Burning Bridges And Tying Loose Ends

Bangalore, India
Bangalore, India

Today I saw a picture of a little girl hugging a fish – a huge grin spread across her face. The caption? “Girl saves fish from drowning.”

At first it was funny. Then it was convicting. Not that I have a spiritual experience every time I read a meme, but my mind couldn’t help thinking about how often I’m that little girl – grasping for something that needs to be let go so both it, and I, can continue living.

The problem is, I’m stubborn. Anyone who knows me can tell you that. And I hold on even tighter when someone tells me to let go of something. Call me a typical Virgo, or just an overly tenacious Irish/Norwegian woman, but I’ve just never been very good at saying goodbye.

Lucky for me (*insert sarcastic grimace*), in this intermittent season, between where I am and where I’m going, my life is proving to be heavily portrayed by two words: Letting Go.

If I’m perfectly honest, I’m not the best at change, or at transitioning myself from one time frame to another. When I moved to southern California, I was nauseous for weeks because I couldn’t settle myself enough to enjoy my surroundings (mainly including the Pacific Ocean and palm trees that were steps from my front door – hard life).

But we all have to face change sometime – and that point, for me, is right now. Finding out that I’m moving halfway around the world, with the potential of not coming back for a very long time, has changed the way I interact with people in the present. Actually, I’m starting to realize now, that if I had lived this way before, I probably would have had higher life satisfaction prior to present day.

To make this transition easier, each week, I’m giving myself an “assignment.”

Like last week, specifically: I challenged myself to be intentional about saying, and putting myself in a position to say, goodbye to people that I had simply cut out of my life. That being said, in the true revolving door fashion of my life, some relationships have been harder to close than I initially thought.

This week has been filled with emotions (are you noticing a trend here?). There’s been laughter and tears, hugs and high fives and finally learning how to drop some fish that I was trying to “save.”

Relationships are messy. And being raised with a “don’t burn any bridges” mentality, and an over zealous social media involvement, has resulted in me putting many on “life support.” You know, when you’re still “friends” with someone, even though you haven’t spoken to them in five years, nothing truly keeping the relationship alive.

My social media life (*cough* Facebook) easily gives me the false feeling of having dealt with things I’ve passive aggressively swept under the rug. After all, we’re still “friends,” right? I don’t need to wrap things up, say I’m sorry, or end on a good note with people. It’s the perfect system.

Or is it? See I’m starting to realize that, sometimes, it’s healthy to burn bridges, to say goodbye, or to walk away from things that are harming rather than helping. Sometimes, you need to do those things in order to really be able to move forward.

While change can be good, never confronting or having to make actual decisions about past chapters in your life is not. It’s like never deleting emails – yeah, they aren’t immediately showing up every time you log in, but they’re still accumulating and taking up memory.

I’m starting to mildly hate that I have, maybe a couple hundred friends/family members I actually interact with, but three times that amount of “friends” on Facebook. Who are these people? Ghosts of past seasons, floating amidst the ocean of my news feed and shared viral cat videos. Do they know me? Do I know them?

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being friends with people years after you’ve met, but what I’ve found myself doing is using social media to pacify my actual interactions with people. A habit that ends up being a lose-lose situation.

I’m not a fan of interpersonal shortcuts. I like phone calls more than text messages, and sitting down, talking to someone, more than Facebook messaging. And when it comes to saying goodbye, I’m no different. I want people who are close to me to be close because we’ve actually had a conversation in the past six months. I want people who I’ve decided are not healthy to have involved in my life, to actually be out of my life; sometimes, it’s ok to close the door, turn the key and walk away.

We don’t heal from ignoring injuries, we only make them worse. And, although, it can be painful to deal with them, I’m making an effort to enter this next part of my life in as healthy a way as possible; letting go of dead relationships, and nurturing those that are worth investing in.

It’s true; I’ve never been very good at goodbyes. But, I am starting to realize that I have an option, the power to decide, who and what remains in my life post this transition.  A decision I don’t want to waste. Yes, it’s terrifying to start everything off again with a clean slate. But it’s also unimaginably liberating to step forward into the unwritten future.

