Let’s talk about the ancient history of racism

Racism is ancient history if you define ancient as a clear and present enemy in our world. We learn about the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement in school as definite moments; there is talk about the pushback, but overall they are sweet victories for equality.

As a white kid in a 99.9% white area, this is where it ends. We’re told we’re all equal now and shown black and white photos of a time long ago when we weren’t. We’re encouraged because we live in a better world where color doesn’t matter. We all have the same opportunities. It’s a beautiful thing.

Except this isn’t true. Acting like all of this happened in the long ago past is damaging to our progress today.

Some important dates: The Emancipation Proclamation was signed September 22, 1862 and became official January 1, 1863. The Civil War officially ended May 13, 1865. It took until June 19, 1865 for the message to reach everyone.

This all happened 155-158 years ago. While it was more than a century ago, the first African slaves arrived to the colonies in 1619. That’s an enslavement period of 246 years, nearly a century longer than freedom.

Based on that, we as people living in 2020 are not as far removed from slavery as we think. Especially when you consider the North winning the war didn’t solve everything for the African Americans.

There was the Reconstruction period that lasted 12 years, but then it ended and the Jim Crow era began in 1877 and ended in 1968. The Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964, so there were four years where freedom was granted and yet some states still enforced segregation and other racist laws.

Essentially, we’ve only been “equal” for 56 years. That is not that long ago. My parents are 58 and 56, so it is technically in their lifetime. But let’s step away from the timeline to a specific moment.

The 16th Street Church Bombing in Birmingham happened 57 years ago today, September 15. Now a bombing in Birmingham at that time wasn’t super noteworthy given the presence and enthusiasm of the KKK, but this one stands out.

On a Sunday morning, a group of white supremacists planted 19 sticks of dynamite on the east side of the church. Bomb threats were received, but again, these weren’t uncommon at the time so they were ignored.

Carolyn Maull was 14 and had just left five of her friends in the women’s bathroom when she went to deliver the Sunday school reports as they changed into their choir robes. She heard the phone ring in the office and went to pick it up. A voice responded to her greeting with “three minutes.”

Less than a minute later, the dynamite exploded.

Four of her five friends in the bathroom were killed in the explosion. The fifth was seriously wounded and spent two months in the hospital. Addie Mae Collins (14), Cynthia Wesley (14), Carole Robertson (14), and Carol Denise McNair (11) lost their lives in a senseless act of hate.

The 16th Street Church was an active part of the Civil Rights Movement, and a few months prior to the bombing, a children’s march was organized there. Carolyn Maull had participated and been sprayed by a firehose that ripped hair out of her head.

People hated the idea of integration and equality so much that they turned firehoses on children and bombed a busy church on a Sunday morning.

This happened 57 years ago. That is not ancient history.

The point of sharing this isn’t to make people feel bad and get stuck in white guilt. Or lash out and say we aren’t the same anymore. I’m only trying to say it didn’t happen that long ago, so it isn’t suprising we still have issues today.

For more than 240 years, African Americans were seen as lower because of their position as slaves. One document freeing them didn’t change generations of reinforcement. By the time civil rights rolled around, we’re hitting nearly 350 years of bias.

If we expect that 50 years can erase 350, we will be disappointed.

Now, this doesn’t excuse people who only know these beliefs based on how or where they’re raised. It doesn’t allow white people to live in a privileged, colorblind world that ignores the truth. We all have the opportunity to learn and grow and change, and that is a beautiful thing.

We have to accept that dismantling the system takes time. We can’t get defensive and claim equality without reading the statistics and doing our research because we think the world should be better.

The four men responsible for the 16th Street Church bombing were known Klansmen, but didn’t face convictions until years after. The first was sentenced in 1977, two in 2001-2002, and the fourth died before he was charged.

These men, and the thousands others like them, terrorized Black people simply because of the perceived superiority of white people. Many of them are still alive today, the same age as our grandparents.

What this means is hate at that level isn’t a part of our past; it’s a very present threat to our reality. People who planted bombs in homes, lynched Black men and women, and dedicated their lives to the “law” and locking up as many Black people as possible are still alive, living with those beliefs.

They are still alive today.

I’ve read accounts from Nazis who were appalled at what they did, and others who stood by their actions based on their own beliefs. Logically, we can assume the same is true for our own racist terrorists. Even with a 50/50 split, we have a lot of people believing what they did is right and teaching younger generations the same.

Younger generations like our parents and our peers.

What is our responsibility? To be aware and to see the facts. To not be lulled into a sense of complacency because we don’t experience what’s happening directly. We can listen to the struggles of others and stand with them. White guilt is not the goal, because there’s no action there. It’s also not about living in shame about what our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. may have done.

Don’t deny what the protestors say because you don’t think it’s true. Don’t focus on the looting and forget what is compelling people to anger. Don’t cling to institutions over human lives.

Act in love, always. Recognize you can say Black Lives Matter and not be actively endorsing the organization or hating the police. Research what it means to defund the police before you get mad.

Stop seeking out stories that reinforce your own beliefs so you can be comfortable.

Racism is uncomfortable. This fight is uncomfortable. But it matters so someday we can say all lives matter and it be truly represented in the treatment of everyone, regardless of who you are and what you look like.

I spent my life doing everything you shouldn’t because I was raised to believe in equality and see that if Black people are imprisoned at higher rates, it must be their fault. That is what the world teaches without active conversations about race. I wanted another side to the stories because I couldn’t believe they were true. I know what it’s like to realize I can’t live in a comfortable world anymore.

Now is the time for this fight to belong to all of us so when we reach the 100th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, we have a real reason to celebrate.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

Racism isn’t political.

This shirt is not a political statement. I am not wearing it because I’m a liberal snowflake who hates the police. I wear it because I am a human being and more importantly, a Jesus follower. 

The greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God and then love others as ourselves. Remaining silent right now because it makes us uncomfortable or we don’t think racism exists is not an option. 

The millions of people protesting around the globe aren’t doing so on a whim. Maybe you’ve heard a few voices from POC who tell you it isn’t an issue, and those voices reaffirm your belief that the rest of us are wrong. Let me be clear, you are on the wrong side of history. 

