A "Toe"tally Sad Story

Disclosure:  The following story may come across as a joke.  It's not.  It's very real.  With real people, real experiences, real emotion, and downright real-ness.  

I have a thing for feet.  I love them or hate them.  As of 48 hours ago I was in great standing with my feet.  So much so that if I had made a list of phrases/adjectives that represented my affection toward the little size eight feet, it would probably look something like this -->  Nails.  Nail polish.  Nail art.  Toes.  Ten.  Flip Flops.  Summer.  Exposure.  Bare.  Pretty.  Coral.  Eternal love.

However, it is not 48 hours ago.  It is now.  And this is how I feel about my feet -->
Mutilated.  Incomplete.  Nine.  Absent.  Missing.  Unfortunate in appearance.  Closed toed shoes.  Homely.  Sad.  Covered.  Broken hearted.  

Why?  Oh please, let me tell you.  As part of my thing for feet and/or nails, I ALWAYS have my nails painted.  My polish usually correlates with the season and my general mood.  I consider it an extension of my personality.  From this info you can get a little taste as to how important each of my 10 fingernails and 10 toenails are to me.  On top of that, it's summer.  Summer means flip flops.  And...flip flops demand pretty toes.

I do my part to keep my feet in their prime.  My running shoes are the right size, my socks are breathable and not too thin/thick, my toenails are trimmed to the right length, and I am a regular at Holly's Nails where they clean up anything I missed and polish my toes to perfection.  Despite all of these precautions, tragedy struck on Monday night at approximately 10:35 pm.  It came out of the blue. An unpleasant surprise with no signs or symptoms.  I was sitting alone in the hallway of Chipman Hall at BYU, patiently waiting for my wonderful sport's camp girls to go to sleep when I looked down at my toes.  The Horror.  I honestly (as pathetic as this will sound) have never felt so helpless in my life.  My once beautiful, coral painted, left big toenail was hanging on for dear life.  In that moment I felt no pain, just sorrow.  Mini flashbacks of happier times with all ten toenails played in my mind.  They reminded me of what was and what would not be in the next 6-12 months.  

The next two hours were terrible.  My toenail was in transition, not completely off, but so close.  Those around me wrote off my depression as a plea for attention, when, in reality, I was genuinely troubled.  I spent the time in limbo on google, looking for any advice that might help me through my first loss of this kind.  I found comfort in a web series by Dr. Jacoby.  His videos outlined what the healing process would be like, what to expect, and how to behave in the meantime.  While he mentioned that it could take anywhere from 6-12 months for complete regrowth, he offered reassuring words that all would be well again to me and his 6,977 other viewers.  His emphasis on complete  removal helped me to take action, remove the nail, and apply a bandage.  Though I experienced a twinge pain in the process, I knew it was for the best and that removal was not a means to an end, rather a beginning.

While still mourning, I am finding happiness in the little things again and feeling tremendous gratitude for those that were there for me.  In my time of need my dear roommate Anna and some of her campers allowed me to openly express my feelings and struggles to them while they somewhat respectfully listened, laughed, and offered their opinions.  One of the girls went as far as to initial my toenail as a symbol of her support and Anna was kind enough to visit the vending machines to get peanut m&m's for me.  

This morning we (Me, Anna, and our campers) held a memorial service for "Toey".  It was short and sweet, kind of like Toey herself.  I shared some memories, recited a "Toe"logy, accepted kind words from Anna and the campers, and held a moment of silence.  Then, we buried her.  Wrapped in a light blue sticky note adorned with a smiley face, she entered the ground. Anna then led the girls in the first line of "God Be With You Til We Meet Again".  Overall it was a beautiful service.  The next few months will be tough, especially with it still being open toe shoe season, but I have faith that my new nail will grow in stronger, prettier, and hangnail free.  

Please enjoy the pictures of the process below:


Support Group

ello bandage

New shoe of choice

Toey in the grave

Her headstone "Birth-July 16, 2012"

Uncontrollable sobs

Stage makeup or raw emotion?  

My future band aid use is bright and kitty!

There you have it, a toetally sad story.  If you have any advice, comments, or well wishes please contact me.  Also.........the Sport's Hero Day story that I referred to in a post a few months back has been published!  Check out page three of the current issue of BYU Magazine.  

Yours truly -->  Chelsea


The Dreaded Growl

Generally I like to think of myself as a pretty stable person.  By stable I mean to say that I adapt to new and unique situations fairly well.  However, there is one very specific situation that catches me off guard almost every time.

