Friday, August 28, 2009

lovely. luring. lane

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

I know I talk about my family especially the ones that I am biologically related to, but it occurred to me that I have yet to talk about my Chi Omega family. No, these are not the girls I shared a womb with, but that minute detail does not make them less important. Without further ado I would like to introduce my four faithful followers, Arizona State, and everyone else to my little sister, Lane.

Isn't she pretty? This was taken at a Chi Omega workshop (check out our sweet tees!) very early in the morning.

If I were to tell you all about Lane you would just get tired of reading and just want to meet her already, so I'm going to highlight just the tip of the iceberg of this phenomenal young woman I am proud to call my fellow Sundevil, friend, and sister.

The love affair between Lane and I began in the summer of 2005 at Pecos Pool where we both worked as life guards. At first the ambitious, over zealous attitude she exuded struck me as both obnoxious and annoying. Little did I know that just four short years later we would share a bond stronger than any friendship. Over the course of the next four summers I came to appreciate Lane's initiative she took on not only at work, but in her life. In attendance of a friend's graduation I realized that it was Lane's ceremony as well. That night she was named Valedictorian of her class and won her high school award Lady Knight of the Year, one of the highest honors that can be achieved by St. Mary students. Since then, Lane has continually lived up to greatness.

Last spring semester I convinced Lane to join the Greek community and she became one of the best additions to Chi Omega. I was thrilled to find that she upheld the same standards, morals, and ethics of the Fraternity and that she wanted me to be her big sis(!!!!). In just one semester she has espoused Chi Omega teachings and exemplified the ideal member. Classy always, intelligent, loyal, trustworthy, respectable, and beautiful are at the core of my unbelievable little sis. What makes her so unique, is that her qualities aren't limited to a standard list of adjectives that everyone considers themselves to be. Lane is spunky and she makes me laugh. She's not the best dancer, but she get out there and have a good time anyway. She has an old soul, but is young at heart. She is continually on the Dean's List, but always has time for a friend. Without her my Chi Omega experience would not be complete.

I hope everyone has the chance in their lives to meet someone as captivating as my little sis. It is people like her that make life worth living. I love you little!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

looking back

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

As a new school year comes upon us, so does Fall Welcome Week. While I have many mixed emotions about the spastic, somewhat unorganized weekend events every year I get talked into volunteering at multiple events to help our newest ASU additions move in to their dorms, learn our fight song, play games and win prizes, and of course help them find their classes. Despite the sunburn and heat exhaustion I usually suffer from, I always walk away with swelling pride for the old maroon and gold and an obnoxious volunteer shirt. While my heart and tee shirt drawer are bursting at the seems, I find myself wondering if these freshman will appreciate their Fall Welcome experience enough to pass on the tradition to yet another group of confused and anxious individual next fall.

Just this past Friday the StAR's were asked to share some of our experiences with the incoming freshman on the Downtown Campus. We each were asked four questions related to our individual freshmen experiences, and our current programs. I was so excited about this being my first official StAR event that I thought I would share my answers and experiences with you.

What’s one memorable experience that you had as a freshman or new student at ASU?

Actually, to be honest I never had that memorable moment or what others refer to it as a "Sun Devil moment" during my freshman year. It took me to my junior year to realize exactly what I was part of. I will never forget the feeling that consumed me, I felt elated. My hairs rose on the back of my neck and goosebumps covered my arms. A long standing Homecoming tradition at Arizona State is the Lantern Walk, an activity I had never participated in until the fall of 2008. That Friday night I lit a candle and walked with my friends, acquaintances, and other members of the Greek community to the top of "A" Mountain. At the top we had a moment of silence and during the deafening absence of sound I looked out at the people that surrounded me. Next to me were my friends from the Parks and Recreation Student Association and Chi Omega sisters. In the distance Devils' Advocates and Undergraduate Student Government participants could be spotted. The glow of the candlelight lit up the faces of ASU alumnae and their children. At this moment, surrounded by these individuals I felt that I was more that just a number, but part of a close knit community. It felt like I was home.

Think back to when you started at ASU, what do you know now that you wish you knew back then?

When I started here at Arizona State I was an undeclared/exploratory student, so I saw many advisors who all told me different things. One thing they failed to mention was that I had not been taking enough credits to graduate on time. You would think that I would have done the math, (120 credits/8 semesters=15 credits per semester) but I hadn't. I've had to work hard at getting back on track, so make sure you're taking at least 15 credit hours every semester!

What advice would you give freshman on how to succeed as a student?

I always find myself giving advice to prospective students on my tours. The thing I find myself reiterating the most is to become involved. My freshman year I lived at home, so I was unable to meet people in residential halls and I was far too shy to meet anyone in class. (I know what you're thinking, but I really was shy.) To avoid feeling disconnected from the University and my peers I joined the Greek community my fall semester and went out for Devils' Advocates in the spring. I accredit much of my success then and now to becoming involved. I know walking backwards isn't for everyone, but freshman should find something their passionate about and find others on campus who care about those same things. ASU boasts over 700 student clubs and organizations, the chances are that you'll be interested in one of them!

