Lifestyle

The Blessing Behind A Bad Day..

Hello Friends,

Long time, no talk! I hope everyone had a beautiful Memorial Day Weekend spent with loved ones and you took advantage of that extra day off! Let’s not forget to honor those living and remember those who have given their lives fighting for the freedoms we so often take for granted, either. To you, we owe everything. We salute and love you!

Last week was an interesting one to say the least and I strangely found myself wanting to share it (shocking, I know). I sometimes experience writer’s block when it comes to choosing a topic to speak on or creating content readers would find appealing. As you know, writing is such a huge passion of mine so it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the daunting task of putting out interesting pieces, while navigating a path for what I want my blog to ultimately become. I decided that sometimes the easiest way to reach another person is to write about something seemingly minuscule but relatable.

Have you ever had one of those days…the one where you actually begin to wonder why no one has given you your own TV show, yet? The one where each passing event that takes place no longer induces anxiety or stress but instead, I don’t know…makes you laugh? The one that leaves you feeling drained and causes you to question all facets of your life? 

Yeah. That was me last week. I had one of those days. It seems that every so often there’s a day that comes along where nothing goes right. Whether big or small, it’s as if God is testing you to see what you make of the obstacles he’s presenting. Whether it’s spilling your cup of hot coffee all over your car, forgetting about an importing memo or deadline or even just feeling lost and overwhelmed, I’m sure we’ve all felt the stresses of life seep into our bones in one way or another. Let me tell you that in the moment, these things could seem detrimental. Earth shattering. They could engulf you in a sea of ‘Why me’s? and ‘What nows’?‘ But if you take a deep breath and see the obstacles for what they are (as hard as that may be), you’ll find the truer meaning behind them and likely be able to navigate past them with ease.

Last week, I woke up ready to take on a great day. The sun was shining through my car window, soft breeze in the air, music playing. Summer on the horizon. I felt good. I felt optimistic. I felt excited. For no particular reason, may I add.

And….CUT!

Queue the stresses brought on by the real world…roll them on in. (you didn’t forget about us, did you?) The stresses of work. The stresses of things not going the way I had planned or working in my favor. The stresses of realizing that in all actuality, I’m not really where I want to be on this journey we call life. They all piled on me like a stack of dense bricks that morning. My peaceful, positive Polly mood was replaced by a feeling of weight and pessimism. The sunshine and the music really didn’t matter to me any longer because I was focused on my troubles. All of this before I really got to even experience the day. How quickly things can change in an instant, right?

I tried to forge ahead in an effort to turn my mood around despite my setbacks, but it was as if God was saying, “Wait, there’s more, Amanda..”

A few comedic highlights..

My usual daily pit stop to the work bathroom quickly became one of embarrassment and shame. You see, that day I was wearing a one piece romper (ladies, if you wear these, you know that it has to come off in its entirety if you make that fateful trip to the restroom). Beauty is pain. Although all stalls were empty, I decided to use the vacant handicapped stall at the very end of the row. I felt it was roomier for my romper-wearing self and well, no one else was in the bathroom, so why not?

A few minutes passed and I heard nothing. Just me and the rattling of the heating system above. There was no one there and I was still alone.

Once I was fully clothed and rompered again, I slowly swung the door open to find someone sitting there unbeknownst to me and was smacked in the face with the continuation of my oh, so wonderful day…

A woman. A woman in a wheelchair.  A handicapped woman. 

Waiting for me to be done using the handicapped stall with a look of rightful annoyance on her face.

Oh come. on. 

Is there anywhere I can hide? Does anyone have a rock I can willingly go crawl under?

Guys, this was one of those moments. A moment made strictly for TV. I actually looked up at the ceiling wanting to know if God himself was getting a kick out of it, too. After the morning I had been having, he surely couldn’t be serious. I washed my hands and bolted for the door as quickly as humanly possible…sparing myself from further embarrassment.

I spent my morning ruminating over my stresses and the events that took place. The only thing keeping me going was knowing that I had a three-day weekend approaching. I’d be visiting my brother down in North Carolina to see his new house! Something I had looked forward to for months. A chance to escape reality for a bit. To unwind and get away.

Well, by the end of the day..that plan was foiled. My best friend and I came to the realization (after our scatter-brained planning) that logistically, setting out that Friday in rush hour holiday traffic and attempting to drive 9 hours on one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year didn’t seem all too feasible. Long Island Memorial Day gridlock is enough to make anyone want to reconsider their travel plans and for us, it didn’t make sense to go through all that for a two night stay with my brother. A $500 flight was well out of the question and just like that…my much anticipated weekend plan was erased. The canvas was blank. My getaway was no longer. Great. What now.

