Single Girl Diaries: Dear Boys

Dear Boys,

Here’s the thing. I have no idea what I’m doing. I have no idea what I want. I don’t know how to flirt and I sure as hell don’t know if you’re flirting with me. I’ve never really been kissed. I’ve never been on a cute date. And I’ve not had a boyfriend in six years.(Which let’s be honest. A relationship at 14 is not a relationship.)

I’m attracted to the guys that would never notice me, aren’t good for me, or are too good for me. The unattainable are just so appealing. (Someone back me up on this, amirite?)

HEATH

Also, if I like you, you’re going to think I hate you. Or I’m rude. Or really awkward (which I am). Buzzfeed recently produced a video that perfectly captures this aspect of me and made me finally feel like I’m not alone.

flirting

If I like you, I am hyperaware of your presence, but pretend not to see you. If you like me, you’ll have to address me because I’m awkward and won’t say anything (usually because I’ve convinced myself you hate me for some reason or another). If you address me, my voice is not my normal speaking voice and I try to act as blasé as possible. I’ll also turn the color of a tomato because my body thinks it’s hilarious to give away my secrets.

yourewrong

*Please note that this is not my real personality. I’m actually funny and caring (or so I like to think). I also tend to mockingly insult you. Sorry. Please just know it’s the way my mind reacts to you speaking to me.

awkward

I don’t date very often because I don’t get asked. My friends tell me it’s because people are intimidated by me (but I think they’re just saying that for my self-esteem). LOL. I’m the least intimidating person. Ever. In the whole world. I’m like a spider. I’m much more afraid of you than you are of me. (Except not poisonous or deadly.)

laugh

So here’s the point. I know I’m not alone in this (at least that’s what I’m trying to convince myself). I’m speaking to you, dear reader that is wasting your valuable time looking at my silly gifs. We’re all terrified. It’s okay to be terrified. Try not to be intimidated by others. Don’t fear rejection. What’s the worst that will happen? They say no? Then you part ways as friends or happy acquaintances with no bitter feelings. C’est la vie, non?

reject

Most importantly, why should we feel pressured to be dating at all? Why is it that anytime I see a relative, they ask if I’m seeing someone? Can I not be a happy, independent 20-something woman without a man? I have amazing friends and family, a great God, a beautiful life, and tons of coffee. Sure it wouldn’t hurt to have someone to snuggle and watch movies with, but that’s what dogs are for, right?

heaven

That Overwhelming Feeling

hate

The semester is well over halfway at this point. I don’t know what happened. Where did the time go?

Monday after Monday, I manage to convince myself that it’s still the beginning and I’m just getting into the swing of things. However, that is a lie.

I am constantly going with little relief. The Missourian (and guilt of not being a better reporter) consumes my thoughts 67 percent of the day. The rest is filled with anxiety about my other classes, homework, coffee, the future, boys and friendships.

Over the past week, I’ve felt overwhelmed. Really overwhelmed. I had papers to write, articles to research, projects to do, family in town, books to read, and very little time to breathe. I’ve actually avoided stepping foot in The Missourian since last Wednesday. (That’s a record for me. I feel so guilty, but I just really needed a break. I’ll be back Wednesday, Liz. Promise.)

I’ve been trying to write an article about first generation college students and for some reason, very few people have gotten back to me. I’ve called and emailed, but no one is answers, they promise to get back to me later, they don’t actually answer my question, etc. It’s driving me nuts.

Photoj has been stressing me out as well. I want this. I want this so badly. But I’m so lost. I don’t understand a lot about photojournalism. The assignments cause me anxiety. I procrastinate. I don’t approach strangers well. It makes me think I’ve made the wrong decision. But I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love photography. I love the joy of it. The adventure. The beauty. The emotion. I just don’t know how to capture it.