I remember learning about the Civil Rights movement when I was younger and asking myself an important question – would I have marched? You want to believe you would, because equal rights shouldn’t be up for debate. It was, or at least should have been, an obvious argument. 

People in this country didn’t receive the same treatment because of the color of their skin. They decided to protest and fight for their rights. Slavery had been abolished for a century and yet some Americans still didn’t enjoy the basic rights that we are all supposedly entitled to. 

This is the time when I can confirm teenage Chelsea’s suspicion that yes, I would protest. Yes, I would speak out. There are people hurting in this country. We may technically have Civil Rights laws, but we all know a law doesn’t change a heart. 

Making something legal doesn’t make people accept it. It doesn’t mean a person has value to someone else, only that they should in court. This gives people the freedom to continue the trend of racism even if they don’t believe they are actively contributing. 

Trust me, I grew up in a small town with few POC. Since moving away, I’ve had to dismantle a lot of racist beliefs I didn’t know I had. I still have to search myself and recognize these thoughts that ever put me higher than someone else in my own mind. I have to check my privilege willingly because I want a better and more loving world for everyone. 

Jesus himself fought the system and sought those rejected. He didn’t ask to talk to the Pharisees to get both sides of the story. He wasn’t trying to validate that the religious people weren’t that bad. He sought the lost, the hurt, the broken, and He loved them.

I believe wholeheartedly that police officers are heroes. I do not believe they are all racists. But like a lot of systems in our world, something is broken. Crying ‘defund the police’ doesn’t mean get rid of them but exploring different funding options to help communities instead of militarizing.

You can cry ‘Black Lives Matter’ and still believe in your police officers. One doesn’t eliminate the other. This fight is to create a better future for everyone. Don’t get caught up in the polarizing nature of BLM and ‘defund the police.’ Focus on the real evil in this world.


Now is our time to make a real change. I don’t just mean legally, because again, laws don’t change hearts. They are important, but we need to look at ourselves first. We need to recognize what’s inside of us and how we contribute to the problem. We need to be brave enough to stand up to racist comments and jokes. We can be difference-makers.

This fight starts with the individual. If you and I don’t change, racism will persist. 

Write something.

Today I decided I would write something. What exactly, I wasn’t sure, but I woke up knowing I had to try. Every day I think about writing. My inner monologue thinks as if I’m writing, but the words never leave my brain.

I could write about my mental health and personal issues, but who really wants to read that? Maybe a commentary on racism and the political divide in our county? No, I don’t have the right words to conquer such a subject. Oh, I could try some sort of devotional, except I don’t know the Bible that well.

The rejection I face from my brain keeps the words from ever even trying outside. Every idea I have is shut down by one simple thought: I’m not good enough. It’s the root of how I don’t know enough, meaning I don’t really have anything to offer.

So instead of writing anything, I let my brain become overcrowded and continue starting posts in my head that remain unfinished. I fall asleep thinking about what I could say, knowing it won’t happen.

But today was different. I decided I would write something. I would take the time so the words couldn’t figuratively fester in my head. Because that’s what they do.

I actually just looked up the word fester, and it’s great. You can think of it like a wound that gets really gross, or food that becomes rotten. Whether it’s an emotion, tiger scratch, or an old clementine left in the fridge, things fester. They get worse and gross and harder to deal with. Those are the feelings in my head.

If you know me, you know I don’t like to figure out my problems alone. I need to talk through my feelings and whatever I’m facing. Tonight I was mad at my family for not talking to me about painting my apartment. This is because I have a lot of ideas and feelings and after awhile people drown me out. I’m not mad, I get it. I have a blog called Seemingly Good Ideas for a reason.

The point is, I know I need to express my feelings. I know my words need a place and I know there’s a limit to how much my friends and family can handle. Plus, when I take the time to think through something in writing, it’s like I’m releasing it. Or better yet, I’m taking care of a rotten wound.

Unfortunately this one something isn’t releasing everything I’ve had trapped in my head, but it’s a start. Today was hopefully the start of several things, including the practice of writing something.

If I can provide any help to someone reading this, if anyone has stuck through my rambling until I found my point, I would say this: do something. Revolutionary, right?

I know I’m not alone in waiting for the right moments. I’m waiting for the perfect alignment or plan before I move forward, but when has that ever happened or worked out? We can spend our whole lives waiting for a moment we’ll never see. Or we can do something. Anything.

Your first step might not be good. It might be as clumsy as this post, but you took it. That’s the important part we all miss. Spending time to get the path straight is nonsense; all we can do is focus on putting one foot in front of the other and following where we’re led. If we’re too busy looking at our feet, unsure of where they’ll take us, you’ll never get there.

Start with a day when you tried. You did something. You made a small move. I don’t know what it is you need to do, but you do. Stop waiting and go. If you fall, which you probably will, pick yourself up when you’re ready and try again. What good does staying on the ground saying ‘I knew I would fall’ do?

Build something. Say something. Try something. Change something. Break something. Lose something. Find something. Write something.

Whatever your something is, today is the day. I believe in you.

My plan to find love, or what I learned from Hallmark Christmas movies

Like most Christmas lovers out there, the Hallmark channel becomes a favorite during the season. Sure, the plots are predictable and 100% of the couples find love in the end, but they so innocently represent the goodness of Christmas it’s hard to look away.

The more I watch them, the more I think I realize why I’m single. It’s not because I’m unwilling to compromise my high and important standards, oh no. Hallmark Christmas movies have shown me that it’s because I’ve never ended up in a Christmas-obsessed town two weeks before December 25.

So this is my plan to find love.

Next year, or maybe this one depending on how long it takes to find the right kind of town, I’m going to mysteriously wind up in a small town with a lot of heart. You know, the kind of place where everyone knows each other and everyone frequents the same restaurant/inn/bakery/cafe.

I don’t have to plan much after this because I will undoubtedly run into an unbelievably attractive man within five minutes of entering the town. He might be the handy man at my hotel or maybe the person I need to do business with (not that business, not yet).

Initially we probably won’t like each other, because either he’s a grump or I’m a grump. I haven’t quite worked out my character yet. Either way, one of us will help guide the other one into experiencing the magic of Christmas.

There will undoubtedly be a tree-lighting we attend where we’ll engage in some light bantering and maybe we don’t hate each other as much as we thought.

