two point five

Any of you get excited when a new version is about to roll out?

I just got a new iPhone. And some of the new features are incredible. Like, it recognizes my face. Even when I'm looking down at it and not when I have it above my face so as to not show my neck rolls whilst taking a selfie.

It knows me. The real me. It knows me better than my Insta fam. Or my Snapchat friends. And that's a little sad.

It has been two point five years since I've written anything real on here. I have been so wrapped up in maintaining my 2.5 jobs and feeling sorry for the 2.5 heartbreaks I've had and wondering if I'm ever gonna have the 2.5 kids I was supposed to have by now that I just can't sit down and process that because if I do I might figure out that Jessi v2.5 is the same Jessi she was 2.5 years ago and I just can't.

How many of y'all felt that?

I mean know I'm not the exact same person. Deep down I know that. Not that there's anything wrong with Jessi 2.0, or 1.0 for that matter, but I do know that people have to grow. We have to learn. I mean that's the whole damn point of this blog....me figuring out how to grow to learn to love to live.

I recently did a boudoir session with Blackberry and Fig Studios, which was not nearly as terrifying as it would have been 5 years ago. (Honestly, 5 years ago Jessi 2.0 probably would have judged Jessi 2.5 for even doing it. Shame on her.) It was really fun, but it was also one of the most vulnerable things I've ever done, and it really made me think about how I view myself.

I have lived my life to please others in a big way. Not saying there is anything inherently wrong with that, but I've also realized there is an anti-altrusitic element about the way I was doing it:

I want to be a good person, yes, but I also want people to think I'm a good person.

And sometimes I think the importance of the latter outweighs the former and that, dear friends, is where I go wrong. From what I say to what I post on social media, there is always that question of "But what will people think if I say this? Or do this?" Will people think I'm funny? Will they think I'm cute? Will this get his attention? Will she think I'm trying to get attention?

It all comes down to pride. And honestly I think we all struggle with it to some extent. I want to be seen as good and smart and pretty and fun. But why? I'm still trying to figure that part out.

I've had a couple of people tell me to read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.

Jessi 2.0 read the title, made assumptions, and was like "Nah I want to give a f*ck about everything. That's what good people do." But Jessi 2.5 has at least learned that sometimes other people are right and sometimes she assumes things that are incorrect.

I haven't finished it yet but so far it has hit me square in the moneymaker. Because, here's the thing. If we try to give a f*ck about everything, we're not really giving a f*ck about anything. Except, maybe, trying to *look* like we give a f*ck. And that just doesn't f*cking matter.

As Mr. Manson writes, "Who you are is defined by what you're willing to struggle for." And I'm realizing, slowly, that the things I struggle for on a daily basis are not the things that will in fact make me a better person, or the world a better place, so why, dear heart, must you keep struggling?

I sincerely want to be a good person, but I also want to be the kind of girl that is smart enough to know the difference between being good and being a pushover. A girl who can be confident without being prideful, strong without hurting someone else. It is a fine line that I walk daily.

Here's hoping Jessi v2.5 will keep struggling only for those things that are worth struggling for. And here's hoping I don't give a f*ck about which or how many of you cares.


p.s. Shoutout to Leslie at Blackberry and Fig for capturing me at a time when I was hurting but you still thought I was beautiful. There is something quite nice about that.



I signed up for OkCupid last night. That's when I knew I'd hit rock bottom. Not that there's anything wrong with dating apps, I just always said I would never do it. "If I meet someone, I meet someone. I'm not gonna force it." I've always hated trying when it comes to stuff like that. I prefer things to happen naturally. I'm all about the story, and when I do fall in love, I would like to have a good story to tell. Blame the Disney movies if you want; I sure as hell do. 

And to be clear, I'm really not even ready to date yet. I think I just needed a little pick-me-up, and I thought, what the hell, might as well try it and see what this is all about.


Filling in my profile was one of the most painful experiences of my life. And I say that while lying in bed with a pinched nerve that is leaving me unable to leave said bed.

Q: Write a self summary
A: I cannot believe I'm actually doing this.

Q: What are you doing with your life?

Q: What are you really good at?
A: Being awkward. Again, thanks for asking.

