Birthday Reflections

It’s my birthday! I treat birthdays as a new year of sorts, so I’ve spent the day in a lot of quiet contemplation, reviewing the past year and thinking ahead for the next. 31 wasn’t the greatest year on the record by far, but I hope 32 brings brighter days and much needed rest.  What follows is a retrospective of the last year— the good, bad, and particularly ugly. It’s all part of my story.

I am curious, though. What do you all do to mark your birthdays?


12 months ago…
Quiet day at work. I spent it with my head down, defeated by watery eyes, congestion, and a terribly sore throat. Once work ended, I took some cold pills, and the delusions began. Got a visit from That Voice, who I haven’t encountered in years. That Voice almost succeeded in making me believe I’d lived the most of my useful life, and that the quiet home that plagued me was proof of that. What was the use of another year alive? I only had me, and That Voice wanted me to know no one cares about my goodness or that the reason I was sick was because I had given myself to serve others. Sobbing aimlessly, I retired to bed early. Two days later, That Voice came back to remind me that I was still sick, and when my thanksgiving plans fell through, I was on the floor again. Weakened. Defeated. Wondering if I should believe my enemy.

11 months ago…
Still antsy from my previous visit with That Voice, I tried to lovebomb myself with self-care. Bubble baths, aromatherapy, movies and Snuggie therapy. Had a fireplace accident (while trying to be cozy, at that) home alone, and it made everything worse. That Voice swooped in and taunted me with terrible flashbacks. People didn’t understand my healing process from it, or why one was needed. I got tired of reaching out, only for my hand to get swatted from trying. First realizations of trauma being a process. Everyone isn’t ready. So easy to curl in.

10 months ago…
New level of broken. I can’t even remember if That Voice was around, because I wasn’t hearing much of anything. Want to blame something, anything, myself- not accurate, though. Gotta get through this somehow, but how? Discovered Brené Brown, and tapped into my vulnerability, which I had previously set in a glass case, never to be touched. Lightbulb season. I journaled. I wrote a lot. I burned a lot. I forgave a lot and healed a little through it.

Funny thing about vulnerability. It is so valuable and wonderful and worth discovering and sharing, but not everyone will be deserving of it. You can take it out of the display case, but not for everyone to play with.

9 months ago…
Was all a blur. For once, I was putting me first. I was learning how to take care of me after all of these years of taking care of me. I was giving myself the grace I found it easier to give to others. I learned that while strength is okay, it’s also okay to not want to be strong.

8 months ago…
Started trying to live wholeheartedly (thanks, Brené). Surrounded myself with positive words at work and home. Embracing my imperfections.  Rising from the ashes. Stronger. Calmer. Still fighting. Pushing forward. Finding my way. Needing more naps. Accepting the stumbles (quite literally because I’m in a boot for a sprained ankle).

7 months ago…
My body’s betraying me. Needles and prodding. Searching for answers. Is this a getting older thing, or is it a “I know something is off so can we investigate further” thing? I was right. No justification in it, just truth. Take some naps. We keep going forward.

6 months ago…
Biggest professional challenge so far. Somehow, I aced it! Was a bundle of nerves the whole time, but I was also enveloped with calm. I just trusted the process. Still trying to do that with other parts of life. Needles and prodding. Face to face with one of my biggest hurts, I didn’t Solange it away. I kept going.

5 months ago…
New office, new routine. So much to learn. I can do it. I was made for this. This is why That Voice can’t, and won’t, win. I hope it never comes back.

4 months ago…
Everything’s a journey, isn’t it? We’re always going from one place to another, often simultaneously. One of my favorite words. New adventures, new experiences, new possibilities. Needles and prodding. Still getting it all sorted out, but maybe it never gets fully sorted out. That’s okay. I’ll do my best with what I have. Try not to overwhelm myself concerning the rest. If it’s not good, it’ll be good.

3 months ago…
I have a staff to train. Wow. I hope I don’t break anything or anyone. Be gentle. Be yourself. Be unique and honest. I can never fully let go of serving; I just have a new(er) population to serve in a different way. New challenge accepted.

