Monday, December 14, 2020

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back


Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash

Two steps forward, one step back is how I would describe the journey of personal growth. You learn, and ponder, and stretch, and reach, and you are rewarded with real signs of growth and then...suddenly you look up and realize your focus has been lost.

This blog is about positivity and motivation for leading a better life, but I lose sight of that sometimes. I can be a very melancholic person-I love diving into the sadness, because that is where I feel my creativity is held. I get a lot out of it personally. However, sharing that on this blog, instead of my personal blog, is off-focus. And I find my slip-ups-the sharing of the darker side, on this blog, embarrassing. 

It is okay, though. Mistakes and less-than-ideal choices are part of life. One of the most difficult lessons I have had to learn is how to stop regret and let shame roll slowly off. Shame is a strong emotion- it can hit unexpectedly, and usually shows up uninvited. But regret is intentional. Regret can be dismissed easier. In my 20s, I spend so much time regretting choices, imagining what I should have done differently. But my 30s were about letting go of regret. Occasionally, regret will visit, and I will have to stop and think about what I can do better in the future, but never invite regret to stay. It will tear your life apart. 

Shame loves to just let itself in by the back door. I have found the best way to deal with it, is to acknowledge it, and give yourself an inner hug, and remind yourself, we are ALL just babies here. We are all learning. We are ALL okay. I can't say shame doesn't visit me ever-or that an occasional dose doesn't shake us out of destructive patterns, but I do know this: Shame should be an uninvited acquaintance, not a close friend. Take a deep breath, wrap your arms around your waist and give yourself a big hug...and send shame on its merry way.

Good morning!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

It's all About the Gnomes


Christmas fads may come and go, but a gnome, pointy hatted, and fuzzy bearded is forever. Even when it isn't. I hope I always have a gnome watching over us during the Holidays.

Thanksgiving break. Are you all drowning in the memories? I am not sure I am drowning in memories person, but it is IMPOSSIBLE not to have little flashbacks around the holidays. The magic of youth-was anything better than playing with my many cousins? There was always a little initial shyness and then we would become fast temporary friends, playing hard, gathering memories. It wasn't until later I realized I didn't fit in. I do wonder if that was influenced by mom's discomfort. She had real reasons to be uncomfortable but maybe sharing it with us wrong. I have probably passed than onto my own kids. Well, it takes a long time to open your eyes to the bigger picture. It's okay. 

Thanksgivings away from family when I was married to my Air Force ex-husband. Time with friends. I miss friends. I actually love having people over-once they are there. The dread and cleaning and shame over my less-than-perfect house and lacking housewifery skills make it so hard. And now I never meet anyone I think would mesh. Maybe friendship is for the young. And I remember how my ex's friends were always fun, and the fancier, middle-classier people I snuggled up next to, always turned out to be so tremendously dull-party-wise. Fun and intelligent when sober-dull as tombs for letting your hair down. Not that I am some wild child-but a little too much wine, a little too much laughing, a little too much silly girl-- talk that's where it was at.

Later, Thanksgiving days, miserable somewhere, and evenings with my mom when my kids went with their dad. And on and on. I don't really like Thanksgiving. Brown and orange? Really-what kind of decor plan is that? Turkey? Oh well. Time off work is nice, although I still have to work with my homebound student.

When did Barefoot wines become screw cap? There is something...fancy-feeling about corkscrews and corks, and this screw-off cap isn't working for me. 

Last week, I decided I was going to dive into alternative religions, maybe buy some herbs, impart meaning into crystals, search elsewhere for the missing. And then suddenly, I don't want to. 

I feel the pull of traditional religion, despite being a Democrat and knowing I would likely never be completely accepted in traditional religious groups because I actually believe in feeding the poor without forcing them to listen to a sermon and treating immigrants and refugees like humans rather than animals. What a sinner I am. But at Christmas time, I long to stand with a group and sing praises-to feel the light and warmth. Or maybe it is God pulling me back-I know he loves me-though I think it is more in the ugly, unplanned daughter way, rather than a cherished child. I tried reading about the tug back to God-(if you know, you know)  but it just talked of guilt, and guys, I just don't feel that. I feel guilty when I hurt people, but guilt for pulling away from organized religion? God is God. If he is strong and all-powerful, he doesn't need my guilt. He doesn't need my tears. I am a drop in the ocean. And I have this fear, this deep, undying fear, that Heaven is going to be SO BORING. I fear it will be like that middle-class Thanksgiving, with subdued restraint and polite small talk. 

I want more! I want to be a warrior, fighting a battle for good. I want to soar through the Universe and dance in the ocean of an alien moon. I want to be beautiful and fall madly in love with someone who loves me back and wants what is best for me, and slowly let's go when it is time for me to move on. I want laughter and dew dropped lily of the valley wreaths wrapped around my head while we dance happily in rings as the golden sun rises. And friendly, happy gossip and hand-holding and glowing, crackling firelight, and books of knowledge crammed into libraries with stars for ceilings. 

