A Prom Education

Tonight I was kept awake by tomorrow's problems. The remedy? An old picture I found. The photo was from my senior year prom and in it are the happiest girls in America. These girls had no idea what the next seven years would bring, and they could've cared less. Because on a muggy night in the beginning of May, they were dancing on a cruise boat in the middle of Lake Michigan. Boys, homework, and college could wait until tomorrow. These girls lived for the moment.
Better yet-- they lived for themselves.

A few engagements, weddings, and babies later, we're what society calls "all grown up." But I see that girl in the prom photo and think, "Now that's a girl who can handle a board of directors meeting."

We forget these things so easily. We forget the innate talent that's within us when things get hard. We reach for security blankets instead of digging up the strength and tenacity that was in us the whole time. I know I do. When things become overwhelming I don't let myself breathe. I push myself to the brink and leave myself so dehydrated that I forget to thirst. That's what happens when you want it all- you try and do it all. It can be done, but it cannot be done alone. 

Life these days is not so different from the days and weeks before prom. Before prom we all sat around Starbucks and made guesses on what boys would ask us. Looking back on the boys who agreed to take our group to prom-- you all were pretty damn brave. I salute each of you. We weren't easy to deal with. The fiances, husbands, and boyfriends of today would agree. We were a lot to handle...and still are.

But we sat around in uncertainty and worried about all the things that could go wrong. The wrong date, the ugly corsage (which would probably leave you dateless), a horrible up-do at the salon (definitely leave you dateless), and let's not forget the spray tan nightmares (no prom for you!). The reality that the day of prom I could wake up looking like a homeless oompa loompa kept me up all night. Always tomorrow's problems keeping me up tonight, even back then.

That's where I learn and relearn the true value of those friendships. Those girls are still the ones I call when I can't sleep. They were then and they are now my "phone a friend." The problems have changed, but the love is everlasting. They hold my hand all night. We've done it for one another so many times that we know exactly what to say to bring a smile back from the abyss. The words, "You're not alone" have never been so beautiful.

A few Aprils ago I had to say goodbye to two special people in my life. It all took place in the span of ten days and those girls were at my front door in Chicago, full of old photos, story telling, and celebrating the lives that were cut too short. We've traveled across the country for one another, and even made trips to Lake Shore Drive just to clear our heads at 2:30 am, Oreo McFlurries in hand.

They taught me how to become the woman I am today- and without them I would not be so strong. So tonight I want to acknowledge the gift that is having an extra pair of footprints walk this life with you. Because as much as we want to do it all, and do it all ourselves... we weren't made to do this alone.

Life is just like prom. Remember that you didn't get ready alone, and you didn't dance by yourself.

Treat your tomorrows like prom. Go fix your nails, nix the spray tan, and dance with your friends. Everything else will take care of itself. Remember that when it came down to it, your hair got sweaty and gross, your date was a bore, and all that mattered was a night with the people you love the most. That's why we're here. For moments like that. Go out and make more of them. Screw everything else.



A Shallow Shoreline

When things get to be too much... I start to drive. Usually it doesn't matter where I'm headed, for as I've been told it's the "journey my darling-not the destination." Well consider me a world traveler.

I drove with friends to the beach this weekend and the air did wonders.  There is something so humbling standing at the shoreline of an ocean. Doesn't matter which one- you suddenly become insignificant. Oddly enough, feeling insignificant and small was exactly what I needed.

We live in a world where the day to day is drenched in neon highlighters and glows in the dark to keep you awake. I've been told to "not sweat the little" things; but this is often when I'm already drenched. What's a girl to do in times such as these? Drive to the beach.

Looking out at the big blue wonder I felt every worry, stress, and doubt begin to wash away with the tide. None of what keeps me awake tonight will matter on this night a year from now. This realization had me composing on napkins and grabbing at tiny pencils. Inspiration was everywhere.  Everything in the present is but a moment in time. A stranger saying hello, a lover kissing you, a friend holding your hand. These are all just reels on the movie screen, flipping too quickly for any of us to appreciate.

