10 Random Facts You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Me

Hello readers! While I do like to give you all tips and tricks for navigating this crazy thing called life, I also want you all to get to know me a little bit better. That is how the idea for this point came along. Today’s post is a chance for you all to know me on somewhat of a more personal level. Some of the things on this list aren’t even known by people who may have known me for years! Without further anticipation, here are 10 random facts you probably didn’t know about me.

My Mom stayed putting me in these extra ass dresses. Now people wonder why I’m so extra.

1.  I was born with a broken hip.

It’s hard for me to believe because I’ve never had hip problems *knocks on wood* but it’s true! My mom says I had a difficult birth and broke my hip on the way out.

2. I’m named after my dad and his best friend (at the time).

My birth name is JerMara and the Jer comes from my dad Jerome and the Mar comes from the name Marlin, who was my dad’s best friend when I was born. Apparently they don’t really talk anymore. A shame. I used to hate my name but it’s grown on me haha.

3. I started pre-school when I was 3 years old.

I also almost skipped a grade when I was in kindergarten to go to 1st grade. I believe this is why I was overdue for a break from school when I graduated college haha.

4. I have oral allergies to MOST raw fruits

It always surprises people when I tell them I like veggies more than fruits but raw fruits give me soooo many problems! The only fruits I can feel completely eat raw are strawberries. I also like apples, peaches, mangoes (without the skin).

5. I’m deathly terrified of snakes

I literally can’t even watch them on tv. Thanks to my dad’s side of the family for letting me watch the movie anaconda at 3 years old.

6. I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was 13

Before I wanted to be a lawyer I wanted to be teacher and an author. I still want to write a book (or books) some day but as a substitute teacher now I know forsure I would never want to be a teacher (hug a teacher and give them money, they don’t get paid enough for what they do!)

7. I’m so 16% fluent in Spanish according to Duolingo.

I should be way more fluent considering I took it 3 or 4 years in HS and one semester in college but just give me like 5 years! Haha.

8. I’m not a big fan of puzzles.

I also don’t like most board games. Maybe I’ll tell the story about why on instagram live one of these days. We’ll see.

9. I’ve been to 7 countries in Europe.

For my high school graduation I got a grad-trip that was two weeks long. I went to Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France, and The U.K. I loved Verona, Italy the most and Switzerland the least (our money is shit over there).

10. I want to live in Washington D.C. and Italy at some point in my life.

I loved the cities I visited in Italy and want to live there. I also visited Washington DC in 2016 and fell in love. I feel like at some point I have to live in both those places, even if it’s just for 6 months to a year. I want to visit Ghana and I feel like it will also get added to my list of places I want to live once I do. I just have a feeling.

Me in Verona, Italy under Juliet’s balcony

What’s a random fact no one knows about you? Leave a comment below and let me know! Xoxo.

The Year of No: Prioritizing Myself Over the Comfort of Others

When I was a young child I used to adore reading. I breezed through everything from the Junie B. Jones series to The Babysitter’s Club and whatever else I could get my hands on. Once I graduated and had more free time, I promised myself I would read more. I did but I felt like it wasn’t enough which lead another goal being established in my plan for a great new year. This upcoming year I plan to read two books a month. I had heard great things about the book “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes so I added it to my list of books to read before 2017 ended. Now I haven’t read the book just yet but based on the title I believe the book will be about saying yes to experiences or things that one would typically say no to in order to live a more exciting life. I do believe that everyone should get out of their comfort zone every once and while and say yes to non-harmful new experiences (I say non-harmful because I don’t care how many self-development books I read, if you offer me a line of coke in the bathroom at True North I’m going to say “No Thanks!”) However, what happens when you begin to say yes so often that your ability to say no is obsolete?

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I’m someone who struggles with saying no to people especially my loved ones and people I care about. At different parts of my life this has led me to be exhausted 90% of the time and always dragging myself to complete some task I don’t want to do, a night out on the town when I’d rather stay home, or any other thing I committed to when I knew I shouldn’t have. With a half-assed presence I would count down the seconds, minutes, hours, until I was able to go home. 80% of the time I would regret leaving my house and the 20% of the time I would actually end up enjoying myself never made up for the majority of the time I was not feeling it. I usually ended up feeling overbooked, tired, and regretful.

