What is it about 24?

I turned 24 on Tuesday, Tuesday is the least exciting day of the week in my book its not Monday so it doesn’t have any true suckage excitement you have heard everyones weekend stories already, it isn’t Wednesday so we aren’t even halfway through the week, it is just a day you have to get through to get 1/5th closer to Friday.

This is also how I feel about 24. . the least exciting birthday to date.. given Ben did take me on a wonderful Tuesday adventure. But in order to do that we both had to call into work.. which leads me to the real point of this post..

Why does 24 make me feel like such an adult.

It was like magically overnight on Monday, I was supposed to evolve into a fully matured, put together, soon-to-be wife adult. I should have a career and a nice car and stable house and income. I should not be going out on a weeknight, or lets be real any night much past 10 or 11.

Honestly, I fit most of these qualifications anyway, but I have never felt like I was supposed to fit them until now.

I have started cooking myself dinner 3 nights a week, I cannot remember the last time I went out on a weeknight, Even on the weekends you will find me in bed by midnight, a group of friends went out the other night and we were drunk and ready to leave by 10 pm. I would much rather drink a bottle of *cheap* wine or expensive whiskey than any of the nasty drinks I used to drink in college

So why 24, there is no major life event that occurs at 24,

21 – I could start drinking legally, that clearly means I am not going to have my shit together for at least a year.

22 – Graduated college- so I would logically think this is when I should start pulling my shit together, get a real job, move out of my college town. Live without roommates for the first time. Stop going out on the weeknights. .

Let’s look at how that really went down, graduated college moved to Denver . Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 11.45.55 AM

Lived in a tiny studio apartment with one of my college roommates for three months before they moved to Seattle, so halfway Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 11.45.55 AM Then I promptly added a cat, I don’t know if that counts as alone.

No real job to be had, I first worked as a day program staff with adults with disabilities, wonderful summer job but not a career. Then I worked as assistant teacher which lead me to my career.

I can distinctly remember a Tuesday night that I got so drunk I lost my phone, I made Ben walk back to the bar to try and find it. . . when all along I had left in my bed. . so no check there.

23 – No major universal life moments. I guess in theory you should be in year number 2 of your chosen career. I was heading back to college, as a grad student that is. .

24 – Nothing major, however here I am feeling like an adult. So lets look at what I am doing

I will graduate grad school in June. . .

I will start my first official adult job in August

I will become a Mrs. in August. . .

I will move into my first “married” home in June

So I guess all these things feel pretty adult like, and yet I still don’t feel like I live up to an adult. We will see how the year progresses maybe I will evolve into a mature adult.

Maybe  I will be a perfect wife by the time I get married. but Hell probably not, I have never even lived with a guy in any capacity before.. but that is a whole other blog post.

So what is it about 24, why do I feel the need to possibly prematurely age myself now? Is this some unwritten rule that I am not aware of? You hit 24 and you are almost halfway through your 20’s better pull yourself together

❤ Kelsi Rae

Color Blind or Color Brave?

I grew up in a small town, and by small I mean white, and by white I mean, known for its white supremacy church and ideology.

I grew up knowing all of the minority members of my community on one hand, and by that I mean 2. Me and a boy in my grade and we were both the only black children of white single mothers, didn’t exactly scream cultural pride. I grew up trying to mute my association with the Black community, a community I admittedly knew very little about. This was not the fault of my mother, who helped me with all my self driven research projects, into the old negro baseball teams and deciding at age 13 that I was going to go to a historically black college which died as I got into high school and realized all of the historically Black colleges were states away.  She did all of my research with me and appreciated all of my curiosity, but she just did not have any personal knowledge, so I fell farther and farther from my black roots. I was one of 9 out of 1900 black students in my high school, and in college the only black students I knew either played football or basketball, And at this point I was already not comfortable enough around people that “looked like me” to approach any of them.

Now don’t get me wrong, I dated black guys, the majority of guys I dated in college were black, but my real long term relationships have always been with white guys, as is my future husband. I can remember multiple occasions when the different guys I would date told me that they liked, or in some cases disliked the fact that I acted like a white girl. So thats what I became, the white black girl. If anyone even knows what that means? Well I do, I knew exactly what people would mean when they say it, and I internalized it. I became more nervous to enter a room of black people and disappoint them, than to be the only black person in the room.

So now I have entered a grad program that repeatedly tells us about being culturally responsive and we look and look at data and discrimination, and the disporpotionality of minorities in drop out rates, and the school to prison pipeline and suspensions. And now I am here, wanting to be color brace.

So what does this mean to me? I need to embrace the color of my skin I need to be the person that will stand up for what I believe in. I don’t want to hide behind the “i don’t know” response.  I don’t want to live in the “white black girl” stereotype. I have made changes in my life to do these with the people around me, when I am offended by an off hand comment I now call people out on it, I hope to educate people about how things are perceived and not accuse or castrate people.

