scrambling.

You know what’s crazy?

How much can pass in such a condensed amount of time.

Recently I’ve been scrambling. I’ve been scrambling to class, scrambling to work, scrambling to show up.

Scrambling to please, scrambling to “prove myself”, scrambling to figure out just what exactly is going on.

It’s hard to believe that all it took was a meeting for coffee in which I ordered nothing and a sermon quite clearly calling me out on my lack of peace that threw a wrench into all of this scrambling.

I’ve saved so much in the way of Instagram posts from uplifting accounts and inspiration from friends and others and there’s one that comes to mind right now:

Sometimes we forget that we totally have the capability to, much like walking through a store and deciding we don’t want an item, put it back on the shelf… and then just walk away.

Just like that.

Of course, I’ve had this told to me countless times before, and if anything has jumped out at me these past few months, it’s that this stuff isn’t easy. Sometimes we can’t just decide we don’t want it, put it back on the shelf, and then go check out.

It may take a couple dips in and out of the shopping basket, some brief bouts of hesitation, just as it’s out of the confines of the hand-held plastic before we decide.

And sometimes, hell, it takes us all the way up to the fricking check out line, we we literally put it on the conveyer belt and then realize “SHIT I actually can’t afford this anymore??¿¿”

I’ve been there. In the snacks aisle. Losing a battle to garden salsa SunChips. Putting them back and taking them back and putting them back again. Or taking them and then realizing “whoops” and then putting them somewhere completely different than the snack aisle oops I know I’m terrible *wince*.

But no matter how many of these hard stops I’ve made…I realize every single time that I’m not alone. That this isn’t all happening in a vacuum. It’s so hard, putting stuff back on the shelf eventually but let me tell you the end result is *so* fricking rewarding.

So fun story.

My priest actually talked about laying our dark sticky at the foot of the cross and then coming back saying “oh wait, but I need this part!” Earlier on in the day I listened to another sermon devoting to loving our enemy. …And when I couldn’t hold back tears from hard-core relating to the second sermon that day, I knew it was time.

I knew it was time to just stop, collect my thoughts and events and sort through everything I had within my heart and my head one last time, organize the hell out of it, realize what I did and didn’t need, and put it away.

I’ve no doubt that the urge to re-open will come again, that the urge to sneak back a bit of forgiveness will bite at my ankles… but I know that what has brought me to this very moment is so much stronger than those urges.

At the start of this year, I felt unstoppable. Everything felt new. Alive. I willed it into vibrant being. I even sauntered into a coffee shop confrontation to triumphantly “assert my dominance”. Crazy.

It didn’t stop there. I pared down my closet. Tremendously. I laid the framework for minimalist choices that have, in the long run, saved me much time and money.

I built up daily habits that didn’t actually actively work to destroy my body, such as drinking water every morning, shutting my phone off to airplane mode and keeping it on that mode until I was completely ready and walking out the door for the day the next morning.

I gave up coffee for a solid week and a half.

I took stock of my pantry and have tried to only eat what was inside it before I bought anything else. It was simplification calling my name, a desire to just rid my life of clutter I didn’t need anymore.

With spring (hopefully?) approaching and the looming time difference looming I realize that there’s so much power in the “starting over” vibe that we get with new seasons, new years, new months, new weeks, even new days. It makes me cognizant of the fact that there is always a “now”, there is always a time we can shed some light on where we are currently. It’s easy to say we can “just choose happiness!”

Sometimes that’s…not the easiest. I can tell you there’s something to be said for being addicted to sadness.

But what we can do is observe. Notice our beautiful, love-giving friends. Take note of a nice day. Smile back at someone. Offer to help with something. Contemplate in silence. Rediscover something you used to love.

But whatever small thing it takes to help us move out of that place of feeling stuck? Try to nudge it. Try to pick it, see where it leads. We fall down, so ridiculously hard sometimes. I can pinpoint two moments in the past 30 days where I was like “yep wow okay so uhh… *that?Whatever that was?* Needs to never happen again.”

We can learn from those times. As disgusting and squirmy as they may be, we *can* brush ourselves off, give it a whopping “yikes,” reconcile, say thank you, and keep stepping forward.

xx

// mom’s coffee

I made mom’s coffee today

after picking up

then putting down

a small plastic cup that would probs

end up in the ocean anyways.

I read grandmother’s letter today

I could hear her words

through the tight lines of flowing cursive

always apologizing for hurting my eyes

with her meaningful, delicate strokes

if only she knew.

