Friday, November 6, 2020

The Things Which Should Be Easy


Sometimes a decision is made and the door is shut. Deciding to shut down my online kids clothing business was one of those. No real tears, no loss of real joy or passion-it was just a decision made. It was time to focus my time and finances elsewhere.

But there are some decisions which tear at the edges of your  mind. Decisions which cause one to second guess and doubt and feel real sadness. What is initially a choice of empowerment fades as reality sets in. Self-respect doesn't provide much companionship through life's daily trials and adventures. And part of your brain keeps digging for the good, the gold, the precious memories. And they were there. And you want to hold onto them and you want to keep going down the precious memory path, but the truth is, the insidious pitfalls are already set and waiting. And every time you think, one more try, you end up hurt and crying and wondering why you didn't end it when you could.

Is this a victory? It isn't a reason to gloat. It isn't a reason to celebrate. It is a loss, a closing of a door which will lead to pain. Is it the right thing to do? Who knows? Who ever knows such things? Pain and pleasure lie with every choice. Some people cling to religious texts for answers-some seek out  modern day prophets for guidance. I am just---trying for forge a path, trying to keep my eyes open. Today is a Golden early November day. But January will hit. Long, cold nights will happen. I just remind myself that I want more than companionship. more than mere coexistence. I want to be able to say what I think without fear of it coming back at me in anger. I have a lot to learn. I need to learn to temper my own words with wisdom. I fear future decades of depending only on myself and whispered prayers for companionship. I fear making a big mistake-because nothing has a clear path.

Decisions which are clear-cut on the outside are never that way when you are living them. Nothing is simple. But letting go, while keeping an open heart for the future, not always turning back and wondering what if,  must be the only path there is for someone like me.

Maybe there is no right or wrong. Just choices. Just actions and consequences. Maybe wonder at the journey is the answer.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Perfect moments, not perfect planning


Photo by Benjamin Voros on Unsplash

Have you been playing the balancing game-trying to give everything and everyone just the right amount of time and attention? I have been thinking about time management lately, and while I  know some schedule out each day, week, month, to perfection-I know this isn't the route for me. 

Schedules vs. Routines

First of all as an INFP (what's that? here's 16personalities description), the word schedule itself makes me a little cranky. I like routines, mind you. A quiet morning coffee in hand, contemplating life and where I stand in it, are just perfect. Every day. Slipping into bed, the perfect amount of lighting in the room, book or ebook in hand, pillows fluffed just right, is perfect every single day. But all that stuff in between? Let's keep it loose. Let's NOT make plans. Let's let it unfold naturally. 

Let It Happen

I don't know how I will feel next Sunday afternoon. How can I possible feel anything but dread if you try to force me into some arbitrary activity outside of my home. That's not to say Aunt Kate's backyard barbeque followed by a trip to Walmart and drive to Branson won't be exactly what I need. But how can I know that now?

I realize I am difficult.

And I have been thinking that maybe for people like me, it is less about perfect balance and more about perfect moments. 

This week I will shower my kids with attention and activities, next week they will play with the neighbor kids and I'll catch up on laundry. Today we have an impromptu game night and whoever can make it makes it. Next week, I'll screen my calls and snuggle in bed with a book and a glass of Cabernet. Perfect moments happen. They can't be planned.

When I discovered my newly remembered love for fiction reading, it changed my focus away from my online shop. And I realized I was done with the shop. Reading has always been a greater passion to me than kids' clothes. Reading changes my soul in a way that trying to earn money cannot. So one was let go and one I continue to pursue.

A Surprising Need for Control

This doesn't mean I am easy-breezy. In fact, I often doubt my INFPness due to my need for control and pickiness. I am not okay with just any background noise (and honestly, silence is golden to me). I can't just let the radio play. I need the right song at the right time, or nothing at all.   In fact, I often think my lack of commitment to future plans has more to do with my need to control the atmosphere by attending to my current mood than any happy-go-lucky easygoingness. And I think people misunderstand that and either steamroll me or think I am being intentionally difficult. I am just being me.


So, if you are finding you are struggling with finding the right balance or the right schedule or the right PLAN-maybe you are like me. And maybe focusing on your comfort routines and maybe letting your need to attend to your current mood and feelings are what you need in the future (I ALSO easily think I could be an ISFP (description HERE)-despite my lack of artistic prowess-especially when I am healthier and not ruminating on things. I would be totally cool with that, too).