It felt like my day was on a path to no where.

You all know how I feel about my weekends and if there’s one thing that can uplift my mood, it’s having two days to unwind, wherever the wind may take me. This was a huge bummer!

Once 5pm came around, I was ready for my lengthy commute home which often includes lots of singing, reflecting and venting to my best friend on the phone about the woes of life. This time we’d likely discuss our alternate plans for the weekend and I’d humor her with the tales of my day and vise versa.

Just as I went to convert my iPhone to bluetooth a few minutes into my ride, I saw something wonderful in my rear view mirror. Two flashing lights, perfectly patriotic for Memorial Day Weekend! Gleaming behind me. Luring me in.

It took me a second to realize and process what was going on. Guys, I wasn’t even phased at this point. It was the cherry on top of my day, a little extra spice if you will.

“Genn, yeah I’m getting pulled over…no. No, I’m not kidding. I’ll um, call ya later.”

(mom, if you’re reading this..don’t kill me! everything is fine.)

The window slowly rolled down and a state trooper waltzed over to let me know he had seen me futzing with my phone. Guys, a word of advice if you ever get pulled over…be honest. Chances are, anyone in a position of law enforcement already knows everything about you and their main goal is to see if you’re going to be dishonest when they question you. After a simple interrogation, the forking over of my license and registration and an exchange about my weekend plans, I was SPARED.

Thank you trooper Gods or whoever decided that I had had enough for the day.

When I got home, I was beat. I was tired. And I was reflecting.

Do you ever feel like a bad day really makes you think about where you are in life? Where you’re headed? What you want or what you feel you’re lacking? A few mishaps make you question everything..

I know I just went on a small diatribe about a series of silly instances that made up my so-called bad day. And although stressful, my day wasn’t really that bad in the grand scheme of life. The truth is, my worst day could be someone else’s best. Even if I feel like I’m drowning or things are crumbling, there’s someone else out there who has it worse and could really use our prayers.

Moral of the story…

The reason I wrote this little tidbit is to shed light on the fact that a bad day could actually be one of your best because you can’t really appreciate the sunshine without a little bit of rain. A bad day doesn’t necessarily mean a bad life. Here’s why…

When everything goes right, it’s very easy to become complacent. Content. Comfortable. It’s easy not to think about the not-so-pretty parts of our lives that may need some fine-tuning. We ignore those things when everything seems to be swimming along.

It’s not until we’re having one of those days that everything comes into question. We find ourselves asking what it is we’re looking for out of life, who it is we want to be, what could use improvement and how we’re going to make our dreams reality. What can we do to forge a happier path to our own personal destination of success and growth.

You see, life isn’t meant to be seamless and perfect. It’s meant to encourage you to grow. It’s meant to present you with challenges and silly little setbacks to get you thinking about what you really want out of your journey. Whatever that may be for you. I think that’s why God gave us bad days. He wants us to realize that even when things seem to be completely hopeless or a mess, there’s so much more to it. He’s trying to light a fire beneath us and push us to our greatest potential.

I know that’s what last week’s bad day did for me. And I’m so grateful for it.

A bad day leads you to believe that it’s just not in the cards for you…but I promise it is. Just keep pushing!

I was able to put my troubles aside and enjoy a beautiful, relaxing Memorial Day weekend with family and friends. Being outside. Going to the beach. Focusing on what truly matters most in life.

I’ve gone into this week with a clearer perspective, greater goals and the drive to make things happen.

There is always a blessing behind the bad day you’re having…

Keep forging ahead!

Thank you for your continued support..if you have a favorite article, share it to your social media, like/comment/subscribe!

With love,

Amanda

Lifestyle

My 2017 Bachelor Submission Video

Hello friends!!

****DISCLAIMER****

I was not on and am not going to be on the Bachelor, this was for my casting process last year but I did not get on! (see my last post)

Anyway, the feedback and engagement I received from you over the course of me starting the blog and even on this last post has been wonderful and really encouraging. For that reason, I made a promise and I intend to keep it!

I had no intention or desire to share this submission video initially, but if I’m preaching to you about living life and not taking yourself so seriously…I guess I should lead by example, right?

