My Thing

Sometimes when I read my favorite blogs (see sidebar for who I read!) I feel like giving up on this. The authors I scroll through daily appear to ride on this peaceful wave of words that exude calm realizations and conquering of problems, while I feel as if I am hacking through thick infestations of vines with a rusty hatchet, spitting fire of frustration the entire way. 

Anger birthed from this frustration churns before I write. Exasperation at the fact that I really don't know how to put thoughts into phrases that make sense causes me to avoid each post I think of writing. I get so irritated while writing that I can't have anyone talk to me. and I question why I keep doing this. My eyes narrow, I chew my fingernails (which I just painted), and... I compare myself. 

Dun dun dun.

Frustration is from the fact that I think I need to write more expressively, turn my paragraphs into waves of soothing speeches, write more posts, write less posts, add some swear words to be spunky (when I don't swear), add more pictures, become a photographer! Oh my LORD, the list could go on, and it does in my head!  

What's humorous is that I read a piece at least once a week about comparing oneself, yet here I am, creating needless anxiety by comparing myself to people who have been doing this for years (and still fall into the same traps as me for they are not perfect). 

This is why I love reading The Militant Baker. She just does her thing which is so diverse from any other blogger I read (many of the women I read all sound the same though are wonderful in different ways). 

I don't really have a thing yet, so for now I just bumble along and try different "things" until I find it. For a girl who likes to know exactly who she is in every situation (impossible), this kinda sucks, but it's part of the experience. So, until I figure this out, I'll keep reading awesome people like Jes who inspire me to forget what everyone else is doing and just do what I do, even if it doesn't seem good enough some days. 

P.S. I am going to introduce my first series (as I will call it until a savvier word comes to mind) in the next few weeks: a collection of posts on various ways that I have found to influence love for my body and self. I think it's important to share individual methods of connecting with yourself as these topics are not discussed often or loud enough, and you never know what will work for you until you try something out (like jeans!). 


Free to Be Lazy

This weekend I am tired. 

I didn't expect to be this tired.

 I expected never-ending energy through next week and then maybe a little fatigue. But no, after an awesome half-day trip to Wisconsin Dells Thursday I am tired. 

Quite a few plans were in store for my four-day weekend: hanging with a good friend Friday (done), laundry and cleaning the god-awful dirty car (uh, half-done), and replanting our tomato plant that grows faster than we can water Sunday (might not get done). Unfortunately, like I said, I got tired. 

This weekend, though, I find myself easily repeating the pattern of deciding, "No feeling bad about this. No carrying guilt around about not having a totally finished to-do list. I'm staying in this bed as long as I need and listening to my tired body." What a freeing feeling. 

The old pattern was beating myself up for being lazy and falling short -- of, yet again, spending a weekend getting nothing done (even when I had done a few of my to-dos). It sucked and still sucks when I find myself in this hard-to-break mindset. 

If I let myself, I know that being tired and, yeah, LAZY, is okay, and what was there to do today will be there to do tomorrow. It's okay that, today, my body says rest.

What is your body telling you?



What Story is in Your Heart Today?

What story is in your heart today? 

Whatever it is, speak it, act it out, share it, and live it. Not only live it, but embrace that story good or bad, chosen or not, because whatever kind of tale it is, it's yours. 

I started writing this post about learning to let go of control, but I read so much of that on a daily basis that I don't really want to write about it.

Right now I want to just focus on you and your story. What is it today? A hard or light one? A cozy or uncomfortable one? One that makes you want to scream in rage or jump from excitement? 

I hope yours are leaning towards the positive sides this lovely Tuesday, but Me? I'm grumpy and uncomfortable. I want to be left alone without being alone. It's a beautiful, cool day that normally I would take advantage of, but right now I just want to go home and crawl into bed. 

The past few weeks I've been unconsciously and consciously working on this acknowledgement of my feelings. At work, my shorts were so uncomfortable I questioned why pants were even a requirement for office work! After resorting to just standing at the art gallery desk, my girlfriend talked me into switching pants with her, and while walking to the bathroom, I muttered, "I'm grumpy." She simply said, "I could tell." Well, I'm definitely not one to mask emotions! Sometimes this gets me into trouble, but in my effort to just accept the situation, I eased possible tension between Katelin and I and un-burdened myself. Just declaring what you feel makes it easier to breathe. 

