“California. California, here we come.”

I realized this morning that we leave for LA in less than 2 weeks. I have never been to California. I feel like I have been looking forward to this trip for years, but it’s only been a few months. Several months? Todd ordered our tickets, but I’m really not sure when. At different points in time, I have forgotten that we are going. It’s kind of a big deal, though, going to a place I have never been. I don’t take any of my travels for granted, but going to Marfa is more regular than going to LA. Man, I love Marfa. We opted not to go in 2018 so we can plan for a trip to Europe. I’m going to Miss that trek further into the southwest of Texas, but…. Europe.

I will be excited until it’s time to board the flight for DFW (layover town). Then I will feel anxious until we are off of the plane in CA. I will go back to feeling anxious again after we collect our luggage. I have never met Thad’s wife, Caroline. I have never met their daughter, Maddie, either, but 2-year-olds aren’t as scary as adults. aren’t as scary

Also, will LA be crowded? Is the traffic as bad as they say? Will I see any celebrities? How much is “too much” money to spend at Amoeba Records? How much is “too much” money to spend at the Museum of Death? Am I making the right choice in choosing NOT to go to the Harry Potter theme park? I mean, it will be right there, and Todd said we can go…. But there are so many other things to see….

We need to start looking for restaurants and making a REAL game plan. Less than 2 weeks. I hope to have a lot to share after the trip.

Hustlers grab your guns // Your shadow weighs a ton // Lookin out for number 1 // California, here we come // Right back where we started from

One night, Todd and I were sitting in the original Kerbey Lane – Central (Hail, ATX) when we spotted a guy who looked a lot like Jason Schwartzman. We ordered a ton of food for just the two of us (I know I ordered a poached egg dish, but we also had pancakes because it was Kerbey Lane and we are not androids) and spent a lot of the time trying to decide, Is that him? I remember looking him up to try to figure out where he lived, did he have any connection to ATX, etc. I read that he was a vegetarian. Not very helpful. In the end, we decided it was not him. I was tempted to approach the guy and explain why we kept looking in his direction. I don’t think we were staring, but we may have looked that way often enough to seem weird. Of course, maybe he’s used to that kind of thing.

I feel bad that I can’t remember what show we had just attended. It had to be Kurt Vile or Cold War Kids…. I’m leaning toward Kurt Vile. I think we went to a Kerbey Lane branch after CWK.

Sharing is caring.

Two posts in one day – craziness! And so close in time – madness!

I want to share something in the hope that it will lend itself to holding me accountable. I am awful at setting goals. I once dated a guy who asked me about my 5-year plan (I was 26-27 at the time). I like to think that was the moment when I knew he and I were doomed, but I knew waaaay before that moment (I was so dumb). In processing him asking about my 5-year plan, of course I panicked thinking this is something everyone does but never mentions to me, I am doomed, I will never be successful, I’m doing everything wrong, I’m never going to grow up*, I need to make a plan, and Oh, my God, I don’t even like making plans for the upcoming weekend…. Eventually I talked to my dad about 5-year plans. He was, like, “No.” Looking back, I think my dad has always been trying to tell me to do my own thing and be my own person – whoever that is. Like, always. I just didn’t listen, which is not entirely surprising. I have come around. I don’t make 5-year plans. If you do, please tell me how and why. Also, how do you handle that pressure?

Anyway, the point of this post is to share my goals for this upcoming week. I may be able to do this, one week at a time.
See below.

Wk 1

I know you’re all wondering: Maggie, what is this enchanting paper you used to document your goals for the week? It’s a Chick-fil-A napkin I left on the coffee table yesterday. There’s no shame in my game, y’all. Try to keep up.

* I still have not grown up.

Interweb Mistakes.

I make a lot of mistakes on the Internet by looking at ridiculous shit. I recently noticed a trend in telling readers how to journal. For maximum effect, I will repeat: I recently noticed a trend in telling reader how to journal. I mostly see this on Pinterest accompanied by professional photographs of “fancy” writing in “fancy books” with multiple colors of ink, doodles, charts, graphs, etc. I see books with pockets for keeping items, stickers, bookmarks, paperclips with stuff glued to them…. It looks expensive and overwhelming.

