Wednesday, March 19, 2014


It's Wednesday! Which has been dubbed "woman crush" day on instagram, which I will now use to my advantage to highlight some great women. This week it's Leah. She's been my friend since Jr High, my roommate since July, and is currently trying to make me do belly dancing with her in our living room.

Most days when I come home from work, Leah's reading. Leah is always reading. She carries her book or her kindle with her in her purse to work, the mall, the gym. She is always preparing for a quiet 15 minutes where she can read. Apparently, she's been like this since before I even met her.

She told me a story on our drive to Colorado (we went to celebrate her 25th birthday!) about 4th grade. She was reading Land of the Unicorns - Songs of the Wonder. It was so good that she faked being sick so she could get picked up from school and read! Then there's the Harry Potter books. Her evil step mom (no, really) let her read the first, second, and part of the third before banning them from the house. She read the fourth and fifth by borrowing them from friends - reading after "lights out". She also pretended to be taking a shower, letting the water run long, so she could read a chapter or two of the forbidden books. She finished the series as they came out, but only recently got to finish the third one!

Leah and I became close in high school. That's when the evil step mother left and little Cinderella got to go to the ball. Okay, well she got to wear pants. See, she's Church of Christ but her dad became less strict. She rebelled a little in high school as all teenage girls are want to do, but her rebelling was not doing chores or crushing on the teacher (BLATANTLY). She graduated with honors and went on her merry way to UCO.

She started off pursuing history, but soon changed her major to English. While she loved learning about people and cultures - grammar, spelling, and punctuation, it all felt very natural to her. I assume that after devoting most of her alone time to reading she's pretty adapt at the English language. She graduated with her Bachelors degree in the fall of 2011. It sounds like she only has a few regrets from those years, mainly having to drop a class she really wanted to take (History of Reformation). The reason for dropping class was essentially her big heart.

She was working at Movie Gallery until it closed. Her old manager asked her to come to a shoe store with her. She did, but then that old manager left. Her and another girl quickly were promoter to "co-managers". She was working 40 hours a week and trying to take 18 hours of school. She was too proud (her words) to ask for extensions and she didn't want to work less which would make her friend work more, so she dropped the class. She stayed at that shoe store until it closed too. She wanted to be a full time student then, really devote herself to her classes. She applied for unemployment, but soon found herself working at another shoe store. She hated everything about it and changed jobs as soon as she could. This brought her to Academy in the shoe department also remarkably. It was the happiest I had ever seen her at a job. She had more responsibilities, good coworkers, and just liked the store in general. She could take her break and walk around the store to look at hiking equipment or swimsuits.

Leah works at Saints Dermatology now, but she still goes to Academy all the time. That's where she took me when I needed to find weather appropriate clothes for our aforementioned trip to Colorado. She already had all the goods because she tries to do as much outdoorsy stuff as she can. When she was younger if she wasn't reading, she was outside. All summer, she would climb trees and explore the woods behind her house. Her friends and her would reenact movies, catching craw dads, just being outside. Her favorite memories with her dad are of them at Yellowstone National Park - exploring the geysers, the waterfalls, going to Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, and back packing in Touse. Her favorite sounds are shoes crunching on gravel, wind through the trees, and snow falling in a forest. She still loves doing outdoorsy stuff, but it waned as she got older because she knew less people with those same interests.

So she reads. She uses books to travel to places she's never been, live lives she could never imagine. In her words "I've never been to Hogwarts, but I'm sure I could be a wizard."

Her main goals in the future are graduating APU with her masters in Humanities (she starts next month) and developing more of a servant attitude - giving without wanting or expecting anything in return. "There's always something you can give," she tells me. She looks up to people that are accepting and kind: Francis of Assisi who supposedly persuaded a wolf to stop attacking some locals if they agreed to feed the wolf, Ghandi who was the first to apply non-violence in the political field on a large scale, and Sandra Bullock who handled personal scandal in the classiest and fiercest of ways. She loves learning about other religions, different cultures saying "Everyone is trying to pay tribute - it's different, but it's really the same. It's just a human expression of love and faith."

Leah's my Woman Crush because she's inherently good. She loses her temper at times like everyone else, but at the core of her is this wide eyed girl sitting cross legged and barefoot in the grass saying "hey, why can't we all get along?" And isn't that everything you could want in a friend?

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