30 April 2013

May is for Me

This month is going to be like none other before. i will be pushing myself harder than i have in a long time. i have been focusing on being a happy and complete person. And i really have done well considering what i have been through...but i've hit a rut. For the last several weeks, i have had no forward movement and i feel myself slipping into a state of simply surviving instead of enjoying life. To me, that is unacceptable. i need to keep moving forward. As i contemplated my rut, several things moved me into motion:

1- i finished reading Gretchen Ruben's "The Happiness Project." The more i read her book, the more i wanted to make improvements in my life, to set goals, and to reach those goals. She gave me ideas on what strategies to implement in order to achieve personal happiness. Sometimes i found it hard to sit and read...i instantly found myself wanting to get up and start doing something to improve my myself.

2- On a beautiful blog, i read these inspiring words:

If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.

As Keith said, if i want something different, i need to DO something different.

3- The final push...A dear friend contacted me and she had been feeling similar about her own life (although for completely different reasons). She challenged me to join her in a next to impossible task that would get both of us out of our comfort zones and hopefully help us to feel a bit more...accomplished...and proud of the month of May.

So...this month i am focusing on ME! i have a  long list of *intense* goals that i have set for myself with the intent to help me be confident in myself, be content with my life and be confident in the presence of my God. Most of these goals i will keep to myself...for now, at least.

But the "impossible task" from my friend, i fear that i must make public so that i have to account for it at the end of May. Since i am a proud person, it would hurt my pride to announce what i will accomplish and not finish. Therefore, without further ado...in the month of May, i solemnly commit to:

Write a novel.

That's right. By the end of this month i will have written a 50,000 word literary masterpiece. Ok...so it might not be a masterpiece, but at least it will be written. i have no clue what is going to come spewing forth when my fingers hit the keys tomorrow...but i will start and i have a premonition that the words, whatever they may be, will be healing for me.

Ambitious or irrational?

Perhaps irrationally ambitious?

Either way...here i go. Wish me luck!

26 April 2013

Six month mile marker

"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."
-Kurt Vonnegut

Today i have been divorced for 6 months...separated for 9 months. It has been a hard week. It would be so much easier to hate, to be bitter, to be angry, and to give up all hope. Or, as Vonnegut says, to be HARD. In being soft, we open ourselves up to hurt and tears...but we also open ourselves up to kindness and love.

When i went to my counselor this week, she recognized that i was trying to suppress my emotions; i wanted to be hard...to be a survivor. She challenged me this week to FEEL. Apparently strong emotions last for about 20 minutes; she told me that if i felt lonely or sad to let myself be caught up in that emotion because it would soon pass and it would help me to stay soft. Now, at the end of the week, i'm shocked by how much i cried...my eyes were puffy for most of the week and my nose is raw from using so many tissues. What really surprised me was how liberating it was. i became an unashamed public crier; i would let the tears stream while at my desk, driving in my car or walking through the grocery store. Sure enough, the strong emotion would wash through fairly quickly and the release was cathartic.

The other part of Vonnegut's quote kind of bothered me. This world can really be ugly and i often struggle to find beauty in it. All through this week i felt like i was exposed to an extra atrocious side of the elements AND humanity. The wind blew full force and the skies were grey and gloomy. There were a couple instances at work that showed people at their lowest, basest and most dishonest. i bemoaned the world and even said that i was fed up with this life and wished the Mayan prediction for the end of the world had been right.

But in the end, i was proved wrong. i came into work in a crappy mood and my employees boosted me up almost instantly by laughing and joking and picking happy "Friday" songs that we blasted and sang along.

An even better example? i went to the temple last night; i badly needed a refuge from the world. As i sat in the chapel before the service began, there was someone playing beautiful music on the organ, the setting sun was streaming in through the stained glass and i sat and let the emotions flood me and the tears fall. Later, after the session, i stayed in the celestial room and just sat there...not really thinking of anything, just breathing. As i meditated, a young man came up to me and introduced himself. He said that he had been the one playing the organ, noticed that i was struggling and intentionally picked the most soothing and hopeful hymns that he could think of to play for me. He then said, "I don't know you or what you are dealing with, but I wanted to leave you with one of my favorite scriptures." He handed me a Bible opened to the passage, put his hand on my shoulder, said "God bless" and walked away.
This is what he left me with:

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
-Proverbs 3:5-6

The world is still beautiful and full of some beautiful people. i thank God for putting them in my life...if only long enough to play me a soothing song and pass me a heartfelt scriptural boost.

"BE SOFT. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."

-Kurt Vonnegut

24 April 2013

Give me a LITTLE credit!

Some backstory for the real story...

