones, but more than comforting, it’s just sad.

They say that life goes on but that’s the saddest part. How can life possibly go on when they were such an integral part of it? The hardest part isn’t losing them; it’s learning how to live without them. Everyone around you will try to make you feel better. They really will. But there isn’t anything anyone can say or do to make the pain go away. Some will try to comfort you by saying “God needed another angel.” But you know what? That statement just makes me angry because it’s easy for them to say that when God didn’t ask for their angel. Others will tell you that your loved one is looking down on you and watching over you. That’s nice in theory but in reality, we don’t want them looking down on us. We want them right beside us, watching over us and protecting us. And furthermore, at least for me, that statement just makes me feel lonely. Doesn’t the Bible say that those in Heaven know no pain? We are down here on earth feeling pain and sadness all the time so really they aren’t watching over us in our worst moments when we need them the most. My personal favorite is when someone says “Time heals all wounds” or “Just give it some time and it will get better, it will get easier.” That’s all well and good but time takes time. What am I supposed to do right now, in this moment when all I want to do is disappear somewhere and forget about the world? I don’t need someone to tell me it will get better; I need someone to tell me it hurt because it mattered.

I wasn’t prepared for the fact that grief is so unpredictable. It wasn’t just sadness, and it wasn’t linear. Somehow I thought that the first days would be the worst and then it would steadily get better, like getting over the flu. But that’s not how it was. It’s still hard. Sometimes it hits me out of nowhere, all of a sudden, this overwhelming sadness rushes over me. And I get discouraged and I get upset and I feel hopeless, sad, and hurt, and once again, I feel numb to the world. And it’s not the kind of sadness to where I cry all the time, but more like the sadness that overwhelms my entire body, leaving my heart aching and my stomach empty. Making me feel weak and tired and yet I can’t even sleep because the sadness is in my dreams too. On particularly rough days when I’m sure I can’t possibly make it through, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that is pretty good. And I have come to realize that sometimes it’s okay if the only thing I did that day was breathe. I made it through and that’s what matters.

Saying goodbye is hard. That’s no secret. But rather than focusing on the goodbye, we should celebrate the legacy being left behind and remind ourselves, in the words of Winnie the Pooh, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

January 10, 2015
by Brittany
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Blog #71

College. It’s what you spend hours in high school dreaming about. You sit in your 10th grade history class staring out the window thinking about how cool it will be and how much fun you will have while your teacher goes on and on about the boring topic of civics and economics. You sit down at night to study for that To Kill A Mockingbird test you have tomorrow in English but end up looking through blogs of awesome dorm rooms, getting decorating ideas for the dorm room you will one day have instead.

Graduation day comes and you couldn’t be more excited to move on from that little town you grew up in. You spend all summer hyping yourself up, growing more and more excited as the days pass by. Finally, the summer draws to an end and the next chapter of your life is beginning. But it’s not what you think. You quickly realize all those assumptions you had in high school about college couldn’t be more wrong.

Here’s how it really is:

The day you get there, reality sets in that you are actually on your own. You have spent your whole life living off of your parents, having them there for your every little need. But now they are far away, probably packing up all of your belongings and turning your room into a gym or a game room where your dad can finally put that new pool table he has always wanted while your dog gets used to life without you. You are left there all alone with no one to cook you dinner or do your laundry or remind you to do all the other adult things you now have to do. Nothing kicks you in the butt and sends you flying into reality like the sight of your parents driving away and leaving you in a tiny dorm room with a complete stranger.

Yes. You are on your own and you are nervous. But so is everybody else. Everyone there has collectively been pushed off of a cliff into the ever widening canyon we call college. Everyone has been slapped in the face by the cold frigid air called adulthood and higher education. You are not alone. The only thing you can do is stick together, be brave, and help each other out as best as you can.

You will soon realize that your family is the best and you will miss them every day. You will miss them on Saturday mornings when no one wakes you up before one pm because you sleep too much and the first time you get sick and no one is there to take care of you. And your house. You will miss your house. The way it smells and the constant bickering through the walls. You will even miss the annoyance of having cat hair as a major accessory on every outfit you wear. This will show you just how much you took it all for granted in high school and teach you to appreciate your family so much more than you did before you left for school, mostly when you used them for money, food, and free wi-fi. Now when you come home, you spend most of your time with family and less time hanging out with friends, and that’s just how you want it. All you will want is for them to live next door to you and let you choose when they are home.

You will also realize that the people you went to high school with are the worst. When you graduate from high school it’s all “friends forever” and “these are my people” but when you come home for Christmas break after your first semester in college and see everyone, you realize these people are not as great as you thought they were. You will try to find a place somewhere in your heart for them but you will eventually give up because you realize it will never happen. You will get on Facebook and Instagram and see pictures of them smoking in the Walmart parking lot, or drinking Jack Daniels at some bonfire party followed by a post saying “Got another dui last night, lol” and in that moment, you will be even more thankful those people are no longer in your life. There are some exceptions, however, when you see a former classmate doing something productive with their life and enjoying it and you will feel so proud of them.

You will learn a lot in college starting with the fact that people will use you. And they aren’t always what they seem when you first meet them. People are selfish. Though they are not against you, they will not make it easy for you. People only think of themselves and what they want and it may hurt you in the process. They are not a horrible person and posting vague Facebook and Twitter updates about them will not hurt them. Understand that you too are selfish. Forgive them and kindly ask them not to reproduce.

People will call you anti-social. And no matter how hard you try, you will never be able to justify just how busy you are to anyone. Everyone around you will go by the idea that if you are not with them, you are obviously sleeping. You know this is wrong. Nobody sleeps in college. You are lucky to get 5 hours of sleep a night. But then college wouldn’t be college if you actually got 8 hours of sleep every night. Embrace being tired and exhausted, it means you’re doing the whole college thing right.

