// forcing habit

It’s been a week!

I guess I can write this now!

So. In my earlier post about saying no to things so you can say yes later and whatnot I referenced a few things I was doing to kind of get myself back on track and pave a smooth way for the semester.

And I can honestly say I’ve learned a lot during that process.

So! A recap!

This week, I:

Said “no” to coffee, and “yes” to water and tea.*
I woke up with a cup/glass/or water bottle every morning this week, because I want to embrace the positive effects a hefty dose of water can have on your metabolism in the mornings.

Some observations, though:

  • It kinda threw off my body’s schedule LOL
  • I’ve noticed a small difference in my ability to focus and in the quality of my skin. [I had headshots taken yesterday so this has been a mild blessing!]
  • It has made me aware how little I drink water now. Because I start my day with it, and because it seems to be a memorable part of my mornings now, I think about it more. And I also seem to have a subconscious thought of “oh, welp! That’s your water for the day!” So I’m hoping to override that.
  • I did break my non-coffee regimen 2 times this week though [1.5 if you wanna get technical about chai tea lattes]. I will say though! These “breaks” were backed with purpose–
    • one “coffee” event was spent getting through a difficult, yet rewarding as hell conversation
    • the other was a purposeful consumption of an espresso iced coffee to power through a video editing session. I totally got in my “flow” state and absolutely reached hyperfocus as a result.
    • [EDIT: annnnnnd whoops technically I guess I also had a break today I totally forgot about–I ordered a Matcha latte at work today because I’d never had one before and I wanted to see if I’d like it. Does that count? LOL]
  • I guess the biggest thing for me with regards to the coffee is that I wanted to consume it more mindfully, and more purposefully, rather than just having it be my “given” for the day. And on that front, I think I succeeded. [:

I said “no” to notifications, and “yes” to waking up more mindfully.
I don’t think I really realized how much my mind raced in the morning until the end of last semester. Over winter break there wasn’t quite as many commitments, so I was able to wake up with notifications and skip the mind racing, *but* I was then able to fall into the trap of endlessmindlessscrolling (I didn’t have a class to race off to, so of course I was able to just sit and absorb. At least, I told myself I could). So. By keeping airplane on all night, I knew for a fact that nothing would be able to get through.

Some notes though:

  • I did violate my rule once this week because we were expected to get a ton of snow, and, let’s be real, I didn’t want to miss the university closure texts.
  • This habit MAJORLY helped in that it gave me a clear mind for the morning to breeze through my other tasks, such as drinking water, making myself a smol breakfast, and getting ready for the day [I should time myself on all those things, actually, just to see how long they *actually* take and now how exacerbated they are when interrupted with screen time! :D]
  • It also just gave me a nice…buffer? I guess? A little extra time between being asleep and immediately “on” and awake.
  • I’m able to more accurately process my mornings!! I am here, writing this post because I *remember* my mornings– not just as a rushed blur of mundane, but as a little more *mindful*! That’s exciting!

Said “no” to “checking in” and working right away, yes to observing my breathing and bringing back my wandering thoughts.
I was probably worried the most about this one.  Mediation, I knew going into this, was going to be the one I was most averse to for this week. I didn’t do that well in terms of setting aside a solid 5 minutes to watch my breathing. Rather, I made some observations:

  • I traded sitting cross-legged on my floor or on my bed for walks to work without headphones.
  • I declined music in the shower, opting instead for a 5 min timer and just embraced the fact that my mind was going to wander and made an effort to enjoy it.
  • I did a few brain dumps. On paper. For me, this is highly meditative for some reason.  I started with a blank sheet of paper and by the end of 10 mins or so, I had built a complete list of thoughts and notes and “to-do”s and by the end my head just felt SO MUCH BETTER. Chris Bailey quotes a lot, “your brain is for having thoughts, not holding thoughts.” That’s what the meditative brain-dumps are for [;

There were a few other things I did pretty consistently this week that I hadn’t intentionally set out to do,  though, and they surprised me!

I made my bed every morning.
Anyone who has seen my room knows I’m pretty scattered. But I’m actually super proud of the way I’ve been able to keep it tidy over the past week. Among my morning hustle, I try to make my bed look made just so I have a good thing to come home to. But also because it’s hard to lay out clothes and spread out what I need for the day on a mangled up tangled ball of blankets :B

I made myself breakfast every morning. 
The routine as of late? Oatmeal + egg and cheese. I whip up the oatmeal [it’s instant, we’re getting there LOL], and then make an egg with shredded cheddar to get that protein in. I cannot TELL you how many times I went last semester [especially towards the end there!] without eating a single thing in the morning. [Well, I did have a single thing– and it was coffee. #yikes] If I was running late, I opted for something more portable [I think that only happened once this week] like a granola bar of piece of fruit. Otherwise, I carved out time for breakfast. And, on super late nights like last night, I did the prep work in the evening so I could be prepared and get the extra sleep in the morning. [I know it all probably works out to be even– the time I spent prepping was taking away from my sleep time, but in my head this makes sense and it *feels* like I get to sleep more, LOL].

