Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Always Look For The Silver Linings

I would like to start this out with a disclaimer.  I do not have any kind of professional or educational background in counseling or psychology.  All of the following advice or suggestions are just from my personal experiences and those experiences of people I know personally.  They are my opinions, feelings, and should be taken as that.

I’ve noticed that a couple friends of mine are having a hard time emotionally as of late, and while I won’t name names or divulge details, I’ll just say it seems their self esteem and views on life seem to be shaken.  I’ve heard that the Holidays can be unnerving for some and downright depressing for others, not everyone’s days are merry and bright this time of year, and I’d like to take the time to tell them that while you may be experiencing heavy storms on the relationship front or maybe other aspects of life (family, work, arguments with friends, loss of loved ones, etc.) this journey will not always be in the Forest of Endless Night, there will be sunshine, I promise.  I can’t tell you when day will break; it comes at different times for everyone, BUT IT WILL COME.  

For those of you, who have lost a loved one, whether to death or a change of heart, please remember your healing process is not on some arbitrary timeline.  Yes, your friends might tire of hearing about your loss, but that doesn’t mean your feelings are any less important or that you should speed your recovery. Take the time to get better instead of burying everything below the surface, because tossing dirt on a problem isn’t going to solve it, emotional issues have the strangest way of unearthing themselves at the most inopportune moments.  Grieving is different for everyone, so what might work for me may not work for you, the trick is to find what works for you and to go after it.

This morning I was texting a friend of mine to cheer her up and I offered up this piece of wisdom, now keep in mind that it’s intent was to make her laugh, but it still rings true.  “You have to protect you first. You’re never going to survive the zombies otherwise.”  Apocalypse jokes aside what I have found when dealing with loss (whether it be a friend or lover or the heartbreaking hybrid) the best thing you can do to get over it is to work on making yourself a better person for YOU, not to get that person back or to get back at them, but so that you can feel good about who you are again.  By protecting yourself I’m talking about not allowing those mean voices in your head to beat you up with a million “what ifs” or “if only I had {insert your personal method of self torture here}” remind yourself of all the things you love about yourself and work on fixing the things that could use some work.  Focus on the silver linings, even if they’re really thin… and if you having a hard time seeing them do not be afraid to ask someone who loves you to point them out for you.  I remember while going through some pretty awful break ups for every one thing I could think of that I missed about my ex, my girlfriends could list 10 reasons why they were grateful I was no longer in such an unhealthy situation.  Silver linings are so important, they are a big reason why I started my “Monthly Wrap Ups” on this blog, they remind me that even in the middle of a personal crisis a bad day doesn’t mean I have a bad life.  I have more things in my life to be grateful for than to be depressed by current setbacks.  It reminds me that depression lies.  It reminds me that even if things are bad now, they will be good again.

Not too long ago (almost two years ago, time seems to fly by a lot faster the older I get) I was feeling somewhat lost and lonely.  I decided the best way to combat those feelings was to embrace them and call the loneliness independence.  I was able to prove to myself that I could enjoy my own company and I could create my own adventures.  I started a photo journal of sorts on Facebook that I titled “Finding My Bliss” and set out on a journey to take day trips and to photograph the process.  I learned things about myself and how to take some really cool pictures.  I’m by no means a professional photographer, nor is that even one of my dreams, but I am someone who likes to create pretty images whether it is through the lens of a camera or with a paintbrush and an arsenal of watercolor paints.  I found that being on the road alone relaxed me and gave me a time and place to think about what was going on in my life, and how incredibly lucky I am to live where I do, and to have the ability to just get in my car and go wherever the road may lead.  It taught me that while it is an incredible feeling to have that someone special to share your life with, you can also make some pretty amazing memories while you’re single.

