Thursday, January 19, 2023

As the new year moves on this month, the days begin to run together as they always have in the past. The holidays slow us down for a brief moment and then we make resolutions. We are excited to basque in the glory days of the new year. And then, bam, here we are in the third week and it's business as usual. I am, however, trying to fight that one. I'm very much living in this moment (as if we have a choice). What I mean is that I am doing my best not to look too far ahead like I usually do. I try to anticipate the future. I make the prediction, "This is my year!" Unfortunately the last few years have taught me that it doesn't matter if it's my year, the world may have other plans. 

At first this idea troubled me. Actually, it pissed me off. How am I supposed to move forward and make my place in this world when there is pandemic, climate, change, and political unrest? Oh! and some dumb fuck keeps threatening to nuke the world? The world is fucking dumpster fire. 

That's just it isn't it? There is nothing I can do to control the powers that be so I am forced to revel in the joy of this moment. I may not be able to look as forward as I would like. I am cautiously optimistic for what lies ahead in my life and my career. What I can do is indeed look back at what I have accomplished. 

This last year, I grew in more ways than I ever thought I would. For the first time, I was an employer. That alone is a feet in itself. The salon did well. I made a web series and filmed 8 episodes of the 10 I had set to make. That's pretty damn good. I taught some classes and made strides in a social media following which is helping my business. And more than ever this last year, I was inspired by women who are fighting for their lives and spitting in the face-off cancer. I am watching single moms kick ass. And I am allowing the mentors in my life to mentor me. 

One thing I have not fully learned, because I am a fighter, is to keep my mouth shut. When I see injustice or misinformation, I am inflamed. When I see people I thought I loved not line up with. my value system, I get angry. I want point out with all the logic in the word about why they are wrong. There is a better way. But alas, it fall on deaf ears. Or in the case of social media, deaf keyboards? I don't know. What I do know is that I can't change the world. I can change me. So, that's what I'm doing one day at a time. I'm choosing kindness over hate. I am leading with compassion instead of, "God you're a moron. How are you alive in the world?" It's hard and some days I fail. But instead of making a comment or posting my usual passive/aggressive opinion, I instead show what I'm doing to change my world. Or at least the world around me. I'm not going to lie. I do at least comment out loud, "Wow aren't you a big piece of shit!" and then I scroll on. 

The great Alanis Morissette has said. "The only way out is through." Here I am going through one day at a time and doing my best to be grateful...with lots of opinions that I am stuffing down. Carry on. Carry on. 

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Happy New Year??

As the year opens up to us, we think about the endless possibility of how our lives could change. When the ball drops, we resolve to do better this time. "This is my year!" we tell ourselves. "I"m going to get in shape, read more, and find the best career for me."  These are just a few examples of what we profess. Our New Year's Resolutions are in full force. Somehow that last shot of tequila will cleanse the old and bring in the new. Or it will make us pass out. Either way something happens. 

I have been guilty of this myself. I make resolutions. I make plans that I just know will work out this time because I got a new planner that will help me map out my goals. The vision board has me doing the things to manifest man! It's all a joke right? Maybe. But, I still resolve to do better every new year. There is something magical about the reset right? I mean we all feel it. 

Fo this year, I have added a few things, including trying to make this blog a priority. But overall, I resolve to do better through out the year. The last few years have rocked us all to the core and we are reminded that we have no control and that life can indeed turn on a dime for us personally and for the whole world. My resolution this time around is to do what I can to grow a little personally and artistically each day. I need to be in this moment because there's only this moment. I also need to get may nails done. I digress. 

These are the things that enter my mind. I have no magic wand. The ball drops and does not emit magical powers over all of us. And because of time zones, the New Year trickles in and not all at once. That's life isn't it? It trickles in and not all at once. Each moment passes until the day is done and we are safe in our beds by the day's end. 

The nice thing is that we are all a work in progress. I try to remind myself of that so it takes the pressure off. Believe it or not, that worked for me in 2022. After a battle with long covid that I feel I have overcome for the time being, I vowed to do as much as I could when the ball dropped this time last year. I didn't set unrealistic expectations and it worked. Here is a list of things I accomplished, planned and unplanned:

1. I filmed eight episodes of my very own web series, five are up on you tube, and three are in edit mode. My goal was to film 10. I got 80% there. That's pretty good. 

2. I have been taking voice lessons for the last year and a half. I vowed to practice more. I practiced 50% more than I did when I started. The goal was to make my lungs better from having covid. I achieved that. 

3. I have been reading more. 

4. I managed to walk most every day and do yoga almost every day. My goal was every day and I hit it 70% of the time. 

5. I wanted to grow my salon business. I had a few setbacks but it did grow and I almost made my goal for how much I wanted the salon to gross in revenue. I'm not there but I got close enough that I feel good about it. 

