Sunday, February 26, 2012

Consideration Nation (or Party Foul)

Ok. I am going to try and blog this post calmly.

In past weeks many mean things have happened to my friends and myself. One friend was stood up, one friend had a guy go psycho on her, one friend has a poophead baby daddy, one friend has a person who tweets evil things about her, one friend's boyfriend stopped talking to her out of nowhere...the list goes on. I have two words for this: PARTY FOUL. But, as always, I strive to find positive outlets to handle any negativity that goes on in my life. So here is a How-To-Handle-Being-Mean.

-So you don't want to date someone anymore.

That's cool, it happens. At this point in my life I have been dumped so many times I actually have professors who, when informed that I have since parted with my latest victim say "Well that's nothing new for you." Whatever. But if you find yourself in the position of rejectOR intend of rejectEE here is what you do:

You CALL the person or MEET WITH THEM IN PERSON. That person invested as much time in you as you did in them. Even if it's the right thing, chances are what you have to say is going to hurt them. Have respect for what that person brought to your life. Discuss parting ways in a respectful, caring, and assertive manner. They will probably talk smack anyway, but at least you can keep it classy.

-You have plans with someone but you a) don't want to go or b) had something come up that prevents you from going.

It is 2012. There are about 465 ways to get in touch with someone, there really is (barring emergency situations of course) no excuse for standing someone up. You TEXT, CALL, TWEET, FACEBOOK, SMOKE SIGNAL, etc. the person and politely bail. You can offer other times for a future rendezvous or, if you don't actually want to see them you say "Upon further reflection, I do not think hanging out is a good idea."

You DO NOT stand the person up, ignore their text messages/calls, or come up with idiotic excuses as to why you "did not get" their text messages the day before. Frankly it is rude, inconsiderate, selfish, and despicable.

-What To Do When You're REALLLYYYY Mad At Someone

This is a tricky one. Often, if a person does something intentionally mean to you it says they really just do not care about anyone but themselves. A person like this is not likely to care what you have to say or how their actions offended you. You may just have to let it go. Personally, I think people like that need forgiveness and love sent their way more than they need someone to point out what a narcissistic poltroon they are.

Occasionally though it is important to assert yourself to this person. If you have the opportunity to confront someone who has hurt you, I encourage you to approach the person from a place of respect and clarity. What they did hurt, sure, but you will not leave the conversation satisfied if all you do is call them mean names and swear at them. Swearing and evil name calling are not classy things and will automatically earn you the title "psycho$#%" or "banshee."

One suggestion that I try to employ often is to use a sentence format like this: "When you did this, I felt this, and that was really _______ because..." or something like that. Expressing your own feelings from your perspective will be cathartic for you and will not place the other party on the defensive. By expressing yourself succinctly you avoid mud-slinging and facilitate the opportunity for an open and honest discussion.

-What To Do When You Have Done Any Of the Above

Find a way, if possible or worth it, to say you're sorry. I can't tell you how much it would mean to me if anyone who did mean things to me contacted me and said "That was really rotten when I did that." My anger at these people is mostly because I think they don't realize they have done anything wrong. Then I get angry because I am angry about someone who so clearly does not care about me at all. I still struggle with frustration at people who hurt me deeply in the past, even if it has no bearing on my life now because those people never told me they were sorry.

Apologizing means swallowing your pride and acknowledging you were wrong and that you wish you had acted differently. Acknowledgment is the first step to solving a problem or at the very least, clearing your conscience. Granted, not everyone will say "That's ok no big." They may say something like "Whatever you're a #&%@*@," or "I can't believe you thought I cared about that," (they SO did). Admitting you were wrong provides justification for the wronged party and vindication for you. Also, it provides an opportunity to improve the relationship down the road, if warranted.

After you apologize, or even if you do not, try not to commit these actions. I know I am guilty of all of them at some point in my life. It's hard to reject someone, but it isn't any easier living with knowing you intentionally hurt someone for the sake of your own comfort. That person is a person too with feelings, emotions, and needs. Treat them as such and take the high road.