The next time we see each other, we’ll have a romantic moment and almost kiss, only to be interrupted by a parent or small child and instead of being adults and admitting we have feelings for each other and following through on the kiss, we’ll awkwardly separate.

At this point, we may actually decide to go on a date. Unfortunately, it will go one of three ways:

  1. One of us gets tied up and can’t make it, proving the other’s point that we’re unreliable
  2. Our date will be interrupted by someone causing trouble and it will go awry
  3. I will get called back to Buffalo and decide going back to my life is the right choice instead of looking for love

No matter what happens, we will be pulled apart and then they’ll be a montage of how sad we are apart yet too proud to admit our feelings. Insert unimportant side characters who try to advise us to follow our hearts or something.

The good news is on Christmas and/or New Years (depending on the length of my trip), we’ll dramatically show up at the same party and realize we’ve been foolish and it’s time to just be together.

And we will live happily ever after (not in that small town though, he will move back with me obviously).

My future husband is just waiting in a small town with nothing do all year until Christmas happens. I’m sure of it. Soon I’ll go and have the change of heart I need to finally let love in and open my heart and remember love makes the world go round.

It’s foolproof. There’s no way 5,576,483,839 Hallmark Christmas movies could get it wrong.

My November #ootd Challenge

I imagine I’m not alone in my daily routine of standing in front of my closet, staring at my clothes, and deciding I have absolutely nothing to wear. I mean obviously there are items I could put on my body, but it feels so limited.

There are the items that just barely fit, so do I want to put them on and be uncomfortable all day? What happens if I get a little bloaty? Then I look at the items I deem as “reserved” for some magical perfect occasions, aka I will never wear because I’m too afraid it’s not the right time. Finally, I see the same five pieces I wear on the reg and decide to go with one of them.

Seriously, for three weeks in a row I wore the exact same outfit to work on Thursday. I called it my Thursday outfit. Even worse, it was a navy fleece pullover and black dress pants because I was too lazy to find something that matched.


As much as I love my routines, this one is tired and I hate it. Every day I go through it and I never do anything to change. For most of my life, I thought this feeling would go away if I had the mythical “enough” looking back at me from the closet, but I’ve learned it’s not about quanitity.

You see, I’ve always loved shopping and new clothes. I mean, who doesn’t? Every new item is a chance to express yourself and show the world who you want to be. There are few feelings better than finding the perfect dress or shirt or pair of shoes. When you have the right outfit, it can feel like you’re one step closer to being the person you’ve dreamed of since you were little.

At least, that’s how it feels for me. Only I didn’t have the money for this material search for self-actualization, so I charged everything. It didn’t matter that I was worsening my financial situation if, for a moment, I felt complete.

The sad part is I ran up my debt for pieces of clothing I was too afraid to wear and “waste” them on a non-important day. Clothing that eventually I would just donate before replacing with new items that in the store felt like something I couldn’t live without.

I look back at photos and see jackets, dresses, shirts, and more and wonder what happened to those items? Why did I get rid of them? I honestly don’t have an answer for myself. Maybe it was just to make room for new things, or maybe because I never wore them, I thought I never would There are even times I’ve donated clothing that still had a tag.

This is a problem.

Despite vows to get better and be better with my money, it wasn’t until the end of 2017 I knew I couldn’t continue like this. My credit cards bills had spiraled and I could barely make the minimum payments. At the rate I was going, it would take years and years and years and years before I could pay everything off. I couldn’t run from my debt anymore.

My way out was a consolidation loan which I wouldn’t recommend for everyone, but in my case it gave me a lower monthly payment than paying the cards individually and even with the interest from the loan, I’ll get everything paid off faster. But when you suddenly have empty credit cards, it can be so easy and tempting to fill them up again.

I knew the loan wasn’t enough. I had to make a real change – only buy things I need. This meant when I was having a bad day I just couldn’t go get something new at the mall. Wanting something wasn’t enough to actually buy it. Basically, I learned to tell myself “no.”

After a year, this became my norm. It’s amazing how a decade of habits can disappear with a year of self-control. By the time 2019 rolled around, I never seriously considered buying new clothes or just going shopping. What was supposed to be a year of living wiser turned into a lifestyle. It doesn’t mean I don’t still want things, just that I’ve learned to curb that.

More than just not shopping, this journey has been about being content, something I’m not good at. I’ve had to stop looking for new things I needed to somehow round out this vision I thought would lead to wholeness. It meant settling for pillow cases that don’t match and wall art that isn’t trendy and shoes that aren’t the latest in style.

It meant realizing clothes, as much as I love them, could never make me truly happy or whole. Sadly this enlightenment didn’t take away the “I have nothing to wear syndrome.”

Perhaps I just assumed that forever I would stand in front of my closet thinking that, or maybe I would lose weight and have money and be able to build the perfect wardrobe (note: these aren’t the keys to happiness, Chelsea). It never occurred to me to fix my current situation because I’m a goober.

It took a friend doing a 30-day closet challenge to realize hey, I can do something. It started when I saw her #ootd (outfit of the day posts) and thought that’s an interesting thing, but then her story clarified the why and I realized with a resounding YES this is what I needed.

Basically, it’s all about this journey I’ve been on: being content and grateful. Instead of thinking I have nothing to wear and allowing my mind to think more is what I need, I can force myself to use my closet to its full potential.

Thirty days. Thirty different outfits.

Honestly, I love the idea because it meant I would plan all my outfits a month in advance (!!!!). For an obsessive planner like myself, this was a dream. I started by inventorying my clothes to have a working list and then sat down to make my plan. IT TOOK HOURS.

The biggest issue I faced wasn’t worrying about the weather or repeating – it was not wanting to schedule an outfit for a “wasted” day.

Can I just have a minute to talk about what a bogus thought process that is? I’m giving more value to days where I’ll be more visible. This is a much larger issue in my brain because I don’t give my best to days I view as unimportant. AND I’m placing all my value on wearing the perfect outfit and thinking I need them for the right occasions. Every day is a freaking miracle and I love looking my best! Why do I treat days differently? Whatever back to the point of this.