Every Monday and Wednesday I wake up at 8 am ish.  Disoriented I stumble out into the kitchen, grab my usual square blue bowl, pour a generous amount of cereal, add the proportional amount of milk, and haphazardly attempt to feed myself.  On good days all of it makes it into my mouth, other days...well...my green, mold like carpet gets a luxurious creamy bath.  Why is it necessary that you know this?  It's my proof that I do indeed eat, despite what I'm about to tell you next.  

You see, twice a week, on those beloved Mondays and Wednesdays, I have a New Testament class at 11 that lasts two hours.  This class takes place in an intimately small room with fantastic acoustics.  It is five rows deep and houses about 30 people total.  Because of its religious nature my professor has a very strict "no technology" policy as well as a "no talking policy", unless you are responding to something he has said.  Because of all of these factors, the class is extremely quiet.  

I have a love/hate relationship with this class and I'll tell you why.  At approximately 11:15 each class period (it seriously is like clock work, I should create some sort of log) I face the most utterly terrifying feeling in the entire world (yes, it is that bad).  It starts out as a subtle hollow feeling, then slowly works to an ache.  At this point in the process I'm panicking.  I chomp on my gum, chug my water, hastily search my bag for anything edible, yet, it is never enough.  Because...what happens next...happens regardless of my tireless efforts...and is almost worse than Emily Maynard keeping the self proclaimed entertainer in the awful green shirt on the first night of The Bachelorette (almost, he's terrible)...it is...the growl.

A soft gurgling, it causes a frenzy.  Internally I'm freaking out.  As subtly as humanly possible, my arms creep up to my stomach and get in position, ready to tightly fold over my menace of a stomach at a moment's notice.  The ultimate feeling of emptiness comes next.  I feel hollow and my body knows it.  All of my muscles tighten, the little hairs on my arms jump up, every nerve in my body in tune with my teeny tiny stomach.  Then, as if out of no where, it comes.  The deep grumble.  We're not talking little rock slide grumble.  We're talking Mt. Vesuvius grumble.

Nobody around me will make eye contact or acknowledge that an earthquake just took place next to them, but they are all thinking "Hmmm...she should probably eat" or "Wow, I'm willing to bet that this girl never eats", and the most likely "Huh...I thought Mt. St. Helen's was in Washington".  j

Everyone's been there.  It's incredibly awkward and personally irritating.  Generally my response to the situation above is silence.  Sometimes I throw in, to the person sitting next to me, "Wow, I must be hungry", to which I usually get a pity chuckle.  And on occasion I've found myself wishing for an imaginary friend that would bring me some imaginary food that would, at least in my imagination, end the misery.

Fortunately for me I have found my salvation in snack form.  Before now I had tried virtually anything and everything to satisfy me with out throwing off my eating schedule.  Sound the trumpets for this little bit of heaven on earth:

So simple.  So yummy.  So filling.

Try it out, I promise you'll love it.  I have been stomach growl free for two class periods on this baby.

To my beloved readers I wish a wonderful Memorial Weekend, a full belly, and a pity laugh on my behalf.




I've never been one to yearn for the past, but I know the type.  Longing for simpler, easier times they reminisce on the many great memories while selectively eliminating the negative ones.  It's in human nature to avoid present tense.  We can't wait until next week...or next month...or when we finally hit our twenties...and we wish we could go back and rekindle the flame with our elementary school flings, relive our 16th birthday, experience prom all over again, and score the game winning goal.  There's nothing wrong with thinking like this, in fact it's healthy to remember moments of positivity, but it should also be kept in check.  

This might come across as a random post, but I promise I will get to the point eventually......  You see, I spent the weekend with my family in Disneyland.  It was my 7 year old brother's first time.  Being able to witness firsthand the raw happiness that manifested itself in his subtle half smile and incessant chatter as he met his favorite characters and rode the rides was truly a privilege.  I've honestly never seen him happier.  Was it Disneyland itself?  Highly likely.  Was it the warm weather?  Eh...potentially.  Was it the fact that he had full control over what we did for four days?  I'd be welling to bet the lemon raspberry cheescake waiting for me in the fridge that it was.  (Yes.  Lemon raspberry cheesecake is sacred.  And very bet worthy)  Regardless of what it was that made him happy, I distinctly remember feeling the slightest bit envious of him.  To be seven again, free from the chains of the young adulthood poverty and the academic strain that bind me, would be fantastic.  And...I've felt this way since I said adios to him at the airport.  But then...it hit me.  His life is not any easier than mine (right now you're thinking "Alright Chelsea, where in the heck are you going with this?").  I may have some aspects of my life that I struggle with and that I find inconvenient, but so does he.  He has bad days.  He has to find someone to sit by at lunch.  He has to share is favorite legos.  He has to learn how to read.  He has to go to bed before everyone else.  He can't have fruit rollups for dinner.  His life is tough!  

