"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." — E.E. Cummings

Sometimes, you have days when you need reasons to be happy, and you have to count each one on a finger.  When you run out, and can’t think of any other reasons maybe you’ll feel better.  Maybe your fingers will all be up in the air and you’ll start laughing at how silly you look in the middle of a bus filled with people, or a work cubicle, or in the silence of your own home while your cat stares with the face that is always saying, “you’re an idiot.”  This morning, my day started off with new Nikes.  My parents are getting into the newly formed tradition of BIRTHDAY WEEK and so they’ve been giving me presents when they see me during the day (which is rare).

After the Nikes, came a stop sign ticket that will most likely cost me $188 dollars and probably an Alive at 25 class.  Look at how the world  spins.  On most days this would have made me a sour puss, but the night before I had my family birthday celebration where my brother gave me a painting of “two chicks hangin’ out.”  Literally, with four perfectly dropped breasts.  My nephew got a whole plastic container of Legos, and my mom made everything delicious taste you can dream up from meatballs to Alfredo to steamed broccoli to mud pie (mmmmm….).  Let’s be serious though, the real reason I kept my normal flakey amount of composure and patience was that I just finished the The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and because of this face:

I win for cutest nephew award.

As a side note; everyone I know thinks the cop was hitting on me.  He strode up to my car, stroking his leather pouch stocked full of metal gun (pun intended) and said, “Hey, do I know you from somewhere?” in a Russian accent (I made this up because his last name sounded straight off the vodka) before even taking a glance at my license or registration.  Try to keep in mind that I pulled over in my Catholic Church’s parking lot.  Also try to keep in mind that I have the lead foot of my grandmother and assumed that he was pulling me for going two over in my neighborhood, TWO OVER. What was I thinking, really?  Unlike some of my family, I don’t have a prideful disdain for the police, I’m actually quite polite and I only cried once before, out the half-rolled window, pleading for a warning (I was only 19) so I’m not sure what exactly happened here today.  They’re just doing their job pulling me over at the stop sign, at the end of my street, that I’ve driven up to and California-rolled past for the last eight years, but you didn’t hear it from me.

I guess I deserved it.

Quite something, I think. This probably makes you feel safer having me on the road, but I was in fact parked just outside of the RR when taking this last week.

What I’m trying to say is that since reading The Happiness Project (the whole day in a half since my finish line) I’ve been trying to appreciate things more, and act more patient with things that may not exactly be on the top of my “happy” list.  We can’t all go around like dancing penguins, but sometimes it’s important to show a little gratitude and give people the gold stars they deserve.  I’d been wanting to read this book for a while.  It’s even at Target, which you know makes it a super-best-seller because they only sell the really depressing teenage lit, and bestselling non-fiction.  You know, like Crazy Love (about Jesus).  It also claims on the front that she spent her mornings singing, which I always have full intention of doing with the classic of “Turn my Swag On” remix by Keri Hilson so I can feel hot & bothered in the car ride to work.  Picture to your left.  I just know, one day, I’m going to regret putting that up here.  At least it’s safe to say that I could never run for President.

The Happiness Project is a good, uplifting story.  Is it beautiful? Not really.  Is it thrilling? Not really.  Will it make you think? Yes.  Is it quotable? Yes.  I think I just did a whole review in two lines.  Honestly, it did make me think.  I happen to know a boy made from the cinema.  Literally, someone took pieces of black & white movies, projector screen, and romantic comedy scores and molded him into a hairy, good-smelling (most of the time) man.  He’s the kind of guy that gets out of a movie with his girl and picks her up in the middle of an evening parking lot to swing her around.  She happens to hope in these instances that she is wearing a “twirling dress” and most women will know what I’m talking about here, we were all six-year-old girls with ruffled socks at some point.  And sometimes, the girl who used to wear ruffled socks when she was six, doesn’t appreciate these parking lot happy endings, or longer than six-second hugs, because she’s on a schedule, or she has somewhere to go, or it’s cold outside and she has no earmuffs.  The Happiness Project made this girl realize that there is only a few times in your life, (unless you’re dating the boy from the Disney movies as stated above) when it is acceptable, and almost appropriate to be twirled in a movie theater parking lot.  And being twenty-three and almost care free is one of those times.  And so this averagely happy girl is going to make herself more happy by giving invading more-than-six-second-hugs and twirling this large man-boy around in the street so his boxers show just out of his sweatpants and his facial gruff rubs against her alabaster skin.

Does this all make sense?