On the other hand, people will love you. You will meet some amazing people in college and make life-long friendships with some of them. They will be there to help you when you need it. To cheer you up when you are sad. To cover for you in that British Lit class when you decide not to go because you didn’t read the book. And they will be there to make you laugh and move on when your heart gets broken. These people will make a serious effort to get to know you and you should make a serious effort to get to know them too even if they are completely different from you. You will learn valuable and unforgettable lessons from them.

You will have no money. Ever. You will take out student loans because you have to pay for college somehow. After realizing you are thousands and thousands of dollars in debt, you will decide to get a job. It will probably be a job that you hate. After telling yourself over and over that you need the job to avoid taking out more student loans, you will strongly consider taking out more student loans to avoid working with those idiots any longer. But you won’t take out the loan and you will continue to work with those idiots. You will still be poor. The irony of it all is that college students love to talk about being poor while wearing Sperrys and a North Face jacket.

People will constantly tell you how lucky you are and that these are the best years of your life, yet you have no money, you are stressed out and exhausted all the time, and every semester you get to think about how much debt you are going to have when you graduate. There are people living in warzones and actually starving but you can’t stop complaining about waking up for an 8 am class and being stressed over finals.

The classes will be really hard and you will actually have to study to pass the tests. And waiting until the last minute to study or write a paper is the worst thing you can do, and this will be a lesson you will learn the hard way. You will finally figure this out by senior year, and by senior year, you will get good at researching esoteric topics and writing papers. Senior year is also the last time in your life that you research esoteric topics and write papers.

Eventually you will take an online class because you are tired of going to campus every day. That online class will give you a group project. That group will constantly want to meet up on campus and you will go every time because there is a peer evaluation at the end. College will teach you that group projects are the worst and those projects will teach you that you can’t count on anybody but yourself.

You will have professors that you love and you will have professors that you hate. Some professors suck and that’s just how it is, but don’t let them ruin your favorite subject. And if you happen to change your mind about your major, it’s okay. It’s okay to switch majors until you find the one that is right for you.

While all these things seem negative, there are a lot of positives about college.

The best part is that your only responsibility is to learn, which is awesome because learning is fun. Food is being cooked for you, you barely have to clean your living space unless you are a particularly messy person. You don’t really have any monthly bills to pay and you never have to worry about your electricity or water being cut off. You don’t have chores or anyone to answer to. You paid a ridiculous amount of money for an education and that is what you are getting. Embrace it and at least try to be decent at it.

You are being bombarded with amazing opportunities every day. You can travel out of the country for long periods of time for a really cheap price pretty much whenever you want as many times as you want. You can learn to dance, sculpt, act, draw, speak a foreign language, and just about anything else you want to learn how to do for free. You are given the opportunity to do everything you have ever wanted to do, even if it was something you never admitted to but secretly always wanted to do, on a daily basis. There are tons of organizations and clubs you can get involved in, and job and volunteer opportunities to help fill up your resume. There is always something going on all day every day.

You will change. It is inevitable. It is the biggest, most important part of college. You will quickly find new interests and new opinions, and you begin to learn who you really are. For the first time, you are away from all the influences you had growing up. You are on your own to make your own decisions. No one is forcing you to do or believe anything. You will meet people who are from drastically different backgrounds from your own and they will challenge your beliefs and opinions and make you see things a different way. And these people may just change your mind. You will go through phases of different versions of yourself before finding who you really are. People back home will berate you on how much you have changed, but as long as you haven’t spiraled into dealing heroin or prostitution, then that change is generally for the good.

The best thing of all is that you are on your way. You are actually on your way. You have big and extravagant plans for your life that you’ve worked hard bsing for and you are on the path to achieving them. You didn’t realize it when you were sitting in that high school classroom, or even at your high school graduation. It’s when you are doing things in your classes and around campus that you realize that you are on your way. And it feels great. It’s exciting and nerve-racking at the same time, but that’s the fun of it all. All you have to do is enjoy it until you get there.

And the experiences you gain will be priceless. You will develop a caffeine addiction. You will realize you can’t please everyone, and you will be okay with that. You will learn that rejection isn’t as terrible as everyone says it is. Whether it’s negative results from the professor who hates the paper you spent weeks writing, or the boy who never texts you back, you will face rejection at least once during college. At first it will sting. You tell yourself that that professor might have a PhD and 7 books to his name but he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And you’ll try to convince yourself that you didn’t really like that boy anyway. You will learn to value your friends. You will figure out how to drink. During high school, drinking probably consisted of stealing whatever alcohol your parents had in the house or convincing your brother or sister to buy you a six pack of Miller Lite from the gas station. When you get to college, drinking is a whole different game. You will learn what it means to take shots and you will learn what it means to take too many shots. You will make out with a terrible kisser and you will develop feelings for someone you shouldn’t at least once. It may be a professor or it may be that hot Italian graduate student who is always grading exams at your favorite coffee shop. Or it could even be your best friend’s ex. At some point, you will fall for someone you know good and well is off limits. You will realize this when you catch yourself going to class a few minutes early or hanging out at a study spot more than usual. You will feel terrible because of someone else and you will begin to learn how to forgive people. You will also trim your social circle. Between classes, homework, work, and the exhausting internship, you hardly have a minute for yourself, let alone other people. In college, everyone has their own schedules and you may go days or weeks without speaking to each other unlike high school where you saw your friends every day. You will learn how to make time in your schedule for those who really matter to you.

Through the good and the bad, college is a wonderful and rewarding experience if you do it right, and you will be lucky to have experienced it.

September 12, 2014
by Brittany
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Blog #70

Home. It’s a four letter word but what is it really? According to Webster it is a familiar or usual setting; a place where one lives, but I don’t think that is true. These past three years I have had the opportunity of experiencing life on the road, living in both Rocky Mount and Wilmington. In the beginning Rocky Mount was my home base. It’s where I returned to every weekend. It was home. After a while that place switched to Wilmington. I began to realize that I could tell you everything that was going on in Wilmington but I did not know a thing that was happening in Rocky Mount. That was when Wilmington became home. Over the course of the next few semesters and up until now, I have gone back and forth between Rocky Mount and Wilmington so much, spending very little time at both places during each trip that neither place feels like home anymore. Highway 40 feels more like home than either of those places right now. It’s like I’m lost out in space; there is no real place where I belong.

