The Scamp and the Art of Being Yourself

Or….why I want to learn to be perception free.

Today is the 16th of August. If you looked out my window as I am doing now though, you would think it was late October. It is raining….again. This summer has been awful in terms of weather. I miss the sunshine. I miss warm weather. I miss the tan that I got in Croatia.

The one good thing about this weather is that I have been able to get a lot of work done on my thesis. While I am not quite at the word count I would like to be at, I am making good, steady progress and that is making me feel a bit less stressed. I had a productive meeting with my supervisors yesterday, and while I should feel really good about it, the only thing that I can focus on is that one of my supervisors said that I was behind the curve. I wish I could focus on the help they gave me with my lit review/theory chapter, and focus on the fact that they told me the interviews that I conducted with staff have provided me with some really great insight.

Sometimes I just like being a grump.

The writing challenge for this week (it’s week 33…seriously though….week 33 already?) doesn’t have a theme, but this week I had a conversation class with one of my English students and I showed him a TedTalk that has really stuck with me.

First. Caroline McHugh is a badass Scotswoman, and the living embodiment of everything she believes in. She is the founder and CEO of IDology, and has her bio page states:

Speaker, teacher, coach and author of Never Not a Lovely Moon, Caroline delivers keynotes and masterclasses at dozens of Fortune 500 companies, on Leadership, Reputation Management and Women at Work. Experience has only redoubled her long obedience in the same direction – that people who are afraid to be themselves will work for people who aren’t. In a world that’s ever more competitive and precarious, her message has brought a whole new meaning to ROI – a Return on Individuality.

Second, she believes that the best thing a person can be in life is themselves. Her company, and it seems her mission in life is to help people figure out how to be the best version of themselves. Her TedTalk is called ‘The Art of Being Yourself’

It is worth the watch. Not only are her words important, but the persona that she has created for herself speaks to her individuality. Her shaved head, her Glasgow accent, and her impeccable fashion sense, and her honest, engaged presence immediately made me sit up and listen to what she had to say. I’ll admit that I selected this particular talk because McHugh is Scottish and my student needs to practice listening to accents, but now that I’ve heard it, I want everyone I know to hear it.

Her message is simple: “Your only job while you’re here, on this planet is to be good at being you as they (your role models and whoever you look up to) are good at being them.”

While that may seem simple and easy, let me tell you, that is a hard thing to do. We as a society are bombarded with ads telling us what we should wear to look good, or what we should do to be successful. Most of us seem to have an almost obsessive need to be accepted in the eyes of those around us. We chase Facebook likes, Instagram hearts, followers and friend requests. We edit and filter photos until we are almost unrecognizable, and we let the words and thoughts of others influence everything from how we dress to what we eat….and even how we feel about ourselves.

According to McHugh,  when you’re young you’re great at being yourself; when you’re old you’re great at being yourself; but the bit in the middle is sometimes the most problematic. That’s the bit where you have to socialise; you have to accommodate; you have to adapt. So I’ve developed the “I complex,” and the “I complex” is a model to help you figure out which “I” you mean when you say “I.”

There are 4 different types of “I”

  1. This is the most visible “You”. This is the you that you represent to the outside world. This is what everyone thinks of you, or how they perceive you. It is impossible to be perception-less in the world, but one of the key elements to becoming the best you possible is to become perception free. By letting the view of others affect the way you view yourself, you can never be completely you.

For the sake of this post, I asked my friends and family on Facebook to share their impression of me. Much the way my research is going for my thesis, my response rate was not quite what I hoped, but it did give me some interesting insight to the way people view me.

Here is what was said

Uni pal who has known me more than 10 years: “I love tattoos and boys are stupid”

ExBoyfriend: You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and it is not just your looks, but the fact that you are so driven (okay, this one emotionally abused me for the year we were dating, but I think he was honest when he said that to me before he broke up with me)

Partner is Snark and mother to my Meow: “Oh, when she’s angry, she is keen and shrewd! She was a vixen when she went to school. And though she be but little, she is fierce.”

