Diaries of an Emotionless Robot

Originally posted on April 14th, 2017 on Her Campus UCF.

People think of you as heartless. Friends don’t reach out to you for help due to your lack of empathy. You build up a shield, hiding from those around you, pretending nothing affects you. You label yourself as emotionless to ease the pain of others calling you it behind your back. You appear to not have feelings, but deep down inside, everything hurts.

As emo as that sounds, I am a generally positive person. I live an amazing life and look for the good in everything that happens to me. That being said, I’ve never been the best at expressing my emotions, good or bad, to those around me. No matter how excited I am about something, I will mostly likely have a straight face. My insides could be jumping for joy, but to any passerby, it looks like just another bland moment in a day to day setting.

Same goes with sorrow. Sad things happen all the time, but the phrase “I don’t cry”, has slipped through my lips one to many times. My friends and family around me have taken note and have passed me off as unappreciative, apathetic, and passive, when in reality I am the complete opposite.

When around people, I pass off emotions as unimportant and stay strong, no matter the situation. Yet this has given me a bad rep. Being labeled as emotionless is fun and games until people start to hurt you because they believe you don’t care anyway and it won’t affect you.

Well it does.

I am both emotionless and full of emotions, and I can flip the switch easily. When people are around, I put on this mask that hides everything deep down inside. Happy or sad. Exciting or upsetting. Surprising or demeaning. Nothing passes through that mask. It appears that nothing affects me. Yet everything does.

Every little thing that someone says or does affects me. So many positive and negative things occur every day, and when it appears that I’m not acknowledging them, I am deep deep down inside. The second I’m alone, I let it all out. I jump for joy over the compliment I received. I cry into my pillow over the rejection I face. I curse out my window to those who wronged me. I express more emotion than anyone could picture.

As soon as I’m alone, I am no longer the passive, straight faced robot that I appear to be. I let loose and let my emotions run. I even get emotional about my emotions. I’m your typical hormonal teenage mess, and I’m proud to admit it.

I’m still going to hide behind the mask of no emotions for a while, because right now it’s a safety net. It protects me from the harsh reality of judgement and fear. I wish I could shed it. I’m tired of being viewed as the girl who doesn’t care about anything, because I care more than the average bear. But for now, it remains. Keeping me closed off. Keeping my emotions in, until I’m ready to release them to the world.

xoxo,

One Year of Happiness, New Opportunities, and Sub-par Satire

Happy Birthday to me..er this blog!! It’s crazy that just 52 weeks ago, I sat down with a laptop and an idea, and completely changed my life. A lot has happened in a year; I’ve experimented with many different styles of writing, looks of the web-face, and content to upload, but I couldn’t be happier with where this blog is now and all the the things to come in the future.

When I started my blog, I wasn’t sure how dedicated I would be. I had an idea, but like most, I spent a week devoting all my time to it, and thought it would fall into the void, aka where all my unfinished projects go to die. But I surprised myself with this baby, and I was able to maintain it which surprised myself more than anyone. So here we are with my 52nd post and I’m amazed.

Originally titled Chasing Myself, I had an idea to document my life through one of the craziest and excited times. My transition from high school to college was an incredible one, and provided lots to elaborate on. I truly was chasing myself and chasing my dreams. As the year progressed, I was able to catch up to my dreams, which is an incredible feeling, but left me in a predicament with my blog’s title. Ah, a major millennial crisis. Luckily I came up with an ingenious solution, my name. I know, I know, how does she do it? And thus Lena Dani was born and harbored to hold all of my creative juices.

If you would have asked me a year ago if I thought I were a writer, I would have laughed in your face. But after spending a summer jotting down ironic sentences about my uneventful life, I started to gain confidence in myself. It gave me the motivation to apply to write for an online campus magazine, Her Campus UCF, that is now one of the most important activities in my life. I was able to experiment with different subjects and topics and write about things that other people could relate to. It even inspired me to declare a minor in the Mass Communications field, so that I can use my hobby to help my career.

Creating this blog a year ago changed me for the better. In addition to opening up countless doors, it gave me something to be excited about. Writing has become my number one stress reliever, and running this blog has been extremely therapeutic for me. I’ve been able to meet so many cool people who also love what I love and bounce inspiration off of each other.

