Doin' it well.

"The truth is, most of us discover where we are headed when we arrive."
-Bill Watterson (Creator of Calvin and Hobbes)
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I watched a documentary this week called "Happy." You can find it on Netflix. And it's had me in this entirely different state of mind all week.

The concept of the doc was that it sent cameras around the world to discover what truly made people happy. Now, let me preface this by saying that I am not generally a big fan of documentaries. I love the fact that you're seeing something informative, but I can't help but to think that this is ALSO something that somebody conceptualized to convince you that what they believed was correct. And there might be a lot of truth to what they're telling you, but that doesn't deter from the fact that you are seeing one side of the story. Do I think Vegans are mind-controllers? Of course not. But if you watch a documentary about meat being murder, I just feel that you're hearing some VERY convincing parts of one story, along with conveniently left out parts of another. Blame it on me wanting to see things spherically, I guess.

This documentary had some great points, showing that people tend to be happier with the use of several exercises. One being physical activity, along with a sense of community, taking care of their bodies, lessened focus on materialism, and a healthy balance of work with play. I don't think me telling people that is really "news" to anybody.

I felt good after watching the film, but not as elated as I'd hoped. I realized, later, why that was. I felt AWFUL.

This past weekend has been a series of rushing between work and play activities, highlighted by lack of sleep and just eating and drinking badly overall. Come Monday (the ACTUAL holiday), I was so tired it was all I could do to get to my living room. I felt like such a loser.

It's occurred to me since then, that I wasn't doing 'good.' I wasn't exercising, I wasn't eating properly, I wasn't contributing anything to the people around me. I was running on fumes. As much as I wanted to lay around and watch the new episodes of Arrested Development, I threw on my workout gear and did yoga. And drank some water. I watered my blossoming little garden. I read my book and I worked a LOT on some articles for the magazine. So much, in fact, that I haven't had time to blog. I got vegetables and salmon from the market instead of the chips and cheese dip I wanted. It was hard to get out of that funk- but I'm glad I did.

When I DO good, I FEEL good. When I exercise instead of go to "Half Price Bottle of Wine Night," I feel better. And not just physically. Emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. And I feel even better because I know that I'm using my own opinions of what I think I should do and placing it over peer pressure to do what other people want from me. I feel strong; confident.

I also, to be fair, believe that being social should be on everyone's calenders. Get wild, sometimes. Have a crazy Friday night. Have some fun, and then get back to you. It's so important to take care of yourself and DO good for yourself. Eat a freakin' apple and poached eggs for breakfast, I don't know...

I spend A LOT of time feeling like kind of an ass. I come on this blog and I talk to my friends and I try to convince everybody about these very lofty ideals. And I feel like such a goody two shoes and a lot of the time, it makes me feel like a fake. But maybe... maybe I'm not convincing anybody but myself. Maybe all I'm doing is reminding myself that I SHOULD be doing good. That I should be better than I have been. I've spent most of my life doling out advice that I'm most likely not taking, and I guess 'where I'm at' lately has been realizing that I need to listen to myself. I live for other people's opinions of me more often than not, and all it's ever done has been to make me a people-pleaser and the girl who tries WAY too hard.

I don't want to be that person.

I want to be a better me for me. Not "I don't want to do that because so-and-so will judge me or think it's lame." Or even doing things motivated by what I think other people would want me to do. Why am I asking what someone else thinks is acceptable? Like... seriously. I just want to do good. The things that I believe are good, not somebody else.

This year has been loaded with thoughts of who I am, and what I want to make of myself.

And I kinda dig it.



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I normally try not to overwhelm anyone with multiple posts in one day, but today is special. For one: Hi. I like you. Thank you for reading my blog.

For another (a big 'nother): Today is the day I hit 15,000 hits. Which to me is CRAZY. And I know a lot of them are probably people who are lost or who Googled weird stuff like "Cats on Peanut Butter Sandwiches," but I'm going to still go ahead and be flattered.

Especially considering my first few years of posts are primarily about my cat.
Or food.
So pretty much Instagram but with less photos.

I've been giving a lot of thought to what makes me happy- what I can get lost in- as of late. And this is it. I can get lost writing to these bizarre entries about nothing and no one in particular. I don't really know why. Maybe I'm attention-starved. Maybe I feel like somewhere, someone is laughing at the fact that I just threw a shout out to a PB&J Cat.