I don’t remember when I started keeping a journal, but it was back when I still called it “keeping a diary.” I remember owning a lavender diary with a cat on it. I hate cats. I remember that diary. It had the goofy, flimsy lock and the key that had the strength of a paperclip – a low level paperclip, not one of those serious paperclips that can easily manage 18 pages.

I’ve written here about my current journal here – an emerald green moleskine that I carry in my purse. I would prefer nobody read it, but if someone grabbed it from me and ran off as if to humiliate me with what they found inside it, I don’t think I’d do much to stop them. They might learn something.

The idea that I need to be instructed or taught how to journal is offensive, unless the instructions are:
1 – buy a blank book, notebook, index cards, whatever you want to write on;
2 – buy a writing instrument you like to use;
3 – write whatever you want in whatever fashion you want in the item you acquired in Step 1.
What else is there? Am I missing something?
Realistically, you could scrap all of these (3) instructions and just write whatever on whatever surface with whatever instrument. If I really need/want to write something down, and I don’t have my journal or some kind of paper handy, I’ll write on receipts, napkins, old grocery store lists, etc. Whatever I can find. Later, I’ll copy it into my journal or maybe just put the written-on scrap between some pages. I wrote it down. It’s there. That’s all I need. It’s not uncommon to find napkins between the pages of my journals.

Even considering that I journal incorrectly (that I need to be taught how to do it) or that I don’t journal effectively makes me think of being advised that I need to wear make-up all the time. I don’t do that. If you follow me on social media, you may remember that the caption for a picture of me & Todd the night we went out for my birthday dinner refers to me rubbing dirt and chemicals on my face. I do it when I want to do it. I also do it when I know I’m going to court, which I have to state specifically because that is a time when I don’t always want to do it. The point is, I am the same Maggie whether I paint my face or not. My journal is as valuable and effective and correct, regardless of how it’s done. As a special note, if you wear make-up every day and that’s what you want to do, *high five* You are kicking ass. If you wear make-up every day and you don’t want to, please talk to me about this. I have seen this other side of life, and I can tell you that nothing bad happens. You will still be you – worthy, valuable, important and loved.

Journaling seems like one of the last things we should need several items to do it effectively. One writing surface, one writing instrument and you’re set. What if someone was interested in keeping a journal and they saw all of these articles about different ink pens, stickers, etc. and decided it was too expensive, too overwhelming or required so much skill? That’s absurd. The special lettering and doodles may do someone in. I don’t draw and my handwriting is sloppy, but I keep my journal. I write what I want to, when I want to. But if I tried to start journaling and felt that to do it correctly I needed to master all of this lettering and special doodles…. I wouldn’t do it, because that’s not my area. I’m a word person, not a shapes and lines person.

Journaling doesn’t require special skills or equipment. Depending on your motivation for getting into it, it doesn’t even require a special commitment. The idea of writing in my journal every day sounds great, but I also like reading, going to the gym, spending time with Todd, spending time with our [four-legged] girls, watching TV/movies. I don’t always make time to write in my journal. If/When I feel moved to write, I do it. Sometimes, like today, it gets done here and not in the moleskine.

Whatever day it is.

My Grandmother passed away Tuesday in the early-early morning.  My dad called me around 3am (my time) to tell me.  When I spoke to him Wednesday afternoon, just to check in, he couldn’t remember if he had called me or not.  He admitted to feeling “scattered.”  No kidding.  It’s devastating, even if you know it’s on its way.  Comparison is mean in times like these (I’m sorry, Dad), but I remember experiencing that, “Which way is up?” feeling for weeks after my mom passed.  And I still had my dad. That feeling reared its ugly head several more times, here-and-there. It has been a long time since I felt it. That bizarre emptiness, however, has never gone away.

Grandma was my last living biological grandparent.  I’m lucky – I still have my step-grandparents. I’m grateful to have a relationship with them.

I think funerals bring out the bad in many families. Maybe they bring up all those things that people normally pretend don’t exist. Something about the emotional stress of a death in the family and the funeral bring up all this bottom-dwelling stuff that, on any other day, isn’t real. I have been curious about human behavior for as long as I can remember. I’ve formally studied it since late high school. I work in it. It is the great mystery. Why do people do this instead of that? Why did that person do that specific thing? My brain never gives up. I think there is a higher prevalence of Why? because I’m an introvert, and, of course, I think my way of handling things is the best way (Note: not always true).