Yeah, I might not have a following of thousands praising my every word, but the handful of people those who do read my writing and support me show so much love. I might not take over the internet with my record breaking views on each article, but if I can make at least one person proud, even if that person is myself, I’ve succeeded.

I can’t wait to see what the future brings for both this blog, and the other internet outlets I have branched into to share my work. It’s been an amazing year, and I want to extend more thanks than you could ever imagine to those of you who do read my work. You mean the world to me, and thanks for sticking through the hundreds of typos. I would say “I love Lena Dani” but that sounds a tish narcisistic, so I’ll just end with “I love my blog and I love my fans!”

xoxo,

“Happily Ever After” Review

“And all our wishes, will come true.” Yeah, yeah, yeah except I wished for Happily Ever After to be good and clearly that wish didn’t come true. Thanks Jiminy, Walt, and Bob Iger for ruining my hopes and dreams. Lets fight.

Okay, okay most of you are probably lost, so let me set the scene for you. Welcome to my life, where if you don’t like Disney, you’re wrong. If you have kept up with the ins and outs of the parks, you might have heard that fan favorite firework spectacular, Wishes, made it’s final showing this week on May 11th at the Magic Kingdom. It has been the nighttime show since 2003, and it’s removal has caused a stir in the Disney community. Yet shortly after announcing it’s farewell, it was also announced that a new show, Happily Ever After, would be replacing it. Pitchfork and torches in hand, Disney fans rioted over the replacement until finally coming to terms with the fact that magic is always changing.

As a huge fan of all things nostalgic, I was not embracing this replacement well, and have gone through this week with an extremely biased opinion. Yet 9 o’clock struck, and there I was, phone in hand, prepped to watch the live stream of the premiere of Happily Ever After (which you can watch here).

And it started out really well. The music began and I started to tear up a little. Just a little, don’t go around telling people I’m weak now. The orchestra was insane and the lighting was magical. I could feel that “end of a Disney day” contentness in my heart, which is exactly what a nighttime spectacular should deliver in my opinion. Yet that’s where those feelings stayed, and ended.

I had heard clips of the soundtrack previously and formulated strong opinions against it’s pop vibe, yet actually hearing it in the show made me hate it even more. Two irrelevant singers performing an original irrelevant song made my heart feel nothing. I had no memories associated with this music. It did not tug at my heartstrings. It was just kind of…there. Also a side note, but no fireworks were even shot until about 45 seconds in. Just interesting.

Yet the pop music faded and entered the Disney magic that we all were waiting for. I loved the recognition of underappreciated characters such as Tiana and Quasimodo being projected on the castle. Even more obscure songs were used, such as ones from Brave, Tarzan, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. 

Yet as incredible as that was to see, it was also extremely confusing. Since a majority of this show featured projections to compliment the fireworks and music, I assumed they were supposed to flow together. Well I was wrong, and that’s what I get for assuming. This first occurred during “Touch the Sky” from Brave. In the midst of scenes playing from the movie, Lightning McQueen from Cars shows up and drives past, followed by the floating house from Up. They don’t even kinda fit the Brave aesthetic? But okay Disney, you do you.

These weird obscure crossovers continue throughout, such as a mechanical/toy backdrop during the song “Bare Necessities”, as well as the castle singing?? Yeah you heard that right and it was kinda unnerving. Can’t explain it, just didn’t appreciate it.

Yet thank the lord that the Frozen scene that was included DIDN’T feature “Let It Go”or else I might have lost it. Yet it did feature this weird, slow, depressing cover of “Love Is An Open Door” that I can’t say I hated, yet was surprised by the mood it took on.

And then something incredible happened. Pirates of the Caribbean happened all over this dang show and made up for all the weirdness I endured during the first half. Following that was a bad cover of “Go the Distance”, but it gave me all the Wishes feels so I forgive it. AND THEN THE MAGIC HAPPENED and Tinker Bell took flight in the best way possible. By far the best part of the show.

