Entries from January 2016

Post Revisit: Permission Granted

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Permission Granted
Back in March I wrote this awesome post and I didn’t even really appreciate it at the time. In the moment I felt it but then I forgot about it and it is so worth reading over and over again, as a reminder. I had given myself a break, for a millisecond, I remember that break well. It felt wonderful. But it didn’t last long. The perfectionism grabbed on again and I went back to playing roles and attempting to make my life closely resemble movie montages.

 

The things I wrote in that post, they are still true, and a good portion of them are the exact things that keep coming up as I started exploring the unhappiness that I had been trying to fight. So here they are again, another reminder, I have permission.

Permission Granted:

to be exactly who I am.. even if that means being a little snippy, even if that means being down in the dumps and withdrawn. Even if that means totally excited about the weirdest shit. Whatever it means, permission granted.

to take a nap when my body is feeling tired, when the sun is shining in just right and my bed looks like a wonderland.

to speak up – and do it often. I’ve been so scared of hurting people’s feelings or asking for things that “I don’t deserve” that I’ve stayed quiet. I’ve talked myself out of deserving things before anyone else has a say. Time to speak up. Even if it’s quiet at first. Even if someone thinks I don’t deserve what I am asking for. Be respectful as much as possible, and speak up.

to eff up. It’s going to happen. Push past my dear.

to believe that the life I want is absolutely and totally possible. The pay I want is achievable and more than reasonable. The experiences I want to have are not unheard of. The places I want to go are easy to reach. The people that I want to meet exist. Believe when it seems impossible, believe when it seems maybe possible. Believe either way.

*to take breaks from self improvement books, blogs and other such reading materials. Sometimes they just add to the noise and give fuel to the critiques. Choose those types of reading materials carefully and sparingly. Everybody has an opinion, it doesn’t mean they are right.

*to stop being happy to make other people feel better. No more pressure to be happy to please other people. Forced or faked happiness is not happiness. Learn to feel the emotion you are in, happiness will make an appearance, especially if there is no pressure or expectation for it.

and, most importantly:

Find time to believe that life is an ultimately positive experience.

xoxo

It’s Okay

Monday, January 18, 2016

i choose tears

I’ve been taking pretty good care of myself lately by getting some counseling sessions in, doing some horseback riding lessons, signing up for a personal trainer to kick my butt and binge watching all six seasons of Parenthood in a little over a month. But I know that sooner or later there will be something that makes me sad, and tears will come. Part of the reason I’ve been feeling so good lately is that when those times come I don’t get mad at myself anymore.

We’ve come to a place in society where we don’t want people to feel sad so we try to bully or “inspire” them to choose happiness instead. Happiness can definitely be a choice, and sometimes you really do just have to keep pushing on, but I think that in pushing on all the time and “choosing happiness” we have forgotten how to acknowledge, respect and process all the other, less pinteresty emotions. Those emotions are just as important, they are just as necessary and they are just as valid as happiness or joy.

Bullying people or glossing over that they don’t feel good isn’t getting us anywhere. Reminding a friend or a loved one that other people have it worse than them doesn’t make the pain go away. I searched on Pinterest for anything that bucked the trend of “I choose happiness” but there wasn’t one thing, so I made it.

Sometimes we really just need to cry. Sometimes things don’t feel good and we aren’t ready to feel better about it. Sometimes we wallow, and the better we are at accepting, feeling (not feeding) and allowing the emotions the space to exist, the better off we’ll be. That can seems scary, sometimes it feels like looking into a black hole***, sometimes it feels plain lazy and lame… especially with these perky, “I am in charge of how I feel…” memes popping up all over the place… but I have found that the more I acknowledge and accept, the more I allow and don’t fight, the easier it is to choose to be happy another day.

So if today just feels like a huge suckage and the guy (or lady) you like looked at you funny and your soup tasted like crap and someone cut you off and all you can think to do is cry, go ahead. Or even worse if your pet is sick, or something you tried really failed, or if your world really feels like it’s falling apart despite your privilege of not being a starving child in China, choose tears. I don’t blame you at all.

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***if it really does get too scary and you feel like facing it could be detrimental to your health or living, please, please, please reach out, there are options other than hiding/ forcing or ending. Get a helping hand to guide you through.

Nashville: One Year

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Nashville - one year

I can’t believe I never wrote this, okay I can. I hesitated. I started and then I deleted. I started again. Then I deleted again. It’s now been a year and three months. Am I ready to jump in to what the first year was like yet?