Listening  Spotify:

ACOMAF | Feysand| A Court of Mist and Fury | Feyre and Rhysand


Also reading:

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Reusable K-cup mix of Great Value french roast and Creme brule!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Letting Go

I closed my online business today. A few months ago, this would have made me sad, but I feel comfortable. After the last big September push, in which my ads received lots of likes, praise, and views for the items, but only a few sales, I realized it was time to stop. I had been maintaining the online shop for the fun of it, but suddenly-it just stopped being fun. Ironically my organic store views are higher than ever lately, but ultimately it is sales that matter in a business. I always felt just on the brink of breaking out--but then--maybe that's a gambler's intuition, and not business intuition. Just one more day, one more ad, one more instragram push. I am over it. If I had been able to make it profitable, I would keep it up. If there was a chance of it replacing my day job, I would keep it up. But at the end of my life, I want to look back and see written words, lots of written words and self-expression, not an online store run at the expense of my free time with family and writing. The hours I was putting in after my regular job, just weren't worth the money I wasn't getting back anyway. But it was fun.

 It's a beautiful fall day. I love Wednesdays working at home. It's my lunch break now. I will be so sad when we go back to all-week learning. This break from forced extroversion is exactly what my aging body craves mid-week. The truth is, I started letting go a month ago. When I decided to obsess over books rather than searching for items to sell. And after just one last fight with my husband over advertising costs, I figured, enough is enough. And I feel good.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

The Autumn Aesthetics by MBTI type


Aesthetics is a term I don't really understand. I think it belongs more to the younger generation. However, since the younger generation tends to have the greatest influence on popular culture, I am gradually absorbing it into my own lexicon.

This particular Tumbr post was found on the MBTI is Dead account.

They all sound completely lovely. However, I was most swept up in the ENTP, ISTJ, and INFJ* (prob my fav) groupings.

There is just a magic in fall that encompasses all the senses. A chill which can be cozy or strangely isolating, a warmth of sun which can be delightful or sadly fleeting. Autumn can appeal to the macabre dark souls or the sweet,  homey bakers. It calls to the dreamer and the realist. I love that.

Just for fun:

ENFJ: Canoeing in an Oxford-blue lake, surrounded by hundreds of changing trees. Relaxing walks in the forest. Blue denim and brown leather shoes. Bright orange leaves sitting next to pine needles and pinecones.

ENFP: Bright red leaves and crackling bonfires. Hiking with friends on the weekend. Backpacks filled to the brim with trail mix and other snacks. The awareness of how much you are enjoying this moment.

ENTJ: Residential London streets that look like they’re from a 1920s detective novel. Tiffany lamps sitting on wrought iron balconies. Scarlet maple trees. Foxes roaming around like dogs. Red trench coats with furry collars flapping as you walk.

ENTP: Big oak trees covered in acorns, with brown squirrels running through their branches. Walks with friends through maple forests. Brown knit sweaters. Cozy woodside coffee shops with caramel and croissants.

ESFJ: Knit beige sweaters with bows on them. Homemade cookies and hot chocolate. Decorating the door with autumn wreaths. Cornucopias and warm pumpkin pie.

ESFP: Forests filled with colourful leaves, adorned with fairy lights. Lit jack-o-lanterns in all different sizes. Blue and orange sunsets and the first stars twinkling. Pointy shoes and black leggings. The coming of dusk on Halloween.

ESTJ: Plaid shirts and warm boots. Sitting in a patch of sunlight on a very cold day. Raking leaves and drinking apple cider. Watching squirrels gathers nuts and scurry up trees in your lawn. Memories and a sense of familiarity.

ESTP: Late-night brouhahas. The anticipation of Halloween. Pumpkins lined up across the cool, dewey night grass. Climbing over fences and exploring the autumnal town like cats. Cauldrons emitting neon green fog. Sitting on roofs of buildings and watching trick-or-treaters walk by.

INFJ: Cobblestone roads and little shops. Going for walks in the oldest parts of England and Scotland. The smell of shortbread within the cold, almost-winter air. Fuzzy trench coats, plaid scarves and flat caps.

INFP: Artfully painted foxes and deer. Solitary cabins in the autumn woods. Handcrafted furniture and the smell of wood. Soft golden light coming through the windows.

