Thoughts on Giving

There’s this phrase that you may have heard from someone who is frustrated and suffering in a relationship, “I give and I give and I give until there’s nothing left to give anymore!” It’s an interesting phrase, one that I may even be guilty of uttering or at least thinking.

Yet when you step back and contemplate things, little things seem to click together that sort of invalidate that phrase in a way. I think that it depends on the way and the why of giving.

When you give freely, happily, openly, and unconditionally, without expectation or anything else attached to the action than just the joy of giving, I think that refills you in its own way. I think when things go awry is when giving comes from something else like a sense of obligation or duty. Or perhaps you give thinking that by setting an example others might follow your lead.

That giving is the kind that runs dry and empties out our supplies. It doesn’t have the same refill effect so it makes sense that you would sort of burnout on giving. Don’t get me wrong, I think most of us give from a different state than we should. I think that, especially in our society, it is difficult to give from a place of openness, freedom, and unconditionality. But I think the more we strive to move to that place, the better it is for everyone.

Spiritual Voids

Heads up: I ended up putting some affiliate links for Amazon in the books I mentioned. If you do buy from the list, thanks in advance!

You can find patterns and signs for whatever you need, anywhere you look. I think that’s just the way we are hardwired– when we’re thinking of something, that’s what we see. That’s not exactly the mystical thing most people believe in, but I don’t think that because there’s such a practical explanation for it means you should just dismiss those signs and patterns. I mean we think about a lot of things every minute and we don’t see signs and patterns about ALL of those things, right? So in a way, I think the fact we see patterns and signs about some of the things we’re contemplating is our subconscious way of focusing on what we value as important– sometimes on a deeper level than we might be aware of, and sometimes not so much.

A year ago, I was going through something significant. After being absolutely wrecked by all kinds of stress and negative thoughts and illness, I was determined to put an end to it once and for all. Being who I am, I went a scientific route first and found that positive psychology was really helpful for me and gave me a lot of what I needed for that journey. What I guess I didn’t anticipate completely was that the journey was only starting back then and it’d continue for a while longer, that it would still be moving a year later actually.

I have personally never done it, BUT I have a hunch that if you were to commence on a journey that would take at least a year or more you would start with certain things but you would end with very little of what you started with. Right? So I started and I got along pretty well. Through the year, I’ve had to stop a few times and take a few breaks. Doing things a new way is all well and good but it also gets a little tiring.

Maybe it’s something about this time of year or maybe it’s just the next natural step for me and I didn’t realize it would be, but I’m struggling, again, with a void.

Maybe it IS the excess and greed of the season that does something to me. It’s just too much. Maybe the fact that this one day of the year where we are supposed to be grateful is being avalanched by a tidal wave of consumerism that is singularly powered by a feeling of wanting and lacking has just gotten to be too much for me. Maybe because in a way I realize I too am powerless against it and that bothers me so much. Or maybe the fact that lack and want is so strongly pushed that it makes me stop and contemplate what I myself am lacking in and I keep coming back to this hole in me– this spiritual void.

I feel entirely uncomfortable discussing spirituality and religion with people. It is such a deeply personal thing and so opinions are practically inescapable and with opinions there is more often than not judgement and that just makes me queasy. Maybe there is also this slight sense of shame in even desiring spirituality. It seems to me that among the incredibly bright, there is a significant lack of spirtiuality and it makes me wonder– if I were simply smarter would I not need to be spiritual? Or is that they are smart enough to know you just don’t talk about those things?

And yet, there are incredibly brilliant spirtual leaders out there aren’t there? So that’s a contradiction to my train of thought on that matter.

As a surprise to absolutely no one, I read a book (Breakfast with Buddha) recently that got me thinking about all of these things. It’s a book club book and we’re going to discuss it tonight. I am curious what route the discussion will take as so far many of the members have mentioned what a light read the book is.

A light read?

I mean, it’s light to read in that it is easy. The words, the sentence structure, they are easy enough. There is plenty of humor injected in the book and a substantial lack of judgement. But the things that this book talks about are heavy. What the main character is experiencing is heavy. He is not going through something light and fluffy at all– he’s going through a major shift, an upheaval. The author writes about that plenty and when he does, I identify. The sense that there is something just on the other side but being uneasy about it.

