My Quarter Life Crisis is Happening (Odyssey Article 12)

Have no idea what you’re doing with your life? Me either!


My Quarter Life Crisis is Happening

Growing up freakin’ sucks.

At the end of September, I participated in a panel (with six other young adults) speaking to a group of under-motivated high school students wanting to know why it is important to finish school and what it’s like growing up. I told them, “Adulting is like getting everything you ever wanted as a kid from Santa Clause, but then, he also brings you a sack full of things you didn’t ask for and you have no idea what to do with.” The kids didn’t enjoy my joke as much as the rest of my peers and the teacher, but I couldn’t come up with a more accurate analogy.

When you imagine graduating high school, graduating college, or even life after college, your mind paints this image of immediate success. You move from one goal to another, and you feel on top of the world. You feel like you can accomplish anything. However in reality, you quickly realize things don’t always happen the way or at the speed you expected.

I don’t cry in front of people. (It’s just not how I am.) Yet later during the panel, the teacher asked a question about my parents, and as I got into my response, my voice suddenly cracked, my chin quivered, and the tears welled up in my eyes. Up until that point, I remained composed whenever people asked about my parents. Two years ago, they moved 10 hours away from my sister and me (both in college), and of course I miss them, but it wasn’t until someone asked me about them in the context of growing up that it really hit me hard.

I’m 22 years old. I’m an “adult”. I should have my life together, but there I was, in front of friends and strangers, crying about my parents… What the heck is wrong with me?

Since that moment, sitting as the fractured, emotional mess I never knew I was, I started thinking about where I am in life, and I questioned everything happening around me. My thoughts flooded with so many questions, it made my head spin.

Am I making the right decisions with my life currently and for the future?

Am I satisfied with where I am and where I’m going?

Am I happy with my relationships?

Am I living up to my full potential?

And as my stream of consciousness progressed, I quickly discovered I have not a single clue what I’m doing with my life.

All these questions and I had no answers. I broke down.

As I wrote this, I’m still so certain about being uncertain, it ties my stomach in knots, and my heart is heavy. I have so many things to do and choices to make, I have so much expected of me, and I’m unsure about it all.

I miss seeing my family every day. I miss seeing my friends every day. I miss the routine and the feeling of achievement from school. I feel overwhelmed by the uncertainty. I feel isolated because talking about it all only brings judgement, bias, burden, or pity.

I feel like I’m in the middle of the path life has for me, but I’m standing completely still, and I have no idea which way life wants me to go. It’s scary, it’s frustrating, and it’s really lonely when it seems like everyone else is moving forward. Even after I speak or after I pray, a weight still sits heavy on my chest. I don’t know whether to have a whole bottle of wine, a whole gallon of ice cream, or a whole box of tissues.

How do I keep from completely losing my mind?

I finally spilled everything to my friend, and she told me, “At the end of the day, you walk the path alone, and yet, you are surrounded. You are guided and protected, and everything is all laid out for you. In the moment, we may face the greatest challenges and struggles we can imagine, but life can’t give you anything you can’t make it through. Sometimes, you must fall down a hill to get to the top of the next one, but that failure and those struggles end up being the best rewards, lessons, and triumphs possible.”

I responded, “I know you’re right, but it’s not helping me feel much better at the moment.”

I calmed down since the conversation with my friend, but those feelings still linger in my spirit. Feeling like your goals are unobtainable and true happiness isn’t possible is not uncommon. It may seem like a dark cloud constantly hovering over your head, but I realize now you never know when the sunshine will break through (if only a single beam of light at a time).

Just know in your darkest moments of uncertainty, when you panic and you feel like you hit rock bottom, a plan still exists for your life. The only person stopping you is you. During the race of living, life puts hurdles in front of you, but only you can jump those hurdles and sprint to the finish in all its glory.

