Kindred Emotions 

You can put up whatever front you want in life: you can be tough, sensitive, introverted or an open book. We call some people “emotional” while others are “apathetic” or “cold.”

And that’s pretty much how we label one another…by basing our opinions on what we see.

We look at a boy tearing up about a fight he had with his girlfriend and say “wow he’s too sensitive…”

We see a girl that copes with her brother’s death by trying to continue living her life and say “she’s being so outgoing for just losing a family member…”

The mother who feels disrespected and scolds her son is harsh, but the mother who turns the other cheek can’t control her child.

We just continue to shake our heads.

We are always going to have something to say about how people handle their emotions. We are always going to have an adjective to explain his or her external expressions… or lack of.

The businessman Robert T. Kiyosaki states, “emotions are what make us human. Make us real.”

We all feel empathy, passion and happiness. We feel shame, sorrow, anger and agitation. What we have to remember is that no matter how a person depicts his or herself on a daily basis, we are all connected by these kindred emotions.

Sometimes you’re going to feel insecure. Sometimes you’ll feel sad.
But you just have to embrace the way you feel, because it’s yet another reminder that you’re alive.

Emotions are what make moments so special. They bring attention to what we value and make us hold onto the people we love. They matter.

So before making that disparaging remark about how a person is managing his or her feelings, remember that there is no guide to how a person should act.

If someone wishes to be alone-let them… If he or she needs to cry-there’s a reason.

Regardless of what we witness, we do not have the ability to truly access why a person feels a certain way. We don’t know the deeper & hidden explanations behind the actions of people. But why do we need to know?

Every feeling is valid, and every person copes in different ways. As much as I’d love to think that I am a carefree & happy soul, I get annoyed, distressed & nervous too.

How boring life would be if we couldn’t feel…

I Even Write In My Sleep…

I often hear people wishing that they had an extra hour or two in their day. However, for me that would not suffice. I’d need approximately 5 extra hours each day, 4 clones & a megaphone to accomplish everything that clutters my 21-year-old mind at night. 

Ever since I was little I have been a list-writer. It’s therapeutic. I write down my goals, ideas & tasks and (slowly but surely) check them all off. 

I even started a middle-of-the-night list so that I wouldn’t have to leave my bed to write down thoughts that keep me up. This list, however, has not proven the most successful. 

For shits & gigs~here are a few things written down in my current bedside notebook. 

To do:

Dallas? (So this week I received an email from some travel agency telling me to book my round-trip ticket to Dallas because “prices have never been lower!” Apparently sleepy Monny decided that this was an opportunity that simply could not be missed. And, well, rodeos.)

Elementary school reunion (because two weeks before entering my senior year of college I am thinking about planning a party for people who I haven’t seen since age 7.)

Re-read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (who doesn’t think about good ol’ Huck at 3:15 am?) 

And lastly…

Buy big knives (I honestly wish I could explain this one… Quick note of disclaimer: I am by no means a serial killer. I’d hope to think that sleep-Monica was dreaming about all of the fun fall activities she would be doing in a few months and remembered “hey I totally don’t have a carving knife for pumpkin decorating!” But I guess we’ll never know.)

So lesson learned~day time list making proves to be more reliable than my bedside scribbles. 

But hey— it may not be in the next few weeks, or even years, but let it be known that I will go to a rodeo, reunite my old St Bridget School squad, re-read one of Twain’s classics & carve a bombass pumpkin. 

  

*Why You Should Get On That Flight*

Wake up, go to class, Caesar salad wrap and a large green tea for lunch, work until 6, dinner at the dining hall, homework, bed, repeat. This was the monotonous lifestyle I had previously been so accustomed to. I’ve come to realize this now that I have experienced a taste of the world beyond the comfort of my own home or the Stonehill “bubble.” The moment that I stepped foot onto the Iberia flight from Boston to Madrid a million thoughts began rushing through my head: why am I doing this? What if (after 8 years of taking Spanish) I suck at speaking it? I could have just stayed at school with my roommates. I don’t want to miss out…. This plane ride could have been a century long and it didn’t help that I chose to begin my flight watching the Fault in our Stars for the first time… Bawled my eyes out. By the time we landed in Madrid, my study abroad program and I were met with an exhausting, never-have-a-moment-to-yourself week, consisting of long bus-rides and countless cathedral tours. Don’t get me wrong, Madrid, Cordoba, and Toledo were beautiful cities that I wish I had more time to explore, but jet-lagged, walking tours were just not the way I would have liked to experience them.