Earlier today I became very upset. I wrote a letter that I intended to send to some relatives via FaceBook messenger. Even when I sat down with my lappy toppy, I was still set on sending the letter. When it was time, I changed my mind. Maybe this is not the way to do it? Maybe this is somehow inappropriate? I just need to get some messages across to them. I just need them to know some things, and I need those things to come from me. I have this desperate need to encourage people to talk to me if they have questions or concerns about me. I definitely do not want people to get their information from someone with whom I don’t communicate.

I opted to post the letter here. Come one, come all. Maybe nobody will read it. Maybe everyone will. Note: I wrote this while sitting at my desk at work this morning (07/21/2017).

Dear Family,
 
I want to apologize for not attending Gram’s services.  I have kept everyone in my thoughts, and I thoroughly researched my options for making the trip happen.  Without getting into specifics, I feel comfortable openly admitting that I was not able to afford to make the trip.  I also want to let everyone know that I did not ask anyone else to pay for the trip for me or to help me pay for it.  None of this came from a place of disrespect for Gram or anyone else.  The money wasn’t there, and I hate asking others for money. 
 
I regret that I could not be there for Gram’s funeral.  I feel that I should have been there, at least as a support for my dad and everyone else who is deeply effected by this loss.  I don’t think the death of a loved one is ever easy.  There is no such thing as, “being ready.”  I don’t know if anyone else has said it, but this sucks.  I know many of you have been thinking that. 
 
Right now in Texas, it’s 10:38am.  Gram’s funeral is scheduled to begin at 12:00pm “my time.”  It was nearly midnight “my time” last night when it occurred to me that I could send flowers for the funeral.  You will find that I didn’t, even when the idea finally came to me.  I looked at arrangements online and generally stressed myself out about making a choice.  Then I didn’t choose.  They were kind of boring and not one of them reminded me of Gram.
 
I want this letter to serve as an apology for not attending Gram’s services and for not being there during this difficult time.  I am remembering Gram here: the blue hood she made for me when I was little-little (maybe 4-5 years old); her singing; her Macaroni & Cheese (still my favorite); her poems she shared with me while I was in high school and my denim blanket.  If you didn’t love your denim blanket, you are a liar; if you never received one, you are missing out. 

That’s really it. I didn’t “sign” it. I didn’t go into any background. It doesn’t seem like much, and I did attempt to write more, but it was too far off track. Too much needless reality.

Since my grandma’s passing, I’ve spoken with 3 different relatives who are there (who have been there). That’s 3 different stories. I kid you not. Three different stories about what’s happening in a rural county in Ohio. I feel angry and confused. Two weeks ago, I would’ve picked up the phone, called a reliable someone and said, “Here’s what I’m hearing. What is really happening?” I don’t feel like I have that option today. Another side effect of emotional stress related to a death in the family is that nobody is reliable right now.

This week has been something of a highlight reel of why I moved 2K miles away from that rural county in Ohio. I can more easily flex my logic muscle here. I can try to fit the pieces together in my mind without someone in my ear with their own agenda, because I can leave my phone in a different room. I can even turn off my phone. I can process text messages over time. I can disconnect more easily from emotions because there aren’t facial expressions. In text messages, there isn’t even a tone of voice or the sound of post-cry sniffling or exasperated sighing. It seems like panning for gold – I can sift out the nonsense. I will tell you, the pan is frequently empty. Texas has been nothing short of a blessing for me. I need all this distance. I need 2,000 miles to be authentic and to coexist authentically.

Eventually the dust will settle. Eventually there will be a reliable somebody. Eventually, I will go visit. I will get to look at faces and look into eyes when I ask, What is really happening here?

If the shorts don’t fit, you must….

When I decided to share this blog with anyone & everyone, I realized there is some element of bravery in this adventure.  There is A LOT of bravery in sharing this post.  If you suffer from an eating disorder or are a survivor of an eating disorder, this may be triggering for you.