However, it’s still okay not to be okay. It’s okay to cry or scream or lock yourself away for a moment. Times get tough (and growing up sucks), but take a deep breath. Life put our blinders on, but a light still shines bright at the end of the tunnel.

We will make it through because we can do anything. Give it time.


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The Ultimate Playlist for the Girl Who Needs a Confidence Boost (Odyssey Article 10)

Okay, ladies! Get in formation! You are queens, and no one can tell you different! Enjoy!


The Ultimate Playlist for the Girl Who Needs a Confidence Boost

You are a queen.

Every girl has that moment (or moments) in her life when she just feels like she’s not good enough. Her confidence falls, and she starts to question her worth. However, these times are only temporary… because girl, you know what’s always true no matter the situation?

You are fine, you are fierce, and you are flawless.

In the famous words of Beyonce… Ladies, it’s time to get in formation. Let me introduce you to my ultimate “Bad B**ch Playlist”.

[**Some songs and videos may contain adult content and language.**]


1. Formation – Beyonce

Everyone knows Beyonce is literally Queen B. She always slays, and she’s always on her grind, just like you!

Beyonce

2. Me Too – Meghan Trainor

M Train does not care what anyone thinks! She knows she’s fabulous, and you are, too!

Meghan Trainor

3. Sit Still, Look Pretty – Daya

Step aside, boys! This girl deserves to be front and center with you by her side!

Daya Blowing a Kiss

4. B**ch Better Have My Money – Rihanna

Rihanna has more swag than all men combined. You have it in you, too, girl!

Rihanna

5. Work B**ch – Britney Spears

You know what they say, “It’s Britney, b**ch!”, and honey, you’re also putting in that work!

Britney Spears Blowing a Kiss

6. Man, I Feel Like a Woman – Shania Twain

Shania’s my girl! She knows exactly how to have a good time, and you have just as much fun as her!

Shania Twain Leopard Outfit

7. So What – P!NK

P!NK is about as bad as they come. Channel her power and embrace it!

P!nk Roaring

8. Somethin’ Bad – Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood

Even after her divorce, Miranda hasn’t slowed down one bit, and you know Carrie always brings the big guns! You all do the most!

Miranda & Carrie

9. B**ch, I’m Madonna – Madonna

Madonna is just as relevant now as she was in the 80’s! Build your own legacy!

Madonna

10. Feeling Myself – Nicki Minaj & Beyonce

Nicki is a woman in a man’s world, but she doesn’t let that stop her! Don’t just live, thrive!

(And Beyonce is Beyonce, so you know she’s making this playlist more than once!)

Nicki & Beyonce

11. Roar – Katy Perry

Katy is so cute, and she has killer pipes! Let your self-confidence roar!

Surprised Katy Perry

12. Fighter – Christina Aguilera

At times, Christina is a little rough around the edges, but her talent is unmatched. You can do anything, regardless of your circumstances!

Christina Aguilera

13. Confident – Demi Lovato

Demi knows nothing’s wrong with being confident! She’s struttin’ her stuff, and so are you!

Demi Lovato

14. Bo$$ – Fifth Harmony

This all-girl group is just as sassy as they are gifted! Vibe with their energy!

Fifth Harmony

15. Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani

Gwen’s career slowed down since the early 2000’s; however, you can’t beat the classics! You’re an original!

Gwen Stefani

16. Stronger – Kelly Clarkson

Kelly is another long-time leading lady, but all her songs still leave you feeling some type of way. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

Kelly Clarkson Spinning

17. Do My Thang – Miley Cyrus

Miley went through a bit of a rough patch, but she’s come back full force! You can overcome anything!

Miley Cyrus Wearing a Mustache

18. WTF (Where They From) – Missy Elliott

Missy always gives us hits perfect for dancing like no one is watching! Do your thing, girl!

Missy Eliott

19. Born This Way – Lady Gaga

Gaga is all about loving yourself for who you are, and you’re perfect that way! Don’t change a thing!