By the way: this is a thing. Yessssss.... 

I think the whole blogging thing is kind wild to think about. So many of us sit at computers all day and all we want is for some camaraderie. Someone to be like, "Hey. YOU. I, also, am sitting at a computer all day. Let's talk about cats. And sandwiches. And how we wish we were doing something else besides talking about cats and sandwiches but we're NOT because, whyarewenot?"

We're all a little ridiculous, and slightly insane after staring at a screen all day. And I can pretend that I'm throwing myself under the bus there but I think I'm just being honest. I'm not meant to be sitting here. I'm meant to be outside somewhere in the California sun. And it's just, you know, life that I'm not. But in a weird way, I'm glad I am. Because this is fun, and it makes me feel like even though I may be slightly mad, it's relateable on some level because 15,000 people have somehow ended up here, reading my life-analysis excerpts. And maybe they aren't THAT weird, or unrelateable- because you come back here for a laugh when your day needs one.

So, thanks for letting me make you laugh. Or think. Or perhaps just be incredibly confused. You're sorta my favorite.

Tessellate Times Two.

So I was looking for THIS:

And somehow stumbled on THIS, which I didn't even know about until now:

...And now I don't know what to do with myself. SO much goodness.



“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”

-Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
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I wont pretend to be terribly well-read. I haven't read War and Peace. I heard a song by the band CHVRCHES and they paraphrased this, which obviously makes me like them even more. (Word to the wise: if you can quote something profound and put it into your music, I probably love your band.)

The song resonated with me, even before I knew that it wasn't their original quote. Warriors are both time and patience. Why was that so important to me? I couldn't get my head around it, but I kept repeating it in my mind. 

Patience has never been my strong suit. I'm impulsive, as you may have noticed in some of my stories on here. I'm getting better(ish) about it, but I still have a hard time going from an idea to a well-thought-out action. I also blame New Girl for having an episode where they say that the best things happen when you're not thinking. Nope. That is false. Please do not listen to that advice. 

I've had a number of people in my life who have been the opposite of impulsive. Ironically enough they tend to be people who have made impulse decisions (or have impulse control problems) and learned that it wasn't the path to follow. And now they live their lives with a sense of patience in their decisions. And you know something? Their lives are exponentially better for it. 

I want to be a patient person. I think that I am a calm person, by nature, and so I've always assumed that I was patient. But I'm not. I could never be a teacher or an instructor of any kind. A friend of mine once taught me to play a number of card and board games, and all I can remember was thinking, "Wow. This person is incredibly patient." I guess it's one of those learning experiences you look back on and realize that it was more impactful than you realized at the time. 

For example: He taught me how to play a super nerdy card game. I wont say which one. But it was something alien to me and I was terrible at it at first. Yet every time I made a move, he would allow me to make my mistakes and then proceed to explain how he COULD take the game if he chose to. He explained every move and every card, taking hours to help me learn. And I got better. Not great, but better. I even beat him a few times (although I'm sure he let me win). 

And I learned a lot from the experience. I guess I learned what this quote means, to some extent. Not to say I became any kind of Warrior, but I learned that becoming better at something takes time and patience. From all parties involved, I suppose.

I think the other aspect of the quote that I identify with is the word Warrior. Who doesn't want to be THAT? Warrior isn't "fighter," or "soldier." The word Warrior identifies with no master or commander. You become the Warrior for yourself. I like that. I also like Warrior because Tom Hardy is in the movie Warrior and he is complete eye candy. He has muscles in places I didn't know people had muscles. Seriously. Also- it's a good movie. Watch it.


To become a Warrior, or a self-made champion, it takes time and patience. Which are obviously intertwined. Patience does not exist without the time to practice it, and time begs for patience in order to pass through it. No one can speed up time, you have to sit with it, patiently. 

I realize this is a bit deep for a Thursday morning. But it struck me as an interesting thought today. So hopefully my next entry will keep it light again. Maybe I can reveal more embarrassment in my personal life like I did here.


Some Days...

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...I want to be somewhere in a tent. 

I want to be somewhere where the air is clean and clear and just outside paper-thin canvas walls.

I want to put on thick grey wool socks that scrunch up around my ankles and are too big to fit under my pants.

