(Im)perfect

I had a paper due in class this week (one of many, so it was definitely a hellish week), about a problem that exists in our world. I had to present the issue and then propose a solution that is both feasible and effective. Now, finding a problem that I was passionate about was (unfortunately) easy. A better question would be: where do I start? But finding a solution–that was harder. Whatever problems exist, they’re obviously problems because there are no easy (or cheap) solutions; if there were, then they wouldn’t be problems. Right? Right.

And as much as I hate to think that school is actually benefiting me in my growth and development, this paper was evidence of that. So, Mom and Dad, the answer to the question that keeps you up at night is this: yes, I am actually learning something. Quite a relief, I know (especially given the $$$).

The issue I chose was the media and its continual affects on both our own personal body images, and the way that we view–and the unreasonable expectations that we have for–other people. I’ve always been an advocate for self-confidence and being exactly who you are, mostly because that’s something that I have struggled struggle with–everyday. But the more that I researched this issue, the more engrossed I became. Maybe it’s just me, but this statistic struck me like nothing else:

“65% of American women and girls have eating disorders, with an additional 10% reporting symptoms consistent with eating disorders”

That means that 75% of American women and girls engage in unhealthy thoughts, feelings or behaviors related to food consumption and their bodies. I just can’t get over that. That means that: 3 out of our 4 of your girlfriends, 7,056 of the total 18,445 students at USC, and 120,750,000 women in the United States have behaviors resembling eating disorders. That, to me, is an epidemic. And yet, no one’s talking about it. So here I go, because someone has to.

Everyday we’re told that we aren’t “enough”. And I put “enough” in quotes because we just don’t seem to be “enough” of anything. We aren’t pretty enough, thin enough, rich enough, normal enough and–ultimately–perfect enough. But who decided what makes us perfect? Because I’m pretty sure that we’re all completely human, which also means that we’re completely flawed. We’re perfectly imperfect, and to me, that’s “enough.”

We’re telling our kids that they’re allowed to be whomever it is that they want to be, but by exposing them to unrealistic ideals–magazines, TV shows, movies–we’re only giving them goals that they won’t ever be able to healthfully and realistically attain. The ways in which we communicate and the current power of the media is an incredible phenomenon. We’re able to not only communicate more efficiently, but we’re also able to communicate with more people–tons more people. But with that power also needs to come responsibility. The media is a remarkable resource, one that needs to be seen as a privilege, not an entitlement.

So let’s use this (somewhat) newly found mechanism in positive and effective ways–with intention and purpose. Let’s allow our children to decide who they want to be and what it is that makes them beautiful. Let’s give them the chance to redefine a broken society—one that we older generations have only given into and perpetrated. I’ve never had that chance, but I can assure you that that’s something that I’m striving for—for my future children, and yours.november21.1

I don’t know what it’s like to grow up in a society that is supportive of me and encourages me to be exactly who I am. And dishearteningly, neither do you. Who would I be without the constant pressure to be someone else’s idea of perfect? Would I be sitting here with my JCrew vest, lulu lemon leggings and grande Skinny Vanilla Latte as I type this? I’m going to take a wild guess and throw out a ‘no.’ I’m not discounting the trendiness of my all-too soccer mom of an outfit, but it makes me think: why do I think it’s cute? Because someone else sold the idea to me and told me it was. And that makes me feel horrifyingly powerless.

I am constantly trying to convince myself that my worth doesn’t lie in my dress size or the amount of acne on my face. I let nutrition labels dictate what I do and don’t eat, and I live in a state of panic that somehow I’m not doing everything in my power to create a more perfect me. But what if this is it? What if this Megan is the most perfect Megan that this world will ever know? Then you know what, I better get used to her, because it looks like she’s here to stay.

And with that, I’m A-OK (or trying to be). Just gotta keep working.

Keep doing you and being you. It’s the greatest gift you can give to this world.