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Seven Ways To Renovate Your WordPress Blog

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If you’re revisiting my blog from last week, you may notice there are some differences. I spent all yesterday pulling together ideas I’ve been dreaming about, and I’m absolutely in love with the results! That being said, there are still a ton of things I want to work on, but baby steps, right?

Since it took me 12 million hours to find all of the information and put it together, I thought I would write a post today about what I did. Hopefully I can save all of you guys some time and trouble if you decide you want to do some renovations of your own!

1. Updating your header

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Headers are important because they are the first thing people see when they come to your blog. Depending on what your blog is about, and what you want aesthetic you want to portray through your blog, these can be a lot of fun to design! For me, I really wanted a “journal” like feel because that is, more or less, what this is. I love minimalism and was excited to use the same font that I have tattooed on my arm! The arrow that is underneath the font I sketched in my notepad, then scanned, then opened in photoshop and added to my original text piece. Note: Since the arrow is so thin, it was hard to crop it down the original drawing. If I had had a pen tablet I think it would have been a lot easier and faster.

2. Creating a background that stands out

Glasgow, Scotland
Glasgow, Scotland

Honestly, I watched so many tutorials on finding the perfect background for your blog. I was really excited about creating the perfect background using all kinds of technology but, in the end, it was a picture of Scotland that stole my heart. Here’s one of my favorite non-photoshop needed tutorials I found for designing your own blog background, if you do decide designing is the direction you want to go in!

3. Adding Social Media Buttons

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Holy hell, this took me four hundred years to figure out. Mainly because everywhere online that I looked told me that the only way to have the cute little social media icons was to buy a blog domain, buy a blog upgrade or promise my firstborn child to the devil. Since I wasn’t willing to do any of the above options, I decided to keep looking until I stumbled across this glorious tutorial. Even though it’s for Blogger, the same idea works for Worpress, and if you’re having trouble, you can always go make a free Blogger account and then just transfer the HTML. To find the “buttons” themselves, you have a few options:

1. Design the yourself on Photoshop – I would keep them at about 50 pixels x 50 pixels

2. Buy them on Etsy (they send you the files after you buy them online)

3. Google “Free Social Media Blog Icons.” Cut and paste.

Here’s the Tutorial I used:

4. Find the perfect profile picture

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It was pretty hard for me to find a decent picture to put up on my blog because I don’t necessarily have that many of myself, standing alone, posing. Luckily, I recently went galavanting around the city with my best friend, and she stole my camera a couple of times, resulting in the picture I now have. In order to get a square picture into a circle I used Photoshop and this tutorial.

 

5. Choosing the perfect template

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First go to your left hand Dashboard>Appearance>Template

Honestly, WordPress has a pretty terrible selection of templates to choose from compared to what they used to have. Most of the good ones cost over $80 and I’m just not willing to spend that much money on a blog (especially since I’ll probably change my mind as soon as I buy it and want something else). Instead, I played around with each of the customizable features for the free templates, before finally deciding to use the one I have now. In addition, I did kind of spoil myself and spend $30 so that I could change the background and the fonts to what I wanted. The nice thing about WordPress is that you can play around with what this might look like before you make the commitment to pay anything. The $30 is a once a year fee. I rationalized it because I know I’m going to be spending a lot of time on this blog over the next year(s) and I wanted something I could take pride in.

6. Widgets!

Widgets (or the little things you find in your side bar) are your absolute best friend. Playing around with these can allow you to add HTML, picture albums, links to your Twitter or Instagram and all kinds of other goodness. Here’s a picture of what my widget bar now looks like, so you have an idea of what I’m using.

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7. Organize Your Blog

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A lot of what I did yesterday was just taking the time to organize and make sure all the little details were to my liking. For instance, I had pictures on the side bar before but they were in a staggered messy bunch that I now (hopefully!) straightened out to be more appealing to people who are looking through them. I honestly believe the best blogs are the ones that just pay attention to detail.