For my friends who’s self esteem has taken a hit recently, I can say all the words in the world (and I mean them from the bottom of my heart) but I know that it is up to you to believe them for them to matter.  I will never stop telling you how important you are, how beautiful you are, how intelligent, and how anyone would be lucky to have you in their lives.  How anyone who doesn’t see how amazing you are clearly is stupid and doesn't deserve you.  But until you believe it yourself, they are just words.  You have to be able to look in the mirror and see the awesome for yourself.  It’s in there, I promise.  I wouldn’t make time for you in my life if you weren’t special.

This post is in no way meant to trivialize anyone’s pain, but only to remind you that it is temporary.  Work through the darkness even when it seems endless.  Find joy in the little things, because it’s often the smallest things that mean the most.  Surround yourself with people who truly care about you, and don’t be afraid to cut out the ones who weigh you down (even when it’s scary to say goodbye).  Don’t worry about what other people think about how long it’s taking you to heal.  Get better on your own schedule, I’m not suggesting that you wallow in pain forever, but as long as you are actively trying to get better realize that there will be good days and bad days, there will be giant leaps forward and there will be setbacks, that is normal.  Just try not to let your pain define you.  You are better than that, and if all else fails dance it out.

Don't You Know You're Beautiful

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

 It's the day before the feast and I just wanted to wish all my friends, family, and faithful readers a very happy Thanksgiving holiday.  I want to take the time to let you all know how important you are and that I'm very thankful to have you in my life. Before we all settle in to gorge ourselves on whatever our traditional (or non-traditional) celebrations of the day may be I just ask that you take a moment either to yourself or out loud around the dinner table to count your blessings. For this one day concentrate on the good things in your life, even if they are few and far between. Before you turn on the football game (GO COWBOYS!) make sure your loved ones know that they are appreciated, you never know how many holidays you have left to spend with them.
If you have a special holiday memory that you'd like to share, a recipe that's been a family favorite, a tradition... feel free to leave them in the comment box. I always enjoy a good story or something new to try out in the kitchen.  So until next time, I'm thankful for you all, have a fantastic holiday.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It's All About Closure; Isn't It

It's weird, lately I've been thinking a lot about an ex of mine.  Not in a "what if" sort of way, not in an "I miss him" sort of way, just a "his name crosses my mind" sort of way. I don't really care what he's up to or how he's feeling. I keep having dreams about saying goodbye over and over again, and every time I feel more settled, more at peace.

The other day I was going through some pictures to put together a photo album to commemorate the year, one of the best years of my life so far, and I found pictures of me and that certain someone... I immediately deleted them and felt nothing... and let me tell you, nothing was an amazing feeling. I finally felt in control, I finally felt in charge of my emotions, a way I never felt when I was involved with that person.

I don't know if this feeling of closure, or this lack of feeling comes with finally being in a functional relationship with someone who I know cares about me. Someone who encourages me to follow my dreams, someone who inspires me. Someone who makes me feel like I matter, someone who always is happy to spend time with me, someone who doesn't make me feel like I'm his back up plan when something better doesn't come along.

For the first time I feel like I can breathe. I'm not scared to be myself anymore, and suddenly I realize that THIS is what being in a healthy relationship is.

In saying goodbye to the one who broke my heart a year ago, I want to say thank you for saving me from myself when I was most destructive. Thank you for being my friend when I needed you. I'd like to think we served a purpose in each other's lives, and I'm ready to say goodbye and part as strangers. We don't need each other anymore, and that's okay. Sometimes people are meant to be in each other's lives for a lifetime and sometimes only for a season. So I'll be grateful for the good times, and let go of all the bad things.

