Nov 29, 2012

Day 9/30: 10 People Who Have Had An Influence On My Life

I am a firm believer that people are basically giant collages of life events, beliefs, and the people closest to them. Every person who enters your life has a purpose. Every obstactle you face has a purpose. Every triumph has a purpose. Yes, you, yourself, have a purpose. We are all growing and influencing and learning every second of every day. Now, that's kind of a scary but also really spectacular thought, right?

Day 9 of the 30 Things challenge is 10 People Who Have Influenced My Life. If you don't make the list, please don't think that you are not important to me or have not had an affect on my life. Each and every one of you have been a complete blessing (even those of you I haven't met). I've been affected by and learned from far more than 10 people but for the sake of this blog I am trying to narrow it down to the 10 most significant but know that no matter how small a role you have played in my life you are significant and I wouldn't be exactly who I am without you.

Alright, here we go. 10 People and the impact they've had on my life (in perfectly random order).

*If you are reading this you may notice that I refer to them by their title (Dad, Mom, Boyfriend, Little (sister), etc.) and not by name. This isn't to be rude. This is my place to share my stories and while I'm fine with sharing my thoughts online for anyone, they might not be. If you know us personally, then you will know them by name and if you don't then you won't. It's just my little way of protecting everyone's privacy. You know, just in case.

1. My Dad.
I've told you before that my Dad is basically a superhero but he's also a giant softie (Oops, sorry, Dad. Now everyone knows the truth!) He's always been that one person who isn't afraid to tell you if you are making a mistake but always support you and lets you make the mistake in the end if that is what you choose. He's the most open minded person I've met. He's also never afraid to tell you when you are settling for less than you deserve. He and my mom have been married for over 25 years and that just completely blows my mind! I definitely hold guys to a much higher standard because my dad has set the bar pretty high as far as my idea of what a man should be. Best parents ever? Yes I think so. He has influenced my life by teaching me right from wrong but also by giving me the freedom to make my own decisions with the knowledge that his love for me is absolutely unconditional.
2. Mom
She may kill me for picking that picture but seriously, is she not gorgeous? My mom has always pushed me to better myself (even when I didn't want to). She's always been that person who holds you to a higher standard and expects you to rise up and meet that standard.Of course there have been times when I thought she expected too much but she was always right. I was the one getting in my own way. If I wanted to accomplish something, I could. She's also one of the sweetest people I know and as a teacher she makes a difference in someones life every day. I feel like it's safe to say teaching isn't for me but I hope to be able to leave a mark on the
future just as she has. She's always been a strong role model for me and a huge motivator. She's also never afraid to be the bad cop and keep my sister & I in line.

3. The Little
There is absolutely no person in this entire world that I love more than my Little. That photo above was from her senior pictures (oh, gosh. I'm so not ready for her to be a grown up). She is the most creative, hilarious, outstanding person you will ever meet. People joke that we have some weird psychic connection and that's probably true. We're pretty in tune. I've always wanted to be a strong role model for her (whether I am or not you'd have to ask her). Obviously, I make mistakes but I try to set a good example. I don't necessarily want to teach her that she needs to be perfect or never fail. I want her to know that she has the freedom to be whoever she wants to be. Sometimes, though, I think she realizes that even better than I do. Little is exactly herself all the time and that is one of things I admire most about her. She's this nerdy, funny, beautiful free spirited person and she is truly such an inspiration to me. How did I get so lucky?

4. My grandma!

I consider myself to be insanely lucky because both of my grandmas are incredibly beautiful ladies (I'm hoping this means I'll age gracefully). My grandma is this insanely creative, talented person and when I'm around her I feel like I could be insanely creative and talented too. She's always been that person that made you feel gorgeous (she definitely brags on us and her house is filled with pictures of us) even when you feel like a hot mess. She says what is on her mind which I think is such an admirable trait because sometimes I think people (myself included) tend to sugar coat things almost to the point of dishonesty which is never my grandma's style. She's always been one of those people who I've admired and wanted to grow up to be like. She's basically the coolest woman in the world (hello! She taught me to roller skate on the roof!)