So I finish filling in these answers will all of my smart ass comments, kind of making a joke of the whole thing, because again, what am I even doing here? But people actually start messaging me. Like, immediately. And this is where the fun really starts. 

"Hello gorgeous, I really liked what you said in your profile. We share a lot of interests..."


"You are gorgeous. Tex me."


"36 yer old guy mobile"


"I feel lonely tonight"


And the best one:

"Do u like ur pretty feet rubbed"


What in the actual f*** you guys.

It's not that I'm depressed really, or hell maybe I am. I'm just confused. This is not where I thought I would be...a thirty-something single gal with two spoiled dogs and a mortgage who is still paying off credit cards and student loans from a degree she never used. And is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. Who signs up for an online dating app one night out of boredom and ends up feeling even more alone than she did before. I am like the real life Bridget Jones, karaoke drum solo and all.

Maybe I'm a pretentious bitch. I mean, it's possible. Like, if you say "tex" instead of "text" and "ur" instead of "your," chances are I'm going to laugh at you whilst swiping left. Because I say things like "whilst" and I don't need you in my life. And sure, compliments are great, but just telling me I'm pretty is not gonna do it for me. Like I'm gonna be all, "Oh my gosh, you think I'm pretty?!?! Done and done. Let's do it." I mean, for real though, what is wrong with people? And what does a girl gotta do to fall in love these days? And more importantly, why do I even care?!

I can.

I was so hopeful. I remember looking forward to who I was going to be, what I was going to do. I was passionate and driven and kind. For some reason, I think the world has made me ashamed of my inability to find someone to fall in love with, like you're supposed to do, and be successful, like you're supposed to be. And it's left me a little bitter. I feel like I'm doing the right things, but nothing is working out right. My relationships always fail and my businesses never pay the bills on time. 

And don't tell me to pray. I do pray. And don't tell me to go to church, cause right now that's just depressing too. I'm surrounded by happy people with hot, doting husbands with their happy babies and I just want to tell them to suck it. Which, I know, is so wrong, cause church is supposed to be about God, and it is, cause God made hot, doting husbands who love their wives and babies and I'm just like, "WHY NOT ME, LORD?"

I mean this too shall pass. I'm just having a minute. Probably PMSing, because YES THAT'S A REAL THING. And also being bedridden makes me have to think and shit. I kind of already feel like the cantankerous old lady with her old-lady-moth-ball-smelling sweaters. It happens, I guess.

Maybe I should add that to my profile.


I am awkward, and I am smart, I am brutally honest, and I can be a sarcastic bitch at times. 

Stop telling me that's not ok, world.



a third side to the target debacle.

I keep hearing about this whole Target bathroom debacle, and the more I hear, the angrier I get. It seems that nowadays all we do is play Red Rover with our issues. You on one side with your "opinion" and you on the other with your "opinion," wondering who's gonna be the strongest or the fastest and win.

Everyone's got an opinion. You're on the outside looking in, but you just want to win, casualties be damned.  Feelings be damned. Truth be damned.

 There are only two options. Pick one.

1) Transgenders deserve the right to pee in whatever bathroom they want.
2) Letting transgenders pee in whatever bathroom they want means my kid might get molested.

Hearing these two options, most people choose a side quickly and fiercely, as if they have some kind of stake in the matter. Looking at that list of options, quite frankly, I would tend to agree with Option 1. That seems logical. Who cares what bathroom people pee in?! Plus, Option 2 seems unlikely, not to mention the fact that correlating transgenders with sexual assault is just wrong. And, as I'm sure we've all been hearing, we've already peed in the same bathroom as a transgendered person. It happens all the time. And it's fine.

Which is true.

But here's the deal. There is a third side to this. A side that is apparently "not what you need to be afraid of" because, as we all know, out of the 1 in 10 children that are sexually assaulted, close to 90% of them are molested by someone they know. It's the creepy uncle we need to be afraid of. Or the nosy neighbor. Or the naughty teacher. "Stranger danger" is just some cliche, and we need not fear, because ONLY 10% of them get molested by strangers, and I mean, really, no one gets molested in a public bathroom.

Well, except me.

I did.

