I am blessed with opportunity

I am blessed. Blessed to be alive. Blessed to be fortunate enough to attend college. Blessed to have a family that loves me. Blessed to be healthy. Blessed with many opportunities.

Opportunity; that’s a word we hear too often. We say we will take every opportunity we can, yet very seldom do we follow through.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Agriculture Future of America Leaders Conference in Kansas City. I figured I knew what to expect, seeing as though I had been to many leadership conferences with FFA throughout high school. Boy, was I wrong.

AFA was focused on teaching leaders what’s next, not how to become a leader. They already saw us as leaders for either earning the scholarship to get there, or being accepted after submitting an application. We chose to be there, it wasn’t just by chance of a school trip.

This made the sessions focus more on what skills we need as leaders to take the next step. Every single session is applicable to my life with leadership, as well as school, family, friends and relationships. I feel confident knowing this conference was worth my while. And I would have missed out on all of this if I wouldn’t have taken the opportunity.

I have now challenged myself to actually take opportunities more often. There are so many out there! And I challenge each of you to do the same. Who knows what will come of it!

Growing up in the dance world hasn’t always been easy. Of course it is awesome to bond with a group of girls and watch them grow as dancers as we get older, but there is also a pressure that comes with it. Many people assume dancers have the perfect bodies. I, for one, know I am nowhere near perfect. But I can accept that. 

There is one moment I can remember from a dance competition when I was about 10. Now let me start by saying there are some pretty provocative costumes some younger girls wear (rhinestoned bras and booty shorts without tights). I can remember all of the parents from my competition team making snarky comments about how it’s inappropriate for young girls to wear costumes that show off their stomachs. They also kept saying it’s inappropriate for bigger sized people to show their stomachs too. And there I was standing next to them with a costume that had my stomach revealed. My costume was modest, connecting at the sides with a skirt that was a decent length and of course I had tights on, but I still felt the need to cover my stomach after listening to them rant. I felt like I was being judged.

Ever since that competition season every costume I wore covered my stomach, until a few weeks ago when I decided to try out for the Mizzou Golden Girls. The mandatory outfit included a sports bra or short top, booty shorts and tights. I didn’t even try out my freshman year because I wasn’t sure how I felt about that dress code. But when I got to tryouts, there were girls there of all shapes and sizes. No one’s stomach was flat and perfect either. I finally felt comfortable in my own skin and didn’t feel like I was being judged for having my stomach showing. Even though I didn’t make the team, I am so happy I went and auditioned. 

I’m not trying to bash on the parents that made me feel this way; everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I just wish people were more accepting instead of putting others down. I’m also not saying I plan on walking around with my stomach exposed 24/7, but it’s just nice to finally be confident enough to not feel like I have to hide it while wearing a swim suit. 

I guess what I am getting at is to not let others’ opinions get you down. It’s your body, you can wear what you want. So do yourself a favor and look in the mirror and love what you see. And most importantly, love everyone (including yourself) for who they are!

To My Generation:

I would like to take a few minutes out of my morning to share the thoughts I had while walking across campus this morning.

I am so grateful to have been raised by two wonderful parents. They taught me something I thought a majority of people used; manners. Everyday I see college-aged “adults” disrespecting many places and people on campus. This morning I got on the elevator and found an empty plastic cup sitting on the floor. Without thinking I picked it up and threw it away once I got off. How hard is it to throw away garbage? Especially with all of the trashcans located at every corner on campus. Also, how hard is it to hold the door open for someone coming in or out after you? Especially for the elderly or professors. Where has all of the respect for others gone?

My parents have raised me to have manners that I hardly find in my generation anymore. This makes me sad! Most of the people my age are plugged into their headphones 24/7 too busy tweeting and texting to take a second to look others in the eyes and greet them with a polite smile or nod. Of course we are all in touch with technology, but it’s okay to put your phone down for 10 minutes on your walk to class. I promise!

But worst of all, I think the biggest impolite thing my generation can’t grasp is the idea of saying “thank you”. It’s two easy words that have more meaning than some may think. I hold the door open for people all the time and hardly ever do I hear a thank you. Do they think that door is just staying open by itself? 

Now by no means am I saying every single person of my generation is like this. Yes, there are some I know that are polite, but there are far too many that ignore manners and respect in every way possible. I’m also not saying I am perfect in using my manners 100% of the time, but I still try to a majority of the time.

So, I would like to take this time to thank my parents. Thank you for being positive role models while I was growing up. Thank you for raising me to show respect to others as well as myself. Thank you for teaching me how to be polite. Thank you for showing me how to make good choices. Thank you for reminding me every day that you love me. And most importantly, thank you for spanking me when I did something wrong as a kid. But I ask one thing of you? Can you come to campus and spank some of these kids and teach them some manners?

Becoming a Better Me

This week I begin the start of my second semester at Mizzou. With so many laughs and memories from first semester I can not wait to see what the rest of my freshman year has in store for me. Even though first semester was rough in a few spaces, I would say it has been an overall great experience so far. Right now I am the happiest I think I have ever been. I have a family who loves me and a boyfriend that means the world to me. That is such an awesome feeling! While everything may be hunky-dory right now, I have some major plans for the upcoming months.