As mortified as I am, I hope you enjoy this 5 minutes of pure cheese, have a laugh and get motivated…realize that in the end, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of you! Be silly, be vulnerable, have fun and don’t apologize for it!

And if people don’t like you for it (in my case, give me an unfollow or think this is weird), you’re probably doing something right. 😉

Let me know what you think!

With love,

Amanda

 

Lifestyle

My Casting Experience: ABC’s The Bachelor (submission video in next post!)

If you’re currently saying to yourself, “Uh, what?!”

Sit tight and let me explain.

So exactly this time last year, I was spending a sunny afternoon outside helping my mom with some Spring cleaning in the garage when out of no where, my phone started ringing and a number listed to Los Angeles, California lit up across my screen. Weird. But not totally out of the ordinary, as I frequently receive bogus  phone calls all the time. (never from California, though) In my normal fashion, I thought nothing of it and let the call tire itself out and continued my busy work in the garage, until I heard another sound from my phone…this time, indicating that I had received a voicemail. Okay, that’s still a little odd.

Shortly after, I took a drink break and decided to listen to the message and get a laugh out of whatever automated person was trying to sell me an all exclusive to the Bahamas. But to my surprise, there was no such message…

Hi Amanda, this is Malisa calling from ABC’s The Bachelor. Giving you a call because we received a submission from you and we are casting for our next season. My number is ___________________. Again, _________________. Thank you.”

Immediately, my hands began shaking and I didn’t know if I should laugh, scratch my head or whether or not I had been scammed. If so, what a scam this was!

“We received a submission from you” played over and over in my head for several minutes. A submission? When did I…oh my gosh, wait. Wait, they took that seriously?! Shut up, no way! They actually called me back…

First and foremost, let me say that although I have followed a couple of seasons of the show here and there in the past, I’d never considered myself an avid Bachelor watcher. I could watch a couple of episodes or completely miss a whole season and be content. I’m not one of those girls glued to the TV each week pinning her bets on which blonde would confess her love first or who the scripted villain of the group was. I certainly didn’t believe that the show offered any indication of real love…I mean, 90% of the couples break up within the first two months of the season ending! The plot is so repetitive and calculated that I could practically predict a season without even watching it. Yet despite all this, it makes for pretty entertaining television.

So now you’re probably wondering how the heck I ended up in such a predicament knowing how I feel about the show..

Well, it had always been a running joke among my friends that I’d be perfect for the Bachelor. First requirement..being single. (check) Second, I have a kind of crazy, humorous personality that my friends assured me would go great with the show.(alright guys, check. I guess.) Essentially, they told me I have nothing to lose. If you know me, you know I live by the expression Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained. But still..I just wasn’t sure…actually I was pretty positive that the whole thing wasn’t for me. From being filmed, to competing for a man’s attention and being so exposed, yeah no thank you. I’ll pass.

Until one night, ABC’s signature closed captioning message rang a little bit clearer and seemed a little bit more alluring to me. Something to the extent of “If you think you or someone you know would be good fit for the next season of ABC’s The Bachelor, head over to blah blah blah and make your submission.”   

Guys, I truly can’t tell you what made my finger glide across my cell phone screen at that exact moment, maybe boredom..maybe wanting to check something off this big old bucket list of mine. Have you ever done something just because and then afterwards, you’re like, wait…what did I just do? After typing my name, hometown and attaching a photo of myself…I was ‘submitted’. Whatever that meant. To be honest, I thought absolutely nothing of it because I was positive I’d never hear back. It was kind of just something I could say I did and laugh about over dinner one night with my friends.

It wasn’t until Malisa’s voicemail on that sunny afternoon that I realized this was a little more serious than I had intended and someone actually saw my information and decided to call me back as a result. Oh gosh. Now what?

After going back and forth, I decided to return her call and see what this whole thing was about.

What ensued felt like a whirlwind. Like a project you had been assigned in school months prior that you waited until the last minute to complete, not knowing if you’d hand it in on time.

Malisa wanted 15-20 photos of me; a mixture of close-ups and full body shots. What? All I have is the iPhone. She wanted them to look natural, not like the photos you strategically waste an hour taking before uploading to your Instagram. How am I going to make these look remotely professional? I can take a selfie, would she like selfies? No. She definitely doesn’t want any selfies. How was I going to pull this off?! But it didn’t just stop there. The best (and most comical) part of the application process in my opinion, was the video I was required to make. Malisa attached the instructions and I gently perused through…casting wanted 5-10 minutes of me essentially filming dribs and drabs of my life, while choosing from a list of  ridiculous questions that I had to answer, ranging from what my dream date would be to any strange talents I possess. The main goal of the video was for them to see me in my element without it looking posed or forced. She wanted all of this by the following week. There was NO WAY I could take this seriously or pull it off that fast..it’s like the promo to a bad dating website! A bad home video! I just didn’t have the means or the time..or quite honestly, the guts. I still wasn’t sure if this was for me.