2 months ago…
The hustle is real. The exhaustion that follows is just as real. Thriving professionally; sinking personally. Am I doing this right? Did I remember to eat today? Create space to renew, refresh, restore. Take care of you. You can’t take care of others while you’re empty.

1 month ago…
I didn’t listen. Body was telling me, and I waited too late to take care of me. Force feeding all of the supplements. Making rest a priority. No, I can’t. I have nothing else to give. I can’t fill everyone but me. I’m on empty. Practice it. Live it. Renew. Refresh. Restore. Fun fact: low vitamin D can affect your mood! Wow.

2 weeks ago…
Googling the big words to prepare for another fun doctor talk. They know me so well. Breathe. Ask all the questions. Even that one. The scary one. Let the word come out. Let yourself feel how you must, especially if you have to face a new thing.

1 week ago…
The scary word. We have a name, or at least one. We can begin to find answers in a new way. Go take a nap. Refresh. Keep going forward.

1 day ago…
The last day of this year. Much better than the first. Was a great day. I won. I’m here. I’m learning. I’m growing. I’m all that I need to be for this moment, and will be all that I need to be for the next. Brave bird, keep floating. Your journey is yours. Your story is yours, and it continues.

 

The Lies “Someday” Tells…

Me and Someday are breaking up. Why is that, you say? Because Someday is full of lies, and I’m pushing for more defined answers in my life.

How often do we see an old friend in passing, or give a quick phone call (or text, ugh) to someone, and you get a “we need to catch up over dinner/coffee/strong alcohol and snacks someday!” It sounds like an awesome offer, but I’m learning that more often than not, Someday never happens. Someday is a random placefiller, a social cue brought on perhaps with the intent of continuing the conversation. However, the lie of “busy-ness” often competes with the follow through of Someday, and Someday just doesn’t come.

I know I seem to blame a lot on our connected (but severely disconnected) states of being these days, but in my observations, I find it a little astounding and heartbreaking that we would rather let a million Somedays come and go before we actually use the phone button on those phones, call someone (no, not text), and set a plan to do something that requires you to be in the same place with them at the same time. All of the intent behind Somed
ay gets lost in the idea that you’ve got “too much” going on. We all do, but come on… We make things happen when we truly, sincerely want to. Busy is glorified. Busy is overrated. And that’s why I want to break up with Someday.

I’m over this idea that I *have* to be consistently busy. A few periods of extreme burnout have caused me to sat (yes, sat) all the way down. While sitting, I observed. Most of the time when Someday is mentioned, people have phones (often of the smarter persuasion) in hand. How hard is it to take another 40-60 seconds to synchronize your watches, set a time and place, and actually show up to it? When do we start treating people like people, and not time fillers you consult at the last minute? Why is this so difficult to do?

We’re so bad at maintaining relationships these days. I used to be excited at the prospect of Someday with certain people, but now if I have to bring it up a few too many times, I drop it. I refuse to treat an instance of a person I see on a semi-regular basis and want to see more of as a ship passing in the night that I can’t get ahold of. Sometimes, people show you exactly where you fit in their range of Someday. It’s my hope, though, that we get better at making Someday a reality, before you regret never having made that move.

To help get rid of the lies of Someday, and actually be better at being better, I’ve  been working on the following:

1- Being more intentional with my words/ being a good communicator of my intent. If If there’s something practical that keeps me from solidifying a date, I’m upfront. Did we forget that people usually can be understanding if we’re forthcoming about difficulties? I have a friend that is good at letting me know when it’s not her pay week, so our plans may have to be reworked to when she has more available funds. I have a few jobs (including side hustles), so the little time I have available, I’d rather know sooner as opposed to later if I’ll be filling it with your presence. If I’m going to need to bounce early because I have a project to work on, I won’t wait until the appetizer hits to spring it on you. If I don’t think I’ll be able to come because I’m going to want to introvert and take a 2 hour bath or something, I’ll put it out there with another offer to hang.

2-Checking myself and my priorities. Do I have too many things on my plate? Am I over extended? Is this for a brief period or do I need to evaluate some of my commitments? Am I providing too much of myself to a person/situation/organization that does not give me an adequate roi (return on investment)? What am I really doing this for? If I make some changes, would this then allow room for this relationship to cultivate?

