Residence: Planet Earth

One thing I’ve really struggled with over the past year or so is the fact that I’m twenty years old and have no idea what I’m doing with my life. I used to think I had it all figured out, you know? I was going to graduate high school, get student loans and go to college for culinary arts, graduate before the age of twenty-four, then open my own coffee shop/ bakery. So far I have completed… none of that. 

Well, kind of. 

I got my GED about a month into my junior year of high school, not because I was giving up on school or because I was stupid, but because I was struggling a lot with depression and anxiety, and it was destroying my academic performance. Everything was going down hill and there was absolutely no way I was going to graduate on time unless I started putting my back into it right this minute. The therapist I was seeing at the time convinced me that getting my GED would be the best plan of action for me, and that most colleges and employers weren’t so uptight about people having “just a GED” and not a high school diploma. It sounded like a great idea, and honestly, for me at the time, it was the best thing I could have done. I know for a fact that I would have continued to struggle in school and probably would have ended up getting my GED somewhere down the road anyway. 

After I got my GED I gave myself a year to just kind of fuck around, I didn’t do much at all in that year, but the next year I started University. I was so proud of myself. Seventeen and heading off to University. I could be done with all of my schooling by the time I’m 21. But then reality set it and I realized that school was school, and I was treating University the same way I treated high school. I almost completed a year, but near the end of my second semester I got a job, stopped going to class, and went to England. Which I don’t regret one bit, I loved that trip so much, and being out of the country made me realize how much I dislike the whole American way of thinking and living. You can’t help but have a load of self-discovery hit you in the chest when you live on your own in a different country for a month. 

When I returned state-side, I got a job and went to work paying off the 5,500 dollars I now owed in student loans. This didn’t bother me — I felt like it was just they way life goes. You borrow a shit-load of money to (in my case not) go to school, then you pay it back over the rest of your life. I didn’t really think about going back to school, I really wanted to pay back the loans I already had out before I returned, instead of just piling on the debt. 

I lived like that happily until I went to Ireland this last autumn. While I was in Ireland and Scotland I met a crew of amazing people, all my age or a few years older. But the more I talked to them the more worthless and depressed about my life I started to feel. We’d be sitting around talking and eventually the question would come up: “So what do you do at home?” 

The majority of the answers ranged from “I’ve got a prestigious job” to “I’m working on an impressive degree that will get me a prestigious career” and sometimes bled into “I have both an impressive degree and a prestigious career”. 

My answer made me want to cry. 

“I’m not going to school, I quit my job just before coming on holiday, and when I get back I’m packing up all my shit and moving to Washington state.” 

I felt like it translated to “I’m twenty years old and doing absolutely nothing worthwhile with my life.” 

Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. I love that I’ve grown up without the restraints of ‘I can’t’ that so many people seem to have. I would happily live through my twenties and into my thirties working, saving, and traveling. I don’t care if I live in a small apartment, I don’t care if I’m renting for the rest of my life. I don’t care if I don’t have a lot of stuff; I’d rather not have a lot. Things drag me down. Things make it hard to move around. I love traveling, I love meeting people. I love being able to tell people that I’m twenty and I’ve sent myself to England, Scotland, Wales (twice) and Ireland. I am proud of the fact that I know without a doubt that I can go wherever I want in the world. I love having the freedom of mind to be able to leave everything on a whim and move 900 miles to somewhere that doesn’t guarantee anything. 

Name: Mellory Noelle

Residence: Planet Earth. 

Addresses are for people with no imagination; the world is my home, nothing can stop me, nothing can sink me, nothing can bring me down from loving who I am, where I’ve come from, and where I’m headed. 

And yet talking to all of these people, people in their twenties like me, that seemed to have all of their shit figured out… It planted this horrible seed of “What the hell am I doing?” into my heart. 

Most days the fact that I don’t have a high school diploma doesn’t bother me one bit. In fact, I’m kind of proud of the fact that at sixteen I not only passed, but did incredibly well on (I scored above the 80th percentile in all areas, my lowest score being a 680. You need a 480 to pass in any section), a test that essentially said I’d learned everything I was expected to learn in high school, and I missed over half of my sophomore year. I kind of felt like it was a kind of a big ‘fuck you’ to societal norms and our flawed school system. Usually it doesn’t bother me that I dropped out of University after not even a full year. After all, I am only twenty. These are my party years, I’m young and have time and energy, shouldn’t I be using that to do what I want and figure out who I am?