Maybe I’d just forget the whole idea. Tell her forget it. It’s stupid.

Maybe this was where my journey would end. (have a laugh if you understand that Bachelor play on words 😉 )

I deliberated some more. I thought of the pros and cons. I looked for every excuse not to follow through. But I realized when I have my toes dipped in something, I have to dive right in, no turning back. I asked my friends what they thought and naturally, they told me I should go for it. Ugh, friends..what else are they there for?

So I spent that next week trying and failing. Brainstorming ideas. Filming myself in horrible lighting, talking way too much. It just wasn’t working. I decided it was time to enlist the help of others if I was going to get anywhere at all. A photographer friend to take my photos and none other than my best friend to be my humble movie director. (the poor girl, I swear!) I truly wish you could have been behind the scenes watching us gallivant across Long Island in an effort to get the perfect ‘Bachelor-esque footage’. The beach, the pier, my house, my job…the camera even followed me to my kickboxing class! I was giving them the inside glimpses of me, as mundane as that may seem. Many laughs, cuts, do-overs, hair fixes and “I’m not doing this” happened throughout that week. But once all was said and done, I wound up with a solid 15 photos and the cheesiest, most vulnerable home video I’d ever had the pleasure of sharing with a complete stranger. But hey, I could check it off my list at least, right?

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I figured if anything, Malisa was just some regional talent recruiter that was assigned to the tri-state area in the hopes of finding risk-taking participants like myself. All I’d have to do is listen to what she had to say, follow some instructions and my application would disappear into the abyss of other Bachelor fan girls. She’d probably get a laugh and I’d never hear from her again.

iMovie was my best friend that week. I became a video editor without even realizing. After all of the dragging, dropping and meshing, I was done.

With one click, my drop box account was shared with Malisa and another casting producer and now, I would just wait. Embarrassed, yes. But nonetheless, I’ll still wait.

What I was not expecting was Malisa to email me back a few days later to let me know that she liked my video so much, she decided to shoot it over to the casting director!

Come again?! My video.  A video where my strange talent included reciting the U.S. presidents in chronological order. (don’t ask) Spilling my idea of a fantasy date, my obsession with my cat and the details of my my life into the camera of my iPhone. Someone even BIGGER than Malisa was going to see this?! What did I get myself into?? I can’t. Noooo.

At this point, it felt like I had unlocked the next level of a video game. I didn’t expect it to happen so now I wondered whether I should keep playing or take my winnings and run.

A couple more days passed before Malisa reached out again. This time, with a 25 page packet in tow. This thing covered absolutely everything you’d want to know about a person. Sensitive questions regarding relationships, family, your mental, emotional and physical state…your biggest fears, dreams and ideal ‘significant other’. Okay, so they want to make sure I’m not crazy, got it. But WHY do they need to know that I hate spiders and heights? Are they going to make me jump out of an airplane into a pit of spiders if I wound up making it on national television. The sad truth is, probably. You see, folks..this is what they were trying to achieve with these questions. Analytically picking your brain so deeply to know exactly what would set you off..this makes for great reality TV, am I right?! After completing this, I continued signing my life away and forked my personal rights over to a production company that basically told me they can alter my ‘character’ or personality however they see fit, should I get chosen. Guys, don’t ask why I continued. It almost became addicting..I had to keep going if I made it this far.

When Malisa asked for my passport and health insurance card in addition, things became slightly more real I guess you could say.

“Are you okay with traveling?,” she’d ask.

Um, yes?! We all know that’s half the reason people do this thing. (I didn’t tell her that, don’t worry)

With a cramped hand and bundle of nerves, I finally submitted the last of my Bachelor paperwork and waited to see if Malisa dared to ask me anything else.

Another email.

“Thanks Amanda. I wanted to make sure that you kept Wednesday, July 12th available during the day as we will be in NYC and want to meet with you. The meeting will be held at The Roosevelt Hotel.” 

*Deep breath*

Looking back on it now, I laugh at the course of events and what I felt from this moment forward.