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This need to say yes to everyone and my fear of letting people down is one of my more stressful flaws. Combine this with my FOMO (fear of missing out) and I was always out doing something and really never had time to myself. “I’m everywhere and nowhere all at once” I would say half-jokingly because the times I was somewhere about a quarter way through I would be thinking about the next obligation I had on my never ending to-do list.I remember back in undergrad I would swear “once I graduate I’m only doing things EYE want to do and never being pressured into attending something I didn’t want to.” *Cue laughter from the studio audience* I know, it’s a funny joke. I still struggle with saying no to people. I still struggle with overbooking myself and making commitments I immediately regret but my being a person of my word gets in the way of me backing out. This is why I take the commitments I make so seriously because I know once I say I’m going to do something, I mean it and will not be able to back out of it.

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So help me God, I have to learn how to do this now. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t just be shooting people down left and right and become completely selfish. Often times that is impossible simply because of our obligations to family, our employers, organizations, or whomever. I will, however, decide the pros and cons of things that are optional before I commit to them and at some point learn how to say no without feeling guilty. That’s my right. Often times in society we are made to believe that being selfish or looking out for one’s self is wrong. It’s not. If you don’t look out for you, who will? I think it takes a certain level of emotional intelligence to be able to recognize that we can’t do everything for everybody and ourselves which is why it probably took me this long to realize it. While saying yes to new experiences is a great way to live our lives and grow, it also takes growth to realize you can’t drag yourself to everything and put yourself last. At some point, we have to strive for balance and equilibrium in our lives and manage our yes’s and our no’s accordingly.

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Have you ever struggled with telling people no or that you didn’t want to do something? How did you manage to convince yourself it was okay to say no? How did you fight the urge to explain why? Sound off in the comments!

The Girl Behind The Musings

babymaraWhile my blog does have an about me section, I would like to take some time to go into depth about exactly who I am as a person and what is the purpose of my blog. I was born in Lorain, Ohio in 1993. I moved to Las Vegas, NV when I was 6 years old and lived there until I went away to college in the city of San Diego, CA at the tender age of 18. Until recently, I believed that being a black woman living in such different places made me a highly adaptable person who could handle pretty much anything life threw my way…and then I graduated college.

As I recent college graduate, this is one adaptation that is far different from the rest. Ever since the tender age of 3 years old, I have been in school. From the time I was 3 years old in pre-k until finally graduating at 23 years old after 5 (slow and steady wins the race) long years of being at SDSU, being a student has been such a major part of my identity. I have been a student for the last 20 years of my life. Now that I’m not in school, I am finally feel free to do whatever it is that my heart desires (that my wallet can afford)…and that is fucking terrifying.img_0180

There is something so limitless about a summer break that never ends. In previous years, my summer breaks ending were met with anguish and despair. I would wish for one or two more weeks to chill on the beach or explore a new part of San Diego, or even just get off of work and do nothing. “Ugh, I don’t want to start school again” I would sigh and complain to my friends. Now, I can do whatever I want whenever I want. On that same token, I don’t have to do anything I don’t truly want to do. My summer break never ends. Even though I’m not fully free from academic responsibility due to me taking the LSAT this upcoming December, I do still have more free time than I have ever had before. This has caused me to notice a void in my life; I need to fill this void by pursuing my passion for writing about things I truly care about.

img_0409I finished out my work contract with SDSU in the middle of August and will now be unemployed for the rest of the year until after I finish studying for and taking the December LSAT. This leaves me an abundant amount of time to reflect on numerous things going on in the world and thus “The Musings of Mara” was born. I like to consider myself a very well-rounded person with diverse interests. This blog will touch on everything from pop culture to social justice issues, health, fitness, and wellness, to whatever book I just read, or the TV series I’m currently binge watching on Netflix, some of my own random thoughts, my creative writing, and my experiences with the different identities I occupy, and MY LIFE in general. When you read my blog I want you to leave feeling like you’ve had an intimate conversation with a close friend, even if we’ve never met. I hope to encourage others to embrace their own life journeys with honesty and transparency with others but more importantly to gain the ability to be transparent with themselves.