To my new relationship. Thank you so much for showing me that it is possible to be in a healthy relationship. That it doesn't have to be stressful and scary. That I can sleep next to you and not worry about well anything. That we can laugh together, talk about important issues in our lives, or just be doing our own things and it's okay.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Awesome Autumn Playlist

This time I'm not adding the YouTube links, sorry, it just took a long time and I'm not sure that all of these songs will even be there...and I'm not cool with putting amateur covers of awesome songs on my blog. So if you're interested in the songs, all but Garth Brooks ones are on Spotify and you can listen to them to your heart's content for free. So without further introduction, here are the songs that have been rotating heavily on my play list the past couple months. Have a musical season friends. <3

  • Green Day - Oh Love
  • Jason Aldean - When She Says Baby
  • Salt-N-Peppa - Whatta Man
  • Michael Jackson - Thriller
  • TLC - What About Your Friends
  • Janet Jackson - Black Cat
  • Gary Allan - Every Storm (Runs out of Rain)
  • Jack Johnson - Banana Pancakes
  • Maroon 5 - Fortune Teller
  • Kristin Chenoweth - Witchy Woman
  • Lady Gaga - You and I
  • Al Green - Ain't No Sunshine (When She's Gone)
  • Garth Brooks - Friends in Low Places
  • Lil Jon - Get Low (To the Window, To the Wall)
  • AC/DC - You Shook Me All Night Long
  • The Cranberries - Zombie
  • Guns N Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine
  • Heart - Magic Man
  • Jackson 5 - Dancin' Machine
  • Ke$ha - Boots and Boys
  • Kenny Chesney - El Cerrito Place
  • Chevelle - Jars
  • Miley Cyrus - Party in the USA
  • David Guetta - I Just Wanna F
  • Garth Brooks - If Tomorrow Never Comes
Not all of these songs have a specific memory attached to them, but a few of them do and I can't help but dance when I hear them.

Fall 2012 Spotify playlist... the Garth songs aren't on it because he's not on the site :-)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

My October Wrap Up

Its that time again, I promised you all that I'd get this up sometime this weekend so here is the monthly wrap up for October.

Morro Rock, Morro Bay, CA

Woody Car Show @ Wavelengths Surf Shop

Harbor Festival: The first weekend in October I spent the day in Morro Bay with my mom at the annual Harbor Festival. There was a Woody Car Show, lots of booths displaying artwork, local breweries/wineries, and awesome people watching. The weather couldn't have been better, was warm breezy, and there were amazing views of Morro Rock. This was my first trip to the festival, even though I've lived on the Central Coast my whole life. I'd like to think that attending will become a new tradition.

Mai Tai at the Elephant Bar
Old Town Saloon
The Big Fresno Fair
Long Weekend in Fresno: The following weekend I took a day off work so that I could have a long weekend visiting my boyfriend in Fresno.  While he was in class on Friday I met up with my aunt who lives in the Valley for lunch at the Elephant Bar and a little shopping near the River Park area in town.  Friday night we attended the Big Fresno Fair and saw the band Chevelle in concert... well most of the concert anyway, we stayed for the songs we knew, then wandered through the fair exhibits for the rest of the evening. Saturday we had a little football party at his apartment to watch the Fresno State game, but if I'm going to be honest here, and why wouldn't I be, my allergies were so bad that day that I ended up going to bed at half time and didn't wake up until many hours later when the guys woke me up to go to dinner... oopsies. After dinner it was time to head to Clovis for dancing at the Old Town Saloon. It was an experience I won't soon forget. The dance floor was packed all night and the DJ was amazing, I don't think he played a bad song all night, and the boy was a dancing machine, I'm not sure he left the dance floor for more than a few minutes at a time all night... eventually it was closing time and we decided to take the party back to his place... and it lasted until after we went to sleep sometime around 5am.  Needless to say Sunday was a day for sleeping in and relaxing, and then I made my way back home that evening.

Girls' Nights: Our weekly girls' nights have continued throughout the fall and we've been watching The Walking Dead, we're all caught up to the current season that's airing on AMC right now, so instead of watching on the TV we all snuggle around the laptop and stream it from the internet. I have to say I'm really thankful that I've gotten to know these girls this year, we've had a lot of good times and I know that I've found some friends for life.