April 17, 1996. 2:40 pm. I was 11 years old. I was wearing black jeans and a red sweater and my green Wednesday panties. I was at school. I left Mrs. Osborne's math class early to use the bathroom. A guy had already snuck in and was hiding in one of the stalls. He waited until I was alone...

And I've spent the last twenty years checking every bathroom stall to make sure no one else is waiting for me. I've spent the last twenty years having flashbacks of a boy with a blue washcloth over his face and a gun to my head telling me not to scream as I undressed. And it's been twenty years since I've been able to wear day-of-the-week underwear.

I'm not telling you this so we can have some silly pity party. This isn't easy or fun for me to talk about, but I'm ok. And I won't let someone tell me to keep quiet again.  I swore a long time ago I would do what it takes to speak up for the kids like me who didn't get to have a voice when their innocence was stolen from them.

It's not fair to call me a statistic. It's not right to say that because I am in the minority, I don't matter. Isn't that what you are trying to argue against anyway? Discrimination against the minority?!

Who are you really trying to protect?

Yourself maybe? Does it look better to choose a certain side? Do you work with people who chose a certain side? Do you get better blog ratings if you choose a particular side? And it goes both ways. I'm not pointing my finger at one or the other.

So what if I choose neither side?

Because this situation is bigger than peeing, and it is not about discrimination. It really isn't. I don't have a problem with transgenders using any bathroom they want. I know you just want to pee. Hell, I wish that guy hiding in that stall in April of 1996 was a transgender. Cause then HE WOULDN'T HAVE WANTED TO MOLEST ME. I do not hate transgender people. At all. And if you know me, you know that's the truth.

My problem is with the idea of calling out a specific policy to the public in general that may allow for a pedophile to use it to his advantage. In my mind, even the possibility that one more kid could be hurt the way I was hurt FAR outweighs whatever damage there is in having to pee in a different bathroom. I'm sorry, but it does.

Tell me if I'm missing something, but I have been racking my brain about this, and I really can't see how peeing matters more than this. Even if the chance of a pedophile taking advantage of this policy is small, minuscule even, why take that chance? I can tell you first-hand that it just isn't worth it. My life has been affected every single day because of what happened to me. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

I still don't know what the answer is, to be honest. I just know that it isn't fair to say it's only about peeing, or only about discrimination. Whatever it is, it isn't just that. And it isn't just because of hate or disregard for "inclusivity." There is probably a third side to every story, something I am just now learning, and I hope from now on we can try to see that side too. Because it really does matter. It may only matter to 10% of us. But it still matters.



when it's raining, let it rain.

You ever have one of those days where everything just seems to go wrong?

I pride myself on not being much of a worrier. I take things one day at a time, one step at a time, for the most part. Few things stress me out.

Until today.

It all started with a 2:30 am wake up call from one of the nine dogs currently living in my house. Yeah. There are nine of them (actually ten now...but we'll get to that later). So I get up, put on my crocs (because I can no longer walk barefoot in my house without fear of stepping in something unpleasant), and take the eight six-week-olds, plus their mama, outside to go potty. I stand in a stupor for about ten minutes, waiting for all of them to (hopefully) get everything out of their system. And then I round them all up, two at a time, and finally get back in bed. My next and final wake-up call is at 6:30 am, and I do it all over again.

But that's fine. I've been doing that every day, five times a day for a month now. And they are my babies, and I love them. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do, right?

Plus, I think to myself, "Today is going to be better anyway. I will actually get to stay home with them since I'm staying home from work to wait for the internet guy to come fix my internet." That really is a relief to me since I usually have to drive home for lunch, inevitably clean up a floor full of poo, then leave them again, and come home again to a floor full of poo, puppy pads be damned. But I'm home today. I got this.

As I try my best to harness my optimism, more and more things start piling up and it's getting harder and harder to maintain my happy-go-lucky attitude. First,  I get a Facebook message from a friend of mine informing me that she has a partial payment from one of my past clients (who were friends of hers) who never paid me for the work I did for them, work I paid for out of pocket. She got it by going to their house and yelling at them. Obviously, this is the last thing I ever would have wanted, and now clients who already seemed to have very little respect for me have even less. I mean, I'm grateful to have some of my money back, since the mortgage is due and all, but I really can't afford to have even the slightest negative connotation associated with my business that I've worked so hard to keep positive. Not to mention the fact that this whole situation brought back up the fact I am out a whole lot of money I couldn't afford to lose, which just makes me mad all over again.