So, what are my goals this year? Keep doing what I'm doing and continue to create new habits. I'm following some of the things I learned from listening/reading Atomic Habits. Is it really reading if it's an audio book? The experts will have to weigh in at some point but I did take in valuable information. One of the key components in that book is to add a small habit to something that you already do. Example: I practice my scales and warm ups in the morning while I am getting ready for work. Then I sing a couple of songs. This morning, the singing brought me joy. The idea is that these things become habits because you incorporate it into your daily routine.

Speaking of routine. I have not chastised myself if I pick my phone up and look at it when I wake. However, I put it right back down. I stretch, drink water, and get my morning clothes on. I wake up in the same time frame. I have stopped pressing myself to wake up at exactly 5:30 or whatever those other blog posts say. Because it's my goal to just get up as early as my body wants, I am waking up around the right time every day. I have a task list that I must do and the tasks are done most of the time. 

It's helpful to give yourself grace and revel in what you are accomplishing already. For example, I have written every morning and I have this second post of 2023. I'm not concerned with whether or not they get read. I am more concerned about the journey for a change. Of course I want an outcome but I finally get the whole, "It's about the journey, not the destination," jargon. I intend to finish projects and put them into the world but I have resolved that it's more important to enjoy each triumph as they come my way. As the girl I saw on TikTok say, "Tell yourself how things are already going your way. Train your brain." Or something like that. Happy New Year. 

Friday, January 6, 2023

Let's Try This Again

 OK here we go 2023. Let's see if I can keep up with this. To be clear, this is not about the typical resolutions that people do each new year. My creative commitment to myself has been ongoing and this blog is part of that. I have had a long journey as the rest of us have had the last few years thanks to a pandemic that we are still in. While some things have gotten better, the looming days of a divided world and the prospect of a healthcare collapse still whisper to us. The few mask wearers and recluse hold outs are a reminder that this thing is not over even if we pretend it is. It's going to stay with us. And while the remnants and memories of what I have experienced may find its way into this series I am starting, the focus will not be on the pandemic. 

So what am I trying to say? What is my focus? What is this commitment that I speak of to whom ever reads this and to myself? I have found over the last few years that I have much to say. I have over 30 years of journals and stories to prove that. I have 46 years on this planet that's full of happiness, sorrows, and everything in between. Sharing thoughts and stories have always been my go to. I wouldn't say that I have had an extraordinary life but I have had some extraordinary experiences. I would argue that most of us have. The difference between mine and others is that I am willing to share a lot of what I have experienced  in the hopes that maybe it helps someone. Also, my brain needs to dump. I am also not afraid to admit that I have enough of an ego to share and believe that people will be interested. 

I've been going about this journey in many ways and for most of my life. My first dream was to be an actress. I did plays. I performed for anyone who would watch. Then I wanted to be a pop star. I've always wanted to be a writer. Hence the journal keeping for over 30 years. Mom introduced me to the diary when I was 11. We had watched The Diary of Anne Frank. I must have expressed sone kind of interest in the fact that Anne, a girl not much older than myself, had kept a diary and the whole world read it years after her death. She was just a young girl with dreams in a world that didn't want her to exist. Even though she no longer lives, she will forever exist as long as those pages continue to stay in print. I'm not sure I thought deeply about it then. Mom just knew that I was a creative and she did seek to nurture that in me. 

When I was in the 7th grade, Ms. Slotemaker was my reading teacher. She too noticed that I loved the craft of writing. Because of her I went to a writer's workshop for kids two summers in a row. She would often tell me that I would end up on tv. And I have. I already had by the time I met her. My siblings and I were in a commercial for the local news stations. I had already been a model for a department store. She knew it would be on a bigger scale And it has. I wish it was more. It's exciting to see yourself on a major network. I'm not going to lie about that. 

The nurturing worked. I write. I have published a book. I've written short films. I've produced them. I've produced plays. I have been on tv and done a few commercials. I currently have a web series on You Tube based on a one-woman show that I hope to perform live this year, I have managed to do quite a bit even though I have a full time job. I want to do more. This series is a part of that. I have another book idea in mind but it's been hard to organize. My commitment to you dear reader, if you are indeed reading, is to share some of my insights from my journals and from the multiple essays I have fleshed out on paper or on this computer. It's going to be challenging. It always is right? It's tough to sit in a room and commit to baring your soul and hope there is more. It's a time commitment as most things are. Of course my husband has always encouraged my creativity. He has not always understood the ways it needs to manifest itself. However, he has watched me write and journal for the last 25 years and he knows it's crucial for my survival. He has pushed me into Mom's old bedroom and made a pace for me. My own office. That's another blog in itself. In the meantime, here's to baring my soul. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

And here we go

So it looks like the world is opening up. I'm not going to lie. I have so many feelings about what is happening that I don't even know where to begin. I am scared. I keep reading news reports and conflicting information. Everything from "COVID-19 was create in a lab",  to "Wear a mask, it's safer", and then "No, don't wear a mask, you'll give yourself the virus!" What the fuck? Then I remember reading books like 1984, The Handmade's Tale, and the Hunger Games Series. Then I go down the rabbit hole and it just becomes a cycle of paranoia, hopelessness and fear.