I tried to fight this seed of uneasiness, but after moving up here it really hit me. 

“What the hell am I doing?”

Who would want to hire me?

Who would want to date me?

I felt like I’d wasted my schooling; I wished I could go back and try that again — graduate high school early, get my associates degree. 

Name: Mellory Noelle, high school drop out, college drop out.

From the time we start school we’re told that we need to go to college. That’s just what you do. You grow up, go to college, get a job, get married, have kids, and grow old. We’re groomed to believe that we should be spending our young, vibrant years in classrooms, accruing debt, and in offices, building our retirement, and then, once we’ve schooled, borrowed, and worked our way through the years, if we’re lucky in our old age, we can travel and have fun. 

I’ve always thought of myself as different, as someone who could think for myself instead of accepting what I was told was ‘the way’. But after being in Washington, alone and friendless, I began to wonder.

Would my life be better if I had a college degree? Would I be happier if I’d stuck to “the plan”? If I’d just agreed to what I was told my life should be? 

It took me a bit, but now I can happily say this: Bull. Shit. 

Sure, I’ll never make the most money, I may never be able to tell people about my impressive degree and prestigious career. 

But I won’t be caged by hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. 

I won’t be strapped into a job that I hate, working to live and living to work. I’ll never wish I’d taken the time to live while I had the chance. I’ll be creating laugh lines instead of worry-wrinkles, I’ll be embracing my vibrant youth while I’m young and mobile. I will be able to say when I’m old that I grabbed life by the balls, and I hung on for all it was worth it, and goddamn, it was a good ride. I’ll have stories to tell my children and my grandchildren about all of the places I went, all of the people I met, and all of the things I did. I’ll have a collection of photographs and souvenirs documenting me living the life I love and loving the life I’ve lived. 

And I will never, ever, forget how much I love this life I’ve made. 

Name: Mellory Noelle

Residence: Planet Earth

The world is my home, nothing can stop me, nothing can sink me, nothing can bring me down from loving who I am, where I’ve come from, and where I’m headed. 

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Simply Rambling (a four a.m. post about religion)

I believe in love. I believe in equality. I believe in acceptance. I believe in beauty.

I do not believe in a God that condemns whole groups of people. I do not believe in teaching people to fear doing wrong, but instead in promoting love and the joy it brings.

Promoting love changes every aspect of your life. We’ve all heard the stories before, about the person who has nothig and yet finds something to give to someone in need. It’s that kind of selfless love I believe in. And love begets love. When you do something selfless for someone the love inside you will grow, and your self-love will grow. When you look at someone and find the beauty in them, your inner glow shines through a little bit more. When you accept others completely, without judgement, your acceptance for your true self grows.

I’m sick of being told I need religion; stop shoving God down my throat, because most of what I see in his followers are generations of people raised to fear and bigotry.

Raised to be afraid of exploring other lifestyles. Raised to be afraid of even accepting other lifestyles.

I don’t mind if you’re religious, I don’t care if you believe in a god – or several gods. What you believe in is your decision, just please, live and let live. Love and let love. Accept people for who they are, find the beauty in every person. Stop patronizing me; I don’t need saving or celestial grace.

This world is enough for me, this life is enough for me. I don’t need the promise of eternal life to have happiness. Simply knowing that I can bring joy to others and spread love is enough for me.

Be good to yourself, be good to others, be good to the earth.

Call me simple, call me stupid, but there’s no room for judgement and hate in our world.

Find the beauty, spread the love.

A Simple 2013

I guess I’ll jump on the year-end round-up bandwagon. (With pictures!)

2013..

Jesus. Kind of a crazy year.

I went through a lot of self-discovery this year.

Like I discovered that I’m actually a really rad person. I discovered that I’m actually really happy without a boyfriend and I don’t need someone that always brings me down. (He used to tell me that I’d have a great ass if I’d just work out a little more).