Some people say home is where you grew up. That makes sense but where is that? Is it that little house where I grew up running down the hall singing Hit Me Baby One More Time at the top of my lungs.; the one with the big back yard where I spent my days, swimming, playing basketball, and riding golf carts? That’s where I was raised but it’s not where I grew up. I don’t think we grow up in one place, I think we grow up in several different places through several different experiences that come together to make us into the person we are. Like graduation day in that old high school gym, looking around and realizing that I would never see any of those people again. Or in that Nash Community College classroom the first time I felt my heart break. And at Nash general watching my aunt waste away in that hospital room. Even my first semester at UNC-Wilmington all alone for the first time in a big, unfamiliar city wishing I could run home to mama’s loving arms and daddy’s cooking. Those are all places and experiences where a part of me grew up. But then that Sunday, standing in the kitchen of the house where I was raised, screaming and crying as someone very close to me died right there in front of me, THAT is where I grew up. Home is a comfortable and safe place to run to when you feel lost and scared. It is not where I grew up.

Other people say home is where the heart is. I have always believed this to be true but where is that even? Is it where mom and dad are? Is it in the arms of my amazing boyfriend? Is it up in Heaven with God and all of the loved ones that I’ve lost? Or is it on the coast of somewhere beautiful? Because a piece of my heart is in all of these places. If home really is where the heart is, then I’m definitely out of place.

I don’t know where home is or even if it’s a place at all. Maybe it’s just some fantasy land we visit in our dreams, or maybe it’s just a collection of memories that we go back to every now and then, or maybe it’s what we see when we close our eyes. I don’t know. All I know is I’ve never been more homesick than now.

August 1, 2014
by Brittany
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Blog #69

Heads we get married, tails we break up. That’s how it goes, right? Every relationship is a gamble. We know when we enter into it that we are either going to get married or break up and that scares us. It will either be a story of happily ever after or a story of heart break. But what happens when you’re not a gambler? The question is do you go all in or do you fold right there?

I believe love is a risk worth taking. Yes, it can all go wrong, but then again, it can all go right. I’ve never been much of a gambler or a risk taker. I like sure bets. I like to know the ending ahead of time. That’s why I was terrified when I found myself in my current situation. I’ve been through it all before. A few times actually. It’s always the same story. I meet a great guy, we start dating, it’s fun for a while, but there is never a real connection. We just never really click, and eventually it ends. I’m a huge believer in the click. It’s that moment when you meet someone and they get your humor, and they play along with your jokes. And you laugh at the same ridiculous things that, in reality, are not really that funny. And you’re always smiling, and you can’t help it. And your stomach hurts from laughing so hard. He’ll tell you you’re beautiful and you might actually believe it this time. It’s that moment when you put on his coat and it smells like a mixture of polo and cigarettes, and even though you’ve always hated the smell of cigarettes, you love wearing it because it smells exactly like him. But most importantly, it’s that moment when you’re standing there with his arms around you, and he’s giving you what feels like the best hug ever, and it just feels right. You feel safe, like right there in that moment nothing can hurt you. That’s a necessary component of a relationship.

This time is different though. The click is there, at least for me. He just fits. He fits in a way that no one else has fit before. He makes me smile just by looking at me, and sometimes laughing at me. I find it almost impossible to be in a bad mood around him. And there is so much I love about him. I love the way his hair blows in the wind. I love the way he looks at me while smacking his lips a million times when I say something stupid. I love the look on his face when he tells me I’m beautiful and the softness of his voice when he says it. I love how he looks when he’s all dressed up with sunglasses on. I love that he loves sunglasses. I love the way he plays guitar, even when I’m trying to watch a movie. I love that he will watch Pretty Little Liars with me, and that he will watch Johnny Bananas kick ass on the Challenge. I love how he actually gives it some serious thought when I say crazy things like let’s live in a townhouse in Paris overlooking the Eiffel Tower, and when I come up with crazy ideas like devoting a whole bedroom to a dog. But most of all, I love that he loves me.

I’m not saying he’s perfect, because he’s not. And that’s ok, because I’m not perfect either, but together we are perfectly imperfect. I don’t care that he has a past. I don’t care that he doesn’t like college basketball, and I don’t care that he really doesn’t like Shania Twain. I don’t care that he’s constantly late and talks like a mouse. And I don’t care that he will take the time to help everybody in the world before coming to see me. Ok, maybe I do care about that one a little bit but that is just him being a good person.

The truth is I took the gamble. I decided to go all in and now I’m scared. He has the choice to walk away at any moment. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, or next week, or next year. All I know is I don’t want to worry about it and just enjoy right now.

Unlike poker, love has consequences far greater than the mind can perceive. That’s why so many people try to avoid it. But sometimes you can’t help it. Sometimes falling in love starts off slow and then happens all at once. Suddenly the ante is raised and all you can do is pray for a royal flush.

Logically, love is not a gamble you should take, but I say to hell with logic. Go all in. Give it all you’ve got. Go big or go home because without love, life is mediocre at best.

-          Brittany

May 1, 2014
by Brittany
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Blog #68

Gloria Steinem said it best when she said “Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel like I should be doing something else.” To write means more than putting pretty words on a page. The act of writing is to share a part of your soul with the world.  Writing is a way to escape reality; a way to let your emotions flow freely from your mind.

Writing is an art.  Words in a dictionary are innocent and powerless but when put in the hands of a good writer, someone who knows how to combine them, they become beautiful and tragic. Good and evil. They touch our hearts and stimulate philosophical thinking.