INTJ: Candlelit architecture and wooden staircases. Large clocks and all the gears behind them. Exploring the old libraries of London. Waiting for trains on hazy fall mornings.

INTP: Standing alone in the barren November woods as cars drive down the gravelly road nearby. Staring at nothing in particular, with an old backpack slumping down your shoulders. A deer standing in a clearing, somehow feeling nostalgic, telling you to follow it.

ISFJ: Misty cemeteries and Victorian mansions. Barren trees against clouded white skies. Wrought iron gates and dead plants. Owls and ravens perched high above, watching.

ISFP: A large harvest moon rising over the golden-orange cornfields while a fiddle plays a mysterious tune. Strange creatures with antlers getting lured from the forest out into the field. Dance-leaping in a circle until the crack of dawn.

ISTJ:  Golden light filtering through the autumn trees. Antique lockets and diaries with intricate engravings. Grand libraries and peaceful strolls. Reading under an oak as leaves brush by like flakes of gold.

ISTP: Grey, cloudy skies. Mugs of black coffee sitting next to an interesting novel. Dead apples falling from the trees. Chilly mornings and brown leaves on the ground. The lick of winter through the windows.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Thoughts this Week

;Whew! I had fun last night. First of all, I totally overindulged in a really tasty cabernet sauvignon (which don't those words just feel amazing on your tongue?), laid in bed and read, and snuggled with Alec, who is just the best thing ever. I understand increasing numbers of people are choosing not to have kids, but as for me and my body, we make little humans. Well, I mean not anymore. I don't want more little humans, but I am glad I have them! There is just something so incredible about getting together with a person and suddenly (9.5-10 nauseating,  exhausting months later) finding a whole new human emerging forth, with its own little looks and hodgepodge of shared physical traits-I love it!

I woke around 4 and played on Facebook-Oh. I just realized I went to bed after midnight. Hmm. I did not get enough sleep! It's going to be a long day, I guess. 

Being super hungry, I decided to go surprise everyone with some McDonald's breakfast. Karl had hinted at St. George's donuts last night, but they don't have a drive-thru and that requires a whole different level of grooming. So I was thinking about some Mickey D's breakfast burritos and then stopped myself. I had a lot of wine last night. A few quick punches into an online calculator and realized what I sort of felt in my cells already-I should not be driving until around 6 a.m. I can be quite cautious, like ISXJ cautious. I briefly think of the  times out drinking with friends and how I was always watching people and purses, wanting everything and everyone to get home intact. This is a pride thing-it embarrasses me. It is embarrassing to be careful and cautious and worried when I want to be carefree, and fun, and original. But that's my broken record.

So last night, riding the happy wave of red, red, wine (a good deal of it is reading--why do people DRINK so much in novels--do real life people drink so much or are the publishers trying to push alcoholism on us as a society--or maybe it is just that drunk and uninhibited characters are more fun and unpredictable for the author to work with), but craving people. I enjoyed hanging out with Alec of course, but when I drink, I generally want people around me laughing and having fun. I rarely meet people I'd consider peers though. Either they are one or two decades younger, or they are overly religious and well-behaved and wouldn't put up with my shocking words. I mean shocking not in a vulgar way--that's boring--but just maybe, overtly honest? It's a problem. 

I am so happy I am reading fiction again. It is just so exciting to get totally wrapped up in other worlds and other people. The main problem is 1) they are fictional and when I want to get totally wrapped up, I want to be there living out the stories, and 2) I like some not always high quality stuff. I struggle with embarrassment over not reading top-notch quality literature and wanting to just have a good time and be happy. I think the key is to adopt a key phrase and when I start to feel like maybe someone is judging me, repeat my phrase and fuggedaboutit! I am tough. I am strong. I can read smutty romance all I want, dang it! 

I cried a bit too much yesterday. It was awkward because I was at work, and by afternoon I was completely drained, eyes dry and tired. Letting loose a while felt really nice. But today I wake up, optimistic and excited. It's Saturday. The house always, always needs cleaned, and Liam needs a haircut desperately. The little boys can get away with longer hair because theirs lays nicely on their head, but Liam's is thick and coarse and sticks out strangely when it is getting longer. Fascinating stuff, right? Can you believe I am not a more popular blogger? Shocking.

