Friday, April 14, 2017

Visiting The Fresh Market for the First Time

I walk in and am greeted by flowers. There are flowers to my left and right, the room is lit with warm goldish lights, and I see wine bottles dancing all around the room. I immediately feel calm and think to myself, “Is this what a spiritual awakening feels like?”

I’ve come for sushi and a bottle of wine (~fancy~), but on my way to find these things, I walk to the tea aisle. “This store probably has great tea,” I think to myself as my body moves towards the aisle on autopilot.

I look at the teas and feel inspired. When has someone ever felt inspired by tea? I do not know, but somehow I feel this way. They have so many options. Wow.

I weave out of this aisle and take a glance at the frozen section. A few small refrigerators filled with Annie’s mac and cheese and healthy frozen pizza. Of course.

I make my way to the center of the store and feel as if I’m floating. I circle around the middle area that has salads, sandwiches, and pasta salad in healthy portions for you to grab and go. “Wow, they really know their stuff,” I think to myself. “That is so convenient and healthy.” My eyes dart around the store and I feel calm and warm. Why and how, I’m not sure. The warm lights and hardwood floors and chalkboard aisle signs makes me think this store is important.

I find my way to the sushi, grab some, then walk over to the wine. There are beautiful baskets filled with wine on display all around the store. I take in my surroundings and all I can think is how much I need to buy some granola. I walk past the “bulk” section and immediately think I should grind my own almond butter even though I’ve never had almond butter before in my life, nor do I want to. But they have a cute section where you just turn a knob and some almond butter grinds for you, and there is a chalkboard sign explaining it all.

 I make my way to the wine and pick out the cheap wine I usually buy from CVS. This is Fresh Market- their cheap wine is probably a few bucks more than at CVS, but the wine is chilled and this store feels important and there’s granola and pre-made salads and tea everywhere so I don’t care!!!

I stand in line to check out and immediately think, “Maybe I should work here!” I already have two jobs and have never in my life had the desire to work at a grocery store, but Fresh Market makes me think this would be a great idea. I think of that episode of Bob’s Burgers where Linda works at a grocery store like this. It all started out great, but in the end Linda was happier working at the restaurant, I think to myself. I look to my left and see the flowers again.

I feel an urgent need to buy some. I contemplate getting out of line to go grab some flowers. “You deserve some,” I tell myself. “Treat yourself, it will brighten up your apartment.” I already have a slowly dying plant on my window-sill, I don’t need any flowers. But Fresh Market makes me think I need some!!! WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?!

I look at the “all natural” gum on the stand next to me. I think it’s weird, but it seems fancy and important and like Fresh Market really knows what they’re doing.

It’s my turn to check out. The woman ringing me up is wearing the sort of shoes you can imagine someone working at Fresh Market would wear. Beige slip ons. Her manager stands nearby, a 30ish year old man with a ponytail and beard. Everything here is exactly the way you could joke stores like this are, but I don’t care. I just want to buy all of the dehydrated fruit and organic granola in sight!!!

I buy only two things but somehow spend almost twenty dollars. When the cashier tells me my total I’m a little surprised, but I pay her anyway. On my way out I see a chalkboard sign advertising another product I think I need, but then realize I in fact do not.

I walk past those lovely flowers again and smell how sweet they are. I walk past a cute wicker basket filled with bags of chocolate drizzled popcorn and think, “Even the entryway before you come into the store looks nice. Wow.”

I walk to my car feeling calm and rejuvenated. How did they do that? Is there something in the air in that place? Was it really just those wood floors and warm lights? All I know is I spent too much money on wine and grocery store sushi, but I don’t even care. The Fresh Market was a beautiful, magical place.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Enjoy Your Weekdays as Much as Your Weekend

I recently started working at a coffee shop--a dream I’ve had since high school. Not only am I surrounded by the delicious smells and tastes of coffee all day, but I also get to chat with some interesting people. As each customer comes in and I make them a latte or pour them some coffee, I ask them how their day or week is going. The overwhelming response I’ve gotten from each and every person I’ve asked is something along the lines of, “Is it Friday yet?” “This day is so long.” or “I can’t wait for the week to be over.”