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project is about appreciation.  Goals.  Clearing Clutter.  Remembering birthdays and memories.  And most importantly, “Being You.”  For instance, my best friend Sars has the most amazing New Zealand life.  I’m constantly jealous of her worldly travels, her camera eye, the fact that she sometimes bottle-feeds baby sheep (I mean seriously) and most of all, the fact that she lies naked in the middle of nowhere fields and glaciers of New Zealand, with the biggest wildlife that may come close, being a Hare.  It’s straight out of Alice really, except nude, and much more Lord of the Rings.  I’m jealous, a lot.  Sometimes to the point that I try to tear her down (I haven’t done this recently because I’m learning that I am a bookish girl, who likes to read, and not ski. I’d rather sit in the cabin with my book, cocoa and fuzzy socks than let my nose tingle red and my legs spread like a doe’s).  It seems sometimes our friends who have amazing lives are still not the lives that we, ourselves, should lead.  I’m proud to know Sars.  I’m proud to call her my best friend.  Does that mean I should be traipsing around hills and mountains in a toboggan and my bare ass – probably not.  (Well…maybe, I’m sure I’ll be visiting).

Be Cassie. That’s the goal here.  If I like to read Alice in Wonderland in every single version ever created and one day own the most extensive Alice library, then that’s what I should do.  If I want to eat mexican food; all day everyday, then I will be fat, but happy…about eating, and not about my body.  If I want to run the neighborhood in the mornings and work for low wage at a wonderful job where I tell teens, “I want to sledgehammer your face sometimes, but I love you…” then so be it.  I need to Be Cassie.  Embrace my bad music taste and my mispronunciation of Bon Iver every, single, time.  Embrace the yoga pant.  Embrace the hairs that sometimes appear on my chin even though I’m only twenty-three (for two more days) and I pluck them in broad daylight at stop lights.  Embrace the awkward headband, the highlighter colored make-up and the leggings.

If you take away anything from this blog, or if you even read this whole blog…Please, Please, Please write a comment below letting me know how you’re going to “Be _____.”  Maybe we’re really similar and we both just need to sit in a bed with a snuggie on and read, or maybe you’re like Sars who is somewhere zip-lining right now.  Or maybe you’re like the boy who wants to spin a girl around in the air, in traffic, like a maniac.  Whatever you are today, be you.  

Here is a link to Gretchen Rubin’s Blog and Website for The Happiness Project.

Here are a few photos of me … being me.  A twenty-four year old who most wants to celebrate her birthday with her family.  (No raves for me, although I do like glow sticks and hula-hoops).

My mother made me pretty in pink.

My nephew's "no-face"

Twenty-Four, officially can no longer claim it's closer to twenty-one than twenty-five

Candles

Sprinkle Puss

Three Men, One Boy, 3472384728374 Legos

Faj and Ma, plus the boy and his lego contraption.

Edible Legos

26 thoughts on “"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." — E.E. Cummings

  1. Kevin says:

    I’m not saying I’m already there, but a few years ago, when I learned to fully embrace who I was, it set me on a path of happiness I’m still on today. I didn’t realize then it was a “Be Kevin” philosophy, but it was (and remains) as I fully accept my nerdiness.

    So, in that regard, and to let you know I did indeed take something from this blog, I’m going to Be Kevin by being unabashedly passionate about the music I love. I’m going Be Kevin by not being ashamed to cry EVERY SINGLE TIME I watch “The Constant” episode of Lost.

    This list could go on for a while …

    • Cassie says:

      Kevin, you crack me up. I used to have a shirt (in my pubescent stage) that said “Talk Nerdy to Me” so I’m in complete support of your nerdiness. I haven’t seen “The Constant” episode – I stopped watching Lost after season one because I was completely lost….which I guess was the point.

      JUST BE YOU, YAY!

  2. zettew says:

    Sometimes it’s hard to just be me – I feel like I could do better, be better, as a person, a mom and a wife. But, I’m working on it! So, today, I will be me. I will be me and watch a movie while I snuggle, read a book in my pajamas, rush through my shower and be almost late to get in the car line at school to pick my little one. I will be my and watch American Idol, and have an opinion on every audition, and enjoy it immensely. :) Thanks! And Happy Birth Week!

    • Cassie says:

      Ouuu, I love full days in pajamas – good for you! I’m either really unfashionably early for things, or really late for things so it’s totally okay. Is American Idol starting tonight?! I love those first auditions where you see the sparks, or the….not so sparky auditions. And thank you for the happy birthday! : )

  3. Jenn O @ Lit Endeavors says:

    Cassie–It’s been awhile since I came to your blog, and wow, I can def. see how your voice is developing, and your writing is pretty effing awesome.

    The messaging you’re delivering is wonderful. I think it’s something I’ve learned, and then have to keep re-learning, because it is so easy to forget.
    Especially in the hustle and bustle of the everyday, of the endlessly repeating chores, of the mundane and banal. We oil ourselves like machines to produce the maximum amount of productivity, but then we get stressed, overloaded, pissed and constantly depressed.

    I’ve heard a lot of great things about The Happiness Project. I’ll def put it on my wish list.

    • Cassie says:

      Jenn – thank you so much. That really means a lot to me since you’re the one that really helped me find books and sent me to the right places to figure things out.

      I agree with everything you said so beautifully in that second paragraph. I definitely think THe Happiness Project is a good thing to read, even just to remind us to be grateful.