Then I get a text message from the people who were supposed to adopt one of the puppies. They have decided they can't really keep him, so I am back to having ten dogs. Then the guy who is supposed to be helping us (at my other job) with programming our site is being really vague and unhelpful, not answering my questions or doing any of the things we are requesting of him, things we pay him to do. And he seems to have no respect for me either. I think it's because I'm a girl, so I try to be more assertive and firm, but it still just amounts to him calling my boss and then my boss getting him to do what needs to be done.

Then the straw that broke Jessi's optimism for good: Century Link. Never. Came.

I called them to see why they hadn't shown up yet. I got transferred three times (and the person before never tells the person I am being transferred to the problem, so I keep having to repeat myself). Finally, the last person tells me that the technician decided I was not eligible for the upgraded equipment they were coming to install (because my current internet was not working), and "there is a notification pending in the system to let you know that he won't be coming." WHAT.  A notification is pending? You couldn't have just called me? Since, you know, YOU ARE ALSO A PROVIDER OF PHONE SERVICE.

Commence the weeping.

Let's be honest. If it was just one, maybe even two or three of these things happening at one time, I could have handled it. I think. It was just all coming down on me at once. And all the cold, uncomfortable, unlikeable things about humans and what we sometimes do to each other felt like one of those rainstorms that hits you right after you've gotten your hair done. Except, like, way worse.

I don't think I've said the F word so many times in my entire life.  I mean I'll let one fly every once in a while when I just need to let out some hot air, but I try to keep my composure. I try to be respectful to those around me, I try to be a good Christian girl, asking what would Jesus do and all that. But not today, friends. Not. Today.

Have you ever read "The Birds of Killingworth," by Henry Longfellow? It's basically about a town of people who kill all of the birds because their singing is getting on their nerves, but then all of the bugs that the birds were eating, are now eating the townspeople's crops. So they end up going out and finding more birds to bring back into town, realizing that their singing is far less of an evil than starving to death.


You know, it really gets on my nerves when people start busting out in Annie show tunes whenever I'm having a bad day, so I will spare you that. But, I do think there is wisdom in Longfellow's words when he says, "The best thing one can do when it is raining, is to let it rain."

I know that "the sun will come out tomorrow," but what I need to know is that right now, it's raining, and that is actually ok.

We are allowed to have bad days. We are allowed to soak up the misery and cry it out. Maybe have a glass of wine or four. Buts let's not kill all the birds either, you know what I mean? Cause if it's not birds, then it's bugs. And that's not cool.

So I'm just gonna sit here and cry for a while until I feel a little more like Annie, and I give you permission to do the same.


p.s. If you've never seen Emperor's New Groove, then watch it next time you are having a bad day. It just might help.


adulting on christmas

I have this distinct memory of Christmas as a kid...riding in a car for hours to get to Granny's house, of stepping out onto that smooth concrete in the carport that the cousins and I would be skating on later, seeing Granny open up her screen door and leaning out a little, waiting for us to come inside. I remember her hugs, and the smell of stale cigarettes as I walk into her kitchen. I remember the silver tinsel on the Christmas tree, most of which floated to the floor or on top of the presents crowded under the tree. I remember making a pallet on the living room floor to sleep on since the adults got to have the bedrooms. I remember my brother and cousin stealthily opening up their presents Christmas Eve to see what they got, then carefully taping them back up so no one would notice. I remember Christmas morning. I remember the anticipation and the excitement and the joy.

Honestly, I can't really remember the presents I opened (except for that one time I got a hat with a huge sunflower on the front and my cousin Brook got a similar one, plus matching overalls. Those kinds of things are hard to forget...) but I do remember all the feelings. And I miss those. And the people. I miss them too.