How much the joy triumphed over pain

combing through her letter.

I realize I’m becoming more

like the best parts of my mother every day

and cherishing the parts of my grandmother

that are tucked therein also.

I add creamer from the packet

and pour in my my two-minute microwaved water

toss in some sugar

and sit down

and remember.

// non, je ne regrette rien

Is it crazy of me

To want to go outside among the mist

Of cars racing past

Their wheels kicking up water from the dirty street

To want to feel damp to the bone

And watch as the raindrops

Dance down the windshields of the cars under the street lamps

Is it crazy of me

To want to fly down the road

Windows down

With the rain pouring in

A complete and utter blatant disregard for the saying of old

You’ll catch cold out there!

Especially if

I’m already sick

I’m already cold

I’m already catching it.

Is it crazy of me

To want to start everything at once

And then unabashedly decide

That I want none of it

And then just revert

To watching old Ellen re-runs

Until I muster up courage

To try again?

Is it crazy of me

To repeatedly put my independence on hold

To reach out again

In solidarity

In friendship

Towards a brick wall

That avoids communication of any kind

Mistaking caring

for interest

And understanding

For desire

Is it really that crazy of me

To hold on to the sliver of hope

That we can civilly come to terms

with who we are

And what we want?

xx

// when it rains

“This weather is disgusting.”

A disgruntled mutter comes from behind me

I look up from my stupid phone for a minute

And listen

as the tires rub their treads against the asphalt that is now shiny and slick

I watch

as the red and the gold and the green lights show off

streaming their reflections far beyond their mechanical parts

to highlight the ground under my footfalls

I glance upward

at the grey blanket of consistency that sheds a dull, even amount of light on everything

And feel the water that, with every drop against my face,

threatens to steal my mascara.

I let the cold, putrid scent of traffic fill my lungs

As I walk the white stripes diagonally to the other side

Looking briefly ahead

Behind

Beside

Thanking the clouds

and praising my hood

for granting me

just the right amount of anonymity

How can such disgusting weather

be such a beautiful escape?

xx

// dirty dishes

It’s wild, I think to myself

While doing the dishes

Watching the suds rise and fall

How much you consume

off my plate

Unaware

Of how much I

continuously

unabashedly

senselessly

hopelessly

set out at the table.

 

But

for what?


I scour the plate
Halfheartedly calling out

rhetorical questions

Won’t you stay?

For a drink?

For dessert?

For conversation?

For an extra helping of reconciliation?

I turn off the water

Much to my chagrin
and you’ve headed out

wordlessly

Mysteriously

 

It’s time to move on, time to dry!

But I’m not up for it

I cast the towel aside,

Draped neatly over the bar of the oven

And fix some black coffee instead.

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

the courageous task of saying “no”.

Ahahah so it’s crazy. This post [rather the thought of writing on it] has been taking up a lot of headspace recently. So here we go.

I am an ENFP [“the campaigner”], my Enneagram puts me as a “Helper” as my paramount personality trait. [If you’ve never heard of this or tried it for yourself, I highly encourage it! It’s very cool to see the results.]

I love challenges, I love helping people, I love being busy.

I don’t like inconveniencing others, I don’t like living up to expectations, and I definitely don’t like confrontation, and things like saying no. 

Oof.

If there’s anything that 2018 taught me, it was that it was busy.  It was packed. Why?

Because I consistently didn’t say “no” to things. 

I like feeling like I can do and give for everyone but WOW that’s so mentally taxing, and emotionally exhausting. I think I only realized this in the past 3 months. Taking time for myself was still a foreign concept, and I couldn’t fathom “letting people down”.

What I’m learning, however, is that part of the time it’s like being on an airplane. When shit’s going south and things are nosediving, you do have to put the mask on yourself first in order to help others.

I don’t like thinking about this, partially because it feels like I’m neglecting others by doing so. But it’s true. Sometimes, you just have to barge forth and make that call to take the time for yourself that you need.

Chris Bailey [YES I KnOw I reference him so much he’s my idol sue me] suggests this pretty golden rule for determining whether something is worthy of your “yes”. You can think about how every “no” you throw out is actually a “yes” for something later on, or you can think about how every “yes” you commit yourself to is a “no” to something else later on.

It is this train of thoughts that makes me think about all I’ve said yes and no to. Some things are an obvious yes– visiting with family I haven’t seen in 5 months or more over the holidays when I could be working? For me, this is an obvious “yes.”