3- Making the thing happen. Along with the Someday lie, there are some that feel that making the arrangements is enough. Then, you have some people that are good at cancelling the day of, sometimes with mere hours to spare, with no regard for how this may have affected the other party’s day. Again, there is space to be reasonable- being sick, worn out, broke, or otherwise unable can be a good reason to cancel in favor of a more agreeable date, but when flaky patterns persist, I let the flakes fall to the side and keep it moving.

Let me be frank: the name of the game is consideration. Consider what another is giving up to spend time with you. Consider all of the other things a person could be doing in the world, yet they choose to be in your presence. At the very least, they would like a chance. I’m not saying that you must now fill your social calendar to the brim with coffee and farmer’s market trips (unless that’s your thing, then go nuts!), but if you are truly sincere in your wishes to spend time with a person, do this:

Say you want to do it. Suggest a date, time and place. Repeat until a mutually agreed upon selection is chosen. Put it in your phone. Show up, and be a good communicator if you can’t. Don’t let Someday stop you from being great.

Got it? Awesome. Now stop lying on Someday and make it happen.

 

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The Lost Art of Apologies

Before we begin, I’d like to start with a couple of questions. How many of you have been on the receiving hand of a crap apology?

Me.

And how many of you have given a crap apology?

Also me.

Also me.

I think that part of what subjects us to this wave of crap apology is the fact that we all have devices attached to us so frequently, we think that to apologize is to shoot off a quick “sorry,” and move on. We think of people, and subsequently their feelings, as items on a digital checklist that we address on our own time and keep going. How often, though, have you moved on from something that needed more than a quick text? How many times would you have been more accepting of something if there was actual responsibility taken from the person who hurt you, instead of a “sorry your feelings were hurt,” or “sorry you got offended”? Why do people think that this wave of “I ain’t sorry” is really helping us grow in our relationships? Now, there are some reasons that you shouldn’t feel compelled to apologize for. I’m working on a few of the ones my buddy Alise mentions in her post as we speak. There are some things that we shouldn’t apologize for. For the ones we should, meaning you were an incorrigible douchenugget or flubbed so hard nobody wants to even fine you, this is where this particular post comes in.

If we really dig in and get honest with ourselves, I’d bet that we find that being on the receiving end of a terrible apology has colored how we interact with that person from that point forward. Nobody wants to bare it all and put a little shred of vulnerability on the table and expose what lies beneath… even if it does lead to a healthier reconciliation. We’re all protected like the suits of armor at Hogwarts, except there’s no life or death battle looming, especially not against Tom Riddle. He gone.

All geared up with nowhere to go.

All geared up with nowhere to go.

How, then, do we begin to make apologies that matter and save relationships that matter to us? Because I like a good mnemonic (although I have trouble saying the word), we’ll use the word “art” to remember the steps. So, to make apologies that count, one must:

  • Acknowledge what you have done, and how your actions affected the offended party. This is not a good time to pull the “yeah, I did wrong but you/him/her/the devil made me do it.” Nope. Own your part in this mess, and own it wholly. If you need some time to reflect and think about what you did and how the other person could have been hurt by your actions, take some time. If you’re drawing blanks, ask them how it affected them specifically. Make an effort to actually call or see the person instead of text them. I find in moments like this, where you can be proactive instead of reactive, the best instances of healing develop. After you have acknowledged your actions and the hurt they have caused, you can then…
  • Resolve to do better. I think this is where so many apologies fall short. You can’t just say “sorry” (even if you are) and leave it at that. The next step is vocalizing what you plan to do to ensure no repeat performances. Acknowledge it, then create a course of action to prevent it. What do you need to be more mindful of going forward? What obstacles do you need to remove that will prevent you from being a less trash individual? This is where you create a plan and share it. Sharing it helps keep you accountable. After all of that, we get to the last step, which is…
  • Thankfulness. Practice it. The person you hurt is under no obligation to hear you out, so recognize that first. Thank them for their time, and if they do accept your apology (because I can’t and won’t guarantee that they will), thank them for trusting you again. It’s important to realize here that an accepted apology is not a reset button. Depending on the level of offense, a “sorry” does not give you a get-back-in-their-best-graces free card. You’re going to have to work to restore this thing. Going forward, remember this moment so that you can be motivated to not do whatever you did again. Perhaps a small gift (if your person is a gifts/edible arrangements type of person) will get the message across at this point. We must remember to be grateful for people that let us back in after we’ve messed up, no matter the level of our mistake. Use this opportunity as your launching pad to being a better you.