Following this, she wanted to hold my hand, probably to make me feel better, but I just needed my space, so I let her know. I could tell that it hurt her, but she respected my feelings and needs and, in return, I felt lightened and less on-edge. Focusing on me and my story brought me back into focus.

Whatever is in your heart, whether it's painful or beautiful, there's no need to be ashamed. Trying to cover it won't make it go away, and accepting it definitely won't make it worse. I'm willing to bet that when you finally realize that you're just sick of those dang shorts that are going up your crotch and change into some more livable sweatpants, you'll feel a lot better. Acknowledging that you're frustrated or anxious works the same way. 

Sometimes I just cant manage my regular upbeat, energetic self and have trouble muzzling my snaps. In these cases I just have to shake off the guilt and frustration at these emotions and set-up my day accordingly: do I need more alone time? Do I need a day in bed? Do I need to do yoga? What do I need today?

That is the question to reflect on every morning, afternoon, and night. 

What story is in my heart and what do I need today? 


Weekly Inspiration 7.19

Jeff Cowen, Nature morte 18 (2012)
(Jeff Cowen)


How to Do Great Things  |  The Fresh Exchange
One of my favorite quotes found this week. So cute and true.  

Dark brown + bangs.

Divided Cities
This is just one of those images that completely inspires me.

beautifully said

Posts That Filled My Heart This Week:
Perfectionists like myself will find this from The Daily Love especially relieving and encouraging!

A must read!! Shared this on twitter earlier in the week I loved it so much. One of the best blog-posts I've read in a long time that all girls fat, thin, or in-between should read and tuck away for future reference. 

Something to inspire, encourage, and put a smile on your face. 

Dancing With My Future Self -- A really fun exercise to try out and spur love for yourself and motivation for your dreams. 

Another must readThe ONLY Diet You Will Ever Need! 

Weekly Unwind: I don't about you, but I've been wearing as little as possible and rarely going outside. It's HOT! Because this cuts off outside adventures, I can easily feel cooped up and antsy, and yesterday was one of those days. I could feel my nerves fraying but instead of succumbing to the irritability of the heat I asked my girlfriend if she was up for an at-home spa day. The answer was easy; not many would pass up something like that, right? Let me tell you, if you're like me and rarely treat yourself (or even think to) to homemade face masks, foot soaks, and tea-bag eye masks... you're missing out. I've never cared for things like that, but it's a perfect and easy act of love for your body and soul even when you aren't doing it for those specific reasons. Your body feels the love, and your skin will feel spectacularly soft when it's over. 


The Fear of Trying

Sometimes I worry that I'm not meant to do this... write or reach out to people like you about loving yourself. 

I feel as though I have so much in my heart and soul that I want to type up and post to this space, this little link that only reaches a few, but I can't always pull all these feelings and ideas apart to actually write. Only a few come through my fingers and connect with the letters of my keyboard, and a lot of times I don't think they're enough. 

A lot of times I wonder if the words really matter or if I'm throwing them into the air just to fall back to my feet. Sometimes I feel like these pages I type aren't worthy to post or too much like other blogs I read. I worry that I'm a rip-off on what other writers are writing so much better. 

So often I feel as if my story isn't big enough to share. What do I even have to share? Everyone I read has such big stories and lessons that they sum up perfectly in posts that make my heart stop. Why do I think I can do that? 

These thoughts get to me so easily. Easily enough that I put aside writing any posts, or so that my stomach drops a little when I have a small idea, but I'm unsure of (1) how to put into words and (2) if it's worth spending time on. What if someone else has written it, and not only that, but written it so much better than I will? 

This thought process isn't just found in blogging, writing, or connecting; it's found in every niche of the internet, our lives, and the world.

It's the fear that we're not good enough, and this is the fear that is capable of destroying every superhero out there. I'm aware of what it can do and what it is when it occupies my mind, but I fall for it. 