Overall, the show had a lot of amazing elements such as marketing underappreciated characters, channeling the 21st century, and adding incredible spotlights and lasers that really enhanced the show, yet I’m opinionated so not everything was happy-go-lucky.

First off, I’d like to remind viewers that this was intended to be a firework show. While yes, there was a lot of boom boom pow in the sky, there were even more projections down below. Keep in mind that we already have a projection show at Magic Kingdom. It was a little too distracting for me to watch the castle act as a screen, while also watching the fireworks, and it took away from the point of the show. Side note, can we talk about all the god awful covers of the classic songs? Please tell me what was so wrong with the originals that they needed to replace them with the ear garbage that was playing.

Also even with the aid of additional visuals, there was zero story line. Wishes told a story throughout the fireworks and used nothing other than pyrotechnics and music to guide the viewer through. Happily Ever After was just a montage of Disney movies placed in what I feel was no rhyme or reason, put to fireworks.

Now I’m not bashing the incredible technology used, because this definitely was an incredible feat to accomplish. I’m just bummed that with all that they had available to them, they were unable to grasp at a viewer’s heartstrings and create the same effect that Wishes had on so many fans.

I don’t know, maybe I’ll feel differently when I see it in person in August, but for now I remain team Wishes, and will continued leaving my biased opinions across the internet until I realize that it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Anyways, go forth and formulate your own opinion and feel free to fight me because I’m ready to have a grown up debate about this.

@Disney, I don’t love you any less, I promise.

xoxo,

A Letter to my Freshman Year Dorm Room

When I first stepped foot inside of these four walls that I’d be spending the following eight months in, i never knew the power that a room could hold. I opened the door for the first time, my name decorated brightly on the outside of it. I walked in, and looked around at the blank canvas made up of cinder blocks and neutral carpeting. I began to unpack and in that instant, I began creating memories.

Upon our first encounter, I never knew that you would hold my life in place for a year. You weren’t just a room; you were a home. You became my safe place to hide in when nothing seemed to go right. You became the destination in which my creativity burst in. You became my best friend as all my secrets were held in your four walls. You became more than just a room; you became a part of me.

I turned to you during my sleepless nights to help ease my stress. You were there for me to cry to when things weren’t going my way. You let me take my anger out on you when I threw pillows around and smacked the wall. You supported me through the tough times.

You endured my wild side as I covered you with glitter. You put up with the half-finished puzzles strewn across my floor. You didn’t get upset when I covered you in clothes when I was behind on laundry. You let me eat and drink, and spill food, without second thought. You binged all my favorite shows right alongside me.

You let me dress you up in photos and ticket stubs. I clothed you with movie posters and inspirational quotes. We made each other beautiful.

You embraced me during the most exciting times of my life. You were there when I got accepted into my dream job. You were there when he asked me to be his girlfriend. You were there when I made countless memories that will be cherished forever.

You created a temporary home for me that I’m not willing to give up.

Soon, you will give me your blessing to pack up and leave you as we both move on to bigger and better things. It saddens me that after I leave, I’ll never be able to step foot in this room again. Gone will be the four walls that house some of the most special moments a girl could have, but forever will be the memories that live on inside my heart.

I’m going to miss those cinder block walls and squeaky furniture. I’m going to miss the fluorescent ceiling lights. I’m going to miss those damn blinds that rattle any time air passes by them. Most importantly, I’m going to miss my freshman year best friend.

Thank you for giving me the world.

xoxo,

First Semester Recap

I did it. I survived my first semester of college. And wow, what a wild ride that was.

The past four months have been nothing but eventful for me as I embarked on this journey that keeps on going. Every day was a new adventure and I am nothing but grateful for all the opportunities that I had and all of the people I have met so far. It’s so exciting to say that I am now officially 1/8 done with my collegiate experience, but it’s also sad to think about. Based on how much of a great time I had this first semester. It makes me sad to think about the end. Although I’m getting ahead of myself because I have barely even dipped my toes in the water of opportunities.