After I mull though all of that, I try to put my happy face on. It could be worse. I'm still healthy. I need to continue to be a positive force in the world. I have things to create and stuff to do. I'm growing a business. I think that it's going to be ok.

The truth is I really don't know. I go back to work next week. I will re-open my doors to the unknown. I don't know what normal looks like and I have no idea what to expect. I am concerned for my safety and the safety of others. But I also think that if I worry too much I'll die of a stroke first. All I can do is my best and hope that powers above me find their humanity. If we are indeed a giant experiment there is nothing I can do to stop that. I hope that we all show up at the polls this November.

In the meantime, I am going to disconnect from social media as much as I can. I will have to utilize it for my business so it's going to be tricky. I'll have to turn the news off and delete news apps from my devices. Basically I have to live in my bubble and do all of the good I can in the world. I don't have faith in this system. I do think this person that we call the president is terrible. I think most of the politicians are terrible. But I can't help that. What I can do is help me. I planted a garden. I have been exercising outside. I've been enjoying the sun and I have been writing. I will contact my salon guests and begin the arduous task of rescheduling whomever I can. I will listen to music and I will sing as I hope that one day we will do better.

So let's do what we can to be kind to one another. I will do my best not to judge even though it's easy to do. I will do what I can to love and I will live in this life journey one day at a time because it's all I can do.

Peace and love,

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The New Normal?

So I'm feeling better since my last post. I've taken extra measures to try and talk myself off of the ledge. For starters, I am not really looking at social media. If I post, I do it through Instagram. Right now most of my posts are of my three year old nephew, Stone. There's something hopeful about children so instead of being political and angry, I am posting a kid being a kid.

I don't know when I'll be able to go back to work and that's scary. Of course I have applied for so many things in hopes that I receive a little aid but how long that lasts if I get it is anyone's guess. I am disappointed in the way that our leaders are handling this and it's bazaar to me that news briefings have turned into their own form of campaigning. But we are in the new normal then aren't we? I get angry and I feel minuscule. My small life has no bearing and I have been reminded of how insignificant we all are. I have to let that go because it's something I can't control. In fact, this is a solid reminder that I have no control over lots of things.

What has been uplifting is the amount of humanity that is stepping in where our world leaders haven't. so many companies are doing what they can to help small business and to help people in general. Manufacturers are making ventilators and gloves and masks. People that can are donating money to organizations to help those less fortunate. Humans all over are reacting and reaching out to one another. Suddenly, most of us are on the same page.

What has been really weird is that my days are all blurring together. This really is like Ground Hogs Day. This is what my dogs' lives must be like. Eat, sleep, poop. We're all just spinning through space on this floating rock we call Earth and hoping we can hang on. It looks like Mother Nature is really mad at us and she's keeping us grounded until we learn our lesson. It's hard to say if we will. We are creatures of habit.

I wish I could say that I will see everyone soon.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Holy Sh$$t! COVID-19

A lot has happened since we last spoke. I've been doing the "busy" thing like everyone else in the world until now. Now we are all at home and waiting out one one the freakiest and unsettling thing since 9/11. I am going to say a lot of things that many of us can relate to. I will also preface that this is from my perspective. If you read this and plan to make a disparaging comment then you are just an asshole. We all need words of encouragement right now.

In the years leading up to this moment I had been going to a lot of therapy. It turns out that after my Mom had passed away I was suffering from PTSD. When I think of what that is I mostly think about soldiers who went to war and came back with mental trauma after seeing more destruction and violence than any one person should. There are loads of stories of men returning from war who are no longer the same. It never occurred to me that a lay person such as myself would endure PTSD of any kind. I had adversity as child and learned to cope with that but when Mom died I began to experience crippling moments, moments that left me sitting in my driveway waiting for my husband to come home because I physically could not enter into our home anymore. I got nervous if I sat in the living room by myself. I didn't  want to be home by myself. I carried around feelings of angst and I didn't like to eat because my stomach was in knots. Sirens from an ambulance made me cry and I drank every night just to try and numb any feeling whatsoever. It was truly a dark time in my life.