I did all of the above with the help of a “Gmorning” checklist! 
I love lists. I don’t know where I would be without them. What started as a way for me not to lose track of all I had to do in the morning turned into a daily event. I would take a piece of paper, write out my tasks for the morning, and write something encouraging on the top of it. The cherry on top? Leaving Lin Manuel Miranda’s book, “Gmorning, Gnight!” right on top of the list so I could flip it open to a random page to be inspired. I think positive self-talk, especially early in the morning, is super underrated. I’m not quite to the point of confessing love for myself in the mirror yet LOL, but I am finding that reading just a blurb of something positive each morning has a really nice effect on the day.

The crazy thing? There were points this week where I felt myself pushing back on all of this. Where I wondered, what’s the point?  Heck, today I saw someone reference today as “Ditch All Your New Year’s Resolutions Day,” as if we’re supposed to just up and lose motivation on the 15th of the first month of the year.

But the funny thing about routines and habits– you come to expect them. You come to think about them during the rest of the day, and even look forward to them. So much so that when you feel like you’re starting to veer off the tracks, you seek solace in them again. And it’s like come on we just spent so much time getting this together. Why stop now?

…And when you see that they’re starting to work, starting to pull you up and help you rise, you’re inclined to give them another chance every time the sun rises. [:

What about you guys? What 2019 energies are you keeping up with?

xx

 

we can be good at math

Between being sick, and trying to figure stuff out for how to re-align my life for this semester, I managed to wake up late this morning…..BUT! I made it 1 minute before my first class started at 8am!! #yay

This class…is a math class.

#notyay #butYESYAYbecause #override #anythingispossible! #readmoretoseewhy

I am in my 3rd year here at university and have avoided it for this long [LOL how]. But like 2019 is turning out to show and teach me every day– there’s just no hiding anymore! ((-:

The last math classes I took was in high school. It was AP AB Calculus in my junior year, and AP Stats senior year. With regards to the Calc, I was in that class because it was the only thing left I could take without stepping down the ladder in terms of math difficulty, and because I was pressured into it by myself (“why not take another AP to impress colleges hmm??” ) and friends (“why not take another AP to impress colleges but also lowkey upholdyour intellectual status at this school and unrealistically inflate your GPA like the rest of us  hmm??”)… and parents (“why not take another AP to impress colleges hmm??”).

Needless to say, I did not want to be there.

This negative outlook stemmed, I think, from a lot of different things, and I really only started to understand it last semester.

This particular bout of introspection came when we were discussing epistemological beliefs within my practicum as I was training to become a digital learning center tutor.

It’s a big complicated phrase [and I may or may not still have trouble getting it out of my mouth without tripping on it somehow LOL] that basically talks about how we as humans conceptualize our own knowledge, and how we think about learning and its processes.

Do we think that learning is about facts and knowing? Do we believe that learning is a continuum that constantly evolves with time and experience? Do we believe that we can learn differently? Are we stagnant in our learning? Are we certain that things can only be a certain way, and that we can’t learn any differently?

In my case, I always told myself I was bad at math. Not gonna lie, I did this because I wanted to assimilate myself with my mother growing up, who had always said she was bad at math.

I have absolutely no issue [in fact, it’s *so* encouraged!] to make mental notes and observations about what you’re good and not so good at.

But I was telling myself I was bad at math like it was some genetic issue, not because I had legitimately tried time after time and fallen on my face repeatedly during my math courses. I mean, there’s no doubt I fell on my face in a variety of math classes, but I also had to step back and look at this in itself: “falling on my face” meant getting slightly lower grades than my peers.

At no point was I ever legitimately “failing” math. I think the worst grade I ever took home was in the high D/ C range. But no matter what grade I received, there was always a tiny voice that seemed to just ramble on without any real precedence, “I’m just not good at math”.

In the practicum it hit me. My learning, especially as of late, thank the Lord above, has been anything but stagnant. It’s been anything but “you’re just not good at X”. Hell, these past few years? I’ve been telling myself “how do we make X happen?” and then I just…do it. [A lot of this refers to procrastination issues but LOL that’s a tale for another time.]

Putting limits on the way you learn is such a sad thing to even think into existence. There’s almost *always* more than one way to do something, and I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised when I walked into my 8am math class today.

