Getting Back to Good

The last month has been… shitty. Some days are okay. Some days I get relatively close to feeling normal. Some days are even pretty close to great. But there’s still those times, sometimes entire days, where I still feel completely out of sorts. A lot of it has to do with the (ex)boyfriend. After a break up, even after you begin moving on, there’s still those times when the sadness/loss/anger/confusion creeps back in and keeps you from feeling completely whole again. And those times, while lessening, are just… shitty.

It probably doesn’t help much that every day I drive to work I have to pass the place we first met (literally two blocks from my office. Cool.) and be reminded of that excitement and possibility I felt that night. That? Yeah, that probably doesn’t help me in getting back to my old self either. That’s just… shitty.

But, you know what’s not shitty? Keeping myself busier this month than I have in a long time. Spending more time with friends. Trying new things. Forcing myself back into working out. Taking cooking classes. Going to shows solo and meeting new people. And…

GETTING A NEW JOB! Not only do I not have to pass that place that now makes me feel a whole lotta sad feels daily, I also have something really exciting to focus on. It’s been no secret that I’ve been less than thrilled with my current job and really ready for a new challenge, and now finally I have it.

While none of these things truly speed up the broken heart healing process, they do help to keep me feeling positive and happy, and even excited. They make it easier to keep going until the day comes along when I’m finally back to the old me…tumblr_mifxnwn4f41qkn03yo1_400

How Coachella Changed My Life

Okay, so maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement. But, looking back on what I now fondly refer to as ‘the best weekend ever’, I find myself much improved after my tryst in the desert. Sure, many people give Coachella shit and think it’s filled with trust fund kids and sweaty, smelly hippies and overpriced beer. And sure, there are plenty of trust fund kids and smelly hippies and grossly overpriced Heinekens, but so what? Yeah, that’s right, I said it. SO WHAT? And this my dear readers, is how Coachella changed my life. A weekend at Coachella helped me say so the fuck what to so many things.

For as much as I’ve learned and grown over the years, I’m still guilty of over analyzing way too much and, at times, it has really kept me from fully enjoying life. Need some proof that Coachella did anything to change that? Fine, here’s your proof, you non-believers!

When I first won tickets to the festival I VERY quickly went from extreme excitement into panic mode. What will I wear?! Coachella is full of celebrities and trust fund babies with adorably chic desert attire. I don’t have adorably chic desert attire! And furthermore, even if I find this adorably chic desert attire, my body is far from looking desert attire ready! THIS IS TERRIBLE. Yeah, y’all. I was up in my head FOREVER. I shopped and shopped and dieted (kinda) and worked out tons (some) and shopped more and I still hated everything I had packed for the weekend. I felt like I would look like a frumpy bag lady in a sea of waify, designer clothes clad chicks. But then… I actually got to Coachella. And a ton of people DID look adorably chic and I kinda didn’t, but it really didn’t matter because I was too damn busy dancing and running from stage to stage to have all these amazing bands melt my face off with awesomeness to even really be concerned with what I was wearing or what I looked like because at the end of the day if I’m not rockin’ the crocheted top and flower headband and shorty shorts (which my friend actually was rockin’ and was adorable in) SO WHAT? Did my fashion or lack thereof make the music any less great? Nope. Did it make me enjoy my weekend any less? NOPE.

And speaking of all the face melting music… Sometimes when I go to shows, which I do often, if I haven’t had proper boozy lubricant, I find that I don’t enjoy myself quite as much as if I had. Probably because when I’m totally sober I feel a little silly dancing and singing at the top of my lungs around so many people. I don’t know why, because those are pretty much two of my favorite things to do ever- oh wait, of course I know why! Because, like a good chunk of the population, I am self-conscious. Always have been and always will be. Or so I thought. I hated the idea of enjoying myself so much that, god forbid, I might make a spectacle of myself. Well, for 98% of the weekend I was pretty damn sober (y’all, not that I didn’t try, but it’s real hard to get drunk when you aren’t particularly fond of Heineken and you’re also pounding a shitload of water as to not die from desert heat) and towards the beginning I was my usual sober self at concerts. Dancing a little, maybe singing along, but nothing too crazy. No spectacles being made. But then on the second night Snoop Dogg popped out on stage with Pharrell and I LOST MY SHIT. From then on it was like, whoa good luck reigning in my inner party monster! I nearly broke my old lady body I danced so damn hard. Oh, and when Calvin Harris ended his set with Sweet Nothing? Yeah, I don’t think I’ve screamed so loudly from happiness. Ever. Did I make a bit of a spectacle of myself in the process? Probably. But, SO WHAT?! I was happy.