I really hope I made the right decision studying abroad next semester. I’ve never wanted anything more, but writing a check worth more than my car (and it’s only 30% of the program fee) made me feel a little faint. I know it will be a wonderful experience and I hope it opens my eyes to the world and gets me out of my shell, but still. I get a lot of panic-inducing emails from the program about money and meetings.

I know that I’ll make it through this semester in one piece. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I can say the same for my GPA or bank account.

(Sorry. Please, dear readers and/or parents, do not fret for my sanity or send me to the counseling center. I promise that this is simply a social media rant.)

The Dreaded GA

On Monday, I endured my fifth GA shift. It was alright. Nothing too exciting. But I did manage to write two interesting stories.

disgust

The first was a quick write-up about a man that had allegedly set six fires in downtown Columbia. The story wasn’t too time consuming, but as I wrote it, I wondered how important it was to share. I have several issues with ethics because I’m literally the most indecisive person. Ever. I never know the right answer. (But do any of us really?) The man was homeless. He was likely mentally unstable. So was it necessary to report on? I felt invasive, but wrote it anyway. Then, as karma often does, I was chewed out by a police officer for allegedly telling one of her coworkers that I’d been waiting “all day” to hear back from her. It was 1.) inaccurate. I’d only been waiting and hour and half. 2.) extremely rude and something I would never say, especially in a manner that could be taken as offensive, and 3.) I was doing what the editor told me. So that sucked.

The second article I wrote for GA was a much happier experience. I reported on a Dunkin’ Donuts that will be coming to town in 2015. The only problems I had with this story was hearing back from the owners. They didn’t contact me until the next day, which was annoying, but I understand that people have lives and they don’t revolve around a daily newspaper. The second issue I had was figuring out where the restaurant was going to be. The Tribune and Dunkin’ HQ reported a slightly different location from where the owner said it would be and we needed an exact location for a beautiful map featuring a doughnut. That led to five or six evening emails and two (and one dropped) phone calls to the copy editor. I really enjoyed putting the story together, but I’m a little disappointed in what was printed. I tried to incorporate three or four good doughnut puns and not a single one made it through.

Single Girl Diaries: An Ode to My Secret Love

I take a deep breath and open the door.

The atmosphere instantly heats the chill of the evening air.

I spot you across the room and slowly saunter up.

I say your name, filling me with butterflies.

I know we’ll be together in a few short moments.

Time stands still as I ache to hear my name.

You’re too far. I’m found wanting.

“Ellise.”

I turn in your direction.

You’re waiting for me, perfect and sweet.

I reach out and hug you to me for warmth.

Your aroma is heavenly.

I take the first sip and all is right in the world.

My mocha latte and I are finally together.

james

A Weekend Home

This past weekend, I went home for the first time this semester. I cannot begin to express the joy of going home. The three and a half hour drive alone does wonders for my mood. Yes, there are trees in Columbia, even a few good hills, but it can’t compare to the beautiful Mark Twain National Forest of Southwest Mo.

Missing home already.

A post shared by Ellise Verheyen (@ellisenichol) on

Fall finally makes its presence known now that the once green leaves are slowly melding into bright reds, rusty oranges, and faded yellows. The twists and turns of the Ozark backroads zoom by. Excitement builds. I’m finally home.

I brought a friend this time. Ellen got her first taste of where I came from. I’m sure she understands why I’m so ridiculous now.

I went home because it was my older brother and father’s birthday weekend. Garrett was born one day before my dad’s birthday. Quite the present.

We got in late Friday night. After hugs and love, we snuggled into the couch for a nice, lazy evening.

On Saturday, after an enormous breakfast of Dutch Baby pancakes, Ellen and I decided to take on Silver Dollar City, a pioneer-themed park in Branson, Mo. It’s the best. We rode roller coasters and ate tater-twists.

Later, nineteen members of my family crowded into my home Saturday night. I’m sure it was mildly overwhelming for my guest. Especially because when my family gets together, conversation usually revolves around poop stories and hunting.