I want to sit by a fire pit and wrap myself in a big warm blanket; hot drink in one hand and a marshmallow-capped coat hanger in the other.

I want to look up and see more stars than I've seen in months, and know that I can stare at them all night if I want to because I have all the time in the world.

I have this craving- to be out in nature and in the dirt and the wind. To hear noises in the darkness and shine my flashlight on them in a mix of fear and excitement.

I want the sun to be my alarm clock and the trail to be my commute. 

I want dirt under my fingernails and lake water in my hair.

There are days when being stuck in a building sounds like the worst thing in the world. 

Days like that... I just want to be somewhere in a tent.


"Run away to Barcelona. Eat milk chocolate magnum bars and drink cheap champagne. Burst into charming fits of laughter whenever you get embarrassed about butchering the Catalan language. Wear denim cutoffs, Dr. Pepper chapstick, and very little else. Go dancing at 3 a.m. Whiten your teeth. Tan your shoulders. Braid feathers into your hair. Perpetually wake up with sand caught in the thin cotton sheets of your tiny bed. Listen to the Rolling Stones and kiss all the longhaired boys you can get your hands on without ever having to apologize."

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...who's with me?


Reasons Why I Simultaneously Rule AND Suck at Being Single.

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As a precursor, I am writing this to be lighthearted. A lot of my posts lately have been far too serious and that is SO not me. I aim to avoid talking about dating stuff on this page for several reasons, the biggest of which is that for some reason everyone thinks I am directing my blog entries at them (I have had this conversation with people multiple times). So here is my disclaimer: This post is not to anyone in particular. It's just some general musings of a girl who's been reading way too much Thought Catalog.

Having said that... here is why I am both considerably self-sufficient and yet somehow freaking terrible at being single.

Ways In Which I make Being Single My Bitch: 

1. I take care of my business. While I am not a lazy person, I have a tendency to lose focus on MY goals and aspirations when I get involved with someone else. I'll be all about making sure we do the things they want to do, and the things that make them happy. It's only when I've been single that I've started to cultivate goals and hobbies that are truly 100% my own. This is not to say that I don't DO stuff when I'm in a relationship. But they tend to be that person's stuff. I like to think I'm just broadening my horizons, but on some level I think I just forget that my stuff is just as (if not more) important than sitting on your couch watching re-runs of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

2. I get moving. Nothing motivates me to get in shape more than knowing that other people might see me in a bikini and be all, "Oh, hey girl!" Apparently when I'm in a relationship I have this false idea that no one looks at Relationship Girl (except, you know, the poor guy I'm dating... because THAT'S important). I don't have a wandering eye when I'm off the market, so I guess I assume no one else is checking me out. It's not until I look at photos from a pool party (attended whilst committed) and think "Really? REALLY?? You own self tanner and running shoes. Why were you allowing people to see you like that?" Being single is the equivalent of trying on fancy underpants in a harshly-lit dressing room. You can't do it and NOT immediately go to the gym. Generally speaking, the single version of me is the one you're seeing in any and all hiking, yoga, and running pictures. The relationship version is the one you'll see where I'm eating a crepe all like, "Lay off- I'm STARVING!" (Oh yes, who wants to date me now??)
In all fairness, I don't let myself go. But I tend to hold the same fitness levels of the people I date- and not many of the guys I've dated have been as outdoorsy as I tend to be when left to my own devices.

3. I do what I want. This also sort of relates to #1. I tend to center my schedule around people I date, so when that department is closed down I have time to finally do what I really wanted to do. Remember when I wanted to go to the beach more? Now I can. Or when it was Mexican food and Pacificos for dinner when I clearly stated I was trying to lose above said weight? Yeah, well, now I can Quinoa that $hit. If I feel like staying home on a Friday- or going out somewhere I would never have gotten "him" to go- now's my big chance to do whatever I want.

Ways In Which I Am The Worst Single Person Ever:

1. 90% of the time I am still committed. I have no idea how to "date." If I'm even casually dating someone, it doesn't matter if Ryan Gosling himself hit on me, I am not interested. Even my Mother has told me on multiple occasions that I need to, "date a bunch of people." I'm sure it's a good thing that I'm apparently incapable of having more than one guy in rotation, but in the mean time I sort of feel like if I'm going to be on the dating circuit, I need to actually DATE. I guess that to me, I see a really fine line between being socially flirtatious and just being a flat out floozy. Where's the line? Seriously. Someone please let me know. 