Following up on flaky plans when the other person has no real interest in making time for aforementioned plans? Tough. As badly as I’ve tried to make this work in the past, it just doesn’t. It also has led me to start thinking about the fact that I actually may be someone’s “back-up plan”. Yikes. That’s gonna be a “no” from me, dawg.

[I’m still in the works of trying to release some big things in the next weeks related to this specific topic of money and stufffff buuuut….!] Spending money on impulse for the instant gratification and to feel “one of the group”? So so tough. But it’s gotta be a no, because I have to think about the “yes”s I want later. Like paying tuition. And my rent. And being able to afford food and gas.

And it’s crazy! I kind of stretched out writing this post across two days– the second day I’ve spent on this post has actually found me feverish, throat sore, and chilled to the bone even with masses of sweaters, coats and blankets [greetings from my blanket cave, as I do my best to balance under all this weight on my chair and just get thoughts out].

After the trials of today, I get a text. One of my friends asked to hang out.

My brain immediately said yes. Yes! I leave to go back to school in less than 48 hours of *course*! But my body put the brakes on that. It was all I could do to get up this morning, sit like a potato at the DMV, and then drive to my nanny gig. When I got home I was *robbed* of energy.

I revisited my brain’s talk. Come on, it’ll just be for a bit, you need to see her before you leave, you can sleep and finish work later! Enticing, right?

But alas. I’ve been *super* super harsh on my body in the past month [one of my 2019 #DoThings I’m working on yike] and it was screaming at me to stop. And also not to get my friend sick *sob*

So I listened. And promptly made some mac n cheese and green tea and headed for the blanket cave to embrace the minimal arm movements I use for work and for writing here.

And this handy-dandy “no” thing doesn’t just apply to seeing friends! My goodness– these “no”s apply to *EVERYTHING!*

It’s 2019, I’m trying to start new, and make micro improvements to my lifestyle.

I picked 3 to concentrate on this morning [bold, I know!] and they were, essentially, 3 little “no’s”:

No to coffee, yes to water. The first of those micro-improvements was waking up and immediately downing a glass of water. Sometimes my desire path is quite literally down the stairs and to the coffee, without the notion that maybe, just maybe, that’s not what I actually *need* right now.

No to notifications, yes to waking up more mindfully. The second of those micro-improvements happened the night before, actually, and I honestly *need* to keep doing this– I set my phone to airplane mode **NOTE: NOT “DO-NOT-DISTURB”, I repeat, not that little moon setting that’s so handy when you want to ignore people lol]  The reason why is because I use my phone as my alarm… [I’m actually thinking of going back to my old-school alarm clock with actual buttons and dust on the unnecessary sound ridges atop the faux wood casing] …and I wake up and I shut it off and I am immediately aware and flooded with notifications.

Like ugh it’s like rush-hour just seized my brain and I can’t enjoy those blissful moments of removing myself from sleep. I also have this really bad habit of scrolling, mindlessly and like the wind through Instagram [*addict right here, raises hand*], and lingering for *far* too long, and then proceeding to do that Social Media bounce between apps to catch up on what pretty much is non-existent because most of my pals were sleeping.

No to “checking in” and working right away, yes to observing my breathing and bringing back my wandering thoughts. The third micro-improvement I tried today included a brief bout of mediation. Last night, I woke up randomly at 3am because I had crested over into being feverish and then decided to take medicine and then I think the medicine was doing weird things…..so I decided to read. [Can you guess my book of choice? LOLOL] In said book *coughTheProductivityProject* , Chris writes about how focusing on your breathing for a certain period of time can do *wonders* for strengthening your “attention-muscle”.

So I woke up [to no new notifications! #orgasm], drank a whole thing of water, stretched, and sat on my bed to breathe for 5 mins. [I think I may revise this to doing it in the middle of my working hours, cuz I realized at the end it seemed kind of silly to go from a really relaxed state [sleep] to another. Noted for tomorrow, I guess. [; ]

Being disconnected, away from the urges to check and reply […and check and reply again] and wakening my metabolism with the water was such a radical thing in my morning routine, that I remembered it. Lol maybe my memory is just bad but this is yuuuge for me guyyyss okay

But seriously. How often can you not remember your morning before you start your commute and the routine of the day?

For me, it’s definitely something I just hurry through, and then scramble late away from, and forget for the rest of the day.

