I am back after a nice, long break. I hope that you been doing well. Current mood: drinking a nice cab suav and listening to Lana del Rey. Bare with me….it’s unfortunately gone straight to my head hah.
As I sit here on a lazy Saturday night, I am left reflecting on the current state of affairs both in my personal life and in the context of the nation in which I live. I’ve yet to understand the wonder of the new year. Maybe it’s due to the fact that not much has changed. A change in regime doesn’t lead to sudden, magnificent change. In the same breath, the ringing in of a new calendar year does not promise the same.
I know that it’s late to address the new calendar year, but if you haven’t noticed a trend around here I like to get distance in order to reflect. I am not one to jump quickly to conclusions or decisions. I digress, but I think the point of this post is to question what the hell I’m actually doing with my life. It may be the wine or the melancholy of my queen Lana’s voice, but it’s two months into the new year and I have yet to feel that spark that seems to hit some individuals. I personally hate new year’s resolutions, but I can’t help but subconsciously make them. Unfortunately, I’ve set myself up for failure yet again.
I have such an intense fear of failure that I am constantly neglecting things that need to be done or perpetually postponing them. I spoke to a friend the other day about my present discouragement. She gave me some sound advice. She told me that “You can only work with what you have right now. You can’t make decisions for the future because you don’t have that moment and the knowledge/ circumstances that may accompany it. You can only make decisions for this present moment because that’s all you have. A series of moments.” (BTW thank you love). It was freeing. I guess that I just wanted to share. Instead of being shackled to your past and crippled by your future, I encourage you look a your life as a series of these small moments where you are completely in control. Do not let hypotheticals dictate your everything.
I am determined to avoid the same mistakes and traps that I consistently find myself in. You can’t be trapped while living in the moment. So yes it is a new year, I hope that it’s a new America, and every moment breeds a new me. I’ve grown just by existing. I know one more thing that I knew a moment ago. I have more knowledge that I once did. It gives me a sense of peace. I feel more empowered to tackle small changes in my life. For instance, I cooked for the first time in a really long time. I love cooking, but it takes so much mental energy that I do not have most days. I had to challenge myself to break the task into a series of moments. Making the decision to fill the pot, making the decision to heat the stove, and so on and so forth.
I hope that this helps even one person out there. I also hope that this was coherent. I’m vibing too much to do a re-read haha.
I wanted to share with you one of the important lessons that I learned from therapy…the importance of discomfort. I think it goes hand in hand with the heaping dose of patience that therapy teaches you.
Discomfort is necessary for change to happen. This fact of life has yet to fail me. Whether it be a waistband that’s too tight or a relationship that doesn’t feel quit right, discomfort holds a mirror to your current situation and gives you the insight that leads you to change. When we ignore what our inner voice is telling us, we not only allow ourselves to be trapped in unsavory situations but we also limit ourselves from reaching our full potential. The next time that you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation lean into it. Listen to what the frame of mind is telling you. Oftentimes, we limit ourselves by failing to acknowledge the truth that is right in front of us.
One of the things that I am working on in therapy is my fear of failure. Unfortunately, by some cruel twist fate you cannot work through lifelong issues without failing every now and then. This is probably one of the most frustrating things about consciously working on yourself. There is no such thing as being perfect. There is only better and sometimes better is “worse” than where you started. It’s the non-linear pathway that growth often takes. Growth, the albatross that it is, breeds an immense amount of discomfort. For every step forward, there is a potential for a backslide that will leave you reeling. In conclusion, there is no growth without discomfort.
I hope you all find peace and enlightenment in your discomfort.
I don’t know about y’all, but this holiday season has been ROUGH. Nothing about it seems to make sense. On this rainy Sunday afternoon as I cuddle up with Wentworth, I’ve begun what has become my favorite holiday tradition. A form of self-care amidst the craziness of holiday season. Thankfully this tradition is very much doable and perhaps needed in the times in which we are living. The one tradition that I’ve decided to carry on this year is my mid- December gratitude list.
Unlike most people, I like to postpone my Thanksgiving meditations until after the holiday has passed. There are several reasons why I do this. After a few years, the gratitude starts to all sound the same. Another reason why I postpone it, is due fact that we immediately roll from the season of Thanksgiving into the season of abundant consumerism. That fact has always seemed incredibly ironic to me. In order to combat this sudden paradigm shift that we undergo each and every year, I started the tradition of saving my gratitude for December — in the midst of endless Christmas lists, the feeling of not having enough, or not doing enough. This always grounds and me positions me to start the new year off without feeling as if I am lacking.
