The Beautiful Interconnections of Goodbyes…

It was about 4 pm on April 17th 6 years ago when I found my my great grandmother had passed away. She was such a wonderful human teaching me about life, baking, and the importance of education, and icecream. She was wonderful and I was sad she was now gone but she had really influenced me so very powerfully.
Now on this same day 6 years later at 4pm I sat outside a listened to the comforting bells chiming on Marylhurst University campus as I end my last weekend class at an institution that has been my social and academic home for 5 years. And I find myself having the same emotions. I feel sad that this part of my life is ending and that this place will no longer be a part of my life in the same way. However, I am also immensely grateful, amazed and changed by my experiences here. There are not adequate words to describe just how much I owe to this place, and the people. It’s amazing to me just how paralleled my great grandma Norma and Marylhurst university have been to me.

Some people know this about me but some don’t, I knew I needed to leave Idaho for my education and for my future but I never wanted to be far away if my great grandma was still alive. I wanted to soak up as much time as possible with her as well as not have to be far away when she did go. So when she passed a part of me felt liberated (and receiving her blessing) to proceed with my future. So I applied, I was accepted and I moved. My life was started. Upon pulling onto campus for the first time I heard the well known bells ring across campus. The beauty of that moment lies in the song they chimed which just so happened to be the exact chimes my great grandmas clock on top of her tv would sing every hour. The same song, the same warm feeling, the same comfort, the same. So today I made sure to listen to the bells at 4pm to remember my great grandma, to thank her and to thank Marylhurst. This is beauty.


-Tori

Peas, Please!

I’ve always been a little bit odd. This was especially evident when I was a young child devouring almost every vegetable in sight. To name a few, I loved broccoli, carrots(even cooked), cauliflower, green beans, onions, zucchini, and especially peas! This year when I decided to do a garden plot in the community garden at Marylhurst University all of the veggies I loved as a child, and to this day, danced around in my mind. I could not wait to plant and grow the things I’ve always adored! I was especially excited about my peas!

This whole season of gardening has been a learning experience. I didn’t know what to expect and when to expect it. This has actually made it really fun. When I go out to my plot and see that something else is sprouting or growing it’s extra exciting.  So it was time( end of march) to plant my peas. To start, I was surprised by the seeds. They are just dried peas! Duh! I dug a little trench in my soil,  lined them up, one beside another and wished them all the luck in growing. I watered them really well, and began the wait.

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Shortly after I had little plants popping up! It was very rewarding. The peas in my plot were the thing that seemed to be doing the best at the beginning of the planting season. I was extra in love with them. I sang them some extra love tunes, and made sure they got a ton of water.

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Then I had a whole tall bushel that definitely required a selfie with it. Before I knew it they just kept growing! I eventually had to add 4 tomato cages for them to climb.

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Then again, much to my surprise, I went out a few weeks ago, and I had PODS!!! Peas PODS on the PEA PLANT!!!! Real peas! I mean! GUYS! PEASSSSSS!!!!! I can’t believe just how happy it makes me!

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I grew these! I grew them myself and I’ve been eating them and sharing them. Honestly my favorite, favorite part is sharing with others. Being able to say, “Hey! Do you like sugar snap peas?? Want one? I grew it myself!” I have shared them with my roommate, kirk(He tried it but didn’t like it), my friend when she was having a bummer day, and other friend (that’s my friend!) and lots of Marylhurst Employees! Everyday there are over 20 pods to pluck and enjoy. What more could one ask for?

If you haven’t been able to pick up on my excitement, these are the faces I make whilst eating my wonderful, green, crunchy peas.

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The moral to this here (sort of silly) post is, find whatever it is that makes you feel the overwhelming excitement I feel when I grow my peas. Find that thing you love to cultivate, care for and eventually sink your teeth into. Investing time and energy into something will undoubtedly reward you. Creating something beautiful is power.

Go find your peas! And share them with others!

PEAS!

-Tori

*cough* Peas *cough*

I Am Awesome

Unlike many, I have never really struggled with self love. There have indeed been times when I felt a little less confident than usual, but for the most part I have considered myself pretty darn awesome.  That being said I know that it is sometimes very difficult for others to love themselves. Their negative self talk fills their minds constantly, drowning happiness and love. 

This week in my resilience class our free write was centered around self love. It emphasized how truly important it is for us to feel loved, and how it’s completely natural to want such a thing. The quote that stood out for me the most in our free write promt was one from Zora Neale Hurston, one of my idols. She says, “love makes your soul crawl out of it’s hiding place.” My free write following this quote came flowing out of me in a slam poem type form. I decided to share it here in hopes that maybe my words can inspire others. That maybe my affirmation will make it easier for you to love yourself. Or simply to write out this cool poem. I hope this helps you in whatever way you need. 