I was happy nearly the whole damn weekend. It was impossible not to be. Despite the heat and the sandstorm and major lack of sleep and aching legs and feet, I was pretty dang happy. I was even happy to run into an ex-boyfriend. And his new girlfriend. Yeah, leave it to me to go to a music fest over a thousand miles away and one of my ex-boyfriends is there. But, it was fine! We had fun and it was one of those hey it’s so crazy, I can’t believe we are here at the same time situations and it really didn’t bother me at all. Until it did. Something about seeing him treat her in a way I almost never got treated in the five years we dated and being all nice and boyfriend-y to her just hit me on the last night. And, okay, so maybe it could have been that it was also the 2% of the weekend that I was kind of drunk, but as I said adios to them for the last time and he wrapped his arm around her as they walked off I got sad. Not like falling to the ground in the fetal position sad, but sad enough that a few fat little tears rolled down my face while Arcade Fire was playing in the background. I had spent PLENTY of time crying about spending so much of my life with that particular ex and never being treated the way I should have been (or really, allowing myself to spend so much time with someone who did not treat me as I deserved. Shame on me.) that I REALLY didn’t want to go back down that road. I’ve been over it for a good long time and I did not want to go back there. But then, like magic, Debbie Harry appeared on stage. DEBBIE. HARRY. Suddenly I was crying for a whole different reason, because, guys… DEBBIE HARRY. It was like she was my magical, blonde, never aging angel showing me all that is right in the world. (Yeah, I love her that much.) So what that a person who wasn’t particularly great to me is now good to someone else? So what that I spent too much of my time in the past worrying about that? SO WHAT? So what that I don’t look like a waify desert chic chick? So what that I sometimes make spectacles of myself? So what that I have given my heart away a little too much in the past? So what that at this moment my life is not perfect? SO WHAT?

And that is exactly how Coachella changed my life. You go through all these self-doubts and insecurities and hard times in your life, because yeah, often life just sucks. But peppered throughout those shitty times are the these perfect weekends. These perfect days, perfect minutes, perfect experiences that put all that shit into perspective and just allow you to say even if it isn’t always good, sometimes life really is great.

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And Finally, It Clicks

I recently read a book entitled It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single. Okay, whatever, I read most of it. Ugh, OKAY, so I actually only got through three chapters before my kindle loan on it ended. I got sidetracked by a true crime…and by a smutty book (don’t judge!). But really, three chapters was all I needed of It’s Not You. I was excited to read this book. Normally I don’t really go for “self-help” style books, but after hearing nearly every reason in the world on why I might be single (see: Dumb reasons people say you might be single) I decided I needed to be reassured that all those reasons were probably bullshit. Well, the author of this book did just that. She tells you that being too independent, being too needy, wanting it too much, not wanting it enough, etc., ALL OF THAT is all bullshit. HOORAY! Finally someone speaking some sort of sense! Three pages into this and I was like, ‘move over, To Kill A Mockingbird, this is my new favorite book!’ In fact, there are plenty of people who have baggage and are needy, and all the other things people tell you are reasons you aren’t meeting someone, who are in relationships. There are no set right or wrong’s when it comes to who you should be when you want a relationship. HOORAY, I shout to myself again. The book just keeps getting better and better, and I’m still only in the first chapter! But then, she drops in the one reason people are single… you just haven’t met the person you are supposed to meet yet.

WHAT?

NO. SERIOUSLY. WHAT?

That’s all there is? As soon as I read this, I’m irate. The author goes on to say you can look and look for that person. You can go to parties, you can join clubs, you can online date, you can put yourself out there all you want. And you can work on loving yourself, you can work on becoming more independent, you can work on sorting out all your “issues”, you can do all of the things people tell you you should do to be relationship-ready, but you really can’t force the matter because, eventually, you will just meet that person when you meet that person. Well, thank you, oh wise Buddha author lady for all your zen-like advice! I throw the book down and start furiously texting my other single friends and dropping this “revelation” on them. ‘So glad I didn’t actually purchase this book’ I start typing out, ‘Just haven’t met the person you’re supposed to meet yet? Well, THANKS for enlightening me! I mean, I’ve NEVER heard that before. Oh wait, I HAVE!’ Ugh. Like I said, I was irate. A lot of all-caps shouty texts were sent. Why was I so irate, you may ask? Well, because! Because if I just haven’t met the person I’m supposed to meet yet and it will only happen when it’s supposed to happen how can I make it happen already?!

And then, of course, it clicks. I can’t make it happen. Oh. So that’s what she was getting at.

It didn’t really click with me until a few weeks later. I spent a few days in a real huff. Then I spent a few more days focusing on my true crime and my smut to take my mind off the huff I was in. And then, I just kind of got it. Her book isn’t telling you that all the advice people give you, like love yourself first, and become more independent, and work out all your past dating issues, isn’t actually valid advice. It is valid. But, it’s not valid in the sense people typically give it out. Those things won’t make you become more dateable. They won’t magically make you find Mr. Right. If you want to love yourself more, if you want to be more independent, if you want to work out your issues, then do it! But, do it for you. If the real reason that your single is you haven’t met the person you are supposed to meet yet, then don’t put your life on hold waiting for this person.