I plan on making changes in myself. I am going to frequent the Rec and become toned again. Maybe I will even work on my fear of heights and work up the courage to rock climb more often. Of course it is great to work out and become healthier, but I also want to make changes mentally.

I would like to become more of a positive person. Whenever I am having a bad day I am going to make myself write down all of the things in life I am blessed to have. I am also going to tell the people I care about how much they mean to me more often. I feel like starting with little steps like those will easily transform into being more of an upbeat and happier person.

I am excited to see where my life will be 4 months from now. These small changes can lead to even bigger changes, but I’m willing to take the risk! I have family, friends and Landon by my side to help me along the way and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Final

When I try to describe death the only word that comes to mind is final.

My little hometown of Troy, Missouri lost a great man today. For those that do not know, our high school psychology teacher has been battling pancreatic cancer for the past year. A month or so ago, a high school class started a hashtag trend of #TheMixMovement. Hundreds of dollars have been raised by the community and neighboring communities in the county. The hashtag was even spread worldwide. This teacher was not just a teacher, but a mentor, friend, husband, father, hero and most recognized an inspiration. He inspired students to go above and beyond what they are capable of. Of course, he was a phenomenal teacher as well. Every student looked forward to going to his class to see what vidya (video) he was going to play that day. But today, we lost that kind man. 

Yes, his memory will forever live on in the hearts of his students, family, friends, co-workers, ect. But he will no longer be with us on this earth. That is a concept that is so hard to wrap my head around. Death is so final. Lives end and we will never see those people again.

I lost 3 grandparents within 6 months around this time during my junior year of high school. That was a mere 2 years ago and to this day I still expect them to come walking through the door any minute. It breaks my heart to know that they just aren’t here anymore. I have such realistic dreams of them coming back to see me, but I know it won’t be that way when I wake up. They are gone. 

And it’s not goodbye. I don’t think I could say goodbye. It’s only until next time. I know I will see them again somewhere. Until then, I know they are watching over me. Their bodies may be gone, but their spirits are still with us. Death may be very final, but it also gives Heaven a chance to be gifted with more angels. I know I have my guardian angels up there watching over me and now I know Mr. Mix is as well. 

You Shot Me Down… and Failed

Starting this weekend, life decided to throw me for a curve. Words were exchanged and a very unforgettable comment was shot my way (no pun intended). As a teenager some may say I overreacted. But how would you react if someone told you that you deserve to have a bullet inside of you? 

At that moment, I was purely shocked.

I can admit that it is okay though. It is definitely not acceptable that the situation dropped to drastic measures, but it made me realize a lot. I know that my parents are there for me. Without even being asked they were automatically trying to problem solve and make the best of this situation. Not only that, but my friends were there for me as well. Knowing that I actually have people who love me makes me feel beyond blessed.

Some may say that this is rude to make a post about such personal matter. Not everything has to be taken so negatively. Besides, there are no names being posted or comments of hatred being said about whomever it is. Personally I really hope this was an eye-opening experience for all involved. Everyone should learn from mistakes and I hope that I am not the only one who has grown from it. 

I just want people to remember that as much as it sucks to be the bigger person, do not stoop down to that level of weakness. You can rise above anything with the right mind set. As my father always tells me, “Life is a state of mind. Make it what you want.”

Pressure

I can feel it weighing down on me. I feel as though I am 5,000 pounds and struggling to walk across the room. The pressures of living the perfect life are taking their toll.

Get good grades. Become involved. Be flawless. Go out and have fun, but not too much fun. Study three hours a day. Get an education. Maintain a job, a high paying job at that. Make friends. Listen to your parents. Don’t break the law. Look socially acceptable when going into public. Eat a healthy diet. Work out. Have a steady relationship. 

Woah, woah, woah. Did I sign up for this? The constant nagging from society is killing me here. 

Maybe I want to eat junk food and sit on my couch all day. This may be acceptable every once in awhile, but it is not okay to do this everyday according to society. What if that is how I want to live my life? Become a fortune teller living under a bridge with only half my teeth, that’s my dream (only kidding). Whatever I want to do, is somehow frowned upon in today’s world. This is awful.

Who are these strangers trying to influence me to be? Barbie? I don’t think so. Unless she is brunette, moderate in size, opinionated (sometimes too much), loves to eat and absolutely hates running, I’m not so sure I can fulfill this social norm. If this keeps me from finding my Ken, then so be it. I will be happy with who I am. 

I love my obnoxious laugh; it’s memorable. I love my crazy family; they keep me sane. I love the way my cats and dogs come to me to snuggle; they don’t care what I look like. I love the way my hair looks when I wake up; messy and beautiful. I love not wearing make-up in the summer; it’s so natural. I love the way my friends accept me for me, flaws and all. I love the way I am human. 

As humans we can not be flawless. PERFECTION IS NOT ATTAINABLE. These are our lives and we only have one. Lets not waste our time making sure we have others’ approval. Be yourself because if people can’t accept you for who you really are, they are just fooling themselves trying to be that ‘perfect’ person. 

Now I’m not saying go out and become a low-life. Just go out and be yourself. Our flaws make us different from one another. Embrace it. Cherish it. And most of all, just love yourself.