Stop telling women to smile || thought of the day

"Sometimes you look so unimpressed," a boy from my high school said. "Like it's kinda scary. You should smile more."

Have you ever been told to smile, or told that you're too serious? From 'bitch face' jokes to catcalls to friendly, well-meaning professors who tell you "you're too serious! I want to see your smile!" this is just another expectation of how we've got to behave. Is it a crime that I'm not happy all the time? Is it a crime that sometimes my face muscles just want to relax? Is it a crime that I don't always fake-laugh at some guy's totally un-funny joke? I know people are somewhat kidding when they say these things (and they say them a lot), but even if it is a joke, the nature of the joke is kind of annoying to me. So I'm going to use this blog post opportunity to explain why.

It discourages people from being honest about their feelings

Here's the truth: nobody's happy all the time. Not men, not women, not anybody. So reinforcing the idea that we always need to be cheerful and pleasant and 100% welcoming also reinforces fake-ness. It's the thing that makes us say "I'm good, how are you?" when we're really not good. It's what causes us to guard our bad feelings from our loved ones. Because in a world that views 'happiness' as the ultimate goal, not being happy feels like it's own type of failure. When we feel like we need to constantly be smiling, it stops us from being honest and open about the other, not-so-happy emotions.

5 strategies to find calmness in your busy everyday life

For the majority of my life I strove, above everything else, for control. And with that desire for control came work, and force, and sometimes (not to be melodramatic, but let's be real) a tad bit of suffering. This is because I never felt like I had the control (or the organization, discipline, or will power) that I really wanted. But boy did I try.

Lately I've been caring less and less about control, and starting to discover the goodness of release. It's the concept of just living your life the way you are right now and letting everything fall into place.

And while attempting to live a life of control, control, control had me feeling like I was in a constant state of gritting my teeth, finding more release in my life has made me feel so, so free.

If you're a person who's really busy, cares a lot, and works hard, it can feel like you just don't have time for calm. But you do. Because I am also all of those things, and I've found the time.

Here are five strategies to find calmness and a sense of release in your everyday, hectic, messy life.

when you feel like you don't fit || thought of the day

If you know me at all, you've probably figured out that I'm a girl who likes pretty things. I like the color pink, and antique do-dads, and appealing instagram photos. I want to be a girl who wears pretty vintage dresses and doesn't care what anyone thinks of her and has a freaking beautiful life.

As I've gotten older, though, I feel a little.... weirder.... about my prettiness obsession.

For one, I'm older now. It's easier to get away with being really girly when you're younger, because that's the expectation for young girls. I know I'm only eighteen (which is still super young) and nobody gives a darn whether I'm wearing a pink Minnie-mouse shirt or not, but I feel like a time could come when they do. I hope someday I'll have a job where everyone will be super cool and creative, and will care more about what you make than what you wear. But that's not always reality.

Also, I'm not a particularly polished person. I want to be a girl with perfectly-placed hair and a catalog-quality outfit and a desk that looks like a gorgeous minimalist instagram photo, but I'm not. I'm a mess. No matter how hard I try (and I try hard), everything about me seems like too much of a mess to ever be quite at that level of polished-prettiness. I know some of this aesthetic that I'm dreaming of is kinda not real, made possible through perfectly planned instagram photos, etc. But I also know there are some people who are just naturally, like, 15% more perfect than me. You know who I'm talking about. Their hair is always nice and smooth, their clothes are always lovely and unwrinkled, their skin looks like an untouched white-sand beach, they don't pick at their nails. I think they're often the same people who bullet journal religiously and always keep on top of their calendars. I am not one of them.

A Very Glam  (and very staged) Photo, taken when experimenting with studio lights over Christmas.

An Artsy January Round-Up

January has been a really-something month. Good? Yeah! Not-so-good? Also yeah.

Anyways, I see a lot of bloggers that do round-ups of their month, as an opportunity to reflect and be mindful about the good that happened in addition to the ehh. If I do these monthly (which I seriously doubt, but that is the idea) it will be for three general reasons:

1.) I take far too many photos, mostly of my friends and the fun things we do. (I want to be better at photography.) Anyways, I wanted to actually do something with these photos. So I made a few artsy collage things with my photos from January. I feel like this is the sort of thing I'll look back on in six months and be like... Julia... that's so weird... what were you thinking?? But right now I like it and they were pretty fun to make. Also look at how cute my friends are.