 Partner in Snark and one of the strongest people I know: The word that pops into my head when I think of you is ‘journey’. I know that might seem strange…but I think I associate that word with you because of your love of travel and because you, of all my friends, seem to be on a journey discovering and creating your self.
One of my best friends in the entire world besides the wombmate (also known as my mother): wish I could be just a little less dramatic like a, Kennedy when Camelot went down in flames Leave it to me to be holdin’ the matches When the fire trucks show up and there’s nobody else to blame (thanks mom….I am not that great at hiding my crazy am I?)
One of my mother’s best friends: Brave, awesome, fearless, intelligent, funny.
People from the CSUF programme: Racist. Cheater. Liar. Brash. Someone who will never be a good educator because she refuses to apologise for her position of privilege and make her classes easier for her students of colour
My students: Hard. Really helpful. Super cool. She will help you as much as she can.
An incredible soul I met at Napier: Kim: Lovely, kind, inclusive, giving, family orientated, edgy, rocky, cool, sweet xxx
My cousin, another one of the strongest people I know: You are a bright light to those around you. You shine through real life and you are incredibly interesting and mysterious:)
My Supervisor: Emotional, reluctant, stubborn
The lawyer I loved in my mid 20s: Comes on strong. Not a typical good Jewish girl.
My manpanion: Stubborn. Sexy. Tiny but mighty. frustrating. Very American.
These are the things that people see when they look at me. Some bad. Some good, all very different.  Some even different from the way I view myself.
2. Persona. The “You” that you think you are presenting to the world. As McHugh states:
 This is what you would like everybody else to think of you, and it’s not about being fake, or fad, or pretending. It’s about moving; it’s about possibility; it’s about potential; it’s about supposition. So, whilst there’s a part of you that’s like your backbone, this part of you is like your wishbone. This one is your adaptive personality, your construct self, and even that’s unique because nobody in the world has had the same experiences or influences that you have. But this is the you that keeps moving, that keeps changing all the time.
I want people to see me as a badass gypsy soul, someone who would rather collect life experiences than things. A Scottish woman trapped in an American body. A person wh wants to make higher education a better place, who wants to really have learned from past mistakes, and does her best not to repeat them. I want to be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons. Flamingos are derpy and weird, but they certainly are not boring.
3. Ego. For this McHugh presents two extremes:
The thing that might stop you being the woman of your dreams is the next circle, and that’s what you think of you. So now you’ve got what others think of you, what you would like others to think of you, and this is what you think of you. And you have good days and bad days, right? There’s days where you wake up and you think you’re the bee’s knees. And other days you wake up and you can’t even say your name. Even your cellphone feels too heavy. On the days when you wake up and you feel like the bee’s knees, it’s not even like you’ve got a reason. It’s like free-floating joy in your body just looking for a target, and you know how it feels on those days because (sizzling sound). You just think, “Somebody give me an audience; I’m on fire! Quick, point me somewhere!” And your hair’s fabulous, and everything just works, everything works on those days. But the other days nothing works. Your legs don’t work, your mouth doesn’t work. The word thief comes and steals your entire vocabulary.
I’d say my ego, more often then not, lays with the second one. I’m really good at self doubt, really good at noticing my flaws and caring way too much what people think of me. I spend a lot of time wanting more people to read my words, more time to prove to others that I’m smart and capable, and I really wish that I could get past the fact that I am willing to do more for people sometimes then they are for me. I have not yet gotten to the perception-free part of my life, and that may in fact be one of the very things that keeps me from being able to finish my thesis with confidence. Now, depression also plays a small role in my ego, but I believe if I stick with therapy, and continue to work on myself, that I can make that a little less of a barrier between me and being myself.
The way to get to the last “You” is to keep the ego in check. The best way to do that is through humility.
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself; humility is thinking about yourself less.”
4. Self. This is the most important one. This is the “You” that has always been there. This is the perfect version of you that you need to let the world see. This is what is going to allow you to be the best version of you, which is possibly the whole reason for living. McHugh’s most powerful takeaway, at least for me is this:
your life has to be your message. Otherwise, why are you here? It’s not like you’ve got a spare. So when you think about your identity, when you think about what it means to be alive, when you think about why you deserve to exist, you’re not your thoughts, because you think them. And you can’t be your feelings, because otherwise, who’s the you that feels them? You’re not what you have; you’re not what you do; you’re not even who you love, or who loves you. There has to be something underneath all that.
She ends her talk with this: So if you can do this, not only will the speed of your life get quicker, not only will the substance of your life get richer, but you will never feel superfluous again.
So while I work on trying to be the best me I can, and possibly make my little corner of the world a better place, and you might have felt TL;DR, I will leave you with the words of my favourite author, who I believe would have really loved the message of Caroline McHugh.
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The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 49

It is 2 pm on a Friday. I’m still in my pjs, I’ve eaten a lot of cheese (which is not on my diet) and all the plans I made to finish Christmas shopping today so I could send out presents has not happened. In fact, this week has been really tough on me. I’ve cried more this week then I have in the last month. Probably because last month I was looking forward to my visit to Paris, and while I have a trip booked for two weeks time, I am a lot less happy now then I was.