_______________________________________________________________

6.10.17

We went swimming at Tristi’s today.  I felt so excited to put on my bathing suit.  I really like my bathing suit.  I like the story of how I came to have this bathing suit.  I felt so excited to go lie in the sun and – hopefully – get some color on my skin.  I pulled on a pair of running shorts over my bathing suit.  The shorts are every bit of 2 years old.  I talked to Todd about how they used to fit loose.  They did.  I have photographic proof!  Now, they are snug around my booty and my thighs, but I like that.  That was part of our discussion – that I like having a bigger booty and bigger thighs.  By no means is it all solid muscle, but there is a fair amount of muscle.  I squat, I lunge.  I do what Coach Aubrey tells me to do and I use weight.  I feel proud of my thighs and my booty.  There is power & strength there.  The shorts are satisfyingly snug, not uncomfortably snug.

After swimming, I dried off and attempted to put the shorts back on.  Tristi commented on how she thinks they are cute.  We had been talking about trading clothes earlier because as I am getting larger, she is shrinking, so she said she will take them if I’m ever ready to get rid of them.  Then, I couldn’t pull the shorts all the way up.  I couldn’t get them over my thighs.  They made a sound like the seams were tearing.  Okay, no shorts for the short ride home.  My brain went to a place that I would have preferred it not go.  Chubby.  Heavy.  Fat. 

While walking to the truck, CARRYING MY SHORTS I COULD NOT FIT ONTO MY BODY, I thought of giving them to Tristi.  Why not?  I need to stop wearing them.  They don’t fit me because I am chubby.  I am too big.  Tristi has gotten so tiny, and I know she needs shorts.

When we got home, I got ready to shower.  Chubby.  Heavy.  Pale.  My stomach is so big.  My thighs are fat, not strong.  I am pale all over.  My stomach is gross.  My waistline is GONE.  Chubby.  Pale.  Gross.  Ugly.  Those shorts must look awful over my chubby thighs.  They are short, which means my pale legs are exposed.  Pale.  I could already tell that I didn’t get any color today.  That’s not surprising.

I must disclose that this is very difficult to write.  I work every day to love this body.  I work every day to remind myself that I am so much more than this.  When others struggle with their own body image, I remind them of these things that I’m not always good at remembering for myself.  Every body is deserving of love and care.  But this belly has to go.  These things have to get toned.

I lose the fight against my skin tone every year, and every year I feel angry and frustrated that I am allergic to something in self-tanners (and this is the only thing I am allergic to, as far as I know).  The only time I’ve gotten and kept a respectable tan is when I used a tanning bed, which I won’t do anymore.  It’s so weird that I may see someone who is pale and my mind makes up all these reasons why it is okay for that person, but not for me (it is okay for that person, but not for me = that statement, alone, is a huge problem, that it’s not okay for my skin to be the way it is).  Sometimes I can go long periods of time without giving a fuck.  Yes, I am pale.  Whatever.  What-ev-er.

I don’t want to buy bigger clothes.  I have convinced myself that buying bigger clothes means accepting my body at this size and not trying – not working – to make it better (read: smaller).  Then I might accept it getting even bigger.  How long before it’s out of control?

As I wrote, I work every day to love this body.  I have had many long stretches of time during which loving this body went very well.  Part of the reason why I love my bathing suit so much is that I spent the time and energy to work up the courage to try on bikinis and buy one.  Earlier this year, I told myself my bikini days were over.  I told myself I needed to get a one-piece bathing suit this year.  More often than not, I do the work for my self-love.  I do the work to keep it afloat.  As you can see, there are times when I slip.  My self-love isn’t as reliable as I need it to be.  I am a work in progress.

Some kind of leader

written 6.2.17

During the past 2 days at work, I attended a training about Motivational Interviewing (MI).  I think it was an okay training.  I don’t think I can use much of it in working with sex offenders.  That’s an entry for another day.  Today was the second day of the training, and I noticed something that I feel compelled to write about.  I even made a note in my notepad during the training so I wouldn’t forget.

I would never label myself a “leader.”  I would never ask to supervise a project or be someone’s boss.  When I have been asked to take on a supervising role, I have said, “No, thank you.”  I’m not an extrovert.  I don’t want to be in charge.  In every class I took with Dr. Sofranko during college, he said that because we (the students) were in college, it was almost inevitable that we would all end up managing/supervising others at some point in life.  At that point in my life and for many years after, my Sass Level was well below zero (0).  Still, every time Dr. Sofranko made that statement, I thought to myself, “I’ll show you!”  Honestly, the first time I heard him say it, I’m sure my Internal Panic Alarm sounded.  But, every time after that, my internal response was to accept the statement as some kind of challenge he was issuing.  It’s not lost on me that my job title is Community Supervision Officer.  I’m not supervising other employees.  I’m supervising sex offenders who live in the community (insert helpless, maniacal laughter).  This is the first time I am having this realization.  Good lookin’ out, Dr. Sofranko.  May you rest in peace, especially knowing that you were right about so many things.