Writing is a form of self-discovery and a path to self-actualization. Unless you meditate daily, there is a good chance you still haven’t figured out who you are at your very core. When we write, we write from our heart. Even if we are doing it subconsciously, we are writing about our thoughts, our values, our beliefs, our fears, our inspirations, our desires, contributions to our happiness, and contributions to our sadness, all of which are the essence of who we truly are.

Writers are very complex individuals. They are not afraid to feel things. They are not afraid to capture raw emotions and turn them into beautifully worded sentences.  They live in their own little world. Their own strange fantasy world filled with unrealistic expectations.  A world they create themselves. A world in which their imagination is free to roam wherever their heart desires. A world they get lost in; a world that is filled with desire and temptation. They often times have trouble escaping this world, for it is much more appealing than the real world.

Writers are almost impossible to understand. They don’t even understand themselves. They are strange creatures. Famed poet Edgar Allan Poe said they are certifiably insane. That’s not degrading to a writer though. Some of the most intelligent and talented people were insane: Greek mathematician Pythagoras (yes, the one who introduced the Pythagorean Theorem that we all learned in school), Michelangelo, Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Einstein, and the list goes on.

Writers are forgetful but they remember everything. They forget appointments and anniversaries but remember what you wore and how you smelled on your first date.  They remember every story you have told them, like ever, but forget what you just said. They don’t remember to water the plants or take out the trash, but they don’t forget how to make you laugh. Writers are forgetful because they are busy remembering the important things.

It is not an easy task to love a writer. It takes patience and understanding. It takes compassion and determination. They are fragile yet strong. They are confused yet intelligent. They are disorganized yet composed. They are alluring and elusive; romantic and witty.

Be prepared for them to leave you. There will be moments when their mind is somewhere completely outside the realm of reality. Whether you are in the middle of a conversation or sitting in silence, you can see it in their eyes that you have lost them. A writer is always working. When they are looking out the window they are working. Sometimes they hear a song and a certain lyric hits them just right. When this happens, they are not ignoring you. They are thinking of ways to incorporate what they have just seen or heard, into their writing. They are thinking of the perfect way to word the scenario. Let them be. Give them the time they need and then they will come back to you with their full attention.

Being late will be a common occurrence for them. Writing comes with many challenges including writer’s block. Every writer knows the frustration of this. Because of this, every writer knows that when ideas are flowing, it is best not to stop writing. They will also be late because ideas come at the most random moments. Sometimes they will be driving down the road and have to pull over to jot down an idea that they just concocted. Or sometimes to re-write something they have already written just one more time.  Don’t worry though; they will eventually arrive at their destination.

Late nights will also be something you should get used to. Writers often stay up until the early morning hours because that is when they do their best writing. Psychological studies have shown that we are most creative late at night. In fact, Mark Twain once said, “You never have to change anything you get up in the middle of the night to write.”

And you will inevitably show up in their writing. If you are dating a writer and they don’t write about you, they don’t love you. Whether it is something good or something bad, you will be there, in their notebooks, in their computer, on gum wrappers, on crumpled up pieces of paper. You will be there because you will be their biggest inspiration; you will be the reason there is something for them to write about. You will be immortal.  They will capture you in the little moments when you’re singing along with the radio, or when you are walking in the rain and the raindrops are dripping off your chin, or the way you looked at them right before the last time you kissed. They’ll use metaphors, inside jokes, and anything they can to include you in their work.

Most importantly, if you love a writer, be prepared to read their writings. They want your opinion. They want your approval because they love you and value your opinion. But more than anything, they want you to read it because that is their way of including you in their own little world.

Hemingway once said, “How simple the writing of literature would be if it were only necessary to write in another way what has been well written. It is because we have had such great writers in the past that a writer is driven far out past where he can go.”

I’m not a great writer; Earnest Hemingway was a great writer. I’m just a girl writing her novel one chapter at a time.

-          Brittany

January 18, 2014
by Brittany
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Blog #67

If you don’t know where you are going, any road can get you there. That’s the beauty of life. The magic of dreams. We are all born with a purpose in life and I believe that’s where dreams come from. It’s our subconscious telling us “this is what you are meant to do.” Nobody dreams of being a waitress. Or a maid. Or the guy that cuts the grass. Because, in the grand scheme of things, none of that matters. We do it because we have to. We do it to get by while we are working toward our dreams; while we are finding a way to make them come true. We dream of being singers, dancers, writers, actors, pro athletes, doctors, veterinarians, or astronauts because they matter. We dream of being sailors out on the seas and the serenity that comes with it. The freedom of letting the wind fill our sails and take us where it wants to go. We dream of traveling to faraway lands where no one knows our name or where we’ve been. Places with a whole new culture to immerse ourselves in. To get lost in. Places that allow us to do some serious soul-searching and find out who we are, what makes us smile, and what brings us peace. Somewhere that shows us why we love life. Some of us even dream of moving to an island in the Caribbean and the simplicity of being a local and having a job at a beachside bar. Stress free and gorgeous, where we can laugh at the tourist with their cameras and Hawaiian shirts, who have too much sunburn on their face. Ok, maybe that one is just me, but nonetheless, our ultimate goal in life is to find a way to change the world while doing what we love. They say we lose ourselves in the things we love but I believe we find ourselves there too.

I have no idea where my life is going, but I can’t wait to get there. I know that I’m destined to do extraordinary things, and extraordinary things are exactly what I’m gonna do. I might not go down in history but you will notice me. I’ll be leaving my mark on the world. Maybe I’ll help end world hunger. Starting right here in America. Maybe I’ll learn to paint and be the next Picasso. I could be like Da Vinci and paint a modern day version of the Mona Lisa. Maybe I’ll learn to play the piano and compose symphonies like Mozart, Beethoven, or Bach. Maybe I’ll write like Hemingway wrote and make someone feel things they’ve never felt before.