-Megan

Living on the Edge

I’m living a little bit edgier these days (and managing to push my parents over the edge), as I navigate my way through this crazy and confusing period of my life. From the age of 5, I’ve wanted to be the president; I’ve always loved politics, and I’ve never been able to imagine myself doing anything else. Until now.

And as I (somehow) manage through college, I’ve decided that I don’t really want to make policy as much as I once did. And it’s scary. I’m realizing that what I’ve always envisioned for my life isn’t the life I’m going to have. I’m at such a weird place: I’m satisfying the idea that who I thought that I would be isn’t who I’m going to be, and that that’s an okay thing. College is the time where you realize that you literally can be whomever you’d like; just because you wanted to be an astronaut or a doctor at age 5 (or even 18), doesn’t mean that that’s who you have to be. You can be a teacher, or an accountant, or have any other profession that you can possibly think of. Here goes the old cliché: the world is at your fingertips.

It’s so stressful and frighting, but insanely exciting, too.

I decided last week that I will not be continuing on here at USC for my graduate degree; I was on track to stay an extra year and receive my Masters in Public Administration in Spring of 2017. For only being an extra year of schooling and an additional $60k (seems like chump change in comparison to my undergrad), it seemed worth it. But what good is having a specialized degree in something that I’m realizing I don’t even want to study, let alone spend the rest of my life doing? None at all. So, with reality settling in (and realizing that the convenience of getting this degree isn’t worth compensating the next 40+ years of my life), I’ve decided on a different path.

I want to write. I loveeee writing. Hence, it’s 2am and–although I should be sleeping–I’m sitting on the couch punching away at my (full-sized Apple) keyboard. And although I am obsessed with politics and everything bipartisan, I don’t know that I could be at the heart of it. It’s far too mucky of a game (and it’s just that–a game), and no matter how incredibly virtuous one may be, consistent moral decisions are hard to make in such an environment. Unless you’re Anthony Portantino, in which case you’re really just a walking model of a values-based leader. If you don’t know him, look him up; he’s pretty incredible.

So, I made the call to my parents and said:

  1. I’m not staying at USC for grad school.
  2. Don’t get too excited, I’m still going to cost you a ton of money, just somewhere else.
  3. I’ll probably be moving about 2,500 miles farther than I am right now.
  4. I won’t be able to give you the Lincoln room in the White House because Mrs. President is no longer in my future (probably).
  5. I want to be a writer instead (I’m sure they were thrilled about the salary difference).
  6. Oh, and I GOT MY NOSE PIERCED!

Okay, so that last one wasn’t exactly in the same conversation, but it definitely happened (in a text). I decided that with this newly chosen writing career that I’m positive awaits me in the (not-so-distant) future, that I needed a little extra spunk. So–naturally–I got my nose pierced. I’m sorry, was that not a logical thought process? Don’t worry, my parents didn’t think so either. But if there’s ever a good time, it’s now. Now is always the time. Sure, I might take it out in a year, or when I’m 25 or maybe I’ll be a too-cool grandma at 95 and buried with it; I have no idea. But what I do know is that right now, in this moment, I absolutely love the new, studded addition to my nose. And that’s all that matters.

Unless, that is, my dad pulls the plug on my finances and my mom stops sending me cookies; then we’ll have some real issues.


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Me, my newly pierced nose; Brian, the hole-maker himself; and Alyssa, with her navel jewels.


In other news: I’ve given my sister an incredible chance to become the favorite child for a while, seeing as I’ve become the “crazy, radical daughter that moved to that freak city (Los Angeles) and has gone absolutely insane.” That’s not an actual quote, but I imagine something like that was running through my dad’s head when he saw my newly bedazzled face.

Keep doing you. Preferably in ways that don’t aggravate your parents by piercing your body parts.

-Megan

iPhone Shattered (My Heart)

Sometimes I get these weird feelings–feelings I can’t really explain. And if I could describe them to you in normal terms, then that would mean that terms exist for these feelings, which would also mean that others have them, too, making them not all that weird. But there aren’t terms for them, so bear with me as I try and explain these weird, tingling sensations.

