Not Damaged, Wiser

(Front row, professional photographer-style photo courtesy of my dear friend Jade)

If you know me, you know I love (or more accurately, am moderately obsessed with) Taylor Swift. If you don't know me, now you know.

On Sunday, I got the best text anyone could get on a Sunday night: my friend who works at B96 had two extra tickets to the Taylor Swift concert at Soldier Field. My sister and I were out the door within ten minutes. I'll skip over the part where we drove an hour into the city only to be stuck in the car for another hour looking for parking. Eventually, we found a parking garage, snagged a spot, and walked/ran over to the stadium just as the last opener was finishing up.

As expected, the concert was amazing. Taylor Swift really does know how to put on a show. One of the things I love the most about her, though, is that you can tell that she really does love and care about her fans. She doesn't take any of her fame for granted or feel like she's better than anybody else simply because she's a celebrity. She's still a real person who's growing up and trying to get through life like the rest of us. She's human.

Between songs, she'd talk to the audience, sharing her wisdom and giving us little pieces of life advice. My favorite was her introduction to "Clean." It was great in Chicago, but I came across this version from her show in Manchester on June 24 and loved it.

You are not the opinion of somebody who doesn't know you. You are not damaged goods just because you've made mistakes in your life. You are not going nowhere just because you haven't gotten where you want to go yet... You are your own definition of beautiful and worthwhile. That's what you are.

How good is that? How true is that? How long have you been waiting for someone to tell you exactly that?

Far too often I have let other people's opinions of me get to my head and tear me down. I've dwelled on my mistakes instead of using them to help me learn and grow. I'm compared myself to others in a way that made me feel inferior in some way. These are not the things I should be doing.

I am a person who tries her hardest to do the right thing and to be kind to others and to be a good friend, daughter, girlfriend, etc.

I am doing the best that I can, and that's enough, because it's all I can do.

There's not much else I can add — and I don't even want to, because her speech is so perfect in itself. I wanted to pass along her words in hopes that some of you love them as much as I do.

A Much-Needed Weekend

After a very busy week, working overtime a couple of days and coming home feeling like there wasn't enough time left in the day to really relax, this weekend was just what I needed. Spontaneity, new clothes, a trip downtown, and good company.

Introverts: The Misunderstood Breed

I consider myself to be an introvert, which seems to be something that many people either don't understand or are just reluctant to accept -- both of which are unfortunate.

I'm a shyer person; I love meeting new people and making new friends, but it's unlikely that I'll be the one to initiate a conversation with a stranger.

Spending a lot of time around people and/or outside of my house can be draining, and I need time to myself to recharge. If I've had a busy couple of days, a night in for some "me" time becomes a priority. While extroverts gain their energy from others, introverts gain it from themselves.

Feeling close to people is important. In the words of Sophia Dembling in "The Introvert's Way," (a book I've actually been meaning to read for a while now), "Introverts don't get lonely if they don't socialize with a lot of people, but we do get lonely if we don't have intimate interactions on a regular basis." A lack of these intimate interactions can make us feel disconnected from people. Even though we like to physically separate ourselves from others at times, we still want to feel emotionally connected.

June Things

How is June already over? Has it really been over a month since I graduated college? That can't be possible. But it does bring me to a post that I'm pretty excited about.

At the end of each month, I'm going to highlight five things, in no order, that I liked during that month that you guys can watch, buy, use, etc. I've seen a lot of blogs/vlogs do this, and I like the idea, so here we go.