For the MI training, we were situated in groups of 8.  I have no issues with anyone in my group.  I approach my job with the philosophy that the job of everyone in my department is difficult.  End of story.  As is usually the case, there was not an obvious leader in my group.  When someone had to speak for the whole group, we all looked at each other hoping it would be someone else.  That’s my default setting.

I know work trainings are often boring.  Sometimes they are/seem pointless.  I know that.  I also know that sometimes trying to make the best out of a less-than-perfect situation keeps the situation from seeming so awful.  Time passes easier, one’s mood doesn’t sour as much when one tries.  I think?  That’s been my experience.  Easier said than done.  I know that, too.  Maybe attitude is everything?

Early in the day yesterday, I realized that I would not be able to use much of what we were being taught because of the nature of the population I supervise.  That happens.  A lot.  My initial response to this realization in any situation is to feel frustrated.  Damnit.  I need help with my work.  I need to learn new skills to help me work more effectively with sex offenders.  But I’m the only person in my department who needs this.  Eventually, I replace frustration with some other feeling: apathy, being reasonable, etc.  I chose being reasonable yesterday.  Okay, I have to sit through this training.  I’ll make the best of it.  I’ll listen, I’ll take notes, I’ll try to do the exercises correctly.  I might even participate in discussions.  If I pay attention, I may learn some things that I can use, here-and-there.  Not everyone in my group took this route.  Okay.  We’re all different.  No problem.

We were working on an exercise that required us each to write responses to, I think, 5 different statements, discuss each of our statements as a group and choose one that we believed was the best out of all 8 options.  When it seemed like my group was kind of disorganized, I tried to become some kind of leader.  I got the impression that nobody wanted to do the exercise, nobody wanted to share their answer and nobody wanted to choose the best one.  Work trainings are often boring, and we always have work to do in our offices that is, honestly, more important.  We didn’t have much choice and I didn’t think it sounded like much fun to have nothing to say when it was our turn to respond.  No, we wouldn’t get into trouble, but it wouldn’t do our image any favors.  Not to mention, there were supervisors in the training (supervisors, like bosses).  And it’s just not in my nature to blow off tasks I’m asked/told to complete at work, no matter how meaningless the task may seem.  We are professionals, and I think we should each present as such, especially when we are being given a presentation by another professional to whom we should show respect if only because he is a person who is trying to help us be better officers.  I believed that part of being respectful was completing the exercise as instructed.

My stint as “some kind of leader” was pathetically brief.  Working with the responses and body language of some of the people in my group when I tried to bring some order to the chaos, I decided to be quiet.  That was the end.  I didn’t try again.  When we did other group exercises, I kept my input to a minimum.  I definitely did not try to lead, nudge or direct.  My motivation was primarily internal – the way I interpreted their responses and body language – the blank stares, the lack of responses, the mumbling.  Did they think I was being too bossy?  Did they think I was a bitch because I tried to “take over?”  Did they think I was some nerdy loser who was paying attention and trying to learn?  (FYI: “nerdy loser,” party of one right here because learning IS fun and knowledge IS power, motherfucker).

I can’t say the exercise was easy.  I understand the fear of being wrong in answering a question in front of a group.  It’s not fun, but it’s a good way to learn.  Just as much as the next person, I hate finding out that old, cliché advice is accurate.  Still, if my group gave an incorrect response, what would happen?  The presenter would give us feedback about how to improve our response?  We’d gain a better understanding of what we were doing?  That doesn’t sound so bad.

My intention was to help my group.  It didn’t work out.  It prompted me to think about the discussions of referring to girls as “bossy” as if this is a negative trait.  I have never been bossy.  I have always been quiet.  A few times, I have sat quietly while I knew the “boss” was getting something incorrect, and I didn’t say anything.  I don’t want to seem like a know-it-all.  I don’t want to seem like a bitch.

