About 2017

I realize I should have done this about 10 days ago, but I still think reflection is a good thing… even if it’s aided by a silly survey. 2017 was a damn blur of a year, but let’s talk about it.

 

What did you do in 2017 that you’ve never done before?

I took a redeye flight. I visited Athens, Greece. I went to a Turskish wedding- they have fireworks. I went to a traditional Indian wedding- they are beautiful and colorful and involve dancing behind the groom riding in a white horse. I tried vegetarianism, and it stuck. Okay- I’m flexible with fish. On that note, I ate caramelized octopus in Greece, and it was delicious. I got a tattoo with color. I acquired a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law.

Ooh! I did yoga with goats!

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That’s the actual Acropolis from the roof of our hotel in Athens

 

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Crap. Did I make those? I did! Let’s revisit:

I did maintain a consistent yoga practice. I did read more than I did in 2016. I did slightly better with money (I think). I think I did better with complementing and congratulating people. I felt happier overall, so that helps. I’m a little on the fence about whether I was more present and took more time to reflect. The bullet journaling thing definitely did not stick. I feel like 2017 was a bit of crazy year. There was so much happening so often that I don’t know that I let anything sink in.

I did not start cross-stitching again. I probably didn’t listen to more music. I blame Pod Save America. I’m obsessed. I’m still struggling with a creative outlet. I did go to some rallies and protests, and I plan to do the same this year. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get involved in some campaigns.

You’ll have to go back and read the linked post for any of that to make sense.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Nope! Maybe this year. SOMEONE MAKE ME AN AUNT!

Did anyone close to you die?

No. Thank goodness.

What places did you visit?

Portland, OR

Istanbul, Turkey

Bursa, Turkey

Athens, Greece

Grand Lake, CO

NYC

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What would you like to have in 2018 that you didn’t have in 2017?

Legs that are the same length. Jk. That will never happen for me.

I actually feel pretty content.

What dates from 2017 will be etched in your memory forever?

January 21st – The Women’s March

August 6th- Harrison’s brother’s wedding

September 30th- My sister’s wedding

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What was your biggest achievement this year?

Not murdering anyone at my sister’s wedding.

What was your biggest failure?

Maybe that I still work where I do and that I make zero progress in finding a new place of employment. I mean… it’s fine, mostly. At least I’m in a position to be picky. Unfortunately, I’m in a position to be complacent and lazy, too.

Did you suffer from illness or injury?

2017 was a pretty healthy year.

What was the best thing you bought?

My record player. It has bass.

Where did most of your money go?

It’s still food. That didn’t change.

What did you get really, really excited about?

The Womens’ March.

Eating tomatoes and olives in Turkey and Greece. It’s the little things.

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I mean… how amazing does this look?

What song will always remind you of 2017?

Hmmm… I couldn’t get enough of “Alaska” by Maggie Rogers this year.

Compared to this time last year, are you a) happier or sadder, b) thinner or fatter, c) richer or poorer?

Let’s see…

I’m definitely happier.

I don’t care if I’m thinner or fatter, but I’m probably about the same. However, I’m definitely stronger. You should feel my biceps.

I wish I were richer than last year. I’m probably about the same. I guess there’s something to be said for consistency.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I would have relaxed more. It was a fairly stressful year.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worry. Again, it was a stressful year.

How did you spend Christmas?

Harrison and I went to New York to visit his family like we do every year. I was kind of tired of family obligated travel by that point, but it ended up being a great trip. We went to The Met, we saw a great comedy show (Janeane Garofalo was there again), and ate some delicious vegetarian and vegan food.

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Mac ‘n Shews from Modern Love in Brooklyn

What was your favorite TV program?

I love television. So much good TV. I think I watched Stranger Things 2 in just two or three days. I’m so happy Will & Grace is back!

What was the best book you read?

“Shrill” by Lindy West. I loved it!

What did you want that you got?

A new tatttooooooo!!!!!!!

What did you want and not get?

An new mattress. Maybe this year.

What was your favorite film of 2017?

3 Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

31! I took the day off work, and then went to see Lady Gaga! Not too shabby.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Same answer as last year: If Hillary Clinton had been elected President.

Who kept you sane?

Harrison. It’s always Harrison.

Who did you miss?

I got to see my grandparents at my sister’s wedding, but as I get older and realize they aren’t going to be around forever, I miss them quite a bit. Hopefully, we’ll be able to make the drive to see them in the Spring.

Who was the best new person you met?

I don’t know that I met anyone I hadn’t met before, but I was able to get to know some acquaintances better. I feel like I have quite a few people in my life that I can now consider friends.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.

Cutting out meat is possible and really great.

Show us one of your favorite photos from the year.

This picture makes me so happy. This is a picture of me and Harrison’s family, and our new extended Turkish family. It feels like such a special thing to be even a little bit connected to such beautiful people in such a beautiful part of the world. 21687825_10155720577379911_634237738002202038_n

 

An actual conversation

Me: I have a question and you’re not going to like my question.

Harrison: Okay.