I am going to travel the world. I will eat lobster in Maine and put a piece of gum on the gum wall in Seattle. I will stay at an ice hotel in Canada. I will go ziplining through the rainforest of Costa Rica and send someone a postcard from Hell in the Cayman Islands. I will stay in a bungalow in Fiji and I will go to Australia and hang out with the kangaroos. I will travel to Africa and go on a safari where I’ll see the lions and tigers and bears oh my. I will go to Ireland and kiss the Blarney Stone. I will attach a lock on a love bridge in London and I will most definitely visit Brittany, France. I mean, it has my name. I will go to Paris, see the Eiffel Tower, and eat a Crepe. I will go to a Versace fashion show in Milan and I will ride a gondola in Venice, and even make a wish in the Trevi Fountain in Rome. I will buy a watch in Switzerland and I will see the northern lights in Norway. But most importantly, I will travel to all of the places I’ve always wanted to go. And I will do it with someone I love.

I will watch a caterpillar turn into a butterfly and I will kiss a dolphin. I will have the perfect Valentine’s Day and I will eventually say “I do.” I will have my 11:11 wish come true and I will find a four leaf clover. I will hold a monkey and adopt a puppy. I will own a beach house and have a walk-in closet. I will finish a bottle of shampoo and conditioner at the same time and I will find out just how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop. I will camp on the beach and I will burn all my homework in a bonfire. I will say yes to everything for a day and I will take a photo every day for a year. I will go zorbing and I will go parasailing. I will go skydiving and I will go swimming in a secluded tropical cove. I will buy a homeless person a full meal and I will have someone make me breakfast in bed. I will sit on a roof and watch the sunset and I will have someone write a song about me. I will own something from Tiffany & Co. and I will do everything on my bucket list. But most of all, I will give everyone a reason to remember my name.

I don’t care how long it takes me, I’m going somewhere beautiful.

-          Brittany

January 8, 2014
by Brittany
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Blog #66

Almost anything can be “dirty”. Spend money on nice things, they last longer. Dress for the life you want. Wear the red dress and go easy on the makeup. Don’t over accessorize. Never leave the house ugly. If you get hit by a bus, they save the pretty ones first. Always use moisturizer. Put down your middle finger, put your tongue back in your mouth, stop making the duck face, and smile. Smile in your pictures. That’s what we all want to see. Don’t get a tattoo that is significant to a religion in which you do not belong. “No” is a complete sentence and does not require justification or explanation. Always stand up for what you believe in even if you’re standing alone. It’s ok to be scared. Embrace your stereotypes and be careful of those who doubt you along the way. You only get one chance to notice a new haircut. Don’t fight sleep. Know that forgiveness leads to happiness and confidence is sexy. Go skinny dipping at least once. Go to the ballgame. Go to the ballet. Go see a broadway musical. Travel to another country but be careful in Mexico.  Don’t start a fight you can’t win. And don’t be the person who brings a knife to a gun fight. Bring a gun. Wear the slutty dresses and date the assholes when you’re in your twenties. It’s ok. Get it while you can because looks don’t last. Take chances. Don’t run from the truth. Don’t turn your cousin in for that first smoke. Don’t sit on the arm of a bamboo chair wearing only a towel. Don’t jump into a lake in the middle of winter. Don’t quit your swim team because you don’t feel like swimming at one swim meet. Even though it’s cliché, always get back on the horse. Check your tires before you hit the highway. Know that you will fail at something and that’s ok. Every one of us has messed up at some point in our lives and understand that some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

Say a prayer when you feel like cussing. Always put God first in everything you do. Wear the cross around your neck. Or hang it from your car mirror. Don’t rush off the phone when your mama calls you. You’re not that busy. Respect your dad. He’s been through more than you think. Spend time with your grandparents. Really get to know them. Visit your family on more than just the holidays and the occasional wedding. Go see your aunt while she is alive. Don’t wait for the phone call saying it’s too late. Know that friends are not forever. And don’t let disagreements ruin life-long friendships that have made it this far. Remember, it’s not who you are, it’s all who you know.

Education will get you far in life. You will squeeze by and get a C in that math class that you hate. And it’s not the end of the world if you get a D. And no matter how good it sounds at the time, don’t drop out and become a stripper just because you don’t understand meiosis. You won’t remember that test you failed, but you will never forget what you were doing the night before when you decided not to study. GPA will not matter after college. Pay attention in Spanish. Take at least one music class. Actually read the books your English teacher assigns. Geography is not an “easy A”. Neither is Asian Religions.

Don’t be afraid to love and believe in love at first sight. Date someone totally wrong for you. Allow yourself to feel the butterflies. And don’t settle for anything less than butterflies. Dance around your room when he finally texts you. Marry someone you can talk to. Someone who you can carry on 4 am conversations with.

Don’t sneak around with a guy your parents don’t trust. There is a reason they don’t trust him.  Forget the guy and go to Ireland over spring break. Realize that if he cheats with you, he will cheat on you. If he loves you now, he’ll still love you if you don’t give in. And if he doesn’t, then he’s a jerk and you did yourself a favor.  Guys, if she says no, respect that. And don’t lose the girl you love at home for a night in Las Vegas. And no. What happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas. Forget your pride and buy the roses. If you’re truly sorry, tell her.  Most importantly, if you find the one, don’t screw it up.

It’s ok to get your heart broken. And it will hurt. It will hurt like hell. But know that you will heal and it will be beautiful. Your life isn’t over because someone broke up with you. It’s only just begun. Summer flings are not meant to last. The one who gets away is never the one who sends flowers to your office. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to break down and sometimes you just have to wallow. But no more than a day. Get out of bed, brush your teeth, get dressed, and go out. Listen to the songs that serve as a reminder of what the two of you had. Let it hurt and then let it go…

Don’t ask me how I know.

-          Brittany

December 19, 2013
by Brittany
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Blog #65

To everyone who helped pave my way, if it weren’t for you I wouldn’t be here today. To all my friends, the guys, the broken hearts. All the critics, cynics and doubters, y’all know who you are.