Why did you choose your current program?

Like I mentioned before, I was once an exploratory student so I haven't always been in the School of Community Resources and Development. My path to the Parks and Recreation world was a unique one. I was being pressured by advisors and my parents to declare a major so my cousin suggested taking CED 250, career development. I found the class interesting as it allowed me to explore my interests and who I am as an individual, before I chose my career. Through a series of exercises I found the SCRD and Parks and Recreation Management. The rest, as I like to say, is history.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

Wednesday was the day. I anxiously left work and sped home. I skipped shaving my legs in the shower and let my hair air dry to save time. After applying the bare minimum (concealer and mascara) I shoved a sandwich down my throat and headed for the hospital.

My closest girlfriend from high school had delivered her twin babies two weeks early and after a few days of observation visitors were allowed in to see the life she had created. She met me at the fourth floor elevators and walked me down the hall to the preemie nursery. In two little incubators laid Valerie and Viviana, who were just four days old. She had told me on the phone the babies were both around 4lbs at birth, but I had no idea how small they would be. It was incredible to see my girlfriend beaming over the two sleeping babies. Then it occurred to me, my girlfriend and I had graduated in the same class together; her and I are the same age.

I began to get that very terrified feeling in the pit of my stomach, the very same one I got when I had thrown her bridal shower two and a half years earlier. These life changes forced me to think about where my life is heading. The brave woman on my right was married with two children and I have trouble finding someone to commit to a movie date. I started to wonder, how accomplished am I? Don't get me wrong, I am extremely proud of how far I have come. I am getting ready to start my senior year with plans of graduating next May and have no student loans (knocking on wood) as of yet. So while I am not yet a wife and mother, I have done something fairly productive with my time.

Our two different situations has me thinking about how much the role of a woman has and has not changed in society. While women are now more successful than ever, (read about it at Men's Health, ironic right?) I can't help but feel my worth as an individual reduced because of my life choices. I am one of the only unmarried females I graduated high school with in May 2006, my cousins and aunts ponder out loud at family events why it is that I am single, and my mother constantly reminds me "when she was my age she had a husband and two little girls to care for". I appreciate the concern expressed by my family and friends from long ago, but at what point are they crossing the line from worried into rude?

While my ambitious attitude toward education is being doubted by my family, I'm going to hunker-down this next year and get my Bachelor's degree despite what anyone says. After I achieve success in the education system then maybe, just maybe I'll think about being a successful wife and mother.

flight M0V1N6 0U7 leaving NOW

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

It's official, summer is finally over. Walls are barren, donation bags are sitting by the front door, and there isn't a visible surface anywhere in my Dad's apartment. Yes friends, my sister and I have spent the last week and a half attempting to organize and pack our lives into just a few little boxes that will fit neatly beneath our extra long twin mattresses for the next nine months. As suspected, Haleigh is almost completely packed and has even organized her DVD's and CD's into funky IKEA boxes while my belongings are still heavily attacking the dining room table and surrounding floor space. Tuesday night my younger sister did a brave thing. She sat in the living room with me as I unpacked old shoe boxes full of memories, and attempted to repack them into boxes marked "Adelphi". Being my closest sister, she held my hand through the ugly; handed me tissues through the sad; and laughed at the rest. Although emotional we spent the night saying goodbye to old boyfriends, throwing out old birthday wishes, and remembering the best parts of the past. Even with all the headway made, I still have a long way to go.

Fortunately for me this will be my third (and final) time moving into Adelphi, officially deeming me an expert at maneuvering my black futon up the L-shaped staircase to my room. I must confess how dissappointed I am in myself, as I had but one goal this summer: to have a boyfriend (preferably with a truck) by move-in day so I would avoid a large amount of manual labor. However it seems I underestimated the force of girl power. It is with the help of my sister and vivacious friend that I hope to be moved in by Tuesday.

While this isn't my first rodeo, it feels foreign. I am making the trek back to the place I've called home for most of my college experience for the last time. I know at the end of the year that the goal is to move into my own place as opposed to back into my Dad's. Another factor hanging over my head is my sister Haleigh's transition into college and onto the ASU Tempe Campus. This move seems to bear more finality because of these things. Writing this article, I can't help but be nostalgic. I feel as if I am finally flying the nest, for good.

As I near the decent into adulthood I contemplate the changes of summer and day dream of what the future has in store. Until I arrive I will spend my time making memories, living for the moment, and oh yeah... packing.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

i'm gonna make you love me?

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

In November of 1968 Diana Ross and the Supremes joined forces with the Temptations to release the classic love song "I'm gonna make you love me". The song became a success shooting to the top of the charts and landing in the #2 spot on the Billboard 100. I first heard the song when I was 8 years old. It happened to be number 10 on the Now and Then soundtrack, a movie and cassette tape my sister, cousin, and I became obsessed with. Not only did the twelve simple songs on the tape become a staple on road trips, but the soundtrack to our childhood.