Well, I feel better now. Hopefully none of you lovely readers will actually have to employ this advice and your lives are filled with happy and positive relationships and interactions. Hope you all had a great weekend and that your week is full of love, positivity, and wine. Talk soon!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

That's the Way We Get By

Man oh man. 2012 has brought many changes in my life. It has been absolute craziness seriously since January 1st.

Sometimes when this happens I get a little frantic and crazy and I exhibit self-destructive behaviors such as skipping the gym and eating excessive amounts of cheese. And this time period was no exception.

Sometimes when this happens I feel like I am failing every day. Like no matter how on time I am or how much effort I put forth, things just are not coming together. This is particularly stressful due to my life in leadership positions.

So what do I do? I have to take a step back. I have to remember why I do what I do, and how I can be the best at it. Here are some tips if you ever feel this way:

-Think about your ultimate goal for where you are.

It is so easy to become introverted or absorbed in things outside of where you are. For me, it is sometimes difficult to focus because I have to do 2985 other things during the day. But I really am practicing shifting my energy. When I am at work, I realize my ultimate goal is facilitate a positive and welcoming environment. When my co-workers come in, I want them to be glad I am working that day. If you give your best to other people, it becomes easier to get the best out of them.

-Positive inner dialog

When I get busy and frantic, it also becomes easier for my negative feelings to come to light. Sometimes I might say something in my inner dialog like "well if you could get this right, maybe you'll finally be something important," or "maybe if you weren't so crazy thus and so would like you," and things like that. But I have to remember (and you should too) that you are where you are for a reason. If you have a job, someone believed in your skills enough to trust you with the position. And that alone is enough to justify a positive outlook in your work and in your life. The more you focus your energy on thinking about positive aspects in yourself, the more you will find positivity manifesting itself in your life and interactions.

-Make time for what is important to you

Case in point: I LOVE going to the gym. It is one of my most favorite things. The last few weeks it has been difficult to find time to go, and when I have time I am so exhausted that a treadmill looks like a medieval torture device. But I realized that when I do not get to the gym, I feel sad and, moreover, I feel unable to consume excessive amounts of peanut butter M&M's, which also makes me sad. So what did I do? I re-evaluated and now I get up super early so I definitely make it to the gym before work. Even doing this for three days made me feel SO much better not only about myself, and it gets my day off to a great start.

If you feel like you have zero time to do things that are important to you, you must re-evaluate your schedule. People make time for the things that mean a lot to them. You, too, can find a way to make it work. I promise it is worth it.

-Find ways to love what you do

Ok, retail management is not my ideal occupation for the rest of my life. But, like any job, it pays the bills. So I can choose either to degrade my position on the societal ladder, or I can find the positive aspects of my workplace and focus on those. For instance, I love making magic for customers. For every 2587 meanies there are 2 or 3 customers who come in and really have a wonderful experience finding things that make them feel good about themselves. I cherish these moments.

I am also very lucky because I get paid to make music many nights a week. Though there are frustrating aspects of these projects, I have to remember that I get to play piano and make music with people for hours on end every night of the week. And then there's the moment when the song is over, a split second of silence where everyone is thinking the same thing: "Wow that was good." When you get to be a part of that moment it becomes difficult to focus on anything negative.

-Do something frivolous every day.

On Mondays, I got frozen yogurt before rehearsal. I ate (more like devoured) it in my car and enjoy the you-know-what out of it. It is so good. On Friday and Saturday I wore a ridiculous (and adorable) headscarf as a color pop. On Thursday I bought the most amazing off-the-shoulder shirt EVER. Ok, I don't encourage buying clothing as a frivolous activity, that can be expensive. But you catch my drift. My mom calls this "finding pockets of peace." Finding a few minutes every day to do something that you really just like to do is epic. Even if it is just updating your fitness app on the train commute.

-Realize it's ok.

My "Ok's":

It's ok to get out at an inefficient exit at the train station to talk with the preacher on the corner every morning. It's ok to only wear Ugg boots after work because your feet hurt so badly you can't move. It's ok to eat your dinner from a vending machine because your forgot your meatless chicken nuggets at home.

In other words, I think it's ok to do some weird stuff sometimes to keep yourself moving forward.