When I am depressed I have the urge to run. I decide that the best way to make myself happy is to pack up and move elsewhere. Now, since I want to finish my PhD, I am just planning a lot of trips to amazing places instead of doing the writing and making sure that my degree stays on progress. I’ve got three trips planned, and have yet to even finish one chapter of my PhD.

But, in an effort to feel like I haven’t wasted the entire day, I will look to the writing challenge for this week: One way I would like to grow in the coming year.

I would like to turn this into some sort of funny comment about wanting to grow boobs, or get an extra few inches, but I just don’t have one of the muster to be funny today.

I think the one way I would like to grow in the coming year is to be more confident in myself. After CSUF my confidence took a hit, and I feel like for the last three years I have been fighting to be respected by people for who I am. I’ve lost friends, been called a lot of nasty things, and been completely demoralized. I’ve settled on a life path that most people do not understand, and I often feel defensive about my want to live overseas, to still be in higher education, and to not really have any desire to return to the US.

In the next year I hope to build my confidence in the choices that I am making, and be okay with the fact that I am not living what many people would see as a conventional life. I’m not married, have no kids, and would rather collect stamps in my passport than buy a house, settle in a city and live a ‘traditional’ life. Part of the problem I am having is that I have been so trained that I since I am almost 30 I should have a career, some babies, and a husband. Since I have my foot in the career bath and nothing else, I keep thinking that I am doing something wrong. I’m largely insecure about it…even staying in a horrible relationship with an emotionless robot incapable of doing more than hurting people (I’m really starting to understand why his last girlfriend cheated on him).

I also spend a lot of time being disrespected in the workplace, but because I am afraid to rock the boat and have a repeat of CSUF, I am not currently excited about going to the office. In fact, I avoid it at all costs and work at the other campuses. There are some great people in the office, but the snide comments about me never being in, the disrespect with a lack of communication and consideration of my needs as a member of the office have really ramped my insecurity and low self esteem. I’m still seeing my therapist regularly and trying to work on the issues, but it is a lot more slow going then I thought it would be. Every time I feel like I am making progress, I get knocked back on my ass. This time it was the boy and an incident at work, but next week it could be something else.

I am starting to feel like a burden to my friends and family that constantly see me in this depressed state, and tell me to do things that seem very simple to them, but actually, are almost impossible for me. I’m hoping in the next year I can fix all of that and get some of my spunk back. By then I will be almost finished with my PhD (fingers crossed) and will have a new niece or nephew, and hopefully a better understanding of how to get my groove back.

On the upside, I can cross some things off the list as time is running out

  1. Learn how to drive in the UK.
  2. Present at an academic conference
  3. Start a new tradition
  4. Go back to therapy
  5. Visit three new countries
  6. Ride in a hot air balloon
  7. Quit the tutoring centre
  8. Volunteer for a literacy programme
  9. Read a book that has more than 500 pages
  10. Make my bed everyday for at least three months
  11. Have a solid draft of my thesis completed
  12. Master scorpion pose
  13. Attend the symphony
  14. Learn a rap song from start to finish
  15. Host a dinner party
  16. Create a  budget so I can pay down my student loans
  17. Create something original
  18. Create a solid workout regime
  19.  Go on a long hike (6 miles or more)
  20. Learn to dance
  21. Eat an exotic meal
  22. Learn to cook a fancy meal
  23. Yell at a football match
  24. Go horseback riding
  25. Master British spelling and punctuation
  26. Create a good sleep schedule
  27. See my favorite group in concert
  28. Fall in love
  29. Stop holding grudges
  30. Let go of my expectations

I’m crossing off learn to drive in the UK since I drove in Ireland and do not currently have the funds to get a UK driver’s licence. That will go on my list of things to do next year when I have a bit more of a budget. I’ve also been able to cross off mastering British spelling and punctuation. I had a student turn in an assignment that I proof read, and not grammar or spelling mistakes! Thank you UK spellcheck and the grammar book I bought online. I’mm about halfway through and have about three months left to complete this list.