There is a line in the book, “You are smart now, you will always be smart, but if you think too much it pushes you from God.”

That line does things to my insides. It makes me feel defensive and yet humbled. It bothers me and yet it calms me. It makes me question and yet it makes perfect sense. And I think that the reason it’s such an important line to me is because it’s the heart of my struggle, the heart of many people’s struggles really.

Where does one draw the line when one is spiritual/faithful/religious? What do you accept because of faith and what do you reject because of knowledge?

Anyhow, true to my nature, I figure I’ll start tackling this the way I tackle everything else– by reading. The author of Breakfast with Buddha provides a pretty substantial list of readings and while I found the list to be a good one, I found it to be very much lacking in the female perspective which isn’t really surprising (and one of my pet peeves with many religious systems). So I did some quick internet research of my own and pulled together what I hope is a pretty good list of 42 books about spirituality. For the most part, I kept the books to one per author although there are three exceptions where I chose two books: Thomas Merton, Karen Armstrong, and Nadia Bolz-Weber. I feel that, for a starter set, there is a pretty wide range of views in there too. Eastern, Western, and even one about non-belief that seemed to not be angry.

I usually read between 40 and 50 books a year. I know from past experience that as much as I will want to dive into this whole thing and devour as many of the 42 books as quickly as possible, that usually leads to total burnout. Besides, there are lots of non-spiritual books out there that I want to read too. So I figure these should hold me over for the next two years. If you’re interested in these sorts of things, let me know if you see anything interesting on the list or if you see an important title missing. In case you can’t see the list on Goodreads here it is:

  1. Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America     Adler, Margot
  2. Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life      Armstrong, Karen
  3. A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam     Armstrong, Karen
  4. The Way of Perfection     Ávila, Teresa of
  5. Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People     Bolz-Weber, Nadia
  6. Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint     Bolz-Weber, Nadia
  7. The Book of Mormon Girl: Stories from an American Faith     Brooks, Joanna
  8. I and Thou     Buber, Martin
  9. The Monastery of the Heart: An Invitation to a Meaningful Life     Chittister, Joan D.
  10. When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times     Chödrön, Pema
  11. The Art of Happiness     Dalai Lama XIV
  12. Be Here Now     Dass, Ram
  13. Practice Spiritual Values and Save the World: Delhi Speech     Devi, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi
  14. The Parables of the Kingdom     Dodd, C.H.
  15. Fire Within: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and the Gospel – on Prayer     Dubay, Thomas
  16. Iran Awakening     Ebadi, Shirin
  17. Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras     Eck, Diana L.
  18. Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness     Epstein, Mark
  19. Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church     Evans, Rachel Held
  20. The Essential Mystics: Selections from the World’s Great Wisdom Traditions     Harvey, Andrew
  21. Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate Freedom     Iyengar, B.K.S.
  22. Inner Life     Khan, Hazrat Inayat
  23. Freedom from the Known     Krishnamurti, Jiddu
  24. Tao Te Ching     Tzu, Lao
  25. Cave in the Snow: Tenzin Palmo’s Quest for Enlightenment     Mackenzie, Vicki
  26. The Spiritual Teaching of Ramana Maharshi     Maharshi, Ramana
  27. The Story of the Qur’an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life     Mattson, Ingrid
  28. New Seeds of Contemplation     Merton, Thomas
  29. The Seven Storey Mountain     Merton, Thomas
  30. Battlefield Of The Mind: Winning The Battle In Your Mind     Meyer, Joyce
  31. Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion     Miles, Sara
  32. The Book of Job     Mitchell, Stephen 
  33. The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation     Nhất Hạnh, Thích
  34. The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth     Peck, M. Scott
  35. What the Buddha Taught. With Texts from Suttas & Dhammapada     Rahula, Walpola
  36. This Precious Life: Tibetan Buddhist Teachings on the Path to Enlightenment     Rinpoche, Khandro
  37. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying     Rinpoche, Sogyal
  38. Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness     Salzberg, Sharon
  39. Ordinary People As Monks & Mystics: Lifestyles for Spiritual Wholeness     Sinetar, Marsha
  40. The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Goddess     Starhawk
  41. An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith     Taylor, Barbara Brown
  42. Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions     Zuckerman, Phil

If you’ve read any of these, I’d love your take! We’ll see how it all goes. Onward right?