I need to think about how I am going to represent myself in order to create value in the diversity for my students, and for the people in my community at large. I don’t think being color brave means saying everyone is the same, I think it means, everyone is different, and that is wonderful.

When I think being color brave I can remember being in high school reading Huckleberry Finn, as of course, the only member of the black community in English class, being asked in front of the entire class why does the word Nigger still offend black people? The class continued to tell me that, we needed to just get over it because it doesn’t mean anything and it hasn’t in like 100 years. At the time being a 16 year old girl I curled into myself, I muted the feelings that were coming up until I ran into the hallway, found a corner, and just cried. At the time I could not pinpoint the feeling I did not know what was happening but those assumptions, those kind of conversations should never happen in a classroom.

One person is not the representation of a race, one person is a representation of themselves. So to be Color Brace I will stand up for my students, I will ensure that they don’t have to feel that, at least in my class and that they are prepared to have those conversations when people, I will teach my students to see color, to embrace color and to embrace people. And if that is my contribution to the evolution of society if I can bring students into the world that understand the differences people bring and why we should embrace color and change then I will be happy.

I will create a small piece of society that is not afraid to talk about race, that is not afraid to embrace their identity, If I can make sure that one person does not ever mute their identity like I did, then I will have succeeded, I will be brave!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”-Socrates.  “The examined life is painful.”

❤ Kelsi Rae

The Evolution of the Breakdown

I had a breakdown, a huge crying, incomprehensible speech, blubbering breakdown, and the best part was I had no idea it was coming.

I am not a huge cryer, I have noticed that recently it has become more apparent in my life, when I am mad or upset a few tears will slip from one eye or another but never a huge issue. Even when Ben and I fight it is never a huge deal, I will let a few tears fall quietly and we both continue fighting and no one really has to address these tiny tears.

Well the breakdown started Saturday night, I had class all day on Saturday and then Ben and I went out to a great dinner where we tasted three different bourbons, we had a drink with egg whites in it, and tasted oysters (for the first time for me). It was a wonderful celebration of just being alive and being in love. We got home and began stuffing our save the dates, The first big act to let other people know, Hey we are getting married and we would love to have you there. It should have been a great night, but we both started snapping at each other, and it ended with me hiding behind the still up and lit christmas tree letting a few tears fall as I finished writing the return addresses on the last of the save the dates.

As we headed to bed you could feel the tension between us, but I don’t think either one of us really had any idea why we were fighting. We fought about nothing for like 20 minutes when I got up to leave, he tried one last time to prod at my hard shell, “Kelsi what is wrong.”

And I lost it, sobs erupted and I sat on the edge of my future bed crying harder than I can ever remember crying. I simply kept repeating, “I don’t know and I am sorry” over and over. Ben got out of bed, came and sat awkwardly on the edge of the bed with me and wrapped us both in a blanket. As I sobbed and mumbled speech even I couldn’t understand, he repeated ” It’s going to be ok.” As many times as I could say “I’m sorry.” He sat through my blubber and held me tighter the harder I sobbed. All the while reminding me that we would work through it together, that I was never alone in this. And after what seemed like an eternity of tears, when I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to cry again, we climbed back into bed and he told me that he would choose me everyday no matter what.

I still couldn’t tell you what the root cause of this breakdown was, or really how it cleansed my soul. But I can tell you that just letting someone know that I need help, that maybe Grad school, and planning and wedding, and working full time isn’t as easy as I continue to tell myself that it is was such a freeing experience. And I can tell you that I made the best decision of my life, by marrying this man.

I hate to blame my fatherless past for many things in my life, I don’t want to fall into that stereotype of women. But sometimes I have to own up and admit that it did have an impact on my way of viewing the world and this is one of those times. I don’t think I have ever cried in front of a man in that way. I don’t think I have ever felt that they would hold me in that way and still view me as the women they loved and wanted in their lives. I have always held the assumption that if the man that was supposed to love me unconditionally couldn’t live up to that, no one ever would. Now that is not to say that my mom wasn’t the best mother and father she could be, I never wanted for anything that I needed and she made sure I had a life where I could honestly say that my father wasn’t missed too much. But she was only one person and it is unrealistic to expect her to be two. However I think I can officially say that not everything you grow up believing about men, women or the world will hold true. I am so happy that this particular thing wasn’t true.

Even though I still have all of those things to balance, and I still strive to be perfect, to manage all of these things, stress- free. Maybe that is not realistic and being able to hold onto the fact that when I can’t do it anymore, when my perfection falters and my insecurities show,I won’t be alone is the more reassuring thing I have in my life.

In 7 months I will marry this man and hopefully some day he will ensure that our daughter never has these same insecurities because she will grow up knowing that no matter what two people will love her unconditionally.

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What 2014 taught me . . .

Are you ready for one of those life lessons you can learn in a year posts? Well I hope so, because it is coming for ya!