Malisa explained to me that should I get past this round, I’d be flown out to LA for a weekend for a second screening. Even further past that, the filming process took around 3 months in California and I’d need to be away from home for that time or however long I lasted as a cast member. My access to the outside world would be extremely limited and monitored. No phones, no TV…nothing.

I had never expected to even get called back, so hearing all of this and having a set meeting with the show’s producer and casting team made for the craziest 2 months to follow.

At this time, I had to break to my family and friends, more specifically my parents, the nature of my newest endeavor. Having me as their child, my parents know I can be very impetuous and I do things that are, well, out of the ordinary sometimes. I’m constantly chasing some outlandish adventure or idea.

The reaction wasn’t the best, understandably. 

My mom wondered why on Earth I’d want to entangle myself in something like this. She raised the point that I had made earlier; that the show was far from reality. That fame wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The potential dangers of being pinned in front of an audience, basically setting yourself up to be ridiculed and berated by internet trolls.

My dad didn’t want his daughter being the sloppy one that constantly cried on camera and acted a fool on national television.

As I assured them, I most likely wouldn’t even get to that point but still…

Great. 

There is no truer or tougher critic than that of a parent and trust me when I say, I reevaluated the whole idea after this. I became very anxious and scared at the thought of any of those things potentially happening.

I kept at it, though.

My coworkers and friends on the other hand, thought this was the best idea ever. 

My submission video swirled around my office to whoever was interested enough to see it..guys when I tell you, I seriously have the best coworkers ever! Not only did they support this whole thing and want to know every detail of the process, but they let me film bits and pieces at the office and went along with my craziness, as they always do.

Now that everyone knew, it felt like we were all waiting to see what would happen.

From early May to mid-July, I ate, slept and breathed all things The Bachelor. The first question anyone would ask in conversation is how The Bachelor was going. I would see promos for the show on TV and shake. I became nervous at the site of a rose. Yes, I know. Weird. I spent countless days reading about casting interviews for the show online, while trying to think of the perfect outfit to wear on that day. I googled the show’s casting director, Lacey Pemberton, whom I would be meeting with. Known for her career as a former model and actress and her involvement in previous TV series/movies such as Card Sharks and Paper Towns, I was nervous to say the least.

As a matter of fact, The Bachelor franchise was in the news at that time for a couple of instances; an alleged harassment issue between cast members on its spin-off show Bachelor in Paradise and a tragic incident that had occurred when former Bachelor, Chris Soules, accidentally killed someone in a car crash.

For anyone with anxiety or superstitious beliefs, you can imagine why I took these two signs as bad omens. This surely meant I couldn’t proceed! I had never seen the show in the news for reasons like this before, so why all of a sudden? It’s just because someone knows I’m in the running here. They’re trying to tell me I should quit now.

You guessed it. I still persisted.

July 12th, 2017

The hottest day of the summer. But really.

I’m talking back dripping, hair-frizzing, stagnant summer heat and humidity. In NYC nonetheless.

Work was kind enough to wish me on my merry way as I took a personal day to meet with the producers. When I woke up that morning, I strangely wasn’t nervous at all. I was more excited to see what I was walking into. To see the behind the scenes of how a casting process for a TV show works. And I was someone that was part of the process. How cool? 

I trekked my way from car to train to Penn Station to the streets of Manhattan in the thick summer heat, en route to The Roosevelt Hotel.

Outfit choice? 

I went with an adorable striped open-back culotte romper (thank you Ruby&Jenna’s) and a pair of chunky platform Steve Madden sandals.

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I have to say, this was one of my favorite outfits last summer.

By the time I reached The Roosevelt Hotel in midtown Manhattan, I was sweating and my romper was practically sticking to me. I asked the bellhop outside if I’d be able to go in and hang out in the cool air before my meeting. He was super friendly and waved me right in.

The hotel was gorgeous and grand. And surprisingly, very lively for 12 in the afternoon. People were eating, drinking and chatting. Relaxing in the air conditioned atrium.

The first thing I noticed when I looked around was that there was nothing out of the ordinary. There were no other interviewees or what I perceived to be casting producers around. I sat down in a winged chair and texted my two assigned producers that I had arrived, a little early might I add. They answered back right away and told me to sit tight, as they were running a bit behind. Once they were ready, they would instruct me to take the elevator to the 9th floor where yet another producer would be waiting for me.

Okay, now the nerves kicked in a little.