Lady Gaga

20. Jenny From The Block – Jennifer Lopez

J Lo made it to the top, but she never forgets where she came from! Don’t lose sight of your roots!

Jennifer Lopez Ponytail

21. Pretty Girl Rock – Keri Hilson

Keri knows exactly what you need to hear before a night out! You are a ten!!

Keri Hilson

22. The Best D*mn Thing – Avril Lavigne

Avril’s been a rocker from the beginning, and she always knows her worth! You’re the best of the best!

Avril Lavigne

23. Shake It Off – Taylor Swift

T Swift had her fair share of relationships, but she remains the strong, independent woman her mama raised her to be. Just block out the haters! They have nothing on you!

Sassy Taylor Swift

24. Scars to Your Beautiful – Alessia Cara

Fairly new to the Top 40 music scene, Alessia still knows what you need to hear on a down day. You always have hope!

Alessia Cara

25. F**k Apologies – JoJo

After a long break, JoJo is back, and she’s just a fierce as ever! Stand your ground! You are strong!

Dancing JoJo


Remember, ladies… Not only are you fine, fierce, and flawless, you are also kind, smart, and important. Nothing and no one can take your worth away from you when you know you’re priceless and can conquer the world without a second thought. You go, girl!


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Road to Virginia! (Day 1-2)

I don’t know about the bright eyes or bushy tails, but we did have two early mornings on the road. We left from the school yesterday morning, stayed the night in Jackson, TN, and then today, we traveled the rest of our way to Daleville, VA.

Aside from some questionable stops and goes, the ride itself wasn’t too bad. The first part of the trip was pretty familiar for me (because of the trips to see my parents), but it is still a beautiful drive, nonetheless. It seemed like with every mile, the passing land got a little taller and a little greener.

—–

We ate at the normal food places for lunch, McDonald’s the first day and Chick-Fil-A the next. However, we did experience our first walk up Chick-Fil-A, which was both weird and wonderful.

Dinner last night was at a local Italian restaurant. The bread wasn’t bad, and then I had the minestrone soup and the deluxe baked ziti. The soup was good as well, and then, in regards to the pasta, “They had me at ‘black olives’.” (And pepperoni…)

Dinner tonight was going to be at Cracker Barrel, but the wait was too long, so we bused back over to Shoney’s. It reminded me of a smaller Golden Corral/Denny’s, but most of us just ordered off the menu.

I had the burger sliders. They reminded me of the burgers from Freddy’s back home (in a good way), but the fries were nothing spectacular.

—–

Alas, we have yet another early morning ahead of us. Meeting at the bus at 8:00 AM to head over to a church for a short devotional and then community service. We have practice later in the afternoon, and then we have the banquet tomorrow evening.

I’m looking forward to both getting back on the field and getting dolled up.

I’ll keep you posted!

Regional Tournament Report (Games 52-53)

The games Tuesday were disappointing.

(To say the least…)

We lost 12-2 and 6-1 to a team that did almost everything in their power to lose, especially the first game, but it just wasn’t our day.

I caught the first game and played right field the majority of the second game.

I was 2-6 on the day batting with two base hits.

—–

However…

Despite a roller coaster of emotions, we found out we are still going to nationals!

We leave Sunday morning for an adventure I know we will never forget.

We’ll be gone until at least Saturday, but we’re hoping for Sunday because that means we advanced to championship play.

Get ready for a steady stream of blogging!

Virginia, here we come!

And on to the next ones!

[Record: 26-27 (PS: 1-4), Batting Average: (33-114) .289]

Graduation Day (And So Much More!)

Yesterday was truly a dream come true.

It was a long day, but it was dang near perfect.

—–

Graduation was early, but it went smoothly. I got to sit next to my softball girls, so that made the time go by a little faster. (They also pronounced my name right, and I didn’t fall, so that’s a plus.)