This November, I’ve decided to have no wasted days. Every day is going to matter because every day has an outfit that I’ve carefully selected. I technically started this the end of October and so far I’m obsessed. It’s so nice to wake up and just know what I’m going to wear.

Granted, I’m just getting started and so far I haven’t woken up wishing to burn down everything in my life and just run away. So we’ll see how those days go. Either way, I’m excited to actually wear my wardrobe and not trap myself in the same comfortable items.

Obvs I’m going to share and keep everyone updated. Just what you wanted, I know.

Here we go.

28 Things about me I’ve accepted after 28 years of being me

Five years ago I wrote about the lessons I had learned after 22 years of life. I remember feeling like I had turned a curve of adulthood at 23 and everything seemed to make sense. I’m sure it won’t surprise you to learn that two months later I quit my job, moved home, and realized 23 is actually the worst year of life.

Now at 28, I know my life is one big disaster in thinking I can do it on my own. There’s a lot I don’t know, but I’m confident in who my Creator designed me to be. It doesn’t mean I’m not still insecure at times. I’m still me, after all. It just means I can take an honest appraisal of myself and accept all the strange and unavoidable facts about me, like:

  • I have a weird hairline

In eighth grade a boy asked me if I had a receding hairline. After this, I took a vow to the gods of old to never show my forehead again. Despite having a luxurious head of hair, what lies beneath my bangs and at the base of my skull is a weird terrain of baby hair and awkward patterns. These days I’m slightly more confident about letting it all hang out, but understand that bangs simply frame my face better.

  • My palette is unrefined

To be clear, I’m not someone who orders chicken tenders at every restaurant. I’m not a barbarian. I can appreciate good and exotic food with the best of them. I’m just not good at discerning between flavors. My favorites are all basic dishes because my mouth can wrap its tasty brain around the classics. Don’t ask me to tell you what flavors are in something, either. Unless I’m eating a strawberry, I won’t be able to tell you it’s strawberry flavored.

  • I can’t really tell if something is good

Similar to my poor palette is my inability to really judge and compare things like food, books and movies. With age, I’ve gotten better at admitting what I liked best and offering my opinion, but I still worry immensely no one will agree with me.

  • I am not good at finding things

Have you ever seen the GIF of John Travolta in his character from Pulp Fiction opening his arms and looking around puzzled? That’s basically me. Whether it’s an Easter basket hidden the house, a file on a computer, or something on a table you’re pointing out to me, I probably won’t find it. I promise I try. I really do.

  • I’m a really poor communicator

As a writer and communications professional, this is a little embarrassing. For most of my life, I would explain or say something and be misunderstood. I’ve often found myself explaining things several times. Until a few years ago, I thought it was everyone else’s problem and I was the superior being. Nope. Turns out I have a lot of words but no clear understanding of how to use them to explain a point properly.

  • I don’t have any exciting hobbies

When people ask what you like to do for fun, I’ve always wanted to say something interesting like climb mountains or learn Mandarin Chinese. Sometimes I say travel because it is something I enjoy, but I don’t view it as a hobby. At the end of the day, I like reading and taking walks. And learning. I love gaining new knowledge and then sharing it when anyone will listen. I’m a huge nerd, but we can’t all be thrill seekers.

  • I will never have a large group of best friends

I remember going to college and assuming I would meet all these people with similar interests and we would all be best friends. Movies and television taught me that you need these large friend groups to get through every phase of life. Sure, I had a lot of friends in high school, but it was different.

Being only two years shy of 30, it seems unlikely that I’ll ever have a monster group, but I left college with something even better. My heterosexual life partner, Samantha. No offense to all my other friends because I like you guys too, but if I was faced with choosing between losing her and having other friends or only having her, she would win without a moment’s hesitation.

  • I am a great aunt

Not like a great aunt like a great grandma. That would be weird. Nothing makes me happier than my nieces wanting to cuddle with me.

  • I am weak when it comes to my mouth

I am the epitome of a big mouth, although mercifully it’s been shrinking as I’ve matured. It seems like my mouth and my heart are always after two different things and even when I know I shouldn’t say something, my mouth barges forward because it knows the reaction it will get.

  • I will always prefer sweatpants

I wish I was someone who changed into jeans after she takes off her work clothes, but that ain’t me. If I’m going somewhere after work, maybe. If I’m just home, heck no. I am in sweatpants and a sweatshirt, no bra. Sometimes I just skip right to pajamas. I have this great balance between looking good and enjoying the reward of looking like a bum at the end of the day.

  • I am responsible

There was a phase in my life where I somehow lost sight of the old woman I truly am and assumed I wasn’t a responsible adult. I let this idea grow until it became how everyone viewed me. But 28-year-old Chelsea is here to set the record straight. I’m responsible AF, y’all.

  • I am opinionated

If you don’t want to know how I feel about something, just don’t speak in my presence. I have feelings about basically everything and usually have zero issues with sharing.

  • I’m not political

There are things in this world I care about (people mostly). My politics come down to loving people no matter where they are or what situation of life they’re in. I don’t care about parties or policies. Nothing else in this world matters to me except for loving people.

  • I’m hairy

Remember when I talked about my weird hairline? Yeah, turns out I’m hairy all over. I used to be super self-conscious and think about shaving my arms but now I’m like nah. It’s cool that my hair grows down my neck. I have a cute little ‘stache that creeps in now and again.

  • I’m not super fashionable

I’m not saying this like I don’t care how I like or I look like a bum. I’m aware that 90% of the time in public I look nice. Usually my look is more classic instead of in style. Sam, for example, is always wearing things that are trendy. I used to pin looks on Pinterest and decide now was the time I would buy more fashionable clothing. Occasionally I stumble into something on the cutting edge, but usually I’m just low key me.

  • I have nice hair

This isn’t one I’m going to go on and on about. It’s just a blessing I’m aware of. So many people complain about their hair not styling or holding, and mine does both. I don’t need to use products and it will look good all day. It’s a nice balance between of thickness and softness and the color isn’t bad either. This has gone on too long.

  • I hate classification labels

Virgo, ENFJ, INFJ, 4, Introvert, Extrovert

These are all ways you can describe me and there are levels of truth in all of them; however, I HATE how people think they can understand you just by asking what your Enneagram is or if you’re an extrovert.

