Karley in Wanderland

Never stop wondering/Never stop wandering: life in your 20'somethings


I intimidate men, and that’s okay

Keep doing you and be the best you can be. Never let anyone else dominate your life or make you feel lesser.

My dating life is a mess of awkwardness, disillusion, and The Hunger Games all mixed into one. Dating has never really been my thing and my one boyfriend ever in my twenty-two years, barely lasted three months. I’m the opposite of normal, my hours at work are far from the typical 9-5, my dog doesn’t like anyone coming near me, I am known for canceling plans/dates, and my mom judges any and every one with the iron fist of god. You might not believe it, but I have hundreds of other flaws. Per my wannabe suitors, though, the biggest “drawback” is that I’m intimidating. (*rolls eyes, pushes back hair, and checks watch, because I do not have time for that…keep up) But not only that, I’m a strong-willed lady that can care for myself.

This is not a rant about how perfect I am, because for real, I’m far from it. However, it has the soul purpose of showing like-minded ladies that there are similar gals out there experiencing the same thing. Men are intimidated by us and our standards are “too” high. Hold strong, because in the words of Kendrick Lamar, “We gon’ be alright”.

Recently, I was test driving a new Mercedes and sent a video to a friend, telling him I was thinking about buying it. Knowing he is a business savvy and honest man, I hoped he’d lend some insight. However, his response was “haha, yeah right”. I was left dumbfounded and immediately questioned what he meant by that… no response. It was not in question, but I immediately got the lesser than feeling that so many women experience on an everyday basis. Who was he to even have a thought that I couldn’t buy such a thing. Because I promise, I most definitely can and do not need a man’s approval or money to do so. Too often men look down on us and don’t believe we can actually do big things. Smhhh. It is up to us to continually prove them wrong.

I have a degree, and am one of those who actually use it. What’s even more hard to believe is that I love what I do. You know those times when men are shooting the bull and talking politics, and when a lady chimes in they just look in disgust. Hey, I’m a human, too. I can read and write and follow along with what is happening around the world. (Also, it’s part of my job to do so) Ladies, insert yourself where you see fit, don’t let anyone hold your ideas and beliefs back.

I’m sure many other females know about men talking lavishly to them, saying how they can take you out, do this and do that. Thanks for the offer, but I can already do that. What I am looking for is a travel buddy and someone who can enrich my life and question my thinking. So often they are intimidated to the point of feeling like they have to over compensate. Don’t.

Long story short, when you’re intimidating, men tend to either stand back, or you just attract the douches that want to see if they can overpower you. Keep doing you ladies, and the one who can handle you will eventually take on the challenge… this is then defined as “power couple”. I mean, I wouldn’t know, but it’s what I assume.

We are climbing the ladder, let’s make sure we keep on going up.



My biggest challenge is…

Reliving the life and death of my best friend over ten years later. Death is hard, but we can learn something from it. 

I was playing hooky at Disney World, or possibly actually out sick. Either way, when I got back to school that day in the sixth grade, I had a big paper due ASAP. Mrs. Robbins briefed me on the latest assignment, saying that the topic was “My Biggest Challenge Is…” and we were to write about what we thought that may be. Within the next week the whole class would read their story aloud and vote on the best story. The winner would move on to the school wide competition and from there county, and state. I don’t know if it was genuinely well written or if I straight up tore apart everyone’s heart strings, but I made it to the state competition, and boy did I have a story to tell.

She was beautiful, pure. Anyone who met her knew she was special, and honestly, not meant for this earth. The plan was always for her to spend a short time here, leave her mark, and fly back up to where she came. God sent us an angel, made her gracefully go through hell, then took her back to His arms where she will forever have a fresh coat of paint on her nails and endless plates of the most delicious cheesy bread.

At just twelve years old I contemplated what my biggest challenge was during that pre-teen era of life. Would it be the confusion of figuring out who my friends really were, that I didn’t understand how to part my hair, or being the furthest from knowing what sine and cosine meant? Nope. I knew that my biggest challenge in life was watching my best friend battle cancer and leave me on this earth alone.

Gina was smart, happy, curious, sweet, and a fashionista. She knew more than most her age, and had most definitely lived through more than most ever will. I watched the twelve-year-old queen slowly lose her life, but never the royalty status. Eventually, cancer took over her body for the third time and she became immensely weak. In my sixth grade paper I recalled pushing her around in her wheelchair during visits to the school. She was now blind, but would laugh because she could sense that I was a bad driver (similar to today) and we would carry on, me almost nailing her to the walls. She didn’t mind. We were doing kid things, and that’s exactly what she needed to be doing. I also took my audience down a not so bright memory lane, when I wrote about the last time I would ever see my friend. The cancer had nearly taken everything from her at this point, except her genuine soul and being. Gina was in a coma, and people took turns coming by the house to say their final goodbyes. I loaded up all the ladies, the tea party squad, and we all headed to her Moldovan household. She lay still, a tumor growing out of her nose. She looked like Sleeping Beauty and a peaceful vibe maintained its presence in the room. I picked up a Bible nearby and read to her, well kind of, as it was in her language which I didn’t know. Later on, post coma and days before death, she woke laughing. She told everyone I read to her and did a terrible, comical job! Walking outside that day, the vibes changed as it was quiet, and the rain poured down. The raindrops fell in a similar pattern to the tears rolling down my face. Everyone hopped back in the car, but I took another glance back at the house, where my dear friend lay waiting for the day she would get back to that party in the sky.