Kody and I both have difficulties.  We both have joys.  However, they are catered to our age.  Remembering this is key in those moments (or hours in my case) of nostalgia.  Wishing away your life with the vain hope that you'll someday return to your "glory days" or "high school years" is silly because it wasn't any easier back then.  Sure, looking back makes it seem that way, but that's only because of the perception and growth that came from overcoming and moving on from the things you faced back then.  The same could be said of the times that we look forward, thinking "Oh, I'll start reading about Ghandi next week to become a better person" or, my personal favorite in Provo, "I'll start working out once I'm engaged".  The time is now my friends.  

My hope for those that read this is that you will recognize that the best time to focus on is right now.  Stress about the future and remorse for lost opportunity is inevitable, but recognizing that you can neither change the past nor control the future is crucial.  So...a challenge for all of us to work on together is to a) set attainable goals that you can work on a little bit each day; b) slow down and cherish the simple things of daily life; and c)  Look back to remember good and learn from the bad...and look forward with hope that you will be able to look back and remember the good and the bad that you are currently experiencing.  

Forgive me for the long post, it was much longer than anticipated.  And forgive my eternal rampant, I like to write, so...naturally this happens.  

*stepping off my soap box*



Moments of Impact

    When I moved out of my home of 14 years this past fall and into "Happy Valley" for a plethora of new experiences I told myself two things: don't get married and steer clear of any student leader/activity position that would take away my precious free time.  I broke one of my self-promises.  I'm getting married.  Joke.  I got sucked into the incredibly enticing pit that is Y-Serve.
    Y-Serve is a BYU sponsored organization that coordinates and creates student service opportunities on and off campus.  I'd like to say that I avoided it before falling in headfirst, but I honestly didn't.  I had no idea that such an organization even existed until January.
    On January 21st (maybe...I can't remember the exact date), I got a chance to be a group leader for a program at BYU called Sports Hero Day.  I was assigned a group of 20 6th grade boys to chaperone as they moved from station to station interacting with athletes from teams that included diving, soccer, baseball, golf, volleyball, track, and football.  The boys loved it.  I tried to reign them in, but let's be real for a moment.  They are 12 year old boys.  They love sports.  They love people that are really good at the sports they love.  Most love BYU.  This made it nearly impossible to have any level of real control over them.  Luckily I convinced them early on that if they were good for me I would do all I could to get them a chance to interact with the big name athletes.  Did I have any way of following through?  No, not really.  But somehow it happened.  My group just happened to consistently be in the right spot at the right time.  I chalked it up to coincidence.  They thought I was some heavenly being sent down to make their sports dreams come true.  Did I try to convince them I wasn't?  No, I let them think what they wanted to think and may or may not have accepted their requests for my autograph.
    On that January 22nd day (maybe if I switch up the days I'll guess the right one sooner or later) my first moment of impact at BYU happened.  At the time I didn't think anything of it.  I considered it the best four hours of my time at BYU, but nothing more.  However, I did have an incredible experience that involved one of the boys in my group and a few of the athletes.  When I went to a reflection activity a week later I shared it and they (the program directors) asked me to write my experience down and email it to them.  So I did.  I wrote down exactly how the experience was for me and what I was able to witness and sent it in.  I didn't think any more of it.  That was the end of the line.  The last stop on the train.
    Now, four months later, almost everything I am currently apart of and the incredible opportunities I have stem from the four hours of service I randomly decided to give.  Since submitting my story I have become a program director for Sports Hero Day, Chad Lewis contacted me to include my story in his new book The Power of the Jersey, BYU Magazine also contacted me to include the story in their next issue, I got a position as an intern for BYU Athletic Marketing, and I have met some absolutely incredible people.
    I don't share this as a way of boasting or bragging about what has happened.  That's not what I'm about.  I share it as a way of drawing attention to the idea of moments of impact.  They happen when least expected, when we have genuine intentions in the opposite direction of the direction it ends up taking us.  I feel extremely privileged to be where I'm at, but none of it was my doing.  I consider myself a messenger.  I was fortunate enough to witness something truly incredible and I wrote it down. The moment of impact came when I was offered a position as a program director.  I could choose to take it and dive into the unknown, or continue on with my freshman year.  Accepting the position has opened up so many doors and completely revamped the course I was planning on taking.
    Each of us has the potential to have incredible experiences.  I think the key to recognizing them when they happen is living in the moment.  Engulfing yourself in your work, service, school, or anything really allows you to be more in tune with your actions and, in turn, the consequences good and bad.  The age old saying "You get out what you put in" could not be more true.  So I challenge whoever may read this to not put in 20% of what you have to offer.  Give it all you've got, lay your cards out on the table.  What do you have to lose?  I know it's easier said than done, but from personal experience I can assure you that putting forth your 100% will bring you and those around you 200% in return.