I’ll give it a shot.

Disclaimer: This isn’t actually a post about Nashville, it’s a post about me and what I have learned about myself in the past year of living here.

My first year in Nashville was a mix of findings, feelings, and emotions. I came here with a pretty specific kind of life in mind. Wide open spaces, people that loved and rode horses, country music, huge trucks, country guys like the ones you see in movies and well, everything you think about when you listen to a country song. Bonfires, dancing in dirt by the light of pick up trucks, lots of laughing and love and southern drawls.

Sue me, I was living in a romantic dream of pop country songs when I came here. Unfortunately, when it came to those dreams, Nashville did not deliver. I’d love to say that I got over it real quick and figured out what else was here, but instead I spent a lot of time wondering what the heck I was doing. I didn’t want to move home really, but I wondered if there was somewhere a little better, a little closer to the movie montage, country soundtrack my idealized dreams were.

While that inner struggle was happening I made some friends, I found a couple of people that were willing to go to a line dancing bar about once a month, I found people that loved taking pictures of where they lived and finding new spots to explore, I found a couple of jobs, and I found myself with a lot of time alone. My unhappiness and frustration got worst before it got better and in that I finally really learned the lesson I hadn’t been getting for years: Happiness is not solely decided by where I live. Nashville was not my knight in shining armor waiting ready on gallant stead to sweep me away from my dissatisfaction with myself. I did not leave the things I did not like about myself in San Diego or in Portland, they came with me, somehow they fit in between me and the cracks and crevices between all that I owned in my car.

So what then? Looking back I think I bounced my way through the stages of grief. It wasn’t just that Nashville was completely different than what I had wanted it to be, it was mostly that I was not magically altered into what and who I wanted to be when I moved here.

I came to a place of anger, frustration, sadness, and sometimes tiny moments of content when driving through a really gorgeous place. I felt like a hot mess. That place wasn’t new for me, I’d been there before, in San Diego, in Portland, in San Diego again, in Portland again…back one more time to San Diego, and then Nashville. I don’t know if I’ve just gotten a little more tired in my old age or I’m finally ready to start being more financially stable, but I knew this time that moving wasn’t an option (or the answer). The only way out of the hot mess of emotions was through. And I needed help that I hadn’t been able to find before.

Almost exactly twelve months after I moved here I started seeing a counselor. It has been the best decision I have made. While I haven’t given Nashville much credit for a lot of things I will give it credit here, it was the place I found a counselor that worked, it was the place I was ready to really start doing some deeper work, and it was the place I stopped paused in running from myself.

So where am I at now with Nashville? Well, I’m exploring again, I’m accepting that stores and fancy food places are not for me but that museums, parks and events are. I’m blogging for a local real estate company about a town just a few minutes north of where I live. Another thing to credit to Nashville, it was here that I started getting paid to write and explore!

I’m working on strengthening friendships and going to events that will put me around people in similar situations with similar intentions and goals and I’m doing my best to see the good and accept the rest.

I’ve gone home a few times since I moved, and while I miss it like crazy and In Cahoots makes me consider moving back home, I still have a lot of work to do here, and while I know that no place was going to make me happy, I do wonder if maybe the distance gave me the room I needed to start making some changes, and facing what I had tried to squash for so long.

I’m not yet convinced that Nashville is the place where I will finally settle down, but it’s where I am at for now. And if/when I leave, it won’t be running.

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Goals, Intensions, New Year and Birthday

Monday, January 11, 2016

Listen (1)

This year I am setting up my whole goal making, intention setting, word choosing a little different. I know I have goals I want to reach, but first I want to find intentions. I found my word for the year a few hours before midnight and I couldn’t be happier with it. I had sat down to write some goals too but then I wondered what would be left when my 30th birthday came around.
I love the fresh start of the New Year and the idea of resolution goal intention setting, but I also like the fresh start that a birthday can have. In years past I had started with some goals in the beginning of the year but they got lost and made new ones for my birthday, so this year I decided they were going to work together.

The beginning of the year has me with a main practice, to Listen, and some things I want to work on.

They are as follows:

Reach out: This means reaching out past my comfort zone, going for opportunities that speak to me but also scare the crap out of me because it means using skills I actually want to use. Reaching out to the friends I have made and continue to grow those friendships, reaching out to new people for friendships or dating or back to the top for new opportunities.