I have been reflecting on my life a lot lately, where it’s going, where it’s gone, and I think it’s only fair to say I didn’t get here alone.

I haven’t traveled one mile on my own and I couldn’t be more thankful for everyone who has been a part of this ride with me. My girl scout leader who taught me how important it is to help those in need. That preacher who taught me to put God first in everything I do. The professor who showed me how important it was to believe in the future of my dreams. My neighbor who taught me that some people are really hard to love. The guys that introduced me to deal breakers. And the friends who showed me what friends are for. But these aren’t the only ones…

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…it was high school. The one person I owe so much to is my high school chorus teacher. I don’t think he really understands the impact he had on me. He was one of those teachers that was not just your teacher but a friend, someone you could talk to, someone who really cared about his students. That makes all the difference you know. I could not have gotten through high school without him and his class, and in my opinion, he is the reason high school was such an enjoyable time for me. Going to that class was the highlight of my day. I was never a very good singer but he never told me that. There were definitely times when he wasn’t exactly my favorite person, like during auditions, for example. And all those talent days that I hated so much. And that time he turned the heat up so I would have to take my coat off and reveal that I was wearing a Duke shirt because I lost a bet. And then all those times he picked on me when I lost my voice at the beginning of my senior year. And when he wrote “you’re lazy” in my yearbook. Now I look back and laugh at that knowing how lucky I was to be a part of his class for 4 years. And I’ll never forget all the great things he did for me. It was my junior year and I was placed in a class that I didn’t want to be in. He went to bat for me and switched my schedule around. All the trips he took us on, it wasn’t easy for him but he made them fun, safe, and successful. That time he called my mom twice just to check on me that time I got sick in chemistry and never made it to his class. All those times he overlooked the fact that me and my best friend wrote each other’s journals instead of our own. And then there were the senior moments. There was never a dry eye in the room when he held senior moments. He had such a strong connection with his students that each and every one of them had the utmost respect for him. If you’re gonna be a teacher, he should be your inspiration. (I hope he knows he’s singing at my wedding by the way!)

I also have a personal mentor that I couldn’t do without. I think it’s very important to have a mentor. Who else do you run to when you need help? He is the person who got me through Nash Community and the one who is getting me through UNCW. He is actually one of the most intelligent people I know. He always puts me in my place, in a good way, and always reminds me that no matter how good you are at something, you can always do better, which pushes me to do my very best. He never hesitates to tell me if something sounds bad, but he always follows it with words of encouragement. I feel like he has the answer to everything which inspires me to take every opportunity to learn something new.

panthersThese are the people to whom I owe everything: My mom, my dad, and Herb. I’ll start with Herb. I was 10 years old when I walked up to him with the idea to call bingo on tv. He probably thought it was ridiculous when he heard the idea but he let me do it anyway. I know if I owned the station and some 10 year old girl came up to me with that idea, I would probably turn her away. He has been at every birthday celebration ever since. He was there when I graduated from high school, he was there when I graduated from Nash Community College, and I know without a doubt that he will be at all three of my UNCW graduation ceremonies. He has been there during every major moment in my life. He was there when I got sick at the hospital the one time. He was there during every chorus trip, videoing it so that I would always have those memories. He was there when I met Dolly Parton, when I did my first interview. He was there when I met Tyler Hansbrough, he was there when I got my first car and bravely road with me. He was there when I moved into my first apartment, and I’m sure he’ll be there when I move out. He’s always there with me helping me while I panic under pressure when I wait until the last minute to complete something, no matter how long it takes. One of my favorite things about Herb is how he always puts himself last. He is the most unselfish person I know. I could never do enough to repay him for all of the things he has done for me.

momShe was the voice that brought Cinderella to life, the makeup artist that made me pretty with Barbie’s Glam Kit, the owner of the heels that always made me fall, the proud recipient of finger paint pictures, the keeper of animal crackers and orange juice, the healer of skinned up knees, and the hand that got me across the street safely. Today she is the most beautiful woman in the world to me. She is my mother. Inside and out, she’s better than I am. As a little girl growing up, I would spend all day outside picking dandelions for her that she gladly accepted with dirt falling off of them. As I grew up she became the person I always turned to for advice, there’s nothing she doesn’t know. She’s always been there for me with arms open wide. She put in the time and effort to be a part of everything I did because no one could protect me better than she could. She was an assistant girl scout leader for my girl scout troop, she became my cheerleading coach at our local Y, she chaperoned almost every school field trip. She took two hours out of her day every day just to drive all the way to Bailey to pick me up from school. When I get sick in Wilmington, she burns that road to be there with me. Although she is sweet, she has no problem putting you in your place. Especially if it involves me. Any guy I’ve dated will tell you that. I think Eyes of Emiline says it best: it’s so typical to fear the father, she may look sweet but don’t underestimate my mother. She knows what she wants and she’s not afraid to go after it. She is strong willed and intelligent and at the end of the day, she deserves an arm full of roses but she’s satisfied with a handful of weeds.

dadSo I’m 7 years old wearing a Dockers jacket that’s 10 sizes too big for me, standing on my daddy’s toes as we twirl around the porch. That’s where I first learned to dance. He taught me how to fish, how to use a hammer, how to drive a nail. He taught me how to play horse in basketball. He taught me how to drive a car by letting me sit in his lap and take the wheel, he instilled in me my love for animals, my love of being on the water, and my love of chocolate cake. He was my lifeguard that time I jumped in the city lake, he was the one walking beside the pony when I took my first ride, he was the one holding onto the seat when I rode a bike for the first time and the one who bought me a four-wheeler and a golf cart when I decided the bike wasn’t for me, he was the arms that caught me when I thought I could fly, he was the quarter that always kept the pirate ship sailing, he was Ken every time I played with Barbies, although I was never really a Barbie person, he was the shoulders that I sat on when I couldn’t see, he was my math teacher at home, he was my assistant during science projects, he was the builder of my arch in that Spanish class back in high school, and he was my backup when mama said no. He’s the reason “Daddy, love you more” was a commonly used phrase, and the one who got a hug in the morning and butterfly kisses at night. He is my biggest fan. He was always there cheering me on at every swim meet, every horseback riding lesson, every game I cheered at, and every chorus concert and talent show I performed in. He shows me how proud he is of me every day, and in everything I do. My dad is my main man, he is the best man I know, and the reason my standards are so high when it comes to dating. He’s amazing and there is nothing he can’t do. Nothing he can’t fix. If you want to know where my personality comes from, he’s the one you should look to, I’m just like him. And no matter where I go in life, a part of me will always be daddy’s little girl.