The Boy Comes to Town: The weekend after I went to Fresno to visit him, he came home to get some work done on his truck and to visit me. There weren't as many epic adventures this time around, but as long as we're spending time together that's what is really important.  Friday night we went to a local wine tasting room for a couple glasses with his mom and friends, Saturday night we went to dinner with my mom, then met some friends for drinks at a bar in the Village of Arroyo Grande, then capped off the night in the hot tubs at Sycamore Mineral Springs.  It was such a relaxing night that I almost fell asleep in the tub, and no I was drinking and passing out, I was just that relaxed and tired. Sunday was all about football and family day, we went to his dad's house for the morning games, then I left to go to my parents for laundry and Sunday dinner, then he came back to my house for one last visit before he had to go back to school in Fresno.

Carving Pumpkins
SoCal Halloween: This year the weekend before the holiday I deviated from my usual Halloween extravaganza in San Luis Obispo to go down to Southern California and try it out Hollywood style.  The original plan was to get all dolled up (pun intended, I was a ventrilaquest dummy) and go to Bootsy Bellows, David Arquette's nightclub in West Hollywood.  We had been in touch with the club for the past couple weeks trying to see how to get reservations and if we needed them.  According to whoever answered the phones and emails, they weren't necessary, all we had to do was show up and we'd be in.  That was the same story 90 minutes before we got to the club. Somehow in that hour and a half everything we had been told had been thrown out the window and they were now a "reservations only"venue. Odd. I even was holding a tweet from the man himself (who was out of town) saying that he hoped I had a great time and that he didn't want me to have any trouble at the door. After about 45 minutes of standing in line the doorman told us we were wasting our time because we weren't getting in and we should probably find something else to do. Awesome. Never fear though, I had also been in touch with my cousin who lives nearby most of the evening and he came up with an even better plan. We met up at his place for a glass of wine then he took us to a super cool spot called Harvard and Stone in Thai Town. The music was fantastic, it was all old tunes that everyone could sing along and dance the night away.  It was such a better experience than we would have had in the Hollywood club.  I won't be surprised if Bootsy doesn't last much longer to tell the truth, we got there shortly after they opened and there was a steady stream of disappointed faces coming out of the club all night. If you get a chance, blow off the Sunset scene and make your way to Harvard and Stone, the atmosphere is friendly and the music will keep you on your feet all night.

Halloween Day: Since Halloween was on a weekday this year I couldn't go far from home to do anything that night... however, it worked out because we planned our Girls' Night that week to dress in costume and hand out candy to trick or treaters. Worked out perfectly... now if only there were more kids to give out treats to... we saw a lot of teenagers that did the bare minimum for costumes "hi I'm a guido from the Jersey Shore" said the kid in basketball shorts and a t-shirt "Duh, I'm a witch" said the girl in jeans, a sweatshirt, and a pointy hat. So I was stingy with their treats... only fair right?

Random: This month (on the 26th) marked the 3 year anniversary of getting hired at my place of employment. I've had some good times and bad times, but for the most part I really like my job and who I work for.  It was such a welcome relief to work for people that I can actually respect and learn from.
Mid-month I had lunch with a couple of my girlfriends who I hadn't seen in months, we went to the Natural Cafe and caught up on each others lives. I think the main thing we got out of it was that we really need more than my 1 hour lunch break to hang out.  They're both excellent photographers and bakers and I think we can all learn a lot from each other, as well as have a lot of laughs.  Check out their work Forever Moore Photography and Behind.The.Foto
I think I may have made my last Walmart trip, at the very least the Walmart in Santa Maria. I had gone there to buy some windshield wipers for my car as the weather is starting to change a little (very little, it was in the mid 90s today on the Coast). Anyway the store was crowded and filthy... How filthy you might ask? Let me break it down for you... I slipped in a pile of puke and there was no one around to clean it up... and since the smell had dissipated before I stepped in it, chances are it had been there for awhile.  After I slipped I noticed that the funky smell that wafted throughout the ENTIRE store was indeed vomit. Coincidentally there was a display of Lysol disinfectant spray near check out so I sprayed down my shoes before I left.  I even had my prescriptions changed to the local Target so that there really isn't any reason for me to go back. I'd rather spend a little more money somewhere else and not have to worry about the plague.