“An intention will help create more clarity in your life, especially when the seed is planted right before you start your meditation. Setting an intention is like drawing a map of where you wish to go — it becomes the driving force of your higher consciousness”
A little over three years ago, I wrote down some intentions on the eve of a strawberry moon. Without going into too much detail, these intentions included goals for my career, my family, my home, my love life, and my general well-being. I filled up an entire sheet of paper, folded it up, and tucked it away in my sock drawer.
By the next month, I started my new job and got one huge item checked off the list. It seemed like after that, good or bad, everything started to fall into place – even if I couldn’t see it as it was happening. I pulled the note out once, maybe twice over the course of the next year, but in all honestly I completely forgot about it in that sock drawer until about a week ago.
As I read over that list, three years later, I was either at or far beyond every goal and intention I outlined for myself. And it was a really good feeling… but it was also a little defeating. Was that it? Where do I go from here? I know I probably should have kept this piece of paper for its sentimental value or whatever, but in that moment – when the realization hit me – I knew there was only one thing left to do.
So, I ripped it up into tiny little pieces and threw it in the trash.
The lesson I learned through this experience is to never stop striving. Never stop setting intentions and goals for yourself. Write it down. Check back in on it periodically. Achieve it. And once you check everything off your list, rip it up and set higher ones. [Okay, ripping it up might be a little over dramatic, but you know who you’re dealing with here.] Either way, always remember that you are so, so capable of so much more than you think you are. Never stop learning. Never stop growing. And never, ever settle.
“[Love] isn’t urgent, it isn’t stressful, it isn’t about pity. I don’t think that to love someone else you should have to abandon yourself.”
I’m not sure why, but I’ve read a lot of books written by female comedians. [Proof here, and here.] It started when I joined a “book club” with my friends, that never amounted us meeting or discussing said books… but, I digress. This genre is typically an easy read, it’s entertaining, witty, and tends to address larger issues of how women are treated and perceived in a male-dominated industry. For my birthday last year, a friend got me Whitney Cummings’ book, I’m Fine …and Other Lies. While I am familiar with Whitney Cummings, I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a fan of her work; I can remember watching a bit of one of her shows or maybe stand-up and thinking she was pretty cool. At any rate, I gave her book a go.
I learned a lot of information about her: from her struggles with codependency, relationship issues, and severe anorexia, to her very personal experiences with different forms of therapy. With each chapter I became more and more surprised with how dysfunctional her life actually was, and how she managed to turn every bit of it into something positive. There was one chapter that really resonated with me: it started out about how she gravitates towards rescuing pit bulls, explaining that they are a misunderstood breed; often a product of poor training or having been taken from their mothers too young. Pit bulls are the most common dog breed found in shelters, and as a result the most frequently euthanized. One day, she came across a year-old blue pit that was only a couple days away from being euthanized and in desperate need of a home. She ended up taking him in and naming him Billy.
Now her game plan wasn’t to keep Billy, as she already had 3 doggos of her own. Her goal was to figure out his triggers, provide some much needed impulse control training, help him heal from the previous abuse he had experienced, and find him a forever home.
Long story short, she got into a… situation with Billy – and through a combination of poor impulse control and razor-sharp teeth – she found herself with half of her ear dangling from her head. [Side note: I highly recommend reading this book to get all the details, because it’s a pretty crazy story.] But the lesson behind this experience is what really stuck with me. Cummings goes on to explain, what she did with Billy is similar to what she does in relationships – getting herself into a bad situation because she underestimated what she was dealing with. All of this stemmed from an innate addiction – to love.
Some examples of how love addiction can manifest in relationships: ignoring red flags and rationalizing unsavory behavior; glorifying a person instead of accepting who they are showing you they are; falling for someone’s potential instead of who they actually are; letting your world get smaller and making the person (or pit bull you’re trying to rescue) become your primary focus.
And here was the kicker…
“I constantly gave points to men for things that should be filed under ‘the least you can do.'”
Let us all take a moment to remember that your significant other does not earn bonus points for things such as (but not limited to): calling you, wanting to spend time with you, not cheating on you, not lying to you, etc. Things that should be considered bare minimum requirements of being in a committed relationship does not warrant praise. Let me repeat: the bare minimum. Does. Not. Warrant. Praise. Let’s hold our significant others to a higher standard and let go of those who don’t live up to that standard. Don’t accept anything less than exactly what you deserve, and especially don’t do so in the name of love.
“It took losing an ear for me to learn to take it slow with people, friends, work relationships, house hunting, hair color decisions, and the animals I bring into my home.” Cummings goes on to remind us to take people at face value instead of projecting our expectations/hopes/dreams onto them. You won’t change someones neurology or value system just by loving them. Love has boundaries, and we shouldn’t lose ourselves for the sake of it. Don’t confuse love with sympathy. And don’t confuse rescuing someone with intimacy.
