Monday, March 26, 2012

hello: the places that scare us

I blame the blog.

I blame the blog for making me go out on limbs, explore foreign territories, swim unknown waters, and speak in all manner of cliches about the risks I am taking.

I happily blame the blog.

Tonight was a tough night for me: a night that tested my boundaries and pushed me into less-comfortable places. And that's good, that's what I should be doing right now.

See, I joined a softball team.

This is something I've been wanting to do for a very long time, but haven't had the kick in the butt I've needed. Cause I'm not very good, not very competitive, and haven't been motivated to find a team to nurture my growth.  Weirdly enough, the push to do it was beyond random. I was visiting my childhood home last month and saw my brother's ex-girlfriend, JoJo, who told me that her "very nice" cousin lives in my current town. She gave me his name and said I should look him up.

And a few weeks later, I saw that he happened to comment on a facebook post of a friend of mine mere moments after I commented. (Insert eyeroll at the world we live in.)

I realized we share some connections and took the serendipitous moment to reach out to him. And after a few friendly messages were passed back and forth he said, "You want to join my softball team?"

Pretty bold move, being he'd never met me, sized me up, or judged my athletic ability.

now if this doesn't allude to a future in athletics, I don't know what does

I said to him: "I really doubt I would be adding much value to your team. Yes, I have previous experience, but I'm not confident it qualifies me for any awards. Although, I am fun, enthusiastic and a good-natured heckler/good cheerleader. Which is something!"

To which he said, "You're on the team!"

So I went tonight, and showed-off my athletic abilities "athletic abilities" to a bunch of strangers.

And quickly realized I am the worst by a long-shot. A pretty crooked, inconsistent throw; a depth-perception issue of monstrous proportions; a frantic run/walk; and a wild-crazy-batting swing. Added value!

On one hand, it's hard being the worst (and knowing it). It brings out insecurities: maybe they regret asking me to join? Maybe I will bring down the team? It's hard to have fun when crippled by anxiety that you are dragging down a group of skilled athletes, especially ones that weren't entirely honest about their skill-level.

On the other hand, being the worst gives us the most room to grow. Learning how to have fun doing things that are challenging, truly enjoying the parts of ourselves that need improvement, is a worthy task. I believe in growing by leaps and bounds, especially in the places that scare us.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

a tuesday muse

I love when you read a piece of writing and wish you had written it yourself, wish you had thought of this particular turn of phrase first.

This made me feel that way.

I suppose some people were just born to be writers. The world needed to hear what they had to say.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

goodbye: one is the loneliest number

Writer's block has been almighty this week, as I have had plenty worth putting to (virtual) paper, but not quite the words to get it there.

I've been a patron of the arts, with one world-class piece of theater and one brilliant-joyous-laughter-cry-inducing middle school play taken in; I've had delicious food cooked in my kitchen and stranger's kitchens; I've gone for what only can be described as the saddest attempt at a jog on what might have been the most beautiful March Saturday I've ever known; and I've spent ample time with many, many people I care for deeply.


Earlier this week, I made dinner with a friend, followed by some wine at a neighborhood cafe. It was a beautiful evening, and while we sipped our flights of wine - mine white, his red - we marveled at the world around us and the friendship that has been developing between us. And I wondered aloud at why, though starkly different people, we remain connected somehow.

He said, "Because we are both lonely."

Oh dear.

Not words I ever hoped to hear.

I think of myself as independent, self-sufficient. I think of myself as quirkyalone, not depressed to be alone. I think of myself as choosing my companions carefully, thoughtfully.

Yes, there are many activities that I partake in that I realize could involve another person. There are hours, full days, entire weekends I enjoy the company of me. It's mostly very pleasant, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that at times my heart hurts because of it. I see something beautiful outside my car window; I read a line in a book that takes my breath away; I overhear a conversation that makes me giggle...and I think how much I would like to share these things with someone.

Does a moment gain meaning by our ability to share it? Further, does it only have meaning when we have another person to validate it?

I don't think so.

I think it's important to find the balance in life, the balance in all things. To find the time to pause just for your own self to breathe in the wonder of the world, as well as to find the time to spread what you are experiencing to the people around you. Of course there can be a disconnect: moments you want so badly to share but don't have anyone to share with. What's to be done in a moment like that? How do we keep the loneliness of that moment from infecting the person we are?

It's that disconnect that I struggle with and that I think my friend sees in me. What he calls lonely, I am only starting to find the words to describe...

Because I don't innately see myself as a "lonely" individual. I am at times alone. I am at times lonely. I can be alone but not lonely. And I can also be lonely when I am not alone. All of these truths create the person, the one, I am.

Imagine it!

Monday, March 12, 2012

two perspectives on vulnerability

This is worth reading.

This is worth hearing.

I like how the word vulnerability has the word ability within it. I truly feel that making ourselves vulnerable makes us more able. Able to live our life with integrity, purpose and heart.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

march: looking forward

This photo of my parent's new dog, Bea, makes my face hurt from laughing. But I also love it - I love how she is on the edge of something (literal), peaking out and waiting for her moment to (I imagine) bound down the stairs and into an adventure.

So with that in mind, it acts as my March inspiration as I strive to be a little more verbal about what my goals are for the coming days, weeks, and months - and then bound forward into them.

I've been rather vague in this space - speaking whimsically about ugly robes and whatnot - but I feel it's time to be a little more specific. I was inspired by my friend's own list of 101 things to do in 1001 days (I think I have the numbering right there), and I figured it wouldn't hurt to be a little more transparent about some goals I have for myself.  After all, sometimes it takes just saying it out loud to feel a little more inclined to take action.