2. I'm too lazy to date. If someone isn't actively pursuing me, I'm over it. If a guy tells me that he is talking to other girls, I'm over it. The second you have another option on the horizon and it isn't me- I have no interest in dating you anymore. I have no idea why I do this. Some girls see competition as an incentive to pursue a guy even more- I see it as an excuse to be like, "Congrats on your future life, it looks rad!" I guess it's a good thing, but I can't help but think that I just took the whole He's Just Not That Into You book WAY too seriously. If you're not telling me, point blank, "I like you like a whole, whole lot, Ima scream it from a mountain top" I'm assuming we're not that serious and I'm going to peace out of "whatever it is."

3. I suck at "The Game." If I say I am going to call you, I call you. If I say we should do something Tuesday night, I'm not making plans with other people instead. I don't wait to call or text you back, and if you do that with me, I think you're stupid and insecure. Apparently, some guys don't like this. One of my biggest complaints in relationships has always been that people seem to always say they are going to do things and then they turn out to be totally bogus. If I say I'm going to do something, I just... you know... DO IT. I don't see why you wouldn't, but apparently that's a thing.

4. BONUS ROUND: I suck at flirting. Oh, what's that? You think I'm cute?? I can't think of a better reason to tell you EVERY AWKWARD THING EVER. 

But seriously, me flirting is exactly as painful as watching a car crash in slow motion. I have done the following while trying to be cute/sexy/flirty: Forgotten your name after a 4-hour date, sat in fish guts on the pier, told horribly offensive jokes, broken a chair, revealed that I have no friends and that my own mother doesn't even call me, run into stable objects, spilled food on myself, popped a press-on nail and sent it flying over the aisle and directly onto my high school crush's desk, stumbled on a pair of heels that were clearly WAY too high for me (immediately after assuring this person I could walk fine in them), tap-danced out of an awkward moment, told you I hated your style of clothing, and last but not least: made an off color joke to your friend- about your friend- to said friend's face. 

Congratulations, world. You win.


Fear Itself.

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There are a lot of scenarios, too many, where we fast-forward things to avoid pain. We don't want to deal with it, so we push through it and pretend we're "good" when we're not. You tell yourself that whatever has happened is "what it is," and all you're actually doing is pausing it without resolution. I don't know, maybe I'm full of it.

I have a lot of new readers so I'll recap on something that most friends and family already know. I have 5 kids in my family; my closest sibling is 4 years older than I am. For privacy I'll leave her name out. A few years ago, she suddenly and unexpectedly went into Cardiac Arrest and her heart stopped for about 5 minutes before they revived her. After being placed into a medically-induced coma for a month, she woke up but things haven't been the same for her since. She's mentally still there, but now in a wheelchair and suffers from sporadic seizures. I hesitate to write even this, and wont go further into because I don't know who's reading this and how much information is too personal.

She went into the hospital this morning for some tests that they will be running on her for the next week or so. According to what I've heard about it- they're taking her off of all her medication and monitoring her 24 hours a day to see how her body reacts. Worst case scenario, this will lead to brain surgery, but I'm not sure how far down the line that would be.

For someone who writes for a living, and has a history of over-indulging information in that medium, I find myself almost at a loss for words with this. I wrote a college paper about it about a year after it happened, only showing it to a select few outside of my professor, mainly because if I told someone who didn't know me I felt somehow safer expressing how it made me feel. I think that, in circumstances like these, people find it difficult to talk about how they feel. Even for me.

I'm not ready to share the essay I wrote about it. I will explain my thought process to some extent because I feel like I have an opportunity to identify and therefore help people out there who have been through a trauma with a loved one.

For one thing, it's surreal. In regards to that part of my life, I often feel like I'm reading about it in a book about someone else. When I went to the hospital after it happened I kept feeling like I wasn't really there. It was fake, to me. Like I was walking through one of those haunted houses at Halloween where you see someone and think it's a doll but then they jump up and grab you... I kept waiting for her to jump up and say "Gotcha!"