Not only was the professor so nice, so spritely, and passionate about the subject matter… she made it very clear to us that she loves teaching, that she’s an adjunct, that she gets a personal thrill every morning at 8am to be here in her ripe age of 65. Add in the fact that she’s very blunt and candid and brash with a southern twang?!?

LOL.

I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed math more. She reminds me of my mother and my father’s mother all rolled into one and LOL it’s a fantastic combination.

But as I was sitting there, I was reviewing concepts that had fallen by the wayside, that had gotten rusty, that were a bit fuzzy on the edges. But I did the stepping back and was honest with myself. It’s been what, 3 years? LOL. Time to read up!

And it wasn’t bad at all! Stepping back to look at everything objectively, with confidence in myself [and a bit of hyperfocus**], I was able to think about how this was totally doable, and totally in my reach.

Malcom Gladwell has made the statement that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be good at something. Who says that something can’t be totally new? Or totally foreign? Or something you thought you were terrible at, but now have the courage to revisit?

**I refer to [surprisesurprise] Chris Bailey here. Another reason I think I did so “poorly” in math in middle and high school was because I was *not* in control of my attention at all. Phones and other tech at that age had… a bigger impact on my ability to focus and do well than I ever thought at the time, and so being able to see how to reign in my focus for things that are important to me, for things I want to succeed in, has been *such* a help.

What are *your* epistemological beliefs?

Better yet…How can you flip them upside down?

Onwards!
xx

here we go…!

These past 48 hours have found me feeling so sick and so dead– there is something wrong with my tonsils or lymph nodes I’m sure of it, and it’s creeping up into my ear making it hard to swallow.

The fun part? All of this is hitting at a time when I’m supposed to be getting “in it” again, re-energizing for school, re-aligning my goals, and getting back on track towards plans I can live with, plans that are ultimately my desire paths and will lead me in the directions I want to go.

I don’t like being sick partially because it means I have to kind of force myself to do nothing [if my body hasn’t already forced me to stop doing things, anyways], which is aggravating to me.

It also puts into perspective just how much I take my body for granted sometimes– this whole winter break I was around children and germs and wow my body has done nothing but fight that stuff off.

The highlight of my day yesterday was taking a shower– there’s something so great about taking a hot shower to temporarily relieve the pain. And it was in that moment where I stopped and I thought about the year ahead of me– the semester ahead of me– how beautifully full it was going to be and I just couldn’t return to moping around in bed after that.

It was meds and gargling and doing all I could to get my Google calendar in order. Sure, being sick you should rest and I *did* rest– plenty– but there’s a point where it’s like really? I sleep at night too. I don’t want to spend today a zombie– I already kind of did that a lot in 2018. Without being sick, though. Ha. Fun. 

So.

Tomorrow, all things considered, is a pretty easy day. I’m probably gonna be able to squeeze in a trip to the health center to figure out what’s actually wrong with me. (-:

It’s just funny because I think I put 2019 on a bit of a pedestal, something I’d reach for, something that was all shiny and new, and this sickness is bringing me a really interesting perspective on some things:

  1. our bodies are fragile, fricking BEAUTiful temples. We should love them for all they do for us.
  2. Just because 2019 has started out with sickness is humbling. It’s not how we end up with the sickness, it’s how we react to it. Me? I just scheduled a health appointment, I’m gargling on some saltwater, and chugging warm tea with *loads* of honey, and then– my school day starts!!

So onward and upward– and Happy Monday!

xx

that time we found out we had bedbugs

I’m pretty sure we discovered them by accident.

For a little over a week and a half I had noticed itchy red bumps covering my arms and wrapping around my torso and lower back.

Oh, it’s poison ivy! I thought.

Nope.

Oh, it’s just some flea bites from my boyfriend’s roommate’s flea-ridden dog long overdue for flea medication!

Nope.

Nonetheless I took proactive measures and washed my sheets. When I took them out of the dryer, a few bugs fell out on the floor.

Gross, I know.

I thought they were dead fleas.

Yay! At least I killed a couple in the wash!

It wasn’t until we went to Walmart to get insecticide for fleas and ransacked Google for DIY remedies safe for dogs when we saw the image of a bedbug on a black and purple spray can. I had never seen a bedbugs in my life, mind you. But here we were, nonetheless, staring at a purple can of bug poison and that’s when it hit me that the picture I was staring at was *not* a flea I had seen on the floor.

Fast forward to arriving back at the apartment and inspecting the mattress and box spring, just for kicks.

Little brown dots and creepy-crawly bedbugs of varying sizes and stages in the life cycle wandered around aimlessly around the rims of the box spring, clearly disturbed by all of the commotion.