I guess you could call it a sixth sense. I think things before people say them, and have a constant inkling for things that happen, before they happen. Examples: I was walking to a football game a few weeks ago and said, “I’m pretty sure my shoes are going to break today.” They were an new pair of Steve Madden sandals, and I don’t know a single person that doesn’t have full faith in a new pair of Stevens (not that I’ve ever asked). But what prompted me to say that? I have no idea. But you can guess how it ends: the minute I set foot in the Coliseum, the toe strap broke, leaving me hobbling around as I dodged the 60,ooo+ people who were drunkenly roaming around the stadium. Instant Saturday squasher.

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And then last week my mom called and said she ordered me a new iPhone (!!!) because mine is currently on a steady decline with this iOS 7. Clearly 4s’ just can’t hang with all of this new technology. I thought to myself, “I’ve had this phone for over two years. With my luck I’ll break this guy just before I get my new one.” So, what happened? Spoiler alert: peak to the right. I had just gotten home from voting (clearly God didn’t like my selections or He wouldn’t have punished me with a shattered phone), and as I went to put my phone in my pocket, BOOM. It slid down my shirt and landed (not so) gracefully on the oh-so-cushiony concrete. I picked it up, and as I turned it over, there it was: a shattered phone, and my shattered heart.

Coincidence? Maybe. But I think crediting coincidence is just an excuse for signs and intended situations. What do I mean? It’s mind over matter. What you think, you become. I thought of a broken shoe, and there it was; I was scared to shatter my iPhone, and now I have the spiderman effect affecting all of my texts (well that’s a tongue twister). I guess my shoe was supposed to break and my phone to shatter. Why? Lord knows (literally). But it happened, it’s over, I now have a dysfunctional Steve Madden and a 4s that likes to greet my hand with small shards of glass. Awesome.

So, think positively, keep a smile on your beautiful face (just because!), and if I ever tell you to do something, do it. I obviously have an inkling that’s worth listening to. (That goes for you, too, Lauren!)

Keep doing you.

-Megan

One Lovely Blog!

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Photo Courtesy of Rae of Sparkles

The ultimate OMG moment happened this week: I was nominated for the the One Lovely Blog Award by my dear friend Shauna! This girl has an amazing blog (which you should absolutely check out) called Rae of Sparkles, and it has all of your creative and DIY needs! So go take a peek at it, because as the holidays approach (and as you’re trying to save some $$$), I guarantee she’ll have some amazing and festive craft ideas. Plus, everyone loves a little hand-made surprise (including, but not limited to, your wallet)!

The rules of the award are as follows:

  • Thank and link back to the awesome person who nominated you. (Thank you, Shauna!)
  • List the rules of the award. (Which I’m obviously doing as you read!)
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Nominate other bloggers and comment on their blogs to let them know.

So here it goes. Seven things you never knew about Megan Linney.