In 2013 I went on a family vacation to Disney Land over Valentines Day (a stupid holiday) and discovered that my nephew’s got that shit covered better than my ex did.

The Valentine my nephew gave me. (he’s four) 

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In May of 2013 I broke up with the guy I’d been dating for 2 1/2 years. I don’t regret it at all. (Although he keeps trying to convince me that I’m in some sort of denial and am actually miserable and will wake up one day and realize how much I miss him). (He’s wrong.)

In July my friend and I went on a random, penniless vacation to California. It was probably the highlight of my summer. I called her at about eight o’ clock on a Wednesday night and said “Zie, we’re going to California. Pack some food, I’ll be there in twenty minutes.” Half an hour later we were on the road.

The sunrise while we drove. 

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We called up some friends and crashed at their place in Clovis for a couple of nights before taking my car and camping in it on the beach. Which is the coolest thing I’ve ever done. We were able to drive our car onto the beach, park it, and sleep in it. We ate dinner sitting on top of my Santa Fe, watching the sun go down over the ocean. It was beautiful. I also built my first ever sand castle. It was awful, and I loved it.

Dinner on top of the car.

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Of course, on our way home we ran out of money, and then gas. We ended up being stuck over night in Baker, California until someone could wire us some money to get home. If you’ve never been to Baker, don’t. It’s an armpit, and way too hot. It was the best road trip I’ve ever been on.

In August I quit my job and went to Ireland, Scotland and Wales with my mum. It was amazing. I made so many friends, and learned what it’s like to wake up and still be drunk. I kissed the Blarney Stone:

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And tried Guiness for the first time. Which as far as beers go is actually not too bad. We stayed in what felt like a million hostels, which was super fun, and I found that Dublin is my favorite city that I’ve ever visited.

The sunset over the Liffey

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In Scotland I got proposed to by an Irishman one drunken night. I wish I’d have said yes.

Edinburgh Castle

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In Wales we met up with a friend of ours. One evening we chased the sunset so we could watch it go down over some cliffs on the coast.

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When I got back into the US, I packed everything into my car and moved to Washington. Which is where we started this blog.

And that, friends, has been my 2013.

It was a good year, after about May. I made tons of amazing friends overseas and had tons of fun experiences with friends here at home.

Cheers to next year and the opportunities it brings.

Simply Ranting (a four a.m. post about feminism)

I wouldn’t call myself a feminist.

But I do believe we live in a society where the pressure for women to look and act a certain way is much heavier than that put on men. I do believe we live in a society where instead of teaching our little boys that ‘no means no’ and to respect women, no matter what they look like, we teach our girls to cover up their bodies and that it’s their responsibility to protect themselves from rape or sexual abuse, then shrug our shoulders and say “boys will be boys”. I believe we live in a society where men are congratulated and encouraged to have as much sex as possible, but when a woman does the same she’s branded as a slut and becomes a target for slut-shaming, when we as women should not feel ashamed about our sexuality. Slut is a socially constructed idea to bring down women that fight this double standard. I believe we live in a society where the doctors and politicians calling the shots are men who have no real interest in or idea of how complicated and beautiful the female body is. I believe we live in a society where you are cast out, judged, and looked down on if you step outside of the normal gender roles. I believe that we are not treated equally.

“But Mellory, women can vote and have impressive careers and go to school and own land. Where is the inequality?”

It’s in the fact that women are expected to shave their legs, their pubic hair, their armpits. It’s in the fact that men are more likely to be hired for that impressive job. It’s in the high percentage of women who get sexually harassed on a daily basis; it’s in the numbers if women who are raped and told they deserve it. It’s in the taboo surrounding women’s sexuality. It’s in the fact that birth control and abortion access are still being debated; that my body is in the hands of a politician that doesn’t think I have the right to decide. It’s in the companies that pay women less than men.

I don’t hate men. But I do think being treated differently because I don’t have a penis is outdated and overrated.

We are all beautiful and worthwhile, men and women alike, and deserve to be treated as such.

Worth doesn’t discriminate based on sex, gender affiliation, race, social status, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, height, weight, body hair, etc. You are worth it.