After graduation, everyone met up at the always delicious Catfish Cove for lunch. It was great food and great fellowship.

(Along with their Saturday All You Can Eat crab legs, they also featured their special Mother’s Day homemade strawberry ice cream. *thumbs up*)

—–

We had a little bit of a break between lunch and my graduation party at Scratch, so I did some last minute Mother’s Day shopping.

I came back home, cleaned up a little, and then I headed over to Scratch to help my mom set up a few things for the party. We rented out their quaint outdoor patio, and it was absolutely perfect for the occasion.

We had a couple trays that reminded me of a bag of trail mix. They had a variety of crackers, fruits, pickles, hard boiled eggs, etc. It was an odd combination, but the plating was beautiful, and everything tasted great.

We had bacon wrapped shrimp, balsamic chicken skewers, and cheesecake, brownie, and cookie bites as well. I also tried a new cocktail called the “Fog and Lace”.

It was served in the same glass as the Blood Honeymoon I tried last time, and it looked similar with the egg white foam on top. However, it wasn’t as strong (in a good way), and the herbs really sang through to give it a refreshing finish.

—–

But I must say…

The highlight of the night happened in the middle of the party.

My dad toasted me first.

It was humorous, light hearted, and genuine. (Just like him.)

Then…

He asked if anyone else wanted to speak, and my boyfriend stepped up.

Then he got down on one knee, and he asked me to marry him.

I said yes, of course. (I had my suspicions.)

But we met the night of my high school graduation, and now, four years later, on the night of my college graduation, he asks me to be his wife.

It could not have been a better moment.

—–

All in all, yesterday just made me realize how many people love and support me, and that means more to me than anyone will ever know.

My fiancé’s parents and my parents do so much for the both of us, and I couldn’t ever thank them enough.

I wouldn’t have my degree or my ring without them.

God is so, so good.

Conference Tournament Report (Games 49-51)

With our regular season ending Tuesday, we moved forward to the conference tournament yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Our tournament consists of 3 games of pool play for each team (2 Thursday and 1 Friday), and then the team with the most wins advanced to the championship game tomorrow morning.

—–

We lost 4-1 the first game against the #2 seed in our bracket on a heartbreaker in extra innings. I caught that game and went 1-4 batting two hole with a base hit, sac bunt, two ground outs, and a pop up. (+stolen base)

We sat two games, and then we played the #1 seed. We lost 10-2 in 5 innings. I played 3 of the 5 innings in right field before I subbed out. I only batted once, and I popped up.

This morning was our final game of the tournament. (Two losses was the nail in our coffin.) We played the #4 seed and won 7-2. I caught all but the last inning where I moved to right field. Back at two hole, I was 2-4 on the day with two base hits, a ground out, and a pop up.

—–

Weird and Wacky

Between our games yesterday, the #2 (who beat us) played the #4. We dislike the #2 for multiple reasons, so we were hardcore rooting for the #4, even though their chances were slim to none. However, THEY PULLED OFF THE UPSET! They won 4-2, and we cheered very loud.

But even more crazy…

Today, the #2 played the #1 (same team at the top of the national leaderboard with only 1 loss), and the #2 beat them 3-2 in the bottom of the 7th inning. As much as I don’t like the #2, I ain’t even mad. The #1 needed to go. (So overrated.)

—–

Anyway, we found out we host the final regional tournament Tuesday and Wednesday as a best two out of three series against a team out of Kansas.

If we win the series, we automatically advance to nationals in Virginia. However, if we don’t win, we have a very good chance of an at large bid for nationals, so we’ll get to go anyways.

The remainder of the season is do or die, but I know my ladies are ready for a fight.

Only God knows how far we’ll go, but I’ll still enjoy every step along the way.

On to the next ones!

[Record: 26-25 (PS: 1-2), Batting Average: (31-107) .290]

Games 47-48 Report

Rain make ups yesterday against the season long #1 team in the nation. However… This time, things went better than expected.