I decided to freshen up in the hotel’s restroom before my fate awaited me. While there, I noticed another girl, dressed similarly to me applying lipstick in the mirror. I didn’t want to ask but at the same time, I was kind of curious. Is she here for the same reason I am?

I left the restroom, not thinking anything of it and went to sit back down. Moments later, the same girl came over to me and asked if I was here for a Bachelor interview…and if I had a mint. Phew! The sigh of relief when someone is just as nervous as you are about something and you guys can vent about it. We got to talking and I found out a little bit about her story, how unexpected and random it was just like mine. She was the appointment right before mine. We laughed as we now started noticing girls walk through the elevator doors at random..some of the outfits were outrageous! You can tell these girls were LIVING for this.

Uh oh. She got the text that it was her time to head upstairs, which meant I’d soon follow suit. I wished her good luck and told her to let me know how it goes if I happened to see her afterward. I never did.

The minutes dragged. 

Finally, I received the fateful text that it was my turn to head upstairs to floor 9. I hadn’t been nervous all day but at this moment, everything washed over me. Even still, I remained calm, cool and collected. Ready to see what was awaiting me.

When I stepped off of the elevator, I was greeted by another casting producer who was holding a sign with my name. She asked me to smile and stand against the wall as she snapped a photo of me. A microphone was then attached to my romper and I was on my way, following her down an extended corridor to the interview room. This is stuff I’d only seen on TV.

It wasn’t until her hand reached for the door knob that I immediately contemplated running back towards the elevators. Every word was going to leave my head and my brain would become mush. I couldn’t do it! But I had no choice..

I found myself in an empty hotel room. I mean zero furnishings aside from a small couch, table and a few chairs. It was weird. 

I finally met Malisa! There were a couple of other producers there also and lastly, Lacey Pemberton sitting calmly in the corner with a warm smile and a clip board.

I was placed in a chair in front of a camera and some serious lighting. Let the interrogation begin.

I wouldn’t say that the questions necessarily threw me for a loop. Many of them had been previously answered in my mound of paperwork. Introducing who I was, what I did for fun, my job..and how I became so tan. (thanks Italian skin) Lacey even complimented my outfit and seemed very enthralled by my answers to her questions, or so it seemed. Just like that, 10 minutes were up. I was given some Bachelor paraphernalia, thanked for my willingness to meet with them and told I would hear back most likely in two weeks.

I had just successfully interviewed for a spot on reality TV. Check!

I honestly felt good about my meeting regardless of what happened. I was glad I went through with it and could finally take a deep breath for the first time in two months.

Moral of the story…

I was leaving for a cruise with my friends a couple of weeks after the interview and had hoped for an answer before then, if not when I returned. But nothing came.

To be honest, I was glad. The summer wound down and they finally revealed who the Bachelor would be…Arie Luyendyk Jr. I’m sorry, who?! I didn’t even know who he was and more importantly, he didn’t seem like my type AT ALL. I was so glad I hadn’t received a call back. (No offense, Arie)  I felt in that moment that maybe I had been spared but either way, what a cool story to tell. I went through with something that made me completely anxious and unsure. I realized that it’s not something I would go for again, but I would have never known that if I never went for it.

If you ever find yourself with an opportunity to be on any sort of reality TV show or anything of the sort, I can’t tell you what to do..but think wisely throughout the process. If you’re like me and you enjoy taking risks and having fun, I say go for it! Life is all about the experiences and chances we take, whether they pan out or not. Make your life a compilation of stories, failed attempts and successes rather than one of ‘I wish I had done that.’

I know some of you are probably dying to see my submission video but I’m not so sure I’m ready to share it…it’s pretty embarrassing to say the least! If I get enough comments/feedback, maybe just maybe I’ll post the link to my Youtube and put it there.. Eeeeeek!! 🙂

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As always, thanks for reading and let me know what you think!

Go out and live your life peeps!

With love,

Amanda

 

 

Lifestyle

A Digital Problem

“I wish I had her body. She’s perfect.”

“They’re such a happy couple. When will I experience that?”

“How did he land that job? That’s my dream job.”

“Why is she on vacation again? Does she ever work?”

“I wish I had their life.They’re always having fun.”

“Will my hair ever look like hers?”

“He’s good at everything he tries. Why aren’t I?

“She has so many more friends than I do. Maybe I’m just awkward.”

Stop. 

