Life Begins Outside Your Comfort Zone

“Life begins outside of your comfort zone.”

This is a phrase that I never really understood until I packed up my things and moved to Detroit for the summer to take on the most challenging, yet rewarding two months of my college career. Not only did I walk into a school to help move 16 sweet and knowledgeable first through four graders towards a new school year, but I walked into a school where I was going to be molded and moved towards becoming ready to face the world after graduation.

Two months ago I walked through into a school that was new and unfamiliar, but now it is a place that I can hardly grasp leaving. It is a place where my inner peace resides and it fills my soul with joy when the sounds of my students’ feet come racing in to tell me about their lives and their curiosities. Two months ago I walked into a classroom full of unknown faces, but now these the faces that will forever inspire and motivate me to be the best I can be, for without them, I would not be the teacher or person I am today. In the past two months I’ve been able to grow beside my students through play, laughter, reading, writing, and solving problems, and it’s been the unfamiliar that lead to the most growth. These past two months have brought out more passion and love for the career in which I have chosen…and to think it all would not exist had I stayed in my comfort zone.

The people that were just names on an email, or on the other line of the phone quickly became my support and my number one fans. Through MSU, DPSCD, and Center for Success, I was welcomed to the unfamiliar with open arms and encouragement. I was shown various paths that I could take to get the most of my experience, while also being shown the importance of reflection and consideration of various topics and their overlap with my career. I was given support I needed when I was overwhelmed with the amount of growth that I was experiencing, and hugs to encourage me when I needed it most. All of it was so unfamiliar, but it soon became home away from home.

All of this came from taking a risk. From stepping outside my comfort zone I have been able to see that these experiences only come every once in a while, so take it. Push your fears aside, as I can promise you, they are only holding you back.

xx, Madi

Advertisements

To Mom

77cd6195-93de-4bb1-8adb-8488b0addfc0-1

As I was driving through the streets that I drove growing up, I couldn’t help but be flooded with memories of my life in this town. Coming back home always grounds me. My mom is the constant.

With Mother’s Day approaching, memories of growing up with my mom came back in droves. We seem to be cut from the same cloth. Being a mirror of such a woman has never been something to complain about. She is, and continues to be, completely beautiful from the inside and out.

There was so so much that I never thanked my mom for while growing up. From who she is as a person, to the person she raised me to be, it’s impossible to put into words everything I appreciate about my mom, but I’m going to try.

So to my mom….

I have spent my entire life with you, and just when I think you couldn’t possibly be any greater than you already are, you surprise me. You have never faltered in showing unconditional love for me, and I don’t think I could ever thank you enough for that. We have cried and laughed to the point of crying together, and moments like that have always reminded me how much I mean to you.

We have fought and disagreed. We have said hurtful things to one another, but I know we’ve never questioned how much we love each other. You have stood by my side and supported me in absolutely everything. You have done countless things for me without hesitation, and I want to thank you for all of that. Thank you for providing me with every little thing I could have possibly needed while growing up.

Thank you for the birthday decorations every year, because I know how much you love to do that. Even at twenty-two years old there’s just something about waking up to a house fully decorated with streamers and balloons on your birthday.

Thank you for always installing confidence in me. Telling me to never give up, and that I can do anything I put my mind to. Thank you for always supporting me and believing in me. Anytime I have lost faith or run out of hope, you give me reassurance to keep pushing forward.

Thank you for knowing exactly what to say on my worst days. On the days full of sass or the days full of being sad for no reason, you always know how to cheer me up. Sure, sometimes I might not want to hear it but at the end of the day, I know you always have my back.

Thank you for teaching me how to be independent but still taking care of me. You taught me how to do laundry, clean the house, take care of the pets, cook my favorite dishes, and so much more. But at the same time, you still find time to do a lot of it while I’m home, which I truly appreciate.

Thank you for never allowing me to talk down on myself, and teaching me that self-love is one of the most important things I could have.

Thank you for giving me everything. You have scarified so much in order for me to live a great life. Words can never express my gratitude for that. Thank you for constantly reminding me how much you love me and never giving up on me.

You were there for me when I took my first steps, and you have prepared me to take my very first steps into the real world. Thank you so much for always saying the right thing at the right time. Thank you for being brave and honest and kind in somehow every single situation you have ever been in. And thank you for teaching me to show up to life with a joke in hand and some sass tucked in my back pocket. I couldn’t love you more if I tried.

xx, Madi

 

 

What I’ve Gained In East Lansing

Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

It is the last week of my second year at Michigan State, and for some reason I have found myself reflecting on these past two years every chance I get.

The other day, I was talking to a friend that’s about to graduate. She was talking about how much she’s gained from her four years at MSU, and how great its been. That really stuck to me. It got me thinking…what have I gained in the past two years at MSU?

When I first started thinking about this, I panicked. I felt like I needed to line up all of the perfect parts of my life that I’ve gained from transferring here. A potential job lined up for after graduation, someone that I want to spend the rest of my life with, a list of potential bridesmaids, etc. etc.

The short answer–I have none of those things at the moment. Well, besides a list of potential bridesmaids for a wedding that may or may not ever happen. Does that mean I’ve gained nothing?

No, not at all.

So, what have I gained from the past 2 years here? What will I cherish for the rest of my life and thank Michigan State for?