For another thing, it's scary. I think that's obvious. But after enough people ask you about it, you become so emotionally exhausted that you can't respond anymore. Explaining it again and again becomes you reciting some script, and you begin to lose feeling in it because you're not even thinking about how your feelings have evolved past shock and confusion. And each day becomes something different, but you sort of never graduate to the next level of emotion because thinking about it makes your head hurt, so you have to go off your natural instincts- which for me at least were fight or flight. How I felt about it became irrelevant because everyone else was so upset that all I could do was what I could for them, seeing as how I couldn't do anything more for my sister at the moment. It's like being on auto-pilot.

And to be honest... I don't know if I ever graduated past that point. Even in helping with my sister- I don't know how much I've graduated there past "well, I'll just try to be emotionally there for whoever wants to talk about it." I help if and when I can, but I think that sometimes I'm still just afraid. I can't really explain why.

My family has always been "talkers." We talk through feelings and we sort through stuff verbally together, whether we all want to or not. But no one in my family really talks about it this. It's the first time I think we've ever done that, and it somehow scares me even more. Feelings are off-limits for the first time since I can remember. I guess it seems unanimously selfish to worry about our own feelings when my sister is the one we should be thinking of. And I know I kind of suck at helping as much as I ought to. And I don't know why that is either. Can I blame it on being the youngest child and therefore somewhat selfish?

My sister is the most influential person in my life. Always has been. I can trace most of my positive (and negative) characteristics to our relationship growing up. I guess the reason I'm even divulging all of this on here is to let people know that I'm scared. Not so you care about MY take on it, but so that if you're out there and you feel scared sometimes, too, you know that it's okay. Because we don't talk about it, and maybe sometimes- we should. Sometimes we SHOULD talk about how we're scared, and how we sometimes suck at making things better when we know we've got it in us. Maybe we should talk more about how we post these mundane little Facebook and Blogger posts about how photoshopped our lives are, when they're so imperfect offline. And it's okay- because we're all the same.

Maybe that's why we should talk about it... because despite varying circumstances, we're all the same.


Opening Doors.

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I can't say a lot of what has been going through my head the past week or so, but I can tell you that I feel renewed. My roommates have been out of town all weekend and I thought it would make me feel incredibly lonely, but it hasn't. I guess I needed the quiet- even though I was hardly sitting at home alone all weekend. It invigorated me and gave me some time to collect myself and sort of re-center.

The past few months have been filled with a lot of confusion for me and a mixture of not knowing why things were happening as well as what I intended to learn/do in response to it all. I'm sure this sounds very vague, but I can't get more specific for the privacy of myself and other people involved. I'm learning a lot more about secrecy as a means of respect and not just a way to be dramatic. I need to respect my own emotional privacy as well as other people's. That's important.

But that doesn't mean I wont blog about my own inner monologue and the things I'm learning.

There are a great many things that I think I had always assumed I wanted. For one example: I always assumed that if I could financially afford it- I'd prefer to live alone. After this weekend I can genuinely say I don't like the prospect of coming home to an empty house. It's too quiet, too boring to be permanent  I miss not knowing what will happen when I get home from work- like a little daily dose of adventure. I also always thought that I knew what my life would be panning out to be, work-wise. I'd be in administrative work (see: someone else's %&^*) forever because it was my only option. I'm realizing that this may not be the case. I can't go into detail, but I think I am the most excited about this one. Doors opening for me with my writing have been surprising and exciting. I guess it really IS the stuff you never saw coming that have the biggest influence on your life. The funny thing about this is that the attitudes I held about work and work ethics are being challenged as I contemplate how I really feel when it's being presented as a viable option. I can feel my priorities changing, in this way among others.

With the mental/emotional changes happening, I'm noticing that I feel the word "possibility" creeping into other parts of my life too. I sort of knew this would happen. Any time a mild to great change happens in my life I have this tendency to (once I stop pushing against it) embrace it and grow. I've always liked myself in this place, even if it's uncomfortable at first.

Again, I know I'm being so vague in this entire entry. But if you're going to take one thing from my random ramblings it should be this quote:

Most of my major disappointments have turned out to be blessings in disguise. So whenever anything bad does happen to me, I kind of sit back and feel, well, if I give this enough time, it'll turn out that this was good. So I shouldn't worry about it too much. -William Gaines.

This is and has been one of my favorite quote for some time now. I hope you like it too!



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A friend gave me a fantastic (and totally unfounded) compliment the other day, saying he considers me "weird and cool at once." For one, and I cannot emphasize this enough, I am the epitome of uncool. I don't know who is going around handing out defunct dictionaries, but someone switched "cool" with "spastic. Also see: neurotic."

