A day later

Last night, I got home from work, exhausted and unmotivated. I was fully set to lay on my bed, skip dinner, and hide from the mess that is my apartment. Thankfully, a couple of calls with people got me moving.

While I still only managed a bowl of Cream of Wheat for dinner, it counts as eating right? Starting around 9pm, the cleaning bug bit and my kitchen, clean clothes, and a few other things are now taken care of.

When do you get inspiration? Mine shows up at some of the worst times for my schedules of work, sleep, and responsibilities. I worked at 7:30am this morning and ended up getting to sleep around 11pm. Do any of you have tips for getting the most out of ill-timed inspiration, when your to-do lists is seemingly endless and your energy is regularly low after working?

I’ve been dealing with some health difficulties on top of the normal stresses and “excessive heat” advisories of the past week so thank you for reading my short update, a day after I wrote it.

Wishing you health and inspiration this week, friends and strangers.

Escape into Reality

I’m sitting on my patio, iced tea creating a wet spot from the sweating on the cement next to me. Clove is tethered to my ankle, free to explore the length of her leash but close enough that I can be there before a dog or hawk. It’s a perfect 73 F only partially spoiled by hesitant grey skies and light mugginess.

Weather like this makes me sleepy and unmotivated to do anything except lay in bed and scroll TikTok or Pinterest. Actually, that is exactly what I was doing before this. I came across a TikTok of someone who was told that if they feel that way, to go for it, just outdoors at a park instead.

I have found that taking care of others is vastly easier than taking care of myself. Why that is, I’m not quite sure. I do know that the way I perceive things has a large sway on their impact. I have used my imagination to escape from real life as longa s I can remember and never once did it occur to me until this week that I could use my imagination and creativity to actually change my reality instead of escape from it.

“Bad” feelings are still meant to be felt. Greif, pain, anger, are not meant to be ignored and pushed down. Instead of beating myself up for feeling more than happiness all the time, I need to learn to process the emotions that are generally frowned upon, remind myself that they are ok to feel, just don’t wallow in them.

Maybe you came to this realization long ago or maybe you don’t relate to my same feeling of needing to escape life at times. Either way, I hope you’re finding a way to take care of yourself.

Thank you for listening strangers and friends.

(written May 23rd but forgot to actually post it)

Climbing

To make a dent in my never-ending to-do list, sometimes I have to trick myself with external motivation or a reward system. If I do a load of laundry, then I can eat an extra tasty meal instead of whatever is around. If I haul my trash out, I can sit and pet Clove for a little while and not think of anything else. A clean and organized living space is sometimes reward enough in itself. Attempting to push myself to get back on my grind today, I put on some upbeat music and blasted through cleaning my kitchen. Finishing that up by leaving an old potato in the little patch of forest behind my apartment, hoping that it will deter the critters there from feeding on my newly planted herbs for a little bit longer, it struck me. I really wanted to climb a tree.

So I did. Sap welcomed the grip of my hands on the branches and bare feet, testing my weight with each new step. The feeling of being a child again washed over me and I couldn’t help but smile as the breeze lifted a strand of my unrestrained hair to catch the bark. Looking out at a different height, far above my usual, the sun broke through the clouds and all of the little spores and seed fluffs floated past me, like a flock of fairies, merrily on their way.

I plan to climb that tree more often. It totally counts as exercise and certainly provides outdoor endorphins! Why is rock climbing normal for adults to do but it’s kind of weird for us to climb a tree?

I wish I could bottle the feeling that I was given climbing that tree barefoot, package barely noticing a scratch on my leg as I perch, transported to a different world within my own.
That really is the idea that lives, nebulous in my head, if I ever start a business: Small boxes that give people a taste of different adventures through products that capture that essence. Include a written glimpse of story to go with it and suddenly you’re baking bread in a cottage while your cat swats at a butterfly through the open window. You’re perched in a tree, unafraid of falling because you’ve lived in the forest your whole life. The hem of your cloak follows your steps down the corridor of the castle as you make your way to convene the council. It is a beautiful (and far more detailed) goal in my head but there is much to do before starting a business. Maybe someday I can bring that dream to you in the world we live in.

Thank you friends and strangers for coming on this current adventure with me. Do something that revives the child in you this week, okay?

Keep climbing, friends and strangers.

Honestly…

Social media in general, tends to culture the belief in us that other people have their lives all together. Beautiful spreads of food, made up faces, cloudy skies displayed through a filter, they are all lovely beautiful moments in people’s lives that we get to see. The thing is, there’s always so much more to the story.

This past week and even the week before have been really rough for me. I have had very limited interest in anything at all and my work/life balance is tremulous at best. I struggle to find and cling to the beautiful in my mundane let alone accomplish basic requirements of being a functioning human.
I thought about posting a beautifully edited and put together picture of my first and closest attempt to a charcuterie or snack board, complete with some kind of witty weekend caption on Instagram today. The truth is that I was so tired and brain fried yesterday that I didn’t eat dinner, went to sleep late, stayed in bed until 1pm today, and then didn’t eat that pretty plate until about 2:30pm after a decent amount of frustration creating it. I’m not going to detail the level of tired I am but I can’t pretend that my weekend has been full of productivity and relaxation.