Throughout the training, we worked in pairs and used real life examples to practice the techniques we were learning.  One of mine that came up more than once was my desire to be more assertive.  I am so much better than I used to be.  Just, so much.  I can’t even tell you.  BUT, there is much more room for improvement.  I want to be more assertive.  And, even though this desire was on my mind during the training, when I had an opportunity to work on strengthening my assertiveness, I didn’t take it.  Given the circumstances, I may have been considering “choosing my battles” over exercising my Assertiveness Muscles.

Work in progress.

I feel tired of seeing clothes I like and almost immediately thinking, “I can’t wear that.”  I don’t seem to ever really have a solid, logical reason.

I can’t wear that because my skin is pale.

I can’t wear that because my arms are too skinny.

I can’t wear that because my stomach isn’t flat.

I can’t wear that because of my age.

Etc.

When I first learned about the magic that is positive self-talk, I also learned to ask myself if I would treat my best friend the same way I am treating myself in a given situation.  Would I tell my best friend that she can’t wear something she likes because she thinks her arms are too skinny?  No.  I would tell her that she should wear whatever she likes.  To Hell with what someone else might think.  Apparently, I have created imaginary rules in my head that only apply to me, and they make me look at myself through a filter that only I am using based on these imaginary rules I created (where I got the fodder for these rules is a whole other entry).  I’m not *less than* or *less worthy* because my skin is pale, my arms are skinny, my stomach isn’t flat.  There’s no reason for me not to wear what I like.

I know that I may find clothes I like, try them on and decide I don’t like them.  That’s not really where I am with this entry.  I’m talking about that initial admiration of an outfit or piece of clothing being immediately followed by my brain making up reasons why I just cannot even try to go anywhere near it because of….see above.

I’m not sure what kind of growth this may lead to, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I’m researching blog topics and themes almost every day.  I love seeing the body positivity movement and reading others’ inspirational stories.  Last night, I read about how the body positivity movement doesn’t make space for thin women because thin women already have a space.  I know that’s true.

I reached out to a blogger/researcher, via Twitter, to ask her about body dysmorphia & body positivity.  That’s not to say that I suffer from or am a survivor of body dysmorphia, but I’m curious about that dynamic if we are talking about people who perceive their body a certain way that isn’t accurate, which could be a thin person perceiving his/her body as overweight; how does body positivity work in that situation?  Maybe it doesn’t?  Clearly, I need to do more leg work here.  I plan to reach out to others with my questions as I move through articles and blogs and Instagram posts.

I plan to continue to support the #bopo movement and see if I can claim a tiny place for myself there, not as a thin woman, but as a woman who struggles with body image.  That’s my personal work – being more positive about my body as the vessel that carries me and what I have to offer as a whole person, and not as what defines me as good/bad, worthy/not worthy.

I absolutely support others feeling more positive and open about their own bodies.  This life is short, and the filter through which you view yourself may be based on imaginary rules that nobody else is following because those rules are only in your head.  Wear the dress, wear the shorts, wear the low-cut shirt; dye your hair that beautiful shade of purple you have been admiring, pierce your nose, don’t shave your legs everyday, quit tweezing your eyebrows, commit to growing your hair long even when you hit that awkward phase in the growth process.  Ignore whatever aesthetic-related chore you saddle yourself with every day because you think you have to do it to please every person around you.

I know it’s easier said than done.  I KNOW that.  Try to grasp what it will feel like to go through that first full day after you – for example – pierce your nose and nothing bad happens.  Nobody makes fun, nobody laughs, you don’t burst into flames, the ground doesn’t open up to the let the Earth swallow you whole.  It’s more likely that someone will compliment it, comment on your courage or want to hear the whole story.  Another example: not tweezing your eyebrows will be different.  Nobody will comment on your courage or even want to hear the story.  The likely scenario here is that nobody says anything.  That first day turns into the first week turns into the first month and, pretty soon, you don’t know how long you’ve had your nose pierced; you don’t know how long you’ve been letting your eyebrows grow [mostly] wild.  Nothing bad happens.  You just keep being you, keep doing what you are meant to do with an extra hole in your nostril or with fuller eyebrows.  And it all goes back to that first day – the courage you mustered to get you through that first full day feels normal.  It might even feel comfortable.  Courage is courage, friends.  The more you exercise it, the more you have stockpiled.

 

Knowledge is power (?)