Adulting at Christmas is hard. I've heard it gets better when you have kids, and you sort of get to relive that Christmas magic through them, but I'm not there yet. I'm not a kid and have no kids. I'm an adult. Who just ate a double quarter pounder from McDonalds for dinner on Christmas Eve. (And I still can't decide if that's the saddest thing I've ever heard, or if the sadder thing is the fact that someone was working the drive through window at McDonalds on Christmas Eve.)

Is anyone else with me on this? I feel kind of guilty saying this out loud, since Christmas is really about the birth of the Savior of mankind and all that, but the struggle is real ya'll. What is it about this time of year that makes me dislike being an adult?! It's like the best part of being a kid was Christmas-time, and the best part of Christmas-time is being a kid.

Maybe it's just the unholy amount of saturated fats I just consumed, but I'm a little sad now.Will it ever be the way it was? Can it? Should it? And is it all in my head? Did my parents feel then the same way I do now? Will we continue to miss the gift we never knew we had?!

Yeah I really don't know the answers to those questions, but I do know I get to go to my parents' house tomorrow morning, and I will probably show up in my pj's (if only I still had a yellow onesie...), and mom will make breakfast, and the coffee snob in me will be grateful that my parents are coffee snobs too.

I have many things to be grateful for: a beautiful, loving family, a cute puppy dog, a Creator of the universe who sent his only son to die for me, to name a few. I know that tomorrow can be whatever I make of it, and more than likely it will be a good day. Sometimes I just miss the stale cigarettes and silver tinsel, you know?

Anyway, Merry Christmas. Ya filthy animals. ;)



dear drake,

It's crazy how you can miss someone so much that you never even knew.

I just spent the last five days with my cousin (your mom), Brook. She is the cousin I am probably closest to, because we are the closest in age and share an affinity for Andrew Keegan, Twizzlers and Dawson's Creek (even though she's Team Dawson and I'm totally Team Pacey). She is the cousin that introduced me to Nirvana and Doc Martens and Sonic the Hedgehog. She gave me someone to talk to during family get-togethers. She even broke up with my 7th grade boyfriend for me because I was too scared to do it myself (still sorry about that, Steven). Brook is the most outright, honest, no-nonsense, independent woman I know. I love spending time with her because she reminds me of what  it looks like to be yourself, and to be ok with it.

I also got to meet your dad for the first time. I can't tell you how lucky you are to have Dillan for a daddy. Not only does he adore your momma, he is also hard-working and faithful and kind. I am so proud to be a part of his family now too. And that includes his parents, your grandparents. They feel like home, and I loved them the second I met them.

When I heard about what happened, that you were born unexpectedly last Monday, straight into Heaven, without ever taking a breath on your own, I was absolutely rattled. I had to leave work for the day. My first thoughts were of your parents, who were so excited about you coming into their lives. I didn't understand why this was happening, the same thought I get every time something bad happens to someone good. I don't even try to understand their heartbreak; honestly I think it would kill me.

All I could think about for the next five days was getting to your mom. I know I hadn't seen her in over two years, but now it just seemed so wrong that I would be so far away from her while she was going through something so terrible. I was finally able to make it up there on Saturday, and as soon as I saw her I hugged her and the tears came.

In the next couple of days I learned how truly incredible your parents are, and how blessed I am to be a part of this family of ours. They are among the strongest, bravest, most loving people I've ever known. They were so sad, but stayed so positive. They knew where you were, so they had no fear. They are missing you for now, but know they'll get to see you again one day. Some people's faith is shaken by tragedy. I think theirs was made stronger. I know you were born with and for a purpose. And you died with one too. I won't pretend to completely understand why God doesn't stop bad things from happening to us, but I do know that He can take something really awful and make it into something good.

I'll be honest, I'm still sad that I don't get to meet you and see the man you become. But as hard as it is for us, I trust that you are doing well, looking down on us with that sweet smile. It's probably weird to say this out loud, but I'm kind of jealous of you up there in Heaven with the Big Daddy, and your grandma Julie and Aunt Laura and Granny and so many others I've had to say goodbye to down here. I am glad to know I have family there though, and that you are now and will always be taken care of.