The Loneliness of Being True to You

Have you ever noticed how being true to yourself can actually be a really lonely experience?

Let me take an example from the random example generator in my head… credit cards!

Ok so let’s say you’re like one of the 120 million or so Americans that has credit card debt. You have made the decision that you want to free yourself of this debt so you begin to research how best to do this. You talk to your friends, to your family, maybe to a financial advisor. You look online and read some books. Finally you’re ready and you begin working on eliminating and managing your credit card debt according to the system you feel is the best one for you. Congratulations!

Except, it turns out that the method you have chosen to deal with this problem is not at all how any of your friends suggest managing this. Not only that but most of your family members wouldn’t do it your way either. To make things worse, you even have some friends and family members who don’t have credit card debt at all or they had it once upon a time years ago and haven’t gone back.

The reality is that no one else is like you. No one is approaching your problem with your eyes and your feelings and your personality and your worries and your priorities. Which is totally great and awesome and obvious except sometimes you want to vent or something when your plan goes wrong or you just get frustrated it’s not going the way you wanted it to. But when you turn to your friends or your family members or whatever, they’re not really supportive. They’re kind of like, “What did you expect!? I told you not to do things that way and now you’re seeing what the problem is so just stop doing it that way and do it this way!” or something like that.

It’s not that they’re mad at you they just can’t relate and they know it’s important so they get frustrated. That is totally understandable.

The problem is that at the end of the day, you are still in the same situation you were in– you have no one to turn to.

That gets lonely. And yet you have to keep going and sticking to your way of doing things because you need to stay true to yourself. I think that people are often most afraid of things they don’t understand and so that’s when things get wacky– especially in sensitive situations that are highly personal.

I guess that’s where professionals come into play and that’s where you end up seeing a counselor. It’s not so much that you want advice on how to handle things, you just want support for how you’ve chosen to do things and aren’t finding it around you. In other cases, this is where you see people withdraw. It gets exhausting turning to loved ones for support and only getting negative feedback of some sort. For example calling your mom about some glitch you had with the credit card company gets her going on a 15 minute rant about the evils of credit cards and how terrible they are for you and they’re just the worst and she hates them so much.

Yeah that’s great and all but so not helpful…

What do you do when you’re dealing with a complicated situation– especially one that is going to take years to resolve and will have many many setbacks?


Busy as a Mutant

I would really like for someone to sit down and explain to me just what is happening to 2015. Because as far as I can tell, it’s been speeding away to the abyss and it keeps taking me by surprise.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled with the year and everything that’s happened so far. I just don’t understand how it’s managed to move so quickly. We are in the middle of September, a full month into a new school year, and I still feel like we just started Summer.

It’s not a panicked sense of things really. I’m not freaking out because the year is winding down, no seriously it is, and I’ve accomplished nothing. Not at all. It’s more a shock that things just keep coming down the road one after another. I look at my planner– oh yeah it’s that bad, and I think oh ok I think I might get a break this month and before the prior month even ends that whole idea is like hmmm ok not really.

September, for instance, is the month that I swore I would finally paint my living room, dining room, and hallway. Yes it’s massive but they’re all connected so you have to do them all together or things look really weird. I have not painted these walls since I moved in 7 years ago. Let that sink in a bit ok?

So I was determined to paint in September because September looked breathable.

I’m not sure that it’s going to happen. I completely underestimated the insanity that is the beginning of the school year and I swear that it’s getting worse as the kids get older, not easier like I thought it would.

I just realized that the example I have provided is one where it appears I may not accomplish what I want to which is directly counter to the point i made earlier.