So this? This feels nice.

Until after airplane mode,

xx

 

 

starting over // a mental re-group and finishing my YearCompass

I saw a tweet just a bit ago that said something along the lines of “why do you wait for New Years to make changes and resolutions. Make your changes immediately and you’ll actually see success.”

Oof.

I know this time of year is filled with optimism, filled with a desire for change, filled with motivation to just move forward. And yeah, I definitely feel the above. Why wait? 

While I understand the thoughts behind this statement, there is so much to be said for the power of the Blank Slate of a new year.

My friend actually replied to the tweet and had a really good response:

“True, but I can understand the sentiment. Years are relatively arbitrary divisions in time, but we give them meaning, and some people find it easier to start fresh with a new year! I definitely agree with you, but as long as people are changing for the better, I’m happy.”

Um, so just overall, solid RETWEET to that???

I know for me, the past couple months have been a struggle. I haven’t felt like myself, I’ve made some really questionable life choices, I have felt hopeless, I have felt overwhelmed, I have felt that feeling of jeez. When. Will. It. End???

Right before the end of 2018 hit, I was shown a thing called Year Compass. 

yearcompasscapture

What it is is a printable [or digital! Your call] 20-page booklet of questions about 2018, and some questions about 2019.

More specifically, according to their website, it is

“a booklet that helps close your year and plan the next one. In the routine of everyday life it’s easy to lose sight of your true goals and aspirations. And even though we all have dreams, only a few of us plan for them. Effectively, at least. YearCompass works simply. Using questions and exercises rooted in psychology it takes you through the past year, then helps you turn your dreams into achievable goals.”

The instructions?

“1. Find a few quiet hours for yourself.

2. Prepare a hot drink.

3. Answer the 20 pages worth of questions that will close your year and plan the next one.

4. Praise yourself – you took a huge step towards the life you want.”

And it’s completely free to view and download. 

They’re not kidding.

This shit takes a while. But WOW. The questions look easy on the surface, but really dig in deep. They’re not so easy when you stare at them. This booklet also commands complete honesty with yourself. One thing that surprised me when doing it was the section about forgiveness. It asks about what stuff has happened that you haven’t forgiven yet– whether it’s related to other people, or related to stuff that you yourself have done and haven’t quite forgiven, it asks about it.

And then it asks you to forgive. And let it go. 

The idea is that you pinpoint everything from 2018, hold it under a microscope, then set goals for 2019 and close the book on it all. It’s a pretty simple thing to do, but super powerful.

I find with typical New Years resolutions, they get written down [hell, I’ve written a fair share of mine here], and then they’re forgotten about as the busy sets in, and we may keep up with a few, but there’s also the looming pressure to keep them in mind, to achieve it all, and it can sometimes spiral downward into a mess of the achievable, and turns into discourage and distress. [Of course, I know some people take them super seriously and are successful, and that they make resolutions and stick to them and everything is nice and happy, I’m merely reflecting on my experience.]

But this?

This asks the *hard questions*. The ones that linger in my mind, and push my consciousness toward exposing itself and ultimately moving forward and changing my considerably irresponsible ways. 

I also noticed something else while doing this booklet.

I had a disposition to fixate on the broken, the empty, the sad, and the misgivings and shortfalls.

I had to go back a couple of times and remind myself of the highlights, the joys, the friends, the love, the small wins, the bigger successes. In a way, it’s like the internet has decided to just frame 2018 as this big bad wolf that has a one way ticket to banishment.

But there were some beautiful parts of 2018!

I challenge you to look at this booklet, maybe event print it out, ask the questions, and see how you can move from there.

It’s done wonders for me, and has really helped point me in the directions *I* want for me in 2019.

xx

2.0.1.8. // a look backward.

This year was… honestly such a blur but I couldn’t really imagine it any other way.
So full. So rich.

Yes, I know there are so many 2018 reflection posts flying around [sorry to add to your reading list but also not sorry LOL]

Yes, I was that basic chick that added a shoot tonne of photos to their Instagram story *sob* but like I’ve never really done it before and it’s a mode of self-encouragement for me sooooooooo whogivesacarereallyhonestly?

….But anyways. I’m about to continue my annual tradition of unpacking this year best I can through some of the questions I had last year [crazy how the answers evolve!] Bear with me.

Shall we? [;

If you had to describe your 2018 in 3 words, what would they be?
Independent, challenging, grateful.