      I was so happy when I saw that you were back to blogging on twitter – can’t wait to read your new blogs. And I’m glad you’re back!!

  4. Bea says:

    So, I just need to sit back and be Bea. With that in mind, I skipped the dinner that was prepared, poured a cup of hot tea, and enjoyed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Yummy!!
    I am glad you enjoyed your birthday “week”, because so did we. I loved the pictures of all the men and the legos. Like Jack says, “You’re never too old to play with legos.”

  5. Stephanie says:

    Wonderful post and pictures! I think the best way to be me is to lay off the work sometimes and just relax and be happy and thankful—and not expect so much of myself. I have a tendency to work way too hard and not take enough “me” time, so I’m going to try to do a little of that every day.

    Sounds like a great book—I’m gonna add it to my reading list!

    • Cassie says:

      It was a pretty good book, I definitely recommend it to remind you of the little things. I made a goal this year to do something for myself once a week even if it just meant sitting on a bench and eating chocolate or something silly. I definitely know where you’re coming from on the work end. Everyone needs a break though. : )

  6. Sarah Drummond says:

    I really wish I could hang out with Jack now that he’s into legos. That was my favourite thing as a kid!! Also, I hope your birthday week was fantastic, as well as your weekend getaway.

    Do you remember just last march when I told you that I was leaving UF, getting married in three months and moving across the world? That was my “Be Sarah” moment. That day I woke up realized I wasn’t being who I was. Sure I was at art school doing photo and ceramics and creating art -which I love. But I wasn’t being my true self, I was just going through the motions that I thought I was supposed to be going through. I am happy to say that even though I have a day job that isn’t what I want to be doing, I spend my free time traveling, road tripping, photographing, veggie garden growing, art making and yes, running through my sprinkler nude with my farm animals. What else do people do when they live in the country?! I try to Be Sarah everyday, and this blog post just gave me more inspiration to do what I love and be myself.

    Thanks Cass :) I think 24 will be your greatest year yet!

    • Cassie says:

      And that’s why you’re my best friend because as long as I’ve known you, you’ve always been first and foremost yourself. Who doesn’t want an inspiring, nude, traveling best friend?! Uhhhh…I definitely do.

  7. mooseandmuffin says:

    Now I’m worried how I’ve been pronoucing Bon Iver!
    Really inspiring stuff this! I think, generally, the mid twenties are great for shrugging anxieties off and not worrying what anyone might think- especially when it comes to those terrible chin hairs!

    In order to be myself (properly and wholly) I need to embrace my chipmonk cheeks, I’m pretty sure they’re not going anywhere! That and be a little less tough on myself when I don’t get all my ‘to dos’ done.
    -B

    • Cassie says:

      Haha, people have corrected me numerous times. And I recommend you just put some pink blush on those cheeks and smile really big at everyone for an entire day – until your teeth and cheeks are hurting. I already know you got all your ‘to-dos’ done so what can I really say there. : )

  8. sterlingbirdie says:

    Hey Cassie! Man, when I read your blogs I feel like I’m traveling through space, in a vintage dress, holding a perfect book, a.k.a. EXTREMELY HAPPY! I’m glad to have finally jumped into the blog world. Your blog gives me so much to aspire after. I simply love it. P.S. we should have hot tea together. I had no idea you loved it as I do!

    • Cassie says:

      Epiphany – I’m so glad you’re blogging as well. As soon as I saw the link on twitter I immediately had to follow and what you’re doing is wonderful. I thought about giving up my clothes and realized how selfish I am at the moment. So, I’m learning through you – it’s wonderful.

      And yes, hot tea! Let’s do it. I worked at a tea shop in Australia…well like a… tea, it was a tea place where I waitressed tea’s and breakfast crumpets. It was wonderful and got me into my love of tea. When it gets warmer we should just have an outdoor tea party and wear cute dresses and pearls.

  9. Nada says:

    I realize this was posted a while back, but anyways, here goes
    I’m going to be Nada (that’s my name, yes i know what it means in Spanish) by moving 13000 Kilometers or 8000 miles from my home town, to a new city.. wish me luck :)

    • Cassie says:

      You GO Nada! That takes so much bravery and I think you’ll find the times you take the greatest risks have the greatest rewards – enjoy your new home!

      I don’t know what it means in Spanish…should I google it? I love the name Nada. Oh…nothing. I certainly think your name means, “Nothing can stop me.” : )

  10. Nike Free says:

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    may be a great author. I will remember to bookmark your blog and
    may come back sometime soon. I want to encourage that you continue your great job, have
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  11. Tabitha says:

    Awesome website you have here but I was wondering if you knew
    of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics talked about in this
    article? I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get opinions from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Thank you!

    • Cassie says:

      Tabitha,

      You could join SheWrites.com. It has really great discussions. Also, Goodreads.com does really wonderful things with discussion on their forums. I hope this helps. : )

      Cassie

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