The things, there is a lot of other stuff to accomplish that is getting accomplished so I count them as wins. So I’m fine with not painting if it means that I accomplish getting into the back to school groove this month. And I’m fine with not painting if it also means that the Toys and Coffee projects that are suddenly cropping up get accomplished too. And I’m fine with not painting if it means that not only do we get the Back to School groove going, blow out the Toys and Coffee projects, but also continue to be a bad ass at my job.

Staying busy is a great way to avoid thinking too much and in my case that’s a good thing. Last year I was worn out with thinking. This year I’m more in a less thinking, more doing frame of mind and I’m happy.

I know that some people lament being busy. They are too busy they can’t even relax. But for me, being busy includes relaxing. So I’m staying busy reading books, doodling, and making silly videos with my friend. I am really hoping that when the weather cools down I can add staying busy taking walks to that list or bike rides because I really do like to get outdoors, especially around where I work.

What about you? Is the year crawling or speeding? Are you busy? Are you busy relaxing? Are you bored out of your gourd?


I honestly believed that I had posted something more recently than July. Maybe I’ve come on here in my mind and left remnants here and there.

Honestly, I don’t feel really mutanty these days. We go through our phases, through our personalities as we go through our life and for a while now I have been thinking that maybe it’s time to shed the Mutant persona.

For what though?

I turned 35 last month. I wonder if I’m alone in that I find that I am still not really sure who I am. It strikes me in the oddest moments too. It’s as if these days, I’m sorting through memories and experiences and deciding– is this me? Is that? And I’m not even talking about major things here, I’m talking about stupid shit.

Like jeans. That’s right, jeans are a point of identity crisis for me these days. You see for a huge chunk of my life if you asked me what my style was the answer was jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. And in my head, yes dammit. Jeans and t-shirts. God I love them. Except that in reality, they don’t love me. Or they just don’t work out in real life the way they do in my head.

For one thing, they’re fucking hot ok? And this was never an issue for me. But these days it is and maybe it’s because I’m overweight and carrying the kind of weight I only carried in pregnancy. But it’s often over 90 degrees here and the humidity is ridiculous and the last thing I want to do is wear jeans. Especially because the quest for perfect jeans for me went awry. I want soft comfy jeans and can’t find them and when I think of finding them I inwardly protest– “But jeans are TOO HOT!”

And then there’s the t-shirt thing. I love t-shirts. T-shirts love me too. They love all of my rolls and my nooks and my crannies and they love to hug them and smoosh them and show them off.

So one of my favorite things these days is dresses. Just simple cotton/jersey kind of dresses. Except that I have to shave. I don’t want to always be shaving. I hate that shit because it’s really annoying to shave when you have glasses because they fog up in the shower and then you can’t see and you miss all these spots everywhere.

And that’s another thing, my glasses. I’m  getting kind of tired of my glasses. I feel like I’m hiding behind them and also I can’t wear sunglasses when I really do want to hide properly. But I hate contact lenses. They’re so fussy and annoying.

The only thing I am pretty certain about is that I’m a long hair kind of girl. It’s not hot if you yank it up into a ponytail. Longer hair is easier for me to maintain than shorter hair and I love that.

I know that this is stupid as hell but that’s kind of my point. I can’t even get myself figured out appearance-wise. What about everything else, you know?

I’m nice. I’m encouraging. But I’m also a leader and I deny that part of myself a lot. And I’m freaking creative ok? And crafty.

Sometimes I feel like people don’t take me seriously and that’s frustrating to me. I’m a kid at heart and I feel like people just don’t feel comfortable with that part of me. But it’s me. It’s one thing I love. Sigh.

Who am I? Who are you? Can it change? Should it change?

Mutant’s Guide to Using Miami Dade Public Libraries in 2015 For Meghan and Other People Too

My friend, Meghan, loves books but I just found out she doesn’t have a library card. She explained her reason for not having a library card was, “I get one every few years. I go and get a book or two but they never really impress me. Then I let it expire.”

That’s when I realized that Meghan, like lots and lots of my fellow book-loving Miamians, doesn’t know some super simple tricks for using Miami Dade’s Public Libraries.