The Scamp’s 100 Things

The challenge this week is to make a list of 100 things that I am thankful for. Since I have been in the dark and twisty pretty hard core this week, I am going to enjoy making this list and focusing on all of the amazing things in my life that make me grateful. I have been a pain in the ass. I’m anxious, mopey, and have spent too much time by myself to be a good person. I am gearing up for Christmas, and I hoping that some fresh air, time out of Scotland, and time away from all things academic will do me some good. The weather has been crazy warm here lately (55 degrees!) so I am hoping that it is that way in the Emerald Isle as well.

So, I have a glass of wine, I’m wrapped in a blanket, and I am going to try and create a list of 100 things that I am grateful for. Some will be silly, some will strange, and most will be exactly what people expect from me. I do not expect people to read all 100. In fact, this is mostly for me. There is only one challenge left after this one, and to be honest, it doesn’t seem like it has been 52 weeks since I started the challenge. Talk about time flying. I think I am going to find another challenge to work through to make the next year pass just as quickly. I liked that this challenge was focused on reminding me what I have to be grateful for, so I may look for something that is similar to keep the dark and twisty at bay.

 

  1. My family. This should come to no surprise to anyone. My family makes me laugh, stood by me when I was going through some serious shit with CSUF, and has never once made me feel guilty about packing up my life and moving 5,143 miles to start a life. They are by far my favourite people, and while it was extremely difficult to move so far from them, I am lucky enough that we text, Skype, and message each other enough that it doesn’t really feel like we are separated.

 

  1. My friends. Again, no one should be surprised by this. I have some pretty amazing friends. They have sent me presents, jokes, laughs, good vibes, and provided me a lot of comfort when I have been at my lowest. With the exception of lately, I have not been lonely here in Scotland. When I have though, I have people who have dropped everything to help me out, check on me, and distract me from how I am feeling. It is my Irish bestie who offered to take me home for Christmas to be with her family since I am not going back to California until the end of February. I think part of the reason my move back to Scotland was so smooth was because I had a good circle of people who were already here.

 

  1. Scotland saved my life. Literally. The first time I came here in 2012, I knew that I was going to live here. I have felt more at home here than any place I have ever lived. I cannot really explain what it is about this island that makes me feel so at home, but even on my worst day here, and even when the dark and twisty sneaks in, I can go for a walk to the city centre and see the castle, hear the mix of accents, and surround myself with history. When I went back to the US in 2013 I never found a way to readjust to life there. I spent two years feeling like I was a zombie just drifting through my existence. I was in a horrible programme, I did not have much of a social circle, and I barely had enough money to pay my bills. While I am not living like a queen here, I am pretty comfortable for the moment.

 

  1. Travel. If I do not get to travel then I get itchy. Really really itchy. I have been lucky enough to travel all over the world. My mom has funded some of it, I have saved and scrimped for some, and because I have the most amazing friends, I have been offered places to stay and tour guides around their cities. I am the happiest when I am traveling. I love the adventure, and I love the way I feel when I am wandering around a new place.

 

  1. Technology. Being able to stay in touch with everyone through texting, skyping and FB has been amazing. It is a large part of why this move has been so painless.

 

  1. Mark Huxham. He is my supervisor for the PhD. He took a chance on me, and made it possible for me to come back to Scotland. He might have saved my life.

 

  1. Modern medicine. I have Lupus. But, if I did not tell people, I doubt anyone would know. I get checked by doctors regularly, I take my meds, and stick to a good diet. I have been very very very lucky that I have not had any major issues so far.

 

  1. National Insurance. It may not be perfect, and I may get frustrated with it sometimes, but man am I grateful for it. Not paying for medication is a huge stress off my shoulders.

 

  1. Yoga. Enough said.

 

  1. Sunshine. I may be in the land of no sun, but man oh man do I love it when it comes out here. I will also love it when I am in California and Texas and get to enjoy it.

 

  1. Tea. Hug in a cup.

 

  1. American peanut butter.

 

  1. Trail mix. Even when I am not hungry, a handful of that makes me feel better.

 

  1. Solid public transportation. I rarely miss having a car. I also enjoy the view from the top of the double decker bus.

 

  1. Books. When I get sad, I curl up with a book and I can escape a bit.

 

  1. My kitties. I miss them all the time. I wish I could have them here with me.

 

  1. Cat videos. Kinda like the next best thing when I can’t have mine with me.

 

 

  1. Ice Cream. I haven’t had any in a while, but the beast bar (a chocolate bar dipped in chocolate ice cream, covered in chocolate) is the best pound I will ever spend.