I thought I would wake up sad, but I am not. I feel relieved and refreshed. Relaxing completely last night was needed perhaps. I had planned a good gut-wrenching post because readers like that. That gets shared and looked at. That brings out dozens and sometimes triple digit readers. But, I don't feel that now. I am not going to prostitute my feelings unless they are authentic and genuine. 

I am nearing the end of A Court of Frost and Starlight.

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This main story has been told in the first three books--this is like the Holiday special, as someone in a Facebook fan group stated. I am enjoying it though. Letting my mind be back in Velaris, dreaming of dreamy Rhys, and Cassian, and Azriel. These fictional characters are living the life, man. The next book is supposed to focus on Cassian and Nesta's "relationship," of which there doesn't seem to be much of one yet. Nesta is a hardcare, withdrawn bitch, but I get it. There is a fountain of mushy feelings she is hiding in there. I think her core is rather tender, so she protects it well. And Cassian. He's like the outgoing dumb jock, the ESXP, the cheerful and hot Emmett of the group, for you Twilight fans. Rhysand is the main man, but Azriel-- I want more of him. Strong, shadowed, and quiet. I want to hear his thoughts.  Anyway. Y'all see why I get embarrassed? I am a mess.

It's funny how a book or movie can change little things about the way you live. Rhys and Velaris are always described as smelling of sea salt and of course, I traded out my normal wax melts (usually warm, autumny scents) for the closest I could find. I have two mixed together. I like it.  Jasmine is a scent emitted when magic is used, and Taryn just so happened to get me a jasmine scented face oil for my birthday in August. So using that makes me happy. Usually. Sometimes jasmine reminds me of bathroom freshener.  They don't drink coffee in my book. They are tea drinkers. I don't know if the author is British or what, but it is a bit sad. I am trying to live this imaginary life as much as possible and coffee really needs to be a part of that life. 

I am going to read Crescent City next, and then read the Kingdom of Ash series. 

So that's my weekend plan. Finish A Court of  Frost and Starlight this morning and start reading Crescent City.  I have to work with my homebound student tomorrow. I  took on a homebound student because so much of our money tied up in paying off credit cards. THREE MORE YEARS before they are paid off, barring extra payments. It hurts. But it has to hurt, to feel it. The more it hurts now, the longer I will go before using credit again.  But extra income to continue living a pleasant life with trips and cute things is nice. 

Do you have great Saturday plans? I love it when people share back. Makes this big, cold world feel a bit cozier, you know?

Thursday, October 1, 2020

It's Okay

 I have had a lot of thoughts on my mind about our relationship with others, particularly with the shallow relationship of social media, and our respective places in the world. I have come up with a list to remind myself that, "It's okay."

It's okay to complain about matters which seem trivial.

It's okay to unfollow that perfect friend who makes you question the fairness of life.

It's okay to thank God for the many blessings in your life, be they financial, social, or otherwise.

It's okay to be proud of the things you think and do and share.

It's okay to feel overwhelmed when your life is on a downward slope and others seem to be riding high.

It's okay to back away from someone you admire, but who stresses you in some way.

It's okay to not want the status quo. 

It's okay to be a hair extensioned, pumpkin spice latte loving "basic" gal.

It's okay to love parenthood.

It's okay to want your own life back at times.

This list reminds me that even when I dearly like some people, their seemingly good fortune grates on my nerves at time. I don't have to cheer every update. I can step back, unfollow with the best of intention until I am personally strong enough not to be jealous. What I can't do is try to make them feel bad or pity me because I haven't been as fortunate in that area. Well, I mean, I can...but should I? No. 

Also, I don't have to feel guilty about the areas which work out for me. I have worked hard to get to the place I am in, and I don't have to downplay my gratitude and good fortune. I cannot be responsible for other people's reactions to things done and said in good faith. I wouldn't post about my fortune to hurt or make someone feel bad. I would only do it because as a social introvert, social media is my way of connection, which helps me get mind to mind with others without expending energy reading faces and body language and trying to control my own, which is best saved for other matters.

I hope this list will remind you to approach other's good fortune and bad fortune with love and understanding. Step back when you need, don't feel guilty for the good things, and enjoy this crazy little thing called life.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Autumn and Shame


Autumn. Oh God. It's here. Slowly, slowly the leaves are turning. I haven't done any decorating. I just haven't felt like digging out the boxes. And I spend so much time just trying to keep the house in order with three little boys. Why add more clutter to the mess?