Thanks for the tip hidden in this gem of a chapter, Whit. < 3
“Happy New Year!!” She exclaims, 45 days into 2018. What can I say. I guess I’ve been busy *shrugs*
The roller coaster that was 2017 ended on an extremely high note, and I’m hopeful for what 2018 has in store. My goal, at least during this tax season, is to use some of my tax return on the purchase of a functioning laptop so I don’t have to sneak around on my free time at work to post something. Let’s be honest, my first drafts usually start on my phone anyway *shrugs again*
So, if you use Facebook at all, you know there is an “On This Day” tab where you can see your Facebook activity on that same day, years in the past. For someone who is an avid Facebook user, this can either be full of really fond memories you can share, or it can be a really cruel page filled with things you’d rather forget. If you’re like me (i.e. never post anything on Facebook and use it purely to creep), this section is usually barren and/or filled with cryptic statuses and song lyrics from a decade ago when you thought people actually cared.
Yesterday being Valentine’s Day and all, I got this (kinda sick?) idea to check out my Facebook memories On *This* particular Day.
Spoiler alert, there wasn’t much there. I guess I never had any exciting Valentine’s Days via Facebook? Entirely for the best, I’m sure. However, there was one post I made on this day, six years ago, that I’ve been thinking about ever since I stumbled back upon it. It read, “Always want what you can’t have. Never what you can.”
Now on V-Day 2012, I am pretty sure I was single. This was after my high school boyfriend, but before the post-college one (yes, my former suitors have now been generalized into these two very broad groups). I’m not sure how my 21-year-old self would have interpreted this statement, since I don’t even remember posting it or what prompted me to do so at 11:40 PM on Valentine’s Day; but I know how my 27-year-old self understands this statement today.
There are a lot of things we say we want, that we can have if we were motivated enough. You say you want a nice body, but you’re not willing to discipline yourself in the kitchen and at the gym to achieve one. You say you want a quality significant other, but you push all the good ones away in favor of the assholes. You say you want that nice car, but you’re not willing to stop spending all your money at the mall or the bar to save up for one. Most of what we say we want can be 100% attainable if we just shifted our priorities. Most people would rather just be unhappy and complain, rather than go out and get it. [Side note for all of you thinking, “but I want this person who doesn’t want me???” let me present you with this mind-blowing thought… if they don’t want you, then trust me, you don’t want them either!]
The truth in what we really want lie in the things we’re willing to sacrifice to get it. If you’re not willing to make the sacrifices, then you probably didn’t want it as bad as you think you did.
The only “wants” I hope to have in life are the unattainable… (likeeeee the ability to teleport, for instance) because everything else I’ve already wanted I’ve surrounded myself with.
Maybe I am over simplifying this. I’ve been told Scorpios are very black-and-white.
Ironically, I ordered it before my life took an unexpected turn for the worse, but I guess you could say I was anticipating (maybe even preparing for?) it in a way. And truthfully, this book was delivered just in time.
First of all, I highly recommend this read. It won’t change your life in one day, but it will make you start to think about changing your approach to certain situations in life. The most influential themes I took away from it are:
We all need to stop framing our reality based on other’s perceptions of us (and any other uncontrollable factors)
Weathering the shitstorm is usually a necessity
You really don’t know everything (so stop pretending like you do).
As it turns out, you can’t control other people. Chasing perfection and trying to control every diminutive aspect of your life is a recipe for disaster and anxiety. It breeds unwanted stress. You can’t expect to account for every possible outcome in a situation, yet that’s what I’ve found I always try to do. It’s always been the unknown variables that I don’t do well with. But at some point you have to realize, you can’t control the way other people are; you can’t make someone care about you, or even like you for that matter. And you can’t base your worth on any of that shit.
Others will care as much as they want to, and sometimes factors in their own life will affect that. And guess what? Most of the time it will have nothing to do with you. Which brings me to another valuable lesson I found in this book: it’s not always about you.
Last Saturday I woke up to a beautiful morning with no real plans for the day. I went to the gym, hit up the grocery store, and even got my car washed. I needed my next destination to be out in the sun, next to the water, in a bikini and preferably with a drink in my hand. Everyone I texted was either out of town, busy, or just flat out didn’t respond. All I wanted to do was go to the damn beach and no one was available to join me.
If you would have put this situation in front of me last month or even last year, my response would have been to just stay home and contemplate how lame I am, or retreat to my parents house where I could lay out, undisturbed, in their yard. I would sacrifice the idea of going to the beach because I didn’t want to go alone.
Last Saturday, I said “fuck it.”
And guess what? I had a wonderful time. I didn’t need to, nor did I want to, depend on the accompaniment of anyone else as my only reason for going to the beach. This is not a testament to any new-found reclusiveness amidst the breakup, but more so, a new-found independence. Yes, it would have been nice to have a beach buddy. But it was not necessary and everything was still okay. No one was at fault for not being available to join me, and I was still able to enjoy the couple hours of relaxation and solitude.
This book showed me that I’ve been a little too self-centered through the hard times too. Everyone has problems. You have no idea what someone else is going through (you know, back to the whole not being able to know/control everything), and in no way should you assume that all the bad stuff is only happening to you. That is victim mentality and it is toxic as hell.