Of course, it’s highly possible that, as with most self-help style books, I may have gotten all of this from her book (or three chapters I read) because this is what I needed to hear. Maybe, after endless frustrations with dating this last year, this was already in the back of my head, but I just needed to see it written out for me to accept this “it will happen when it’s meant to happen” type of thinking. As a person who is very impatient and who thinks they can make almost anything happen if they just try hard enough and, okay, is somewhat controlling, it is very hard to accept that there are things in this world that I want, that I really want, that aren’t in my control. On the other hand, it is kind of nice accepting this way of thinking. If all the reasons we are typically told we still haven’t found the one yet are wrong then finally I can cut myself a little slack for being a little too scared of being hurt and a little too slow to open up and a little too stubborn.

Realizing all of this has been a pretty huge weight off of my shoulders, but it’s not a cure all. It doesn’t make me anymore patient and stop wishing I’d just meet the person who is going to laugh at and love me for all my terrible puns and awesome pop culture knowledge already, but it does make me stop beating myself up for not having that person in my life yet. There’s no reason for me to change anything about myself (except for the things I want to change for ME!) because eventually, when that person comes along, he’s going to know that I’m a little too scared of being hurt and a little too slow to open up and a little too stubborn, and he’s going to love the shit out of those things.

Challenges

2014 was going to be a resolution-free year. I decided after making a boatload of changes in 2013, I deserved a free pass this year. But then, one of my lovely lady friends suggested our resolution for the year should be to do a new fitness challenge every month. My lovely lady friend must really know how to get me on board with things because if you say ‘challenge’ I say ‘fuck yes, I can do it!’

January’s challenge was squats. And I KILLED IT. Today I completed day 30 of the challenge (250 squats, nbd.) and I feel awesome. I’m pretty damn proud of myself for not missing one day, not even one little squat. And the awesome feeling is great since, unfortunately for me, aside from killing this challenge, the rest of January hasn’t gone so swimmingly. It was just one of those months where I found myself thinking ‘when it rains, it really fucking pours’ at least once a week. But, fear not dear readers. I am nothing if not resilient. I am not the least bit uncertain that, eventually, I will see my way through the downpour. The only crap thing about having a month like this is when I’m going through the bad times, I tend to beat myself up a little more than usual. It’s not a conscious thing, sometimes it is just fleeting ew, what’s going on with my hair today, but every little jab at myself counts. I am fully aware that these thoughts do nothing to help me through the bad and get me to the good, but in the past have done nothing to change my way of thinking. So, now I’m deciding to throw another challenge into the mix…

Since February is the month of love (I’m assuming someone out there calls it that, anyway) I’m giving myself a non-physical challenge in hopes of inspiring some self-love. It’s a two part challenge, really. First, I’m challenging myself to squash these negative thoughts as soon as I acknowledge them. And second, and most importantly, for every negative thought that creeps into my brain, I have to say three things I love about myself. Okay, maybe a three part challenge, because I also have to not roll my eyes and call myself ridiculous as I list off all these great things about myself. I have to acknowledge and accept them as fully as I’ve accepted all those negative feelings of the past. And, since I am such a go-getter, I got a bit of a head start on this.

This morning, while doing the wiggle and jump and pull the tight pants up dance, I caught myself in mid-ugh I’m such a fatty fa… thought. I didn’t let myself finish. Instead, I finished getting dressed, looked in the mirror, and forced myself to accept that 1. I love my eyes, 2. I love that I’ve worked really hard to get good at my job, and 3. I love that I finished the squats challenge because my booty is actually looking pretty damn good in these tight pants. Between a new physical challenge (arms and abs!) and the thinkin’ good thoughts challenge, I think February is shaping up to be a pretty great month.

Just Dance

Lately I’ve been on an extended vacation in Shittymoodville. Here’s the thing about Shittymoodville, it’s not a fun place to be. There’s an unexplainable foul odor lingering in the air, the sky is permanently heavy with a grey fog, the fellow occupants of this town are particularly surly, and the longer you’re there, the harder it is to leave. You just get stuck.

In general, I’m not the world’s most patient person, so you can bet money that I have little patience for riding out crappy moods. I’ve tried everything to expedite my departure from past pit stops at Shittymoodville- wine, girl’s night out, meditating, wine, sappy movies, funny movies, scary movies, wine, hot baths, rereading my favorite books, googling pictures of Tom Hardy holding a puppy, WINE- but so far only one thing is truly effective, and since holidays can be a stressful time of year and lead many others to Shittymoodville, I thought maybe I would share this breakthrough…

Dance. It. Out.