Finally, the day came when I would meet my home for the next three months. We finally arrived in Sevilla. We sat on the bus in anticipation, waiting for our host mother to arrive. Sitting alongside Lily, my roommate for the semester and only familiar face I had seen in the past week, our eyes were glued to the window. A woman with short, jet-black hair strutted down the sidewalk tossing her bright red scarf over her shoulder. I noticed three red flowers pinned behind her ear as she turned to look at the bus. She peered over her sunglasses and hastily walked over. At this point all six girls that would be living in our residencia were practically smushed up against the bus window watching our host mother’s theatrical entrance. This was it; we were about to move into our new home.

            The next week I was presented with a completely different lifestyle. Not only did I now have to fulfill every-day tasks in a completely different language, but I was also presented with the issue of learning to understand the “Andaluz” accent of southern Spain. I had to navigate myself throughout an entirely new city with little to no help (which was particularly difficult when I didn’t have wifi). But I began to recognize that life without direction is invigorating; when you get lost, you are forced to wander.

            I learned that I love to go on walks without a destination: whether they are with new friends or by myself. The romantic Guadalquivir River would steal the heart of anyone who traveled over the Triana Bridge. During the day, the blue-green water of the river absorbed and scattered the light of the beating sun. While the Triana Bridge, along with the rest of Seville, was bustling with people caught up in reaching their destination, a small group of people were could always be found sitting underneath the orange trees on the stone pathways that lined the river. Every day, the Guadalquivir River would attract a select number of people to take a moment out of their day to simply appreciate its beauty.

            This made me wonder how many times I passed the Charles River without giving it a second look, how many breathtaking moments I had disregarded in my home country because I was absorbed in my daily schedule. Neale Donald Walsch once said “life begins at the end of your comfort zone,” and he is absolutely right. Leaving my comfort zone opened my eyes to experiencing life rather than merely piloting through it. As cliché as it sounds, studying abroad changed my life. I was given the opportunity to live life independently from all of the people I had previously known. For the first time I truly felt like I pursued my own interests, without the underlying questions of what other people were doing or what they would think.

Although it was painful to leave the beautifully busy, yet peaceful, city of Sevilla, I had already begun making lists of the new and exciting things I wished to pursue at home. I became aware of the opportunities I missed out on because I was too scared to leave my comfort zone. But most importantly, I realized that it’s okay to venture off and take time to yourself. Now, it is practically impossible to live life completely disconnected from any formal obligations or schedules, but this doesn’t mean we can’t take a few minutes of our day to simply enjoy where we are. If you take the time to look, you can find beauty in the most unexpected places.

At first, living out of my suitcase did not seem all that appealing, but I now understand why venturing to new places is an addiction; you get to take a break from every day life and simply enjoy living.

Voy a volver, Sevilla.

For anyone who’s interested

After writing endless amounts of journal entries, lists & notes on my phone I realized that maybe I should start a blog after all. I’ve also been spending a ridiculous amount of time on the train, which is where I do all of my philosophical thinking.

Hemingway once stated that “Paris is a moveable feast”….that you may take your experiences and adventures and significant life-moments with you everywhere you go as you advance in the world. Paris, along with a multitude of other cities, towns or landscapes, has the ability to stay with a person. To become part of a person for as long as he or she lives.

Boston has become my moveable feast.

Not only have I learned to navigate myself around this congested yet beautiful city (or atleast a small section of it), but I have learned to negate my frustrations and enjoy the bustling streets and angry car horns. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I’m not a Masshole – but walking two and from the commuter rail gives you time to observe.

Almost everyone is in a rush, engrossed in their day-to-day lives. And if they’re not speed-walking, they’re fastened to their iPhones making plans that they will eventually be speed-walking to.

My goal this summer was to put down my phone on these walks and to actually engage in the city rather than merely pass through it. Yes, I’m obsessed with my phone so this was kind of hard for me. But then I realized that once you put your phone away you become 92% more approachable. Some people, believe it or not, will actually spark a conversation with you at the bank or ask what book you’re reading on the train.

Although I could talk about my jobs or how I spent my weekends this summer, I think that a major part of how I spent the past three months has been the many brief connections that I have made with faces that I may never see again. A reassuring smile from a stranger had the ability to brighten my day, and in turn I became aware of my own ability to change the route of another’s.

A smile, a nod, or even the press of an elevator button…

These infinitesimal connections give you the realization that you have the ability to make an impact on a daily basis. Keep your head up and take in the city.

Bring it home with you.