Wednesday, September 29, 2010

first impressions

This past Saturday a couple girlfriends and I went out to a yummy pizza dinner then stopped by a nearby bar to drink our desert before heading over to the house party next on our agenda. (It's better to be fashionably late to these things anyway, right?) As we sat enjoying our little impromptu girls night out, we were approached by a guy with more than his fair share of questions and comments. Our favorite of which had to be the point where he decided to go around the table and let us know, from his limited observations alone, what kind of girl each of us was.

Now, we've all been told that first impressions are lasting. But I wonder, do first impressions lie? Do first impressions even start to chip away at who we really are? And, if not, how can we be sure that the person we're conveying to the outside world is who we, at our very best, hope to be?

Here were his impressions:

1. You're the relationship girl. You're all-American; someone a guy can take home to his mom. Plus, you have a really nice complexion.

2. You're in it to win it. You're ready to have fun. You're down for Sunday funday any time. And you're probably the girl that will go home with a guy on the first night.

3. You're the ring leader. You watch out for the group and don't let people mess with your friends. This is not the girl you mess with. Plus, you have great teeth and great dimples.

4. You're the secret ninja. You're always scoping out the scene, wondering what's going on. Plus, you've got great lips and a great tongue
(editors note: what!? seriously, I can't make this up!). I've wanted to kiss you since I saw you.
5. No offense girls, but she's the best in bed. You're in it to win it
(editors note: must have been his phrase of the day) in the sheets. I mean, this girl knows what to do.

I'll leave it up to you to decide (ala SAT's matching question format) which of the following 5 of us matches each first impression...

a. Brooke
b. Julie
c. Kadie
d. Liz
e. Shawn

...but I will tell you this: I seriously hope I'm giving off a different first impression to the general public than I did to this one guy.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

i see london, i see france

After a morning of client meetings involving slightly raised voices and enough corporate politics to make your head spin, everything was just feeling a bit nutty. Sure, I was feeling competent, accomplished, bright(!) and altogether pretty professional, but something just felt off. I drove back into the office, sat down at my desk, stared at my computer and realized that somewhere along the line I had officially become a businesswoman. Phrases like "per our conversation" and "I just wanted to touch base on" and "sell-in strategy" roll off my tongue without a second thought. I'm drinking real coffee (instead of coffee-like beverages from Starbucks) on a pretty regular bases. If I'm away from my Blackberry for more than 20 minutes, I start to have slight anxiety attacks. I wear comfy shoes commuting to and from the office and slip into my heels when it's time for real work. Ugh. It's official.

Well fast-forward to me running to the ladies' room just a couple minutes ago. In the back of my mind I'm still thinking about this whole 'Businesswoman Liz'. Part of me is getting a sort of kick out of how far I've come. Part of me wishes I could make it stop. And then I look down to see that somewhere in between the early-morning gym and the shower and the sensible, grown-up breakfast and the final preparations on the deck for this morning's meeting I had put my underwear on inside-out! Are you kidding me? So much for being a professional adult. Last time I checked, kids learn to dress themselves around age 4.

And yet it made me think.

While professional me can take pride in the fact that I can walk the business walk and talk the business talk, real me can laugh at the fact that underneath it all I still may not have it all together. And you know what? I feel like that's just the perfect balance for me right now.

Monday, September 20, 2010

who i'd be

I still remember that Spring afternoon in 2001 when I drove straight from the high-school parking lot to my dad's office after school let out. Despite the uneasiness in my head and the thumping in my chest, I calmly shut the door and managed to somewhat cohesively explain to my dad that I didn't want to go to any of the colleges I had applied to. I didn't want to go to any of the colleges I had visited. (I mean Ball State has side walk signs that actually chirp like cardinals when it's time to walk! Geesh!) I didn't want to go to any of the colleges that had offered me scholarships. I wanted to go to IU. Yes, the same IU that my father had - over and over again - tried to convince me to apply to even if just as a back-up. Yes, the same IU that I insisted I didn't want anything to do with as little as a month earlier. Yes, the same IU that had closed it's admissions a couple weeks before. That IU. That was the one. The college that I was absolutely convinced I was supposed to go to. My dad, being the amazing amazing father that he was and is, talked it out with me. Asked me all the right questions to make sure this was real and not some new crazy idea of mine inspired by 7th period study hall boredom. And finally agreed that, if this is what I wanted, he would support me 100%.