Most recently I popped the CD (we had to break down a few years ago and buy the compact disk, as we no longer owned a car that played cassette tapes) to brighten up my day. It was possibly the first time I have ever listened to the words I have belted at the top of my lungs for the last 13 years. I contemplated the meaning behind these short and seemingly simple tunes I had allowed to guide my adolescence. Driving down Pecos Road with sweat dripping down my face and hot air rustling my hair I wondered, can you really make someone love you?

Music legendaries Diana Ross, Eddie Kendricks, and Otis Williams uttered the phrase with such confidence that it seems not only possible, but effortless. Forty one years after the original release of the song I am attempting to answer the inane question of whether love can be forced from an individual.

Being a romantic at heart, I can't help but adore the promising lyrics and hope for a happy ending. I am quickly brought back to earth when considering the logistics of making one fall in love. Was the song simply referring to the process of two people falling for each other through small romantic acts of affection, or does it apply to one individual consciously targeting another?

Either way I was sucked back into the 7th grade once I heard Ms. Ross coo "I'm gonna use every trick in the book, Ill try my best to get you hooked". For it was in junior high that I developed a crush on Ryan Estrada, an unobtainable love; for he had feelings for another girl in the class below us. Despite how much time I spent on my ponytail or that I was allowed to wear clear mascara he never reciprocated my feelings. Painful at first, I slowly mended my broken heart and learned that I couldn't make Ryan love me. Embarrassingly so, I still have a crush on him to this day, something that I will probably never fully get over.

Perhaps the dynamic duo of The Temptations and Diana Ross and the Supremes sang to characterize the uncontrollable feeling of intense emotion felt when two people fall in love. For instance, Ryan made me fall in love with his goofy smile and corny jokes. He didn't purposely or maliciously tempt my heart.

Just recently I experienced yet another unsuccessful attempt at love. Just as my futile tactics failed me in 7th grade, my homework help and baked goods this time around did not win my way to his heart. I guess it's my turn to sit back and let someone else attempt the seemingly impossible. One of these days a boy will come along and sing to my heart....

I'm gonna make you love me. And I just might let him.

Monday, August 3, 2009

a broken home

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure (or tragedy rather)...

I was walking through Michaels on one of my many craft binges and found a scrap booking accessory. It was the word family spelled out in all lowercase letters. The sparkly light green word looked so pretty that I imagined what it would look in a book of memories. Only I couldn't think of what picture I would put on the page with it. Growing up I have many memories of the ill-defined term 'family'. It doesn't necessarily mean the people I am biologically related to, but the ones that matter the most in my life. In 21 years I cannot recall as much change within our family as I have seen in the last year. While this has enabled me to accomplish the most growth as a person I can ever remember, it has also left me feeling empty and alone.

When did the time arrive that I no longer wished to live with my parents but, to only see them on some Sundays and traditional holidays? The individual choices of the people I share genetic matter with have affected the relationships between every person in my immediate family. As a result a chain reaction has occurred forcing me to forge different friendships and comfort levels with people I have known for my entire life and those I have just met. It is more common to find a broken family than one that has stuck out the hard times together. I always liked to think of myself as one that strung her broken family together. That despite the divorce, we could still love and appreciate one another. Now I don't know if I will ever be able to bring our tattered family together again.

Playing the role of "the rock" for most of my life, I have always put the duty of keeping my family together in the face of grief, anger, and fear above all else. My instincts toward my little sisters are maternal as opposed to being a big sister. I have been the go-between for our parents through four years of divorce. Despite receiving grey hair (I honestly hope is a result of genetics), an ulcer, late nights and early mornings I could always look forward to sitting down at the dinner table with all the people I love on Thanksgiving, or under the tree on Christmas. These days I can hardly make it through a phone conversation. I constantly wonder if this is merely a selfish act on my part, or if for the first time in my life things are beyond my control and my worst fear is confirmed: my family is falling apart.

For many, this is an irrelevant topic. Plenty of families are never the same after divorce. The sad thing is, is that ours was. We made it over the hill and through the woods, only to find out we left all of our rock climbing equipment at home. And boy do we have a mountain in front of us.

I've always hated the cliche saying "sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me". The third grader uttering the foolish phrase obviously never felt the daggers pierce their skin after a sideways comment from someone whom they loved. I constantly wonder if this feeling is normal. Is feeling out of control and homeless simply a rite of passage into adulthood? Or am I finally coming into touch with the way things have been for awhile?

I have a reoccurring dream that varies in detail, but always ends the same way. My littlest sister Abbey is constantly in the face of death all the while I panic and spend every waking moment I can with her, the rest of our family hardly notices her worsening condition or my exasperation. Each time the dream ends with her dying in my arms. With tears, wailing, or eerie silence I can never grasp the attention of my father long enough for him to see that he has lost his youngest daughter. The irony of this situation is that it would take death for him to see what he no longer has. Becoming wrapped up in new found interests and a second family has left his first one shocked, alone, and fatherless. What is to become of the letters that once spelled out our family is unknown. What I do know is that they probably aren't green, and certainly do not sparkle anymore.