Now that I’m thinking about it, my frustration comes down to our quick intimacy culture. We’re obsessed with knowing how you’re classified because it helps us immediately understand someone. We think it gives us a deeper access into who they are. Just like how we present ourselves on social media. I want someone to learn about me not because they know my Myers Briggs rankings, but because they just know me.

Despite these labels, they can never fully capture the uniqueness of a human. I am Chelsea. A child of God. Lover not a fighter. Hufflepuff. These are the only classifications I like.

  • I’m bad at doors

I just don’t get locks and handles. I never turn, push or pull the right way. In defeat I usually walk away and have someone help me. It’s a major weakness I can’t overcome.

  • I’m a really lazy go-getter

People meet me and listen to me and assume I’m like the crazy proactive person. This is sometimes true. Because I am frequently a ball of energy that is literally bursting with enthusiasm (probably because I’m a Virgo, jk), I go through phases of intense activity and profound laziness. I have yet to find a way to balance the energy with the relaxation, but I’m always optimistic.

  • I’m an unshakeable optimist

If you ever hear me unsure if something will work out (outside of professional work opinions), it’s usually because being an eternal optimist can drive people crazy. I believe in seeing the best in people and believing in what will happen. Sometimes I hide this to commiserate with people so they like me more. I wish I didn’t do this.

  • I’m super obsessive

I literally have to limit myself on Netflix because I can binge like nobody’s business. I become emotionally invested in shows and feel out of sorts in my real life thinking about plot lines in a show. It happens with books sometimes, too. Usually I can walk away and give myself space. Usually.

  • I am not polished

Don’t watch me try to eat or get out of a car in a skirt. Isn’t there a saying about putting lipstick on a pig? I feel like that. I can look carefully assembled, but really I’m just a slob.

  • I am goofy

What can I say? I’m a silly billy. Prone to dance and sing in public, it’s likely I’ll embarrass you at some point when we’re together. I also make a lot of weird jokes that people miss and think I’m serious. As I mentioned, I’m a poor communicator.

  • I am smart

I was raised by a mother who never let me think I was smart so to this day I’m still surprised when sometimes tells me I’m smart. Let’s be clear – I’m not Harvard smart. I stopped at Organic Chemistry because it got too complicated. My main skills are information retention. If you know me and read this and think I’m an idiot, you’re not wrong. Brains can’t help with my lack of common sense or strangeness.

Upon re-reading I want to point out my mom was careful so I didn’t become a precocious know-it-all and drive everyone crazy. Thanks to her diligence, I wasn’t a complete know-it-all.

  • I’m an oversharer

Few things bring me more joy than when people ask about me, especially after clarifying they’re not trying to be too intrusive. I don’t think I have anything in my life I will not freely discuss in any situation. I thrive on sharing too much. Be careful what you ask for.

  • I’m a good arguer

So yes, I hate to fight and will likely end up in tears myself, but usually I’m too stubborn to give up. It used to drive my mom crazy how I could basically win an argument because I could wear the other person down. Twice I won debates in high school with minimal research on my end just because of my passion. Seriously.

  • I’m always trying to do my best

This site is called Seemingly Good Ideas because I make a lot of stupid choices, but at the end of the day it’s because I’m trying to do the best I can. I’m just a human, that’s all.

  • I’m a work in progress

I’m not going to accomplish everything I want overnight and this path has shown that the self improvement and progress is worth it. I hope until the day I die I consider myself a work in progress because there’s always room to grow.


This annoying habit of theming my birthdays began three birthdays ago at age 25, after a trip to Ireland woke me up. At the time, I thought I had it all figured out. Now I know that was just the beginning of my transformation.

#QuarterLifeChelsea began with a full month of celebrations and a dedication to living as  God called me. Also just living my life in general instead of hiding from it out of fear. I initially believed 25 would be about stability. I lived in a duplex and had a car payment, steady job, and a dog. It seemed like I had my life in order.

Following God, I’ll remind you, usually means we don’t actually have it figured out. Soon it became apparent I needed to leave my job and the perfect opportunity opened up to take me to Buffalo with my family. Then a month after that my dog was killed and I was living with my parents. #Ridiculous26 began with pink hair, a nose piercing, and a new tattoo. I took the lessons I learned from Ireland and my growing trust in God and just really went for it.

I left my comfortable full-time job to work at Sephora. More than the economic hardships I obviously endured, the bigger struggle was dealing with my family constantly telling me I had made a mistake. I didn’t know where my path was going, but I knew it wasn’t wrong.

It was during this time I had my come to Jesus moment.

Well, maybe not come to Jesus because I’d been saved for almost 15 years at that point. No, it was the moment when I realized I couldn’t keep living with the world and growing my faith. The two parts couldn’t meet up – I was still chained to the person I thought I had to be while lightly grooming the one I had to be. Even though I’d been going to church my entire life, I’d never felt that desire to be different. I didn’t think it was possible.

Fortunately, this changed when I got really drunk at a boat party, someone shared pictures and then I went to church and served hungover.

It was here a dear friend spoke into my life because she saw my duplicity, but more importantly she saw my potential. Suddenly, I knew I could be different. I wanted to change. This began a whirlwind. My first decision was to stop drinking and it’s one I intend to keep for the rest of my life.

By the time 27 rolled around, I went with #27thHeaven because I didn’t really know what else I was going for. My life was still in such an upheaval and I remained directionless. I forced myself to do the usual parade of September activities assuming it would help me feel like me again.

This is where I’m going to fast forward because honestly there’s so much and I don’t want this post to lose focus. This is what happened in nutshell: it’s like suddenly I reached the end of this dark uphill tunnel and I saw a glimpse of what God had for me. All of the work I’d been doing in my life made sense and suddenly I was new.

Everything in between are stories for another day. The end result is #Dedicate28. All of those years were about me, but I want that to change. This September wasn’t filled with endless activities. I want my life to be a reflection of Jesus and everything I do to point to Him. I want His greatness to shine, and I know I can’t do this if I keep putting myself at the center.

It’s not going to be an easy year. I mean, living without social media is challenge enough, not to mention everything else going on. But I’m confident in what God is doing. He’s shown me His faithfulness time and time again and I don’t want to lose sight of that glory for my own.