While I totally understand this thought process and have looked forward to the end of a particularly taxing day or week plenty of times before, it has me wondering if all this wishing and looking is good for us. If we are living each day counting down the hours until it’s over and counting the days until the weekend, are we actually living our day to day lives to the fullest? How can anyone complete present tasks and soak in the good bits of each day if we are putting so much energy into wishing the day was over?

Some people have no choice but to stay at a job they don’t like because of financial reasons or contracts, and that stinks, but if you’re spending your entire workday cursing everyone in the office and hating everything, you’re not going to do a good job. A string full of days you loathe doing a job you hate can add up to a string full of years being unhappy, and that’s not much of a life if you ask me.

You might not have your dream job or even a job you remotely enjoy, but you’re there for the time being whether you like it or not. You might as well make it as enjoyable as possible and do good work; otherwise, what is the point?

I propose that even in the shittiest of situations, one can focus on the goodness sprinkled throughout it to make each day grand. I haven’t read much about the concept and practice of “mindfulness,” but from the little I do know of it, I think this relates to it. If you do small tasks with great intent, you will find some sort of joy in it.

Maybe you work in an office and sit in a windowless cubicle all day typing away at your computer. Your co-workers constantly complain about their kids and spouses, and you spend each waking moment typing away until it’s time to go home, and then until it’s time for the weekend.

Instead of dreading each day, try focusing on the little things in your day you can be excited about or inspired by. Pack yourself your favorite food for lunch. Wear an accessory or color that makes you feel good. Get yourself a delicious coffee drink halfway through your day (I know a gal who could hook you up). Or maybe try talking to someone new at your office. These all seem like little things, but honestly, taking time to intentionally sprinkle some zest into your less than desirable day can help make each day a little more special and keep you a little more motivated to work hard.

I’m all for looking forward to the joys of doing nothing on a Saturday, or counting down to an exciting weekend trip, but I’m also for having things sprinkled in your weekdays to look forward to. We don’t all have to hate work just because that’s what tv and movies tell us we should do. You’re in control of your life (to some extent), and you are wholly in control of your attitude. Choose zest and make your Monday as special and cool as your Friday.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Let's Start a Wedgie Revolution

My name is Bekah, and I get wedgies.

I imagine that you also get wedgies, as does every person on this beautiful earth. There’s no shame in admitting it; take a moment, say it out loud. This is a safe space.

When you get a wedgie in the privacy of your own home, no problem. You pick that buddy out of your crack without hesitation. But what happens if your undies slowly creep up into your cheeks while you’re at the grocery store, walking to class, or waiting in line at Target? If you’re lucky, you’ll duck down an aisle where no one’s behind you and take a quick little pick and carry on, or maybe you can discretely delude the situation as you take a seat in the coffee shop, hoping no one notices or they just think you’re smoothing out your shorts before you take a sit. No matter the situation, one thing is clear: public wedgie picking is met with fear, shame, and hesitation, leaving you with fabric in unwanted places for far too long. 

Well folks, I’m here to start a wedgie revolution. Who’s to say public wedgie picking has to be off limits? Who’s to say that we should be forced to walk around with fabric in our nooks and crannies just because someone might see us?


I don’t mean to insinuate anyone walks around with wedgies all the time, but it does happen to the best of us once in a while. In recent weeks I’ve resorted to picking wedgies in public, and let me tell you, it’s freeing. My rear is happy, and I’m happy, and that’s all that matters.

Join me. Pick your wedgies in public. You deserve it.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

An Open Letter to the Man That Whistled at Me Today

Dear sir,

Hi. I’m the young woman that you whistled at today on 52nd street when you were zipping by on your bicycle and I was going to get paint out of my car during art class. I’m writing to let you know that I didn’t appreciate your whistle, nor did I appreciate you turning around and looking at me after you’d already passed me and started pedaling away, as if you were waiting to see my reaction.