Got it? Review time.

 

“Hey, I’m sorry I did the thing that made you feel like I wasn’t as great of a human being as you’ve previously thought. I totally mishandled myself in the situation, and my carelessness/selfishness/obliviousness let you down at a time that you needed me. Going forward, I would like to not let these things fall off the radar, so I’ll try and use my calendar more. Feel free to send me things I can plug in my phone too, as little reminders. To make up for messing this thing up, here’s *thing*, and again… I’ll do better.”

There it is. Go forth and be trash no more.  Here’s a handy pocket reference, drawn from the labor of my own hands because I was over photoshop and this was faster.

Drawn by me.

And to think I almost called this post “The Anatomy of an Apology.” Hmmph.

If you have any other advice, thoughts, or questions, leave them in the comments. 

Class dismissed,

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Growth in the Flood

For a while, I was not good at feelings. Showing them, expressing them, actively feeling them… I just didn’t do the feely stuff. Somewhere in my life, I decided I never wanted people to see me cry, so I didn’t. Instead of dealing with tough issues as they were, I put them in a box to handle later, except later hardly ever came. I was the strong one. The tough one. The fixer. The rock for everyone. I didn’t have time to cry. I had stuff to do, and issues to solve.

In the last year or so, I’ve realized how ridiculous that was. Not by any grand revelation or anything, but simply by crying one good time in a moment where I felt particularly vulnerable, alone, and scared (probably on the way to one of the millions of doctor appointments I’ve had in the last year or so). In the middle of this sob fest, I believe I said “I don’t like that I have to do this right now, and it sucks.” In the midst of this tear-filled haze, I had a bit of an epiphany. You see, instead of putting my feels in a box to handle later, it’s much better to acknowledge the now, no matter how uncertain the now feels. Previously, I felt like I needed the whole picture available in order to accurately evaluate and deal. That’s not necessarily needed to validate how you feel in the moment. In any moment. I figured it was about time I started listening to the advice I gave others- your feelings are valid and yours, no matter the source. Accept it all– good, bad, and ambiguous.

Here’s an incomplete yet short, list of all of the things I’ve found myself crying about in the last 10-ish months:

  • That time I tripped over my laundry basket then panicked because it could have happened in the middle of the night and I may have passed out and nobody would have known
  • Rejection from a job I really wanted
  • Rejection from a person I really wanted a better connection with
  • Good news
  • Thai life insurance commercials
  • Friends moving
  • Friends staying
  • A wedding I attended
  • A wedding I was invited to
  • A wedding I was on the way to
  • Baby announcements
  • Baby showers
  • Seeing fresh babies
  • Being surrounded by little families and realizing how much I want my own. Today.
  • Realizing that growing up with a front row seat to substance abuse has given me a very unique lens on life that I didn’t ask for
  • Slowly being okay with that and pushing aside the “can it happen to me, too?” thoughts
  • Having actual conversations with my now 3 year old niece
  • Things I can’t fix for others that I really want to
  • Things I can’t fix for myself that I really want to
  • Empath-ing all over the place and feeling all of the things when things are haywire
  • Small ponderings about whether I am, do, or have enough
  • A few books I read
  • A bunch of movies I’ve seen (the latest: Kubo and the Two Strings)
  • That time I was mentally prepared for the anxiety that accompanies opening a can of biscuits (or maybe cinnamon rolls) and they didn’t open
  • When being poked with needles for my own health
  • When being biopsied for my own health
  • When sitting in silent doctor exam rooms to check on my own health
  • Coming home and needing a hug more than anything, but being greeted with silence
  • When I wanted better for my family
  • When I wanted better for myself
  • I saw something really cute and I didn’t know what to do with myself
  • A time or twenty when I felt forgotten (#MiddleChildProblems)
  • A time or twenty when I felt overwhelming love/appreciation
  • That one time in church with the one song playing
  • Okay, maybe that 2nd-80th time the other songs played too
  • Black people getting killed constantly by the police
  • Knowing how badly I want to bring a life in this world but living simultaneously with all of the anxiety that comes with raising a Black child in 2KAmerica
  • How far I’ve come
  • The awesomeness and anticipation of what’s yet to come