First off, let me start by saying that making friends is hard. It’s slightly easier when it’s the first month of the school year and everyone else is in the same boat as you, but when it comes down to it, finding a second version of you in a sea of 60,000 people is a lot tougher than I imagined. In high school, all my friends were in band. We had a common interest and we all got along and were able to spend so much time together so it just made sense. Going into college without joining band made me nervous because I wouldn’t have that activity to connect me with anyone. But I did what any logical millennial would do, and spent my summer on the internet meeting people. This was very smart of me because I made so many connections before even stepping foot on campus, so my first week was compromised of meeting these people that I already have held conversations with. It made the socially awkward side of me slightly more comfortable so we could avoid the awkward introductions and lead to a smooth transition. This worked for about half of the people I’m currently friends with. The other half involved me being a big girl and actually talking to strangers in class, around the housing communities, or being introduced via friends of friends. Intimidating of course, but the payoff is worth it. Put yourself out there. It works. I promise.

(A collage in which I am shown posing the same way in every photo because I am unoriginal and lame)

Luckily, the friends that I made have cars and were willing to schlep my butt across the greater Orlando area all semester so that I could see and do as much as my wallet allowed. As you know, I gave in and let Disney brainwash me into spending way too much money on an annual pass. Totally worth it though thanks to my weekly excursions to the parks. I call it studying. Gotta experience hospitality at it’s finest in order to be the best dang hospitality major there is right? Either way it’s cheaper than my hospitality courses so I’m saving myself so much money in the long run 😉

Also, Orlando sucked with it’s concert scene up until the moment I got here so I was #blessed to be able to catch a few more this first semester to add to my never ending list of why people need to spend money on experiences instead of objects. The first New Politics, put on by our school during welcome week and wow did they bring the party. 10/10. After that was James Bay in the pouring rain, but honestly if his music were a weather, that would be it so I saw it rather fitting. Bless by the voice of an angel as I shivered in the pit because Floridians don’t know a proper A/C balance. After that I *finally* got to see my fifth grade crush and the guy who helped me discover my love for rock music, David Cook. And I was front row. And it was at Disney World. I think you get the point on how excited I was for, during, and after that moment. Finally we have Fitz and the Tantrums part two. Same tour I saw this summer, but this time with more glitter and a lost voice. Blessed again. I also purchased tickets to see The 1975 but ended up selling them because I’m a quitter. But a quitter who takes responsibility for herself because there is no way I would have done well on my finals if I spent the weekend prior in line at the venue. You win some you lose some.

I promise I did more this semester than just spend money (unless you consider every class I attended adding more and more to my never ending debt of student loans, ouch). Yet a majority of my life savings did end up at Steak n Shake because those 2am runs were my weakness. I totally rocked my school work this semester. Although I don’t have my grades back yet, I know how well I was doing in my classes before my finals and I know my scores went really well so I’m excited to see the GPA I established so that I can move forward with internships and volunteer opportunities. Next semester I plan on challenging myself further by taking 18 credit hours versus the usual 15. It’s all part of my five year plan to work for Disney and take over the world.

My extra-curriculars were also bomb af. If you keep up with my life, you know how amazing Her Campus UCF has been for me and how much I’ve grown through the semester so I won’t repeat myself and ramble. I just get very excited about how well I’m doing and all the opportunities for the future with this activity. I received so much praise for things that I didn’t even know I was capable of and it for sure changed me for the better. My other activity, Campus Activities Board (CAB) is also really exciting to be a part of. It’s so cool to be part of the behind the scenes action for all the fun activities the school puts on each semester. Being on the concert board will definitely help in the future with my goal of minoring in entertainment management. Although these activities provide me with a lot of opportunities, I’m excited to get involved more next semester with groups that will help me in my field of study. There is a theme park publicist group that I would love to join to help combine my hospitality major with my hobby of writing. There is also a hospitality honor society that would definitely be smart to join.

Orlando has provided me with so much and I am so grateful that my first semester in college turned out the way that it did. It definitely had its ups and downs, but you know how much I love roller coasters and I’m in it for the thrill.

I tried a lot of new things and I stepped out of my comfort zone more than I ever imagined I could in 15 weeks’ time. I changed up my hair. I stopped wearing makeup (on occasion). I met people who inspire me to succeed. I found friends who cared and avoided the ones who caused negativity. I luckily didn’t gain the freshman fifteen, but there’s still time and it could happen. I have a new mindset on life and how it should be lived. And I surprisingly discovered that I’m a neat freak. I never would have guessed that in a million years. I’m returning home similar to who I was before but better.