“Oh my god,” my roomies and I said in unison.

Well, all of us except one of us.

My other roomie, who is 1000% averse to any kind of bug, was still at work. We had yet to break the news to her. We wondered just how we would do that. She was going to flip the duck out.

We came up with the idea of making her some chicken nuggets and having a stiff drink waiting for her when she opened the door.

We raced around the apartment, tidying up, cooking frozen chicken nuggets in the microwave [because our stove was broken. That’s…another story altogether. There’s a lot of things wrong with where we live], and downing a couple shots [you know, for quality control].

We hung a sign on the front door that said “please ring doorbell” and threw the safety latch on the door so we would know when she was home and so she wouldn’t be able to get in right away. She arrived 2 mins before the nuggets were done.

“UM you have to wait two more minutes!” Liana yelled out as the doorbell rang.

When the nuggets were done [first and fore-mostly] we let her in, and didn’t let her cross the threshold until she’d taken a drink.

It was when we were all huddled in the kitchen, conversing [albeit a bit sloppily—my other roomies and I had already been a few drinks ahead], and me recording the whole thing on my camera, that Liana broke the news:

We raised our glasses in a toast:

“CHEERS TO BEDBUGS!!” yelled Liana.

“CHEERS TO….I’m sorry—what….?”

The look of disbelief on her face was both golden and ultra depressing, and, also a really foreboding glimpse into weeks of terrible communication lapses with our property management, sleepless nights in beds other than our own, and money leaping out of our wallets to cover the expense of pests that don’t even discriminate by level of cleanliness….

…all in time for midterm exams. (-:

this is what it feels like.

I fly

rebellious, jubilant, unabashedly

across four lanes

downhill in an affluent ghost town

the wind races through the hair that is woven tightly, threatening to liberate it

as I throw my arms out

like I’m at the front of my ship

the captain of my destiny, with my own Celine Dion soundtrack.

there is Jack-shit behind me.

Hovering above me are dots: gleaming balls of fire unencumbered by clouds

that I stupidly take for granted every single night

as I waste away

right on schedule

in front of synthetic blue light

searching for all that can’t be found

but I shove my world in my back pocket

until further notice

I am the captain of my time

the commander of my soul

and I give it

a much needed vacation.

hunger.

When I was a kid I love love LOVED the first day of school.

Everything felt new, it was a time to start over, and, believe it or not, indulge in being able to learn after my brain felt like it had conked out over the summer. I loved learning.

The last few years of high school, however, I did not feel this excitement. Especially my senior year. I remember waking up and thinking “do I have to…?” I felt lost in the day to day grueling hours under artificially lit rooms, like I was roaming around on auto pilot sitting for this AP exam, that SAT, that quiz, etc.

I know many people look back at their last year through rosy lenses thinking about all of the fun and seemingly unbeatable memories… While I can’t deny there were some awesome highlights, the majority of that year for me was like a “okay, let’s get this done with so we can move on” kind of thing. I was fed up with the sphere I’d been stuck in for 12+ years and just wanted to break out.

Looking back on it now, I suspect a lot of these feelings were closely intertwined with some depressive symptoms, mixed with all of the stress and unnecessary (at times) pressures that existed within my school/home environment.

All that aside… I feel things changing.

I can feel excitement creeping in, leaking into my life slowly as I realize that in a little over a month I will be back, in my own space, at home, embarking on a course study I’ve been waiting ALL TWO YEARS to be able to do. A course study that keeps me up at night, that nags at me from a distant corner of my brain during the work day, constantly provoking me to push forward, to think forward, to aim higher than I know I have in the past.

And so here I am, still awake at this hella late hour, trying but failing to sleep because I’m just thinking about everything. EVARYTHING.

It feels as if I’m finally able to take the reins I’ve had my eyes on for quite some time… and it feels ah-MAZING. (:

xx

pitching perfection

2018-06-27

I like to live in a Depression mindset.

No, no no. Not the drop-everything-and-dial-a-hotline depression you’re probably thinking of. [Though I won’t lie– those bouts of elongated sadness do rear their heads occasionally. *weak laughter*]

Nah, I’m talking about the historical Depression, the one that booted so many out of jobs, out of homes, out of their comfort zone. The mindset that what you have today may be totally gone tomorrow. The mindset that you need to use everything around you to your advantage. The mindset that commands your attention to details, and the constant use of creativity. My grandmother grew up through this time, and for her, living the inventive, penny-pinching, ingenious life was how you survived.