I encourage you to actually take time to do this. Take a break from the stress, the endless new cycles, and the Monday scaries. Truly take the time to compose this list and pin it somewhere where you will see it. This can carry you through and can serve as a nice reminder as you make your new year’s list, if you make one at all.
The two thing that I am most grateful for this year are time and love. Time has been one of my greatest gifts. It has given me the space to grieve, lent me moments of deep reflection, and blessed me with my last moments with my mother. Love has given me strength. Amidst this season of uncertainty and loss, I have learned to never underestimate the power of love. To my friends, I love you dearly. More than you will ever know. Thank you for bringing light to my darkness and joy to my sorrow. I am grateful for each and every one of you. Being loved by you is one of the most beautiful gifts that I have ever been given.
That’s all folks! I hope that you have a happy Monday and that you take some time to show yourself some love.
I hope that you had a restful and restorative weekend. For this week’s Me Crush Monday, I want to encourage you to write a letter to your younger self. The inner child inside of all of us that still needs to be nurtured and loved.
Write as if you know their future and you want them to receive as much love as they possibly can in order to prepare themselves for it. Write it with an understanding that they are naive to what is to come. Write it with an understanding that you deserve to forgive yourself for all of the meandering that life’s journey has taken you upon.
I wrote my letter this weekend after an incredibly difficult time. Mental health is incredibly important and often times I forget that I am the product of my experiences. I needed to remind myself that I was doing the best that anyone could do given my life circumstances. I needed to remind myself that my best may not look too hot as this point in time. I needed to remind myself that I need to actively heal from all stages in my life. I needed to remind myself that there is no right way to be. This is where I am in life and I’m pretty damn proud. This is my life and I’m doing my best to live it.
I have included a short excerpt from my letter to my younger self to help inspire you in your writing:
It has been awhile since we last chatted. I wanted to check on you on. I know that you’ve been going through a lot lately. Dad is gone. I hate to be the one to tell you that he’s not coming back. I hope that you’re taking care of Winter. He’ll be your best bud to the very end. Appreciate your time with him because dog years are real. He will be with you until you must leave him to go on your journey to higher education. He will peacefully cross over the rainbow bridge knowing that he gave you all of the love that any dog can give an owner. Your heart will break again– you’ll get used to this feeling. “
I remember the first time that I encountered the phantom that is nothingness. An indescribable weight. Unlike Atlas, whose form is bent and broken under the weight of the world upon his shoulders, there was nothing there. An unspoken and unseen burden. A loss for words. A loneliness. You see, there are many burdens that swallow the soul and break down even the strongest of beings. Yet they seem to be comprehensible, but nothingness is everything without being. There is not a panacea for this malady. No finger to point towards blame. There is… .
It evokes a soft plea for help. Others don’t understand. They may have felt this nothingness at some point, yet in its non-existent uniformity it still bears weight differently for different people. Nothingness was the weight that beared down upon me the first time I ventured into my therapist’s office. It seemed as if my body defied Newton’s laws of gravity as I felt myself sinking below the couch that was meant to support me; it was a metaphor for the discomfort that permeated every aspect of my life. I barely made it into the office that day. I’m not even ashamed to admit that I was dragged out of bed and still wearing PJs. I was greeted with a hello and a sincere compliment about my ensemble. She was greeted with a deluge of tears. That was enough for me.
Very few words were exchanged that day. To the outside world, it would not be seen as progress. It would not be viewed as the inception of a strong bond. No one would see what I’d discovered for myself that day, and that’s okay. I wasn’t there for anyone else. I was barely there for myself. I understood that I found a space to cultivate the words that would slowly unload the invisible burden upon my shoulders.
The first lesson that I learned from therapy was the very fact that I needed it.
P.S. I am a firm believer in therapy…even if you believe that you are not struggling with anything in your life. Perhaps you’ve encourage others in your life to seek it out, but felt that you were unworthy of the same service. You are. I encourage you to seek out help if you need it or even if you don’t. It’s nice to share in a space without judgement.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand many things about life. Bills do not magically pay themselves. You may hate your job, but you’d hate your life without one even more. Justin Timberlake’s frosted tips were never attractive. One of the biggest revelations of my life, however, is that not everything has to be incredible; if something is not incredible, it can still be extraordinarily meaningful.