Maybe I don't have a big, heart-breaking story to share and connect with you through, but I am another person that is going through what you have gone through. Maybe not everything you have, but if you're still reading this, there must be something that we share. I've had that feeling many, many times as I go through blogs, and it's the most amazing feeling the first time it happens. 

The realization that you're not alone. 

That's why I keep doing this.

Though I may only reach you or a few others... though I doubt my words and stories... I keep going, because the more of us that come forward--whether we have a big or small story--and connect, encourage, and lift-up one another, the less each of us have to feel alone. 

Remember that: fear wants to isolate you and keep you where you are instead of watch you rise, fly, and soar, but that fear has no power unless you use your own in its favor. 

I am here, host to the same fear(s) and still trying to fly. I hope you are too. 


This Week

I am taking this week slow and easy. 

I am sleeping in a little bit later but still rising early enough to not feel rushed through the day. 

I move slow through the morning: from bed to couch to breakfast to bathroom to couch. 

I am eating what sounds delicious, what makes my body feel good, and treats that I crave leaving behind the guilt.

I treat myself to coffee on the car ride to work (but not enough to bring a crash halfway through the afternoon). 

I am wearing clothes that make me feel confident, and comfortable, and cool in the heat and humidity. 

I may not skip the stairs, but I don't skip the elevator either. 

I am not putting myself down for not being conventionally "productive." 

I am not getting nervous at the laundry that has been needed to be put away for the past three days.

I am not feeling guilty for not wanting to write or be creative, but I am being inspired by blogs, twitter, and pinterest. 

I am staying out of the heat.

I am taking my shoes off at work and tucking them up under me in my chair--my favorite sitting position. 

I watch TV when I get home from work... after I take my bra off and get into a large, comfy T-shirt.

I stay up a little later than usual enjoying the meanderings of the night. 

I am telling myself that it's okay to not be continuously productive. That I can still feel good about myself and fulfilled without saying, "I got a lot done today. Good for me!" 

you'll get there.


Battle of the People-Pleaser

Decisions are tough. 

Knowing what you need is tough. 

So, deciding what's best for you in any situation is fricken hard. 

I've never defined myself a "people pleaser." In fact, that description makes me scrunch my nose and mouth and avoid eye-contact with those two words at once. People-pleasers have always driven me mad as I have found myself screaming at friend after friend, "Don't you know you can't make everyone happy?! Don't you know you only end up hurting yourself in the process?! Don't you know this is the number one way to go crazy?!?!" 

Still, I'd roll my eyes as I listened to them say "I know, I know" and continue on their path of trying to split their one flower into one-too-many petals to give away. Eventually just a wilted stem would remain, and the petals would get lost in the exchange making the whole process a moot point anyway. 

This was something I have known never to get involved with, and I prided myself in my ability to not be suckered into guilt trips or the cares of what other's expect from me. I saw myself as a strong, independent woman who does what she wants! 

This was just a phase, and I have now entered the phase of the people-pleaser. Everything I used to spout at my friends? All true, but now I find myself trying to spread the flower farther than it's petals can go, and it hurts. 

See, the same time my summer college courses started up was when a friend came to stay for two weeks and family came to visit for a week. 

Enter panic attack number one and anger. 

I was angry at my family for having the audacity to not contact me about my schedule when it was clearly "friend time" and not "family time" on my end. When I couldn't reschedule the friend's visit, anger transformed to "people pleaser" as I cried over potentially hurting my family's feelings over not having time to hang out at grandma's all week, day-and-night, like I'm known to do when they're down. Yet I refused to succumb to People Pleasing Eve and decided that I would stick with my original plan of focusing on the friend, and if I could make time for family, well great. 

This sounds prettier than it was, because summer college courses take an immense amount of time. I didn't work, so I had the time, but this meant I had only a smidgens of time for Friend and none for Family. People Pleasing Eve was sick to her stomach with thoughts like, they're never going to understand, they're going to think I'm a horrible person, and finally the desperate what should I do?!

I could write a book on this story, believe me, because it was the longest week-and-a-half of my life.

Let me answer my own question of "What Should I do?": do what you need, not what they want. 

This is a lot easier said than done, because it's a heck of a puzzle differentiating the two, but if you can just think about you for a few minutes, it comes.