What new things did you discover about yourself?
I’ve got a bit of an addictive personality, I spend way too much time thinking sometimes, I really do enjoy singing, I’m far too hard on myself sometimes, and I do have the capacity to live in the moment! I also harbor incredible resilience when I want to tap into it, and I am capable of self-control, I just need to keep reminding myself of my “whys”.

What single achievement are you most proud of?
Oof, this is tough. There are two things I think of that tie for “first place” here.

  1. Finishing this semester with a higher GPA than I could have ever expected given the circumstances. Not like GPA is everything– god no, it’s not. I just think that it’s a really interesting reflection of my drive and my work ethic despite the shitstorms that took place. My academic work and my academic life are purely of my own creation– it’s all me, it’s something I take completely into my own hands.
  2. Getting and buying my own car. This was *all* me. Countless hours I spent working to make the money. Countless hours I spent online hunting one down. Countless times I got myself to where I needed to be to test-drive, negotiate, etc. And then when I found *the* one, I went all by myself to get it. I even haggled the price down on my own, and drove it back, without a drop of assistance. It’s moments like these that push me out of my comfort zone, that force me to have faith, and fill me with the idea that I really can do anything I put enough of my mind to.

What was your favourite place that you visited in 2018?
TEXAS! Specifically Corpus Christi! When I think “TEXAS” I think of flat land and oil rigs and cowboy hats and drawl but being able to visit this coastal town in such a meaningful way was so special. I love tropical places, and I was sad to leave a place of sunny 75 degrees to come back, jet-lagged, to freezing cold and a campus covered in snow that hadn’t cancelled classes. LOL.

Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?
Damn. A couple definitely came into play, and for a couple reasons:

  • my resilience [this could be an entire blog post in itself LOL].
    How have I made it this far in my life without suffering like, a super bad breakup? I mean, I guess I’ve had *bad* [hell, it’s not a time of rainbows and daisies] but like, not ones that result in super bad blood afterwards. Then again, I guess I’ve never really found myself at the end of a cheating-relationship.Believe me, I’m *not* into defaming people on the internet, but the whole process has definitely put on a damper on things (my life, myself, my personality, my life choices etc), and I have felt *powerless*. And I guess that’s what happens when you come to rely and trust a little too much on someone. #hardfacts

    The thing I was also *not* a fan of… was the fact that I was basically told my emotions. I was told to “pick one”: either “angry/vindictive” or “polite and cordial”. Like, what? 

    I was also told what I “needed”. I’m sorry, but my blood is going to boil and my independence is going to shine the frick through the minute you are:

    1) not honest with me
    2) telling me all of the things that *I* want in a relationship to cover up the fact that you can’t do the aforementioned outlined in #1, and lastly…!
    3) telling me what to do and how to feel. Sorry, not gonna fly.

    Yes, I may have acted out on some emotions that materialized into something out of a Taylor Swift song [sorry, but some envelopes of love letters belong on a front porch rather than clutter in the corner of a room], however those moments were, in my eyes, mine– truly mine.
    I rarely act out, and I am rarely petty, so I took some of that allowance I’d saved up. Oh, and it also allowed me to cast a huge magnifying glass on the gaslighting and other red flags. LOL. I can’t really apologize for what I feel, and I’m going to feel the feel out of those feelings. Ya feel?

    It’s also crazy! the difference between chasing yourself around your head, wondering what the hell you did wrong, and then, purely by chance, stumbling across the earth-shattering moment of clarity when you find out *exactly* what went wrong: a spawn of drunk texts measuring 5 ft 4″ in a music building, one-upping you by the corner of the stairs by an exit you weren’t even supposed to be near. HAHA.

    But what do you do?

    You step forward. You get out of bed. You do your best to show up and be kind to others.  You have your week-long pity party and use it to open your eyes and realize that the timing was actually low-key *perfect*, that if you’re not growing you’re dying, and that some people are just a little slower when it comes to finding their shortcomings.

    And then you love. And do your best to move on.

    Something I’ve found SO insanely helpful is this text by Cleo Wade from her book Heart Talk (UM, THAT I APPARENTLY NEED TO READ??!!!)