Me and my yoga mat have become really familiar at this point in my life, and who would have thought at this point I’d even own a yoga mat, much less use it? Something about child pose that makes it easier– I get in a good stretch and the mat helps mop up the tears. I suppose child pose helps me tap into my vulnerability. By staring my feels in the face, searching for the roots of them, and being broken down by the “pushed aside” emotions I needed to feel ages ago, I feel myself growing. Growing and crying. Crying and growing. Learning more about myself. Releasing ideas that held me captive. Confronting my wants and fears. Shedding layers. Acknowledging myself. Acknowledging my feelings. Affirming my need to be here for this moment even if I am a puddle of tears. Feeling stronger as I stand up. I’ve needed to keep a stockpile of Kleenex for the tough stuff, and there has been plenty of tough stuff. I’ve grown to embrace my sensitive nature. I whelm in my overwhelm. I am, in gamer terms… leveling up. Unlocking achievements all over the place.

Funny enough, at the end of these sessions, after I’ve flooded my apartment with tears, and my face is all puffy and unrecognizable, I smile. Why? Because like all great things, there is growth after the flood. Once you get past the rubble, clear the debris, and salvage a little, you come back a little different but never the same, and that is awesome. If nothing else, it serves me in learning I am exactly where I need to be. Maybe you need that affirmation as well, so let me be the first to encourage you to let it out. Even if you don’t have it all figured out. Sometimes a good tear duct flushing will lead you to answers faster than stressing it out.

In the meantime, I find myself answering questions about where I’ve been with “I’ve been… being.” It’s succinct, to the point, and sounds slightly better than “I’ve been wrapped in a cocoon of emotions, being refined in tears, and am ready to emerge as a fly and emotionally adept butterfly any time now.” Maybe I should say that, though. I’m in a Butterfly Season.  Getting ready to burst forth with awesomeness or something. What do you think?

But hey. Sometimes after all of this crying, I need a nap. If I actually let you see some of this tear shedding you might just be in my circle. Who’s got some shoulders I can borrow?

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The Time I Rode the Turquoise Jeep…

It’s not every day when a girl can say she met some of her favorite Internet sensations. This past Friday, though, I crossed another unfathomable dream off the bucket list, when I saw Turquoise Jeep in concert.

Who or what is Turquoise Jeep? Let’s just say this: They’ve been releasing videos on YouTube since about 2009, and a many of them are close to, if not past, the one million view mark. I’m not sure what keeps us dedicated Jeep riders back for more: Flynt Flossy’s raspy voice and dance moves, Pretty Raheem’s (always colorful) choice in clothing and smooth voice, Yung Humma’s dedication to smanging and the press and curl, Whatchyamacallit’s general aura of mystery along with sharp dressing, or Slick Mahony’s falsetto. What I do know, though, is we are loyal fans of this group, whether they’re real or not. For just a sampling of what they offer, check out the classic R&B stylings and green screen realness of Pretty Raheem in “Can He Move It Like This?”

 

I found out one day before this concert that it was even happening. Didn’t matter- I was going. The friends that totally relate with this obsession all live out of town; didn’t matter- I was going (for the TEAM). I had already made plans for dinner and to see The Butler; didn’t matter- I was going. My neighbor wanted to smalltalk with me forEVER during the little time I had between movie and concert to change and get a taxi downtown; didn’t matter- I went. Regrets? I have ZERO.

2013-08-23 21.44.41I knew I was in the right place when I saw the picture above. The last of the opening acts was finishing up with a rousing Jodeci chorus, and I happened to run into a couple of old buddies from undergrad. I was beyond excited. When they finally came onstage, I was front and center.