Luckily, my grandmother passed down her frugality to my mother, which has so obviously rubbed off on me. While I know I’m not as good at these frugal habits as my mother [I’m very impulsive, I’ve got lots to learn, and I have an expensive taste >.<], I do understand the power of using “every part of the buffalo”, having minimal waste, and being forced to think outside box and draw outside the lines.

I thought of my grandmother today amidst my planning for the next month– life has been insane with getting my Etsy shop started, figuring out this hidden treasure trove of skills I want to learn, working two jobs, and packing for a vacation in the meantime. My planning, albeit a bit scattered, is part of what gets the shit done for me. I recently stumbled across a certain strategy in the book The Organized Mind, by Daniel J. Levitin [which I know I’ve mentioned here so many times before, it’s such a good book you need to read it okay end rant].

What you do is take a big board (I use a whiteboard, this could easily be done with cork and made way cuter, come to think of it!) and divide it into 4 sections, labeled
“TODAY”
“THIS WEEK”
“THIS MONTH”
and my 4th category is “MISC”.

In these sections, you’re supposed to put sticky notes with tasks on them, according to when you’d like them completed, giving you a really helpful, visual representation of your otherwise formulaic, overwhelming to-do list (though if to-do lists are your thing, that’s great too!).

I didn’t have sticky notes, though, [and this is the part that made me think of my grandmother] so I ended up cutting up strips of paper I’d written on, fastening the strips to my organized board with the remnant outlines of sticker paper, the sticker paper excess that had come from my recent craft order.

After putting everything together, I admired my handiwork. It was messy, it was disgruntled, it was less than perfect. I thought about re-arranging the notes of paper on the board to look more aesthetically pleasing. I thought about re-writing all of the tasks in fancy calligraphy to make it more “instagrammable” [I hadn’t posted anything yet for my art Instagram so I was looking for something to post!].

But then I stopped.

What was I doing?

Over the past week or so, I’ve been submersing myself into the work of others, the feeds of others, the blogs of others, the copy of others. Unfortunately, my mind would fall into mini-comparisons. Oooh why can’t I have these gorgeous mock-ups? They have so many likes?? How? This Instagram feed is so UNIFORM omg why can’t mine be like that? If only I had that many followers…UGH if only I had this [software/fuzzy white rug/piece of machinery/shiny camera] to better boost my work!] and other relevant chips away at my self esteem, yada yada etc.

…And those naggy bit of thoughts would just race around the inside edges of my head, until I had a sit-down with myself. I recalled a snippet I’d heard from a friend not long ago:

Goddammit, Steph. Comparison is the thief of joy.

I needed to step back and take some inventory. Everything I have right now [artistically, personally, and financially speaking…] at this moment of time…. I made that.

Whether it was with my own two hands, whether it was something I thought up, something I designed, something I just decided to get up off my ass and finally complete?

Yeah, did that. 

So often I think we get caught up in what’s missing, what’s wrong, what we need to change, how we’ve failed. We don’t take a minute to appreciate what’s left behind us in our wake, the awesome creative havoc through any mess that has happened that has led right up to this moment.

Now, the goal of this post isn’t to just rant about success or the path towards it, but rather to remind you [and myself!] to take a minute from time to time to give yourself that pat on the back, that moment of pride. That moment when you look around with a dumbfounded budding grin, like “oh shit, did do that? Something a year, a month, a week or two ago I never thought possible? YEAH I did.”

And I did do it. All teh things.

Like this planning board. It may not look super sleek or super shiny. It may not be killer Pinterest content or Insta-ready. It may not be awed and adored by every person who trips over it, or be perfect in any capacity– but that’s who I am. I’m not completely together [I don’t think I ever will be, LOL!]. I’m not super neat [just ask my roommate *sob* sorry son, I love you]. And I’m sure as hell not perfect.

So why should my content be?

xx

begin.

I’ve been staring at the cover of my notebook since October of 2017 but only now am I starting to realize the implications, the depth, the truth of the message emblazoned on the front of the binding.

I’ve been sitting on ideas for a post like this for about a week now, and I thought I’d take the cover’s advice, right now, while I have the time to make this post.

“The best way to get something done is to begin.

God, I wrote earlier in my relaxed stupor that was last night, has a strange way of teaching us things. And I stand by that. A few weeks ago, I was pointed to an online community full of like-minded self-starting personalities like my own. This introduction led me to take a personality test, which reinforced my knowledge that I am an ENFP-T, through and through. I don’t like mundane routines, I try too hard to please, I’m fiercely ambitious, I hate asking for help, and I’m also a bit scatterbrained. This started a chain reaction of mini-discoveries, mostly ones about myself, some about other people.