  • my assertiveness. This assertiveness gave me my gut feelings. It also got me a car. It got me better interpersonal skills. I recall writing earlier a lot about hard conversations.
    Assertiveness is key. This year has taught me not to shy away from follow-up questions. It’s also taught me not to let people get away with petty things. It’s taught me to speak up when I felt I haven’t been able to, and it’s taught me to stand up for what I believe to be right. It’s also taught me that sometimes people are scared into inaction and even the slightest move forward will make you stick out from the rest.
  • my creativity. GOD I love this. I am blessed– so blessed– to be surrounded by inspiration and amazing people every day. This is what fuels it all. From a young age, I made greeting cards for family and friends. This catapulted a love for design of all kinds. However my creativity is by no means limited to this kind of stuff! Coming up with plans, finding new ways to save money and shop my closet, clever-frugal-meaningful gift-giving and writing my way into a study abroad program…. all of this I attribute to the one thing I truly believe to be at the core of me and who I am. It’s strictly Stephanie. What can I say?

Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?
My roommates. ♥ They are a loving amoeba and conglomeration of the light and love of the world.

Which new skills did you learn?
I kinda re-learned to play ukelele!
Mac OS [my major is practically all mac-based so I’ve had to become super intimate with the interfaces and whatnot]
And I learned so much about Adobe software, from Illustrator, to InDesign, to AfterEffects and Premier Pro. So much technology was learned 😀 And I’m so thankful cuz it’s all super helpful professional development!
Effective mediation/communication [LOL still a work in progress though! As always with these things!]

What, or who, are you most thankful for?
My roommates, my real friends, my family, and my positive role-models.

If someone wrote a book about your life in 2018 what kind of genre would it be?
As tempted as I am to stick with last year’s declaration of “a romantic dram-com. With some explosions and a dash of sci-fi,” I think this year can better be summed up as a sardonically funny self-help book. LOL.

What was the most important lesson you learned in 2018?
Gonna make a list of 4 key lessons here:

  • Sleep is invaluable
  • self-care is key
  • communication is everything
  • don’t settle.

Which mental block(s) did you overcome?

  • The idea that I have to mold myself based on people’s wants/needs/expectations and that my self worth/value can be found in another person. Quite the contrary— I am my rescue and in full control of what I want, how I present myself, how I spend my time.
  • There’s no use in trying to change myself for someone when all it brings is pain, and at a point, at the end of the day, some hard cuts have to be made in order to get on track to find happiness.
  • When in doubt, talk about it. Too much of the time I find myself tossing around what I want to say, what I wish to say around the inside of my skull, creating a biased, assumed reality that may never ever come to fruition. If you’re worried about something, bring it up. If you want to make sure you’re on the same page, don’t be afraid to mention something. If you have questions, ask them. Sometimes the worst thing is sitting under the weight and then decay of thoughts that could be debunked but we don’t know because we don’t dare to investigate them further.

What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with?
TFW you gotta expand this list [but at the same time you realize that at this point in life, all you really need is a handful [or two!] of really solid people:
Traci
Madi
Liana
MJ
Jason
Andrea
Patrick
and ultimately my ex [it happened, what can I say?]

What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise?
Career wise? Definitely picking up a client for a non-profit over the summer. That was so cool. The fact that I was able to do work and muddle my way through MySQL and web transfer shit and all this stuff for a non-profit was pretty eye-opening, liberating, and fun.
And then I got hired as a digital learning center tutor/fellow :D. Awesome stuff.

How did your relationship to your family evolve?
“I’d say it’s pretty stagnant. There’s the whole “corrected partnership” ideal I mentioned last year but I would be remiss if I overlooked the fact that it’s not always that cut and pretty. There’s plenty to learn, plenty of hiccups, plenty of salt, plenty of passive aggression. The cool part is when you get to find moments that unite and reinforce the positive elements in the ever-evolving relationship.”

^Complete ditto to Stephanie of 2017.

What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?
The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey takes a spot at the top again. It’s something I just keep KEEP coming back to.

But don’t worry, I’m about to add a movie to my list:
Dumplin’ – A Netflix Original – I walked into this movie. I was sitting in my best friend’s basement just a week or so ago and we saw it. It looked good, we watched it. Never has something struck so deep a chord with me and ended up falling right into my life afterwards.

The movie has *SUCH* a fabulous message. It may not be like, an avant-garde production from an artistic perspective, but the way they wove the story in with the SOUNDTRACK just got me so hard in a way I didn’t think possible. It literally re-kindled my love for Dolly Parton, and I’ve had her songs–her wonderful, self-assured and uplifting songs–in my heart and in my mind ever since the credits rolled. 12/10, would ABSOLUTELY recommend.