A year of being unsocial

For almost half of my life, I’ve been active on social media. I remember getting a MySpace at age 15 and carefully taking my profile picture to show off how deep and mature I was. In case you’re wondering, I set a digital camera self-timer and sat across the room with my bangs across my face and the classic look of being misunderstood. Naturally I was wearing a Harry Potter t-shirt.

Considering it was my first journey into social media, I’m not sure how I knew that was the norm. It was before MySpace the Movie exposed the concept of using angles to make yourself look better and I certainly wasn’t a scene kid committed to that lifestyle.

In a time where your parents frequently received CDs in the mail with trials of America Online, I was just beginning my web experience. My dad had Internet before most people, meaning I was on AOL Messenger before it became the sensation of AOL Instant Messenger. ChellyBelly911, hit me up.

What did we do in the early days before social media? It’s hard to remember, honestly. For awhile I played Bingo online and did the A/S/L game with strangers. Thankfully, things weren’t as dangerous back then. GorgeousGeekyGuys.com just *understood* my obsession with the cast of Lord of the Rings and I printed pictures of all my favorite hotties.

Yes, that’s what we did. Printed pictures of hot guys to hang on our walls. What a time.

The social side of the Internet continued to blossom with sites like Xanga and LiveJournal (I had both), but it hit its stride with MySpace. I spent so much dial-up time blocking phone calls so I could pick the perfect background and song for my page. Cultivating your Top 8 was crucial and being able to add more was revolutionary.

At age 17 I made my Facebook account. My sister was in college and guaranteed me it was the site all the cool college kids preferred. Twitter came at 19 with Instagram following shortly after. I guess YouTube happened somewhere too along with a million other sites that tried but couldn’t compete with the big guns (looking at you, Google+). And yeah I know there are more popular sites like Tumblr and Pinterest but I’ve got to get the point of this post soon.

Now as an almost-28-year-old, it’s interesting to look at the evolution of social media use. For some kids, Facebook has always been around. They can get tagged in baby pictures and have their own account. They missed the years where it was cool to poke people and the question wasn’t ‘what’s on your mind?’

It began as a simple way to stay connected and share funny images. Writing on Walls to say you missed someone’s face was the norm. Is it even still called a wall? I wrote that instinctively. No, now it’s a Timeline. I lived through the crises of our generation when the layouts would change and everyone would like pages that served as petitions to bring the old way back. Surprisingly, this never worked.

You posted a status to actually update someone. When I look back and see everything I shared, it’s frankly embarrassing. I would update like five times a day and most of the time no one even liked my statuses. This is when my life with social media starts to take a turn.

At some point, those likes began to mean something to me. Maybe it was learning more about the platforms through my public relations major that made me want to perform better online, but I think it was a cultural shift.

Here social media went from a simple way of staying connected to being unique and heard. Slowly, we began to cultivate our images online. Not everyone, mind you. Some people probably share things today and don’t care about likes. Even writing that I think, then what’s the point of sharing?

And that is my problem.

My family is very smart and funny and fortunately I have received a fraction of both these features. As a result, social media became a good outlet for me. It took time, but eventually I found a way to combine my talents with a way of entertaining people online.

Listen, I don’t write that because I think I’m so amazing and everyone loves me. Then again, Jimmy Fallon did say my name several times on television because I am so creative and funny so you be the judge.

It really started with Twitter. I barely passed 500 followers and didn’t get a lot of retweets, but got told just enough I was funny that I kept tweeting. I began to share less on Facebook and focus my updates on things I could make funny. When Instagram launched the Stories feature, it was over for me.

By this time I was deeply invested, committed and reliant upon social media. It felt like as long as people liked me there, I was good enough. I wanted to keep pleasing people. When a post didn’t perform well, it would make me second guess everything about myself.

If I’m being honest, it felt like my social media persona was a version of myself I could control. My entire life I’ve known that I’m kind of a divisive person. I’m overall likable (she said modestly), but I’m also a lot. I’m intense and not really great at keeping my opinions to myself. In real life, you never know what I’m going to say. I never know what I’m going to say. With social media, I could select the best parts of me and give them to the world. It made me feel liked and good.

Naturally, it also made me feel more insecure.

When you present a controlled version of yourself, you can’t help but worry about all the untamed areas someone might encounter. The way friendship works in this online world only made it worse.

Fasting social media isn’t a new concept for me, but this year it held more weight. As my relationship with Jesus continued to grow, I made decisions focused around following wholeheartedly and several times I knew this meant distance from online communities. It was then I realized so much of my online communities are my real communities.

People told me they missed seeing me online. Others said I seemed like I was disconnected. This online version of me had become a substitute for real relationships. Sure, I saw my friends IRL, but so much more of our communicating was done online. People didn’t miss hanging out with me, they missed seeing what I shared online. I was disconnected because I wasn’t engaging online.

To be clear, I’m not saying this as a slight to my friends. In fact, their words were an eye opener for my relationship with social media. What their words told me was without social media, I didn’t really know how to stay connected.

Even worse, my actions have led social media to be a part of my identity.

Around Easter of this year, I decided to take an extended hiatus. This is where I learned about my problems with community, but I also learned something incredibly valuable. Social media does not have to be a part of my life. Even of people expect it or say it’s sad that I’m going, it doesn’t mean I can’t leave it behind. It doesn’t define me.

Eventually, I came back to it slowly, but as the weeks rolled by, I found myself becoming more and more dependent again. I unfollowed a lot of accounts that brought nothing to my life, but spent more time watching Instagram Stories as a distraction. I’ll scroll Facebook for hours, even if most of my time is just spent unfollowing video and meme accounts that I don’t want to see.

When I was away from social media, I read a lot. Now, I can’t keep my attention long enough and always find myself picking up my phone to distract myself. All I want is to be distracted, to see if my photo received more likes, to see if I’ve received any messages. I’m so tired of it.

I just need to limit myself, you say, and I get the suggestion. For many people who can casually browse and don’t live for the applause, it’s great advice. In my case, it doesn’t matter. I start with a spade and say I’m only going to move the dirt a little and soon enough I’ve dug my own grave where my phone has again become my most important relationship.