GrandmaThey say it takes a village to raise a child and my grandma was at the head of that village. She was my babysitter, my personal chef, my audience when I blared the karaoke machine, my opponent in go fish, my alarm clock in the mornings, the maker of the sweet tea, the keeper of clean clothes, and the queen of surprise gifts. She is selfless and always plays the background. She keeps me grounded. It’s so easy to get lost in this world with all the amazing opportunities I have and she is always there to remind me where I’m from, what’s important in life, and to always put family first. Everyone that knows her loves her and what more could you want out of life.

trix

 

 

And last but not least…Trixie!!! This little guy makes all my days brighter.

 

 

 

I didn’t get here alone, that road’s just too rough and long, I might be the one the spotlight’s on, but I didn’t get here alone.

- Brittany

November 27, 2013
by Brittany
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Blog #64

I hate roller coasters but I love free falling. I’m not a big flower person but I love daisies. I love the color purple. I hate clutter and I do not like things that are just for looks. I hate fruit scented stuff but I love the smell of coconut. I’m not a morning person. I never start my day without reading my horoscope. I hate heels, they make me freakishly tall. I love to write. My favorite thing in the world to eat is chocolate covered strawberries, but not the homemade ones. I love fruit loops and I hate corn flakes. I love Pepsi but I hate Coke. I love animals but I am scared of horses. I am terrified of spiders. I believe in love but not love at first sight. I believe in happiness and I believe that happiness is something you create. I believe in second chances but not third. I believe in God and the power of prayer. I do not believe in coincidences. I think everything happens for a reason. I do not believe in ghosts but I would never stay in a haunted house. I do not believe in aliens. I believe the universe is always on my side and I believe snow is magical.

My school is your vacation. I go to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. I am a senior and there is nowhere else on earth I would rather go to school. It’s amazing there. The people are extremely friendly and the professors are great. Our basketball team sucks…but we won’t talk about that. We are surrounded by 3 different beaches: Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, and Kure Beach…with Myrtle Beach being an hour away. My apartment is literally 5 minutes from the beach and I would be lying if I said I had never skipped class to go to the beach…I’m mean really…the beach or class? I think we all would make the same decision. I love the beach. I love the softness of the sand, and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. I love watching the seagulls surround me, and I love the smell of salt in the air. I love how it rains a lot there…it’s always raining. It’s okay though because there’s something sexy about the rain; it feels like kisses on my skin. I also love how I have to sit through 20 minutes of the marine forecast just to get the forecast for the inland areas. I’m sure the fact that the sea state is ruff, the wave height is 7 ft, the wave direction is East and the wave period is 8 seconds is very important. And I understand knowing the low tide will be at 2:37 and the high tide will be at 8:30 is very useful to know but I’m not a mariner. I don’t care that the water temperature is 76. I want to know if I need a jacket and an umbrella or shorts and sunglasses when I walk to class. I think it’s really cool that I can complain about things like having to sit through the marine forecast.

I already know the one. He will be annoying, yet cute at the same time. He will laugh at the most ridiculous things…just like me. He will probably snore when he sleeps and I will be up all night because of it. He will be irritated at me for sleeping til noon the next day until he remembers how cute I am when I sleep and then feel bad because it’s his fault I’m still sleeping. He will be a terrible singer but he will sing to me anyway and I will love it. He will not know how to cook but he will be a better cook than me. And when I cook for him, he will eat it even though it will probably be burnt and taste like feet. He will eat it because he loves me. He will be messy, but in an organized chaos kind of way. He will love football and embrace the fact that I will never understand it no matter how many times he explains it. And he will continue to explain it to me in spite of that. He will be passionate about a cause that I will disagree with but I will support it anyway because I support him. He will want to be alone when he is sick and I will love that. He will bring out the best in me and allow me to bring out the best in him. He will make me laugh when I find it hard to smile. He will tease me when I’m moody, but never too much. He won’t care that I hate rap music and horror films. He will understand that I’m not a morning person. He won’t think I’m crazy for thinking snow is magical and will actually try to help me make the perfect snow angel. He will make me feel like I’ve accomplished something after I do something I’m not good at even if he is a genius at it. He won’t judge me because of my eating habits. He will make me chocolate covered strawberries even though I will probably throw them away because I hate the homemade ones and he knows that but is determined to make some I like. He will let me watch the Gilmore Girls because it’s my favorite show. And he will watch Pretty Little Liars with me and get emotionally involved so I’m not the only one. I don’t know who the actual guy will be but you get the point. And yes, I have high standards.

I have been on TV since I was 10. I had my first show back in 2000. It was a bingo show. It was fun, it was awesome, and now looking back, it was embarrassing. I still cringe when someone brings it up to me. At 14, I took a break from TV for about 4 years and returned my senior year of high school with Country Café. 5 ½ years later, I still host the show every Saturday night.

I’m a writer. Some things are real, some things are fictional, but all things are for the love of writing.

-Brittany

November 12, 2013
by Brittany
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Blog #63

“I remember that day when our eyes first met, you ran into the building to get out of the rain cause you were soaking wet. As I held the door, you wanted to know my name, timing is everything.”