 

  1. My Ipod. It makes my commute so much more bearable when I can listen to my favourite songs or a podcast.

 

  1. Loveline. Someone is going to read this and laugh, but man oh man do I love this show. I listen to the old shows with Adam Carolla, and the current day ones. People are crazy, and I always feel a little less crazy listening to the show.

 

  1. Therapy. This really should be higher on the list. The only reason I survived for two years in the States was because of weekly therapy sessions.

 

  1. Flower hair clips. I have a collection of flower hair clips that I wear when I am feeling homesick, or when I want to stand out a little.

 

  1. I love each and every tattoo that I have. There is a good story behind each one, and I feel like they make me a whole heck of a lot more interesting.

 

  1. Strawberries. Possibly the best fruit ever. I love that you can get them all year round here.

 

  1. Tortillas from California. Seriously. Heaven.

 

  1. Easy Mac. The ultimate comfort food.

 

  1. My space heater. It has been cold here, but I have to say, it hasn’t been horrible yet for me thanks to my little portable heater.

 

  1. Yogadownload.This is an amazing collection of yoga classes in all types of styles, lengths, and skill sets. I may be lagging on my practice, but I will never run out of options for classes to take.

 

  1. My camera. I bought it before I moved back to Scotland, and it was totally worth every penny.

 

  1. Pirate Rubber Chicken. It may have started as a joke, but I really love taking chicken places and sending him to my friends to do crazy things. Most people really get into it and have a good time being ridiculous with PRC.

 

  1. Naps. Sometimes it is the only way I get through a day.

 

  1. Inside jokes with the wombmate.

 

  1. Who am I kidding…..the word wombmate. It is so much better than just calling her my sister.

 

  1. Tugboat. The very first car I ever bought. I love that beast.

 

  1. Swimming. I miss being in the water, but I love the peace I get when I have a chance to swim.

 

  1. Student discounts. Sometimes it is nice to save a few pounds on a movie ticket or a meal.

 

  1. Care packages from home. Getting mail always makes my day a little better.

 

  1. Second chances. I have had my fair share of second chances from people and from life, and seriously, sometimes that is all I need to get it right.

 

  1. 2 minute rice meals. I am a lazy cook sometimes. I can pop one of those in the microwave and add some cheese and salsa and have a meal

 

  1. Bagels and cream cheese. Perfect breakfast for the ultimate lazy eater.

 

  1. I may regret this, but I am enjoying the rain as it comes. I’ve been pretty lucky so far though.

 

  1. My job at the tutoring centre. I may grumble about going into work on a Saturday afternoon/evening, but I really like being with the kids. They make me laugh and it is impossible to be in a bad mood when you are with those kids.

 

  1. Warm socks. My feet get cold very easily, but plenty of warm socks have been purchased for my survival.

 

  1. Boots. I can never have enough pairs.

 

  1. Slippers. Because sometimes I don’t want to wear socks.

 

  1. Anti-depressants. One day I hope to get off of them, but for right now, I am glad I have something to help me with the dark and twisty.

 

  1. Oversized jumpers. Am I wearing a bra? Am I just wearing a sports bra? Have I gained 50 lbs when no one was looking? You don’t know when I have the jumper on.

 

  1. My blog. I have a steady following, which is nice, but even more than that, I like that I can write things down and store it in a place that I can come back to. To be honest, I don’t often go back to read past posts, but it is nice that they are there should I ever want to.

 

  1. My hot water bottle. Lamby keeps me warm. He is also big enough to cuddle.

 

  1. Travel posters. The art that I have collected adds colour to my walls, and makes me feel like I am traveling all the time.

 

  1. Surf videos. For the days when I miss the beach.

 

  1. Fiji lotion. The smell reminds me of my mom, but also makes me tropical.

 

55. Hummingbirds.

  1. Yoga pants. Because I hate real pants.

 

  1. I love celebrity gossip, and I love the sass and snark that comes pops up on that site.

 

  1. Having braces when I was 16. I think I have a fantastic smile, so thanks mom and modern dentistry.

 

  1. My neighbours. The poor couple who live opposite me get to sign for the million and a half things that I order off of Amazon. They have been nothing but nice about it. They just got a puppy, and joked that I can babysit whenever I want.

 

  1. Romance novels. Because sometimes I need to read about hot steamy sex and happy endings.

 

  1. My sound machine app. I can’t handle silence, so I can fall asleep to the sound machine and not my racing thoughts.

 

  1. I have not really had much success yet, but I am grateful that I have so many options to try out and keep myself entertained.