I decided to write

 

So, I log into the wordpress site to check things out; maybe write a little something.  I see that I have 2 “drafts” that were never “published.”  I don’t remember writing something and not publishing it or at least deciding it was trash that needed to be deleted this instant.  I open the first draft and it’s the 4 words you see above.  And, obviously, I didn’t.  I have no idea when I wrote that or where I thought I would go with it.  And why is the title Knowledge is power?  It rings no bells. 

Something I want to practice here, there and everywhere in my life is authenticity.  Upon seeing this “draft,” I felt compelled to provide some explanation and post it.  A little Behind the Scenes of my process, I guess.  That’s right.  I am sharing with you a failed blog entry. 

34.

“All there is in the end is death, so who cares.  Just be happy!”

Today is my 34th birthday.  I have loved my 30s so much.  My cousin turned 30 earlier this year and I was glad to find that she was looking forward to her 30s.  I have accomplished so many things during my 30s.  The most important thing, I think, is truly accepting and loving myself.  Do you realize how many doors open up with this revelation?  It’s not an arrogant, “I can do anything.”  It’s a humble, solid, “I can do anything.”  And maybe I can’t, but I can damn sure try anything that strikes me as enjoyable or beneficial.  I can finish a half-marathon.  I can go into a new place by myself.  I can ask questions.  I can speak to a large crowd.  I can be assertive.  I can openly communicate with my partner.  I can start a blog and share it with anyone who wants to read it.  I can go out in public with unwashed hair.  I can testify in a court room.  I can make small talk, even if I don’t like it.  I can switch jobs.  I can drive wherever I want to go.  I can get out my little journal and jot down whatever whenever I am called to do so.

To be fair, “truly accepting and loving myself” is absolutely a work in progress.  There are good days, there are great days and there are days when I have to consciously focus on positive self-talk and on reversing all of the negative thoughts that are attempting to overwhelm me.  On those bad days, I can be found writing out a list of positive self-talk statements, like a “newbie.”  There’s no shame in my game, folks.  I will feel proud and tell whoever will listen about whatever it is I do to live my happiest, best possible life – sometimes that’s re-reading an old list, sometimes it’s writing a new list, sometimes it’s just remembering.

Today is my 34th birthday.  I told Tristi this is the first birthday in my 30s that I have felt “weird” about.  I don’t feel old.  I don’t necessarily feel bad, but I feel like maybe I should be doing something bigger.  I can count on Tristi for a lot of things – all good things.  As usual, she came through with a great perspective.  She said, “Be happy.  That’s all that matters!….All there is in the end is death, so who cares.  Just be happy! And just like that, I was back on track with enjoying my 30s.  I am happy.  I have a genuinely great life.  The more I think about it, I’m not even sure what I should be doing is real.  I do love my job.  I do believe I am where I am for a reason.   Where in the hell did the thought come from that I should be doing something bigger?

This is me today in my 34-year-old glory; sitting on the sidewalk in front of The Latest Scoop in downtown San Angelo.  Something I hope to achieve in this blog is to be authentic.  I could have asked Todd to take the photograph from a different angle to prevent the sun being in my eyes.  I could have found a more flattering pose.  I could have chosen not to ask Todd to take my picture because I wasn’t wearing make-up, my hair wasn’t fixed, I don’t have a tan, I’m wearing an outfit that could easily pass for pajamas, blah blah blah.  This is the photograph I wanted.

 

BD Flowers

These are the super sweet surprise birthday flowers that Todd sent to me at work yesterday.  I like a good surprise.  I like Todd.  And I like my birthday.

Chris Cornell

“Cornell was a real one.”   (Jeff Weiss for noisey)

I have “experienced” various famous musician deaths.  George Michael hurt because I remember listening to him with mom.  Chris Cornell hurts because he and Soundgarden and Audioslave were a part of my life.  And who doesn’t at least appreciate Temple of The Dog?  I mean, have you heard “Hunger Strike?”

I learned of his passing while getting ready for work.  I wanted to go back to bed.  I realize that is an overdramatic reaction.  I am an adult, after all.  But it’s Chris Cornell.  How could we lose that voice?  How could we lose that man?  When I think “grunge,” the first person I think of is Chris Cornell.  I feel lucky to have watched his growth since the early 1990s.  I even enjoyed his solo work.

“Please, mother mercy, take me from this place and the long-winded curses I keep hearing in my head.  Words never listen.”