Manage money: Paying attention. Writing down my credit card balance weekly, writing down what I buy daily, thinking about the purchases I am making and why I am making them. I have been working on this through the past couple of years and I’m ready to jump in even more. The more I look straight at it, the less I look away, the easier it’s all going to be. I want a good relationship with the tool that is money. Scratch that, I want a great relationship with it, and since it’s an inanimate object, it’s up to me to do the work.

Cook new things: I am so tired of the same old glass baking dish of chicken thighs, broccoli, sweet potatoes and maybe onions or carrots. I want to make food that I am excited to eat the next day. Cook new things, use my new food processor, get stoked on healthy food. This falls into both reaching out of my comfort zone and also managing my money, I have not liked spending money on food that was eh out and about.

Create more: I read a lot. I read blog posts, my twitter feed, other articles I find all over the dang rabbit hole of the internet and I also read books. I read self improvement very frequently and while I am so glad I have over the years, it’s time to start doing more than reading. Enter: creating. This looks like taking pictures, making pictures into things, writing blog posts, writing letters, maybe making a blanket, making random art, cooking new things… it is action and expression.

Scroll less: I’ve been learning a lot about how false my perceptions have been in the past when comparing myself to others. I take well styled photos as truth and the whole story and I forget that we all have things we’re working through. I want to combat that. I mindlessly scroll a lot, through Facebook feeds, through Pinterest, through blogs and Instagram and Tumblr… I know I am not alone in this, but I want to be more intentional about it. If I scroll less there will be room to create more, there will be room to Listen closer, there will be room to cook new things and reach out AND I won’t see as many things I think I NEED to have. This is not about leaving Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr or Bloglovin forever, it’s about noticing when I’m scrolling because I don’t know what else to do. It’s about taking back some time and looking around.

I’m excited about these. I’m going to live with them for the next two months and in those two months of Listening, reaching and nourishing I believe that my goals for 30 will start to show themselves.

I’m excited about this year. I’m excited about turning 30. I’m excited about the work there is to be done. I’m digging in and I’m keeping my heart open.

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Word of the Year

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Listen (3)

I’ve gone back and forth over the past few years with choosing a word. I would think and think and force and force and decide on one just to forget about it or come to hate it. I picked words I thought I should pick, ones that would push me to be better or more. I think that’s the exact opposite of what I was needing. Last year I didn’t really choose a word, I think if I were to choose one now for then I would say “through.” As in, keep pushing through, don’t make another big change, don’t move because it isn’t what you thought it would be, keep going. If you’re going through hell, keep going.

It wasn’t the most fun of years, and if I had known that was my word at the beginning I might have felt sad about it, but now it’s the end and yay, I went through!

This year I wanted a word again, I wanted to find one that inspired and held me but didn’t push me rudely. A want and even more so, and intention instead of a should. I thought and though (like years past) and I let a couple sit that felt good, and as the clock struck 9pm on New Years’s Eve I thought I had it. There were two words, Reach and Nourish, and they were good. They felt good, but they didn’t feel good without the other. I know that with these practices you can make the rules as you go and there was nothing wrong with having two, but it still didn’t feel quite right.

I sat down to watch a movie and brainstorm for the new year, I sent a couple texts and felt a little discouraged about something else, and it was in that discouragement, while walking from my room to the laundry (yes I had a wild New Year’s Eve) that my word popped in.

Listen.

The discouragement I had been feeling, it was towards an exercise I had tried to do multiple times and couldn’t complete. The exercise: a visualization of meeting my inner mentor. I couldn’t meet her, I would get to her house and when I would look in her direction it was like a white fog. She didn’t tell me her name, she didn’t give me a gift, and what was this beam of light shit? I want to meet my inner mentor, I want to connect better to my intuition, I want to move forward connecting better to myself. I was trying to get at that with Nourish. Nourish my body, nourish my mind, take care so that my inner mentor could be seen.

But Listen… man, Listen was even better. That one popped in as the best ideas do. It felt like intuition and not force. It felt right. I put my laundry in the wash and I went back to my movie and felt better. Listen. It’s time to listen.

I don’t know exactly how I’m going to live that out this year, I don’t know what practices I am going to put into place, but I know that when things feel right and when they feel wrong I am going to listen. I’m going to listen to what is really being said by my mentor and my critic, not just the exact words that are played over and over, but why they are being played over and over. I am going to listen and see who’s doing the talking, trusting the calm voice over the anxious one.

In 2016 I am going to Listen and in doing so, I believe I will be able to reach and nourish.

Here’s to a good year.

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