We lost the first game 5-1, but two of those run were unearned, and then we lost the second game 5-0.

We consistently had people on base all day long (we even had bases loaded at least twice), but we just couldn’t get the big hits we needed to drive in the runs.

—–

I caught the first game, and the umpires killed us behind the plate with inconsistencies and squeezing the strike zone. Their base runners also left the base early on EVERY steal, so of course they were safe, but they wouldn’t call those either…

(I played the last inning of the second game in right field as well.)

I was 1-3 batting with a base hit, a pop up, and a ground out that would’ve been a base hit, but the pitcher tipped it with her glove, and it ricocheted right to the second baseman… *not amused*

—–

Our conference tournament starts tomorrow and carries into Friday afternoon. 2 games the first day against the #4 and #1, and then 1 game the second day against the #8.

I’m a realist, so I know our chances of making it to the championship Saturday are slim. However, if we play like we did yesterday, we definitely have the ability to surprise some people.

Regardless of this weekend, we’re still waiting to hear about our other regional tournament next Tuesday. Coach also asked us about going to nationals in Virginia, so I know he believes we have a good chance to make it, and we would be the first team in school history to do so.

Honestly, even if we go to nationals and then get beat out the first day, I don’t care. Leaving a mark and advancing our program is the most important thing. I won’t stop fighting until the last out of our last game, and I know God has big things in store for us.

On to the next ones!

[Record: 25-23 (10-16), Batting Average: (28-98) .296]

Games 45-46 Report

I’m a week behind schedule with this, but better late than never, right?

We played the #3 team in our conference last Saturday. (None of our regular season games now mean anything , so we didn’t expect much.) We were supposed to play at home, but the rain got the upper hand on our field.

I caught the first game, and things were going pretty well, but then, just like when we played them the first time, we had our one inning where the wheels fell off.

Same goes for the second game.

We lost 5-1 and 7-1.

I played right field for the final inning of the second game, but I didn’t bat.

I was 1-3 on the day at the plate with a strike out, infield single, and a deep fly ball in the last inning.

—–

The schedule had us playing away last Tuesday and home Thursday, but that didn’t happen.

(Our field today probably still resembles a pond more than a diamond.)

We have the school wide MACU Olympics Monday night, so we can’t play, and the last day to reschedule games is Tuesday, so we may or may not get these last 4 games in.

Regardless, the conference tournament starts next Thursday. We’ll be at the #1 seed’s place with the #4 and #8. 3 games Thursday, 2 Friday, and then graduation Saturday morning!

(I’m pumped!)

Still on softball, we also have our other tournament coming up that could take us to nationals the following Tuesday, but the specifics are still up on the air.

—–

Back to school, I attended my last class on Tuesday and submitted my only final on Wednesday (I got a 100%), so I’m completely done until graduation!

It’s such a relief and an accomplishment.

I also start working tomorrow (weather permitting), I give hitting lessons once a week now, and coed starts this Wednesday (SUPER EXCITED), so I’ll be a busy girl for the next month.

However, I have good vibes coming my way about it, so I’m not worried. The future looks bright.

On to the next ones!

[Record: 25-21 (10-14), Batting Average: (28-95) .295]

Games 43-44 Report

Yesterday, we played the #1 team in our conference, as well as the nation, and things went about as expected.

We lost the first game 13-0 after 5 innings and the second game 6-1.

Their pitching was the best we’ve seen, but nothing special, in my opinion. However, their hitting is definitely the reason they’re at the top.

The first game, a girl hit a ball about a foot into the other batter’s box off the top of the fence, and then another girl hit a ball literally at her chin for an opposite field home run.

It was pretty impressive.

I caught the first game, and then I had book duty the second game. I was 0-2 hitting with a ground out and a fly ball.

—–

With all the rain we’ve been having, our field is still in pretty tough shape. We took the tarp off Wednesday, and it still looked (and smelled) like a fishing pond.