But my response seemed so completely obvious that it took me a while to really latch onto the underlying message in it: I'm hardly cool, I'm just getting more comfortable letting my freak flag fly. The older I get, the more I realize that everyone has their own brand of weird.

I talk a lot about my social presence and how "cool" or "uncool" I consider myself to be/have been. I read somewhere, once, that you can tell if a person is uncool by the way they will reference "what the cool kids are doing." I think I make a conscious effort to do this as my means of overcompensating my position in the Cool Club.

If you know me, you are well aware that overcompensate should be my middle name. If I am uncomfortable- I will overcompensate in every awkward way possible. "Oh, you thought that joke was funny? WAITTILYOUHEARTHISONE!" and "Oh, you don't want to date me? Let me set you up with 5 of my best friends and then let's TALK about it so you know how sooo comfortable I am with the concept." Why do I do this? Not a clue. I like to think it's endearing, but I suspect it comes off as really, really creepy.

As I meet more and more people, and discover that we all have these same insecurities and imperfections, I feel better about my own. I believe it's good to know that nobody is perfect, and that we all have these little eccentricities that make us unique and flawed and therefore: beautiful. If we lived in a cookie cutter world, I don't think anybody would be REALLY very happy. The people who are forever trying to "keep up" don't seem, to me at least, to ever settle into themselves enough to enjoy their lives.

People are going to try to compartmentalize and pigeonhole you your entire life. They tell you how you ought to act, think, feel, and behave. I have battled with this as long as I can remember. I've had people tell me to be less forgiving, more monetarily-driven, more outgoing, LESS outgoing... etc. When people tell you who to be, it's a reflection of their own insecurities transferring onto you. It's easy to criticize someone else's shortcomings  It's a lot harder to recognize and work on your own.

The greatest gift you can give somebody is your own personal development. I used to say 'If you take care of me, I'll take care of you.' Now I say 'I will take care of me for you, if you take care of you for me.' -Jim Rohn.

I love this quote. It might be my new favorite.

What I think it amounts to is: Be Yourself. And Be Yourself for YOU. Don't try to fill someone else's mold for you, because you'll only be their version of you, and not your own. I encourage people to challenge me, but at the end of the day I am always going to be me for Me, and nobody else. I have my brand of weird- maybe you like it, maybe you don't. And I'm okay with that. Because I know that you've got your weirdness too, and you should be okay with THAT.

I used to try so hard to be this person that everyone would like and accept. And I never really felt at home in myself, until I began to disregard what I perceived as "social norms." I'm so much more comfortable with myself now that I'm not trying SO hard to fit in. Because the secret is: There is no "In." There are no "norms" anymore. There is run-of-the-mill, and there is Different. And being different is cooler than any amount of "cool" that someone wants to file you into.


Ode to Music.

I have this obsession with music; always have. I think most people feel the same way. It's only by connection and incredible luck that I get to write about it and anybody even cares what I have to say because I think that if you got down to it, just about everyone would have something to say about the music they love.

I've always had this funny relationship with music. When I was a kid, I used to listen to international music and write down the phonetics of the songs I couldn't stop listening to. To this day, I still know the words to entire songs in Spanish, Icelandic, and Russian- none of which are languages I speak. It's weird- I know.

I grew up listening to The Beatles (thanks Mom), Muddy Waters & Howlin' Wolf (thanks Dad), and a variety of The Smiths, country, and whatever they played on KIIS FM. My first cassette tape was Kris Kross. I was all over the board, obviously.

Once I graduated into finding my own "way" with music- my tastes went even more haywire. NOFX, Bjork, and Goldfinger blipped on my radar. My best friend used to make me these mixed tapes that completely rocked my world. Music became my drug. Once someone handed me a driver's license (meaning that I could blast whatever I wanted without my parents caring), it was game over.

Music is, to me, like this entirely new language. I don't care if it's rap or country or ambient... it's like reading a book that takes you from the place you're sitting and transports you wherever you want to go. The beat of a drum can pump you up; a melancholy hum of a violin can calm your nerves. It's sort of incredible when you really think about it. The closest thing I can even think to compare it would be magic... music may well be the closest thing to an actual spell that I've actually been under.