Writing this is not for anyone to feel bad for me. It’s my responsibility to better my own life. I’m writing this so that the beautiful aesthetic and happy things I try to bring to light on my social media don’t fool you into thinking that I’ve got it all together. Don’t compare your life to what you see of anyone else’s because so many times it’s not the full picture.

Reframing my perspective of life is a constant area for potential growth and being honest about things that aren’t pretty, inspiring, or exciting, is not comfortable for me. Also, not every happy or beautiful thing in life needs to be documented and shared to social media. It’s entirely possible to cheapen your own real moments by thinking instead about how to prove to the internet that your life is enviable. Really, I’m reminding myself. I don’t know what your experience is.

What are your thoughts on the “instagram lie” or this new version of keeping up with the Joneses? Do you find yourself trying to find things for social media to paint a pretty picture for your life instead of actually enjoying them? Would you prefer the glossy, happy version of life displayed at all times?

What do you think friends and strangers?

The chocolate hummus? Surprisingly good.

If you are trying to take care of your body but also want chocolate, I definitely suggest the easy recipe for chocolate hummus I made today. It’s over on thegutnursery.com as Brownie Batter Hummus.

May it be

Hello Strangers and Friends,

Do you ever go through periods of time when nothing interests you and you can’t force yourself to care about what previously, was all you thought about? Last week I couldn’t bring myself to do anything, care about anything, be interested in anything, despite the week before being full of motivation and inspiration.

I still don’t have the desire to put effort or focus into my usual interests but I’ve managed to force myself to accomplish the responsible things like laundry and cleaning; still working having an appetite. There are two things that have garnered my attention and interest. Unfortunately, they are not specifically productive to this blog or my creative goals that I can see.

A large amount of brain space has been occupied by the newest series on Netflix to snag my for-now obsession. It’s had the power to make me buy the books only a day after finishing season 1. I haven’t bought books in years, let alone with the fervor of expectant waiting that follows the tracking of my package. I’m both pleased with this outcome and displeased that it hasn’t happened for my other interests or the other books already on my shelves. I guess I’ll take what I can get.

The other object of my interest and excitement: planning a short trip for my birthday this summer. While I had originally been planning on international travel, this trip is just full enough of aesthetic dream content to stir my meh brain. My friend and I plan to stay in a lovely little cottage on a farm where there is plenty of opportunity to live out the associated fantasy. There is still much to be done for this trip but the knowledge that we will be able to stay at the gorgeous Airbnb and that I’ve gotten the minimum time off work approved, gives me that lift that I could really use right now.

Are you feeling oddly blah and kind of down despite Spring pushing through and things looking up as far as returning to “normal life” goes? What are some things that have caught or held your interest?

But first, coffee.

Outdoor Ambitions

A breeze keeps blowing my loose strands of hair into my face and if I tilt my head just right, I can see a threading of web reflecting light through the blades of grass. The smell of someone grilling and the sound of birdsong mix now with the quiet clack of the keyboard. I am somehow in a different life but it is my own.

I haven’t read an actual book in maybe, over a year. Someone was kind enough to send me one off of my Amazon wishlist, suggested by my mentor. It’s so beautiful outside today again, after most of the week being rain and snow. Going on a walk is suggested but the mentally tired bug bit me earlier today and was not shaken. Resting outside, reading for the first time in forever, carding my fingers through the velveteen fur of my rabbit, has melted the work day away.

It’s not just any book either. It’s not an escape (which I am constantly seeking) or a cover up. It requests that I face reality and ask myself hard questions.

we need to figure out where we are before we plot a course forward

Bob Goff – Dream Big

I am urged to open my eyes, take a clear look at everything I think about myself and why, sort through my desires and ambitions as if doing an internal spring cleaning, and truly put in the work to make my life what I long for it to be.

No more doing what merely occupies, entertains, and numbs us?

Bob Goff – Dream Big

Can you be honest with yourself? How difficult is it for you?
As the light fades into evening and the breeze becomes chilled, I will go back inside but take these questions with me.

From only three chapters into the book, I already highly suggest it. Have you heard of it? Read it? Dream Big by Bob Goff

Thank you for being human

I’ve worked a customer service role, in some form or another, for many years. The jokes about the “real you” and your “customer service you” difference are very applicable. Turning on tour guide Barbie from the other side of the phone with dead eyes is an acquired skill and easy to fall into once an option. It is an especially easy escape when you actually tend to care quite a bit about well, everything.

