Friday, February 14, 2020

Heart things. [Part III]

A lot of things to say this month, which is a nice change after feeling dormant for awhile. I wanted to continue the theme of "heart things", since today is the holiday of the heart. A lot of people have very strong opinions about Valentine's Day, but I've always loved it as a reminder to show a little extra love to the people in your life. I've only spent 3 Valentine's Days with significant others, so the day has always been characterized by showing love to my friends, family and coworkers. I miss the days where you'd go and pick out valentines to hand out, excitedly picking themed ones with your favorite pattern/color/cartoon character/movie character. I'd know immediately which ones I wanted to give to my best friends (the biggest one with the best saying) and which ones I'd probably give to the people I didn't get along with very well in class (without being too mean). Throughout my career I still liked to get little valentines for my coworkers, just to brighten the day.

This year I'm without coworkers, but that's ok. I still received lovely texts, sent some of my own, and wore a pretty red shirt.

Happy heart things:
  • A St. Bernard puppy named "Garbanzo" exists
  • My friend asking me to be background vocals and guitar in live performances of his upcoming album (more on this in a later post, because this is SUPER exciting for me!)
  • Running into a local on the street today and getting a potential new freelance gig from it
  • Sweet texts
  • Excitement, intention and consistency
  • Feeling heard
  • When a smile gets stuck on your face
  • "You Make My Dreams" by Hall & Oates
  • Gifts from friends
  • New adventures ahead

May you be aware of all of the love in your life today and always, friends. Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

[More] heart things.

I felt like a follow-up was needed after my previous post...

1.) I PASSED! I passed the aPHR. It was actually pretty funny because at the end of the test there was a notice that said "results will come in 24 to 48 hours", so I was like...cool. Not today. And then I left the testing center and they gave me a paper that I promptly folded up and put in my pocket so that I could leave as quickly as possible. I'm texting everyone saying "yeah I don't know how I did, hopefully alright but there were some vague questions. We'll see." Fast forward about an hour and a half. I finally think to myself "oh, I wonder what that paper was". So I look at this paper and the very first paragraph says "Congratulations! You've passed the exam!" Hahaha. If only I would've paid more attention to what was right in front of me. Regardless, I'm excited and some next steps are in the works.

2.) My heart is still beating. Irregularly, but that's normal. I actually had a very strange experience with both the cardiologist and the nurse, and will probably try to find somewhere else to go after my upcoming tests. Results on my condition are unknown until then, basically. Patience.

I had a lovely "Galentine's Day" dinner with some friends tonight, and it was so good to see them after so long. And so strange, because my life was the hot topic of conversation and it's changed a lot since I've seen them. I learned some things that were hard to hear. And I said some things that were hard to say. Regardless, I stayed true to who I was and still am. But processing the conversation after getting home was emotional for me and I'm so glad that I'm going to bed.

Life is just so weird. And lovely. And heart-wrenching, and thought-provoking, and terrifying, and often wonderful. I'm grateful to be living it.

Night, friends.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Heart things.

I have a lot on my mind.

One...I have an exam tomorrow. If I pass, I will be aPHR-certified and have a foundation to apply to HR jobs. The problem is that I haven't been able to fully invest in studying, so I don't feel as confident as I want to. But I've made peace if I don't pass and will cross that bridge when I get to it.

The sub-thoughts: is HR still for me? Do I need to go back to school?

Two...I have a cardiologist appointment on Monday. This is where I get a new baseline on my heart condition that I've had since I was a baby. I received my old medical records from my previous cardiologist today, and reading through them brought back the reality of my condition. At some point I will have to get a heart valve repaired or replaced. I may have to have the hole in my heart closed so that I can breathe at full capacity while exercising. I will have to be hyper-vigilant if I ever decide to have children. I am so grateful that my condition is mild, so I haven't felt too many of the effects growing up. But recently I've been more aware of my limitations, and there is the fear of the unknown of where I sit now.

The sub-thoughts: I am getting older and this is terrifying.

Three...I have resolved to define the ground that I want to stand on. I am tired of being a chameleon.

No sub-thoughts on that one. Just determination.

There is a poem that I received today, and a lot of it spoke to my heart. I'd love to share it in case all or parts of it may speak to yours.

The Invitation
by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Indian Elder

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals, or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true, I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.

I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore trustworthy. I want to know if you can see beauty, even when it is not pretty every day, and if you can source your life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours or mine, and still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, "Yes!"

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.

It doesn't interest me who you are, or how you came to be here - I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

The sub-thoughts: That. I want to be that. I want to seek that.

Take care, friends.

Monday, January 27, 2020

A lesson in being myself.

Empathy. Learned as a young girl in a large, chaotic, varied family. Words weren't really given to emotions, so I had to watch and observe. Smiles and laughter = good. Frowns, yelling, tears = bad. Without much context I filled in the gaps, and honed that over the years until it made me really good at imagining, anticipating and predicting how people might feel in certain situations. Almost too good; I often fill in gaps that aren't there and create stories in my mind that can cause more emotional distress than it is sometimes worth. But overall I'm thankful to be empathetic.