Ask yourself: What can you do? Right now? This week? What do you want to do? You might be pained because you can't do it though you want to; you might not want to but know you could; you may feel an obligation. 

When there is something causing you physical illness and/or emotional pain over a decision, you need to focus on these feelings and why they are here. That's the only way the right decision will be made. By "right," I don't mean right for someone else, I mean right for you, because this is about you right now. Just you, because your needs and wants matter just as much as [insert title here]'s expectations.

I had Friend in my ear about how we were going to have no time and no fun due to my school and Family in my ear asking when I would make an appearance. There were many panic attacks, shouting matches, tears, and terrible, gut-wrenching guilt on my behalf.

In my effort to bleed myself dry to make everyone happy (which I failed miserably at) I became an exhausted, chronic-stomach-ached mess.  

Less than halfway through Friend's visit I reached a point where I debated whether I was going mentally insane. This was my breaking point. Where I allowed myself to say, "Screw it and screw everyone, I'm doing what I want and what I want only." Careful with this phrase, because it could lead to some hazardous paths, but in my moment of crazed people-pleaser, it was absolutely necessary. 

I have never granted myself such permission. Not only did it feel wonderful, but it led more self-permission and, ultimately, my sanity (not being dramatic--I really thought this was lost). 

I'm still in the phase of the people-pleaser, and there are many days where my stomach is in knots over the opposing decisions, but this only reminds me to focus on what I need, want, and can accomplish. Sometimes I spread myself too thin, but I always find my balance, and when you find that balance and grant that permission, you'll feel it graciously within you.


Forced to Let Go

The beginning of June was a month of learning that I’m just starting to absorb and now write about a month later. The lessons were painful but needed, and the most vivid was on letting go.

Let me tell you, I have read a lot on letting go, and I was starting to think I was the "letting go" spokesperson. It became my mantra and advice to hand out until it revolved around a long-time friendship of mine.

I have spent the last year lazily debating whether said friendship was fulfilling and deserving of my time. I had (and have been) been immersing myself in erasing negative persons from my life, but it’s a hard task when you’re evaluating a 13-year-old friendship.

Yes, we’d had our rough times, but we thought of ourselves as sisters--

Plus, she's still in high school, so of course she needs to go through what we have all been through to mature, and I just need to be there for her.


Oh, reader...there are all the excuses in the book for this debacle, and I used them for months. I felt a duty to this friendship and girl, so I refused to give myself permission to let go. To me, if I distanced myself from this girl and eventually moved my life away from her, I was a terrible person. I thought she would have no one reliable to go to and be driven to depression and who-knows-what, and these incidents would be on me--the terrible friend who gave up.

Well, I’m giving myself permission to say that's all crap. 

Believing that my friend could not go on without me is very arrogant. I'm not putting myself down in this fact, but it is and a very untrue one at that. These thoughts pulled me down and stunted progress.  

The decision to let go and move on was not an enlightened moment of what I deserve and who iIwant to be surrounded by. No, it was more forced upon me than anything which further opens my eyes to the fact that I had been postponing something that needed to happen for my personal growth.

Letting go isn't such the *breath* and *release* it sounds to be. It can be downright heartbreaking and exhausting, but it’s like the pain and stretch of a new yoga pose… you feel more open and breathe easier as you repeat it and grant yourself time.

I haven’t wanted to blog about it for the fact that I just wanted to forget about it for a while. But I’m officially ready to let go, and blogging has been such a liberating source for me to do so.

Many times I read posts that make this all so simple and “two plus two equals four,” you know? It's not for anybody; Please, remember that. I’m sure it gets easier as we dress ourselves in these lessons and live our lives accordingly, but even then… the universe can hit us hard, especially when we want to ignore what we know.

So, I will be back, posting when I can put my thoughts into words and hopefully reach back out to you that needs a little reminder that we all go through tough lessons and that these lessons are painfully grand.

I have much more to say about the friend incident, but the blogger and writer in me has to get warmed up and feel a little less awkward before I go deeper. 

You have the power of permission within you to break open and let go. No matter with whom or what or when, and I understand how much it can take to finally do it.