This last Christmas was a fairly small affair. It was just me and my younger sister at home with the 'rents. One evening we were playing Rock Band together and my sis and I noticed that my father hadn't purchased any new songs in ages...they were the same ones we had played together every time we had been home for the past 2 years or so. As we teased him about getting new music, Stephanie said, "Yeah...we need a little Carly Rae Jepsen!" to which my dad responded, "Who?"

At this point both Steph and I both went into shock (well...considering we are quite dramatic it was more like yelling "WHAT?!?" and "You've NEVER heard 'Call Me Maybe'?!?!") He hadn't heard it.

Now. I'm not saying that it is a musical masterpiece by any standard (even the lowest). However, if one is alive in this world today, it is shocking that they would never have heard this song and all persons should at least be exposed to it. We promptly updated his pop-culture education.

The next day we had the opportunity to Skype with my brother who is currently in Russia. We were talking to him about life there and he mentioned that he liked hearing American music playing in stores. Then he announced, "I keep hearing this one really catchy but dumb song that says something like 'Here's my number, so call me maybe.'" It was perfect...we rubbed it in even further with Dad that even people in RUSSIA knew the song.

Shortly after all this transpired, I got a text from my dad saying he couldn't get that song out of his head. Over the course of the next few months, he realized just how much the song was played. Every time he heard it, he would text me. So, I started returning the favor each time I heard it as well.

The real story....

Last week I was in Subway grabbing lunch and I heard Carly Rae Jepsen on the radio. I pulled out my phone to send a quick text of the lyrics to my dad before it was my turn to order.

(12:09pm) Me: I just met you....this is crazy

And then I got my food, went back to work and promptly forgot about it.

(1:18pm) Dad: Oops. I think this was misdirected.

(1:19pm) Dad: Hope that didn't just toss a huge pit into your stomach.

(1:19pm) Me: Nope. "Here's my number, so call me maybe." Definitely for you :)

(1:20pm) Dad: LOL. Crap. Didn't pick up on it!!

Then after thinking about this exchange for a bit:

(1:45pm) Me: Wait....Dad....You know I wouldn't ever actually use that line for real...

No Answer

(2:00pm) Me: So, I am trying not to feel too miffed that you would ACTUALLY think I would send that line to someone in seriousness.

(2:01pm) Dad: I mulled it over and over, trying to figure it out. Why do you think it took me over an hour to respond?

So there it is, folks. Oh all the confidence that those closest to me have in my meeting people/dating abilities. Thank you, Carly Rae, for the pick up line.

I'm doomed.

18 April 2013

I am not the artist, only the instigator

If you sit in just the right spot and move your head,
Mario runs across the roof and even jumps down the pipes

We all need a little break from being productive at work once in awhile :)

17 April 2013

Some days are for being sweet...

...and some days are for the following:

1- Blasting Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger"

2- Buying sexy new shoes without needing the approval of a spouse.

3- Shamelessly flirting...and enjoying the date that is a direct result of the exchange.

4- Enjoying the smarts of my phone and Siri

5- Sleeping diagonally on the bed.

6-Turning this...

Engagement ring (without small wedding band of diamonds)

into this...

The model of the potential design

The finished product

7- And being ridiculously happy about it.

"Something has changed within me,
Something is not the same.
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game.
Too late for second-guessing,
Too late to go back to sleep.
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap!

I'm through accepting limits
'Cuz someone says they're so.
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know!
Too long I've been afraid of
Losing love I guess I've lost.
Well, if that's love
It comes at much too high a cost!

I'd sooner buy
Defying gravity.
Kiss me goodbye
I'm defying gravity.
I think I'll try
Defying gravity...
And you won't bring me down"

14 April 2013

The task that i cannot stomach

I enjoy cleaning. I know it’s surprising—and not often thought of as a recreational activity. And it’s not that I clean for fun. In fact, sometimes the task appears daunting before I begin. However, there is something so satisfying after the cleaning is complete; there you are, sitting in a house with a sparkling bathroom, shining floors, dust-free bookshelves and an empty laundry basket. I find it peaceful, soothing and relaxing.

I’m not afraid of cleaning either. Give me cobwebs and inches of dust—the kerchief goes on the hair, the broom comes out and the spiders scatter, no problem. Show me an oven buried in grease and within seconds it will be giving way to my comet and elbow grease. Even a bathroom devoured by mold is an unintimidating foe. I am mold’s worst enemy—and I have many witnesses of roommates and mission companions who can testify. No sweat, I will have that bathroom whiter than white with the mold ne’er to return—as long as I’m around. But, put one Tupperware full of casserole that has seen better days in front of me, and I will instantly go queasy.

By queasy I mean that my face will drain of all blood, my head will start spinning and my stomach will try to regurgitate any scrap it can squeeze out. I think it’s trying to prove that even my resurrected lunch is more appetizing than what is contained in that Tupperware. By the way, all of this happens before I even open the lid of the container.