The next day, we went to my home church and I’ve never seen the service have so many people. It was really encouraging. After, we took Ellen on the grand tour of Branson (i.e., drove down the Strip). Then we headed to Cracker Barrel for brunch. The rest of the day was spent perusing Walmart and driving back to CoMo.

This weekend was great, but it left me wanting. I always forget how much I love home. When I come to school, I’m on my own. I’m an independent college student left to rely on herself.

I suck at time management. I spend way too much money on coffee. I have FOMO (fear of missing out). I’m a sub par student. But when I go home, I forget about all of that. I can just lay down on the floor and snuggle my dogs. I can pester my siblings until someone rubs my feet. I can eat a home cooked meal and/or deer meat. I can sit and talk with my daddy and watch Netflix with my mom and sister. I can talk to my older brother about life. I can make fun of my little brother for his tendency to date older women. Life is easier.

I tend to forget.

So this is your friendly reminder to hug a loved one, call a parent, text a sibling, and take a breath.

Note to Parents: I know you read these and think I’m depressed. I’m not. I just miss you. Get over it. (LURV U.)

An Interview I Enjoyed

Last week, I was assigned a fun and simple story about two award-winning authors that wrote a children’s book titled “Sam & Dave Dig A Hole” together. The pair, Jon Klassen and Mac Barnett, are to stop at the Columbia Barnes & Noble on Oct. 18 as part of their national book tour, so I was to write a quick feature. What I didn’t realize is that this would be the most entertaining and wonderful interview I’ve done to date.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what information I wanted to get. I had a list of questions, but as soon as I had the duo on a conference call, the conversation began to take a number of hilarious twists and turns.

I found myself asking if they ever made mudpies, why the kids didn’t dig all the way to China, and why Jon’s cat is named Pigeon, rather than the typical dry interview questions. (Of course I asked those too…but those only received short, factual answers which are no fun.)

We talked about making mud potions, the boundaries of a book, and how Jon’s cat has a weird face and odd personality. But we also discussed the purpose of a children’s book, the simplicity of a good story without a moral lesson, and how children are unrated. It was one of the most thought-provoking conversations I’ve had. Both Mac and Jon had wonderful insight into their world of books.

Framing [ ] <–That's supposed to be a frame

In my News Reporting lecture last week, one of the professors/editors brought to light the importance of framing and how it can affect a story. He gave two opposing examples on the same subject matter: oil.

The two articles, one written from the perspective that oil is a grand treasure that provides economic benefits, while the other shares the non-monetary cost of fracking, but the health concerns caused by the emitted gases.

The first article I read, entitled “Y’all Smell That? That’s the Smell of Money,” was published in Texas Monthly. The frame of this story was obviously written to show the benefits of oil drilling in Texas, specifically its positive impact on the economy. The photos within this story are all beautiful blue skies or majestic sunsets illuminating the machinery used to remove the natural oil. All the photos made of people are framed to give the view the idea that they are doing well, making money, looking important, etc. Aside from the photographs, the story if filled with advertisements specifically catering to an audience that either makes money from the oil industry or are a part of that field. (The Bank of Texas ad literally has a photo of men drilling and uses the quote “When Others Lost The Energy To Loan, We Kept On Producing,” making a direct reference to the economic benefits of the industry.

The opposing article, “Big Oil, Bad Air,” takes a completely different approach. This article shares how harmful fracking in Texas is. One statistic said that three facilities are allowed to release 142 tons of nitrogen oxides, 95 tons of carbon monoxide, 19 tons of sulfur dioxide, 8 tons of particulate matter and 0.31 tons of hydrogen sulfide PER YEAR. As a reader, that is the opposite of what I want to know. The photographs in this article also highlight the fact that this is not a good thing. Lynn Buehring wears an oxygen mask to breathe in her home town, flames show gas escaping into the atmosphere, and landscapes don’t demonstrate the same healthy glow from the previous article. The framing of this piece is entirely different.

Both articles address fracking, but where one encourages it, the other attacks it.