I Love Me 

I don’t know where my self loves comes from. 

I don’t know why it seems so easy to me.
What I do know is, I have so much love for myself overflowing it seeps out of me and infects others. . 

I know that I am overwhelmed by the joy I regularly feel. 

I know that I am strong and that I am awesome. 

I know that my confidence is genuine and my love is pure. 
I know that I am worthy even if only through my own eyes. 

I know my soul is exposed for the world to see and I know people love the truest me because it is all they have ever and will ever see. 
-Tori 

I’m Not Afraid To Leap…

I’m afraid I’ll actually land.

Last September, I was asked to speak at the October inauguration of the new president for my school. Dr. Melody Rose, a very prominent face of Higher Education in Oregon, was to join the ranks at Marylhurst University and lead us into the future. My first thought was, “Whoa, why me? I’m not nearly experienced enough or important enough for such a huge job.” But my second thought was, “Dude, I’m cool and I’m freaking excited!” This is something I have struggled with for many years. No matter the accomplishment, opportunity, or invitation I often doubt my worthiness to receive such things. I also feel annoying or boastful if I share my accomplishemnts with others. Sometimes this is attributed to my age, gender, or social status, but most times it is rather irrational.

In Dr. Rose’s speech (which was crazy inspiring and you can read it here) She talked about her humble beginnings and how having such a history doesn’t make one afraid of failure, but rather, afraid of success. She said, “What we actually fear is unabashed success: we fear its lure, we fear how we might wear it, we fear we aren’t worthy of it or that we will no longer have our old narrative to define us. Who are we to succeed? ” She goes on to quote author Marianne Williamson who wrote,

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Even before hearing these words I was becoming better at allowing myself to be happy, proud, and even a little boastful of my accomplishments. I was allowing myself to feel worthy of invitations  instead of feeling out of place. I wanted to take opportunities as they came as opposed to wondering if I could even succeed in them. Sometimes things felt too good to be true. Sometimes I felt people saw me as far more than they should.  President Rose’s words simply gave me an extra boost to live my life, grab every opportunity I could, and celebrate my accomplishment without apologizing.

This brings me to one of the most exciting things I have decided to jump into. I have applied and been accepted to study abroad with Marylhurst University for 3 weeks in September in London, England and Rome Italy. When I officially decided to jump into this opportunity I felt in my core that it was right. This is the year, I’m meant to go. I have always wanted to travel, and I love my school so much that there is no doubt these two things together is bound to be a life changing experience. This experience will include attending classes throughout the summer here in Oregon then continuing to attend classes in both London and Rome. I will earn 6 credits toward my degree in the end. We will be staying in apartments in both places to get an even more immersive experience. Our accommodation in London will be at the Stay Club in Camden, an arts district of London. In Rome, we will be staying in apartments in the Trastevere neighborhood. We will see Much Ado About Nothing in the famous Globe Theatre and travel to the Mediterranean for a few days while in Rome. These are only a miniscule display of the things I will experience while there. One of my current roommates is also getting to go, so that’s going to be incredibly fun. I mean, wow it’s going to be so much more amazing then I can imagine right now! In the end this was not an opportunity I was willing to feel unworthy of.

Of course this opportunity comes at a price. The price tag is the one part that makes it extra hard to feel worthy. I have yet to really talk about going because there’s a part of me that is unsure I will actually come up with the funds. I have to pull a lot of strings to make this trip happen. There will not be another time in my life where I can travel across the pond for such a low price. The trip itself is $3,800, I will owe about $500 in tuition after loans, I need a minimum of $500 for spending money, and I also need to buy a passport which is around $135. I have already paid a $500 deposit to hold my spot which will be deducted form the $3,800. I have began to research and apply for grants and scholarships as well.  I have committed to eliminating spending on clothes, and any other non essentials. I plan to host a few crochet and knitting classes to raise some money, and I have a few other ideas I’m mulling over. Additionally, I have decided to start a GoFundMe page. Although, people may see this as a lazy way to go on such a trip I see this as an opportunity for people who live all over this country that care for me to contribute to the fulfillment of this dream of mine. This is another time I refuse to feel bad. I am willing to ask for help, and I shouldn’t ever feel ashamed of needing it. If I have people in my life that will spare a few dollars because they love me I should happily accept that contribution. I want this trip to mean more that just a vacation. It will since I’ll be with my school, but having many people get me there makes it that much more special.

I’m living my life unashamedly. I’m running, not walking, to my future. I want to be an encouragement to all people who have dreams they are trying to reach. If I don’t take opportunities when they come I am not being the person I want to be. Follow me through this adventure, donate if you can, share my fundraising page, and send me encouragement and helpful fundraising tips. Come with me on this journey, I doubt you’ll regret it. I’m not afraid to leap, and I’m trying to trust in my landing.

The ever excited,

Victoria