I was at my cousin’s wedding a couple weekends ago, and took full advantage of the open bar. I was approached by a family member who asked how my relationship was going, and I had a total drunken breakdown. I explained how horribly he ended it; how I never meant anything; how I’m going on 27 years old, and feel so lost and alone; how it feels like the rest of the world has found their forever person and I’m back to square one. She listened intently, with a slight smirk on her face. When I was finished and composed myself, she looked me in the eye, and you know what she told me?
“I am seriously so excited for you and this time in your life.”
Like, what? It didn’t hit me until [sobriety hit me] the next day — how significant those few words actually were. Even in simply reframing the way you view your own misfortune; acknowledging that yeah shit still kind of sucks, and yeah sometimes I still hurt, and some days will be shittier than others, but in the end I will be better for it. I got out of a bad situation. I am ready for this time in my life. Others would honestly kill to be in my situation right now. I’m young, independent, and ready to face whatever this world throws at me. Sometimes we need to weather that shitstorm to come out better and more appreciative of the things we do have.
And that’s why you should probably read this book, then give it to everyone else you know to read too.
Now here is some empowering music from my girl Kesha.
Sometimes you have to say goodbye to the one person you thought you’d spend forever with.
No matter how much you truly care about someone, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. No matter how hard you fight for someone, sometimes there is nothing more you can do when they look you in the eye and tell you they don’t know if they love you anymore. Sometimes after you give all you have, there’s truly nothing left. Loving someone isn’t always enough.
Humans are often motivated by fear; the fear of the unknown, fear of change, the fear of ending up alone. And that fear can cause us to settle. To resent the very thing we are trying so hard to keep. How many times does the universe have to show you, if you struggle so hard to keep something, it was never really yours to begin with?
“Loss of control is always the source of fear. It is also, however, always the source of change.”
And then there’s the fear of facing the fact that maybe we deserve better.
When my grandma passed away at the age of 84 this past May, my grieving grandpa said something that resonated within me: “Sixty-three years I spent with her, and it still wasn’t enough.” That is the love I want. That is the love I deserve.
In the end, there is only one person you are absolutely guaranteed to spend forever with, and that person is you. So when it comes down to losing someone, we all eventually have to trust that we will make it through. And trust, that in taking care of the person you do have to spend forever with, you will welcome love back into your life.
I won’t let you giving up on me mean that I should give up on myself.
Just because you don’t love me, that doesn’t make me unlovable.
I will repeat these words when the thought of losing you makes me sad. I will repeat these words, over and over again, until they become my only truth.
I am going to be fine. I will get through this. And I will be better for it. I will find somebody out there who treats me the way I deserve to be treated, who showers me with the love you never wanted to show me. And in a few months, when you realize [again] what you lost, this time I won’t be there.
When it comes to knowing when to keep my mouth shut, I have a serious problem – subtlety has never been my strong suit. There’s just something in me that refuses to mislead, or even hold back… If I think it, you’ll know it, no bullshit.
Most of my friends would call me an open book. I don’t know where I got it from, or why I am the way I am… but, when I speak to people about my own experiences or beliefs, I just want the other person to be in my brain. To process the information the way I see it happening… to see how it is through my own eyes, banishing their own bias and absorbing mine. In certain instances, that makes me an excellent storyteller and teacher. Other times I appear very long-winded and narrow-minded. I can’t explain why I do it, but it’s been like this for as long as I can remember. I’ve lived my entire life putting the utmost trust in others. Sometimes—rightly so. Other times it’s caused me to get burned.
When I was younger, I used to talk to anyone who would listen. It took me longer than I’d like to admit to learn not everyone has my best interest in mind. That eventually, I would say the wrong thing to someone. Eventually, there would be people that would come into my life who would try and use my words against me. There came a point (probably in my early teens) when I realized not all people listened because they genuinely care, and I should choose wisely who to unabashedly confide in. That realization didn’t exactly stop me from spilling my mind (it’s completely involuntary), but it taught me to go about it a little wiser. It was around that time I made the decision to only speak the truth, so even if my compulsory word vomit ever did come back to bite me, I would always be able to own up to what was said.
And then there was a period of time towards the end of high school, when I went through a brutal honesty phase. Everyone, when seeking advice, received my unsolicited opinion, whether it was what they wanted to hear, or just plain rude. I gained a short-lived reputation as a bitch from this period, until I learned more about human nature (edit: I never stop learning about human nature).
You see, most people don’t spill their problems to you in hopes that you will offer some earth-shattering advice. They don’t tell you what’s wrong because they want your opinion, unless that opinion already validates their own beliefs. Most people just want to be heard, want someone to listen. So that’s what I do. Very rarely do people seek advice, but you’ll know when they do. And in those times, I do try and offer my unsolicited opinion (usually, though, only for people I am close with). I’m good at that, now that I’ve learned the difference between malicious honesty and subtle honesty. In most cases, it has earned me the respect of my friends, peers, and even my superiors.
The problem is knowing when to shut up. In 24 years, I’m still working on that….