If you’ve ever found yourself spiraling down this dark rabbit hole, stop. If you’ve ever found yourself in the throws of comparison, stop. No matter how old you are or what stage of life you’re currently experiencing, society has trained you to believe that you could always be doing better. That you are leaps and bounds behind those around you. Society tells us that what we see on social media is real. That the success and so-called happiness others are experiencing are an indication that you have failed miserably if you are not yet there, too. That you are not good enough. That digital strangers and acquaintances have the life you’ve always wanted and you’ll never get there.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” 

                                                               – Theodore Roosevelt

Welcome back, friends. And more importantly, welcome to a topic that has been on my heart for some time. I will be the first to admit that I find myself in these throws quite frequently and I have witnessed others struggle with the same thing in many facets of life almost daily. Speaking on behalf of millennials, I can safely say that we as young adults are constantly pressured to do the best, look the best and be the best. We are trained to believe that our progress should equally match the progress of our peers and if we fall short, well, we’re failures. If our bodies don’t look like the girl we saw on Instagram or if we don’t have the relationship that the happy couple on Facebook seems to have, we are inadequate. If we didn’t land our perfect dream job right out of college, we are useless. We will never have what they have. 

I find myself constantly comparing and worrying. Why have I not reached all of the goals I had envisioned for myself by this age? Why does it seem like my peers have it all together and I am just one big hot mess? Why have I not yet found the perfect relationship? They are progressing and I’m not.

I constantly hear those close to me asking the same questions of self-doubt.

The reality of this is, that it’s not reality. 

The problem is not me, it’s society.

More often than not, I see people completely lying to themselves in the hopes of keeping up with the Joneses. Following the construct that society has laid out for them because they feel like they should or they have to in order to be considered ‘on track’ in life.

The truth is that there is no such thing as ‘on track’. That perfect body you saw on Instagram was photoshopped to a fault. That happy couple you always see pictures of? They bicker regularly and have deep-rooted trust issues.

You see, today it’s all about the aesthetic. About instant gratification and validation. We can’t wait because we need it right this minute. Everyone is so quick to share their successes and the ‘highs’ in their life because they seek the validation of complete strangers who will tell them, “Hey, you’re doing great!” and “Ugh! I wish I was you, you’re so lucky.” But God forbid they show the ugly. No, no, you can’t show the ugly. The hardship and struggles behind their defeat. The doors that have been slammed in their faces before the right one finally opened. The work it took to reach a place of confidence and comfort in their own skin. The unhappiness behind a failing relationship.

One perfectly polished smile in a photo doesn’t reveal the tears and pain the same person is experiencing. The beautifully hand-crafted aesthetic that someone builds on a social media page does not depict the truth of their life, as much as you may believe it does.

This is a concept that has taken me very long to grasp and to this day, I still catch myself  becoming anxious or worried about the status of my own life’s progression and the completion of my goals compared to those of my peers and the social media landscape. Why don’t I have that type of lifestyle?  Why don’t I look like that? Have I failed? To even entertain these thoughts seems ridiculous, but sadly it’s become a societal norm.

We are inundated with so many updates, statuses and photo albums pertaining to every minute detail of the lives of strangers, it’s impossible for our brains to process it all. We become prisoners of our own minds. For this reason, I believe the advent of social media has been a curse as much as it’s been a blessing.

Maybe I’m a bit old school, but I find it so sad that we can’t take our heads out of our phones for longer than 15 minutes. (It’s truly become an addiction that I admit I’m guilty of) That we feel the need to capture a moment on video before we see it first with our own two eyes. That we spend more time browsing the profiles of strangers who we will never meet, as opposed to nurturing the relationships that are right in front of us. That the amount of followers and likes you have holds more weight than the person you are when the camera isn’t on you. That ‘dating’ has essentially become the same as shopping for a new outfit. Don’t like the way it looks? Swipe to the next.

Technology may be lurching forward but I promise you, our generation is on a path to no where if we hold steady the belief that social media and the digital realm is reality. That the grass is greener on the other side. That it’s better to mimic the lives and looks of others rather than be unique and unapologetically ourselves.

Is it any wonder why relationship failures are on the rise? Why the word anxiety has become so mainstream?

Sometimes I crave the collapse of it all and wonder what would happen if we went back 20 years, before any of this. Back to the days where going on road trips required the use of an actual map and not your cell’s GPS. When people actually had to sit around a dinner table and…wait for it…. talk. Before life-made-easy apps and photo editing tools were available with the touch of a button. When kids got dirty and played outside until the sun set rather than swiping their fingers across an iPad to pass the time.

