Raindrops on Roses

Raindrops on Roses

This is (the beginnings of) a list of some of my favorite feelings.

oregon_beach_800w1. Not being able to resist running into the ocean. Over the summer I spent some time with family on the Oregon Coast. My sister and cousin and I spent hours jumping over waves. And it took so much willpower not to dive straight into the surf. The water was freezing cold and I am acutely thalassophobic, but I found myself running straight into the crashing waves with every intention of turning into a mermaid and swimming away.

2. Someone enjoying what I cook for them. I love to cook, and I am eternally grateful to my parents for introducing me to the kitchen from a young age. I also have a strong nurturing instinct, and always want the people around me to be happy and well fed. I am ecstatic when someone genuinely enjoys a dish that I have prepared. It fills me with a feeling of self worth and motherly pride.

3. Eating enough to be happily full. This one is connected to food, as well. As I’ve talked about before, I recently became vegan, and this new diet brought a whole host of new feelings with it. I love eating so much dal and rice that I think I might burst. It puts a satisfied smile on my face, because it fuels my body and my brain with positivity.

4. Butterflies. This is a feeling that everyone has experienced, yet, it is nearly impossible to describe. But, I’ll try my best. This feeling can come from a friendly compliment, spending time with someone you love, or even reading about love in a book or watching it onscreen. To me, it feels like my heart is running and leaping out of my chest, but my ribs are holding it back.

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5. Driving down highways with good music in a car full of friends. It’s the feeling of being surrounded by love, and doing something that, for teenagers, is very cliche, but more fun that imaginable.

6. When babies smile back at me or laugh at something I’ve done. It is a small goal in my life to make children happy. If I see a baby in a pram or a toddler on a scooter, I can’t help but grin at them. And when that little face smiles back at me, my heart glows. Better yet, if my smile can stop a kid from crying, I feel like I’ve accomplished something genuine that day.

7. Being reunited with a friend I haven’t seen in months. This wasn’t a feeling I was familiar with until I moved to London. I didn’t see any of my friends from home for almost six months. But last December, I had two friends come visit me. The anticipation of standing in front of that gate at Heathrow was very Love Actually. But it was nothing compared to the moment I watched them walk through the double doors and into my arms. This feeling was replicated over and over again this summer when I went back to Seattle for a month. There is so much joy in a hug like that.

8. Filling every page of a notebook. When I was young, my sister was constantly filling notebooks with sketches and thoughts. It was only recently that I filled every page of a notebook with words, drawings, tickets and stickers. And there was so much satisfaction in my heart when I closed the back cover and shelved the black notebook away for future reference. The feeling is similar to finishing a lipstick.

67250379. Finishing a book and feeling like I learned something. I love it when a book wasn’t a waste of my time. Some recent ones that have taught me a lot are: Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet In Heaven, a lovely novel about the way worlds are connected, Daniel Handler’s The Basic Eight and Why We Broke Up, which are two equally lovely but very different tales about young adult life, and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, a strange story that explores the possibility of a terrifying future.

10. Laughing so hard I cry or can’t breathe. I don’t think anyone can disagree with this one.

It’s Hard Being A Hippie In High School

It’s Hard Being A Hippie In High School

I’ve noticed some changes in myself recently. I find myself empathizing with the Earth. And I don’t mean the “Planet”, I don’t mean the people living in this world. I mean the place. I don’t feel bad for the human race, I feel bad for our Home. I’ve done a few things to change the way I live my life.

Diet

I don’t stomp on spiders or aggressively clap away fruit flies. Instead, I open my windows and do the best to guide them out. I can’t look at a cut of meat without imagining the whole animal it once was. In August of this year, I decided to completely change my diet. I used to be a voracious meat eater, but now the smell of cooking flesh almost makes me sick. I used to strongly dislike vegetables, but now that’s almost all I eat. Becoming vegan (and sugar free) has been such a positive change in my life. I no longer feel guilty about the things I’m eating, because I know that everything I’m eating is good for me, and isn’t snuffing the life from another being.