Me: Have you clipped your toenails since we got back  from New York? (I noticed when we were visiting Harrison’s parents for Christmas that his toenails had reached an uncomfortable length.)

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 Me: You’re going to stab the poor woman at the reflexology place. You stabbed me while you slept.

 Harrison: I don’t like the precedent we’re setting.

 Me: What precedent? That I have to remind you to clip your toenails?

 Harrison: I mean, why even get married? A transcript of this conversation should be our proof. (Internet- I’m providing proof that I’m basically married.)

 Later…

 Harrison: Now I have a question for you. When was the last time you took out the trash from your bathroom (yes, we have separate bathrooms) because it’s always overflowing.

 Me: You’re probably right.

We’re disgusting people, and I’m not sure when we’re going to stop living like we’re in college.

From a student of yoga

About two weeks ago, I showed up for a Steady Vinyasa level 1-2 class that attend regularly, and there was a last minute substitute teacher for the class. I knew a little bit about his teaching style and that it is not something I would actively seek out. Nonetheless, I looked at it as an adventure – a chance to explore something new. I tried not to have any judgments that would impact the experience before actually having the experience.

I am generally not a fan of what is typically referred to as “power yoga.” It’s just not my thing. I prefer a slower flow where I can maintain my breath, build strength in my body, sweat (plenty), and experience the mental release and meditative side of yoga.  This is also the reason I have no desire to try Bikram. If power yoga is your thing – great. Everyone is different, and I think it’s important that everyone find what works for them when it comes to physical and mental fitness. I’m not here to argue that power yoga is some culturally appropriated perversion of true yoga because I frankly don’t know enough to argue that, and realistically, any yoga class at a chain studio in the U.S. has some level of that. What I will assert is that a power yoga class is a fitness class disguised by phrases like, “Send your love to someone who needs it” or “Offer a prayer for that person you thought of at the beginning of class.” That was the last thing I was thinking about between the speed of the flow, and the poses being cued (a level 1-2 class normally does not include more than one forearm plank to dolphin pose, half moon, warrior 3, and multiple arm balances and inversions). This was not a level 1-2 class, not even close, and there was nothing “steady” about it.

I’ve been practicing yoga consistently for almost two years. I’m no sissy. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my own strength and capabilities of my body over and over again, and sometimes I can be found feeling my biceps for fun (because the novelty of having muscles I can feel has not dissipated yet). I’m strong and active, but I thought I was going to barf or pass out around minute 45, and I slumped into child’s pose for a bit to save everyone from having to scrape me off the floor.

I left the class in a worse mood than when I got there, which is the last thing that should happen after yoga. I thought about how that would have made me feel when I was just starting my practice. I got hooked on yoga because of the mental benefits I experienced. The physical benefits are a perk, but I was looking for something to ease anxiety and insomnia. And this is not unusual for yoga practitioners. When I started doing yoga, I was struggling with some social anxiety, as well, which made it very difficult to go to class sometimes. There could have been someone in that class who is like I was when I started, self conscious and scared of being seen. Going into a class like that would have been devastating for me as a beginner. Maybe I would have gone back, but I also may not have.

I felt a lot of resentment toward that instructor, and that is a weird thing to feel toward a yoga teacher. He had to have known how the class was advertised on the schedule, right? So as a student of yoga, who preaches its benefits to friends and family regularly, I plead that instructors take care to teach the class that the students came to be in, and I don’t feel that is asking too much. The physical and mental safety of your students and the future of their practice may depend on it.

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Namaste.

The birthday post

Today is my birthday. I always become very introspective around this time every year. I suppose that’s a normal thing to do…reflect on the year. Consider what you’ve done or maybe haven’t done. This is probably compounded by the fact that my birthday is in December, the month when people begin to collectively do the same thing. It’s been a pretty good year. It’s been a busy year. I feel like this year kind of got away from me. That’s probably why I’ve been thinking about time and balance a lot lately. Things seem to move so quickly, and I don’t seem to have enough time (or energy) for all the things I want to do.  If you asked any supervisor I’ve had at any job, they would probably tell you I’m great at these things because they only know me as an employee. And I’m a damn good employee.

But what about all of the other ways I identify myself? That is where I get stuck, and I can only assume that many other people have the same struggle. I sometimes lose direction without the structure of being an employee, and that sucks. Even today, I took the day off work, and I laid in bed for at least an hour trying to decide what I wanted to do with my day only to find myself in a coffee shop with my laptop doing this. Don’t worry. I’m seeing Lady Gaga tonight, so it’s not an entirely lonely day.

Creativity and art, and having an outlet are important to me. That’s why I have this website and it’s really not very good if we’re being honest. That is also why I spend a lot of time observing the art and creative outlets of others. I admire it and am envious of their drive and talent that I have convinced myself don’t have. But there is so much more I want to do that I only think about because where would I fit it in the time that I have? If we’re talking about numbers alone, I probably have the time. It’s finding the energy that becomes the problem. If you’re an introvert, and you have a job that involves dealing with people all day everyday, you can likely relate. Working with the public is exhausting in general, but it’s a million times worse if you are a more introverted person. It drains you to the point, that you don’t have much left by the end of the day, and you look forward to the weekends because you can close the blinds, and watch an entire season of a TV show on Netflix and (this is key) speak to no one except maybe your cats. Harrison has a hard time understanding this. He likes to tell me that I’m the only person standing in my own way, which is true, sort of. But then it becomes a question of self-care. Do I sacrifice that for a while? I don’t know what the right answer is.