If that makes me a feminist, then I guess that’s that.

Simply Beautiful

Just a warning, this is a kind of scatterbrained post. I started out with an idea and it got away from me. And I had a really hard time bringing it back in. I promise I’m not usually this terrible and conveying ideas and feelings. 

You are beautiful.

That’s all there is to it.

Seriously.

We’re programmed from a very young age to believe that ‘beautiful’ is whatever somebody else tells us it is. Because obviously, the all-mighty ‘They’ know what they’re talking about. We’re told that there’s a small margin of ‘beautiful’, and if you don’t fit into it, blessyourheart, you can at least spend loads of money trying. You can trash your self esteem and destroy your body trying.

Here’s the thing: beauty is different for everyone. What you see as beautiful could be completely different than what I see as beautiful, and despite what society and media would have you think, that’s okay. In fact, it’s awesome. I love how different everybody’s perception of beauty is. How boring would the world be if everybody thought the same way? If everybody liked exactly the same things and found the same things beautiful?

To me, the very idea of individualism is beautiful.

Everybody is beautiful. And I mean everybody. It doesn’t matter if you’re big or little, tall or short, super overweight or super underweight. The flaws we see in ourselves come from comparing what we see to other people. But why? Finding the beauty within yourself is difficult.

Trust me, I know.

I spent most of my life absolutely hating the way I look. I’ve gone through binge-eating and anorexia. My weight has changed drastically in both directions throughout my life.

It has taken me years to be able to look in the mirror and be like “Yeah, actually, I am pretty. I do have a nice body.” Sure, I have cellulite. Yes, I have stretch marks. My BMI is 25.6 – technically  I’m overweight for my height. I’m in my twenties and I get acne. But I am beautiful.

This post is going a completely different direction that I was intending, but the point is, you’re beautiful. I don’t care if you have scars or copious amounts of body hair, or if you meticulously pluck, wax, and shave every hair on your body. I don’t care if other people tell you you aren’t – they’re wrong. They’re taking what the media puts out as beautiful and pushing it onto you, and you know what? It’s fake. It’s all fake. Every single picture you see in a magazine has been touched-up and redone to some point. Every. Single. One.

It’s like comparing yourself to a barbie doll.

You’re beautiful. You are a beautiful human being. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Don’t let the media, society, and current trends dictate what you think is beautiful. Open your mind and find out what you  think is beautiful, and then don’t be ashamed to tell the world. Stop looking at people and immediately sizing them up in your mind.

As I’ve tried to find the beauty within myself and in other people, I’ve started doing this thing where every time I think something negative- be it about myself or someone else – I immediately follow it up with a positive thought. Seriously. And it works. I have bad days like everyone else where I just want to hide myself in a giant sweatshirt and pajama pants, but it does help.

Try it.

I dare you, you beautiful human being.

Simplifying My Life

My name is Mellory. I’m nineteen and trying to find a better way to live. This is a blog about my simplifying my life. (Hence the catchy title.)

I have recently been going through some changes in my life. I broke up with my long-term boyfriend, I gained about fifty pounds, and I’m about to move out of state on my own for the first time ever.

Quarter life crisis, much? In all that’s been happening I’ve been doing a lot of re-evaluating of what I find important in life, and it’s brought me to an interesting place.

I’m sure I’ll get to ranting about all of those shenanigans eventually, but I have decided to go through every aspect of my life and bring it down to simple basics, and this blog is going to be a documentation of my experiences in simplifying my life. 

When I say every aspect, I mean every aspect. 

Clothes and belongings,

World views,

Food,

Beauty Products,

Beauty Regimen,

etc.

I don’t expect it to be easy or fast, but I feel like it will be a good thing. First order of business (starting tomorrow) simplifying my wardrobe. I own a shit-ton of clothes that I never ever ever wear. Why do I need to own all of them? “Just in case”? It’s ridiculous. 

TOMORROW tune in to hear about me documenting how much I had going through all of my clothes and trying to figure out why the hell we live in a society where so much weight is put on things we own. Also, get ready to read my rant on society. Because let’s be honest, what else do I ever rant about?