What reaction did you think I would have, exactly? Did you think I would blow you a kiss? Run after you and ask for your number? Flash you? If so, you need a reality check. I’m not so sure if you would have appreciated me riding by on my bicycle, whistling at you while you were minding your own business. I know, you probably think it was flattering. Why wouldn’t a young female want to receive some attention from a twenty-something male riding a bicycle while wearing crispy white tube socks? Well, you’re wrong. This young female does not want or need your attention. And for the record, your tube socks are nerdy.

Perhaps you think since I was wearing leggings and bending over slightly while I reached into my car, it was as opportune of a time as any since my tookus was primely exposed. Maybe you thought you were doing me a favor by letting me know you thought my butt looked good in my leggings. Well dude, here’s the thing: I know my butt looked good in my leggings. And I don’t need anyone, let alone a stranger on a bicycle, to tell me that. Furthermore, I should be able to parade around without pants on and reach into my car without the threat of the male gaze and objectification of a whistling bicycle man. But back to my great butt…

Don't mess with me, Tube Sock Man
I know that I have nice wide hips, and I know my thighs look good, and I know I have a really nice, bangin’, juicy booty. I know how my hips, thighs, and butt look when I wear leggings. I like how they look. I love my body and acknowledge that these parts of me could be attractive to strangers, but I don’t necessarily care to know that. I think these parts of me are attractive, and I sure as hell don’t need your fleeting whistle and over confident look over your shoulder to remind me. 

Now I’m not opposed to genuine compliments. I love complimenting people, especially strangers. But there is a difference in telling someone kindly and respectfully that they are beautiful or handsome verses whistling at them as if they are an animal or object whose attention needs to be gotten.

Your whistle was the first time I’ve been aware of being whistled at, and honestly it didn’t make me as mad as I always thought it would, but as I’m sure you’ve gathered, it was a dick move and I didn’t appreciate it. The way you addressed me today was rude and stupid, and neither one of us gained anything from the experience. I suggest that next time you find any part of a female attractive and you want to vocalize this, get to know that person a little bit first and give them a genuine compliment. And if you want to receive the same respect and generosity, ditch the tube socks.

Bekah 'Bangin Juicy Booty' Pollard

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Stop Bashing Your Body!

It’s Tuesday afternoon, and as I walk through the hallways of my sorority house, I encounter a friend trying on a dress. She looks in a mirror in the hallway, and in my humble opinion, she looks great. The dress is champagney-pinkish with an intricate fabric with a nice design woven in. Basically, she looks lovely. Clearly dissatisfied with the fit of this dress, the friend calls out, “I hate myself!”

About five minutes later, walking through the hall in the other direction, I overhear two other friends talking about borrowing each other’s clothes. Friend One asks Friend Two if she can try on a dress of hers to wear to formal this weekend. Friend Two says yes, but I don’t know if it will fit you, implying that Friend Two’s clothes would be far too large on Friend One. Full disclosure: friends one and two both have great bods and could definitely share clothes any time they want to.

Are we sensing a common theme here, people? Within a period of less than ten minutes I heard two friends of mine talking negatively about their bodies. Now I don’t think that my friend trying on the dress actually hates herself, and I know that once Friend One tried on Friend Two’s dress they would both see they are indeed capable of sharing clothes. I think this “bad-talk” isn’t necessarily always serious, as displayed in these two examples, but whether or not it is, it’s damaging for young women to so readily and casually bash their own appearances. (I think it’s also important to point out that men also experience bad-talking themselves and self-image issues, but since I’m a female and have experienced mostly my female friends exhibiting this kind of behavior, that’s what I’m going to focus on.)