And so I became a Hoosier.

Then there was the day during my Senior year of college when my brother committed to Columbia University. My Columbia University. I was happy for him. I was. And extremely proud. But I was also a little jealous. I couldn't help it. Not 5 years earlier Columbia had been my dream, but I was told that we wouldn't be able to afford it. That it wasn't an option for me. It's hard at age 17 to hear that a dream isn't a option. Heck, it's hard at age 27 for that matter. But some how it worked out for him. So he went and lived in New York City. In my dream. And I only visited.

If something would have gone differently, I could have been a Columbia Lion. And yet I was a Hoosier.

Then there was the past weekend when I visited East Lansing for the Michigan State vs. Notre Dame game. After a jam-packed weekend of tailgating, college festivities and eating awful (but oh so wonderful) college food I wondered what it would have been like if I had gone to Michigan State. It's a really charming campus, the football team is sure more entertaining than IU's and green is a much better color on me than red.

If something would have gone differently, I could have been a Spartan. And yet I was a Hoosier.

I get sort of sentimental when I think back to my years at Indiana. I think back to my freshman year when I had absolutely no clue what to expect. No clue what was in store for me. No clue who I would become over the next 4 years. I think back to sophomore year when I moved into this wonderfully nutty place called Delta Zeta and learned how to live with 130 other girls. I think back to junior year when I was pulling all-nighters in the library with a Polar Pop to keep me going. When I was balancing a million things just hoping to keep my head above water. I think about senior year when we lived on Hunter Ave and fought off the bats in our attic. When we spent Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night hoping in and out of the bars along Kirkwood. And when, just as I seemed to finally really truly appreciate it all, it was time to leave.

It’s so crazy to think of just how far I have come since that Spring afternoon in 2001. If even one little thing would have gone a different way, I could have ended up any of those colleges I received acceptance letters from. I could have ended up in NYC. Or East Lansing. Or anywhere, really.

And yet I was a Hoosier.

And you know what? If I could go back, I wouldn’t do anything differently. Not a thing. Because if I did, I might not be where or who I am today.

But it's always fun to wonder what if.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

multiple definitions

Overheard at Starbucks . . .

Girl barista: A date is a pre-planned occasion to spend time together and learn more about each other.

Guy barista (er, baristo?) #1: A date is shelling out some cash and hoping to get to make out at the end of the night.

Guy barista #2: A date is spending enough time with a girl to figure out whether or not she's crazy.

You decide who's right.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

peter pan

There are times when I feel like I may actually be, despite my best efforts not to fall into that trap, a real grown-up making real grown-up decisions, dealing with real grown-up issues and making real grown-up purchases (note: my brand new super deep, super comfy couch). And I have to admit, it's a little intimidating. When did I become an adult and what can I do to make it stop?

Then there are times where my trip to Target results in this. . .

A 12-pack of Bud Light, a bottle of Andre and a pair of leg warmers.

And I realize that I still have a lot of growing up to do.

Thank goodness.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

the heeling process

I'm absolutely blown away at the process of healing. How, within a span of 9 weeks, you can go from hurt to healed. Broken to whole. Damaged to repaired. With little remnants to remind you that you were ever injured in the first place. How, with a little time, your body does all this healing on it's own! It's pretty darn amazing if you stop to think about it.

Not only am I feeling healed, but I actually wore heels for the first time this week! And that, my friends, feels like a victory.

If anything, this process has taught me to appreciate the little things. Graduating from a crutches to a walking boot. Walking on my own two feet again. Being able to walk down stairs normally. As much as I wanted all that to happen within the first week, I had to accept the fact that it was going to take longer. And so the last 2 months made me take a step back. Slow down for a second. It certainly wasn't a lesson that I embraced all that willingly, but I can only hope that I learned something because of it. That I've come away a little stronger. A little more appreciative of the little things I took for granted before.

I may not be back to 15 mile runs quite yet, but I'm back in 4 inch heels.
So, it's a good week.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

i'm falling

Pumpkin Spice lattes are back at Starbucks (yum!) . . . College football is kicking off . . . It's dark and rainy and overall pretty crummy outside today . . . It's September 2nd.

It's officially FALL.

And I couldn't be happier.