And seafood. I am craving creole-flavored seafood. I find myself thinking of my Marketing teacher at MSU, in the intro class I needed to get into the MBA program. It was such a fun class. Practical, but -still creative. The older teacher liked to talk about how she had crayfish flown in from the shore because they had to be fresh and they had to be from New Orleans. I want that life. I only got a B in there-like so many classes I took the grade drop to avoid the presentation-but this time, I wasn't avoiding. I was interviewing for the Teacher job corps (whatever it was called) in NYC. I didn't get the job. But I did get a trip to NYC and a chance to meet native New Yorkers, and walk through Central Park, and buy a coffee at a coffee shop, and wear a suit as I walked through NYC, and it was pretty amazing. It wouldn't have worked out well, though. A single mom in NYC with no family to help out? Nah. So I came back and started the MBA program for awhile. It was crazy interesting, but I didn't have a focus there, so I went back into the teaching program. 

Knowing what I know now, I should have double-majored in geology (or geography should geology be too tough) and antiquities (because come on! That's would be so interesting). I should have gotten my master's in geospatial science-although the job market is probably better for younger, single people-which is sort of what stopped me. I would have liked the public admin master's too-I was in it for a week or so, but doubts over not having a clear path overcame me. But maybe not. I had some correspondence with graduate geology program, advisors and I certainly would have gotten into one, even without a background in geology (some math and physics will make people drool--they probably think I can do programming or something-ha-jokes on them), but really, I just wanted to go to Antarctica to study ice cores. But I think, I think, I just wanted to go to Antarctica. I think, I am much more into experience than actual scientific knowledge. And I think, that's okay. Once upon a time, I would have hated that-called it shallow, but screw that. It's a rare person who really wants to study the chemical composition of the polar ice caps. And it is okay if I am not that person. It is okay not to be the smartest or most serious. What isn't okay is this deep longing that I am supposed to do something, and not knowing what it is. Once upon a time I wanted to be a mom, just raising babies and homeschooling and being all right-wing and homemakery--where did that girl go? Was she even me? She certainly married the wrong danged people to live that lifestyle. I just---want to know the whole danged point of dreams and desire if maybe they aren't even real. Maybe they are just influenced by a book I read and a romantic notion. So weird.

What I am doing is fine. It is. I just-don't know what to do if there is nowhere for me to climb. I don't know how to stay still. I don't want to stay still. 

Red Moscato is good but so so sweet. I am just a cabernet gal, I think. 

My two gnomes are watching from the side table, wise, quiet, mystical. I hope when I sleep tonight, I fall back into the ancient dreams of wise women long-past.

It has to beat this mornings dream about cleaning out a filthy garage filled with spiders.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

November Weather

 This weekend has been a weekend of wet, falling grey skies and cooler temps. Otherwise known as November. It has been perfect. I have been lazy and homebound (mostly) and enjoying it as much as a mom of three loud, boisterous, fighting boys can. 

I am reading two books this week. Queen of Shadows is part of the Throne of Glass series, which is pretty good. I am losing steam on it, I think due to the lack of romance-I am a sucker for romance- but  I will finish. Plus I keep reading spoilers, which isn't smart, but I get impatient.

In Nonfiction, I am reading The Art of Showing Up: How to be there for yourself,  and your people. Thus far, it appears to be about knowing yourself and knowing your boundaries. It's pretty good. I struggle with the first part: the knowing yourself and your boundaries. I think the problem is, I read too much. I know I am this person, I think I should want to be this person, and if I want to meet worldly success I should be this other person. And thus, I struggle with deciding who exactly I want to be. The common-sensical side of me says, umm, girl , you aren't a spring chicken. Look at who you are and where your energy is now and it should be evident where your values lie-, but alas...I want more.

My marriage is in a weird place. My spouse and I are separated, but he lives down the hall. It's cheaper and easier for now. We still do some things together. It's a weird place to be. I will spare you the details, but my own boundaries were crossed one too many times, and I just had to put my foot down. And now we are floating in this weird limbo area. I know, realistically, I am not good at dating. I have high expectations, huge needs for independence and privacy, and yet crave intimacy and getting lost in love. I think my romantic self actually sabotages my ability to fall in love. Since I went nearly five years without a relationship when I was single in my late 20's and early 30's, I don't imagine it would be better now with more weight, an older body, and less energy. I don't like casual sex, I can't imagine 50-something men desire raising someone else's young boys. This may be it for me, romance-wise. I used to think I was just too shy or picky, but now the words, "low end of average...just a 4," keep resonating in my head. Maybe I already knew that anyway. But in this world, a girl needs to at least FEEL pretty. Well.  Maybe I will just have to place my energy and hope elsewhere. Plus the men I am attracted to are not the type who I respect in the long run. I am a mess!:)

But I love having my own room, and when my two little ones stop creeping in bed with me at night-Oh the good sleep I will get. 

But I am lonely. I am lonely, folks. I want to shop with my girls, sometimes, but don't want to be a burden, so I don't ask. I find myself thinking of how people would go calling in the past, a la Little Women, and wish there were just a designated time when we opened our houses for people. Just an hour or two once a week. I want to write a novel, but fear I have nothing to say. 

But it is delightfully Novembery, and I wonder what Anne would say about such a Novembery day. Although on P.E.I. I imagine November is more like December here. 

Next week, I really should get out and explore the world a little more. But for today, this cozy room is all I need.

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.