As long as I can remember, I’ve encountered my friends and acquaintances bad-talking themselves…like I’m pretty sure back in like fourth or fifth grade this was a thing. Let’s think about that for a minute: that means young girls pointing out things they dislike about themselves from the age of about nine or ten years old. What the flip, Chip?! I remember hearing friends casually say things about their bodies that they disliked, and I remember feeling weird when I had nothing to say about myself. It's like that scene in Mean Girls when they're all in Regina's room looking in the mirror saying things they dislike about their bodies and they all turn to Cady and wait for her to bash herself too. It’s such a normalized thing for young girls and women to dislike certain aspects of themselves that when we don’t, we either feel like there’s something wrong with us, or someone else does. That’s messed up.

I’ve always been passionate about practicing self-love, and I think it’s essential for fully loving your life and others. If you don’t know how to love yourself well and accept the not-as-great aspects of your being, then how in the world can you know how to love others well? How will you know how to give a friend a meaningful compliment when you can’t compliment yourself? How can you truly feel someone love you in a way no one has ever loved you before if you’ve never allowed yourself to be loved by the person who knows you best?

Surely there are things about my outward appearance that I’m not always super jazzed about, but I try not to dwell on it. There are so many more important things in life to worry about! And there are way better reasons to be dissatisfied with yourself than if your stomach sticks out more than you think it should. I’ll condone disliking oneself if you’re a major asshole to everyone you meet, or you shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. I will not, however, support you disliking yourself because your thighs rub together when you walk. Dude, EVERYONE’S thighs rub together when they walk. 
Excited to digest spicy foods!!!!

Our bodies are far too magical and intricate to truly dislike them. We breathe without thinking about it, we speak without thinking about it, we move our arms or scratch our face or laugh without thinking about it. That’s incredible. We are able to feel sensations and taste food and experience happiness, sadness, fear, excitement, and all these other great emotions throughout our entire beings. We can properly digest food for crying out loud! Seriously, next time you eat spicy food, thank yourself for breaking it down properly so you’re able to enjoy it.

My point is, human bodies are beautiful, and incredible, and far from perfect. Everyone has off days where they feel crappy about themselves, but don’t dwell on things you dislike about your outward appearance. Your body is doing secret magical things in order to work well, so allow yourself to love and appreciate that. Focus on being a kind person who loves what they do and who they know. In that process, allow yourself to love who you are and accept that you are not perfect, and that no one is.

Rather than focusing on how your dress doesn’t fit like you want it to, take a moment and rejoice that you can eat spicy Indian food whenever you want and your body won’t explode.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

My Crying Consciousness

I cried yesterday. I teared up a few days ago. I’ll probably cry again sometime in the near future. Am I abnormally sad or upset about something? Am I weak because I keep consistently crying? No and no. I’m simply human.

Until fairly recently, I never was a crier. Whenever I got upset about something, I would internalize it and feel sad enough to cry, but never actually allow myself to do so. No matter how badly I wanted to feel the release of sobs and water dripping from my eyeballs, I couldn’t quite allow myself to feel it. One of my best friends is really good at allowing herself to cry. My friend is an incredibly passionate person and thrives on deep connections with others and with things she does for herself. Since she feels everything so deeply and intentionally, she does a great job of allowing herself to feel tears as well. I admire anyone who allows themselves to feel their emotions so intentionally and purely. When I used to struggle with crying, my friend would always congratulate me whenever I’d allow myself to cry about something. That’s a sign of true friendship, folks. For whatever reason, basically since the end of the summer, I’ve been able to allow myself to cry whenever the feeling comes over me. Crying when I’m upset, or when I’m happy, or sometimes when I’m not sure why I’m crying has become a thing more familiar to me recently than it ever has been.

Since before winter break I had been watching Gossip Girl on Netflix (I blogged about that here, check it out). The other night I watched the final episode of the whole series, and I teared up when Chuck proposed to Blair. What the heck? Why in the world was I emotionally moved by fictional characters in a sub-par television show, doing exactly what every audience member knew they would end up doing anyway? These people aren’t real. The show wasn’t particularly moving or emotionally gripping. Any do-do bird watching from the first season would assume Chuck and Blair would end up together. So why did I tear up? The simple answer is I have no idea, but it was weird and cool to feel something in an instant that made water fill my eyes, even if the reason behind it wasn’t super profound. 