I got better. I learned what my triggers were. The last flight I took was pleasant and I didn't have a panic attack at all for the first time in years. I felt brave. I had just opened a salon and lost my Dad in the same time frame but with the tools from my therapist, I was able to cope and I began to grow a business. In fact, one of the last conversations I had with my Dad he told me he was proud that I was so successful. His exact words were, "You are a true success." While I faced many challenges, I had the tools to face the adversity as it came.

Of course my false sense of security was knocked right out from under me, as it was for all of us, just a few weeks ago. I myself dismissed this pandemic at first. I mean, why would we freak out? This is like the flu and we don't freak out about the flu. Then I was humbled by a salon guest who explained to me the dangers of an unknown virus and this virus in particular. Then that afternoon, the President declared a national emergency. And now, weeks later, my salon is closed. I have filed for unemployment, grants, loans, and sought out jobs I could do online. Suddenly I am without an in income. I am now hoping against all hope for a miracle and that I will get to re-open my doors on May 1. I am not holding my breath.

As the days have progressed during this short time, the triggers that I faced when Mom passed away are resurfacing. I have had sleepless nights. I dream of planes crashing and the world ending. I cry a lot. I try to be an optimist but I am failing. PTSD is strong and it sneaks in faster than a bullet. Every day is a challenge. I try to keep a routine. I walk my dogs. I've been cleaning my house and calling my salon guests, I have also been reaching out to friends giving and receiving words of comfort. We're all in this together and that does not make me feel better. I wish it did.

To be clear, I am confused about God and faith. I have been for a while. I am trying to pray and remain open but it's hard and it doesn't make sense to me at all. If anything, sometimes being ministered to by a friend with the best if intentions leaves me with more fear and more tears. Maybe it will help. But right now it only reminds of what people said to me when both my parents died. "They're in a better place now," they all said. I'm going to admit something. All that did was piss me off at the time. I know that they meant well but in those moments, I missed each parent when they left this world. I didn't give a shit about those condolences. All I knew at the time was that they were gone and they weren't here with me. So I have been reticent to embrace God right now. And someone forcing me to when my mental state is very similar to what it was in the recent past is not helpful. In my perception, it simply negates the fear and anxiety that I am feeling. I don't want to be placated. I am grieving the life that was and I am very much in the anger and despair phase.

I want everyone who reads this to understand that I am not wallowing in self pity. I am doing what I can to keep myself busy. But what I've been mostly doing is trying to prepare and deal with each day as it comes. I don't want to be prayed with right now. If you wish to pray for me that's fine but please understand that mental health challenges are real and by telling someone in a state like mine that God has a plan does not always help. It may help later and maybe I will be open to it. But right now, I am freaking the fuck out and that's o.k. I don't have faith in our world leaders. I see them playing with our health and our lives while they continue to fatten their wallets. I am jaded and I am cynical. I have no idea how this too shall pass. I am literally taking it moment by moment.

It is my hope that this will get better. That we get through it and humanity is kinder and less divided. But right now I am guilty as well of being a part of the divide. I will work on that but for today I will live in the moment. I will do the best I can to use the tools given to me in therapy. Maybe I will feel better tomorrow. In any case, I wanted to share my thoughts those of us that are experiencing the same set of fears and doubt.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Every Day

 Every day is a struggle. As I approach the second year of mom’s passing, I have to find the strength to move forward. Some days I’m hopeful and other days I’m angry or sad. My mood shifts quickly and I feel out of control for a brief second. Letting go of some things is harder than I anticipated and I get attached to objects that aren’t Mom. I finally understand how and why people collect trinkets and items that we would perceive as junk. With every item that one attaches themselves to there is a memory that belongs to it. That memory lives within the trinkets and every time it is looked at or touched the journey brings you back. It’s hard to let go when there is a small piece of Mom still left here to haunt me.

Things make me cry more than they used to. I’m more sensitive and raw than I used to be. Maybe it’s because I can still feel her even though she’s no longer here. When I look into her bedroom she’s sitting on her bed watching television completely immersed in whatever it is that’s on the screen. When I drive down certain roads, I reach over and remember what it was like to have her in the passenger seat. I miss her with every fiber of my being and hurts from the core of my being.

I’m told that it will get better. In some ways it has. I shed a tear but its not for long and then I move forward with my day. Grief therapy has helped me to cope with day to day life. It’s giving me tools to deal with it but sometimes I feel more lost than ever. I look back and remember how much she missed her mother and I hope that they’re together.

In spite of it all I will continue to smile. I will let go of the things and I will live life in this moment because it’s what she would have wanted. It’s what I want. I love you Mom.