1) I can make a difference where I am right now. . . watching the struggle the minority communities are going through right now makes me want to change the world. I need to go out and save the world from itself, all alone right? Well that was my first thought, but then as I thought about it some more. I maybe can’t change the entire world from my facebook account but I can change the lives of my students. They are the future of our country and if I can impact the way that they view themselves and the world then my reach will be much bigger than it could be from behind my computer screen. I have learned that the behind the computer screen ” activism” ( which is what I am doing right now, right?) just seems to make people more angry, but if I can influence my students, and make them believe that they are smart, strong, beautiful and worthy. If I can educate both my white and my minority students about what type of place I hope the world will be one day they can make a much bigger difference than I can. And if that is the impact I make on the world, I will be forever proud of that.

2) I have learned that no matter what you prioritize in your life, that becomes obvious in your actions. When I entered grad school this year I was told over and over again that this would destroy my relationships with friends, family, but most importantly with my then boyfriend Ben. I was determined to never let this happen, I was going to do what they said was impossible, balance them both. And I did it! Throughout the first half of grad school, I missed the Friday happy hours, and the halloween parties in order to have a weekly date night and we made it work. The time we could take together we did it whether that was just making dinner and watching TV or hitting a coffee shop on Saturday so that we could both get our work done., and in that time we have gotten engaged, and began planning our wedding so it must be working.

3) I have learned that you must find the people that will match your effort, and hold onto them tight! I have only about 6 true friends at this point and that is all I need. Whether they are 1000 miles away or 2 minutes away you have to know who is worth it, and more importantly who is not worth it.

4) I have learned that planning a wedding does not have to be as stressful as everyone says that it is. I started planning my wedding during my 4th month of grad school. Another feet people kept telling me couldn’t be done. I learned quickly that tuning out other peoples opinions when they are not needed is the key. I figured out what I wanted and made it happen. Everyone tells me about the most stressful months of their lives, and I will tell you if I get there. But the key is too enjoy it. This is ONE day of your life,you have to focus on what is more important, the life you are going to build with your husband.

5) Love is a choice, everyday! This year my fiancé watched one of the couples he looked up to growing up, get a divorce. They made their strife and frustrations very public on facebook and this made it hard for him as we enter into our marriage.Growing up in a single parent household I never thought that love was enough, you can love someone with your whole heart, and yet that could not work out. That is something my mom deals with to this day, watching the man you love disappear from your life. It was tough watching my fiance learn this lesson, but  I think that it will be something that helps us during the hard years of our marriage. Knowing that everyday we have to choose this love, we have to choose “Us” everyday.

6) A new years resolution is just an everyday resolution with an easy date to remember. You have the choice to change everyday. You can make yourself a better person any day of the year. Don’t be boxed in by the January 1st fresh start. If in 2 months you need a fresh start you take one then. You are always making choices about your life, make sure you are making choices you would be proud of.

I hope that 2014 has taught you things you will carry into 2015. Welcome to the year from Back to the Future. Make the most of it.

❤ Kelsi Rae

30 day challenges . . . for that Little black( or white in this case) dress

So this month I am doing the LBD 30 day challenge

.IMG_0038This is the first of a set of 30 day challenges I plan to do over the next few months.You can find this challenge and many more at 30 day fitness challenge.com, http://30dayfitnesschallenges.com/,   They get me up and moving early in the morning and just give me a boost of energy and make sure I am exercising on the days I am not getting to the gym. Since entering grad school in June I have gained 20 pounds and am currently at my heaviest I have ever been. Now since I am getting married in 9 months, that just ain’t gonna work for me. So I have become more dedicated again to attending my boxing classes, which I absolutely love so that is a bonus all around.

The 30 day challenges are just in addition to this and doing some cardio training. I have started working on the nutrition side of things, which is always the hardest for me, I might love boxing but I equally love cake. So far using the Lose It app, https://www.loseit.com/, to keep track of my exercise and calorie intake. ( This is a free app that is user friendly and even tracks your steps through your phone)

I have lost 2 pounds in the last 2 weeks and for me that is a success, I have set my goal to lose 20 pounds by February, that way I will be at the weight I hope to be for my dress fittings. Then I hope to maintain my nutrition changes and working out level through grad school. The boxing is an excellent work out as well as stress relief. I would suggest it for anyone!

I am on day 21 of the challenge and I am consistently sore each new week, the challenge is set up for 4 days of work out and then 1 rest day. I have enjoyed this challenge more than say a squat or ab challenge, the work outs in this challenge range from tricep dips, to burpees and about 6 other exercise I believe that this gives you a more rounded challenge for your body.

My crochet braid have held up well through the new routine with the added sweat and work outs I am going to try my first crochet braids wash day tonight. I will let you know how that goes.

I will check back at the end and see what my next challenge will be.

Have a wonderful day

Love your do and grow that fro

❤ Kelsi Rae