So remember, every day can be the best day ever, you just have to find the good in it. Some days it will be harder to find than others, but it's there, even if you have to hit the snooze to cuddle with your cats or wait until 10pm to have a hefty glass of wine with some friends. Happy Saturday! Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Fray

Another year in the trenches. Alas. Or is it?

I always find when Valentine's Day comes around it's a toss-up. Do I let my bitter feelings take over and create a cynical day? Or am I ambivalent? I mean I must confess, when the pastor prayed for single people in church on Sunday I swear I felt a follow-spot on me. And I am bummed that, once again, I am spending the day with two felines and a bottle of Chianti. I also know that no girl really thinks any holiday is stupid where she might receive something shiny, so I might as well give up my cavalier charade. But this year, I have a solution. I am shifting my focus from the kind love I do not have to the kind of love that I do.

I have a wonderful family. I am 24 and my mom still sends me a Valentine's Day card. My sister is the smartest person in the world and asks my advice on where she should spend Spring Break. My dad always makes me laugh. My cousin is cooler than I am and sometimes it rubs off. It doesn't matter when or why I call, they just like to hear from me, and vice versa.

I also have two reallllllyyyy adorable felines who, in spite of the stigma attached to their species, really do love me. And they always know when I need them for a good cuddle. I am fully aware that these tender moments are breaks in between their assassination and world domination plots, but hey, I'll take it.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I have the best friends ever. Like real, in your face, tell it like it is but love you anyway friends. I have people I can call when my car breaks down and I need a ride, or I happen to have one hour free and they are just as delighted as I am to spend it together. Friends who do my hair even when they know I am just using outward solutions to cope with inner problems. Friends who don't frown upon me when I cave and eat cheese. Friends who, no matter what, find a way to say both what I want and need to hear at the same time.

With that kind of love in my life, it becomes difficult to really think I am missing anything. I may be single, but I am not alone. And that is the greatest Valentine's Day gift of all. Spread some love to everyone in your life today....unlike oil, it is a renewable and sustainable resource.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Things I Have Realized (or Admitted to Myself)

Hellooooo Readers!

Happy Monday! You will be pleased to know I have absolutely nothing exciting to report from this weekend since I spent it recovering and rehearsing. So, a Monday post after a weekend of reflection. Enjoy!

-Ask and You Shall Receive

This guy I know, Jesus, said this about 2000 years ago. Fortunately I have finally joined the party train. People are not crystal balls. In fact, we are all so self-centered that when things don't go our way we tend to blame someone else for being out to intentionally piss us off. This is, however, not the case. I realize that if I want something, all I have to do is ask. I don't have to jump through hoops (or offer to do so), I don't have to will it to happen, I don't have to manipulate (well, at least in most cases), all I do is ask. No one knows what you want until you ask for it.

-Everyone Has A Story

It is so easy to get mad at the person driving too slowly in front of you, or to silently curse out the person in the express line at Whole Foods with 16 instead of 15 items (roar). But I have recently realized that those people are trying to get somewhere too. We are all trying to do what we can to get through the line at the grocery store. The person going slowly is NOT trying to make you upset (in theory, even though this always happens when you're running late), they are probably looking for a house they cannot find so they can pick up a child, or meet with someone really important. We have no concept of what other people go through. Therefore, I attempt to spend my time trying to spread patience and calmness regardless of the situation. Does this cause heartache when someone actually is blatantly trying to be a poopface? Oooooohhhhhh yes. And we must not forget that in our efforts to remember people's stories, frustration and flat-out anger are allowed to felt, vented, and experienced. But, ultimately, that poopface has a story too. And sometimes we are the poopfaces! What are ya gonna do?

-I Need to (Consistently) Give Up Cheese

I am a vegan in progress. It's hard to give up cheese! But I have definitely noticed a difference in my physique. Now if only I could remember that when a beautiful pizza comes my way.

-Running is Amazing.

And the most painful. But I have to say that every time I run at the gym (at least a mile a day), I break a super sweat, I feel my muscles come alive, and I can actually track my progress through endurance, speed, and soreness level. It is so rewarding to run outside and not be almost throwing up after a winter on the elliptical, even if I haven't been able to walk without agony in weeks.