With the introduction of Pandora and now Spotify- it's become even more of a beautiful love affair. I can (and do) spend hours wandering through Spotify, clicking on bands and their "Related Artists" tabs. I want to hear everything; to experience every voice and sound there is. For some reason I find some kind of elation when I hear someone for the first time. Like the butterflies you get when you meet somebody you know you really, really like.

I hope my passion for music doesn't come off too strong, but if you're anything like me, you completely understand. Here's a few gems for your ears, to start your Monday off right:



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Remember Mad Libs? Mad Libs are funny because they taught me more about the English language than a great deal of my teachers. I learned what a Noun was, a Verb, an Adjective... Don't even try to lie and say you never sat there playing Mad Libs and threw out some random dirty word to make the story totally inappropriate. You know you did! (Or, you know... I just made a super embarrassing confession on the world wide web... What else is new?)

I had such a hard time remembering what was what with that game. Just about every time I played I had to sneak a peak at the back because I couldn't remember which was "a person, place or thing," and which was "an action word." 

Words are hard.

As I mentioned in my previous post- I read a lot. One recurring theme I keep seeing is the concept that "you have to love yourself." And I have to admit: I'm baffled by this. I guess I always have been. There seems, to me, to be a fine line between being confident and being arrogant- and I don't know where that is. I've given it a lot of thought for the past, well, lifetime. And I think that today- I may have finally figured it out.

Let's Mad Libs it, shall we? ______ is an action word. Fill in that blank: Love is an action word. 

I think most people understand this concept. To love someone else... it doesn't always come easily. Sometimes you have to CHOOSE to love somebody, even when you don't. I read an article once that said that the initial "honeymoon phase" of a relationship isn't actually even love, because it's not a choice. It isn't until you get through the easy-breezy-butterflies part of a relationship that you get into the part where you are aware of the flaws in the person, but choose to remain with them anyway. You have the free will to leave, but choose to stay. I like that concept. In choosing to love somebody, you're turning love from "a feeling" into an action word. Falling in love is easy. Involuntary. Everything after that is conscious and therefore: a verb.

And it occurred to me: why wouldn't this apply to myself/ourselves? It's not easy, some days, to love myself. This morning- I woke up with a total pimple. I'm practically 30. What is this pimple business?? Some days I get it all wrong. Lets be honest here for a second: LOTS of days I get it all wrong. 


Love is an action word. And action involves follow-through. If I want to love me, I need to create the version of me that I love most. So this means- putting on pimple cream. And figuring out where I've made errors and then correcting them. It means looking at myself and saying, "That parts sucks- I'm going to fix it." And then DOING THAT. It means putting as much effort into myself as I put into other people. Winning my OWN approval, finally. It means listening to my own advice- because my advice is pretty good. It means treating myself the way I'd treat a partner (or at least like to think I do): with forgiveness and empathy at the imperfections. If I'm having a rough day, it means saying, "You're not perfect, but you're trying," and then doing better tomorrow. 

I think people think that love is supposed to be this thing where it's supposed to be SO easy. "It's supposed to just happen! And there will be butterflies and rainbows and everybody gets a puppy!" And it's not, and that's life. But this applies to you, too. It's not initially easy, some days. But you put in the work, and you become the person worth loving. 

Loving yourself isn't about going around telling people how great you are. Love is not boastful. Love is patient, love is kind... The Big C portion of The Big B book got it right. There is no reason to brag, and no reason to be impatient with yourself, or cruel. Give yourself the effort, the forgiveness, and the courtesy of just doing better- every day. 

Make loving yourself an action word.



Photo source: unknown

I read a lot. I'm not necessarily saying I sit around reading novels all day; my attention span is less than stellar, and I generally fall asleep unless it's something wildly gripping/entertaining. But I read. Websites, magazines, books... I've been this way as long as I can remember. I want to know everything- to absorb as much of the world around me as I can.

My parents read books to us as kids and one of my favorite memories is of my Dad reading these silly little books except he would change the words so they were suddenly absurd and hilarious. He's always been my favorite person in the world, partially for that reason.

I also read a lot of advice columns and blogs. Relationship advice, philosophical quotes about life, that kind of thing. Which is sort of interesting since advice tends to be something you already knew... and maybe that's why it rings so true. It's familiar.