I am reminded of what my friend Hannah taught me a while back when she went through something similar - the best thing we can do to honor your memory is to remember you, love you and move forward with hope. So here I am remembering you. I loved you even before I saw those sweet pictures of you that cousin Kena took. You were perfect and beautiful. I know that pales in comparison to how you are now, truly perfect and beautiful beyond compare...

I really do miss you, but please know that you will never be forgotten. You will always be my sweet baby cousin Drake, and you will always and forever be loved.

Cousin Jessi

"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk across the waters, wherever you would lead me..."


i used to be perfect.

I used to be perfect. I made perfect grades, was a perfect child, never got into trouble, never snuck out of the house, never went to parties, never even dated. I didn't drink, I didn't smoke, I didn't do drugs, I didn't have sex.

In college I kept up with all of this and more. I was the president of my campus ministry. I was also the secretary, treasurer, and promotions officer, a small group leader and in the worship band. I was a good person. I really loved people, and wanted to make a difference. And I knew it. I also knew that this meant I would fall happily in love by the time I graduated college and then have 2.5 children by the time I was 30. This is the plan for all good girls, and I stick to plans.

Goodness, however, is not a true compass for life. Yes, we should try to be good and make good choices, but it doesn't actually dictate our path in life, at least not always. There's a lot more to it than that.

Four years ago, almost exactly, I broke up with my fiancee/best friend, left my home in New York, quit a job that I loved and moved back in with my parents in Alabama to start over. This was not my plan, but my plan was not working out for me. And I was angry. I had been so good for so long and had nothing to show for it. It wasn't fair.

So I decided to stop caring so much.

I'm not saying I'm a bad person; in fact, all in all I'd say I'm still a pretty good person. But the last four years have been quite the roller coaster. I have done and said things I am not proud of. I have fallen quite far from the pedestal I once put myself on. I've done the things I swore I would never do. I have made bad choices and hurt people. I've let people hurt me.

And you want to know the darkest part? It's a secret I could never tell anyone, but I'll tell you anyway: I wanted it.

I remember telling my mom a long time ago that I was afraid my story wasn't exciting enough. That I couldn't relate to other people because I had never really done anything bad. I remember her telling me that it scared her that I thought that. I understand that now too.

I wanted to know what heartbreak felt like. I know now. I wanted to know what rejection felt like. I know now. I wanted to know what drunkenness felt like. I know now. I wanted to know what lust felt like. I know now. And it has broken me. Not just me, but the little bubble I had lived in for so long. I could no longer be ignorant, or naive. And that can be a very scary place to be. I found myself longing for the safe little cocoon that I once lived in, far from real life and real choices and real people.

But here I am, smack dab in the middle of real life, where it is not safe, and it is certainly not stable.

The only thing that has always been a constant in my life, besides my family, is God. I have always loved God so, so much. It may sound cheesy and silly, and a lot of my friends now don't really understand it, but even when I wasn't in church I always believed and I always loved Him. There are things I believed growing up that just don't apply in real life, and that may have been a part of my original naivete and ignorance, and I definitely don't want to go back to that, but I have never wanted to leave God. Never. I have just been so afraid that I couldn't do it "correctly" anymore, whatever that means. Following Him is so damn heartbreaking sometimes because it's just so hard and we're just so bad at it. And I really hate being bad at things.

I became so fixated on the fact that I am never again going to be that girl from four years ago, that I was forgetting the fact that I am who I am today, and that's pretty awesome too. Yes, I have made bad choices, but who's to say I can't be even better because of those choices?

In church this morning (p.s. I've finally found another church that feels honest and real and I am so grateful for that) Pastor Ryan was talking about the prophet Haggai and the word he got while they were rebuilding the temple: that "the glory of this present house will be even greater than the glory of the former house." And maybe this is me being self-centered again, but who's to say God can't do the same thing with me? Maybe I can be a better, stronger, less afraid version of myself? With a little more wisdom? And humility? Lots and lots of humility?

I have been so worried that I couldn't be the girl I used to be. And that's so silly. Why should I ever be her again? She was not real. She followed a set of rules because she was scared of the consequences, not because she truly believed in what she was doing. She did what she was supposed to do, not because she was truly following the example of Jesus, but because she was looking forward to the reward. That is no way to live. Or at least, it is no way to live well. It's certainly not the way God wants us to live.