Allowing myself to cry lets my emotions explode into a physical, tangible expression, allowing me to partially rid myself of whatever feelings are hiding inside me. Just because I cry doesn’t mean I’m sad or depressed; it means that emotions take over sometimes and cannot be explained. I still feel surprised by my visceral reaction to an emotional situation every time I cry, but I truly just need to accept the fact that me crying about things has become more and more a part of my current self, and that’s a-okay. Just because I haven’t always been one to cry doesn’t mean that me crying is unnatural or unwelcome. I used to never like pickles, but recently they’ve been tasting pretty nice to me; same kinda thing. Just because an aspect of your human person is slightly different than it always used to be and causes you to understand yourself in a different way does not mean this aspect is wrong or needs to be rejected. People change their likes and dislikes all the time, so why can’t emotional aspects and self-perceptions change just as naturally?

This isn’t to say that I just walk around crying all the time, because I definitely don’t, but I certainly do feel my emotions in a more profound way than I ever used to. This deeper understanding of how I’m feeling in a particular way might in fact lead me to tears. Whether they be happy tears or sad tears, I’m glad I’m feeling something deep enough to make them happen.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Breaking Outside the Bubble

At the end of the summer, I realized that this past summer was definitely tied for the best summer I’ve experienced so far in my existence (the other contender is the summer between junior and senior year of high school. Shout out to The Gals). Coming off such a great summer, I was anxious to begin another school year, learn tons of new stuff, see my friends again, and probably make some new ones. After feeling so free and full of inspiration and life over the summer, I’ve found myself not feeling that same bit of magic since school has started.

Since I’m a junior now, all of my classes relate to my major and minors, meaning I’m in all English and art classes. That sounds so prime, right? Well, for some reason it’s not as fulfilling as I anticipated. Although I’m enjoying creating and reading in all of my classes, I’ve realized that for the first time that I can recall, school isn’t the main thing I want to focus my energy on. After being at school for part of the summer, working a little and having time to spend hours in a coffee shop writing (I’m not an asshole, I swear), or spend the afternoon sitting on my front porch sketching, I kind of wish I had that same bit of time to freely create and do things that make my soul happy. School certainly does make my soul happy, but I suppose I got too used to being more in control of my time. 
The Gals, this summer

I write and edit for a beautiful online magazine called the Lala, and that is quickly becoming something I wish I could spend more time with. I’ve also done several commissioned art projects over the past few months, and I wish I could spend more time on those, rather than squeezing them in between school things. Even outside of creating things on my own time, I crave more time to create and sustain relationships with others. I live with two of my best friends in a small room in my sorority house, yet there have been several times throughout this semester where we’ve gone days without seeing one another because we’re all so busy. Outside of that friendship, I have other relationships that I wish I had more time for as well. It’s just a strange place to be mentally, where I know that all of the people and opportunities I have are because of me being at school, yet I wish I didn’t have school to distract me from these people and opportunities.

This feels a bit like I’m coming across saying I’m not enjoying school, and that’s not the case. I can’t properly articulate how I feel. I guess I’m just lazy and wish I didn’t have things to do all the time. I feel like school is something I have to do, rather than something I’m excited for. I still get excited about school, but not as consistently as I have in the past. I think it’s because I’m straddling the idea of being a student and being in the so-called “Butler Bubble,” and wanting to break out of this bubble and do things “in real life” that I want to do.

I know next year as a senior when “real life” is quickly approaching, I’ll crave more time in the bubble, but this is how I feel now. I’ve concluded that just because I feel differently about school and my focuses are changing, that doesn’t mean that’s not okay. I still love learning. I still enjoy all my classes. I’m still creating things and improving my creative skills because of my peers and professors. I just would like the space to apply these things to projects outside of school.

Do you feel the same way? Stuck in a rut between doing school things and wanting to do outside of school things? Not sure? Think about it. Self-reflection is fun.