As a result of my endless meanderings, I've got a pretty great collection of quotes and advice. So... I want to share some of it with you. Lots of it pertains to relationships, but then again I guess I'm sort of a secret romantic so it makes sense that these things would be the ones I remember. Nonetheless- here you go. This is a list of the 10 best pieces of best advice I've ever gotten:

1. Who you are today, and who you will be 35 years from now wont be the same thing. And don't let anybody tell you it's a straight-line course. It isn't where you are at any given time; and it certainly isn't where you've been. It's where you're facing that matters. -My Dad. 

I love this quote because it's so true. You'll notice how much stock I take in this statement because I frequently compare who I have been 1, 5, and even 10 years ago to who I am now. But at my core, I've always tried to be the same person. I've tried to face the right direction. I believe that it's who you are at your core that makes you; it's the person you strive to be that is who you really are.

2. Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in: forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. Begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. -Ralph Waldo Emerson.

A friend introduced me to Emerson a few years ago when I was going through a hard time. I identified with this quote so deeply, because of how imperfect I am. I say the wrong things and I make the wrong choices. I mess up and I make mistakes when I ought to have been stronger. And then I beat myself up, emotionally, for these imperfections. I had this quote on a sticky note on my computer at work for almost a year, reminding me that tomorrow is a new chance to be the person I know is in there, somewhere. It's good to let go of the self-doubt and regret.

3. The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out. -Thomas Babington Macaulay

I love this as a reminder that good deeds don't neccesarily need to be announced. Just do them for the sake of doing them. If you're a good person, you needn't announce it to the world. Just BE one.

4. Always be a lady, and no matter what- things will be fine. -My friend's grandmother.

This was actually advice given to me by my high-school boyfriend's Grandma. We had broken up and she pulled me aside and told me that no matter what- I should always be classy; never crazy. I proceeded to be incredibly immature about the relationship anyway (give me a break, I was seventeen)- and it's one of my greatest regrets. No one wants to be looked at after a breakup and thought of negatively. If you behave yourself to the best of your ability, and don't act like a complete jerk- you'll always look back on things in a positive light. The only regrets I've ever had in relationships have been not being the bigger person when I knew I had it in me.

5. The way I see it, whenever a bad thing happens in my life there are two ways I can go about it. I can sit around and be sad. I can eat bon bons and be lazy and be pathetic. OR, I can pick myself up and go DO something. Do yoga, get a new outfit, whatever. I can either get sad, or I can get awesome. I think I'm just going to get awesome instead. -Yours truly.

Why wallow? How logical is that? I'm a firm believer in not staying stuck in an unhealthy place, emotionally, for one second longer than I have to. There's too much good out there to waste time feeling bad.

6. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, the come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave. A soul mate's purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get it, and make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life. -Elizabeth Gilbert. 

I agree with this to a certain extent. I don't know if I'd call these people "soul mates," but the people in my life who have challenged me the most have been my greatest blessings in disguise. There are probably 5 people I can think of who are some of the most difficult for me to even deal with because of what happened there- but if it weren't for them opening me up and making me really see who I am (and who I want to be)- I would be much less of the person I need to be.

7. When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you, but because in that brief moment when the coin is in the air, you suddenly know what you were hoping for. -Unknown 

Because your really DO always know.

8. What you've been doing- hasn't worked. So why not try something different? It may be uncomfortable, and you may have to focus harder on controlling your initial reactions/wants. But if you can't have control over yourself... what's the point? -Katie Wexler

Katie told me this when I was having challenges in my previous relationship. It was long-distance and I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to make the distance thing work because I am, by nature, kind of a needy person. This really put it in perspective for me because I was tired of trying the same thing and getting the same results. And I was tired of not having self-control and allowing myself to be run by impulsive decisions.

9. Be yourself. Just because somebody else is being a jerk- that doesn't mean you have to lower the standard of person that YOU are. -Kenneth Welch

Again- this was a self-control thing. I don't want someone else's actions to dictate my behaviors. I'd rather be proactive than reactive.

10. To make a mountain of your life is just a choice (...) Always love, hate will get you every time. -Nada Surf.

Because you make your own life more difficult by filling it with negativity  Choose to love your life and the people in it, no matter how misguided or wrong you think they are. My new credo is completely applicable here: How other people choose to treat you is evidence of their character. How you choose to respond is evidence of yours.