It was the last time I saw her alive.

But, that is not how I remember her. I remember her alive and vibrant, the biggest dimples beaming from her cheeks. The many wigs she wore, looking for that queen feel after cancer took her luscious, dark hair. I think about painting her nails, giving her those few moments of pre-teen normalcy. I aimed to take her from that cancerous world for a bit, and show her a piece of a worldly heaven.

Gina Rykhlov died at twelve years old on May 3, 2006. I was in the shower singing, per usual, but got the news right after when her mother called me up. But, she really didn’t die, she just came back to life, and she lives through people like me every day.

Today, “My Biggest Challenge Is” not watching my best friend go through cancer, watching her lose all of her strength and eye sight, and eventually going to her funeral knowing we would never have another play date. Instead, I am years older and wiser and can think of the many blessings she brought to my life. Man, the way she lived. Really lived.

I am sharing this to show a short part of the life of my friend, and the big impact such a small, young lady left on me… even to this day. We often want to grieve when we lose a loved one, which is fine, but only for so long. At a young age I learned the real purpose of death, to teach us left behind on earth something… a way to live a better and more meaningful life. It turns out that really is the least we can do for the deceased, find a way to make their lives more meaningful. Gina is an angel and always has been. She touched my life and hundreds of others. For a life to end that soon, the least I can do is share her story about the good fight, and the one that took her home. I carry her with me, I carry her in my deepest being.

Live life to the fullest. Be kind. Set a good example. Smile always. Don’t give up. Be brave. Get uncomfortable. Learn something new. Give more than you take. Appreciate what you have.

Gina did. You should, too.



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Love yourself and celebrate YOU

We can all remember Valentine’s Day in elementary school when the whole class was our Valentine. I would decorate an old shoe box up to the max, with colorful hearts and rose pedals, and would hand out miniature cards of lust and stupid sayings to everybody, because everyone deserved to feel special and know they had a lil’ nook in the corner of my heart. Jon was totally into me, so he went above the store bought folded card and cut out a big red heart for me. On the card he wrote “I love you” and glued a tiny picture of himself to it. Little did McKenzie’s mom know, but the school pictures she paid good money for that year would be put to good use. He gifted me the biggest print of himself- no card, words or anything. Tell me that’s not confidence. It’s definitely some type of confidence that many of us lack in our older, less wise years.

Here we are years later and I have still yet to find a real Valentine and have been single all 22 of the February 14th’s I’ve lived through. The words “I love you” have yet to slip from my mouth toward anyone but family and my most beloved friends. And I’m OK with that.

Society tends to bring about a great depression this time of year, making many feel not good enough and unwanted. For some reason if we don’t have a dozen roses or a bushel of sunflowers on the kitchen table come the morning of February 15th, we have done something wrong. I like buying my own bushel of sunflowers whenever want them, because I am perfectly capable.

This Valentine’s Day will be very similar to the rest, doing me and what I want to do on yet just another day. However, this year it will be a bit more meaningful. I am celebrating me and all of the love and energy I have to offer others and the universe, but most importantly myself. Far too often we strive to please the opposite sex and build ourselves up for others. But, if there is one thing I have learned in this life, it is at the end of the day what I really have is myself- mind, body, and soul. So, why not do me and let the rest fall into place?

I realized this idea at a young age, and THANK GOD. Otherwise, I don’t know the dating hell’s and mishaps I would have gone through. How could I be out there finding someone when I’m still busy finding myself. (I don’t wanna ever completely find myself, because the search has become the best part) Maybe some would argue against this, but I am okay with trying and being hurt, because at the end of it, it is my heart and mine to rebuild. I really trust that lil’ guy. I can rely on others to break it time and time again, but ultimately I am the one who mends it and strengthens it.

So, ladies and gentleman. I dare you to make this a Valentine’s Day where you don’t indulge in unhealthy amounts of queso, tacos, tequila, and cookie dough because you pity yourself. But, instead because you are celebrating you and the love and kindness you instill in yourself every day. YOU are way too valuable and worthy of anything less. Go out with your friends and look hot, plan your next out of country trip, and take one too many shots, and do it for you…no strings attached. Happiness and  love comes from you, and only you.

The words “We accept the love we think we deserve,” never rang so true. You’re all more than worthy of a great and never ending love. Cheers to finding the happiness that comes from within!


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