Sometimes just doing is doing just enough– this is what I call the most convenient path. In essence, we all need to learn to give ourselves grace. Not everyone can take the road less traveled and that’s okay. We’re not all meant to be start-up founders. There is comfort in what is known. Our lives are complicated and many of us are just doing the best that we can. Instead of judging ourselves for not taking the road less traveled, we should appreciate ourselves for venturing to journey in the first place. No one said that life would be easy and we’ve all experienced doses of that to some degree. We deserve to give ourselves some credit.
For my first, First Date Chronicles I wanted to share a potential tool to help make first dates a little less awkward. I don’t know if any of y’all have heard of the game We’re Not Really Strangers, but it was recommended to me by a friend and it was honestly one of my best purchases of 2020. I thought I’d pass this along to y’all.
Per the game’s website: “We’re Not Really Strangers is a purpose driven card game and movement all about empowering meaningful connections. Three carefully crafted levels of questions and wildcards that allow you to deepen your existing relationships and create new ones. “
I could not agree more with the above description. I decided to use it on a recent first date. I’ve played it with friends during quarantine as a means of strengthening our bonds, but I thought that it would be interesting to bring the game into the romantic sphere. There are three levels, so you don’t have to worry about it getting too deep too early. Surprisingly, my date was incredibly open to it. It invited some of the deepest conversation that I’ve ever had on a first date. I seriously recommend you trying it especially during these difficult times when we must be more deliberate in our romantic ventures. I’m happy to say that we have another date planned for next weekend, so at least it didn’t scare him off lol.
Side note: I also think that some of the questions can serve as good prompts for journaling. I believe that we all lie to ourselves in small ways which inevitably alienates us from ourselves. I want to encourage you to not be a stranger to yourself especially if you are putting the energy into getting to know someone else.
Let me know if you end up trying it out. I’d love to hear more about how the game works out for you.
Update: They’ve released a voting edition for those who are curious about that as well.
In honor of the undoubtedly rough week ahead, I’ve decided to start a new series called Me Crush Mondays. I’m really excited to share this concept with y’all. Mondays signal the start to a new week, but they can also serve as a mini refresh/ source of encouragement if you allow for them to. Instead of getting the Monday scaries, we can all work towards shaping a positive habit or form of self care that energizes us for the start of the week. I’ve always struggled with Mondays and I wanted to share this idea with y’all as soon as it popped into my head. I hope that it may help you in some small way. Perhaps, you can inspire others in your lives to start the week off with a more positive mindset…I just realized how ironic my intro sentence is haha.
In all honesty, very few of us give ourselves the appreciation that we deserve. For this first Me Crush Monday, I encourage you to make a list of at least 5 affirmations. Take time to meditate upon them. Try not to make them general affirmations. Make them specific to you and your journey. On Monday, I want you to read them to yourself while looking in the mirror- when you wake up in the morning, when you take a lunch break, or whenever you have time.
I’ll share with you one of my first affirmations: You are strong for choosing to court the uncertainty that comes with pursuing your dreams in the midst of your deep grief.
Side note: As counterintuitive as it may seem, these Monday posts will go live on Sundays. I’m hoping that this will give you time to prepare yourself/ have something to look forward to on Mondays. Of course, all of these activities can be performed at any point in the week.
Feel free to share some of your affirmations below. I’d love to hear from you. Don’t forget…
As I sit here writing this blogpost, my next door neighbor is banging away on his newly acquired drum set. While I appreciate the joie de vivre, I do wish he’d work through his midlife crises in a more introspective manner or at the very least substitute his drum set for one of these. I kid, BUT I will be adding some noise cancelling headphones to my holiday wishlist lol. Everyone deserves their little piece of escape.
Speaking of escape, I never knew that staycations would one day become the norm. I mean I don’t think anything, apart from The Simpsons, could have predicted the kind of year we are having. We live at home, we work at home, and are somehow expected to find our escape in our homes. It’s a lot for any person to manage. (Side note: I’m particularly impressed by the parents that are toeing this difficult balance.) In an effort to help you with your much deserved staycations, I wanted to share some things that I’ve been doing and tools that I’ve utilized to give myself those little moments of mental reprieve.