  1. When I was 3, I had 7 imaginary children which I strategically left in Mexico when we went for a family vacation. They all had names, and I buckled them into the car every, single day. Thank goodness for Suburbans.
  2. My dad is one of nine kids, which gives me 16 aunts and uncles and 22 cousins on his side alone. There’s no such thing as “a small, low-key family gathering” in my life (especially as we continue to grow!). I love it that way, and I wouldn’t change a thing (besides the constant harassment when I have boy drama or something embarrassing happen in my life; the latter is frequent).
  3. I peaked in high school. Hands down, without a doubt, I was so much cooler pre-2012. Which is horrifyingly sad, considering I wore white tees under my tanks (darn, dress code), and had a bobbed haircut only fit for a soccer mom.
  4. My life dream (besides being the worlds’ greatest soccer mom, minus the minivan–the haircut started me young) is to write my own novel. I have no idea what it’ll be about or if anyone besides my mom will read it, but I know it’s something I want to do. I’ve got a lot to say and a lifetime to say it. So no rush, right?
  5. I travel everywhere with a keyboard (or a few…). It’s actually an obsession. And this one, my friend, is all your fault. I hate typing on my laptop because carpal tunnel is all too real, and I never know when I’ll get the urge to draft a post. Thus, I travel with a full-sized Apple keyboard, a keyboard for my iPad, and if you count the keyboards that already exist on my laptop, iPad and iPhone (on the screens), I’m pretty sure that’s a total of 5 keyboards. I told you it was an obsession…
  6. When I was 16 my first car was a 2001 Lincoln LS. This is what I mean by it’s sad that I peaked in high school (even with a Lincoln). My ride has since upgraded to a Honda Civic Hybrid. I don’t know if that makes me any cooler, but your children can defintely thank me for my eco-freindly considerations.
  7. I have addictions to the following: food, Lulu Lemon (my bank account hates me $$$), boba, online shopping, shoes, sleep and just about everything peaches (they’re just oh, so sweet!).

Now that you know more about me than you’ll ever need to (or wanted to), here are some amazing blogs that I suggest you check out in your spare time:

  • Life As Pecks Knows It is written by an adorable friend of mine, Pecko. It’s great if you need a little pick me up, or if you’d like to put a little sunshine in your day.
  • My dear friend Erika writes a trendy lifestyle blog: Bearika Rose. It’s a fun read, and it’s a great glimpse into the life of a pretty incredible twenty-something. Take a peek 🙂
  • Minna May Blog is a daily read for me. It has a little bit of everything: beauty, style, upcoming trends and of course some much-needed girl insights on life. I love your blog, Minna!

Thank you Shauna for making me divulge all of my life’s secrets (okay, maybe not all; I’m not that one-dimensional), and for honoring me with this award! You’re such a sweetheart; can’t wait to see you over the holidays! 🙂

Keep doing you, my beautiful readers.

-Megan

Thoughts and Thoughts of Thinking

I’m sitting at my kitchen table at 10:15pm, and although it feels like 2am with this time change (the rare occasion that I wish I lived in Arizona, and yet one more reason we should all move to Hawaii), I can’t get myself to go to sleep. I’ve been up since 5:30am, and–two practices, five hours of class and a stats midterm later–all I want to do is write. If that’s not a reason to completely reroute my life, then clearly I’m staking it out for the second coming.

As I was struggling through acing *positive thinking* my statistics midterm tonight (if there are more than two, are they really midterms?), I thought to myself: I’m never going to use this, so why am I so stressed about doing it perfectly?

november3I don’t have to be flawless at statistics or completely understand the process of urban development and city sprawls to be successful; just the mere fact that my brain (although uninterested) has the capability of processing such complex material is truly fascinating. Just think for a second about your mind’s ability to think–to create a thought pattern and to run it through your consciousness while you hear a voice in your head vocalizing that thought (at least I think you hear a voice… I hear a voice… is that normal?!). You can process and create a conscious understanding of thinking well enough that you can think about your own ability to think? Inception at its finest. Now where’s Leonardo DiCaprio…? Mmmm.

The next time you’re sitting at your computer dreading that 10 page paper you have to write or you’re painfully watching those molecular biology lectures to cram for the big exam, just think how much of a miracle your brain is and how blessed you are to have endless ability and bountiful creativity up there. That huge phenomenon is just chillin’ between your ears. Apparently they have more uses than just being a little extra wind resistance on your morning jog. Or maybe that’s just me…

As frustrated as I get with myself for not remembering dates and details (and birthdays…. sorry to everyone for that one), I truly am thankful for everything that my brain does and is capable of doing. It’s pretty darn cool, and I’m pretty darn proud of it. I mean it’s not like I invented the idea of the brain, but at least I grew mine myself! I have to get some credit for that, right?

Keep doing you because you (and your brain) are pretty insane.