I’m a millennial. One thing that is true of millennials is that we crave meaningful work. I only find that to be true of my job a small part of the time. The rest of it is corporate bullshit, office politics, and “leaders” making shitty decisions.

I could get a new job, and believe me, I’m working on it. It’s hard to sell yourself with a piece of paper. It’s a cruel guessing game they play in HR departments everywhere. All of us are sending in these documents, hoping we used the right key words, so a computer will tell a human they should maybe take another look or call us or (holy shit) meet us in person. I hate every piece of that process.

In the meantime, I need to recalibrate the amount of energy I put into my job and shift it to other areas of my life. It is in my nature to work hard and care a lot, sometimes to the detriment of myself. I get it from my dad. Work, contribute to a 401K, retire happy. Minus the mountain of student loan debt that is going nowhere fast, I’m doing those things with about a C average. I have to start finding things that fulfill me. As I get older the regret starts creeping in, and I do not want to be on my death bed thinking about all of the things I wish I would have made time for. The happy retirement piece might be questionable if I keep going the direction I’m going.

This is a sad birthday blog. Sorry. I’m happy. But I’m trying to figure out how to be happier as I plant myself solidly in my 30s. Being an adult doesn’t have to be plagued by things you have to do but don’t really want to, right?

#Metoo

 I’ve been hesitant to comment on this publicly because honestly, I feel incredibly lucky. In my 31 years of life, I have avoided so much of the kinds of abuse that many women I know have experienced. My face of the resting bitch variety, and the fact that I spent many of my thinnest, most attractive, and certainly horniest years surrounded by the comfort of several gay men probably helped me to avoid some of the douchiest of douche-bags.

I am lucky, but at the same time, I’ve been thinking about experiences I’ve had that I’ve laughed off because, well, dudes are creeps. And we’re used to it. I wrote in this blog about a man offering to impregnate me outside a bar. Once, at a bus stop, a man looked me up and down and said, “You look good,” as if I were actually a delicious food item. I posted something witty on Facebook about it and moved on with my day. Guys have grabbed my boobs “accidentally” in bar; a male friend of mine used to tell me that he liked my butt and was constantly grabbing it in public. It’s part of the female experience, and while it bothers us in the moment, we forget about it and move on.

Every time women are objectified and sexualized in this way, it impacts us. It creates this idea that women are pretty little things here for the pleasure of men, and our societal power structure has led men to believe that they can do anything and say anything without the risk of consequence. It chips away at our spirits, bit by bit. Hopefully, this moment we’re in right now is the start of piecing ourselves back together and reclaiming ourselves as our own. I hope it doesn’t fade.

I know there are good men. I’m with one, and I know a lot of them. I’ve also known a lot of shitty ones- like the former co-worker who used walk around the office talking about women he dated like they were nothing but orifices for him to fill while the other bros in the office laughed about it. He was finally let go, and I hope that he’s learned something. There are so many men like that, and all of those men have friends who are laughing like it’s no big deal. Stop laughing. Stop enabling. It would be so powerful it if you just said, “Hey man, that’s not cool.” Try it out.

P.S. Also, honest, opinionated, intelligent women are not abrasive, bossy, or bitchy. Stop being wimps, you guys.

 

A Saturday hike

 

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When your soul-sucking day job starts to catch up with you…

 

 

go somewhere quieter, where you can hear the wind move through the trees instead of rattling your old apartment window…

 

 

where you can only see your responsibilities far off in the distance…

 

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where you can be reminded that even the most relentless flames can’t destroy the core of a structure…

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and where strange but beautiful things begin to sprout out of what was once destroyed.IMG_2792IMG_2793

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look one direction and the outlook is dark and ominous…

 

 

 

 

 

 

but turn your head just slightly…

 

and be amazed.

 

Go higher…
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so you can see further.

 

Take it in.

 

 

 

 

 

But don’t forget who’s next to you the entire time holding your water bottle.

 

 

 

 

 

Location: Eldorado Canyon State Park

While you’re out there, I’ll be in here

Here are all the things I’ll be doing this weekend while everyone else is getting hammered in a crowded, shitty bar in face paint that is flaking off or wearing a costume five other people are also wearing.

 

  • Not waking up hungover.

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  • Yoga and maybe more yoga.

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  • Watching Will & Grace on Hulu. I’m on the last season.

  • Watching the new season of Stranger Things.

  • Reading a good book.

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  • Maybe I’ll watch Hocus Pocus. That movie’s rad.

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  • And basically not leaving my apartment except during daylight hours. Maybe.

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Happy weekend before Halloween. Be safe out there!