Recently I sat with a friend during a rough time in their life. Learning the truth behind months of lies can often be the most painful heartache. For it is not the lack of love, but rather the disregard for human compassion that can send us into the darkest of holes. It can make you feel broken. And as someone who has felt broken, I can say it is the most troubling of emotions. It is not easily fixed, yet it is a feeling we try to patch up the fastest. The vulnerability with learning a truth, where all this time you were living a lie- is an experience I would not wish on even those who are most be deserving. Deception can make one feel as if they are at the bottom of the ocean, and that they will never come back up for air. As I watched the waves crash up against the rocks, I could not help but marvel at how even a rooted stem of seaweed eventually rises.

Saturday afternoon at the beach was one of necessity and clarity. I think I had forgotten that so many of the answers we seek are often right in front of us. On a Saturday in February the solace I sought was found in a blue body of water, everlasting, strong, and endless.

Sometimes in the thick of the mayhem it is important to remember that we are but just one person standing on the shoreline. If the waves could have spoken I think they would have said,

"Many have stood where you are now. Everything will be alright."

I don't know about you, but I'm a believer.



A Girl Named Lulu

Listen up gentlemen. There's a new girl in town and boy does she have a lot to say about you. Her name is Lulu and she's friends with every ex girlfriend, former lover, and extinguished flame you ever decided to light up. Tread lightly my bar hopping bachelors- it looks like your play book is being published on the world wide web.

The app is called Lulu which was launched in February 2013 by Alexandra Chong. She says she created the app "because [her] girlfriends and [herself] needed it." I mean god forbid you just ask a friend if she's heard of the guy you met. Now, Sherlock Homegirl has a new trick up her sleeve. Googling a guy? Not in 2014.

How Lulu works is that it links up through your Facebook. Oh, and have I mentioned it's girls only? From there you go through each male friend and rate them. You can use surveys about him and use hashtags to describe him to new girls he may meet. The pound symbol now has an added punch.

Lulu assures men that they can be removed from Lulu at any time and can download the app to see their current comments or status. Unlike Yelp, Lulu does not let any girls write their own comments, you can only choose from a predetermined menu of descriptions. But still...isn't this a little much ladies?

Up to you to decide. As for me, call me old fashion but Lulu won't be invited to any of my dinner parties. You know what they say about the loudest voice in the room...



The Gridlock Escape

For the past twenty-two days I have traveled under the radar of the internet. I deactivated Facebook, closed multiple accounts of social media, and could not easily be reached by the telephone. Texts went unanswered, phone calls went missing, and my voicemail began to pile up with frantic, yet amused tones of friends asking,

"KB... where in god's name are you? Are you among the living?"

I am pleased to report I am. In all honesty, the decision to go off the grid came a few weeks ago. I couldn't sleep and my mind was reeling with nonsense matter. It was 3 am and my life was in gridlock. My once inspired thoughts had become centered around the material of the internet, the going ons of people I rarely spoke to, and I was posing for photos in a way that would "look great on Facebook." I needed a restart. I needed the kind of quiet that one can only find when you turn off the phone and disconnect the computer. I was seeking solace and instead of continuing to sit in the traffic jam of noise, I got off at the nearest exit and just hoped for the best.

I think what I loved most about "being off the grid" was not the quiet, nor the sudden mystery about other people's lives, but rather that my life was again my own. No one knew what I was up to, where I was, who I was with, or what the hell had even happened to my Facebook. Blocked? Unfriended? Or did she really...no she couldn't... Why yes I did. I got rid of my Facebook and found it surprisingly liberating. Also, I'm sure everyone's newsfeeds welcome the break.

The reason I have reactivated my social media is to keep up with friends and the unavoidable truth that Facebook is one of the best channels for bloggers. So if you're in need of something to read when the Red Line breaks down, your plane is delayed, or you're literally stuck in gridlock--rest assured you'll have something to peruse should the mood strike you.

I'm keeping it simple in 2014.  I discovered something during my time away. I realized that living a life on the internet isn't really living. A realization that much like common sense, is not that common. My life cannot be fixed or enhanced by a sepia toned filter. It cannot be explained with a song I share from youtube. It's a living, breathing, messy, and stunningly beautiful piece of art. It's a canvas that I throw splatters of words on daily and cross my fingers that to someone it might make sense.

I'm back. This time will be different though. The blog is undergoing some massive changes, new friends, new adventures, and I cannot wait to share them all with you. I'm training for the 2014 Chicago marathon...so get ready for some running metaphors.

2014 is our year. It's a year for going off the grid. It's a year for reinventing.

It's a year for escaping from the gridlock.

And in the mean time... here's a photo of a puppy named Mr. Fitz.