What is Autumn? Am I in the autumn of my life yet? Sometimes I pass by a mirror and just for a second, I think, "Whoa! Who is that old mom?" I watch as the lines etched into my face ever-deepen and the freckles on my arms and hands no longer fade in winter. Breasts and chins slowly give into gravity and we won't even discuss what six children can do to a body. And yet, I feel just like the quiet girl rushing through her schoolwork so she can get lost in a book and dream of the wonderful life which waits just out of reach.

This fiction reading is killing me. I feel more like myself than I have in years, and yet, the gnawing ache grows as I realize life will never be that way. I feel like I am grasping at something that doesn't exist. Part of me wants to believe so badly. I can have adventures! I can fall deeply into a never-ending love! I can be high lady of the fairies and sit at tables making important decisions! It takes me back to being in high school and so desperately desiring to go back in time. One New Year's Eve, I dressed Craig and I up (my mom had gone out), and I sat waiting, halfway believing that if I truly, truly believed, we would go back in time. Of course, we didn't, and I wonder at my grasp on reality a bit, but I think it is just the INFPishness. I wonder what I was searching for? Some imagined life where I fit in and find romance and adventure? On a group I was on, there was a some meme of INFP's leaving reality to daydream. I was initially offended, I am not a stupid person, but at the same time, had to acknowledge that I was only reading the meme because I had snuck off to lie in bed and dream about a fictional character. That's my kind of funny.  I suppose that is why I usually stick to nonfiction. Nonfiction can be inspiring and push you to get up and make changes, but as long as you don't drift too far into abundance theory, you aren't likely to be left holding a handful of nothing as your dreams dissipate in the wind.

I guess that is why people get into role playing games. There is this undercurrent that we should be having adventures! We should be physically fighting the bad guys or using our brains in extraordinary ways. And bonus points if romance is wrapped up in it, too (does that exist?-I need that). 

I find I am writing these posts, sharing excitedly, and then with low readership and no likes, slinking in ashamedly and deleting or unpublishing. I get so excited to share these thoughts, and then I realize noone cares. I don't mean that in a pitiful, poor me way. I just mean it in a why would anyone care about my ordinary thoughts? Why must I put it out there and have it ignored? Isn't it better just to keep it in, if it isn't important enough to elicit a response. People respond to pain and sorrow. Karl said it is because I usually put a positive twist on my pain, but...I wish my other moods were worth sharing, too. I don't want to have to tear my heart in my hands to get attention. And the shame builds, and the years pass, and the shame at being decidedly average grows and grows and grows. And I think of Brene Brown and I think, Hey, that's okay. I am in the arena. I am putting it out there. So many people, just lie and hide, and are never truly known. " But at what point are you being brave and sharing something of value, and what point does it become like...forcing guests to eat beets or something, because you think it would be good for them? What if all I am putting out there is a plateful of beets. And I am over here grinning like a fool, thinking I am offering something special, something meaningful?

We went out for the first time since March yesterday. We ate out on a patio and enjoyed the perfect air. I drank in  the sparkling night lights in the sky, but the lack of a crowd was difficult. I know it is safer without a crowd. But I wanted to drink wine until the moon spun around the sky and drink in all the beautiful people and come home and carry those good feelings into the early morning. But it was so quiet, and I had beer, which just makes me numb (I didn't want wine-stained teeth-and I don't like sweet white wine much), and I came home and ate too many salt and pepper chips (when I really wanted salt and vinegar, but was trying to be nice). And unsatisfied, I dragged my bloated beer bubble filled self to the sofa to relish being alone if nothing else. And awoke to my book and the deep fear that Rhysand, whom I dearly love now, is going to die. And frustration, that I had no adventure, no inner circle, no political plans, just housework, and a book of dreams. 

Twenty-six years ago, I placed Tierney in a swing and danced to August and Everything After, dreaming of being taken away by someone, in a Maryland apartment alone, so alone, with a wall full of glass as the maples changed magnificently outside the window. The sun has gone down now, and I sit here unaccomplished. Degrees which aren't my calling, no story in me to tell, no skill set to tell it with. And I grapple with the absolute ordinariness of being me and living this life. How does one crave adventure and intentionally  tie oneself with children? How does one reconcile being so very desperately ordinary with the need to see a life well-lived? 

I guess I am still working on that.