Why can I face such nastiness in other places without flinching and then turn to jelly with one squishy peach in the fridge? I have decided that the issue is not the mold or even the smell. After all, moldy showers don’t bother me and I have smelled toilets that were beyond pungent. It is the location, pure and simple. Something so foul should not be allowed to habitat the place where food is prepared, served and eaten.

I have missed the companionship of a husband beyond explanation since this divorce. I miss it when I come home to an empty house. I miss it when I go to a party and I am the only spouseless person in the room. I miss it when I wake up in the morning to an empty bed. However, there is NO TIME I miss it more than when I have to clean out the fridge.

Since I dread this task so much, I put it off as long as humanely possible. One Tupperware gets stacked in a corner of a shelf as soon as it is questionable. Soon, a container of cottage cheese that must be nearing its expiration date gets added to the pile. After that, a tomato looking a little too soft. Slowly, the pile grows—casserole upon soup next to dried out spaghetti. The dubious food takes over its own shelf, kept away from the rest of the fridge to avoid contamination and spreading. Eventually, the fateful day arrives—the day I run out of clean Tupperware. At this point, there is nothing left to do but attack the pile with full force.

Watching me clean out the fridge would be quite an entertaining experience. It is no small feat—especially considering the fact that my kitchen has no garbage disposal. I start by layering on as many pairs of gloves as I own. With an apron and a “flu mask” in place, I gag my way through each container, trying not to dwell on the contents. Expletives fly freely from my mouth—I swear it holds back the vomit. When the offending food is fully removed from the Tupperware (by a plastic utensil to avoid one more filthy item to scrub) the garbage must be disposed of as soon as possible. I always make sure to hold the garbage bag as far away from the body as my arm can reach—I know what is squishing around in that bag. To finish, I scour everything, the Tupperware, sink and fridge shelf with bleach until my nose hairs are singed.

The solution to the problem? Unless I have someone else to cook for, I have given up cooking. It’s not that I am lazy. It’s not that I am depressed about cooking only for myself. It’s not that I want to eat fast food. It’s not even that I don’t enjoy cooking, because I do! I simply know that no matter what, I will NEVER finish that soup, that head of lettuce, that roast, or that lasagna by myself. The leftovers will sit there in the fridge, gathering bacteria and laughing at me as they start to fuzz.

08 April 2013


Spring cleaning started at my house. The problem? i just moved in, it's only me living there AND i am slightly obsessed with cleaning. In other words, i had to dig pretty deep to find something to organize/clean. i attacked my storage boxes with a vengeance. That put me organizing and digging through old memories including pictures, ticket stubs and, most of all, letters. Binders upon binders of letters that we had sent each other. Basic Training, Advanced Training. Semester abroad. Deployment. Mission. Deployment again.

i was "shockingly cavalier" about the letters...even flipped through and read some of them. i realized that some of the things in my boxes really needed to be returned to the ex. Since i work for a shuttle company, i decided to just shuttle down the letters and memories that rightly belonged to him.

Of course life has to be complicated and the box didn't end up where it was supposed to go when it was supposed to go and a couple of coworkers ended up getting involved. Both of them, dear friends of mine, expressed curiosity over what was heading down in the box ("venomous snakes? the ashes that were once your wedding dress?" etc). When i explained, both had similar reactions.

One said, "Wow! All those letters. People just don't have that these days. What you had was so romantic. i can't believe that with all of that in your past, you are not together. It seems like it all belongs in a movie." The other, "It would be the end all if you end up back together. All those letters and all those past stories and then a time apart. Imagine if there was a reconciliation. A 'Love Triumphs and Conquers All' kind of moment. It would be ridiculously romantic and over-the-top dramatic."

i think that is what the ex thinks too. But here is the truth.

i don't want a fairytale. i don't want a "rom-com." i don't want to be swept away with love notes, promises, roses and grand gestures. i don't want dramatic reunions in airports and public displays of affection. i don't want the past. i don't want a "happy ending" because i don't believe in the kind of endings that come in movies and books...in "happily ever afters."

i would like to be whole and happy in and of myself.

And if there ever is a man, i would like him to be whole and happy in and of himself.

He would be someone who compliments me, not someone who completes me. Not someone who needs me to be complete. i would love someone who would say "This is it. This is who i am. It's all out here on the table" from the very get-go. Who sees me as i am too, my divorced baggage and all. We would both know that life is hard; it's not a fairytale. It's not all picnics and vacations and sunshine and snuggling and picture perfect movie moments.

Those who know me know that i have always been a hopeless romantic. But not this time. i may be a romantic, but i am also strong. Stronger than i ever knew.

i don't want a romantic story. i want reality.

After all, this is not a movie; this is my life.