What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life? 
The coffee!! The walks to class, waking up to the best roommates and the pupper, the sunrises and sunsets I got to see, the FANTASMICAL blanket of stars I was able to see both on retreat, and lying atop a Toyota Carolla. And I would be *so* remiss if I didn’t mention the random running into friends and stopping along the way for meaningful conversations.

What cool things did you create this year?

  • a website that’s a more professional portfolio for me as a student
  • my first every major scrap-booking project– a baby book for an acquaintance
  • a logo and subsequent promotional materials for our campus ministry food pantry
  • a kick-ass final project for my German Lit class that was a tangible, labyrinth-thing boardgame to echo the aesthetics of Franz Kafka’s works [in specific, Die Verwandlung]
  • a personal landscape – part of our photoshop-bootcamp where we had to express ourselves in a composite image:
  • a short, one-minute video montage of a personal story
  • my personal brand

What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)? 
Stressed. For sure. I think I talked a bit about how one should strive *not* to live a life of “urgency”. There’s so much that needs to change, including my current state of productivity, my happiness levels… but hey, a day at a time, right?

Honestly though, I would say this year was also HELLA exciting though. 😀

Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?
Yes! *ahem* See below ^_^

  • filed my own self-employed taxes [WAOW what a headache]
  • bought a car and outright own it!
  • turned 21 [lol does that count]
  • went to Texas on a Mission Trip!
  • witnessed my first ever Ordination ceremony
  • kissed a donkey [see item #4]
  • did freelance work for a non-profit
  • started a food pantry
  • visited a brewery
  • went to a WINERY like a grown ass adult

What was your favourite moment spent with your friends?
Two moments call to me above the rest, inluding:
– That one night we got bedbugs and literally just had a group break-down.
– During finals week when we [I say “we”– I mean one person in particular XD] were having ourselves a grand old time slinging textbooks off the balcony into the dumpster below [my soul died just a little bit watching it, but it was very fun to witness XD]

What major goal[s] did you lay the foundations for? 

  • buying a car
  • getting a new job at my university’s learning center
  • studying abroad in Ireland!
  • starting a food pantry with my campus ministry

Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?

  • various fearful feelings towards shots [I do NOT do needles well but it’s always not ever as bad as I think it’s gonna be]
  • not being able to drive to and from school [2 hours]
  • stressing over my GPA and finals week
  • worrying about opinions of other people

What experience would you love to do all over again?
Our mission trip to Texas. The people, the weather, the work, the VIEWS (!!!) so amazing. And I love flying. And going to new places. It was just all kinds of wonderful and I hope I can get something like that again this year.

What was the best gift you received?
Christmas *just* happened so I have so many things that come to mind– probably the most meaningful Christmas to date, tbh, not just cuz of the presents but for the *people* and their loving intentions. BUT ANYWAYS. I’d probably say the best gifts included a AAA membership, a car scraper, car repair $$, and the books Gmorning, Goodnight and Hyperfocus#adulting #selfhelp

How did your overall outlook on life evolve?
I like to think it improved. The world is so much bigger, there are people who will and do cherish you, your time, energy, and attention are YOUR MOST VALUABLE ASSETS,  and they are all what you make of it. I also like to think that I have faith that I’ll end up where I want/need to be.

What was the biggest problem you solved?
Re-shaping my perspective, due in part by cutting a lot of negativity/toxicity out of my life. Sometimes it takes time, and time away, to step back and realize “LOL I actually don’t know why this even had a place in my life” And then you make adjustments, reflect on them, remember them, and, as always, try your hardest to move ever forward.

What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it?
Oh come now, I don’t think I can point out just one. I guess that means that there’s just been a lot of ugly-laugh moments

What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever?
My 1TB WD external hard drive. 12/10 would HIGHLY recommend. I had so much *production* in my coursework this year, and I don’t know how I would have survived without it. It’s like a USB drive on steroids, and it’s just so portable and GAH I love it.

What’s one thing would you do differently and why?
I would listen to my instincts [they exist for a reason and sometimes there’s no use overriding them] and subsequently stop trying so hard to please others when I’m not getting any reciprocation *whatsoever*

What do you deserve a pat on the back for?
Not egging people’s houses.  Surviving finals week this year! And for getting accepted into my study abroad program–woo! And also just… doing me, getting used to being on my own, and using tact and grace correctly [when needed]

What activities made you lose track of time?
Adventuring with *people*! Writing! Reading! Fellowship! Eating dessert with people!