There was a time where I too didn’t know the modern ways of our local libraries. I had similar experiences to Meghan; but then, many years ago I ran out of money and needed to read free books to distract me from the fact that I had no money and also maybe even so that I could learn how to not run out of money again in the future (spoiler alert: I did learn and I mostly don’t run out of money anymore, hooray).

My number one gripe about the whole library thing in this modern world was the fact that I had to actually go to a library, and then walk around looking for stuff, and mostly not finding what I was looking for, and then randomly selecting something that was or was not great. I don’t mind doing this once in a blue moon but I have limited reading time and I want to make the most of it. So, here is how you make the library work for you!

Step 1: Obtain a library card

You have to go to a Miami Dade library branch, find one closest to you right this very moment by clicking here, with your photo ID that confirms you’re a resident of Miami Dade. Fill out the application and get your library card. While you’re there, you can browse and remind yourself how not productive that experience is. You can also ask your librarian where the shelves are for the Hold Requests. Some libraries keep them behind the counter and the librarians pull them for you, while other libraries keep them out front and you pull them yourself. You will also want to take note of where the Self Check Out computers are. Once you do all that, you are now ready to go home and use the library the Mutant Supermodel way.

Optional Step 1a: Prepare a List

Once you do the hard work of getting your library card, you want to be able to use it right away and to do that I suggest you prepare a list of what you want to read. You might even HAVE a list already, like your giant Amazon Wishlist that’s 75% books or maybe you have a Goodreads account with a To-Read list that’s looking slightly challenging. If you don’t have either of those, you can refer to a list like Time’s 100 best novels of the 21st century or this awesome list of 50 great books written by women. Check out Oprah’s Book Club. Write down all the books you can think of as fast as you can. Use MY Goodreads list as a reference. Either way, have a list. I would suggest a good mix of new and old stuff.

Step 2: Register Online

When you get home, or to your office, or to your school, or anywhere you can get computer access, get online and register your library card by clicking here. If you have kids and you were an awesome parent and got THEM library cards too, you can register them individually as well so that they too may use the library the Mutant way. They will also most likely find out cool things much faster than you and then teach you the cool things so it’s a win-win. Once you’ve registered your card, log-in with your library card and pin number and get ready to rock.

Step 3: Preferences

When you log-in, you need to make sure you have your contact info and preferences set up. I am not sure if with a new registration you are prompted to do this or if you have to go and do it yourself. I am going to assume you have to do it yourself and show you what’s important to know here. If you get the welcome screen, click on Contact Information and Preferences.

What you want to pay attention to is the email and phone number stuff. Make sure that is correct and decide how you want to receive library notices. I really like the email way. They can also call you or text you. I don’t suggest mailing address because that’s just silly.

Also, here you can ask them to maintain your reading list. I did not know that until now. If you want to remember all the books you read, check that box. They’ll tell you that law enforcement will be able to get that info if you check that box. If you don’t care, proceed. If you do care, cancel. Once you’re done updating, click Sumbit Change Request and get ready to rock.

Step 4: Search

Place your mouse over where it says Explore in the top rightish section of the black menu bar. Then, click Quick Search under Catalog. I am going to search for a relatively new and popular book called In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume.

When you start typing, you will notice Quick Search uses Auto Complete so I will be lazy and click the Auto Complete suggestion. And boom there it is! Everything I need to know about this book for my purposes is right there. I can see that it is super popular because it has 15 copies and 139 holds. See why I told you to have a mix of new and old stuff?

139 sounds like a lot but with 15 copies it goes really fast. You can’t renew books that have hold requests on them so people have 30 days to read them and the library will only hold your copy for you for one week. So I’m going to jump into the party and click Place Request.

You then select which library branch you want to pick up your copy at. The default is where you got your library card at but you can make it whichever branch you want. There’s a box at the bottom that says Activation Date and it’s set to today’s date. This can be useful if you are placing a BUNCH of requests and want to stagger them so they don’t come in all at once. Since there are SO many requests for this book and you’re just getting started, I would leave this as is. But it’s a good tool to know about for when you get addicted and go Request Crazy (it’s only a matter of time).