-Megan

Nature is My Nurture

I woke up this morning at 8am on my own (which never happens), and although I’m crediting it mostly to the time change, I’m also fairly certain that it was due to my undeniable urge to go hiking. Being in LA gives me such a diverse variety of things to do and see, but one thing that I truly miss? Walking a quarter of a mile and being able to smell the trees, hear rushing water and feel like I’m a part of something much, much greater.

Instead, I take a 30 minute bus ride to the Port of Los Angeles every morning and get to see this breathtaking view.


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Photo Credit: Lauren Hanano

Complaints? None. It’s just a different kind of beautiful. One that no camera or canvas could ever do justice. Now, the workout that follows this incredible sight? Also breathtaking, but far less enjoyable.

There’s something majestic about being in the heart of the forest, smushed between two mountains, standing atop layers and layers of pure, untouched, organic earth. Even a (sometimes) high-maintenance, city-living girl like me can appreciate the sacredness of the outdoors. How can you not? There’s no better detox than a weekend in the woods or a sail through the sea to remind yourself that you’re just a speck in this remarkable world. Every stress or worry that you ever had is so minuscule–virtually nonexistent. Nature shows me that nothing matters more than me and my happiness. Because when the sun sets, that’s all I’ll have.


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Trinity Lake, CA

(the drought is real, people)


So let’s forget about this ancient (and overly argued) debate of nature versus nurture. Maybe I’m nurtured by nature because nature is my nurture. Take that Locke and Hobbes.

Today, I’m thankful for the sun, the moon, the stars, the trees (except the Stanford ones), the birds, the bees and the never-ending seas. I’m obsessed with every inch of this planet and I’ll never, ever get enough.

I’m also thankful for doctors who give face stitches at 3am; no, it wasn’t me, but a rather large headache nonetheless (literally).

Keep doing you.

-Megan

Follow to Feed

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It’s officially November! I’m not sure how it could ‘unofficially’ be November, but regardless…

Although I’m sad to see October go, I’m already counting down the days until Thanksgiving (my absolute favorite holiday). With no question as to why:

  1. The food.
  2. I get to escape this hellhole of Los Angeles for a few days. Okay, it’s not (that) bad, but it’s not my home and it never will be. (Sorry Steph)
  3. The food.
  4. Five days with my amazing family (and a few special others *wink, wink*). Unbeatable.
  5. I can pretend for a day that it’s cold enough to wear scarves and boots while we take family photos. This West Coast girl can dream of an East Coast fall, can’t she?

TWENTY-SEVEN DAYS. Twenty-seven of the longest days of my life.

And every year I’m anxious for it to finally be Thanksgiving; but all I do in anticipation of this (perfect) holiday is wait. Sure, when I’m home I help my mom with food prep, cooking, baking, house decorating and running errands (that makes it sound like I do a lot, but I’m pretty sure I just get in the way), but I don’t feel like I do anything meaningful to get ready for the real meaning of Thanksgiving: giving thanks.

So, I’m going to do my best to focus my blog (so, basically my life) this month on being thankful, noticing the countless ways that I’m blessed and letting others know how grateful I am for their presence and purpose. And as I take the time to recognize what I’m thankful for, I really encourage you to do the same. If I’m blessed (an average girl struggling through life as a poor college student), then you’re blessed; you just have to look for it.

Today, I’m thankful for all of you (again!). You’ve graciously taken time out of your busy day to hear a snippet of what I have to say. You’ll never know how much it means to me. So from the bottom of my heart to you: thank you. You’ve blessed my life.

I want to show my gratitude this November (not just with my words), and I want you to help! For every follower I get this month, I’ll donate a can of food to a local Thanksgiving food drive. I may be poor, but never too poor to give back. Shout out to my grandma for being my first November follower today; this first can is for you and Milo, Granikins.

You do you, I’ll do me, and together we’ll do something incredible.

Xo

-Megan