P.S.  I referenced a "story" throughout that was too long to post.  If anyone as some random urge to read it let me know and I can email a copy.  It would probably provide some insight as to why I wrote what I wrote in this seemingly never ending blog post.



Once upon a time I set a bunch of seemingly attainable goals related to blogging and writing.  In an ideal world I would blog once a week as a way of broadening my horizons, sharing my thoughts and ideas, and  getting more writing experience.  However, this thing called life bombarded me, raided my free time, and took over.  Rude right?  So, in an effort to rebel against the craziness of life, I'm going to be making some changes on my blog.  I'm about to embark on some crazy adventures and new experiences, and I want to have a place that I can document it.  In addition, I've recently partnered with an organization called One Step, a program that is working to decrease childhood obesity by promoting running.  So this blog may also be hijacked from time to time with running/fitness/healthy eating tips in my efforts to contribute to the organization and supplement what they are working toward.  Here's to a fresh start, a new blog, and a ton of new experiences!



Cliche of the Day: Out with the old...in with the NEW

2011 was a good, solid year.  There were memories made that make me wish I had instant replay, and then there were those that made me want to curl up in the fetal position.  But what’s life without give and take, a little opposition?  The good and bad times alike define who we are as individuals.  How we respond to success and tribulation colors our character.  That being said, I’m proud of who I am becoming.  I’m not perfect, I have a long ways to go, but I’m learning.  So here are ten of the most impactful happenings, in no particular order, from my 2011 that have contributed to the person I see when I look in the mirror:
  1. Finishing my term as Student Body President:  Very few experiences compare to my time as an SBO.  It was one of the hardest, most frustrating times of my life but also one of the most rewarding.  I got to meet so many new people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise and develop friendships with truly incredible people.  If given the chance I would do it all over in a heartbeat.  However, until time travel is invented, I’m stuck in the present.  Moving on...
  2. Turning 18:  In reality this isn’t all that significant.  Benefits: Signing legal documents and ordering whatever I want off of infomercials and HSN.  Not quite considered benefits: Additional responsibility and the potential for gray hair and wrinkles.  Joke.  
  3. Completing AP English:  There is one woman to whom I give all credit for my love of writing.  Her name is Mrs. Morrison.  She believed in me, plain and simple.  Because of her class I decided on a major and learned the skills necessary to make it through my first semester of college.
  4. Graduating:  One of those moments that has to be on every list like this because it separates your childhood from your entrance into adulthood.  
  5. Senior Trip to Lake Powell:  People are awesome and I have great friends.  
  6. My Mom’s Heart Attack:  I refuse to go into details, but this was the lowest point of my life for me.  Not knowing if someone you love will be there when you wake up is terrifying.  Cherish those you love.
  7. Moving Out:  Extremely bittersweet.  Living on my own (aka living with 5 other girls) for four months has been great, but it’s hard to be away from home.  It’s all about adaptation and adjusting to what lies in front of you.
  8. BYU:  There is honestly no school I’d rather go to.  The atmosphere can’t be beat and the education is top notch.  Sure there are some weird people and crazy ideas about dating, but I love it.  All of it.  It’s not for everyone, but I’m proud to say I’m True Blue, Cougar through and through.
  9. Running:  Over the summer I ran my first half marathon.  You heard me, 13.1 miles.  I hated every second.  Then...something changed.  I kept on keeping on where running was concerned and I grew to love it!  It’s extremely therapeutic and beneficial healthwise.  Bring on half marathon number two, t-minus 19 days!
  10. People:  Everyone makes mistakes, everybody has those days...oh shoot, there I go quoting Miley Cyrus again.  Whoops!  Anyway...people are people and people aren’t perfect.  I relied too heavily this year on people being exactly the way I thought they should be.  I can only control my own actions and how I respond and react to other people.  There is definitely room for improvement here.
There you have it!  My very vague, generalized summary of 2011.  It may not provide a very interesting read for you, but it was certainly enjoyable reminiscing exercise for me.  So here’s to learning from the past and jumping into a new year.  2012...you’re mine :)
Yours truly,