-It's Ok to Be A Work in Progress

In life, there is ALWAYS room for improvement and growth. It is perfectly natural to grow and learn as life comes at you, as long as you strive to be the better for it.

-It's Ok To Skip A Workout and Go to Happy Hour Instead

You can work off a drink and some apps, but you can't replace the value of a good conversation with good company. Although if you're like me and bear midriff, it doesn't hurt to do a superset of abs before you go.

-It's Ok to Be Bummed Sometimes

I try and keep a positive outlook but sometimes I just need to shake my fists and the sky and go "Whyyyyyyyyy!!??" I just try to experience those feelings while keeping the positive things close to my heart and my energy (aka I spoon with my cats).

-The Alcohol in Wine Kills Germs

When I am sick I drink water and wine. It was good enough for my aforementioned homie Jesus, it's good enough for me. And I swear it gets me better faster. What it does for my blogging, well you'll have to tell me.

-What Wine Doesn't Cure, Coconut Water Will

My roommate got me onto coconut water and I am not even kidding you when I say it cures EVERYTHING from hangovers to sore muscles. It has a lot of potassium and many other nutrients. The taste definitely takes some getting used to, but it is worth it for sure.

-No Matter How Old I Am, I Still Need My Parents

My mom is still the first person I call about everything. My dad is still the best and tallest man on earth (keep your Electra comments to yourselves haters). And, like this past weekend, I was sick and all I wanted was my mom to take care of me and my dad to make me cream of wheat. They say you can't go home again, but I know I always can (even though my parents are legit crazy).

-Mondays Are Mean

Hey, I said things I realize not epic epiphany. Obviously I have known this fact for a loooooong time. Good luck with the weekly grind people. Keep fighting the good fight!

Fear(?) of Freedom

Hey All!

It has been quite awhile, but you will be excited to know that, once again, I am living singularly (and convinced Google to let me log in to this blog). This time, my adventures are joined not only by my cats but by roommates and a new job location! So, what to post about in my first post in over a year? How about an existential crisis?

So here's what happens. You finally get your act together.

Recently, everything I ever wanted in life actually happened. I got an amazing full-time gig in the big city. It requires me to take public transportation, walk to work, and wear kick ass boots and headwear every day on my two block jaunt to my employer. So diesel. Not to mention, the job is so amazing because at the time it happened I had already committed to playing a spring musical, my absolute passion, and they are flexible with my schedule and let me work when I can so I can make it to all of my various things. I am in school and plugging away at my very interesting thesis and still doing my part-time super fulfilling music gig. Epic.

Also, at least for a hot second, I had THE guy. The greatest guy. The guy we see in Disney movies. Yet, as is typical, things change, and things ended.

So now, things aren't "perfect." Or are they?

I find that often, when everything in my life is "as it should be," I am afraid that something will go wrong. I spend hours trying to stave off my negative fears and eventually, because life is what it is, something goes wrong. My problem is that when this happens, I neglect to pay attention to the amazing things in my life.

I went through the completely necessary various stages of breakupdom for the 39865287th time. My friends and myself said all the right "Ugh, boys" things, and I certainly acknowledge at least a modicum of sadness at the end of the relationship.

But, I ultimately realized something: I have fulfillment in my life. Though it is a super goal of mine to eventually find myself in the ideal marital situation, I have so many fantastic things in my life that I really can't spend time worrying about what may or may not be missing. I just can't. I love my music, I love my work, and I love my peeps. Can it get better than that?

I think that my fear of freedom is actually fear of acknowledgement. Fear of acknowledging that no matter what, nothing is REALLY missing in my life. There is just room to add more beauty and excitement. I would like to substitute the word "Fear" for "Acceptance." Acceptance of the fact that I have been free to make the choices I have made and to be the person I am, and acceptance of the possibility of how I can learn and grow in the future to come. Just because I haven't achieved all my goals yet doesn't mean I don't still have it all.

For now, I will leave you with that. Don't worry, the next post will be way more funny and sardonic. Happy Hump Day!