(Left: Me on my first day in Orlando, Right: Me on my last day in Orlando)

I’m so lucky to call UCF my second home and I’m already counting down the days until I can go back (not just because this Pittsburgh weather sucks, but definitely a key factor). I’m an adult now and I have the whole world ahead of me and I’m excited to see where it takes me from here.

Until next timexoxo,

I’m Not Dead, I’m In Florida (Basically the Same Thing)

So I’ve been in Florida for a week and I have yet to be eaten by an alligator. What an acomplishment. Although I didn’t run into any scaled, green, four legged friends yet, I have had an amazingly hectic past couple of days that deserve to be perserved forever in the form of a blog post. So here we go.

This past week has been a rollercoaster of emotions as I moved away from my best friends, said goodbye to my family, and have been exposed to new and exciting adventures. The sixteen hour drive from Pittsburgh to Orlando was not nearly as awful as I imagined, and we were able to see way too many tourist traps than I would have ever expected. (The cheesier the better, amiright?)

Once we got to my new home, it was amazing to drive around the area that I will be getting lost in for the next 8 months. Florida is a treasure, let me tell you. The people are strange but the beauty is undeniable. But so am I (hah). I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

As I started my experience on campus, I was able to expose my crazy self to all sorts of different people and activities. Although I wasn’t in my comfort zone 24/7, it gave me alot of new opportunities to create some great memories.


Moving in to my new apartment was very stressful, but the outcome was and is amazing. My dorm room turned out super cute and I never want to leave it. (Don’t worry Mom & Dad, I promise I’ll go to class.) I love my roommates and we are starting to make new friends in our building thanks to our genius white board hanging on our door. One is even from Pittsburgh, (it’s a small world after all.)


I have also met up with a ton of other Hospitality majors and I’m sorry but they are definitely this nicest people you’ll ever meet. The hospitality lable is true and these people are already killing the game.

UCF’s welcome week has also been a blast so far. It started on Saturday and will run all week long and it’s full of free stuff and free food, so how could you go wrong? I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t be “too cool” to skip anything and it’s been paying off. Last night we got three free t-shirts, free smoothies, free henna, and there were a significant amount of moonbounces around campus. Then we went to Target at midnight and it was filled with only UCF students and I’ve never seen so many people in one place at the same time. What an adventure.


Today I was able to meet up with more friends I have been communicating with and some of their high school friends and it was a blast. We signed up for a ton of clubs and I lost my Menchie’s virginity (which is aparently a big deal around here).


I’m still getting used to how things work in the south, but so far so good. 

This week is going to be a busy one with classes starting on Monday along with all the other welcome week activities. But busy weeks are my favorite weeks and I’m super excited to jump into my college experience. 


I’m not sure how often I will be blogging, but when the creative juices are flowing, I will be writing. I was also accepted for a position to write for HerCampusUCF so some of my more school related/serious topics will be posted on there. I’m so excited to meet the rest of the staff and start writing with these girls!

Thanks for bearing with me on this quick lil, boring lil,life update, but it’s always a good idea to update my fans so they know I’m not dead. Love you all, *kiss kiss hug hug*.

Thank you all for following me on my journey. I know this is going to be a wild one. Wish me luck!

-me

Cleaning Up the Internet One Girl at a Time

Another month has come and gone and as we say goodbye to July, I’d like to take the time to clean out some digital clutter and start fresh for the new month. 2016 is over halfway over (thank god), and as we approach August and September, we enter the 4-5 months of endless chaos. There’s no slowing down from here, so take a moment, sit back, and relax.

As you may have noticed, we got a little renovation here at Chasing Myself. I’m still working out the bugs on the mobile version so please be patient and soon enough it will be just as pretty as our permanent home here on the desktop version. With this new design, comes a more organized plan of success. I will be more focused on writing, along with capturing the perfect photos to match with each blog post.

