Control. Or lack thereof.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

If you know me, even a little, you know that I like to plan things. I have books and binders full of lists. My adorable Lilly Pulitzer print planner is glued to me at all times. If you are one of my closer friends, you have very likely witnessed a freakout when I misplaced it. Planning is who I am.

I can plan things until my fingers are numb from writing/typing. I can plan the you-know-what out of anything. What I struggle with, I have found, is the action. I am afraid of what would happen if things don't go according to plan.

So here's the thing. My first year in college did not go according to plan. At all. I mean, really. If you would have told me a year ago that I would do the things I did and experienced during my first year of college, I probably would have packed up my stuff and gone back home. I had this plan for myself, all of the things I was going to do and see, and in what order. Most of those things happened, and I saw the things I wanted to, sure. However, most (if not all) of my dearest and best memories are of things that I did not plan. My sorority is the perfect example of that. I did not plan joining a sorority, and I did not plan being so heavily involved in it. I surely did not plan living in the house my second year, and possibly through the end of my college career (not that I'm planning or anything... ;) ).

My point in explaining all of this is the idea that my incessant need to plan out every detail of my life is because I like to feel like I am in control. If I plan out everything that I am supposed to do, then there is not time for things to go off plan, right? Wrong.

So here's the moral of the story: I can't control anything. Just like I couldn't control how my first year of college was going to go, I can't control the rest of my life. I am realizing that more and more now. While at first that gives me great anxiety (no control? WHAT?!), it is also very liberating. The only thing I can control is myself, my actions, and my choices. By letting go of my need to control everything, I am free to focus on what really matters: my friends, my family, my sisters, my studies.

I am going to be perfectly honest. I haven't done a great job of controlling my choices in this past year. I feel like I tried to control too much, and ended up controlling very little. Just to be clear, I will continue to plan. I will make lists, and I will carry around my Lilly with me everywhere I go. But my goal is to not try and control everything. So here is my challenge to myself, and to anyone who wants to take part:

I will not try to control anyone or anything but myself. I can only control how I respond to events, and I will take responsibility for the choices I make.

My friends, sisters, family, or anyone who reads this (if anyone reads this), I will ask you to hold me to this challenge. Of course, I will do the same for you.

Thank you for reading. <3

Zoe :)


Thursday, August 15, 2013

What is sexy? It's a question that gets asked all the time, and one that has a lot of different answers. As a woman, I feel the pressure to be sexy, or what is the general perception of sexy, is big boobs, tiny waist, a butt that is big enough to be groped, yet small enough to fit into skinny jeans, toned legs, full lips, big eyes, long hair, etc. But for me, and for a lot of women, this isn't a reality. And it is damn near close to impossible.

For guys, it's not much better. Guys that are typically called sexy are the ones with nice hair, muscular arms, a sixpack, toned, fashionable. Again, I know a lot of guys who don't fit this bill, and some are never going to.

I know it is unfair to generalize, and it is unfair to claim that I do not have a perception of what is sexy - purely in terms of appearance. Similarly, there is not one single definition. Some girls find long hair on guys sexy, and I don't. Some guys like short hair on girls, but some do not find that sexy. The unfortunate thing is that appearance and how you dress is where it stops. For many, myself included, sexiness does not go deeper than how toned your abs are.

I'm sure many of you know where I am going with this by now. If you haven't seen the video of Ashton Kutcher's speech at the Teen Choice Awards, don't read any further. Go watch it now. Right here.

I was surprisingly rather inspired by his speech. I found it inspirational that he detailed his work experience, and all of the crappy jobs he had. For most of us, success is not a straight shot. And it is important to remember, especially now, that if you have a job you are never too good for it. Own it. I find myself doing this, but I feel like we often look for opportunities as if they are glowing, singing orbs that lead to perfect, lovely, beautiful paths to fulfillment and success. But they are not. Something that I have learned the hard way is exactly what Ashton Kutcher said... they look like a lot of work. But those are the best ones.

But the part of this speech that really spoke to me was the part about sexiness, and what is truly sexy. This is the quote:

"The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart, and being thoughtful, and being generous. Everything else is crap, I promise you. It's just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less. So don't buy it." 

So then of course, I start thinking about what I consider sexy. And the ones that I remember as being sexy, like really sexy, are the ones that have a good heart. The ones who give a lot of their time in volunteering, who like to serve others, who are respectful and kind. They like to laugh, and they like to listen. And the guys I know that are extremely physically attractive, well some of them are jerks.

Then I think about whether or not I am sexy, or if that is how people see me. My gut reaction, and my automatic response is no. But if I am being honest with myself, then maybe I am. Maybe a little bit. Every day, all I can ask myself to do is to give a little more to others, to be a good friend, to think about my family and my parents. Devote myself to learning - not only from books, but from people - to be smarter. That is all I can truly ask of myself. And if I do that, I am on the road to sexiness.

But here is the deal. Appearances do matter. Before you judge me for being a raging feminist, just trying to encourage everyone to look at inner beauty, I will say this. Appearances do matter. Unfortunately, we live in a world of snap judgements. Within seconds, you already have an opinion of another person. And it is hard to change that opinion. I know that I dress a certain way at work in order to present a certain image, and I dress a certain way at sorority functions to present another image. I want to present myself the way in which I want to be seen.

So here is my challenge to myself (and for others, if you are willing): Look beyond the abs. Look for the deeper part of a person. Before dismissing another person for not being attractive enough, and therefore not sexy, learn about them. Take the time to see if they are smart, and kind. Then, that will be the true determination of sexiness.

Finally, my challenge to myself is to create my world - my life. I cannot look at the world anymore as a product of external forces. I have to refuse to tell myself that the world is the way it is, and resign to accepting it. For me, the world is a hard place. But it is also extremely beautiful. So I am going to create a life full of love and kindness (cheesy, I know). A place where I can be myself, and where people are treated with kindness. Because that is the world I want to live in.

What was your favorite part of Ashton Kutcher's speech? Did you like it? Did you think it was dumb? Let me know!

As always,
Thanks for reading.

Zoe (: