June 17th is always a bittersweet day in my life. The day before my birthday, my final day as my current age. Being a gemini, and just being Indy Severe in general… I am sentimental to my core. It’s my greatest strength and simultaneously, my greatest weakness. I make too big of a deal about things and I cry over the series finale of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. It’s just who I am. But instead of being embarrassed about it, I embrace it. I love that part of me. And I love that every year on June 17th, I get a little lump in my throat thinking about that year of my life being over. The chapter closing.
So here I am on June 17th, 2019 - writing my little “christmas card” about being 21, the things I did, the places I went, and most importantly, the things I’ve learned. I’ve had so many realizations this last year and I’ve learned a lot because of them. I’ve narrowed it down to the 5 most important realizations I’ve had while being 21 and Im gonna share them with you and probably make it way longer and more dramatic then it needs to be, and maybe make you cry a little bit because… (say it with me)
ITS JUST WHO I AM.
I did a lot this year. A lot a lot. 3 days after I turned 21, I got on a plane to Zambia, Africa. Spent a week there, then flew straight to New York, which kicked off a month long tour around Europe. I’ve pretty much been going hard ever since. A year later and I still feel like I haven’t been able to take a breath, but that’s how I like things around here.
This brings me to my first lesson. I realized something about myself this year, and it was probably my greatest realization yet. It’s simple, but once I realized it, it seemed like my whole life made sense.
I was put on this earth to have a good time.
It’s honestly that simple. My mom tells me that being my mother was such a daunting task. She says that as a little girl I’d wake up every day and bound into her room and say “what fun things are we going to do today?” every day needed to be a “fun day.” I needed activities, I needed laughter, I needed drama!! I needed a good time to survive. 21 years later, I feel that more than ever. I remember being in high school and I’d call my friends and see who wanted to go climb on to the school roof or sneak into a pool. They would be like “Indy, it’s a Wednesday night, I have homework.”
And listen, this might not be anything to brag about but I can PROMISE you I have never… and I mean NEVER. Passed up an opportunity for fun, to do HOMEWORK.
And I get that other people have lofty goals, and more important priorities. I get that most everyone else is what they call “responsible” or whatever. But as my baby daddy drake once said,
“Im here for a good time not a long time.”
And its true. I’m here to have fun, and to help other people have fun. Those are my priorities. And my 21st year was a testament to that.
21 was skinny dipping in the Mediterranean Sea. It was dangling my feet out of a helicopter flying over Manhattan. It was dancing on top of a car underneath the Eiffell Tower seconds after France won the World Cup. It was getting lip tattoos and partying like Paris Hilton. I dyed my hair dark. I dyed my hair platinum blonde. twice. I played real life Mario Kart in the streets of Tokyo, I smoked weed with playboi carti in switzerland (text me back baby) I crowd surfed during “ghost town” at a Kanye West concert. I got in a screaming fight with Lil Pump in his hotel room in Barcelona. I moved to LA. I started my own business. I sang “my best friends boyfriend” with Victoria Justice herself. I bathed elephants in Thailand. I started writing a book. I saw Mt. Freaking Everest with my own eyes!
I think it’s safe to say,
21 was a damn. good. time.
But it was also the hardest year of my life by far. And it only feels fair to write about that too.
I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression to some degree for the last couple of years. But around February, it really spiraled out of control. I’ve never in my entire life felt such pain and loneliness than I have in the last 6 months. I don’t know if it was triggered by something or if it was just a lot of things piling on, but it got really scary. It still is kind of scary honestly! And being the “good time gal” as everyone calls me heh heh (okay fine its just me) I hate and I mean HAAAATE talking about this to anyone, even my closest friends and family. So opening up about depression to thousands of strangers makes me so uncomfortable because I don’t want people to view me that way. I want you guys to see me as the fun wild girl I portray because that is me! But I realized that when I look back on being 21, I’ll also remember the intense loneliness and heartache I carried for so many months.
There was a few weeks where I could hardly get out of bed. The simplest tasks like getting up to take a shower would send me into hysterical sobs. It’s humiliating but that was my life for awhile. And the worst part is that I don’t really know why I was/am so sad. I definitely dealt with a lot of stuff that I’m not going to talk about online but I didn’t feel like I deserved to be so sad. The night before I left on this trip, I sat in my bedroom with my mom, crying and I said to her “I have such an amazing life, its not okay for me to be this sad.” I truly felt so guilty. Because I am so blessed. I have the best family I could ever ask for, the most incredible friends and support system, I have everything I could have ever dreamed of and its not that its not “enough” because it is. It’s more than enough. Its that im still sad despite all of my countless blessings and I hated myself for it.
This brings me to my second realization:
Sadness does not need to be justified.
It took me finally getting on medication (its working so well too!! yuhhhh!) and seeking professional help to realize that you don’t need to “qualify’ for depression and anxiety. And when I say that I mean, you don’t need to have had a family member or loved one die in order to be depressed. Its a mental illness! Its like falling off of a skateboard and scraping your elbow and being mad at yourself for feeling pain because someone else broke their arm falling off of a skateboard. Their pain might be a little more intense, but you are also feeling pain, and you’re allowed to cry about it.
So realizing that was a game changer for me. And now i’m just in the process of putting on band aids. Lots of bandaids.
For my next lesson/realization, I must give you a back story. If you know me, you know Im a story teller and this is just about as good as they get. To set the scene, it’s July of 2018. Im at the W hotel in Barcelona and I’m waiting in the lobby waiting for a man to bring me up to the top floor. The luxury suite. (My grandma just stopped reading.) Okay its not that kind of story.
I was traveling with my friends in Spain and we went to a club where the rapper Lil Pump performed. (I had to clarify that he was a rapper in case my grandma started reading again.) Always looking for a good time, I started working my magic to try and see if we could hang out with him afterwards. What? It would be a good story to tell!
I somehow find his manager on instagram and DM him telling him that we all want to hang out. He responds with a simple pin drop.
The W hotel.
So of course, we call the uber.
(Trust me, I know how badly this could have gone but like I said, a good story to tell someday.)
I’ll never forget sitting in the lobby telling Nicole and Courtney “Okay, just act like we do this sort of thing all the time. Play it cool. If you act like you know what you’re doing, they’ll believe it.”
The man came down to get us, and he brought us up to the very top floor. He took our phones and put them in a safe. (I mean I thought everyone already knew rappers do lines of coke off of strippers but I guess they still don’t want it snapchatted) And we walk into the swankiest hotel room I have EVER seen. Theres probably 20 people in there, just drinking, listening to music, hanging out. And then I see Lil Pump. This little tiny Soundcloud rapping acne covered kid was draped in chains and Gucci and had girls all over him. Now this might not be very nice of me to say, but you have to realize… we were the best looking girls in there… by a MILE. And do you want to know how many times I’ve ever been the best looking girl at a party? Once. Brayden Bagleys 9th birthday. And I was the only girl.
So I was feeling good, feeling confident and I walked right over to him, introduced myself, and nothing. He didn’t even look up from his lean! Sorry - drink! He just nodded. I quickly realized he was lame and not even worth having a conversation with so we just kind of wandered around the massive hotel room, meeting people and making Courtney embarrass herself. It was so fun, but the whole night I couldn’t help but laugh to myself thinking “how did we get here??” I mean we didn’t belong there.
At one point, we were sitting on gorgeous balcony overlooking the ocean and we’d been there for a couple of hours. The party was going on around me and I just sat there in awe of the situation. Not that this was the coolest most incredible thing I had ever done, but for a small town girl from Lindon Utah, it was just funny. This kind of stuff doesn’t happen to a girl like me. But then I caught myself.
This kind of stuff does happen to me.
Only two days before, France had won the World Cup and we were in the streets of Paris when it happened. It was pandemonium and one of the craziest, if not the craziest experience of my entire life. Like I said, I was literally dancing on top of a car parked right infant of the Eiffel Tower while people are screaming and crying of pure JOY and actual fireworks went off behind me. The day before that, we were in Switzerland at a Tyler the Creator show and we ended up hanging out with Playboi Carti and some of his friends after. This was all over the course of like 4 or 5 days too. The whole time we just kept saying “how did this happen!!” “how did we pull this off??” And I feel like that is one of my most common life phrases. My whole life I’ve been trying to scheme my way into crazy situations that will make for a good story. And every time something something crazy does happen, my first reaction is disbelief. “I can’t believe we did this. we pulled it off!!” And here I was now, sitting there in this hotel room of this really famous rapper, in freaking BARCELONA with my best friends and all I could think of was “we don’t belong here.”
But that’s when I had the third realization.
I do belong here!
It took me til then to realize that all my life, all these crazy situations I get myself into are because I made them happen. Every time. Luck is always involved, but I manifested and I schemed, I faked it til I made it, and I finally got to sit back and give myself some credit. Who’s to say I don’t belong? I do belong here damnit! Now hand me my Shirley Temple!!
Since then, It’s really helped me especially since moving to LA. Its’ given me so much more confidence to tell myself that I do belong. Every person I meet, party I go to, fancy restaurant I pretend to afford, I tell myself I belong. Because I do. And you do too!
Knowing myself and loving that person
Out of all the things I’ve done, and seen, I think my favorite part - and my biggest takeaway from being 21, was what I learned. I learned so much about life, and friendships, and myself really. (I just realized I sound like a camp counselor giving a farewell speech over the fire on the last day of camp)
But seriously! I feel like it took me 21 years to finally KNOW myself. Even little things like, right now, I’m in Greece with 8 of my friends and I’m sitting back at our air bnb writing this blog post while they’re all at the beach. Because I hate laying out. And its funny because looking back, I’ve always hated it. When I was a teenager, all of my friends would go lay out by the pool and I would sit and squirm and beg someone to come play Marco Polo with me. But for some reason I feel like it was only this past year where I was finally like “wait, I actually don’t enjoy sitting on the beach and laying on a towel in the hot sun for three hours?” And that’s okay! It’s just me!
It’s been so fun to realize those little things about myself that have been there all along. Like how I have never read the last page of a book. Ever. And I’ve never seen the last episode of The Office. I’ve watched the series countless times but I just can’t bring myself to watch the last episode. If I finish it, that means it’s over and if I don’t finish it, it’s not over. Does that make any sense? Shut up, I know it doesn’t.
I’m such a nostalgic soul and like I said, its my greatest strength. But the reason I think it’s my greatest strength, is because being sentimental has taught me how to love myself. Like a best friend. And that all came from constantly thinking of my younger self. I was taking a yoga class a couple months ago and the instructor gave the most beautiful lesson on self love that I have ever heard. He said when you have harmful thoughts about yourself, or you catch yourself comparing, or being hard on yourself, to imagine saying them to the younger you. I picture anyone being mean to little gap toothed indy and I want to cry! But that’s still me! that little girl. It really is me. Im just older now. 21 year old me deserves the same love that my future self would treat me 21 year old me with. I hope that made sense.
I think getting to know myself too has helped immensely with self love because I always say you could never hate anyone if you knew their story. If you really knew them and who they were as a person. The same should go for yourself. And there’s things I’ve learned about myself that I absolutely hate! I hate how sensitive I am. I hate that im not good at directions. I hate that I’m not good at doing makeup. I hate that I get jealous easily. I hate that I’m bad at opening up to people.
But then there’s other little things like, I love that I’m so good with kids. I love that I am fun to be around. I love that I am smart. I love that I am witty. I love that I am good at asking questions. I love that I bring out the best in others.
Just getting to know those little things about myself, the same way I would with a boyfriend or a best friend has changed my life in the most drastic way. I know myself and I love that person despite the things I don’t like, and because of the things I do.
And finally, my last realization.
Im all grown up!
Do you remember the moment you realized you were all grown up? Mine was a couple of months ago. I was in New York, doing my hair in a tiny little apartment bathroom listening to Lana Del Rey and I looked at myself in the mirror. Like - I actually made eye contact with myself. Isn’t it weird how you can look in the mirror, directly at yourself but rarely make eye contact? I just sat there for a second, looking at my face. My cheekbones, my random little freckles, my round eyes. I just sat there for a moment, looking…and I felt grown up. It was a moment of realization. I didn’t just feel grown up, I fully realized that I was grown up. When did this happen?? When did I become an adult??
Theres something about being a kid, where you really genuinely believe you’ll be a kid forever. Do you remember that? I remember sitting in KINDERGARTEN, with my blue glitter pencil box, listening to my teacher talk about “careers.” She asked us all what we wanted to be when we grew up, and I could not for the life of me envision myself as an adult. Or a mom. Or a “grown up.” That was for other people. I was a kid, and I was always gonna be a kid.
(for the record, I wanted to be a global sensation wildly adored popstar)
You think about your older self a lot though, right? Through the years. And its that thought of all of my hopes and dreams I had as a kid that motivates me in the present.
I thought about being 21 allllll the time. I thought I’d be a mega babe with a hot boyfriend, a convertible and a tiny dog that would fit into my purse.
So on my last day as a 21 year old, I wonder if 12 year old me would be disappointed to find out that none of those things ever happened,.
But damn. I can’t help but get teary eyed thinking about what I did turn out to be. Being 21, was everything I’ve ever wanted. And it was better than anything I could have daydreamed about in 8th grade science class.