Once you do that, you click Submit Request. The library will find it hard to believe you are a patient soul and tell you that there are 139 active requests for this book and make sure you really want to request it. You, being the masochistic book lover you are, will click CONTINUE because YOLO.

You will then get a confirmation of your request and a reminder in red at the top that if you don’t pick up your book within one week of them notifying you, you will be charged ONE DOLLAR and lose your book. I like that they made it a sad face at the end. ):

At the bottom, you can choose to go back to your Search Results, go to your List of Hold Requests, or Log Out. My suggestion is you go back to your Search Results because that’s how you continue searching for more books.

When you click that, you might not see the Search bar. It’s there, it’s just hiding and you have to scroll up to find it. Delete what you searched for and type in something new! You just do that until you are satisfied requesting books and then you Logout and wait a few days for your notifications to come in. If you have a Kindle or like reading eBooks then, there’s more work to do!

Step 5: eBooks

At the top of the page again, hover over My Account and click OverDrive under Digital Media. There are other options to click in this section too and I’ve heard they’re great but I haven’t used them yet even though I really need to figure out that Zinio thing because I heard it’s amazing.

Click on Account and login with the your library card and pin number. You can checkout TEN ebooks and place holds on TEN more (or audio books but I don’t use those so I don’t know anything about them). The selection here is much more limited so I would go here with a more open mind to trying stuff out and with a longer list.

The good thing is when you click Menu you can see all kinds of easy ways to browse some collections including Most Popular which I’m going to click. If you have a Kindle, you can narrow your search down by pressing the plus sign next to Format. Click Kindle Book.

Ok so you will notice there are some books with black book icons on them and some with gray. The black ones are the ones you can download right now, the gray ones are the ones you can place holds for. It’s like a real book– there’s a limit to how many digital copies the library has.

Because I think of the Kindle as my Ultimate Instant Gratification Device, I further filter it down to books Available Now. And there, right at my fingertips are all the books I can get on my Kindle RIGHT NOW.

Hover over the one you like and press Borrow. At the top, the book pops up, you click Go to Bookshelf. You then click Download and you select what format you want. I want a Kindle Book. So I click that check box and then at the bottom I click Confirm and Download.

At that point, it connects to Amazon and will likely have you login. You do that and and it takes you to the book on Amazon. If you’re ready to read it RIGHT NOW, you click the yellow button that says Get Library Book on the right hand side and you choose what device you want to send it to. After that, it follows normal Kindle procedures!

If you have a device that’s not the Kindle just click on the Help button next to the Search Bar and then click OverDrive Help. You can search or you can scroll down for some guides.

Step 6: Read, Read, Read Some More

That’s it! Read your ten eBooks on your Kindle while you wait for your library to notify you about your books waiting for you. When your notice comes in, get to your library within the one week grace period and find those shelves you asked your librarian about. My favorites are the ones where you do it yourself because I feel like a total Book Ninja grabbing them, going over to the Self Check Out computers, checking them out, and sauntering out of the library in less than ten minutes. Maybe smile and wave at your librarian as you saunter out, “Have a great day!”

Now that you have read this ridiculous guide, you have NO excuse to be a library card carrying member of Miami Dade Society. So enjoy and Happy Reading!

P.S. You’re welcome, Meghan!


Summertime and the living is easy

Ah, Summer. I love it’s lazy pace. I love how the pressure dials down. It’s hard for me to feel too stressed out when Summer rolls in. The heat sucks, especially down here, and while I don’t like being caught on the road in a huge storm watching one rage outside your window is delicious.

The kids have been attending Summer Camp and are happy. My parents took off to Alaska. Unlike at the medical campus, the pace definitely changes at my new campus. People are in and out. Many have special summer hours. I don’t really think it slows anything down either– it’s just different.

Nights run late during Summer. Friends are in and out of my house on any given day. Adventure is in the air.

I can’t believe we are in the last half of 2015. I feel so good. There have been bumps and there have been slumps but the bottom line is this year has gone exceptionally well. I am starting to think about next year and when I do, it’s with more excitement.

