Have you ever met one of those people who has some random obsession and talks about it all the time when you honestly couldn't care less?  Hi, I'm one of those people.  In fact, I find myself being passionate about a few core things.

There are a lot of things I feel meh about or just don't have a solid opinion formed on.  Besides the fact I don't like arguing and I wish everybody could just be mature, respectful and tolerant, this is a big reason why I don't really enjoy discussing politics or being asked what my views are.  I do have some views, but honestly, a lot of the times, it's hard for me have a certain stance on some issues, because I tend to see both sides in an argument.  I believe a lot of things in this world are too complicated to be black or white.  However, aside from politics (that's a whole other discussion), there are many other things I just don't like or dislike.  They're just there, and they're just okay, and I can live with or without them.

Which brings me to my point.  If I'm really interested in something/feel strongly about something, I tend to say I'm passionate about it, and I don't mean that lightly.  So if you find me using that word, that means I'm really into it.  I wanted to talk about a few of my passions so that way, maybe, this post will give more insight about me, and I can stop word vomiting all about these passions to everybody I meet. :)
1. Relationships
I am very blessed by the fact I'm surrounded by family members and friends who are healthy influences and speak truth into my life.  It can be hard to remember this is not the situation for everybody, and it's something I try not to take for granted every single day.  Besides being thankful for these relationships, I always to try to be intentional with them.  This is of even more significance now that I live in a city almost 1,000 miles away from my family and all my friends I had before I moved.  The days and weeks go by so fast, and I'm busy and tired a lot, but I still try to make effort to contact my loved ones, ask them how they are, see what's new and let them know I love and miss them.  I'm nowhere near perfect at doing this consistently, but I absolutely try at the end of every day to go through my phone and respond to any messages I hadn't had time to earlier in the day and reach out to others.

I also find myself constantly learning about and trying to practice healthy relationships.  I love other people and really try to see the good side in everybody.  This has sometimes led to me letting myself be walked over or not being treated the way I should be.  When I was young, my mom had to teach me the lesson that I will have many acquaintances throughout life and far fewer good, true friends.  She was so right, and I try to only be surrounded by positive, caring, loyal people.  And realizing that is not as common as one might think has made me even more appreciative of the ones I do have.

 My family

 My absolute best friend in the entire world since second grade, Kelsey

Some of my best friends from home, The Clique Six - Erin, Katie, Emily, Emily Ann and Ali

 Some of my best friends/sisters/roommates/neighbors from college - Caitlin, Lauren, Kaeli, Rachel and Lauren

 My best guy friend/twin brother, Joseph

Another great friend since fifth grade, Robby

One of the best nights reunited with my hometown friends, Kelsey, Ali, Robby, Joseph, Katie and Erin

My "best friend in the PR major," Jordan

2. Dogs
This probably comes as no surprise if you know anything about my obsession with my dog, Winnie.  I think dogs have amazing powers and truly are man's best friend.  I was born into a dog family.  My mom got a dog when she had cancer in middle school and was forever touched by the comfort and healing that dog gave her, which is probably a lesson my mom passed down to me.  My brother got a miniature schnauzer, Gretchen, for his second birthday (two and a half years before I was born) who was my first dog.  I enjoy dogs so much, I feel like I constantly have to be around them and touching/loving on them if they're around me.  Apparently, I was pretty rough as a young child with my dog, pulling at her tail and ears (just trying to play I'm sure), and quite frankly, we didn't get along too well.  I still loved her, and she still taught me that (I believe) every child should grow up with a dog to learn the lessons they teach.  Three years after she died, my family rescued a Scottie, Spunky, who became my baby.  Being a rescue who was abused in such awful conditions, he was eternally grateful for his new home, and he became my baby.  Spunky would somehow wander into my room in the middle of the night every night and wait by my bed until I woke up the next morning.  He would do anything for me and actually let me hug and squeeze him, unlike Gretchen.  Spunky was also special, as he had a connection when it came to my grandpa.  When we visited my grandparents, Spunky would sit right next to his chair.  My feeble grandpa would just lean over the chair and put his hand down and pet Spunky.  None of us ever heard Spunky bark except for my grandpa one day.  My family had all gone out, and my grandpa was home alone with Spunky.  A man had come to cut my grandparents' grass, and he was coming to the door to get his check.  Spunky, knowing my elderly grandpa was home alone, and not knowing who this man was, barked like crazy at the man, just trying to protect my grandpa.  Dogs sense things and protect when humans fail, and I'll always find that fascinating about them.  Spunky was sick on and off the whole time we had him, due to the awful abuse he previously endured.  Only a little after a year of having him, we had to put him to sleep, and it was like my world came crashing down.  He meant the world to me, and I never thought I'd find another dog I loved as much as him.  While I always yearned for another dog, I got serious about it as I ended my junior year of college and finally gained the courage to ask my parents.  I had always wanted a Westie and found the perfect little girl to adopt.  With the understanding that she was 100% my responsibility and I would be taking her to school with me, my parents agreed.  I got her as I was going through a tough transitional period of my own, and I truly thank Winnie for helping me survive it.  Having a dog of my own — not my family's dog — has been an adventure and reward in itself, and Winnie truly is one of the best parts of my life.



3. Singing, dancing, musicals, performing arts and all that jazz
I also come from a family who is all into that stuff, and every member is musically inclined.  I got bitten by the bug when I started taking dance lessons at three years old.  I spent the next fourteen years at two different studios taking ballet, tap and jazz and competing on a hip hop team.  I ate, slept, breathed dance, and I miss it every single day.  I also grew up constantly singing.  I also enjoy writing so I was frequently writing poems that I would try to create little melodies for.  I took piano lessons for four years before my life was taken over even more by dance and I had to choose between the two.  I was in a school choir from fourth grade all the way through college and took voice lessons through middle and high school.  My high school's select chorus was the closest thing I've ever felt to a second family and granted me some incredible friendships and memories I still hold dear.  Unless you're in it, you can't really understand it, but anybody who was in it can vouch for that undeniable bond.  Being that my family is artsy, my family loves theater.  My parents took me to my first show, The Phantom of the Opera, when I was nine years old.  I've been smitten since then, and I can honestly say I think I'd rather be seeing a musical over doing anything else on any given day.  I have a list a mile long of musicals I want to see, some of which I've already seen since I moved to New York.  I just can't get enough, and I wish I were halfway as talented as the people who perform in them.  Another point of interest: You know how most kids go to those summer camps where they play sports, swim, make crafts, etc.?  I went to performing arts camps during summer.  I know, I'm cool.

 Ladybug tap recital costume with Kelsey.  Sorority girl posing since 2000.

 With Cardell, our Memphis boy, who lead us to my first national championship

 National champions again

 Select Chorus at the Biltmore, where we sang every December

 Singing "For Good" from Wicked with Katie at Senior Assembly

 Singing at Coffee House with Lindsay

Jersey Boys is one of my favorite musicals!

I could go on about more of my passions, but obviously I'm even more long winded than usual when it comes to things I love, so I guess here is a good place to stop.  Thanks for giving me the time and space to gush over these things even more than I already do. :)


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