a graduate!

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I graduated today. yayyy!

I’m a sentimental person anyway, and endings make me especially sentimental. Without getting too long-winded, here are some thoughts I’ve had over the past few days. [and listen to THIS SONG if you want extra-sentimental vibes]

When I walked home on Monday after taking my last final ever, I passed a party at an apartment complex, and I felt suddenly like an outsider. It was almost the same exact feeling that I remember having while walking back to my apartment from freshman orientation the first night after I moved to Provo. Like I’m not quite a part of this life that everyone else is living. Super weird. In that moment on Monday I was so glad that I’m choosing to move, rather than staying where it feels comfortable.

Also, who even was I as a freshman haha? That person feels so foreign to me…I don’t even remember what I thought about or aspired to or anything. I’m so grateful for change and increased ambition.

And finally, I’m grateful for BYU. These past 4 years I’ve learned so much about myself, and about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and about the beauty of people, and about the richness that knowledge brings to life. BYU has given more than I ever expected it would, and in completely different ways than I anticipated.

Cheers to endings and beginnings!

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just over here trying to avoid cognitive dissonance…

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I just spent some time scrolling through my September New York City trip post (ha, the one that I posted back in February…about my trip that was in September…).

The thing that makes me really sad about not moving to NYC is that New York City is most definitely, perfectly and decidedly me. I look at the picture of myself with Fearless Girl and the couple of me in Central Park, and that’s me. And looking at my photos from the High Line, and of the skyline, and at the Yankees game and they all make me feel freaking alive because I know that NYC is my place. It’s a physical embodiment of my determination and my love of humanity and so many other things that are just me.

And I don’t know this for sure—maybe I’ll prove myself wrong—but I don’t know if I’m going to be able to walk around downtown Kansas City and feel that. At least not for a long time. I think Kansas City is going to be an incredible place to live and explore in, but I don’t know if it is decidedly me. (Insert frantic 3am nightmares of being stuck in Kansas City* for eternity with a fragmented identity…it hasn’t happened yet, but I’m waiting for the day hahaha.)

I look at that girl in those September New York pictures and remember how right it felt to be there. Recently I feel like I keep having consecutive identity crises. Well, okay, back up. I know who I am right now more than I have at any other time in my life. I’m so, so grateful for that. But I think the emotional me has grown at a different pace than the social me. Lately I keep feeling this need to be all of the full, daring, strong person that I’ve grown into with everyone that I interact with, but then I hit a wall and something says to me, You’ve never been that person. You don’t know how to be that person—not in any place outside of your head. Which of course is crazy negative self-talk, but sometimes it happens and what do you do?

The Tess in those NYC pictures is the Tess at the beginning of a crazy and rewarding journey of finding myself that’s taken place over the past 7 months. It’s been 7 months of showing myself what I want out of life, and showing myself that I am capable, and focusing myself on the things and people that bring the most meaning to my life.

The possibility of living in NYC felt like it could have been the beginning of the process of leveling out the emotional growth and the social growth, since I would have been living in a physical environment that so clearly matched that emotional growth. I feel like changing my environment in that way (going from Provo to NYC) would have been the perfect jumpstart to figuring out a way around that wall that keeps coming up so often these days.

I think I can do it in KC too, but it’s weird to me to not have any idea of what life is going to feel like there. I know what Provo life feels like. I know what NYC life would probably feel like. But I have zero idea of what KC life will feel like—and that’s freaking me out a little. I’m terrified of stagnation and of not finding the courage to be my authentic self.

I feel like I’ve hit on seven different topics in this post haha, but it’s chill. Basically, the process of finding yourself is hard, but the process of learning to actually live that person and to live unapologetically is even harder.

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*side-note: I am VERY VERY VERY excited to move to Kansas City, and to be working at VML. I am so grateful to be starting my career at such an incredible agency, and Kansas City does seem like a killer place. It was so clear to me that this opportunity was the one that I needed to take, so no regrets here! :)

flirting with chicken nuggets

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here’s a completely random story, with a completely unrelated photo, just for fun!

it was december. I was doing a photoshoot for the senior page of the AdLab website and we each had to bring some kind of food to take pictures with. I decided to bring chicken nuggets—simple, kinda quirky, shows enough personality, etc.

I get to the McDonald’s drive-through, order my 12-piece nuggets, and pull through to pay. my conversation with the employee at the window went like this:

him: you have the 12-piece nuggets?

me: yeah I do!

(he tells me the price and I hand him my card)

him: you and I should hang out sometime!

me (feeling mildly taken aback hahaha): oh yeah?

him: yeah! one time I ate 60 chicken nuggets! and then another time I got 12, but I could only eat 10.

me: oh yeah? no way!

him: yeah it was really weird!

(he hands me my card back. I drive to the next window to get my nuggets.)

and now I can check “get hit on at McDonald’s” off of my bucket list.

(also, in case you were wondering, if you order a 12-piece chicken nugget, they give it to you in 2 boxes of 6 instead of 1 big box of 12. so disappointing.)

in the rain

“Think of the times when you felt freaking alive and find the themes.” — Mark Pollard

^^^that’s been the motto of life recently. (but isn’t that brilliant?)

for me, those are times when I’m outside of my comfort zone, or at least experiencing newness.

in keeping with this, last night happened.

it rained all day, and I love how streetlights reflect on the pavement when it rains, so I drove to south to the Provo cemetery around sunset to see if I could take any decent pictures of the world. (aaaand I found out today that apparently it’s a misdemeanor to be at the cemetery after dusk hahaha…whoops) it started pouring a few minutes after I got out of the car, and I quickly learned that nothing I was wearing was waterproof, but if we’re talking about experiences where you feel freaking alive, this was one of them. it was something about being on a little hill, all by myself, in the almost-dark, soaking wet, trying to capture light and dark and trees and mountains and also keep my camera somewhat dry…yeah it was good.

the pictures are grainy because I was on such a high ISO setting, but I actually really love it.

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reality today!

REALITY TODAY!

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living in slight self-consciousness that I maybe smell like a closet because the shirt I’m wearing was commandeered from my grandma’s basement closet. but it’s a rad shirt, so we’re good? also hiiii work bathroom. (side note: benefits of working in an office building with very few females — the bathroom is always so clean, and so empty. and it has a window, so double points for natural light!)

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slowly starting the process of getting rid of most of my possessions so I can fit the most important things in my car when I drive to Kansas City in 2 months. the most important things being my books and my clothes, in that order. also, I’m going to miss my house.

feeling antsy. waiting periods are funnnnn! but it’s also good to have a time where I’m being forced to slow down and savor and be mindful.