So many things in our life can be attributed to being in the right place at the right time. Imagine all the people you might have fallen in love with if only you’d gone to the gym an hour later or stood a little longer in the bread isle at the grocery store? You might have met your future husband or your future wife if you had taken the 8 am class instead of the 11 am class second semester of your junior year in college. What if you had been late for work and didn’t have time to stop at your favorite coffee shop that one morning? What if you had left the party an hour earlier? Would you still be head over heels in love right now? Think of how many times you might have died if you had been just one minute earlier or one minute later getting to the stoplight. What if your plane had crashed on the way to New York? Or the water had been ruff that day at the beach? Would you still be here today? Maybe your life would be the exact same or maybe, just maybe, everything would be completely different.

Some call it fate, some call it destiny, and some call it a coincidence. I personally believe everything happens for a reason. I remember a horrible wreck that happened my senior year of high school. Two of my friends (we will call them Chris and Kyle for the purposes of this blog) rode to school together every day. I remember this one day specifically because Chris was my partner for a class project in Spanish and he never made it to class. It was a Thursday and Kyle was at home in the bed with the flu. On the way to school that morning, thanks to the rain, Chris ran off the road and hit a light pole. The pole fell on the car and the passenger side was crushed. Chris had no major injuries but what if Kyle hadn’t of been sick that day? Would he still be here? Probably not.

When I was in 7th grade, a boy in my class brought a gun to school with the intention of shooting our teacher and anyone who liked her. No joke. This girl decided to go to her locker just as he was taking the gun out. What if she had gone to her locker just two minutes later? My teacher could have died that day. Considering she was one of my favorite teachers, I could have died that day. I would have been one more unfinished story.

I’ve had close calls when it could have been me. When I was three, I had gotten sick and the antibiotics my doctor prescribed were too strong for me and ended up poisoning me. I was in the children’s hospital in Chapel Hill close to dying when they figured out what was wrong with me. What if it had taken them just a few more days to find a diagnosis? I would have been another child that God took home.

When it comes to love, I think the timing speaks for itself for all of us. All of the amazing relationships we have had happened because we were in the right place at the right time, or sometimes the wrong place at the right time. When I look back at my relationships, I cant help but think, what if my graduation party was held one week later? What if I didn’t go to the Keith Urban concert that one time? What if my cohost didn’t fall off a horse that day? What if I had gone on the beach five minutes earlier that morning? I never would have had the amazing experiences that I have been lucky enough to have.

Time isn’t always on our side though.

Sometimes you meet someone when you’ve already got someone and it makes you wonder. What if you had met this person first? Would things be different? It’s happened to all of us. You have the most amazing boyfriend; everything you could ever want, but one day you walk into a room and you lock eyes with a complete stranger, he gives you a smile and your hooked. Suddenly it’s “What’s his name? Is he single? Shoot! I’m not single” and as you stand there getting lost in his eyes, you can tell he’s feeling it too but there’s nothing you are going to do except enjoy every second as they pass, trying to make them last and imagine what the two of you might have been. In the end you just say “it was nice to meet you” and smile as you walk away.

Or sometimes you are single and driving in your car when you get stopped at a red light. You look over at the car next to you and see a really cute girl whose already looking back at you. As she turns her head, you’ve already determined that for that moment, she is yours. It becomes a whirlwind of the both of you looking at each other and then looking away as if you never noticed each other. Over and over again. There’s obviously something going on between the two of you but there’s nothing you can do. The light is turning green so you just smile and wave goodbye.

Sometimes you have a really big job interview at 9:45 on a Wednesday morning. Your alarm clock was set for 7 pm instead of 7 am so it doesn’t wake you up. You finally wake up, look at the clock and it’s 9:15. You have no time to take a shower so you just get dressed thanking God that you picked out your outfit the night before, throw your hair up and as you are pouring your coffee, you accidentally spill it all over the brand new business suit you were wearing, forcing you to go back upstairs and change. When you finally get in your car it is now 9:35 and then, just when you start to think, “If I drive fast I can make it”, you get stuck in traffic. By the time you get to your destination, it is now 9:53. And as if things couldn’t get any worse, you are told the position has already been filled, which you would have known if you had taken the time to check your messages that morning.

Maybe it’s a beautiful night outside and you decide to go on a stargazing date with the one guy you love more than anything in the world to celebrate your three year anniversary. As your laying there on a blanket looking up at the stars, you look at him and he has this look in his eyes. It’s a mixture of sadness and confusion. You can tell something is on his mind but you’re just not sure what it is. So you ask him what’s wrong and as he begins to speak, you can tell he is trying not to hurt you. It’s as if times stalls for the next few minutes and then suddenly you find yourself standing outside of his apartment screaming, crying hysterically, begging him not to break up with you. It doesn’t work and you feel like your whole world is coming to an end. You go through a period of feeling depressed and lost for the next two months as you try to move on.

Maybe you are the guy breaking up with the girl. You know it’s the three year mark and she’s really excited…because three years is a long time. Over the course of the three years, the two of you grew apart and you just don’t feel the same. It’s not because of anything the two of you said or did wrong but because you both were moving in opposite directions. You know that telling her will break her heart so you spend days, maybe even weeks, thinking of the right words to say. The two of you are laying on the blanket, her head on your chest, and you can just see how happy she is in that moment. And when she asks you what’s wrong, it breaks your heart but you know you have to tell her. And you know exactly what to say because you have rehearsed this moment over and over again in your head. You see the tears start to form in her eyes and at that very moment, you feel like the most disappointing person in the world because while your heart is breaking from seeing her heart break, you also feel relieved because it’s over.

You can call it fate, you can call it destiny, you can call it a coincidence, and you can even call it luck. Either way, when it is all said and done and you catch a break, smile, because right now everything is perfect. And when things aren’t going your way, remember, it can’t rain forever. Just give it all little time.

“It can happen so fast or a little bit late, timing is everything.”

- Brittany