Along with the new look, I have been doing more social media late summer cleaning. With college just a few weeks away, I wanted to go through all my social media accounts and just clean up my friends list,, who I’m following, and who follows me. I try to do this at least once a year, and there’s no better time than now. With all the new people I’ll be meeting in the next couple of months, I don’t have room to keep following that one kid I talked to once in freshman year English class. Nothing against anyone personally, I just don’t need 500 friends’s posts filling up my FB timeline every day.

I highly recommend everyone try this every once and a while. It’s great to stay organized in all forms of life, not just in the outside world. Spring cleaning, summer cleaning, fall cleaning, whatever you want to call it. It’s super helpful and makes things so much easier, especially for the upcoming school year.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go through my 10,000 songs I have on Spotify. Wish me luck. See you in a couple weeks, if I’m lucky…

-me

Lil Life Update

Just a quick little update on my goals/dreams/aspirations. The usual.

Since I’ve started this blog less than a month ago, there has been a huge increase in my personal happiness. Not only have I grown to be more positive, but I’ve experienced a greater interest in setting goals. I’ve always been a planner so goals are something I’m used to setting and achieving for myself, but now that I’m weeks away from entering college, it has become that much more important to me to get my crap together and do something amazing with my life.

UCF

I want to have fun, be organized, and focus on my future, but I also want to use my strengths and interests to get involved in something important to me. And I think everyone should do the same. I have found a few organizations on UCF’s campus that have sparked an interest and I’m excited to try some new things.

The biggie is HerCampus, a blog written by college girls for college girls. It’s a website that I admire and it has really helped me to prepare for this long journey ahead and it would mean the world to me if I too could help direct others.

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So in the next few weeks as I prepare my application for submission, I’m gonna hope/pray for creativity to flow through my fingertips so I can *attempt* to wow the people reading them.

Stay tuned as I continue this journey and read below a sample of one of the pieces I plan to submit in accordance to the prompt: “If you could have dinner with any celebrity, who would it be?” Any notes are appreciated!

-me

HerCampus Sample: If I could have dinner with any celebrity I’d start off by asking myself how I got lucky enough to dine with one of Hollywood’s finest. And then I’d ask the unknown power in the sky responsible for making this happen, why on earth a celebrity would want to have dinner with me, a teenage fangirl who will be too excited to choke out anything more than my water. But after I get over the factthat I am unreasonably lucky enough to choose and dine with one of my role models, I would naturally choose Paul *freaking* Rudd. (Note to reader: I will never refer to him as Paul, Rudd, or Paul Rudd. The only acceptable thing to call this magnificent angel is Paul *freaking* Rudd. Emphasis on the *freaking*.)

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Why on earth would I choose Paul freaking Rudd? Well let start out by referencing his loaded IMDb profile. In my eyes (aka the only eyes that really matter in an opinion piece), he is the most well rounded, versatile, and lovable actor of our generation. He has stared in nineties classics from Friends to Clueless and continues to amaze us in current day indie hits such as “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp” and “Wanderlust.” He is charming, he is funny, and he has only aged about six months in the past twenty years. Paul freaking Rudd is a gorgeous man with a gorgeous soul. Wait who am I kidding? With his background, his soul is most definitely tainted. But that’s okay. It makes for more interesting stories. Stories of which I’d ask him while we dined on our fine cuisine. But I’m not here to waste his time. I’m here to get the nitty gritty truth about Paul freaking Rudd.

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Such as but not limited to: What is his favorite piece of Ikea furniture? If he could travel back in time would he rather travel by DeLorean or a Hot Tub Time Machine? Team Edward or Team Jacob? If he had to choose one flavor of Hot Pockets to eat for the rest of his life, which would he choose? If he could choose any other insect to  portray in a Marvel film, what would it be and why? And how does he feel about the fact that Rose definitely had enough room for Jack on her raft but instead let the “love of her life” freeze to death while she didn’t even offer him her life jacket. “I’ll never let go Jack.” *lets go*. Shaking. My. Head.Not only would I benefit from Paul freaking Rudd’s presence, but America would benefit from the answers that we’ve been dying to hear. Paul Rudd, I love you and I hope you love Italian because we are eating good tonight.