I am struggling to organize my thoughts on this question. There are so so many aspects of my life that wouldn’t be the way that they are without my decision to transfer to Michigan State two years ago. I wouldn’t have gained the most important friendships in my life. I wouldn’t have an enormous network of inspiring, driven people, motivating me to be my best self.

I wouldn’t have found my passion for inner-city/urban education.

I wouldn’t have all the opportunities I’ve had to chase my dreams.

I wouldn’t be able to call East Lansing home.

It’s crazy to think how a decision that I made two years ago in a mind that is so vastly different from my mind today, can play such a huge role in how my life has played out. As I continue through my fifth and final year, I will continue to reflect and write down my raw thoughts and feelings. I will take in every single moment and take nothing for granted. And I will look forward to what is to come.

So did I find my soul mate? No, maybe not. But that’s not what I came here looking for. I came here looking to find lifelong friendships. I came here looking to chase my dreams. I came here looking to find myself. And I can honestly and confidently say that’s what I’m going to walk away with in one short year.

xx, Madi

IMG_1267EBC27BAB-6DDD-493D-8D83-2693402C158AProcessed with VSCO with jm1 preset5534DEA9-C0A7-48A4-96D0-6B6107901275IMG_0257Processed with VSCO with jm1 presetIMG_0249IMG_0244Processed with VSCO with jm1 preset

22 by 22

747fff1f-0cb9-4576-b021-f5b2bf4271f0-1

Remember the game of M.A.S.H. everyone used to play at recess? Remember that time when you were young and innocent, and you totally believed life was as simple a recess game? I do.

Over the past 22 years I have realized life is more complicated than that game I played everyday at recess. I have realized that life and growing up is an unending process. It’s full of many ups and downs and trail and errors. It can be confusing, full of doubt, self-correction, and changed world perceptions. While it can be difficult, growing up is amazing. New people, places, and experiences. You learn to love yourself and what truly makes you happy and impassioned. Throughout my 22 years, I’ve learned about myself and gleaned pieces of wisdom by which to live. Here are 22 things I learned by 22.

1… An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. Sometimes your greatest heartaches turn into your greatest blessings.

2… You are either as beautiful or as ugly as you believe. You define your beauty. That’s not a power anyone can have over you.

3… No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.

4… Don’t let what people think or say dictate the person you are or the person you are becoming. You can gain as much popularity or influence as you want, but if you’ve lost who you are you’re only worse off.

5… You will miss your whole life if you are caught up in your version of who you want to be instead of who you are. 

6… It’s never too late to change your path or your life. You are not defined by your past nor your present.

7… Normal is so boring. 

8… Never allow yourself to get too comfortable because when you’re comfortable there is no more room for growth.

9… Real happiness isn’t something large and looming on the horizon ahead. Real happiness is something small, numerous, and something that is already here. Real happiness is the smile of someone you love. A yummy Sunday breakfast or sunny mornings. Real happiness is all of your little joys lined up in a row.

10… Always go with your passions.

11… Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts we have. It grants us permission to break free of burdens that restrict us from being at peace with ourselves. Resentment and remorse leave no room for growth.

12… You control your own happiness. Don’t blame other people for putting you in a bad mood. That’s on you for allowing it.

13… Being called “pretty” feels good, but it feels even better to be called pretty kind, pretty funny, pretty smart, and pretty strong.

14… Go for it because no matter how it ends, it was an experience.

15… Experience is so much more valuable than money so travel while you’re young and able. Don’t worry about the money, just make it work.

16… Eating well is a form of self-respect.

17… Every day may not be good, but there’s good in every day. 

18… Be patient, everything is coming together. Beyoncé wasn’t built in a day either.

19… Work hard, but don’t let it take over your life. Eat salads and go to the gym, but never forget to have a cupcake for breakfast once in a while. Always find the balance in life. 

20… It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you, if you allow it.

21… Life is too short to wear boring clothes. 

22… Always surround yourself with people who feel like sunshine.

xx Madi

Blogger, Say Whaaat?!

img_0581-1

Quick PSA: As I begin to write my first post I’m telling myself that I can’t go back and edit (besides spellcheck), reread, or rewrite it thousands of times until I feel that it’s ‘good enough’ to post. Being a perfectionist, especially when it comes to writing, not going back and editing is SO much easier said than done…but I want this blog to be a place where I can share my ideas, thoughts, discoveries, inspirations, and adventures without worrying about whether or not what I’m saying in ‘good enough.

Writing has always been something I’ve enjoyed. It has been a way for me to escape reality, while giving me a voice. With that being said, I’ve always liked the idea of starting a blog, but I’ve been so back and forth about actually doing it for the longest time. Up until now I have let life and the fear of what others might think get in the way, but thanks to a little encouragement and kind words from my sweet, sweet friends and family, here I am.

I’m starting this blog with hopes that it will enrich my life–encouraging me to live in the sunshine. To get outside of my comfort zone by trying new things, going new places, and hopefully meeting new people, all while teaching me more about myself and who I am along the way. I intend for it to be a documentation of the different realms of who I am and the things I am most passionate about. I am hoping that while documenting these things I inspire others to be creative and explore their surroundings and beyond–to me this is what life is really about.

With all of this being said….here goes nothing!!

xx Madi