The one thing I didn't count on was how much I learned to factor myself into that context of "good" or "bad" in others' experiences. Whether in a friendship or relationship, I like to think that I'm contributing to that person's overall quality of life in a (hopefully) positive way. That's what I look for in my friendships and relationships, at least. So when I'm spending extended time with someone (dating, for example) and they're unhappy, it's really hard for me not to take that personally. For me, the person I'm dating has a direct impact on my mood, so I can only assume it's similar for others. Even if I'm not the cause of a negative mood, I'm clearly not helping make it more positive and that makes me feel pretty useless.

I read a quote the other day from Will Smith that was a good reminder for me:

"You cannot make a person happy... You can make a person smile. You can make a person feel good. You can make a person laugh. But, whether or not a person is happy is deeply and totally and utterly out of your control."

I wish I could say that I've figured out the magic formula that enables me to be completely neutral in these situations and create the perfect emotional distance while still being a great friend and partner. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm wired that way. Even as an adult I still get caught up in needing to watch and observe in order to say the "right" thing to avoid the "bad". But what I'm trying to do is prioritize myself more in relationships, anticipate/predict less, and focus more on my happiness and well-being instead of letting it be dictated by others' actions, interests and moods. Because life is too short to bend over backwards for people that would not do the same for me. It's too short to scramble for the scraps of emotion, empathy and investment that others will throw out occasionally. Better to put that energy into the other awesome people you're surrounding yourself with.

G'nite, friends.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Grateful.

This is what I am grateful for today.

- Anticipation of new albums coming out that are made by friends
- Sweet texts
- A good hamburger
- Good family time
- A delicious beer
- Caring friends reaching out
- A puppy snuggled on your lap (meet Willow below! Not mine..but so cute.)
- Oat vanilla lattes
- Getting work done before the deadline
- A catchy song
- Compliments
- Feeling good about your outfit
- Sushi!
- Seeing good friends
- Fridays

Welcome to the weekend, friends :)


Wednesday, January 1, 2020

New year, new you.

Happy New Year, friends.

I've been trying to post on here for the last month and have about 100 drafts. Or maybe 6, but still. Half-finished poems, entries and thoughts. But I wanted to write something for the first day of a new decade. 2019 is over and 2020 is here. Wow. Looking back not only on the last year but the last 10 years has blown me away. I decided to reactivate my Facebook for a hot second and look through old pictures. All I can say is...damn. What powerful, visual reminders of who I was, where I've been and where I am now. I had visceral reactions to those photos.

The last 10 years have marked my college graduation and foray into the real world, the beginning (and changing journey) of my career, 99% of my dating history, my struggles and victories with self and body image, my faith journey, and more. The biggest visual for me was realizing that 10 years ago, I would photoshop most of my pictures because I didn't like how I looked. In the picture on the left below, I did exactly that. And I look at that girl with tenderness and am just so incredibly thankful not to be in that headspace anymore. I feel more "me" with each and every year, and I'm really liking how it feels. I'm excited for what 2020 will bring: more of unfiltered, un-photoshopped me.


That's it for now. Keep an eye out for some drafts to be posted. :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

November.

There were three responses to my previous post, and they meant the world to me. Reminders that people are still listening, even when I feel like I'm screaming into the void. Thank you to those people from the bottom of my heart.

It's a strange season right now, and after waiting for someone to tell me that I'm living the life that I'm supposed to be living, I realized that I just need to live it. I was journaling in the coffee shop up the street the other day and tiny dreams started to poke through...things like pick up French again and travel to France to test out the language. Write meaningful things for both myself and others, whether it's poetry, haikus or general thoughts. Learn how to write songs. Paint more watercolor paintings. Maybe try bouldering again or go on a solo yurt trip. And maybe the most dramatic...build an actual routine.

I realize that I am living most people's dream: no 9-5. I never pictured my life like this, and I am simultaneously grateful for it and terrified by it. My brain chimes in: "you weren't meant for this life! This is meant for someone with a lot of money to travel and someone who doesn't want to be owned by 'the man'! You're not creative or adventurous enough!". It's been interesting combatting these stories, because obviously they're not true but they've revealed my thoughts on this freelance life. And even though I feel like this won't be forever, it's where I am now and I'm opening my mind to new, unconventional possibilities.

One thing that has been extremely difficult is lack of connection with people. I am part introvert but also thrive on genuine interaction with other people, so my freelance schedule and my breakup have left me to my own devices. In addition to my lovely friends that I get to see, my community has turned into the baristas, bartenders and shopkeepers that I try to come in regular contact with. I'm grateful for all of these moments of connection and also seeking more consistency here.

One day at a time.