I feel a lot more confidence in myself and in my ability to recover from not good things. I feel better about uncertainty. Before it made me so anxious when I didn’t know where anything was going. Today, it still does but anxiety is not the only emotion I attach to the unknown. I’m excited too, curious. In other words, I am not freaking out that because I don’t know what’s coming, it will surely be bad. The fact is not knowing what is coming can also mean something amazing is coming, or even nothing at all.

I think that another thing this year has helped me with is come to acceptance with where I am in life. I have struggled with this so much in the past. I have felt that I was behind and that I should be much further along in so many ways. I felt I was too old to have so many silly issues still hanging around.

But now, well some of the issues are gone. I fixed them and that’s that. Others I am actively working at. Still others I have come to accept that they’re not fixed right now and they’re not likely going to get fixed in the short term and that’s ok because they give me something to keep working for. Some have even gotten worse to a degree but they don’t make me freak out anymore.

I think more than ever, and I expect this will become stronger every year, I am really beginning to understand that there is no standard I need to be at other than the one I hold to myself. Captain Obvious, am I right? But it’s become really clear to me this year as I’ve strengthened and made moves how much I hold myself to other people’s standards.

While I am not ready to dismiss the fact that I take a lot of emotional cues from the people surrounding me as a bad thing, I am ready to dismiss the fact that the only expectations for myself that matter, are my own. There are some challenges with that, mostly when it comes to the people that I have made central to my decision making processes who are being removed from that pedestal. But overall, it’s a good change to make.

We all have opinions about what’s best for the people we care about. I understand that and I respect that. To a degree, I’ll even listen to it. But at the end of the day, the person I have to live with every minute of my life is myself. I have to take ownership of my choices and I have to be ok with those choices. The more voices I listen to, the harder that gets.

I think this becomes the issue with oversharing regardless of whether it’s digitally or in person or whatever. I never really thought of it that way. I always thought that asking for input was a good thing to do, a smart one. Now I’m starting to realize that while there are certainly situations where that’s the case, more often than not it’s a sign you don’t trust yourself.

I am done not trusting myself.

And because of that, I feel better even though things aren’t perfect. I feel ok about how things are. I know there are things going on that might not be great, but I know that I am deciding on my own how to fix them and that helps a lot.

Anyways, enough with the heavy ponderings…. Light stuff is called for!

We watched Inside Out and it was fantastic. Intense, yes. But it is a great movie and can be helpful for parents in figuring out how to discuss emotions with their kids.

My friend and I keep making our silly videos. We have a lot of fun making them and we are spectacularly dorky in them. I think if you want to laugh at a couple of ladies being silly, you will enjoy them.

Also, we are officially foster failures. A foster failure is someone who was supposed to temporarily house an animal until it found it’s furever home but the foster falls in love with the animal and can’t let it go. And that’s what happened to us. This dog is everything we ever wanted in a dog and the idea of letting him go was not pleasant. So he’s here to stay. Happy endings happen all the time!

Furever Family


Skimming through life

I have had lapses in my writing for various reasons. I usually understand them but I don’t really get what’s going on right now honestly. Life is good. There have been some changes and some important things are different than they were when I last posted a few weeks ago. Usually I would be itching to tell you all about it but right now that’s just not the case. It’s not like I’m bent on keeping things to myself either, I think maybe I just find that I am really distracted by a lot of other things.

The first of those is work. I really like my job. I love my team. I look up to my boss. I feel insanely comfortable here and greatly appreciated. I am happy. I like to work. I like to make things happen and make people proud and make their work easier. I really enjoy learning about all this science stuff. There are so many cool creatures out there you guys. I’ve learned cool stuff about toadfish, and mahi, and crocodiles, and sea slugs, and corals. Just neat, neat, neat.

Other distractions are friends and silly side projects like Toys and Coffee. I am getting out more often. I am seeing more people more often. I am widening my circle. I have even more time for that now. Which is funny because I thought that I would be bored, but I think these days I am even busier than I was before the changes happened.