Space

I love the idea of having a room full of plants and crystals, there to absorb all negativity. I want the place I spend most of my time to be a wholly positive space. This is a slower moving change, but I’m working on it. I have a small collections of quartz crystals and a pot with four tiny cacti living in my bathroom. I am slowly getting rid of more and more of my unnecessary possessions, like jewelry I bought in sixth grade and never wear, and filling my life more necessary things, like good books. When I’m in my room, I almost always have music playing. I used to feel embarrassed about my taste in music, but now I know that I’m allowed to listen to whatever makes me happiest. Lately, that’s been Grace’s EP Memo, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s kickass Broadway hip-hop musical about the founding fathers of the United States, Hamilton, and Justin Bieber’s new album Purpose. I also love a lot of Spotify playlists full of the most eclectic music.

Fashion

The way I dress is another thing I’ve realized I shouldn’t be ashamed of. Sometimes I wear men’s shirts, mom jeans, little boy sized sweatshirts, long dresses or chunky boots. I have described my fashion sense in a number of ways. It changes day to day. And I love it. I often look frumpy. But frumpy is comfortable. I also realized that the way I dress may be odd, but it’s unique. I shop almost exclusively at second-hand stores (except for underwear and socks). I frequent Cancer Research shops and Sunday car boot sales are some of my favorite spots. Shopping at second hand stores is also something I see as planet positivity. I can buy a Topshop shirt for one quid at a car boot sale, and instead of supporting a mildly awful company, I’m helping a twenty-something make a little extra cash. Plus, I always end up finding something that’s funky and one of a kind, which makes picking an outfit every morning a helluva lot more fun.

Lifestyle

Overall, I’m trying to live my life in a more positive way. I’m trying to read more books and write more. I’m trying to stay inspired. I’m trying to leave my phone at home sometimes when I go to get coffee on the weekends. I drink green tea every morning and try to put my electronics away before going to bed. I try to not let things get to me so quickly, and I frequently remind myself that small mistakes aren’t the end of the world. I also remind myself that any emotion I have is justified, and that I’m allowed to cry at a Cheerios commercial and laugh at stupid jokes. Most importantly, I remind myself that I am awesome. I urge everyone to remind themselves of this daily, it does a lot for a person’s self esteem.

Travel

I’ll end my first blogpost with some photos of my favorite places I’ve been in the past year-and-a-half. Living in London has been a blessing that has allowed me to visit some of the places that now live in my dreams.

IMG_0863Lopez Island, Washington. I took this while sitting high up above the water on a cliff. I rode my bike from a farmhouse to take photographs of the sunset with a phone that hadn’t been connected to any network for three days. I love Lopez, because it is a place that is completely disconnected and simply stunning. It is so easy to relax there.

IMG_4401Highgate Cemetery, London, England. This one may seem a bit morbid, but I guarantee my affection for this place is simple. I visited last winter, and spent hours wandering around with a friend. The graves are old and covered in ivy, and it is unbelievably peaceful.

IMG_4755 Amsterdam, the Netherlands.     I spent my last birthday in Amsterdam. We rode bikes everywhere and learned about history. It was cold in February, but the skies were clear and the canals were busy. Amsterdam is a calm city, where it seems like more people ride bikes than drive cars. It also holds some tragic stories, and I hope I can go back soon to continue to discover.

IMG_6110_2 Denny Creek, Washington.           I went here over the summer on a short hike with some friends. It was warm and the creek was freezing. We scaled rocks to find an empty spot for a picnic. The Pacific Northwest takes my breath away. I forgot how much I appreciate raw beauty.

IMG_1322 Kew Gardens, London, England.          These royal gardens are far from raw, but they hold their own charm. I haven’t been back here in almost two years, but I appreciate this massive green space inside London.

IMG_6409 Cumbria, England.                      My class took a trip here in September. This was the first place I’d been since moving to London that reminded me of the Pacific Northwest. I didn’t bring my phone, but a classmate was nice enough to send me a ton of the pictures he took so I could share the memories. On our last day there, our Outward Bound (Collect moments, not things) coordinator asked everyone to climb a hill and find a spot to sit alone. I sat on the damp grass, surrounded by lush green plants and shouting sheep, and meditated. The air was so clean, and the view was so beautiful that it brought me to tears. I understood, in that moment, how important it is to preserve the simple beauty that is still left in this world.

IMG_6313 Somewhere near Snoqualmie, Washington. This is another photo that was not taken by me, but I love it because it is a reminder of an amazing day spent swimming in a lake and eating pasta cooked on a camping stove.

Learn to let things you cannot control go.

Clare Chodos-Irvine