Now, I am so glad to be broken. I am so glad to be teachable. I am so glad to be wrong. I am so glad to know that when I make mistakes, I can be better off for them. I am so glad to know that I get more than one chance.

I used to be perfect. And I am so glad I'm not anymore.



we are groot.

I recently saw the newest Marvel movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, and it was spectacular. A bunch of misfits and ne'er-do-wells fighting a common enemy for a common good, and they literally save the galaxy. Honestly, I was pretty skeptical that I would even like the movie that much, and I'm a huge Marvel fan. I just wasn't sure it would really come together in the end, and I wasn't sure the storyline would even be that entertaining for me. I was pleasantly surprised.

My favorite character was Groot. He's basically a huge tree (literally - he's called a Flora Colossus) who can only say the phrase "I am Groot." (Well, actually, he is saying a lot of things, but we simple-minded folk only hear "I am Groot." It takes a more complex brain, like that of Rocket Raccoon, to understand what he is truly saying..but I digress.)

Basically, Groot is misunderstood - a lot. He looks different. He is intimidating. And literally no one can understand him. He is so so so different...."other-worldy" in more ways than the obvious. People assume that because he is so different, and because he is from another world, he can't possibly be one of us. He doesn't think like us, or feel like us, or act like us.  He is, quite simply, not "us."

(Just so you know, a spoiler alert is coming, so if you haven't seen the movie yet, please go watch it, then finish reading this post.)

Towards the end of the movie, the Guardians must do something drastic to defeat Ronan and save everyone else. What ends up happening, is that to save his friends, Groot creates a protective covering of branches to surround them. He used the thing that made him different to help the people he loved, and in doing so sacrificed himself. When Rocket Raccoon understood what he was doing, and what would ultimately happen, he asked Groot, "Why are you doing this?!" His response: "We are Groot."

I'll tell you what, I wept for days after that.

Sometimes I make fun of myself for learning such huge life lessons from movies. Especially comic book movies. But, it happens, like all the time. In this case I learned that no matter how different we seem, or where we are from, we are all from the same tree, so to speak.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting the stunning Kate Bosworth. It was completely random. She just happened to be at a bar that I was at near my hometown. I would like to say I confidently walked up to her and like "Hello, Kate. It is very nice to meet you. I am a huge fan. May I take a picture with you?" But that did not happen. Luckily, I was with a much braver friend, who gave little to no shits about looking like a crazy person, and walked right up to her and asked to take a photo with me.

Kate was very pleasant, even though we were totally interrupting a conversation she was having with her gorgeous husband. She shook my hand as I introduced myself. She smiled. She said she'd be happy to take a photo with me. She literally made my night.

In typical now-a-days fashion, I immediately uploaded the photo to Instagram and Facebook. I was so excited. I was not, however, prepared for the comment feed that followed.

"What in the world happened to her face?"
"Do her features look a little alien to you?"
etc, etc.

I was absolutely mortified.

What if she somehow sees this photo (that I've already tagged her in) and she sees these comments?! How horrible! I was baffled that anyone, let alone my friends, could ever say such nasty things about another human being.

Of course, thinking about it later, I realized that this happens all of the time. I'm guilty of it too, much to my own disappointment. We somehow think that because these people seem like they live in another world (i.e. "Hollywood") they are somehow different than "us." They don't mind if we make fun of what they do to their faces (even though they probably had work done to cover another insecurity that someone else made them feel bad about). They don't mind if we make fun of the way they speak or the way they walk or the clothes they wear or the work they do.

They aren't "us" right?

But that night, I shook Kate's hand. She smiled at me and said "Hello" before turning back to have a drink with her husband. I hate to break it to you, but she is actually quite like "us." She just had more money to get the plastic surgery to get rid of the things she didn't like. All I could afford was the concealer to hide my acne, and the tweezers to get rid of my unibrow.

In the end, I'm no better than any of the people who said those things about Kate. It just seemed so personal because I met her. I will tell you now though, I will be much more mindful of the things I say about other people, no matter how distant from me they seem. Because "We are Groot," after all, and I honestly can't see it working any other way.