And then just this weekend, I was gifted with a conversation from a local mom, who I would not have run into otherwise had I not taken my sister to her all-star [and final] baseball game. I’m not sure how the conversation got started, but we got to talking about life and health and then it clicked– we found that we both despised small talk, we were both in the ENF[J/P] range, and she touched on her experiences living with anxiety and bipolar disorder. All of the sudden I found myself relating.

A few days earlier, I had essentially stepped outside of myself. Things were not going well, I could feel things falling apart, my monthly episode of trains running off their rails and being paralyzed by indecision had come at a really inconvenient time for me, so I had to step back from a lot of things and just take a weekend to rest and re-charge.

I have yet to get multiple opinions [and I plan on doing so] but I came to the conclusion that I’d been avoiding and ignoring something for a bit too long, and a 15 minute exchange of ideas and experiences transformed into the first step of realization. I shared with this baseball mom my concerns, I told her about my research, my screening, my findings, and the helpful and supportive information that followed was absolutely incredible. This mother has since conquered her identity, and has a website and LLC completely devoted to helping others do the same.

But it was that moment. The moment I began. The moment I reached out, the moment I started to sit down with myself internally and do that deeper inventory.

And looking at the words on this notebook today I realize I’ve had so many beginnings in the past two weeks.

I began, again here, in this space, having sorted out the old posts and the old angst and the old everything, and tried to tidy it up for more, for growth.

I began a new habit of letting go, of not obsessing or returning to things [people, rather] that would only be a form of destructive restraint going forward. 

I began investing myself in the research of my passion projects, re-designing my craft blog and doing my best to create new work every week.

I began the process [which, as it turns out, I started months ago but never finished??] of setting up an Etsy shop for said craft blog, and I put my first product into production yesterday. 

During the period of heavy doubt, peak uneasiness and discomfort, deadened optimism and flat out de-motivation… it was so hard to begin. Beginning seemed like a crazy afterthought, something so distant from the comforting idea that I was fine where I was, that I was fine shrinking back. I was confronted with these words:

“There is a saying, ‘the obstacle is the way.’ Sometimes we have to change our expectations and way of thinking to go head first towards the obstacle or difficult path instead of trying to avoid it or get rid of it.”

When I heard this I had to stop for a minute because it was so true. So often I think we find ourselves running, so much of our culture and habits are escapist, “buy this, be happier,” “go here, be happier, find yourself”, “do this instead of that”…when sometimes the best remedy is to stand your ground and fight right where we are.

And I’m trying to do just that, fight right where I am, make a “to-do” list of the problems and watch myself tackle them head on, crossing them off mentally, knowing I can win, knowing that I’ll be stronger and more fulfilled on the other side.

Some beginnings, like the ones above, are small.

Some beginnings like the ones above, were deceptively hard.

But they make room for new ones that will flourish.

xx

 

 

 

the blog purge: to delete or not to delete?

Holy guacamole.

I just wrote a post about risking it  — you know, being bold in your endeavors, jumping off the deep end when necessary, starting over, finding clarity, yada yada.

On a bit of a whim today, I sat down and realized that there’s a bit more that I’d like to do with this blog. And while I’m still floating some ideas and settling into that game-plan, I did realize that I would be faced with a decision:

to keep the old blog posts?

…or to delete them forever?

And I went a bit back and forth on this for a bit. I have seen countless blogs that I follow, and even people who don’t have traditional blogs, delete a bunch of old content because it was either too angsty [me] too cringe-worthy [also me], too personal, [HA ME hands down], or just straight up not really reflective of what they wanted/want to accomplish.

I will say this– for the most part, I was against purging all those old posts. I could look back on them, look at my angsty self and see the growth unveiled with every scroll right before my eyes. I also kind of took it to heart as a bit of a badge, a smol medal saying “look, I’m authentic!”

But now?

[SPOILER ALERT: I’ll get right to it, I deleted everything before 2014. LOL]

But. In case you’re wondering [which you very may well not be, lol, I don’t gotta justify myself and you don’t either 😛 ] here’s why I did it, along with some challenges I thought about in the process:

Your post don’t have to be gone. I made the decision to just get them off this space. For sure, they could live in some file on my computer if I wanted [though I don’t really feel like doing that.] However, if you do ever want to go strolling down memory lane, then keeping those posts in a separate place could be a nice alternative.

But what about all those likes/comments/followers etc? Meh. I dunno. Over the years I’ve come to realize that this really is my space, the content I have is reflective of myself, and if I lose a few nice words [thank you to all you beautiful blogger friends, btw ♥ ] in the process… well, I will take a moment of silence and then proceed onward. Plus, I don’t really buy into the whole “how many likes??!!???” chaos that just distorts feelings of self-worth anyways.