So in no particular order a few things that have been top of mind:

1) The gym aka: my long-forgotten-lover. 

I go through periods of making working out a priority and getting to the gym nearly every day, and then I fall off the horse so hard and find a month (or more) has gone by since my last visit. Usually the fall occurs because life feels so dang busy and I just don't have the time. But that's a lie. I do have the time, I just am not finding the internal motivation to make it a priority. So when I talk about "the gym" as a goal, I really mean: How do I make exercise a part of my life in a way that is long-term and sustainable? Figure it out!

And more specifically, I want to achieve the health and well-being I know I am capable of. I think activity and exercise is a part of that picture, so I need to determine what has been keeping me from taking as good care of myself as I know I can be. 

2) Sometimes you're quirky and sometimes you're just alone.

I probably should put a little more effort into my dating life creating a dating life. It's been a ridiculously long time since I've put any effort into dating, and while I'm fine being alone, it feels silly to not explore this part of life.

3) Kitchen adventures.

I got a few amazing cookbooks as gifts recently. I want to use them more. I especially want to try recipes that seem a little scary or challenging. That's the point after all, right? This leads into another goal...

4) Think about how my money goes into the universe.

I just got a paper-shredder yesterday to get rid of YEARS of old documents and bills, and let me tell you the process was sobering. There are many things I know I can do in my life that not only are money-saving, but also make me feel better. Those things include: cooking rather than eating out, buying second-hand rather than new, drinking less alcohol, hosting more parties & potlucks rather than a night on the town. Also, when I spend my money more thoughtfully, I can have more treat yo self moments when I feel like it. Reason enough to be more thrifty throughout my life!

So those are four goals to get me started. They are rather large, so I might find myself whittling them down even more as I start to dig in. It did feel good to get them out there, because when I look at them they really do capture the top things that are on my mind right now: health, love, self-care, and money.  These are the parts of me that feel suffocating when I am ignoring them and energizing when I am giving them the attention they deserve.

Bounding down...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

early march inspirations

A few things inspiring me these days:

Art made out of the unexpected

Rethinking the use of space, in the most inspired ways

Countdown to seeing this movie

A cute dress playful enough to be called 'today's the day'

This lasting thought from Freewill Astrology's Rob Brezsny:

What will be the story of your life in the coming months? How can you
exert your free will to create adventures that'll bring out the best in you,
even as you find graceful ways to cooperate with the tides of destiny?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

treat. yo. self. 2012

What a full weekend this has been! Full in that happy-life-affirming-so-glad-to-be-alive sort of way. Perfect timing for sure.

Yesterday I started the day with a half-day retreat about Thresholds--about being in that time in your life when you are between the old and the new, trying to determine what to keep from one world and bring into the other. (And what to leave behind.) Obviously, the topic has been on my mind and the timing of this retreat was perfect. As any good retreat, it inspired some good journaling, pondering and art-with-greater-meaning-than-meets-the-eye-making. I'll be writing more about it in the near future...

And after a morning of reflecting and looking inward, I joined two friends at the Mall (of America) to have "Treat! Yo! Self! 2012!" (Our evening was inspired by a hilarious Parks and Rec episode, here's a taste.) Hayley, Diana and I spent over two hours at Sephora where they taught me how to use make-up. Yes, this aspect of womanhood is something I am completely clueless about but actually very recently have become quite curious about. I was shocked at how much fun I had learning something so girly and so against the grain of how I see myself. Which, in its essence, is a good thing. I left the store with a lots of treats for myself, and the resolve to have a little more fun (and be more experimental) with the face I put on. Literally.

Today I extended Treat! Yo! Self! 2012! with my housemate, as we decided to get massages. We called a dozen places before finding one with two open appointments. My body occasionally resists relaxation (a problem I am working through), but I'd say I did a pretty good job at easing into it. Probably because I had been on a Treat! Yo! Self! high and was in the self-care zone.

And last, but not least in my weekend of goodness, I had a delicious dinner and even better conversation with my friend Mel, who I hadn't seen in awhile. Mel is someone who I consider to be quite different from, and someone who I've known for many years and in many iterations--a friend's girlfriend, a partner of the company I worked for, a neighbor, and now--and best of all--just my friend. It's fun to watch our friendship evolve and to see the ways we continuously are growing more comfortable with each other.

One stark difference between the two of us is that Mel, by all appearances, seems a bit serious and reserved, whereas I face the world- and the literal places I walk into - with (more often than not) a shit-eating grin on my face. I'm loud to her soft-spoken; over-sharing to her private.

Or so I thought.

Tonight I think I saw a different side of both of us: I saw Mel more willing and eager to open up, and I saw myself more turned inward and quietly reflecting on her confessions. And then I saw us both sharing the space more, and giving each other the room to think and communicate and be vulnerable. It felt like a very equal and safe space. I'm realizing the more we get to know each other, the more ridiculous it is to try to put each other in tiny boxes. She reminds me of the many dimensions we all have.

On that note, my parents surprised us all this weekend by spontaneously getting a dog. I didn't think spontaneity was in their DNA. At first I was pretty disturbed because of how out of character it seemed. But that's not fair!  Even if it's scary when the people we think we know the best do something that surprises us, it's actually quite a relief to acknowledge those particular individuals evolve just like the rest of us.