I’m sure if you know me, or have read past posts and seen my affinity for dancing gifs, you know I am a booty shakin’ fan, but just trust me on this, dancing is a first class ticket out of Shittymoodville. It really is just that simple. In a funk? Get up and dance. Do it for 15 minutes. Put on some music, gulp a glass of wine first if you must, and just DANCE. Go see a jam band and do some Dave Matthews moves, go do a pole dancing class, a zumba class, a tap class, hell, just go to the club and twerk it out. tumblr_mtk0w8QqlY1rp68cjo2_250I’m telling ya, just move your damn booty for awhile and tell me you can’t feel the funk fading away. A particular favorite pick me up of mine is Billy Blanks Jr (yep, son to Tae Bo guru Billy Blanks, so you KNOW he’s good!) and his Dance Party Boot Camp. If you can get your hands on it I highly recommend you skip to the last workout in which he gets your heart pumping by dancing to gospel. Yes, gospel. Talk about mood enhancer!church-lady-live-gifI know, I know, dancing around your living room like the Church Lady to some gospel on a workout DVD sounds ridiculous. But, you know what? When it comes to dancing it out, the more ridiculous the better. Whether you’re at home or out in the club, you don’t have to look good, you don’t have to look sexy, hell, you don’t even have to have rhythm. All you’ve gotta do is shake what you’re momma gave ya. The times I’ve felt the best after a healthy dose of dance therapy was when I closed my eyes, let the music move through me, and just did like that good ol’ cliche told me and danced like no one was watching.elaine-dancetumblr_mic2yg7l2j1rw32xuo1_400

Some may laugh at my methods, but I 100% know I will have met my true love when he too believes in the power of dance therapy and, much like gangs in 1950’s era movies, we dance out all our fights thus keeping us from booking a couple’s retreat in Shittymoodville.44499-Jennifer-Lawrence-Bradley-coop-z1ns

So dear readers, throw on your Richard Simmons shimmy shorts and shake it out. Shake out any stress or sadness or seasonal depressions that are getting you stuck in Shittymoodville.

And, if I’m wrong and that doesn’t work for you…here’s a picture of Tom Hardy with a puppy, just in case. tom-hardy-puppy-3

Failing As A Feminist?

(Note: Every person has different ideas on what a feminist is and what feminism is all about. This? My two cents.)

The scene: a conversation between a group of women talking about what else? Men. Just some good ol’ fashioned girl talk about our wants, our likes, etc., and here was my addition to the conversation:

“I hate to say I want a guy to take care of me, because it doesn’t fit exactly what I mean, but I’m not sure how else to phrase it, so yeah, I like it when a guy can take care of me. Not financially or anything, but I’ve just taken care of myself for so long it’d be kind of nice to have a guy to, like, fix my weird steering wheel- or at least find me a mechanic who can- because, even though I can do those types of things for myself, I just don’t want to have to! And, while we’re at it, I like a guy who is comfortable making decisions like where we’re going to dinner and planning out our vacations. I’ve almost always ended up being the planner, the organizer, the decision maker with other groups of people that I just really like when a guy is assertive enough to take over that role for me in our relationship…” But before I can finish, I’m cut off by this:

“How can you say all that? I figured you for a smart woman, but God, way to take feminism back about 50 years. Man making all the decisions and taking care of all the “manly” things while the lady just swoons and says ‘my hero’. You don’t need a man for anything. That’s just failing feminists everywhere.

Um. Exsqueeze me? Clearly this angered me, or I would not be writing about it. But, I took a little time, considered the (self appointed) MVP of feminism’s words, put my thoughts together, and here’s what I came up with…

When did having personal preferences in a type of man I’m attracted to make me less of a feminist? By definition, a feminist is an advocate for a woman having equal rights as a man, which I am ALL FOR. I’m also all for a woman having choices. For example, the choice to be able to take care of everything on her own or being able to choose to let another person (man or woman) do things for her. At no point did I say every man should make every decision for every woman, I just happen to be attracted to men that help me be less controlling by taking over said control in certain parts of our relationship. What angered me even more about the rude interruption is that while saying you don’t need a man for anything is technically true, it doesn’t make me any less of a feminist for wanting a man in my life. You can rely on a man for things, you can desire to find a man who is assertive in your relationship, but that doesn’t have to take away from relying on yourself and your own assertiveness. Having personal preferences, knowing what makes you happy and what you want, as I do, is a sign of self-awareness and intelligence, and isn’t that a large part of a feminist woman? Yes, thinking you need a man does date you back to the days of 1950’s housewives because women are strong and you can do any and everything on your own, if you so choose. But don’t let fellow MVP’s of feminism lead you to believe that wanting a man makes you lose your identity, because that simply is not true.

Stand up for womankind, stand up for equality, stand up for yourself; what you believe in, what you deserve, what you want, and to me THAT is not failing feminists everywhere.

*steps off soapbox*