You’ve changed so much. Why shouldn’t your blog? I can’t tell you how many re-models this thing has had. That being said, this space, like myself, is evolving. I will get new inspiration, new ideas, new skills [that I can actually put into practice here on this blog *YAY*] that better reflect me and my goals.

…and what about authenticity? LOL. So I’m gonna let you in on a little secret here. This blog, which is now an incredible FIVE YEARS OLD [??!!???] literally used to be a virtual diary about my outings, my dying pets, and struggles with productivity. Not like that’s all non-authentic stuff [it totally is!] it was just so full of bad grammar choices, fluff-words, and irrelevancy. I’d much rather have original, raw content that’s written [at least a little bit correct]  well and not accompanied by 2.4 mega pixel photos, ya feel me? 😛 [Though FYI I did leave stuff from 3 years ago because I got tired of weeding some stuff out, I’ll save that for another day].

There is totally such a thing as blogging baggage. And seeing as I’m in a really, really recent realm of “new”, breaking out of old habits and forming new ones, forging connections and blazing paths I previously thought were out of reach… you better bet I don’t want to be reminded of some of the clutter. I’d much rather sort through the clutter, acknowledge its existence, learn from it, and then promptly send it off somewhere to get recycled and transformed into something new. [:
That being said, I’d like to take a more purposeful [albeit personal!] direction with this blog [leaning towards something more relevant to lifestyle…??], so as I’m zero-ing in on what that is, I would love it if you left some comments with ideas, pieces of your blogging journey, things that have helped you find your place as a blogger, etc.! It’s hard because recently I’ve been working on some pretty big things over at stephaniewscribbles.com and I’m just trying to figure out the role this personal blog might play. It’s five years near-and-dear to my heart so I don’t think I want to abandon it *quite* yet… 😛

Cheers to everyone who has been with me since the angsty days of 2013 [you are all God-sends and blessings through the tumult lol] cheers to those who are still going strong, cheers to those who I’ve just recently been able to connect with and explore with, and cheers to those who, like me, are walking a new path in their blogging journey–because that’s dedication, man. [:

xx

 

 

for the grads.

This is a stereotypical graduation post, I know.

Two of my siblings walked the stage today, and I couldn’t be more proud. It was weird being back in my high school, even weirder to be back in that ceremony. But wow, what an experience. To be on the other side, to see all of these high school seniors bright-eyed, looking forward to their summer before they start college and knowing they’ll do incredible things. I also learned a bit about myself today.

The faculty speaker at the graduation, a dude very near and dear to my heart, had some of the best words [well, more like ideas/concepts] of the whole ceremony, and I just have to put them here because they were so important, in addition to some words of my own. Being at the ceremony made me aware of so much– from my personal growth since sitting there in a cap and gown, to the acknowledgement of the growth that I know I have yet to happen.

So here’s a list of random things that I want to pass along to all those who are continuing on their journey, whether that’s jumping straight into the business world, taking a bit of a life-pause, or continuing on to college.

Remember these “inequalities of life”. [I’m pulling right from the speech of the beloved faculty speaker I mentioned earlier, here]:

EXPERIENCES > POSESSIONS
TIME > MONEY
OTHER > SELF

Fact of the matter is, all of things that are “less than” are not the things we’ll be missing when we look back on our lifetime, when we make the judgement and the statements of regret. So the gift of your time [for yourself or for others], the respect and care for others, and the memories you make are all going to be superior to any tangible thing you could ever want.

You will never regret being kind. If you have the opportunity, take it. Also, there is a difference between being nice and being kind. Flashing a fake smile is an illusion of kindness; sitting with someone, talking to them and going the extra mile is not only the better way to build connections, it’s more fulfilling.

Do your best to value sleep. If your sleep habits are reasonably good, a lot of other ones will fall into place. You need sleep to function.

Take time to self-reflect. For me, this means writing here. This means keeping a journal, this means reading other things. Often. All of these help me get back on track, whenever I feel as if I’ve gone off of the rails of who I am, or who I used to be.

Turn off your phone sometimes. Being behind a screen all day is more insidious than you’d think. Take a break, go for a walk, or a run, or pick up a book or call someone up [do people even call other people nowadays?] NOT on speakerphone, so you can’t be tempted to multitask while building friendship connections.

Do your best to fail productively. No one likes failure, no one likes rejection, no one likes disapproval. But if you know how to take those things, look at them objectively and see where the wheels came off and even more importantly, look at it from a “what did I gain from this?” perspective, it’ll be a lot more easy-going.