What did you think about more than anything else?
My relationships. And money. *wince*

What topics did you most enjoy learning about?
WEB DESIGN and NORMAL DESIGN FUNDAMENTALS ahhhhhhh. It’s what propels me forward– honestly being engaged with the subject matter you’re learning helps *so much*. Chris Bailey notes in Hyperfocus that it’s not so much what and how much you’re reading, but rather, how interested you are that determines the amount of time and energy you put into something. You could be flying through essays and novels about frogs and it doesn’t feel like it if you have the burning passion for frogs. You know?

What new habits did you cultivate?
Last year, I had a list of “GOOD” and “BAD” habits. I’m all to aware of my bad habits right now, so I will concentrate on the GOOD:

  • Going to bed somewhat consistently
  • Staying positive
  • Drinking coffee every morning [I guess not necessarily “good” or “bad”… but new! LOL]
  • Meal prepping for a good solid 3 weeks there! [kinda fell off the rails a bit later]
  • reading before bed time!

What advice would you give your early-2018 self if you could?
Dear early-2018 self,

First of all, thank you. For being you. And go you. Look at all you’re doing and will do. Hunker down for change, cuz it’s a’comin’! HAAHA [oh yeah, keep your sense of humour pls and thx.]

Some of it will be scary. Some of it will be heartbreaking. Some of it will make you feel like you’re invincible. Whatever it is, look at it head on, check your worth, and walk forward, alone or with friends. Friends are a great treasure, never forget that.

Asking for help is okay. So is letting your guard down. It will be scary, but the worst thing you can do is go hide, isolate yourself and pretend things aren’t happening.

You know what’s cool? You have so much ahead of you, you don’t even know– people you haven’t met yet, planes you haven’t boarded, trips you haven’t taken, concepts you haven’t learned. So take your time.  There’s so much joy and laughter that you will come to know.

Please try to put your nose to the grindstone a little better with regards to managing your time. If Christ Bailey is your idol you should probably take what he says to heart and start practicing what you preach.

Drink more tea, dammit, drink more water, and drink coffee strategically rather than habitually [this will be hard for you.] Get more rest, and for the love of Christ please take time to slow down, unplug, and cherish the ones you live and love with.

Mistakes are inevitable but they aren’t all bad. Take time for yourself.  Revel in the activities that make you happy. Revel in the activities that make you better. They may be hard but the return is *so* high and *so* worth the investment.

Also read more books. You have a host of titles you collected over the times so get on that!

Say a prayer in the morning, count the blessings before bed and try to learn to forgive yourself. There’s plenty of pain, but take time to feel it. Take time to harness its power. This is important. This is so you can move on more clear-headed, more thoroughly. Remember your worth, always take the time and put in the effort, even if it seems stupid. You can also afford to get off your high horse and listen to the dissonance around you. Lastly, put in the time to love yourself, free yourself of the wicked comparison game, and please remember that you are always enough.
 
Love,
Your future self

Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year?
Yes. My relationships. For the better, honestly. In my personal dealings with the people I care about, communication has been everything. Even when it’s lacking from other parties, being able to be vulnerable and comfortable, more real and more open with people has played such and important part in my friendships this year. Every one is a beautiful, complex mystery– so why don’t we take the time and the care to investigate with avid interest and love and patience?

What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year?
The friends who have long since stood by, who have put up with my insanity and impulses and bouts of mania… who have loved me every step of the way… I can echo my 2017 self when I say that the road really is almost never completely smooth… but it would be a shame to say that one hits a dead end– it’s never a hard stop in learning and growing and loving as such things progress. It’s the people in my life this year that have taught me more than I could ever realize about myself, that have brought me endless joy, striking clarity, and baskets of gratitude as I move forward.

This year has been…riddled with laughter and tears, work and play, distractions and laser-sharp focus. Everything that has been teaches me something new, and I’m so thankful for that.

I also listened to a ton of music this year, and I think that it’s cool that Spotify has decided to wrap it for me! [:  Check it out here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1EjiIMJ03Q4ndw

capture

So.

Wow.

It’s kind of funny because I’m in the process of finishing up another kind of reflection on 2018 in the form of a book–sorta?– and I’ll speak more about it later, but I love how this post and that process have kind of coincided! More on this to come!

Well anyways. Here’s to reflection on the old, and embracing the new– new hopes, new joys, new possibilities.

[:Have a blessed New Year’s, everyone ♥

xx