There’s also a foster dog in my house. He’s a sweet boxer and my kids and my boyfriend have fallen head over heels in love with him. I like him A LOT too but I’m scared to commit to dog ownership. I have another week to decide whether or not to adopt him or to continue as a foster and help have him adopted out. There is A LOT of pressure from most people to keep him– except for my mother and my grandmother who absolutely hate the dog completely and are furious with me for having him in my house. My mom actually stopped talking to me for a few days so that was interesting and gave me some more stuff to think about and be distracted by.

In other words, there’s  a lot to write about, there really is but I’m just not finding the urge to sit and hash it out. Even this skim is way more superficial than it could be. There’s more to even just mention but I dunno, it’s late, I want to relax, and this just isn’t relaxing to me right now. Weird how things change right?

On Creating

On the way home from an event that is sort of billed as a by artists for artists event, my friends and I had an interesting conversation about the creative process. Mostly it was about where your best work comes from. It seems that a lot of work that’s out there is dark and comes from a dark place. The story behind a piece is often that is littered with anxiety, sadness, and/or frustration. And so that energy becomes a beautiful work of art.

It’s a really nice story. It’s one that is often told and one that seems to be intricately woven into the stereotype of the artist. It goes without saying, I hope, that this is not only for the artist that deals with lines, colors, and canvas. And yet, it’s something that I reject.

For starters, I find that it just doesn’t apply to me. I find that I am most creative when there is energy and while negative emotions do cause some sort of energy for me (i.e. anxiety) that does push me to create, I feel that the work that comes from that is not my best. It’s desperate work. It’s unpolished and sort of frantic. And while it is attractive material to others, I just don’t feel it reflects what I am actually capable of.

That work, I feel, comes from good energy. Take for example, this current binge of ideas my brain is exploding with. It is coming from an outpouring of positive energy that I charged into the beginning of the year with. Of course it has had it’s lulls and setbacks but for the most part, it’s been a good year for me and it’s been easy for me to tap into the goodness. Last night, I went out with friends, really enjoyed myself, and today I am BURSTING with ideas for all sorts of things. I want to not only create things but I want to share the energy and share the creation.

That really is something that is unique to this sort of creativity for me personally. Things that come from dark places are very similiar to cries for help. I am uncomfortable with cries for help. And so with those creations, I am cautious. With these, I am eager.

A big part of me finds frustration in the darkness associated with artists. It is cool to be edgy, dark, and controversial. Tragedy wins an audience like nothing else. And yet, I can’t help but wonder if that is the easy stuff. It is often said Misery loves company but what about Joy?

What has changed in our culture that has made positivity unfashionable? I have heard so many times that being happy or optimistic is exhausting! People are distrustful of smiles. Happy relationships and their public displays of affection make people roll their eyes and wonder what they’re really hiding. There are lots of posts and memes about how everyone has their own set of problems and we just never know it but doesn’t everyone also have their own set of triumps and victories and achievements we are also clueless about?

Is it better to celebrate than to sympathize? Or do we need both equally? And if we do need both, why are we denying the former so viciously?

What do you think? What gets your creative juices flowing? The darkness or the light? Or is it simply a matter of a deadline, mental state be damned?

Things I did this weekend that I really liked

I really enjoyed my long weekend. Like, really, really, really enjoyed it. And because I have heard that making lists is good for you, here is a list of the things I did this weekend that I really liked:

  • I went on a date with my love
  • I ate a lot of delicious food on that date
  • I tagged along on a trip to the outlets in Homestead
  • I had a delicious bubble tea
  • I stayed up late playing Assassins Creed with my love
  • I went to Key Biscayne with my love and my friend and we walked/jogged across the bridge
  • Afterwards, we collapsed on the beach and I ate an arepa and a frozen lemonade
  • We decided we wanted to go kayaking but then didn’t do it because they warned us the wind was out of control and we were exhausted. I don’t care that we didn’t do it, I’m happy that we decided to do it at least
  • I passed out and took a power nap when we got home
  • My friend and I recorded a new unboxing video
  • I went to Barnes and Noble
  • I had friends come by and I barbecued food. We ate, we drank, we hung out. Our kids played and we talked and talked

Now you tell me all the things you liked about this weekend!