 

We got cavities, and Pretty Raheem grabbed my hand:

 

We fried (or fertilized, whatever your preference), and Yung Humma grabbed my hand:

We smanged:

We watched Flynt Flossy break it down for the lessers:

We watched them preview a new song, “Naughty Farmer,” which seemed to go over well with the crowd:

Once they were done, there was an announcement of where they would be for t-shirt sales and autographs, along with pictures. They didn’t leave until everyone who wanted to got a chance. I didn’t say much, except I hugged most of them (can’t remember- slightly starstruck), then took a picture with them and my new friend who knew the choreography as well as I did. 2013-08-23 23.12.13-1

I didn’t stay for any afterparty- I didn’t need to. Mission in foolery: completed.

If you ever get a chance to see them live, I highly recommend it. Check out their tour schedule here, and if you get a chance to see the Jeep live, you better know how you like your eggs. They will ask.

Lee Thompson Young and Tough Talks

Lee Thompson Young, 1984-2013 (photo from TMZ)

Remember that face above?

I was stunned this afternoon to find out that Lee Thompson Young, formerly of Disney Channel’s The Famous Jett Jackson, and recently of Rizzoli and Isles, had passed away today. I remember him being one of my first tv crushes, and making meeting and marrying him one of my first long-term goals. From the looks of many of my peers via social media, we shared the same sentiments. He was handsome, seemed charming, and kept up various roles past his time as a Disney child star.

What was even more stunning, though, was that reports of his death came with a speculation of suicide as the cause. Many were struggling with the concept of why or how it could happen to someone that seemed to live a fairly even keeled life, but if this is indeed the way this young man left this Earth, there is often a level to life that those struggling with depressive, suicidal thoughts never reveal.

I realize that depression is a very tough subject to tackle, and I am by no means an expert or authority on the issue. What I can do, though, is offer support, and encourage each of you out there to look at mental health issues as more than something to joke about occasionally. Don’t let someone’s pain and suffering be your punchline.

Check in on your friends. If you haven’t seen someone in a while, look into their well being. Care about people. You don’t have to make grand gestures; just letting someone know that you’re thinking of them could make all of the difference. Recognize the signs of depression and offer support and love to your friends and acquaintances that may be going through. Help combat the stigmas that surround mental health- encourage people that may need it to seek help and be unashamed.

It doesn’t take much, but I feel that these little steps can make a world of difference in someone’s life, and help those tough talks about mental health become a little less tough. So while I can’t marry Jett Jackson, I can use what little influence in my corner of the interwebs to ensure something good comes of his tragic passing.

 

Why Now? A #31WriteNow Challenge- Day 1

I’m going for it. You should too.

When Luvvie announced this 31 day writing challenge, something inside of me immediately said, “I’m in.” Truth is, I’ve been out for so long, I don’t know how to possibly begin being “in.” I’ve missed this. I’ve missed using my “voice.” Those who know me know that my actual voice is quite soft and often gets overused quickly, so I’ve always retreated to the pen to express myself.

Lately, I’ve felt kind of… outlet-less. I’ve had so many thoughts swirling about, but yet, I didn’t take the time to let them bleed onto paper, or even into cyberspace. But this? Right now? Typing so freely as my mind and my fingers connect in a world where performance isn’t scrutinized and the points don’t matter because they’re all mine? This feels like home.

I’ve needed this swift kick in the fingertips for a while now, and I plan to make it count for something.

Because this is my voice. And my voice matters.

What DO the Lonely do at Christmas?