When describing myself as highly empathetic and highly sensitive, I rarely count them as helpful traits to myself. Yes, in an interview, they can be phrased as being an excellent problem solver, genuine and caring for the needs of the customer but the large toll that they actually take on me is hidden. It takes so much effort to let myself be the default me, to care deeply, notice small things, feel strongly. The pain and selfishness in this world weighs heavily at times.

Today, I was helping a patient on the phone. Obviously, because of HIPA, I can’t share the full story but I spoke to them multiple times and they were worried and flustered. The last time I spoke to them, they recognized my voice. “Thank you for being human.” In the midst of their worry, they thanked me for being genuine and compassionate because they could tell the difference.

Being told you have a special gift for helping people, especially when you yourself are struggling, having a rough time, is a one-of-a-kind compliment. Thank you for being human. My strong feelings, soft heart, the exhaustion that comes from them, they are part of being human. I need to remind myself of that.

So even though I can’t say any identifying information about this person, thank you for taking the time out of your worry to acknowledge something about me that I fight to not turn off or zone out from. Thank you for seeing that I am not a robot. Thank you for impacting my day.

And to you, strangers and friends, thank you for being human.

This day of “Everyday”

Hello friends and strangers,

Hopefully you are well. I write this after what I could normally consider a dragging, hectic Monday at work. A valued co-worker put in her notice of resignation, another is miserable with a cough and sniffles, and I didn’t accomplish much productivity over my weekend.

I can’t help but be happy though, content, somehow calm. I’ve got my door open so the wind can blow. All manner of birds can be heard, as well as the simmering of a vegetable broth on the stove. Clove is grooming herself, just out of reach on the rug and I have baked a very healthy and visually pleasing dinner. Just kidding, it’s frozen mini corn dogs but they are yummy.

Since not much productivity happened over my weekend, I came home to a very messy apartment: Clean clothes strewn everywhere, trash desperately needing handling, and a kitchen full of dirty dishes. I powered through them immediately upon getting home, a rare occurrence that normally drains me. Yet, I feel full emotionally. I’m almost afraid to admit it, that it won’t be true if I do. Is this purely gratitude? I honestly don’t remember the last day of “regular” life that I was this wholly happy for it to be mine.

I have much to be grateful for and I just felt the need to share how thankful I am that I can actually feel it today instead of just knowing it. Hopefully you are able to escape the blur of time passing. Have a wonderful evening of this day, of your everyday.

Turning out Spring

It is officially Spring. Not just on the calendar, but also in the cold rain and green peeking through.


Yesterday and today have been graced with rain, and while gloom usually gets me down, these instances felt relaxing. Maybe it’s the birdsong breaking through the patter of droplets, or the seagulls call once again echoing off of wet pavement.
I must have partially forgotten that I like rain. As long as it isn’t endless gloom and keeping oneself indoors, it really is quite lovely. You can smell growth in the air and hope shows itself in buds appearing on trees.

I went on a walk last Saturday. It was my only day to sleep in and I got up early to go on a walk. Though the wind was strong and cold, it felt really good to force myself to take a moment to slow down.

Slowing down or slow living, in concept, makes sense. Putting it into practice for my own life is slightly more challenging. When I haven’t accomplished my high standard or expectation of what should be achieved, the harshest critic lives inside my head. Not even realizing, I’ll beat myself up for needing a nap, or only accomplishing two loads of laundry instead of cleaning the whole apartment. Do I base my worth, in part, on how much I’ve done? It might be so.

There’s got to be a difference between a strong work ethic and running yourself ragged trying to keep up with impossible expectations, a balance between self care and growth. It’s definitely a struggle for me. How about you? Do you understand and/or experience this?

Maybe there are seasons for these things. I’m unsure what they would be but hopefully it’s turning out Spring.

Today’s Someday

I wrote the excerpt below, about nine years ago. I did not own a piano. I did not have my own place to live.

Someday, in my made up future, I will wake up to the birds singing and the sunlight streaming through my window. Smiling, I will slip out from between my covers and stretch, fingers towards the ceiling, before walking into the kitchen. I will make myself a delicious, healthy, breakfast and eat it outside in the morning air. After putting the dishes away, getting dressed, and pulling my hair back, I will go and sit down at my deep, black, grand piano and let all of my thoughts and feelings flow out of my fingertips until they echo in the air.
Maybe I will laugh, a smile on my face. Maybe I will cry, tears escaping with each note.
And after I’m done, and there is nothing left to be said, I will close that gorgeous piano back up. I will close the doors to the room where the emotions still hover thick in the air, and I will step into the breathtaking sunshine. Eyes closed, I will listen, waiting for your response.

Reading this poem now, I can see that my dream for my future has pretty much become true. There are no doors to close my piano into it’s own room because I live in a (wonderful) studio apartment. There was no chance that I could purchase my bucket-list instrument, but my grandmother willed me hers.

This was a reminder I needed.

I hope you enjoyed a peek into some of my very old writing.

Inside of the piano