We’ll have to bust our butts to get it ready, but we’ll most likely play tomorrow.

But the rain did help us out a little!

We were supposed to play yesterday’s conference games Tuesday and then go to Kansas yesterday for non-conference games, but we were rained out Tuesday, so we moved the conference games to yesterday and cancelled the non-conference games.

Those non-conference games were going to be the decider of us keeping our record at or above .500, qualifying us to go to Colorado.

We now only have 6 conference games (and total games) left, and we are 6 games above .500, so we for sure qualify.

On the other hand, the sad thing now is the team in Colorado picked to host the tournament won’t qualify, so we don’t get a vacation. 😦

A team we split with earlier in the season will host the tournament, or if they don’t want to, we will host it.

(It’s bittersweet.)

Nonetheless, we still have a really good chance of winning that regional and/or getting a bid to the national tournament in Virginia.

Hopefully, we can win at least 3 of the 6 regular season games we have left to give us some momentum going into our conference tournament and then into the regional.

Only time will tell.

On to the next ones!

[Record: 25-19 (10-12), Batting Average: (27-92) .293]

The Beauty Brunch

I forgot to tell you guys about Sunday brunch date with my mom and sister!

We went back to Scratch. My sister had been before also, but it was a new experience for my mom.

We got there before 3:00 PM, so they were still serving brunch, as mentioned.

We skipped on the appetizers but started the meal instead with some cocktails.

My mom ordered the Sooner Cobbler (what I ordered last time), and I ordered a Young At Heart. It had vodka and sparkling wine, so it was right up my alley.

—–

Food wise…

My sister ordered a spicy Caesar salad and a bowl of tortilla soup. I’m not a Siracha fan, so I didn’t try her salad, but the soup was one of the best I’ve ever had. I just wished the chunks of avocado in it were smaller.

My mom ordered the flank steak with a house salad. The steak was good but a little underdone for my tastes; however, the salad was very good.

It was fresh greens, tomatoes, and onions with a house vinegarette that was light in a good way. It was mildly acidic and slightly sweet. (I recommend!)

I also recommend what I ordered. I was tempted by the blueberry pancakes at first, but I finally decided on the hawaiian pork sandwich.

The sweet and smoky pork came piled on a large, halved roll. (The roll was dense and sweet and magical.) I ordered the cole slaw on the side, which I’m glad I did because it was a little acidic, but I enjoyed the nutty finish the poppy seeds gave it.

It also came with a side of fries and spicy ketchup. The ketchup was a little much for me, but I loved the fries.

—–

Last, but certainly not least…

(Never least.)

They had a triple chocolate cake, a moonshine apple pie, and a butter pecan ice cream for desserts.

So what did we do, naturally?

We ordered one of each.

The triple chocolate was chocolate cake layered with chocolate mousse, vanilla mousse, and expresso mousse covered in chocolate gounche. (It was so good, I force fed myself forkfuls until I thought my stomach might burst.)

The apple pie was fantastic, as well. I wished the apples were more on the tart side instead of the sweet side, but it had a flaky pastry crust, so y’all know I ate all of that.

But nothing comes close to the ice cream. It was the table favorite, hands down. (Our waitress even brought us a little extra after we told her we loved it so much.) And honestly, it’s probably the best ice cream I’ve ever had.

It was cold velvet in your mouth with the perfect amount of sweetness, and then the pecans added this roasted crunch… (My mouth is watering again just typing about it.)

It’s for real to die for.

I would go back just for the ice cream with no shame.

—–

We spent a little more money than we expected, but everything was completely worth it. We all left so full, it literally hurt.

(It was the level of gluttony equal to my vacation in Orlando. *awkward laugh*)

But my mom loved it so much, she took my dad back the next day to eat, and we’ll  all be back again in two weeks for my graduation party!

They’re definitely going to know us by name at the end of this…

Oh well!