First of all, they don’t listen to that song. Just don’t do it- you’ll find yourself torn between wanting to two step with the nearest broom and jumping off the last step before the end of the staircase. Because I am likely spending the holiday solo, I can give you a rundown of what I (and other twenty-to-thirty-somethings [and beyond] in my same predicament may be up to this season):

  1. Online shopping for family and friends out of guilt since you won’t be seeing them.
  2. Alternating between “should I get this for them… or myself?” because you wonder if solo holidays count as “Treat Yo’ Self” days. Note: they can, but guilt-shop responsibly.   
  3. Wonder where your voice went, because you haven’t really talked to anyone in the last x days.
  4. Perusing your social networks and not making faces at people uploading gifts from significant others/spouses/grandparents/pets/Santa/etc.
  5. Being genuinely surprised for people that have great news to share, included the expected engagements that always happen. No snark allowed.
  6. Turn off your computer.
  7. Turn your computer back on because the Wii isn’t plugged up, and how else are you going to stream My Little Pony?
  8. Work out like no one’s watching (because they aren’t).
  9. Catch up on all of that cleaning you’ve been meaning to do. Remember you downloaded the “Unf**k Your Habitat” app,” then start playing a game. It is an off day, you know. The floordrobe will be handled soon enough.
  10. Resist the urge to bake cupcakes until you remember you don’t have a cupcake tin. Or ingredients. Or a vehicle to buy last minute supplies for such urges. Look for muffin tins on Amazon.
  11. Regret cancelling that car rental at the last minute. You did want to buy Christmas gifts, though.
  12. Spend lots of time in deep reflection, both self-focused and outside-focused. Pray. Think about how next year will be different. Plan for next year to be different.
  13. Plan to be away next year- a cruise, perhaps? Wait, silly. Go see your family, THEN cruise.
  14. Listen to that Christmas playlist you made on Spotify just a week ago. While everyone was all ‘fa-la-la’, you were all ‘it’s not time!’ Now that it is time, you can indulge a bit. Jiggalate and all of that. Make fun of Paul McCartney’s “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime” and Wham’s “Last Christmas” just like you would any other year.
  15. Hear noise outside the door, and wonder if a surprise package came for you. Nope- it’s for the neighbor.
  16. Be thankful for people that do invite you to spend time with their family during the holidays, knowing you have none nearby. Sometimes, it’s a welcome experience- you get to learn how another family does their traditions, and you get a good meal out of it, too. Sometimes, though, you feel very voyeuristic, and it’s hard reconciling the words “guest” with “outsider.” It’s not the family’s fault, though. You know that very well, and will enjoy the time in others’ company anyway.
  17. Call your siblings and do your annual MST3K-esque viewing of “A Christmas Story.” Reminisce on some of those experiences you can only share with people you’ve shared a home and similar DNA with for decades.
  18. Decide on dinner. You could order duck from the Chinese joint like two years ago (the “A Christmas Story” viewing prompted this), but you may just bake some ribs because it’s Christmas, you’re cooking for yourself, and eff tradition. You’re making your own!
  19. Call/skype/G+hangout some friends who may be in the same situation as you, but thousands of miles away. Smile, laugh, and make plans to see each other.
  20. Realize that no matter how much you LOVE the Grumpy Cat meme, it’s not indicative of your general attitude towards the holiday and the love, hope, and optimism contained therein.
  21. Know that although this may be a lonely Christmas, it could be much worse. It could be a homeless Christmas, or a family-less Christmas, or an “I just lost a loved one” Christmas. Feel your heart churn for the emotions that people you’ve never seen or met may be going through.
  22. Dance like nobody’s watching (because they aren’t).

So, I know I’m not the only one with the possibility of a solo holiday, or ever has spent one sans people. What did you do? How did you make it? Did you dance half as much as I am?

Either way, Merry Christmas. Oh, tidings of comfort and joy.

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Day 22: I’m Thankful

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

-Maya Angelou

Do you know how many drafts I have sitting on the server? I guess that’s of no significance to you, but I’ve often felt this push for perfection. Even though this is my space, I’ve not wanted to put out subpar quality stuff for the sake of churning out material. I’ve left so many ideas in blog, um… purgartory? Is that the right word? …mostly, because of my weird perfectionism. Well, today, that stops.

By the time this post goes live, my 27th birthday will be here. With a birthday on (or near) Thanksgiving, you can’t escape thoughts of things you’re thankful for, along with the ideas of what you would like for the new year. Since I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, I set out plans for the upcoming year around my birthday as well, because itis a new year. I loved the times I did Thankful Thursdays on Beez and Hunny, so let’s see if I can continue it.