Reading: Reading truly is the ultimate escape. Even before quarantine, I found solace in the way in which words can weave wondrous worlds for us to wander in. (I couldn’t help myself with the alliteration lol). I’ll try to get some posts together regarding my quarantine readings.
Decorating: Decorating is truly an underrated art. I’ve always taken quite a spartan approach to my living arrangements. If I had what I needed, then I was utterly grateful. However, spending so much time at home has really illuminated the importance of personalizing your space. I’ll do more posts regarding in depth tips for decorating , but I did want to mention three things that really have helped me
fairy lights– I’ve purchased multiple sets of the lights linked here. They add such a soft glow of gloomy nights when you don’t want the harshness of overhead light. They are an excellent way to create a space to escape. I personally love the “romantic” feel that they add to any space.
Japanese screens– Japanese screens or room dividers in general have been an essential part of my quarantine experience. While they are a little on the steep side, they are still much less expensive than paying rent for a larger place to live! I’ve utilized room dividers to assist with creating physical barriers in my small space that assist me with mentally dividing my now complex relationship with my living space.
Bedding– Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always invested in decent bedding. However, I never appreciated it until quarantine. While this may not be the best habit and perhaps counterproductive to the whole division of space trend, I find myself using my bed ask my main work space some days. To be honest, sometimes I have to muster a lot of energy to work and I can’t manage to both work and get out of bed. When I commuted into the office, I had an external pressure to be “ON”. Now, Wentworth is my only co-worker. Although he is a somewhat shady boy, the pressure to be fully present doesn’t feel the same. Instead of punishing myself for not being able to get out of bed some days, I decided to invest in myself and create a space that I could feel both comforted and productive.
“Me-Do” List: This one may be self-explanatory, but I find that I create to-do lists for everything. I always have discouragingly long to-do lists pertaining to my job and my life responsibilities, BUT I don’t…well didn’t have one for the things that actually feed my soul. That’s why I started making “Me-Do” lists. Forgive the grammar, but I was feeling cutesy haha. On my weekly “Me-Do” list, I put down things that I enjoy doing that have no end goal or objective apart from bringing me peace and/or joy. I don’t have to do everything on that list, but I challenge myself to at least do one of the things on my list at some point during the week. When I’m feeling more ambitious, I challenge myself to do one thing from the list each day. The nice thing about “Me-Do” lists is that there isn’t a right or wrong way to utilize them. Some weeks, I do the same “Me-Do” every single day. Other weeks, I fit in a quick one on Sunday just to say I did it. Below are some examples of “Me-Dos”
Painting(I have this exact set. I absolutely love it)
reading one book chapter
cooking a nice meal
lighting some candles( these are some of my favorite candles. convenient and great burn time)
You get the gist of it. Your list should be reflective of all of the things that you put to the side in favor of things that you have to do.
Well that’s all from me. I hope that this post was somewhat helpful. I’d love to hear from you! Let me know in the comments if you have any book recommendations or suggestions for feeding your soul.
Full disclosure “failing upwards” is totally one of those motivational phrases that I absolutely abhor. I am most definitely failing, but the only thing going upward is my debt. No… seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the premise of the phrase. We owe it to ourselves to do something that scares us, go for our dreams, and inevitably risk failure. However, as a society we have become risk averse. We are so risk averse that we have lost sight of what it truly means to fail.
Failure has suddenly become synonymous with not doing enough, doing too much, or not knowing what to do at all. In essence, we’ve begun to attach the word failure to any moments in our lives that make us uncomfortable or question our long-term trajectory. The issue with this lies in the fact that failure is not a state of being, but rather a description of an outcome. This is where the idea of failing upwards falls short. No you are not a failure because you’re unmarried, your kids suck, or because you like the new Kanye. You are, however, a failure if you let outcomes become your identity. On the bright side, this means that you’re most likely not a sociopath so there’s that.
In all seriousness, as a society we need to work towards embracing the idea of growing pains and erasing the idea of failure. Normally, I am opposed to the new-age, “participation trophy” approach to life. No, not everything is good. No, not every result is positive. Yes, you have failed and you will fail again. However, in the overexposed society in which we live we do not have a realistic litmus of where we should be in life. This leads us to attach failure to any aspect of our lives that “falls short”. In an ideal world, failing upwards would describe a comfort in knowing that not everything will go your way in life. However until we learn to escape the pressure of what should be and embrace what is, we will continue to universalize the implications of our failures. Stop failing upwards. We must learn to just fail and keep it moving.