The same can be said for relationships. As I reflect on the love that my grandparents have shared (60 years!), I wonder how they weathered life’s storms and trials without ever turning their backs on one another. They were and are still so in love. Nothing has changed between them from the day they met until now. I wasn’t there for their beginning but I can tell by the way they speak of it, how beautiful and rare it really is, especially now. I attribute it to what society was for them at that time. During a time where you put your all into the person you were with and didn’t stray to find something better when times got tough. Not because you couldn’t, but because you just didn’t even want to. A time when respect was more attractive than someone’s physical attributes and a man asked a woman to dance. (crazy concept, I know) It’s no surprise why my grandparents can’t fully understand today’s world or where it went wrong. They didn’t grow up with a phone attached to their hands. They worked hard for everything they had and were never in a cyclic competition with strangers. The lives and progressions of others didn’t bother them because they were so entrenched in building their own foundation together. They were simply grateful and happy with one another.

We have strayed so far from this. It has become normal and okay to seek connection with a stranger, instead of investing in the relationship you’ve had forever. It has become normal to only portray whatever it is you want the world to see you as, all while lying to yourself and masking your true feelings. It has become normal to find whatever it is you’re looking for with a click or a swipe. Society and social media has conditioned you to believe that while you may be doing okay, someone else is always doing better. There’s always something/someone/somewhere that is better. And you better keep up, otherwise you’ll fall behind.

As a fed up millennial, I say to you this; don’t believe everything you see when your thumb is scrolling across the glass of your latest smart phone. Don’t lower your standards or ever feel inadequate in comparison to the show someone else is putting on for a digital audience. Don’t rush your life in an attempt to try to be something you’re not in the hopes of squeezing into the tight bubble society has created for you. If you’re old school, stay old school. If you’re unique..stay unique, we need more of you.

Wherever you are on your journey right now, whether you’re living the life you dreamed  of or are wondering why the heck you can’t catch a break, trust that it’s exactly where you’re meant to be.

I believe that God has a plan for each of us and we are all destined to be something wonderful. Didn’t get that job you wanted? That’s because a better one is coming. That relationship didn’t work out? God is waiting for the right time to present the love of your life to you. That diet isn’t going so well, huh? Weight can always be lost. At least you have your health.

Believe in tradition and values, they never go out of style. Believe in the love your grandparents shared. Be different, think different. Smile in a photo because of how happy you truly are, not because of how happy you want people to think you are.

You will get to where you need to be on your own time, at your own pace. Log out, log off and live your life.

With love,

Amanda

 

Lifestyle

April

Hello Visitors 🙂

It’s been a little while! A month ago when I set out to do this thing and created my first blog post, I received such kind and encouraging feedback and knew I wanted to take my endeavor to the next level. Over the past several weeks, I’ve been working tirelessly exerting my time, energy and personal resources into developing my own personal ‘brand’ if you will. I’ve had friends who have also been patient and kind enough to offer their own expertise in terms of website building and design/logos..and even making recommendations as to which starter camera to purchase. (Canon Rebel, woo!)

I had a vision of what I wanted my blog to be from the onset but was completely overwhelmed and shocked by all of the work that goes into it. I knew zilch about coding and websites, how to take good photos or even how to gauge what type of content people would want to read or find interesting. All of these things scared me and made me feel inadequate, as though maybe I should quit while I’m ahead. Although I’m no where near the finish line and there are many things that I’d still like to perfect, I’m realizing that this is a slow and steady process that takes time, much like anything else in life. Rome certainly wasn’t built in a day, so I have to recognize that the same could apply for this endeavor-all good things take time AND dedication. Put in the work, seek the reward. (sadly, patience is not one of my virtues)

Both my personal image and ‘blogging brand’ are on a constant path of transformation and will probably change several more times in the future as I learn and grow. Right now, I’m focused on what I set out to do..which is build this wonderful website and forum into something greater. I hope to build a base of followers and create posts that inspire and entertain. That give you little glimpses into the many facets of my life. Over the next month, I’ll even be adding a Youtube channel to my repertoire!

To those that have taken the time to subscribe to my blog from the very beginning, thank you! To anyone that’s even clicked on the link and taken a little walk through my site..thank you, too! It’s the positive feedback and support that fuels my willingness to keep forging ahead with this.

Look out for my very first travel post in the next day or two about a quick trip I made this past weekend to Watkins Glen, NY!

I’m just getting started, so stay tuned 🙂

With love,

Amanda