Since I turned 25, I’ve themed every year of my life, and 28 will be no different (in a sense). Following the transformation I’ve experienced over the last year, this year is Dedicate 28. It’s about not living for myself, but always pursuing Someone Higher. I quickly realized I needed to use this year to leave social media altogether.*

*so altogether means personally because I’m in digital marketing so obviously I have to use it for my job

In the days leading up to it, it feels like more people have reached out to me saying I’m funny and they love my stories and I’m just like GET BEHIND THEE SATAN! Jk, but really. I keep going back and forth wondering if this is the right choice and then I realize how tightly I’m holding onto something that I only really use to glorify myself. Sure, I share about God, but I know those likes aren’t for Him. I only want them for me.

Then I think about this site and the platform I’d like to have. It seems foolish to abandon social media if you want to grow something in 2018. First, I have social accounts for my blog and never use them. Second, if God wants this to go somewhere, He doesn’t need a Facebook account.

So I’m doing it. September 10, 2018, will be my last day until September 11, 2019. Usually I just quietly take a break, but I wanted to give people a warning in case they try to reach me. If you want to be my friend and continue our relationship, we have to do it the old fashioned way, meaning we’ll text each other about hanging out but never actually have time to do it. If you tag me in things, I won’t see it. If you send me a message on social media, I won’t see it.

You can text me screenshots, though. I do love some of the funny things that can be found online.

With this, though, I’m also challenging myself to be a better friend. Instead of relying on seeing your updates, I want to actually engage with you.

This is going to be a challenging year and prayers are obviously appreciated. I know God is going to use this time to help me refocus and continuing pursuing Him more without the distractions of glorifying myself.

See you next year, friends.

Except not if you read my blog. I’m going to keep doing this.

I am in the 92% of those who fail at their resolutions

I almost started this by saying ‘like most people, I make New Years resolutions,’ but it turns out most people actually don’t make them. In fact, some statistics I found on the Internet claim that while 41 percent of us always make them, 42 percent NEVER do. NEVER?

It’s hard for me to imagine that almost half of people don’t resolve to change their life, lose weight or make better financial decisions. What is New Years for if not the fresh start?

But maybe it’s because of the crazier (but not unbelievable) statistic. Only 8 percent actually keep their resolutions.

Maybe these non-resolution makers are the ones who realize you don’t a new year or even a Monday to change your life. Maybe they’re the ones who wake up on a Thursday and decide today’s the day and actually make it happen. Perhaps they don’t want to set themselves up for failure and instead pretend there’s nothing they wish to improve.

Either way, I am not in the 42 percent. I am part of the 41.

I can’t make a good life decision if I’ve already had a day of bad ones. If I decide to stop using my credit cards, I live it up until the next day when the ban officially begins. If I realize it’s time to eat less, I eat everything I can today so I can ‘start fresh’ tomorrow. Although tomorrow turns into Monday, and Monday into next week, and next week into next year, and I’m still here wondering why my life hasn’t changed.

I am part of the 92 percent who fail every year.

While cleaning my room last week, I found a misplaced notebook filled with my resolutions for 2017. Excitedly I scanned the list to see what I had actually completed, but then my enthusiasm waned almost as quickly as it began.


I’m pretty sure I didn’t do any yoga last year. I managed to rack up a lot more credit card debt instead of paying it off. Lol still a lazy a sloth and still have a lot of room to grow as an employee.

I did move out from parents’ so that’s probably a win.

Surely I’m done, you think. Maybe this is the year I just accept life as it comes and try to be the best version of myself as life happens instead of overthinking everything. I’ll switch teams and join the 42 percent who don’t play the resolution game.


This year feels different, not because I’m so full of hope, but because I feel so defeated. I’ve pushed myself into this place where if I don’t make the necessary changes, I’ll drown. This is God working in me – instead of the pride that carried me for years, I’m accepting my way sucks. It SUCKS. And I’m ready to rebuild my life and finally address my problems.

So because I’m sure you’re overwhelmed with curiosity, here are my resolutions for 2018.


  • Grow my faith


This looks like reading the Bible in its entirety for the second year in a row and fasting one thing every month. I already have a prepared list because too often I think I should fast something and then I never know what to do. I’m trying to take away every opportunity I have to make excuses.


  • Take care of myself


Basically this starts with counseling. I can’t keep denying I have real issues that I need to address, and I’m going to struggle in a lot of areas if I don’t take care of them. I usually say I want to lose weight or be healthier, but I really want to care less about my weight and more about why I am overeating and being lazy.

This is also about saying no and accepting my limitations. I often say because that person can do it, I can too, but that’s not a healthy way to live. I need to go only as far as I can and not be afraid to admit when I need to stop.

Maybe I’ll try to do more yoga.


  • Spend money on ONLY what I need


I have a real spending problem. I’m in an embarrassing amount of debt and I keep pushing myself down further into the whole. For a number of reasons, I’m sick of it. I should be clear when I say what I need is like a First World need, not the basics of food, water and shelter. More on that later.


  • Write one thing a month


Last year I wanted to write a book proposal. This year I thought about a themed series each month. For where I’m at now, that’s way too aspirational. If I can consistently write one thing a month, I’m already a success.


  • Read 50 books


Before a world of texting, Instagram and Netflix, I used to read. A lot. And I still do, but only sometimes. My goal is roughly one a week because I feel like the old me would scoff at that because she could read like 50 in a month, but I’m out of practice.

So here they are. Five resolutions. Two days in and I’m doing great, so we’ll see how the rest of year goes. It doesn’t necessarily feel like a fresh start, simply the end of my pretending I don’t need to change my life. They’re different, I promise.

Maybe 2016 wasn’t so bad

Like most, I went to bed last New Year’s excited for 2016. Sure, you can make a fresh start any second of any day, but something about a new year feels like the real deal. You leave behind the pain and drama and failure of the past and have 365 days to find a brighter path. New year, new you, new opportunities, right?
Wrong, according to 2016.

I’m not sure when we all began to realize this wasn’t going to be our year. More memes began to pop up blaming 2016 for all the horrible things happening and collectively we agreed 2016 was to blame. My favorite memes involve children in the future asking about 2016 and parents grabbing alcohol before discussing the clustercuss we all experienced.