Build tiny routines into your week. That way, when everything feels like it’s falling apart coughespeciallyduringmidtermsfinalsweekcough   , you at least know you can expect to be doing some small things as scheduled, such as making your bed, writing/reading every night before bed, starting the morning with a stretch and/or a prayer, etc.

Drink water. Lots of it. End of story.

Don’t take yourself too seriously. This was mentioned the graduation speech today, but it’s also something I’ve held onto for a really long time that I was reminded of today. Embrace the quirks, the imperfections, and know that it’s okay to be human sometimes. There’s times and places to be serious, like in your work and at funerals. But sometimes, it’s just necessary to be goofy, to fail often, and look at yourself in an honest, candid, not-too-harsh light.

Consume carefully. Be an intelligent consumer. Be thrifty, have a budget. It’ll save you SO much stress and uncertainty down the road. And that’s just for shopping. I also mean be a careful consumer of media. Be reluctant to trust things until you’ve looked at multiple sources. Be wary of the terms and agreements [read them through before checking yes!!]. Consume consciously. Aka don’t fall into auto-pilot mode and scroll for eternity– be mindful about what you’re looking for and consider why you may be looking for those things. AND. In the realm of alcohol… just remember that you have a choice, and that consequences will kick in the moment that drink touches your lips, and you have to be willing to accept those.

Do not rely solely on others for your happiness. This is something that I have struggled with [and continue to struggle with] for a long time. Whether it’s friends, a relationship, or some other source of something– the fact is, if there is unhappiness rooted deep within you, chances are it needs to be addressed where it is–deep within you, in areas you wouldn’t think to look in, in areas that instinct and desire for comfort tells you to avoid. Which brings me to the next one…

Embrace the uncomfortable. Before I left school for the summer, I saw a TEDTalk about how we should be striving to immerse ourselves [when we can] in the unfamiliar, to explore what is different from is. This is how we learn. This is how we find similarities amidst differences we thought we couldn’t see past. This is how we bridge the gaps. Try saying “yes” to things that [situationally] make you uncomfortable. I’m not saying abandon your morals or sacrifice your safety– I mean more along the lines of engaging in [perhaps] challenging civil discourse, making the first move to befriend someone, going to a club or organization meeting just to try it. Whatever you do, there’s something to learn from it.

Take pride in all you do, and don’t be afraid to be a “try-hard”. Trying hard doesn’t have to mean you’re a nerdy show-off. No, in fact, just the opposite. It means that you quietly show up, you get ready for success every day because you did your best to prepare, put your best effort forth, you do your best to meet in the middle, and have confidence in your skill.

Keep up with at least 1 of your passions on the side. Gives you something to look forward to on a weekly basis, as well as a safe space to learn and grow, and further figure out what your interests are.

Speak up when your gut tells you you need to. That’s the only way we’re going to beat an insidious indifference, looming hatred, and other nonsensical injustice.

Whole-ass everything. Your homework. Your friendships. Your art. Your instrument. Your practice. Your relationships. Things change, people change, sometimes it ends in heartbreak but embrace the risk. Embracing the risk in the first place is what catapults you into learning about yourself.

Befriend vulnerability. Whatever that means to you– breaking the small-talk routines and injecting a bit of yourself into daily discourse, admitting from time to time that no, you’re not “fine”, or not being afraid to tell someone how you feel. This one was/is a big one for me. You don’t have to be “on” all of the time, and sometimes it’s great to just be alone with your thoughts and your truth, even if it’s far from “perfect”. Perfection is a myth, anyway.

TALK IT OUT. I’m thinking more in the realm of relationships here… but. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone. Letting them in on your uncertainty, your doubts, your fears, your desires, whatever it may be– it’s those often difficult conversations that are going to bridge the gap between separate understandings, separate truths– and it’s ultimately what paved the way for authentic friendships.

…And LISTEN even harder. Good, active listening means immersing yourself in the words of another as they’re saying them, empathizing and showing you care. It’s harder than it looks. But it’s so much better than rapid-firing retorts back and forth and using the other person’s speech as planning time for what you’re going to say right back to the person. Also always be willing to practice this.

Have hope, and dwell in gratitude often. “When life closes a door, God opens a window.” I have never experienced this more than I have in the past year, I’m pretty sure. There’s always a way, there’s always something to look forward to, even if it seems a bit far in the distance or non-existent. Having faith is key. So being able to sit down and look around at what you have and realize that it’s enough, that you’ve been blessed with so much already that you need to put the breaks on chasing unnecessary desires, is a really, really important tool to have.

I could probably go on and on but the truth is I’m still learning how to implement these more fully myself, and I have so much to learn in the meantime.

But for now, just focus on being you and staying true to what you know you want.

xx