What significance does turning 27 add to a person’s life? I can truly say that while the past year has been among the most challenging, I’ve learned so much more about myself. I’ve also realized that my dreams are not limited to my head, and that is astonishing, friends.

So, in no particular order, I am so, so, very thankful for the following:

  • Good health, especially during the “I ain’t got no job so I’ll keep guzzling orange juice and pray nothing serious happens” insurance plan.
  • A roof over my head, clothing and shoes, and a fed belly. The bottom of the needs pyramid is huge for a reason.
  • A mind that is strong enough to (now!) be made up about certain core beliefs and values, but malleable enough to be open to new possibilities.
  • Friends that are there to encourage my quirk filled ramblings, shoulder the tough weathers with me, push me to follow my dreams (no matter how absurd), and ball out like a BAWSE when the occasion calls for it.
  • Family that even when they don’t understand what I do or why I do what I do, support me anyway, in the best way they can.
  • Chicken. (Sidenote: You know how hard it is for me not to put this in on my iGratitude app every day during the reminder? It really is. God knew what he was doing when he made this bird so cheap and delicious. Praise.)
  • The fact that I am now out of my early AND mid-twenties, effectively exiting all of the awkwardness associated with that start phase of adulthood. I seriously wouldn’t wish the confusion of that age on anybody. Graduating college? Over it. That quarter-life crisis hodgepodge? Over that, too. All of those days and nights spent agonizing over the actions of others and how the things that affect them affect me as well? Nope. Not anymore. I think those wise older folk call this ‘growth.’ I may not be exactly where I need to be, but I’m not stuck in the places I used to be.
  • Those moments when you realize you may not be doing things the “right” way, but you’re doing it your way, and that’s all that matters.
  • Kisses from the sun, and hugs from the wind on those clear days that you wish would never end.
  • Hugs from tiny people and not-so-creepy bigger ones.
  • My snuggie. I’ve accepted the fact that this has become my security blanket, and you will deal. I’m a nearly middle aged Linus Van Pelt.
  • Acceptance of myself- all of my quirks, interests, and non-sequiturs make me exactly who I was designed to be in this life. For a time, I struggled with trying to be everything I wasn’t, and learned that doesn’t work. God purposed me to be this ball of unique, with the ability to see and do things in completely out of the box ways, and by gosh, I’m gonna use that as an advantage!
  • My neighbor who takes so much time to decorate our building. People always know where I live in the complex, because no matter the season, she’s got some appropriately placed flowers or decorations somewhere, including all over her balcony. It always looks so nice, I won’t even gripe about the Thanksgiving decorations in the hallways while outdoors the Winter Wonderland has started.
  • Music. I can always find a song that’s appropriate for whatever the time calls for, and often use it as a communicator.

I could definitely go on and on and on (see, I was about to start lyrics there!), but I think this is more than a great start. 27, although not one of those ‘milestone’ birthdays, can be rather significant, ad not just because of the unfortunate things that happen to particular creative types. Henry David Thoreau began his solitary stay at Walden Pond at that age. Ernest Hemingway published his first novel at 27. Kurt Vonnegut was 27 when he quit his job at GE to become a novelist. Marie Curie earned her second degree AND met her future husband, research partner, and fellow Nobel prize winner. I’m not saying that’s my next step, but as always, the possibilities are endless, as long as I have the courage to dream, the wherewithal to carry them through, and the faith to keep them elevated amidst challenges and distractions..

And for that, I’m thankful. Cheers to another year, and Happy Thanksgiving to the rest of you! What are you most thankful for this year, and how are you spending the holiday?

I’m doing this:

…but I know you don’t give a (what), it’s not your birthday!

 

 

 

 

Don’t Call It A Comeback…

…actually, that’s probably the right word for it. After a brief summer hiatus/life fixing, I am back! You missed me, didn’t you? Don’t answer all at once. Seriously.

Since I’m still setting up the place, expect little housekeeping-type tweaks (including the header and all of that fun stuff) every now and then. For now, though, we have some catching up to do. How have you been, by the way?

First, though, I must sleep. Sweet, glorious sleep.

Missed you like Geocities misses being on top.



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