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

// melted frost

my truths have shown me I am fire

and yours? That you are ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I do my best to hold my fire,

but know that I have perished twice

and am sick enough of knowing hate

to say that for destruction

we should lay our weapons down.

//

I’m a frost fan. I don’t know why this came to me out of nowhere, but I admire the poem, and felt it call to me in a way I can’t explain; so I attempted my own version. 

goals.

I’m not gonna lie.

The past 3 months have definitely been a journey. Not only have they had me question everything about myself, they’ve thrown me so many obstacles that I believed I wasn’t ready for.

I was ready, though. I was there and present and had the underlying intention of learning, of moving forward, even if I failed to recognize it at the time.

This massive shift, however, hasn’t been a simple bridge to the other side. If anything, it was the exact opposite. I felt myself becoming a shell of myself. I felt myself moving on autopilot, out of control and without direction. I fell into old, less-than-great habits and unhealthy patterns.

But isn’t that how it works?
it has to get worse before it gets better.

And I would beat myself up for even getting there in the first place.

But the thing is– we’re human. Shit happens. We fall down. It’s how we choose to proceed that makes all the difference.

Amidst some of the bad habits, however, I re-discovered some good ones.
Writing here, getting out more, reconnecting with people, getting outside, and reading more– all things I see as steps in the right direction.

I don’t think I’ll go as far to say as I’ve hit the 1/4 life crises mark, but there was definitely a point in time where I just needed to STOP.

To make time for myself.

To re-align myself.

To take stock of everything on the table.

One of the things that’ts helped me do this is my 2nd bible [outside of the official one]– Chris Bailey’s Productivity Project. 

For some reason, reading about people who have their lives together and who offer meaningful advice appeals to me. In fact, I’d almost go so far as to say that 2018 has been the year of self-help books. Whoops. *shrug*

But so much of what he has to say [in an intentionally passionate, witty, and meaningful way] is *so* on par with the changes I’m trying to get my ass up and accomplish this year.

Part of what I love, though, about his book is that he has pauses for action. There are activities that provoke thought and really force you to get your ideas, your obstacles, your fears, and your heart onto a piece of paper that you can control, that you can hold, that you can revise, that you can own. 

One of the questions the reader is asked to consider is “what deep rooted vales are associated with your productivity goals?” Or more simply, “what are the deep dirty reasons you want to be more productive?”
“what is it all for?”

And for a minute, I stopped, because this essentially begs the question:
“What are you going to make room for in your life?”

Well that’s easy, I thought. More important things!

But what even *are* those more important things? Are they even *things* at all?

And then it was there, the question poking the back of my prefrontal cortex:

What is the goal of life?
What is the *reason*?

I’ve spent the past 12 some-odd years in school, told that I’d have a better chance of getting a job, so I could have a place to live, and make money to support myself and then live life.

But… what comes next?

What else? 

And I completely understand having to pay my dues along the way. The fact of life is that life costs money. School is expensive. I should probably eat food and have a place to live. I understand that more now than ever before, as I’m currently the sole contributor to my school and housing.

But I realized that there’s so much besides financial stability/freedom I want to focus on along the way. Things like:

  • freedom to have time to do meaningful things
  • cultivating relationships
  • emotional stability
  • building knowledge/experience/learning
  • cultivating creativity
  • embracing minimalism
  • cultivating discipline
  • embracing travel!

These are the things that I want to be working on as I do my best to be productive in the more *required* sectors of adulthood, school, and ultimately my career as myself.

I definitely didn’t mean for this post to be gushing about Chris Bailey but *shrug*
I just had to share because I think so much of my original plans and goals have been just those–
And that by moving into the new year, with the right mindset and right people surrounding me, I hope to find some peace, discipline, and the best relationships to grow into, and grow from.

xx

december.

Welp.

Here we are.

I don’t know how we got here, honestly.

This is *SO* flipping cliche but it feels, truly, as if 2018 were a blur. But you know what’s also stupidly cliche [and stupidly true]?– time flies when you’re having fun. I feel funny typing that, because it seems as if the past 2-3 months have been anything *but* fun.

…But that’s only 2-3 months out of a whopping, pretty exciting and joyful 12. Gotta give myself a break. (-:

I’m here, I’m alive, I’m functioning, I’m showing up, I’m getting shit done. What more can I ask for?

So here we go (:

read/reading // I just had to do one of these posts today PARTLY because I was blessed–straight up BLESSED!!– with new reading in the mail today from a dear friend who lives a coast away from me:

Gmorning, Gnight! Little Pep Talks for Me & You by Lin Manuel Miranda, illustrated by Jonny Sun

I haven’t had the time to read much else, but I will say I’m jumping right back into what I think is probably my fave book ever:

The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey. 

Image result for the productivity project chris bailey

It’s awesome because all of his writing is converging SO HARD with my life right now and the path I’m trying to choose.