5. Boyfriend. 
Sometimes, I literally feel like the person I was over a month ago and the person I am right this moment are two completely different people. Okay, that's an exaggeration (sort of). But, before Boyfriend, I wanted very different things. I wasn't dishonest and I tried not to be misleading but I would date with no real intention of being in any sort of relationship. It just wasn't something I wanted. I hoped that my mind would change and someone would just "click" with me but no one ever did (in my defense, I told people up front I really wasn't looking for a relationship). Enter Boyfriend who I met while having drinks with some girlfriends at the place he happens to work. Apparently a friend of mine and a friend of his are friends (small world) and he was actually being set up with my friend but no one told me! Right from the get go he was this really easy person to talk to who smiled alot and laughed at all my lame jokes (turns out, he's quite the fan of lame jokes! He even has a few of his own!). In case you can't tell, somehow he got under my skin and stuck because even though I told him I was really hard to get, I pretty much knew I wanted to date him from the start. Of course, before we started dating I had a huge freak out with a friend of mine (to be on the list as well) about how I just didnt know if I wanted to be in a relationship at all because relationships are hard and opening yourself up to be vulnerable to someone is a really terrifying thing (what did I tell you about fears? They get in the way). Plus, you know, I was a strong, independent woman who didn't need no man. He's a helper by nature and I tend to prefer to do things on my own which sounds like a recipe for disaster but actually really works out well because we push each other out of our comfort zone and compromise- I clue him in and talk to him about what's on my mind, he tries to be supportive but give me the freedom to figure things out on my own. It's a pretty great mix. I'm sort of smitten. In case you needed more proof of his awesomeness when I said "Hey! Im blogging about you. Is that okay?" he said "Thats fine! I was actually hoping you would!" Hmmm, maybe there will be a Meet Boyfriend post in the near future!

6. My College English Professor
I have always loved writing. I have always hated school. Oddly enough, I usually hate writing for school, too. It just has never excited me. You can't write what you want and I always feel there isn't alot of room for personality in formal writing. I absolutely loved my Composition classes in college! First of all, my teacher was amazing and gave you fun topics to write about. He genuinely wanted to get to know you and read your opinions. He really made writing fun again. He made it a point to leave feedback on all your papers. Not just grammatical editing or a grade. If you made a joke he liked, he'd tell you. If he thought you could make your paper better, he'd give actual suggestions. If he was just in awe, he'd write about how you should consider trying to get published. He was incredible and really helped me find my voice and want to start writing for fun.

7. This girl.
She's one of those people who know every crazy little thing about me and loves me for all of it. She's taught me that it's okay for things to scare you but that sometimes you have to face those fears and accept that you are going to fail from time to time but it's worth it in the end. She's literally the strongest person I know and that has really inspired me to push myself and be a stronger person to. She has helped me to become much more open minded and accepting and has seen me through some interesting times. She is the epitomy of what a best friend should be. Oh, I'd just like to note that we don't always dress like crazies.Okay, well, sometimes I do.

8. This girl.
In my 20 Random Facts post, I told you that I get stuck in my comfort zone easily. Well, this girl is usually the one who forces me out of my comfort zone. My favorite thing about her (which she denies) is that she wants to be everyone's best friend the second she meets them. I'm quiet by nature (until I get to know you, then you may not shut me up) and she is much more social. She kind of breaks me out my shell and gets me to do things I wouldn't do on my own. Since we've became friends I have noticed a huge difference in how comfortable I am when meeting new people or hanging out in groups (things that would have caused me extreme anxiety in high school!). She's the goofiest, silliest gal on the planet and I admire her so much.
9. This adorbale girl. 

I talk alot about my family but I bet you didnt know that when I was in my teens I really didnt feel like I fit in with them. Now, that is completely self perceived. My family has absolutely always loved me and I have always loved them but I was a bashful kid and very quiet and I just felt like I didn't really relate. I was pretty content in my little shell where I didn't have to open up to anyone. Introduce this little goober who one day decided I was cool and my life has absolutely never been the same because somehow she brought me out of my shell and made me feel like I was such a cool big kid. She makes me miss being a kid in a million ways and reminds me that life is supposed to be fun and silly and not completely serious all the time.
10. That one ex.
Well, sort of ex. We dated in the phase where I wasn't wanting a relationship. He was not at all a bad person but he was in a weird part of his life. He put alot of limits on our relationship. He did not want to text me but he felt obligated to (probably should've realized we had a serious problem right there), we could only hang out one day a week, etc. I believe that every person you have a relationship with will shape you (some for the better, others not so much) and each is a learning experience and I only bring this up because this was a huge learning experience for me both positive and negative. It left me with a really weird fear that I would always just become an obligation and that every relationship would hit that point where it became a chore and really wasn't fun anymore. Now, I know that absolutely cannot be true but the fear is still there. Even though it really wasn't a huge deal, it made me question my own worth and I struggled in this instance. On a positive note, I actually learned alot about relationships from this person. First off, I realized you can't expect someone to want to text you all day every day and sometimes people need a little space and freedom (although, really, if they don't want to talk to you at all, you should just cut the chord). I also reevaluated somethings afterward and realized that I am worth more (which is quite the positive thing to realize). I wasn't going to be the girl someone settled for and I wasn't going to settle for someone who didn't really care whether they were with me or not. I went through a long phase where no one clicked because I had redefined my standards and not that they weren't great guys, but they weren't the great guy for me. Relationship wise, that's my best advice- don't settle just because you feel pressured to be in a relationship or dating. You deserve to be treated a certain way and you have worth. Never make someone a priority who will only see you as an option.

Everyone has a lesson to teach you if you look hard enough.

This post turned very relationship-py very fast. Definitely time for a break.

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