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The Little Things

Holy Guacamole.

A summer of adulting, and yet the stress has forced me into corners of cowering like a kid. Unlike a circus seal balancing a brightly striped ball on his nose, I have less than gracefully attempted to work four different jobs this summer, train for a marathon and cope with the emotional stress of my dad having cancer, and my brother getting married. Furthermore, I haven’t been able to attend to my dreams and goals. Painting has been put on the backburner, blogging and writing sitting on the sidelines.

Stress is a world-wide motivator, as well as a world-wide killer.

I realize I would be naive to think I am the only being strutting the city, with a ton of weight on my rather broad shoulders. But, it is July 20, and I am optimistic in saying that it has taken me three months since I started this sweaty summer struggle to truly turn my stress into a sort of magical beauty.

BE PRESENT— something I have seen somewhere cleanly written on every self-help book in Barnes and Noble. And because I try so rebelliously to steer clear of every cliche, in fear of becoming “basic”, I have successfully ignored these rather bold signs to do so. Why would I be present, when I could so aloofly disregard everything wonderful about being a small girl in a large city. Instead like roadrunner, I fly around the city like a fierce fireball. I pride myself on being a fighter, but I’ve spent most of my time alone this summer, and fierce fireball Brie was starting to get on my nerves— especially when she was letting opportunities of new people, places and events become demanding burdens

It was like most of the summer, I was walking around annoyed with everyone because I was too busy to get my eyebrows done and hadn’t done so since April.

Re-read that statement.


Like, get your damn eyebrows done, Brie, or just embrace the bushy squirrels that have found a home above your bloodshot eyes—that’s not anyone’s fault but your own.

So last week, when I was on a run, I twisted my ankle. I was lying on the Lake Front trail sobbing my eyes out and in my mind saying, “why the hell me, I’m just trying to live my life”. There were all these runners and bikers flying by me, staring but never stopping. I was so angry; I was obviously a hurt, vulnerable human in need of some compassion, yet was receiving none. Once I had stopped crying from the searing pain shooting into my leg, I laid on the ground for just a few moments to flip the birdy to the sky before calling myself an uber home.

I was ready to give myself the full self-pity treatment. I sat in the back of my uber driver’s jeep, woe is me for being in pain, woe is me for having yet another negative event crash my Wednesday afternoon, woe is me for having to listen to my uber driver talk about her three kids, and her annoying boyfriend when I am clearly in emotional distress. It took 35 minutes of traffic for me to realize this uber driver needed as much compassion for her stress than I did for mine. And the people on the trail who rode right past me, who I so angrily judged for not assisting me in my time of need, might have in-fact been the same people who I have rode by willy-nilly in their own times of helplessness. So I listened to the uber driver and I told her everything would be okay, and then I limped out of the car.

What I soon realized shortly after making it home was that I wasn’t upset about what had happened, but how it would hither me within the next couple weeks. I was worried about not being able to ride my bike, or go on some runs. I was anxious that I wouldn’t be able to waitress, or get to work. I was PETRIFIED that I would be bed-ridden.

While I had spent all summer being exhausted, looking for the next moment I could rest my eyes or take a break— I hadn’t realized how much I had loved waking up early to run, the different bike routes I took on my way to work, observing human traffic bounce around the city. I hadn’t realized how much I loved meeting new people at each table as a server or making kiddos laugh at swim lessons. I was exhausted, and stressed, but these things were magnificent parts of my day.

So, I created a new goal for myself— stop and snap a picture of each thing that makes you happy and write down little reasons why. It could be anything, my favorite sky scraper, a Cubs game, a flamingo floatie, an outfit that makes me fly. Talk to people I meet, try and help someone the way I would want them to help me. Take a picture in the present and appreciate it, in the future; I may need a little bit of the past to remind me of why life is so good.

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