Annnnnnnd I’m trying to get my hands on this beauty, because I was only able to read snippets from it on a fall retreat this year:

The Power of Love by Bishop Michael Curry 


writing //
 here! And writing letters. Much needed, much overdue letters.

learning // to be alone with myself, and to practice self care. There was a point in time where I realized I just was not taking any breaks for just myself– even things I found I was doing because I enjoyed them felt tied to other people, and I’ve struggled a lot with simply being. It’s something that’s just going to take time and I have to be willing to work the wait.

doing / working on // Things! Projects! Life changes! In this respect, my heart is full. I’m so thankful.

  • self-care, god dammit.
  • re-aligning, reducing, ans re-designing my life [more on this when I can gather myself back at school… I’m excited!!]
  • a hunger initiative at my university’s campus ministry
  • a print/digital campaign for the aforementioned item
  • my portfolio! ^_^
  • Graphic design for potential clients…? 😁
  • raising funds for my STUDY ABROAD IN IRELAND THIS YEAR!! 😁😁😁🎉🍀

eating // still poorly! But I’m also in transition between being home and being at school so… whatcha gonna do ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I’ve basically got my shopping list set up for me when I do return, however. It’s gonna include less processed stuff, and more healthy ingredients! watch this space.

drinking// coffee, trying to drink more water, milk, and the uh, occasional pomegranate martini ^_^

listening // …to lots! I think I’m obsessed….

being inspired// by some stuff. Particularly these words from Cleo Wade’s book, Heart Talk:

laughing // at the fact that in the past 3 weeks, 3 different people have asked me if I’ve looked into going to seminary/joining the priesthood. I don’t quite know whether I should be flattered or concerned. LOL. I personally think that I don’t have the patience, nor do I have the true calling, but my priest at school pointed out that she didn’t think she had those things either…. and that God kept putting the thought in front of her… hmm ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Also laughing just thinking about the evening I spent on the floor of my living room with my roommates, as we re-watched a series of videos I recorded on my camera on the infamous Night We Found Out We Had Bedbugs. Man, I love my roomies so much.

thinking // about my financial responsibility. I hate that it keeps creeping into every facet of my life, but I am in a hard spot right now and I’ve never been more concerned about my financial life up until this moment. I’m trying to do what I can, and I realize *so hard* that it is essential to improve things and alter habits and fix my mindset and stay motivated to do so… I’ve also always had trouble asking for help, and even accepting, in some cases. I don’t like being indebted to people, and I certainly don’t like drawing more attention to myself than necessary. So it’s kind of an awkward time right now. But if this year has taught me anything about love, gratitude, strength, and resilience, it’s that anything can happen, there is faith to be had, and with determination, hard work, a bit of luck and lots of prayer, things have the potential to unfold in a way that I will most certainly grow from.

trying // to remain self-assured in a world that passes so much judgement on the external, the material, the facade, and the feed.

I’m also just trying to stay positive, learn to forgive myself, look past things, try to separate people from behaviors, and learn from all of the above.

hoping // that I’ll be able to make enough for school this semester. Time to get creative, and probably hunker down and get them private loans!

loving // my people!! They really are my support systems.

And my work. It gave me light and a renewed understanding and reminder of why I love what I love. It’s slow right now because I’m on break, but I can’t wait to get back into it.

Annnnd I guess I’ll begrudgingly say I am loving the time off [sorry I’m a person who has trouble sitting still and having peace but I’ve gotten to kind of chill a lot and it’s nice.] ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

….And this weather!! Omg today it was 64 degrees outside in DECEMBER and I spent it on a series of introspective walks. So lovely.

praying // for 2019 to be a thoughtful, mindful adventure in which I gracefully grow into the change I am faced with.

Dear God,

Thank you for blessing me with everything up to now. Every rough patch, every hardship, every time something hasn’t turned out to my design.

Thank you for the people you have strategically sprinkled into my life, they are gifts and treasures and have shown me so many things about the world and about myself.

Please grant me patience, understanding, focus, motivation, and the discipline to move forward with the changes I wish to install within my lifestyle.

Please grant me forgiveness, so that I may ultimately find healing.

Please also grant me peace this Christmas, the ability to slow down for these next few days and truly take everything in.

I pray also for the strength to keep barreling onward, for resilience, for clarity, and lastly, for kindness.

xx

november.

I just got done with Thanksgiving break.

I also haven’t done this in sUCH a long time. Oof.

To be truthful, it was a bit of a broken break. Broken in a sense that it didn’t feel like Thanksgiving for some moments.  It’s hard to think about all of the blessings that surround us every single day when one or two bits of darkness seem to stick out like a sore thumb above all of it. But. Being around family and having time away definitely gives way to lots of pondering and deeper understanding. About myself, about others, and about what lies in front of me. So I’m thankful for all of that time, for the people I got to share it with, especially.

read/reading // ugh I need to start reading againnnnnn this Christmas I just want like 2 books I can immerse myself in. But here’s what I’m working on:

White Noise by Don DeLillo

WANT TO READ: Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey

writing // here. On the pages that house my heart and who I am, physical and digital.  It’s been dead for quite awhile but you know what? It’s such a fundamental part of who I am and I don’t think I can neglect that anymore. Writing for me cleanses my soul and inspires fires within me that I had thought to be put out. So here we are, and I think, I’ll stick around for awhile, free of chains, free of filters, free of constant bombarding judgement (because isn’t that what social media is nowadays?)

learning // the value of patience. The value of honesty, the value of just falling right back into a hypothetical/metaphorical comfortable armchair after a long day like “you know what? This is me, take it or leave it, I’m gonna just sit here and watch TV/do my crossword until y’all decide to figure things out.” Hypothetical/metaphorical TV. Hypothetical/metaphorical crossword.

doing / working on // damn, a lot of things! In this respect, my heart is full. I’m so thankful.