 

  1. My mom’s love for taking pictures of everything. I’m going to want those memories one day.

 

  1. Red Door # 5. It reminds me of my grandma.

 

  1. Clementine scented candles.

 

  1. Bubble bath. Best time to read romance novels.

 

  1. The chance to go to college. I’ve been a student my entire life, and I have been incredibly lucky for the chances that I have had because of it. Being as lucky as I have been has made me want to stay in education.

 

  1. The work of Paulo Freire. If I had not found his work, I am not sure if I would have been able to really explain my view on life.

 

  1. The boyfriends that I’ve had. Some of them sucked, but I learned a lot from each of those relationships, and I have become a better person because of having been with them.

 

  1. Reality TV. Toddlers and Tiaras anyone?

 

  1. Horror movies. I love being scared by something fake rather than something in real life. I have the hardest time not talking to the movie as it plays out, even if I have seen the movie 100 times.

 

  1. My passport. I love being lucky enough to have one and to be able to travel and see the world with little to no restrictions.

 

  1. Motivational posts. I love the Berry and their “Don’t worry, be happy” posts. Sometimes I need the little reminders to stay positive and that life is not as bad as the present moment.

 

  1. Online shopping. I can get everything I need while sitting on my moderately comfy couch. My anti-social nature loves this.

 

  1. Adult colouring books. I have been zenned out for the last two weeks thanks to some colouring books and coloured pencils from my feisty Texan.

 

  1. Culture. One of the things I love most about living here is all of the different people that I come in contact with on a daily basis. I get to learn a lot about people and places. A lot more than I would learn if I was still in California.

 

  1. My flat. It may seem like an odd thing to be grateful for, but it is nicely furnished, I can afford it, and it is in a nice little neighbourhood. It is nice to be living on my own, and it was luck of the universe that I was able to find it.

 

  1. Jumping out of an airplane. I’ve never felt freer in my entire life.

 

  1. Matzo ball soup. A hug in a bowl.

 

  1. Lazy Sundays. I like not having to be anywhere on Sundays.

 

  1. Publishing opportunities. My supervising team believes that I can get published, and believes that what I have to say is important. I grateful even for their support.

 

  1. My 6 year visa. Just in case. I cannot be American if Donald Trump wins.

 

  1. People who offer to help me. Sometimes all I need is the offer to make me feel better. Sometimes I need someone to offer because I am not good about asking for help.

 

  1. Baseball games. If I am watching it live it means an afternoon with my mom. If I am watching it on TV it means I am going to get a really good nap in.

 

  1. Walks at sunset. I like closing out my day in the fresh air. Even though the sun sets at 3:30 right now, come summer, I will have more time to wander to the top of Arthur’s Seat to watch the sunset.

 

  1. Google Maps. Because I am hopeless with directions

 

  1. My little black address book. I like being able to send postcards and gifts to people in the States.

 

  1. Libraries. They provided employment since I was 14, and any place with that many books is alright by me.

 

  1. Used bookshops. Edinburgh is full of them. They are all amazing.

 

  1. Puppies that walk off leash. Strangers hate it when you hug their dogs, but when a puppy wanders up to me, it is all but asking for a bit of a cuddle.

 

  1. That I inherited a good sense of humour. I crack myself up, but I am glad that I can laugh as much as I do.

 

  1. Sour gummy worms. Even when they give me nightmares

 

  1. Peach rings.

 

  1. Snuggles. Sometimes I just need a hug while curled up in bed.

 

  1. UC Merced. A lot happened for me there. A lot of the opportunities that I have been lucky enough to have have come from work I either did, or started there.

 

  1. Home cooked meals. When my friends invite me over for a meal I am in heaven.

 

  1. My mom paying my bills. Again, this should be a lot higher up the list. She has been paying my bills since I was 18, and if she wasn’t helping me out, and didn’t co-sign my loan for my first trip to Scotland, I don’t know where I would be.

 

  1. Autocorrect and spellcheck. I cannot spell prerequisite (I spelled it wrong and used spell check to fix it) to save my life. I’m also still learning British spelling, so the helpful hand is making sure I do not look like a complete fool.

 

  1. My persistence. Who knew I had it in me?

 

  1. The EdD programme at CSUF. If I had not gone through everything I went through in that programme, I would not be sitting on my couch in Edinburgh. That makes every tear I shed, every pound I lost, and every dollar I wasted completely worth it.