For some, it was the never ending string of celebrity deaths. Alan Rickman. David Bowie. Prince. George Michael. Carrie Fisher. Debbie Reynolds. All the others I don’t feel like Googling because it will just remind me how bad it actually was.

Maybe it was the fact that our country is clearly divided and not ok with our president-elect, Donald “I don’t actually know how to be president” Trump. Like more than 50 percent of the country, I did not vote for him, but in a year of constant misfortune, I don’t know why I’m surprised he actually won. Perhaps you’re still amazed that we learned Russia hacked our election and people aren’t really talking about it – you know, not like it’s a big deal or anything.

Ok, I’m done being political.

For too many, 2016 hit us personally. I lost two of my grandparents. With my grandfather, we didn’t want to say goodbye but we knew it was time. My grandmother, his wife, was a total shock to our family, and one we’re still feeling more than month later. My beloved Gomer, the alien dog who brought me so much joy, died the day I returned from a business trip.

Realistically I know 2016 isn’t to blame. It was simply a bad year and 2016 is our scapegoat. We can’t explain why so many tragedies occurred, so we attack the common denominator in every situation.

But was it all bad?

Being perhaps an overly reflective person, this is the question I’ve been asking myself as we finally approach the end. Surely there were bright spots we’ve lost in all the darkness. Inspired by my best friend sharing her favorite memories of the year, I decided to write down some of mine and realized maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.

As you can see, I have a lot to celebrate, from late nights to good movies to musicals to everything in between. I made new friends, said goodbye to old friends and continue to grow into who I really am. Two of the biggest reasons I still think 2016 was a success comes down to my relationships and the changes happening in my professional life, as weird as that sounds.


“No man is a failure who has friends” and my relationships are a great reminder of this (thanks It’s a Wonderful Life). My life has kind of been all over the place this year, literally and figuratively if you consider my move and all the places I’ve traveled. Throughout everything, my friends and family kept me sane.

Moving to a new state is challenging, even when your family is close. I left a lot of great people in Pittsburgh and spent a few months thinking I would never find people in Buffalo. Little by little, I built a great roster of new friends who continue to add so much to my life. Thank you, Buffalonians, for welcoming me and loving me and being awesome.

My family’s glee that I moved to the Buffalo abruptly turned to horror as I started to make some questionable (in their eyes) decisions. Yes, I quit my full time job and a profession I had a master’s degree in to pursue ????? I put the question marks because I’m still unsure. Now I work at Sephora and I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT – from my coworkers to the company to my discount. But I still know there’s more to come, I just don’t know what it is yet. I understand their concern and belief that maybe I should’ve stayed at my well-paying job until I figured everything out, but where’s the fun in that. Don’t worry guys, 2017 is going to be lit professionally for me.

Finally of course, we have the great support system I left in Pittsburgh, most notably my best fran and favorite human bean Samantha. I think it’s rare to have someone like her in your life, and if you are lucky to have one, don’t ever lose her. She stood by me through every step, from the tiniest step to largest jump, asking the hard questions and calling me out when I needed a reality check.

As long as I continue to surround myself with better people than myself, I think every year is good.


I just mentioned it, but I kind of threw everything away this year. I spent two years at my last job in Pittsburgh, and I felt a restlessness I then attributed to needing a new job with different challenges. When I received the job that allowed me to move to Buffalo, I was elated. I knew it would be a lot of work and I was ready.

Looking through my planner, you can see my excitement wane over the months as my entries become less and less detailed to the point I’m basically begging myself to do work. I decided to fast, feeling my problem was a lack of focus. I prayed for God to calm my restlessness and allow me to see this work was necessary and I could find fulfillment in other areas. The result? It just made me more restless.

When I realized what the solution was, I didn’t want to tell my family. You see, to them I am flighty, chasing something I will never find because I need to find it where I am. Maybe they’re right, but all I know is I have to try so in 20 years I’m not in the same place because I convinced myself I had to stay.

My original plan was to ease away from everything. Get a second job to help pay off my debt (Sephora) and continue looking for what I should actually be doing in my life. After deciding this, the gnawing didn’t go away. This is the hard part of faith. No one else knows what God is doing in your life and it’s likely it won’t make sense to you either. All you know is you have to follow, so I did.

Without a job, I knew I had to quit mine. I called Sephora, even though I still didn’t know if I was hired, to let them know my availability changed from evenings to open. I sent my two weeks’ notice via email and silently panicked and begged my friend Sarah to meet me for dinner (and likely a drink or two). While I was on my way, I received a call – Sephora offering me a job. Not quite full time, but better than part time with guaranteed hours and benefits. I tried to remain calm and cool on the phone, but as soon as the call ended I screamed with joy and praise to my God who never lets me fall. I immediately called Sam and then my dinner with Sarah turned to one of celebration. Still afraid to face my family, I sent them a text the next day.

There is a bigger thing at play here as well. I have felt for years God calling me into ministry. I remember being at a youth camp and when asked to go to a separate room if we felt the call, I inexplicably stood up and went. I’ve always told God no, I wasn’t anything special, my life had to be simple and safe. I’ve tried my hardest, but God continues to call me into the unknown.

2017 remains more of what I cannot fully grasp. I know I need to make more money. I know I need to find my next step. I know I need to break ties. But I don’t know what any of that looks like. So I will keep praying and trusting.

If you’re reading this, you’ve done it! You’ve basically survived 2016. I know the new fear is what if 2017 isn’t any better? Like the DC Cinematic Universe, the trailers look so good but the movie disappoints. What if we’re so excited for next year we’re ultimately let down?

Here’s what I will tell you – more people we love and cherish will die, whether we know them personally or adore their work. You will have bad times in 2017 and it will seem like things are just going to get worse. If you keep thinking this way, you’ll inevitably be right. Life is as bad as we let it seem.

Next year, believe in the best instead of expect the worst. Even when the world seems to be falling apart, remember it’s always darkest before the dawn. In life, we choose to find triumph in tragedy and joy in misfortunes. Having a life that hits the notes you want isn’t the key to happiness, but remembering you have the power to find the good.

My prayer and wish is that we all believe in the best for 2017 and keep seeking what is good. Love your neighbors fiercely and never stop fighting for what is right.

Happy New Year!