  • a hunger initiative at my university’s campus ministry
  • a print/digital campaign for the aforementioned item
  • a scrapbook baby book for a friend of a friend
  • my portfolio! ^_^
  • self-care
  • power moves! And DAMN November has been full of them (partially because I deemed it “powermovember”. Ha.)
    • I cut my hair, I got rid of stuff, I cleaned my room, I bought a new dress, I drove home to vote (LOL cuz I lost my absentee ballot), I went camping under the stars, I re-learned the ukulele, identified a new favorite craft beer, among other things (:

eating // terribly. My diet sucks. I temporarily suck. I’m trying to use an app called “Eat This Much” to aid in my meal planning and to get back on track nutritionally. It’s odd because, when your life feels like it’s falling apart, I feel like diet and exercise (for me, at least) are the first things to go, when in REALITY they need to be the first things to stay. Oof. #mondaytruths

drinking// coffee/lattes, adult juice, water.

listening // …to a whole host of things.

laughing // with the people I care about. It’s bad because my first impulse to write on this line was “hardly ever”. I don’t really remember the last time I ugly-laughed, and I would like to change that. Sometimes, joy is something you have to curate for yourself, but I also want to take time to try to see the immediate joy around me.

thinking // about everything that has, can, and will go wrong. I consider myself to be a pretty positive person so this… doesn’t look good on me. I never used to have trouble sleeping but it seems like this fall is quite the exception. All those memes that depict someone lying still but their brain going crazy/dancing/doing weird shit is pretty accurate.

trying // to stay positive. To hold onto love. Specifically love for myself, love for others.  Specifically love for those who do some really questionable and hurtful things.  I need to choose love, no matter how hard it may be. Because it’s in the hardest love that comes understanding.

hoping // that I can just get through these last few weeks leading up to finals. It’s such a busy time and I am low-key counting my stars that I’m not going to piss off someone close to me because I have so much going on. It’s time to hunker down and take care of business, and I need to remind myself of that. It’s odd, sometimes, the timing of things. There’s so much to take in right here and right now– before I left for Thanksgiving break I was told I was accepted to study abroad in Ireland, and while it’s surreal and crazy to think about right now, I can only think about the joy that will come this summer amidst all of the things that have come into play in my life right now.

loving // my people. My support systems. My work. All of it is converging in a way that I never thought it would, nor expected it would, and I just have to say it’s something I need to hold onto.

praying // Dear God, please grant me patience, understanding, focus, the motivation to sit my ass down, look at the sticky dark in front of me, handle it accordingly, maybe put it in a box and stick it away for a while.  I pray also for the strength to keep barreling onward, for resilience, for clarity, for kindness.

slower, still

it’s one thing

to prop up the smiles and

strategically avoid gazes and

turn twisted circles in your head

searching for answers, for justification

in one of those decorated corners

weighing the broken pieces and

knowing the pieces broke wholeheartedly, unevenly.

it’s not okay, nor is it remotely fine, because actions have consequences that often aren’t anticipated.

maybe they’ll learn.

 

it’s another thing entirely to sit down,

let it hit you like a sporadic rain and

absorb shock after shock, and

ultimately come to terms with the fact that,

inevitably, something is missing.

 

and it’s another thing to work hard;

passively hard and,

ache to fill that spot and,

to look in a mirror and be okay

with what’s tearing up back at you, knowing that change

change is gonna come, some way, somehow.

 

it’s a thing that’s long awaited,

but knocked out in bits and

shattered, piece by piece and

conquered with every passing day as you realize–

that the new reality,

in all of its vibrant colors

and labyrinth emotions

and electric moments

unfolding before you

are *so* much better, so much clearer, so much less clouded, than the faded, ostensible hodgepodge zone of comfort

like dirty water in a vase of expectation

you had merely filled into.

“still i rise”

It’s crazy.

In the span of just a few weeks, how you can go from feeling like ashes

Dark and hollow, weightless and scattered

To an almost fire

Fueled by an energy countering everything that was ASSumed for you, thrust before you, pulled out from under your feet

Until you rise above it

The thick and the smoke and the sticky dark you had no fricking clue at one point was holding you back.

It is not an escape.

Oh no.

Rather, an intentional retreat

Towards love.

Towards real™ caring.

Towards the notion that you yourself are the only thing that gets to define you.

Towards the arms and hearts of those who are unwaveringly open to yours.

(-:

xx